The Duchess of Cambridge leaves hospital.


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Copied from the Royal Family Facebook page.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have left St Mary’s Hospital in London with their new arrival, a baby boy.
Their Royal Highnesses have thanked all staff at the hospital for the care and treatment they have received, and thanked members of the public for their warm wishes.

This afternoon a notice was placed on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace following the announcement of the birth.

The notice will be on display for the next 24 hours for the public to view.
Find out more here >



It’s A Prince!


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It’s a Prince! HRH The Duchess of Cambridge has safely delivered a boy! Congratulations!


The new Prince is 5th in line to the throne. Because of the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 this new Prince will not supplant Princess Charlotte in the line of succession. This is the first occasion in the history of the British monarchy that a new Prince did not replace his sister in the order of succession.

Here is a short list of those in the line of succession as it is today.

Her Majesty, the Queen.

1. HRH The Prince of Wales
2. HRH The Duke of Cambridge
3. HRH Prince George of Cambridge
4. HRH Princess Charlotte of Cambridge
5. HRH Baby Boy of Cambridge
6. HRH Prince Henry of Wales
7. HRH The Duke of York
8. HRH Princess Beatrice of York
9. HRH Princess Eugenie of York
10. HRH The Earl of Wessex

Any guess to what the name might be? Write in the comments section.

Happy Birthday Your Majesty!


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Today is the 92nd birthday of Her Majesty, The Queen.

Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926) Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms.


Elizabeth was born in London as the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York, later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, and she was educated privately at home. Her father acceded to the throne on the abdication of his brother King Edward VIII in 1936, from which time she was the heir presumptive. She began to undertake public duties during the Second World War, serving in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. In 1947, she married Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, a former prince of Greece and Denmark, with whom she has four children: Charles, Prince of Wales; Anne, Princess Royal; Andrew, Duke of York; and Edward, Earl of Wessex.

Happy 92nd Birthday Your Majesty, long may you reign!


James I, King of Scots: Part Three.


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One of the political negotiations for the release of James I of Scotland was his marriage to Lady Joan Beaufort and this will be the focus of today’s posting.


The regency council of the infant King Henry VI was inclined to have James released as soon as possible. In the early months of 1423 their attempts to resolve the issue met with little response from the Scots, clearly influenced by the Albany Stewarts and adherents.

The marriage of King James I of Scotland and Lady Joan Beaufort was a true love match and to some degree political. The regency council of Henry VI made the marriage between James and Joan part of the agreement for his release from captivity. It was believed that an English bride would make James more immalleable toward English policies and whims. Further, an alliance with the Beauforts was meant to establish his country’s alliance with the English, rather than the French, the Scots traditional ally. Negotiations resulted in Joan’s dowry of 10,000 merks being subtracted from James’s substantial ransom that was part of the demands on the Scots for the king’s release.

Background and early life

Joan Beaufort (c. 1404 – 15 July 1445) was a daughter of John Beaufort, 1st Earl of Somerset, a legitimated son of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster (a son of Edward III of England) by his mistress (and later wife) Kathryn Swynford. Joan’s mother was Margaret Holland, the granddaughter of Joan of Kent (wife of Edward “the Black Prince” Prince of Wales, eldest son of Edward III of England) by her marriage to Thomas Holland, 1st Earl of Kent. This made Joan an extended member of the English Royal Family being she was also a half-niece of King Henry IV of England, great-niece of Richard II and  great-granddaughter of Edward III. Her uncle, Henry Beaufort, was a cardinal and Chancellor of England.

King James I of Scotland met Joan during his time as a prisoner in England, and knew her from at least 1420. James was with the court at Windsor, when he saw Joan for the first time while walking her little lap-dog in the garden, below his window. His narrow window afforded him only a limited view, but the Lady Joan walked the same route every morning. James, it seems was immediately smitten with Joan and wrote of her in his poem famous long poem, The Kingis Quair:

Beauty, fair enough to make the world to dote, Are ye a worldy creature? Or heavenly thing in likeness of nature? Or are ye Cupid’s own priestess, come here, To loose me out of bonds

One morning James managed to drop a plucked rose down to Lady Joan, which he saw her wearing the following evening at dinner. Their romance blossomed Lady Joan grieved over James’s imprisonment and even pleaded for him to be released. Soon they were parted as James accompanied Henry V in his dealings in France.

On September 3, 1420, Robert, Duke of Albany died at the age of around 80. His eldest son, 1420, Murdoch, now aged 58, inherited the Dukedom of Albany. He also inherited the Earldom of Fife and the Earldom of Menteith, and at last became Governor of Scotland in his own right. He would hold this position from 1420 to 1424, while King James I was still held captive in England. Few serious attempts appear to have been made by Duke Albany to return James to Scotland, but eventually political pressure compelled Murdoch to agree to a general council.

In August 1423 it was agreed that an embassy should be sent to England to negotiate James’s release. The marriage of James and Joan was part of the negotiations. On February 12, 1424, Joan Beaufort and King James were wed at St Mary Overie Church in Southwark. They were feasted at Winchester Palacethat year by her uncle Cardinal Henry Beaufort.

On March 28, 1424 A ransom treaty of 60,000 marks (an enormous sum) was agreed at Durham onto which James attached his own seal—he and his queen, accompanied by an escort of English and Scottish nobles, proceeded to Melrose Abbey, arriving on April 5, 1424, where he met the Duke of Albany to receive the governor’s seal of office. Upon the return of James I to Scotland, the Duke of Albany lost his position as Regent.

Murdoch, Duke of Albany, was arrested, along with his sons Walter and Alexander, and Duncan, Earl of Lennox were in Stirling Castle for their trial set for May 18, 1425, in front of a prorogued Parliament in the presence of the King. An assize of seven earls and fourteen lesser nobles heard the evidence and in a trial lasting just one day the four men were found guilty of treason.

The jury which condemned them was composed of 21 knights and Peers, including the Duke of Albany’s cousin Walter Stewart, Earl of Atholl, Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Douglas, Alexander, Earl of Ross and Lord of the Isles, and Alexander Stewart, Earl of Mar. Murdoch, Duke of Albany and his sons All the prisoners were publicly beheaded on Heading Hill at Stirling Castle. The title Duke of Albany was attainted and all of his peerage titles were forfeited and reverted to the crown. Murdoch, Duke of Albany was buried at Blackfriars’ Church, Stirling.

Queen Joan of Scotland accompanied her husband on his return from captivity in England to Scotland, and was crowned alongside her husband at Scone Abbey. As queen, she often pleaded with the king for those who might be executed.

The royal couple had eight children, including the future James II, and Margaret of Scotland, future spouse of Louis XI of France.

Issue with James I of Scotland

* Margaret Stewart, Princess of Scotland (1424–1445) married Prince Louis, Dauphin of Viennois (later King Louis XI of France)
* Isabella Stewart, Princess of Scotland (1426–1494) married Francis I, Duke of Brittany
* Mary Stewart, Countess of Buchan (died 1465) married Wolfart VI van Borsselen
* Joan of Scotland, Countess of Morton (c. 1428–1486) married James Douglas, 1st Earl of Morton
* Alexander Stewart, Duke of Rothesay (born and died 1430); Twin of James
* James II of Scotland (1430–1460)
* Annabella Stewart, Princess of Scotland married and divorced 1. Louis of Savoy, and then married and divorced 2. George Gordon, 2nd Earl of Huntly
* Eleanor Stewart, Princess of Scotland (1433–1484) married Sigismund, Archduke of Austria.

James I, King of Scots: Part Two.


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King in captivity

James, now the uncrowned King of Scots, began what proved to be his 18-year period as a hostage while at the same time Robert, Duke of Albany transitioned from his position of lieutenant to that of Governor of Scotland, wielding immense power and was king in all but name. The Duke of Albany confiscated James’s lands and placed them under his own control. This deprived the young king of any income. The Duke of Albany also confiscated the regalia (the Honors of Scotland).

King James I of Scotland

James was held in Windsor Castle and although technically a prisoner Henry IV treated the young James well, provided him with a good education. With James now a regular member of the Court of Henry IV he was ideally placed to observe Henry’s methods of kingship. Despite being a prisoner of the English king, and with his uncle ruling Scotland, James was kept abreast of the events and news within Scotland as he received personal visits from his nobles coupled with letters to individuals to maintain his visibility in his kingdom.

Henry IV died on March 30, 1413 and his son, Henry V, became King of England and Lord of Ireland and the policies and treatment of James changed immediately. The King of Scots became not just a prisoner in theory, he became a prisoner in reality as James’s comparative freedom was halted and Henry V moved him to the Tower of London along with the other Scottish prisoners.

Ironically, one of these prisoners being held at the same time was James’s cousin, Murdoch Stewart, the Duke of Albany’s son, who had been captured in 1402 at the Battle of Homildon Hill. Initially the cousins were held apart but from 1413 until Murdoch’s release in 1415 they were together in the Tower and at Windsor Castle.

James’s value to Henry became apparent in 1420 when he accompanied the English king to France where his presence was used against the Scots fighting on the Dauphinist side. Following the English success at the siege of Melun, a town southeast of Paris, the contingent of Scots were hanged for treason against their kings. These events changed James’s standing at Henry V’s court and his condition improved greatly; he ceased to be regarded as a hostage and more of a guest.

James attended Catherine of Valois’s coronation on February 23, 1421 and was honoured by being seated immediately on the queen’s left at the coronation banquet. Catherine of Valois was the wife of Henry V and the daughter of King Charles VI of France and his wife Isabeau of Bavaria. In March, Henry began a circuit of the important towns in England as a show of strength and it was during this tour that James was knighted on Saint George’s day. By July, the two kings were back campaigning in France where James, evidently approving of Henry’s methods of kingship, seemed content in supporting the English king’s claim for the French crown.

Henry appointed the Duke of Bedford and James as the joint commanders of the siege of Dreux on July 18, 1421 and on August 20, they received the surrender of the garrison. Henry died of dysentery on August 31, 1422 and in September James was part of the escort taking the English king’s body back to London. Henry V was succeeded on the English throne by his 9 month old son who became Henry VI.

Next: The King’s Marriage.

James I, King of Scots: Part One.


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King James I of Scotland has an interesting and tragic history. I recently wrote about his father, Robert III of Scotland, and I have decided to do a small series on this tragic Scottish king. This will come in at least three sections, if not more.


James I, King of Scotland (late July 1394 – February 21,1437), was the the youngest of three sons to King Robert III and his wife Annabella Drummond. James was born in Dunfermline Abbey and was not suspected to become Kingof Scots but by the time he was eight both of his elder brothers were dead. The eldest, Robert, had died in infancy and his second brother, David, Duke of Rothesay, died suspiciously in Falkland Palace while being detained by his paternal uncle, Robert, Duke of Albany. Although the Duke of Albany was exonerated by parliament, the vast majority of scholars do believe that the Duke of Albany did have an active hand in the death of his nephew the Duke of Rothesay.

The issues that put the life of young Prince James in peril stems from a complex struggle for power amongst the various branches of the House of Stuart after it had only recently mounted the Scottish throne and faced threats from England. King Robert III was unpopular at this time and apposed by his brother the Duke of Albany. Along with the Duke of Albany, the other key noble opposing King Robert III was Archibald, 4th Earl of Douglas. The Earl of Douglas was the eldest legitimate son of Archibald Douglas, 3rd Earl of Douglas and Joanna de Moravia of Bothwell, he was born either at Threave Castle or at Bothwell Castle c.1372 and was known as the Master of Douglas until his accession to the Earldom. Prior to 1390 he had married the Princess Margaret of Carrick, a daughter of King Robert III of Scotland.

In 1399 the Earl of Douglas, along with the Duke of Albany and Albany’s son Murdoch, justiciar North of the Forth, and the bishops Walter of St Andrews and Gilbert of Aberdeen, met at Falkland Castle because the general council criticised Robert III’s governance for the failure to pacify the Gaelic areas in west and north. The outcome of this meeting was that King Robert III was forced to surrender power. He did not surrender power to Douglas or to Albany, but instead to his son and heir the Duke Rothesay. This release of power was to last for a period of three years. Many Scottish nobles supported Douglas and Albany rather than Rothesay. This also motivated Albany to get rid of the Duke of Rothesay. With the Nobles support of Douglas and Albany is considered the source of the reasoning why the two were exonerated so willingly by the Scottish Parliament for the death of the Duke of Rothesay.

Removing Douglas and Albany from the equation created a source of the friction between and the rest of the Scottish Royal house and the nobility because Douglas and Albany were considered to be the only fit antidote to George Dunbar, Earl of March and his renewed hostility with Robert III and the Duke of Rothesay. These hostilities would also involve Henry IV and his English troops.

The conflict between Earl of March and the Duke of Rothesay occurred when the Rothesay married decided to marry Mary Douglas, daughter of the Earl of Douglas rather than remarrying Elizabeth Dunbar as previously agreed. In consequence of this slight upon his family’s honour, the Earl of March renounced his allegiance to Robert III and retired into England, placing himself under the protection of King Henry IV. In 1401 he made a wasteful inroad into Scotland, and in June 1402 he was victorious against a small Scottish force at the Battle of Nesbit Moor. At the subsequent Battle of Homildon Hill he again fought on the English side.

With the death of the Duke of Rothesay fears for James’s safety grew through the winter of 1405–1406 and plans were made to send him to France to keep him out of reach of both the Duke of Albany (the Earl of Douglas died in 1400) along with the Earl of March and his garrisons. In February 1406 James was accompanying nobles close to his father when they clashed with supporters of the Earl of March, forcing the prince to take refuge in the castle of the Bass Rock, a small islet in the Firth of Forth. He remained there until mid-March when he boarded a vessel bound for France, but on March 22 while off the English coast, pirates captured the ship and delivered James to Henry IV of England. The ailing Robert III died on April 4, 1406 and the 12-year-old James, now the uncrowned King of Scots, was a prisoner of the English king.

Part II: Captivity in England.

Death of King Robert III of Scotland.


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On this date in History. April 4, 1406. Death of King Robert III of Scotland.

Robert III (c.1337/40 – April 4, 1406), born John Stewart, was King of Scots from 1390 to his death. He was known primarily as John, Earl of Carrick before ascending the throne. He was the eldest son of Robert II and Elizabeth Mure and was legitimated with the marriage of his parents in 1347.


In 1368 David II, King of Scots created John Earl of Carrick. His father became king Robert II in 1371 after the unexpected death of the childless King David II. Robert II’s claim to the throne of Scotland was as the nephew of David II and also as a grand son of Robert I (Robert the Bruce). Robert II was the son of the son of Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland and of Marjorie Bruce, daughter of the Scottish king Robert the Bruce by his first wife Isabella of Mar. This made Robert II the first Scottish king of the House of Stewart (Stuart)*

John Stewart, Earl of Carrick was influential in the government of the kingdom but became progressively more impatient at his father’s longevity. The Earl of CarrickRobert II died at Dundonald Castle in Ayrshire on April 19, 1390 and was buried at Scone on April 25. The Earl of Carrick was 53 years old when he ascended the Scottish throne.

In May 1390 the Scottish Parliament granted John permission to change his regnal name to Robert III probably in part to maintain the link back to Robert I but also to disassociate himself from unpopular King John Balliol.

In 1367 Robert III, then Earl of Carrick, married Annabella Drummond the daughter of Sir John Drummond, 11th Thane of Lennox and Mary Montifex, daughter of Sir William Montifex. They had seven children. The heir to the throne was David Stewart (24 October 1378 – 26 March 1402). He was the first Duke of Rothesay from 1398. He was named after his great-great-uncle, David II of Scotland, and also held the titles of Earl of Atholl (1398–1402) and Earl of Carrick (1390–1402).

In late February 1402, while travelling officially to St Andrews, David was arrested just outside the city at Strathtyrum in a sting operation which had been arranged by Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany (c. 1340 – 3 September 1420), the younger brother of Robert III, King of Scots a ruthless politician. The Duke of Albany, at that time in complicit alliance with Archibald, fourth Earl of Douglas. (David’s father-in-law, the highly influential third Earl, had died two years before, in 1400.) concocted the pretext for David’s arrest was that his lieutenancy had expired. He was initially held captive in St Andrews Castle, and soon afterwards taken to Falkland Palace, Albany’s residence in Fife. At Falkland David remained a prisoner and shortly died there, reputedly of starvation. A few weeks later, in May 1402, a public enquiry into the circumstances of David’s death exonerated Albany of all blame.

Following David, the Duke of Rothesay’s death, and with the restoration of the lieutenancy to Albany and the Scottish defeat at the battle of Humbleton, Robert III experienced almost total exclusion from political authority and was limited to his lands in the west.

By October 28, 1405 Robert III had returned to Dundonald Castle in Ayrshire. With the king’s health failing, it was decided in the winter of 1405–6 to send the young prince James, now heir to the throne after his brothers death, to France out of the reach of the Duke of Albany. On March 22, 1406 the ship was taken by English pirates off Flamborough Head, who delivered James to King Henry IV of England. Robert III had moved to Rothesay Castle where, after hearing of his son’s captivity, died on April 4, 1406, and was buried in Paisley Abbey, which had been founded by the Stewarts.

James Stewart, succeeded Robert III as James I, King of Scots (although at that time remaining uncrowned and in captivity in England) while the Duke of Albany secured himself as de facto ruler of Scotland.

* Stewart was the original spelling for the name of the Royal House. It was after the reign of Mary I, Queen of Scots and her time in France did the spelling of the Royal House change to Stuart, the French form of the name.

The Declaration of Breda.


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On this date in History: April 4, 1660. Charles II, King of England, Scotland and Ireland issues The Declaration of Breda.


The Declaration of Breda (dated April 4, 1660) was a proclamation by Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland in which he promised a general pardon for crimes committed during the English Civil War and the Interregnum for all those who recognised Charles as the lawful king; the retention by the current owners of property purchased during the same period; religious toleration; and the payment of pay arrears to members of the army, and that the army would be recommissioned into service under the crown. The first three pledges were all subject to amendment by acts of parliament.

The declaration was named after the city of Breda in the Netherlands. It was actually written in the Spanish Netherlands, where Charles had been residing since March 1656; however, at the time of writing, England had been at war with Spain since 1655. To overcome the difficulties, both practical and in terms of public relations, of a prospective King of England addressing his subjects from enemy territory, Monck advised Charles to relocate himself to the United Netherlands, and to date his letters as if they were posted from Breda. Charles left Brussels, his last residence in the Spanish Netherlands, and passing through Antwerp arrived in Breda on April 4, and resided there until May.


The declaration was written in response to a secret message sent by General George Monck, who was then in effective control of England. Monk believed, as the country was beginning to succumb to anarchy, that the king could be the only person to restore stability to the realm. On May 1, 1660, the contents of the declaration and accompanying letters were made public. The next day Parliament passed a resolution that “government ought to be by King, Lords and Commons” and Charles was invited to England to receive his crown. On May 8, Charles was proclaimed King. On the advice of Monck, the commons rejected a resolution put forward by jurist Matthew Hale (a member for Gloucestershire) for a committee to be formed to look into the concessions offered by Charles and to negotiate conditions with the King such as those put forward to his father in the treaty of Newport.


The declaration was drawn up by Charles and his three chief advisors, Edward Hyde, the James Butler, Marquis of Ormond, and Sir Edward Nicholas, in order to state the terms by which Charles hoped to take up “the possession of that right which God and Nature hath made our due”.

The declaration promised a “free and general pardon” to any old enemies of Charles and of his father who recognised Charles II as their lawful monarch, “excepting only such persons as shall hereafter be excepted by parliament”. However it had always been Charles’s expectation, or at least that of his chancellor, Edward Hyde (later Earl of Clarendon), that all who had been immediately concerned in his father’s death should be punished, and even while at a disadvantage, while professing pardon and favour to many, he had constantly excepted the regicides.

Once Charles was restored to the throne, on his behalf Hyde steered the Indemnity and Oblivion Act through parliament. The act pardoned most who had sided with Parliament during the Civil War, but excepted the regicides, two prominent unrepentant republicans, John Lambert and Henry Vane the Younger, and around another twenty were forbidden to take any public office or sit in Parliament.

In the declaration Charles promised religious toleration in areas where it did not disturb the peace of the kingdom, and an act of parliament for the “granting of that indulgence”. However parliament chose to interpret the threat of peace to the kingdom to include the holding of public office by non-Anglicans. Between 1660 and 1665 the Cavalier Parliament passed four statutes that became known as the Clarendon Code. These severely limited the rights of Roman Catholics and nonconformists, such as the Puritans who had reached the zenith of their influence under the Commonwealth, effectively excluding them from national and local politics.

The declaration undertook to settle the back-pay of General Monck’s soldiers. The landed classes were reassured that establishing the justice of contested grants and purchases of estates that had been made “in the continued distractions of so many years and so many and great revolutions” was to be determined in Parliament. Charles II appeared to have “offered something to everyone in his terms for resuming government”.

Copies of the Declaration were delivered to both houses of the Convention Parliament by Sir John Grenville. Other copies with separate covering letters were delivered to Lord General George Monck to be communicated to the Lord President of the Council of State and to the Officers of the Army under his command, and to the Generals of the “Navy at Sea” and to the Lord Mayor of London.

Coronation of Edward the Confessor


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On this date in History: April 3, 1043. Coronation of Edward the Confessor as King of England.

Edward the Confessor (Old English Ēadƿeard Andettere c. 1003 – January 5, 1066) The second-to-last Anglo-Saxon King of England and the last king of the House of Wessex, he ruled from 1042 to 1066.


Edward was the son of Æthelred II the Unready, King of England (978-1016) and Emma of Normandy, Edward succeeded Canute II the Great’s (1016-1035) son – and his own half brother – Harthacanute (1040-1042) (also known as Canute III) restoring the rule of the House of Wessex after the period of Danish rule since Canute II of Denmark conquered England in 1016. When Edward died in 1066, he was succeeded by Harold Godwinson, who was defeated and killed in the same year by the Normans under William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings. Edgar the Ætheling, who was of the House of Wessex, was proclaimed king after the Battle of Hastings in 1066, but never ruled and was deposed after about eight weeks.

Edward was crowned at the cathedral of Winchester, the royal seat of the West Saxons, on April 3, 1043.

The main elements of the coronation service and the earliest form of oath can be traced to the ceremony devised by Saint Dunstan for Edgar’s coronation in 973 AD at Bath Abbey. It drew on ceremonies used by the kings of the Franks and those used in the ordination of bishops. Two versions of coronation services, known as ordines (from the Latin ordomeaning “order”) or recensions, survive from before the Norman Conquest. It is not known if the first recension was ever used in England and it was the second recension which was used by Edgar in 973 and by subsequent Anglo-Saxon and early Norman kings.


Some background on Eadsige, Archbishop of Canterbury who crowned Edward as King of England.

Eadsige (died 29 October 1050), was Archbishop of Canterburyfrom 1038 to 1050.

Eadsige was a royal priest for King Canute II before he arranged for him to become a monk at Christ Church, Canterbury about 1030. About 1035, he served as a suffragan or coadjutor bishop to Archbishop Æthelnoth of Canterbury, with his see located at the church of St Martin in Canterbury.He was translated to the Archbishopric of Canterbury in 1038 after Æthelnoth’s death In 1040, he journeyed to Rome to receive his pallium from Pope Benedict IX. Eadsige may have crowned Harthacnut in 1040, but he definitely crowned Edward the Confessor on 3 April 1043 along with Ælfric Puttoc, the Archbishop of York.

Election of the King of the Hellenes.


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On this date in History: March 30, 1863. Election of Prince Wilhelm of Denmark was elected as King of the Hellenes (Greece).

George I (born Prince Wilhelm of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg; 24 December 24, 1845 – March 18, 1913) was King of the Hellenes (Greece) from 1863 until his assassination in 1913.


George was born at the Yellow Palace, an 18th-century town house at 18 Amaliegade, right next to the Amalienborg Palace complex in Copenhagen. He was the second son of Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg (Christian IX of Denmark) and Princess Louise of Hesse-Cassel. Although his full name was Prince Christian Wilhelm Ferdinand Adolf Georg of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, until his accession in Greece, he was known as Prince Wilhelm the namesake of his paternal and maternal grandfathers, Wilhelm, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, and Prince Wilhelm of Hesse-Cassel.

Although he was of royal blood, his family was relatively obscure and lived a comparatively normal life by royal standards. In 1853, however, George’s father was designated the heir presumptive to the childless King Frederik VII of Denmark, and the family became princes and princesses of Denmark. George’s siblings were Frederik (who succeeded their father as King of Denmark), Alexandra (who became wife of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom and the mother of King George V), Dagmar (who, as Empress Maria Feodorovna, was consort of Emperor Alexander III of Russiaand the mother of Emperor Nicholas II), Thyra (who married Prince Ernest Augustus, 3rd Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale) and Valdemar.

King of the Hellenes

Following the overthrow of the Bavarian-born King Otto of Greece (son of King Ludwig I of Bavaria and Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen) in October 1862, the Greek people had rejected Otto’s brother and designated successor Leopold, although they still favored a monarchy rather than a republic. Many Greeks, seeking closer ties to the pre-eminent world power, Great Britain, rallied around Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, second son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. British prime minister Lord Palmerston believed that the Greeks were “panting for increase in territory”, hoping for a gift of the Ionian Islands, which were then a British protectorate.

The London Conference of 1832, however, prohibited any of the Great Powers’ ruling families from accepting the crown, and in any event, Queen Victoria was adamantly opposed to the idea. The Greeks nevertheless insisted on holding a plebiscite in which Prince Alfred received over 95% of the 240,000 votes. There were 93 votes for a Republic and 6 for a Greek.King Otto received one vote. Prince Alfred was also the designated heir to his uncle, Ernst II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha should the Duke remain childless.

With Prince Alfred’s exclusion, the search began for an alternative candidate. The French favored Henri d’Orléans, duc d’Aumale, while the British proposed Queen Victoria’s brother-in-law Ernst II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, her nephew Prince Leiningen, and Archduke Maximilian of Austria, among others. Eventually, the Greeks and Great Powers winnowed their choice to Prince William of Denmark, who had received 6 votes in the plebiscite.


Aged only 17, he was elected King of the Hellenes on March 30, 1863 by the Greek National Assembly under the regnal name of George I. Paradoxically, he ascended a royal throne before his father, who became King Christian IX of Denmark on November 15 of the same year. There were two significant differences between George’s elevation and that of his predecessor, Otto. First, he was acclaimed unanimously by the Greek Assembly, rather than imposed on the people by foreign powers. Second, he was proclaimed “King of the Hellenes” instead of “King of Greece”, which had been Otto’s style.

His ceremonial enthronement in Copenhagen on 6 June was attended by a delegation of Greeks led by First Admiral and Prime Minister Constantine Kanaris. Frederick VII awarded George the Order of the Elephant, and it was announced that the British government would cede the Ionian Islands to Greece in honor of the new monarch.

King George I is the paternal grandfather of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, husband of HM Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark.