On this date in History: May 17, 1814. The signing of the Norwegian Constitution and the brief reign of King Christian-Frederik of Norway.

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Christian VIII and his consort Caroline Amalie of Augustenborg during his anointing on June 28, 1840 in Frederiksborg Palace Chapel.

On this date in History: May 17, 1814. The signing of the Norwegian Constitution and the brief reign of King Christian-Frederik of Norway who would later ascend the throne of Denmark as King Christian VIII on December 8, 1839.

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King Christian-Frederik of Norway

Christian VIII (September 18, 1786 – January 20, 1848) was born at Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen. He was the eldest son of Hereditary Prince Frederik of Denmark and Norway and Duchess Sophia Frederica of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (only daughter of Duke Ludwig of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Princess Charlotte Sophie of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld). His paternal grandparents were King Frederik V of Denmark-Norway and his second wife, Duchess Juliana Maria of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (daughter of Ferdinand-Albert II, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel and Antoinette of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel).

Since 1397, with the The Kalmar Union which United the three Scandinavian Kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden (Sweden left the union in 1523, when Gustav Vasa was elected as king of Sweden), Norway remained united to the Kingdom of Denmark. Then in 1814 a crack in the union occurred.

In May 1813, as the heir presumptive of the kingdoms of Denmark and Norway, Christian-Frederik was sent as stattholder (the king’s highest representative in Norway) to Norway to promote the loyalty of the Norwegians to the House of Oldenburg, which had been very badly shaken by the disastrous results of Frederik VI’s adhesion to the falling fortunes of Napoleon I of France.

Christian-Frederik did all he could personally to strengthen the bonds between the Norwegian people and the royal house of Denmark. Though his endeavours were opposed by the so-called Swedish party, which desired a dynastic union with Sweden, he placed himself at the head of the Norwegian party of independence folowing the defeat of Napoleon’s troops at the Battle of Leipzig in October 1813, the Treaty of Kiel had forced King Frederik VI to cede Norway to King Carl XIII of Sweden. The most likely goal of the young Crown Prince was reunification with Denmark. His initiative was successful, and a national assembly at Eidsvoll was called. The assembled representatives were elected by the congregations of the state churches throughout Norway, and by military units.

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The Norwegian Constituent Assembly

The election of Christian-Frederik as King of Norway (Kristian Frederik in Norwegian) was confirmed by the Norwegian Constituent Assembly convoked at Eidsvoll on April 10. During five weeks in the the spring of 1814, the constitution was written. The constitution was ratified by the assembly on May 16, and on May 17 the constitution was signed by Christian-Frederik. The date of the signing is now celebrated as the Norwegian Constitution Day.

The Norwegian constitution was inspired by the United States Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the French revolutionin 1789 and the subsequent U.S. and French constitutions. The authors Christian Magnus Falsen and Johan Gunder Adler were also influenced by the Spanish Constitution of 1812. A deviation from the republican constitutions of France and the USA was the retention of the Monarchy. Importing republicanism was seen as an attempt to emulate the French and Americans directly in a country that had over a thousand years of the tradition of a monarchy. Emulating the United States or France was something the lawmakers at Eidsvoll sought to avoid. The choice of monarchy as state form would also facilitate reunification of Denmark-Norway, something the Crown Prince Christian-Frederik was not alone in seeking.

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King Christian-Frederik of Norway (King Christian VIII of Denmark)

The new Norwegian King Christian-Frederik next attempted to interest the great powers in Norway’s cause, but without success. On being pressed by the commissioners of the allied powers to bring about a union between Norway and Sweden in accordance with the terms of the treaty of Kiel, and then return to Denmark, he replied that, as a constitutional king, he could do nothing without the consent of the parliament (Storting), which would not be convoked until there was a suspension of hostilities on the part of Sweden. In the Constitution the king’s power was however severely curtailed. His absolute veto over laws was removed. In a Europe where almost all countries were ruled by absolute monarchy, a Constitutional Monarchy was still seen as extremely radical.

Sweden refused Christian-Frederik’s conditions and a short military campaign ensued in which the Norwegian army was defeated by the forces of the Swedish crown prince Carl-Johann. The brief war concluded with the Convention of Moss on August 14, 1814. By the terms of this treaty, King Christian-Frederik transferred executive power to the Storting, then abdicated and returned to Denmark. The Storting in its turn adopted the constitutional amendments necessary to allow for a personal union with Sweden and on November 4 elected Carl XIII of Sweden as the new King Carl II of Norway.

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King Carl XIII-I of Sweden and Norway

It wouldn’t be until 1905 when Norway gained independence and Prince Carl of Denmark was elected King of Norway taking the name Haakon VII. Former King Christian-Frederik was a great-grand-uncle to Haakon VII. He was the second son of (the future) King Frederik VIII of Denmark and his wife Louise of Sweden. He was also a younger brother of Christian X, a paternal grandson of King Christian IX of Denmark, and a maternal grandson of King Carl XV of Sweden (who was also King Carl IV of Norway). Haakon VII married his first cousin Princess Maud of Wales, youngest daughter of the future King Edward VII of the United Kingdom and his wife, Princess Alexandra of Denmark, eldest daughter of King Christian IX of Denmark and Princess Louise of Hesse-Cassel.

The Norwegian Constitution of 1814 is still in effect today.

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King Haakon VII of Norway.

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On this date in History: May 16, 1770. Marriage of Louis XVI of France and Navarre to Marie Antoinette of Austria.

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The future King Louis XVI of France and Navarre was born on August 23, 1754 in the Palace of Versailles. Christened Louis-Auguste and created Duc de Berry he was one of seven children, and the third surviving son, of Louis, the Dauphin of France, and Marie-Josèphe of Saxony, (daughter of Prince-Elector Friedrich-August II of Saxony, King of Poland).

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King Louis XVI of France and Navarre

Louis-Auguste’s two elder brothers died young, they were: Louis-Joseph of France, Duke of Burgundy (September 13, 1751 – March 22, 1761). Xavier of France, Duke of Aquitaine (September 8, 1753 – February 22, 1754), died in infancy. Louis-Auguste was the grandson of Louis XV of France and Navarre and his consort, Maria Leszczyńska of Poland (daughter of King Stanislaw I of Poland [later Duke of Lorraine] and Catherine Opalińska).

Upon the death of his father, who died of tuberculosis on December 20, 1765, the eleven-year-old Louis-Auguste became the new Dauphin. His mother never recovered from the loss of her husband and died on March 13, 1767, also from tuberculosis.

Maria-Antonia of Austria was born on November 2, 1755 at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria. She was the youngest daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor Franz I and his wife, the Empress Maria Theresa (Queen of Hungry and Bohemia, Archduchess of Austria in her own right). Her godparents were King Joseph I and Queen Mariana Victoria (born an Infanta of Spain) of Portugal; Archduke Joseph of Austria and Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria acted as proxies for their newborn sister.

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Archduchess Maria-Antonia of Austria

During the Seven Years’ War* Empress Maria Theresa decided to end hostilities with her longtime enemy, King Louis XV of France and Navarre. Their common desire was to destroy the ambitions of Prussia and Great Britain and to secure a definitive peace between their respective countries. This common goal led them to seal their alliance with a marriage: on February 7, 1770, Louis XV formally requested the hand of Maria Antonia for his eldest surviving grandson and heir, Louis-Auguste, Duke of Berry and Dauphin of France.

Maria-Antonia formally renounced her rights to the Habsburg domains, and on April 19, 1770 she was married by proxy to the Dauphin of France at the Augustinian Church in Vienna, with her brother Archduke Ferdinand standing in for the Dauphin. On May 14, she met her husband (and her second cousin once removed) in person at the edge of the forest of Compiègne. Upon her arrival in France, she adopted the French version of her name: Marie Antoinette. A further ceremonial wedding took place on May 16, 1770 in the Palace of Versailles and, after the festivities, the day ended with the ritual bedding for the fifteen-year-old, Louis-Auguste and the fourteen-year-old Marie-Antoinette.

The initial reaction to the marriage between Marie Antoinette and Louis-Auguste was mixed. On the one hand, the Dauphine was beautiful, personable and well-liked by the common people. Her first official appearance in Paris on June 8, 1773 was a resounding success.

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Marie-Antoinette, Dauphine of France

However, because of France’s alliance with Austria which had pulled the country into the disastrous Seven Years’ War, in which France was defeated by the British and the Prussians, both in Europe and in North America; the French people generally disliked the Austrian alliance, and Marie-Antoinette was seen as an unwelcome foreigner.

For the young couple themselves the marriage was initially amiable but distant. Louis-Auguste’s shyness and, among other factors, the young age and inexperience of the newlyweds, coupled with the fact, as mentioned earlier, that they were were nearly total strangers to each other: having met only two days before their wedding, meant that the 15-year-old bridegroom failed to consummate the union with his 14-year-old bride. His fear of being manipulated by her for imperial purposes caused him to behave coldly towards her in public. Over time, the couple became closer, though while their marriage was reportedly consummated in July 1773, it did not actually happen until 1777.

Marie-Antoinette ‘s brother, the Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II, came to France incognito, using the name Comte de Falkenstein, for a six-week visit during which he toured Paris extensively and was a guest at Versailles. He met his sister and her husband on April 18, 1777 at the château de la Muette, and spoke frankly to his brother-in-law, curious as to why the royal marriage had not been consummated, arriving at the conclusion that no obstacle to the couple’s conjugal relations existed save the queen’s lack of interest and the king’s unwillingness to exert himself. In a letter to his brother Leopold, Joseph described them as “a couple of complete blunderers.”

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His Imperial Majesty The Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II, King of Germany, Jerusalem, Hungary, Bohemia, Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, Galicia and Lodomeria, Archduke of Austria, etc.

Suggestions that Louis suffered from phimosis, which was relieved by circumcision, have been discredited. Nevertheless, following Joseph’s intervention, the marriage was finally consummated in August 1777. Eight months later, in April 1778, it was suspected that the queen was pregnant, which was officially announced on May 16, 1778 (the couple’s eight Wedding Anniversary). Marie Antoinette’s daughter, Marie-Thérèse Charlotte, Madame Royale, was born at Versailles on December 19, 1778.

* The Seven Years Warrior was a global conflict fought between 1756 and 1763. It involved every European great power of the time and spanned five continents, affecting Europe, the Americas, West Africa, South Asia, and the Philippines. For this reason the Seven Years War is often called World War 0 by some historians.

On this date in History: May 15, 1800. James Hadfield makes an assassination attempt on King George III of the United Kingdom.

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James Hadfield’s early years are unknown but he was severely injured at the Battle of Tourcoing in 1794. Before being captured by the French, he was struck eight times on the head with a sabre, the wounds being prominent for the rest of his life. After return to England, he became involved in a millennialist movement and came to believe that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ would be advanced if he himself were killed by the British government. He therefore resolved, in conspiracy with Bannister Truelock, to attempt the assassination of the King and bring about his own judicial execution.

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George III of the United Kingdom and Hanover in 1800.

On the evening of May 15, 1800, at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, during the playing of the national anthem, Hadfield fired a pistol at the King who was standing in the royal box. The shot was unsuccessful and missed the King entirely. Hadfield was tried for high treason and was defended by Thomas Erskine, the leading barrister of that era. Hadfield pleaded insanity but the standard of the day for a successful plea was that the defendant must be “lost to all sense … incapable of forming a judgement upon the consequences of the act which he is about to do”. Hadfield’s planning of the shooting appeared to contradict such a claim.

Due to the 1795 Treason Act, there was little distinction between plotting treason and actually committing treason, thus Erskine chose to challenge the insanity test, instead contending that delusion “unaccompanied by frenzy or raving madness [was] the true character of insanity”. Two surgeons and a physician testified that the delusions were the consequence of his earlier head injuries. The judge, Lloyd Kenyon, 1st Baron Kenyon, at this point halted the trial declaring that the verdict “was clearly an acquittal” but “the prisoner, for his own sake, and for the sake of society at large, must not be discharged.”

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King George III in his coronation robes in 1761.

Up to that time, defendants acquitted by reason of insanity had faced no certain fate and had often been released back to the safe-keeping of their families. Parliament speedily passed the Criminal Lunatics Act 1800 to provide for the indefinite detention of insane defendants (and the Treason Act 1800 to make it easier to prosecute people for attempts on the life of the king). Hadfield later inspired further use of pleading insanity several years later during the case of Colonel Edward Despard. Hadfield was detained in Bethlem Royal Hospital for the rest of his life, save for a short period when he escaped. He was recaptured at Dover attempting to flee to France and was briefly held at Newgate Prison before being transferred to the new insane asylum Bethlehem Hospital (or Bedlam, as it was known). He died there of tuberculosis in 1841.

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King George III of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, King of Hanover. 1771.

In late 1810, at the height of his popularity, already virtually blind with cataractsand in pain from rheumatism, George became dangerously ill. In the Kings view the malady had been triggered by stress over the death of his youngest and favourite daughter, Princess Amelia. Although it has since been suggested that he had bipolar disorder or the blood disease porphyria, the cause of his illness remains unknown. After a final relapse in 1810, a regency was established. George III’s eldest son, George, Prince of Wales, ruled as Prince Regent until his father’s death, on January 29, 1820, when he succeeded as George IV.

Queen and Duke of Edinburgh meet the new son of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

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Master Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor

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TRH the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Archie Mountbatten-Windsor.

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh were today introduced to the newborn son of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex at Windsor Castle. The Duchess’ mother, Ms Doria Ragland was also present.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are delighted to announce that they have named their son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.
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HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, Ms Doria Ragland and TRH the Duke and Duchess of Sussex with Archie Mountbatten-Windsor.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were photographed with their newborn son earlier at Windsor Castle today.

The baby was born on Monday, 6th May, at 05:26 in the morning, weighing 7lbs 3oz at birth and The Duke of Sussex was present.

The name Archie was brought into England by the Normans when William I “The Conqueror” invaded England and became king in 1066. Eventually, in the Middle Ages, the name became common in Scotland and means ‘True and Bold.” The longer version is Archibald. However, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have simply used the shortened version of “Archie” as the official name.

Harrison simply means “Harry’s son” which I think is pretty clever.

Here is a link to my earlier blog post why Archie Mountbatten-Windsor will not have a tittle. https://europeanroyalhistory.wordpress.com/2019/04/03/will-the-children-of-the-duke-and-duchess-of-sussex-have-titles/

However, as a non-royal son of a Duke, Archie is entitled to be styled by his fathers secondary title “Earl of Dumbarton” but it has been confirmed that he will not use that title and will be simply known as Master Archie Mountbatten-Windsor.

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This date in History: May 6th, 1910. The death of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom.

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For God’s sake, let us sit upon the ground
And tell sad stories of the death of kings

~ William Shakepeare “The Life and Death of Richard the Second.”
Act 3, Scene 2

King Edward VII habitually smoked twenty cigarettes and twelve cigars a day. In 1907, a rodent ulcer, a type of cancer affecting the skin next to his nose, was cured with radium. Towards the end of his life he increasingly suffered from bronchitis. He suffered a momentary loss of consciousness during a state visit to Berlin in February 1909. The king was not a well man. In March 1910, he was staying at Biarritz when he collapsed. He remained there to convalesce, while in London Asquith tried to get the Finance Bill passed. The King’s continued ill health was unreported by the press and the Palace and for that he attracted criticism for staying in France while political tensions were so high.

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HM King Edward VII of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Emperor of India.

On April 27 he returned to Buckingham Palace, still suffering from severe bronchitis. On May 4 Edward made his last journal entry. Queen Alexandra returned from visiting her brother, King George I of Greece, in Corfu a on May 5. For the first time the King did not greet the Queen at the train station. His dusky and grey complexion worried both family and doctors.

The following morning, May 6, the King was angered when his valet placed informal clothes to wear instead of his traditional clothing. He dressed in a frock coat and was placed in a chair by the window. He ate a light luncheon, smoked a cigar and collapsed when Sir Ernest Cassel visited him. Shortly thereafter the King suffered several heart attacks, but refused to go to bed, saying, “No, I shall not give in; I shall go on; I shall work to the end.” Between moments of faintness, his son the Prince of Wales (shortly to be King George V) told him that his horse, Witch of the Air, had won at Kempton Parkthat afternoon. The King replied, “Yes, I have heard of it. I am very glad.” These were his final words.

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Princess Victoria (his daughter) sent for the Queen and the Archbishop of Canterbury. The doctors, who had given up hope, administered morphia to ease the pain. The Queen allowed Edward’s mistress Mrs. Alice Kappel and others to say goodby as the King sat in his armchair.

At 11:30 p.m. he lost consciousness for the last time and was put to bed with the help of the Prince of Wales. He died 15 minutes later. That evening King George V wrote in his diary, “I have lost my best friend and the best of fathers I have never had a word with him in my life I am heartbroken and overwhelmed with grief.”

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Deathbed of King Edward VII.

Queen Alexandra refused to allow the King’s body to be moved for eight days afterwards, though she allowed small groups of visitors to enter his room. On May 11, the late King was dressed in his uniform and placed in a massive oak coffin, which was moved on May 14, to the throne room, where it was sealed and lay in state, with a guardsman stood at each corner of the bier. Despite the time that had elapsed since his death, Alexandra noted the King’s body remained “wonderfully preserved”.

On the morning of May 17, the coffin was placed on a gun carriage and drawn by black horses to Westminster Hall, with the new King and his family walking behind. Following a brief service, the royal family left, and the hall was opened to the public; over 400,000 people filed past the coffin over the next two days.

His funeral, held on 20 May 1910, marked the greatest assemblage of royalty and rank ever gathered in one place and, of its kind, the last. A royal train conveyed the King’s coffin from London to Windsor Castle, where Edward VII was buried at St George’s Chapel.

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Standing, from left to right: King Haakon VII of Norway, Tsar Ferdinand of the Bulgarians, King Manuel II of Portugal and the Algarve, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and Prussia, King George I of the Hellenes and King Albert I of the Belgians.
Seated, from left to right: King Alfonso XIII of Spain, King George V of the United Kingdom and King Frederick VIII of Denmark.

On this date in history: May 6, 1882. The 137th Anniversary of the birth of Crown Prince Wilhelm of Germany and Prussia.

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Wilhelm, German and Prussian Crown Prince (Friedrich Wilhelm Victor August Ernst, May 6, 1882 – July 20, 1951) was the eldest child and heir of the last German Emperor, Wilhelm II, and his wife Princess Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg.

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HIRH Crown Prince Wilhelm of Germany and Prussia

Wilhelm was the last Crown Prince of the German Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. After the death of his grandfather, Emperor Friedrich III, Wilhelm became crown prince at the age of six, retaining that title for more than 30 years until the fall of the empire on November 9, 1918. During World War I, he commanded the 5th Army from 1914 to 1916 and was commander of Army Group German Crown Prince for the remainder of the war.

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Duchess Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin

Wilhelm married Duchess Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (20 September 1886 – 6 May 1954) in Berlin on 6 June 1905. After their marriage, the couple lived at the Crown Prince’s Palace in Berlin in the winter and at the Marmorpalais in Potsdam. Cecilie was the daughter of Friedrich Franz III, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1851–1897) and his wife, Grand Duchess Anastasia Mikhailovna of Russia (1860–1922). Their eldest son, Prince Wilhelm of Prussia, was killed fighting for the German Army in France in 1940. However, during the early stages of his marriage the crown prince had a brief affair with the American opera singer Geraldine Farrar, and he later had a relationship with the dancer and spy the infamous Mata Hari.

Their children are:

1. Prince Wilhelm of Prussia (1906–1940), who renounced his succession rights in 1933. He married 1933 Dorothea von Salviati and had issue.

2. Louis Ferdinand, Prince of Prussia (1907–1994); married 1938 Grand Duchess Kira Kirillovna of Russia and had issue.

3. Prince Hubertus of Prussia (1909–1950); married 1941 Baroness Maria von Humboldt-Dachroeden, 1943 Princess Magdalena Reuss and had issue.

4. Prince Friedrich of Prussia (1911–1966); married 1945 Lady Brigid Guinness and had issue.

5. Princess Alexandrine of Prussia (1915–1980), called “Adini.” She had Down’s syndrome.

6. Princess Cecilie of Prussia (1917–1975); married Clyde Kenneth Harris on 21 June 1949, and had issue

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German and Prussian Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm Victor August Ernst

Crown Prince Wilhelm became head of the House of Hohenzollern on June 4, 1941 following the death of his father and held the position until his own death on 20 July 1951. To monarchists he was Wilhelm III, German Emperor and King of Prussia.

Royal Ancestry of King Henry VII of England. Conclusion

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The Tudor name

Before I continue to discuss the Royal Ancestry of Henry VII of England I’d like to delve into some history of the Tudor name itsel and it’s usage.

The name Tewdur or Tudor is derived from the words tud “territory” and rhi “king”. Owen Tudor took it as a surname on being knighted. It is doubtful whether the Tudor kings used the name on the throne. Kings and princes were not seen as needing a name, and a ‘Tudor’ name for the royal family was hardly known in the sixteenth century. The royal surname was never used in official publications, and hardly in ‘histories’ of various sorts before 1584.

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Henry VII, King of England and Lord of Ireland

Monarchs were not anxious to publicize their descent in the paternal line from a Welsh adventurer, stressing instead continuity with the historic English and French royal families. Their subjects did not think of them as ‘Tudors’, or of themselves as ‘Tudor people’”. Princes and Princesses would have been known as “of England”. The medieval practice of colloquially calling princes after their place birth (e.g. Henry of Bolingbroke for Henry IV or Henry of Monmouth for Henry V) was not followed. Henry VII was likely known as “Henry of Richmond” before his taking of the throne and not Henry Tudor.

In my posts about the Maternal Ancestry of Henry VII we saw that he descended from both the Kings of England and the Kings of France many times over. In this post I’d like to focus on Catherine of Valois, Henry’s maternal grandmother.

Catherine of Valois

Henry V of England died on August 31, 1422, leaving his wife, Queen Catherine of Valois, widowed. The Queen initially lived with her infant son, King Henry VI, before moving to Wallingford Castle early in his reign. In 1427, it is believed that Catherine began an affair with Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset. The evidence of this affair is questionable; however the liaison prompted a parliamentary statute regulating the remarriage of queens of England. The historian G. L. Harris suggested that it was possible that the affair resulted in the birth of Edmund Tudor. Harriss wrote: “By its very nature the evidence for Edmund ‘Tudor’s’ parentage is less than conclusive, but such facts as can be assembled permit the agreeable possibility that Edmund ‘Tudor’ and Margaret Beaufort were first cousins and that the royal house of ‘Tudor’ sprang in fact from Beauforts on both sides.”Despite the statute it is accepted that Catherine married Owen at some unknown later date.

Catherine lived in the king’s household, presumably so she could care for her young son, but the arrangement also enabled the councillors to watch over the queen dowager herself. Nevertheless, Catherine entered into a sexual relationship with Welshman Owen ap Maredudd ap Tudor, who, in 1421, in France, had been in the service of Henry V’s steward Sir Walter Hungerford. Tudor was probably appointed keeper of Catherine’s household or wardrobe. The relationship began when Catherine lived at Windsor Castle, and she became pregnant with their first child there. At some point, she stopped living in the King’s household and in May 1432 Parliament granted Owen the rights of an Englishman. This was important because of Henry IV’s laws limiting the rights of Welshmen.

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Catherine of Valois’s arms as queen consort

There is no clear evidence that Catherine of Valois and Owen Tudor actually were married. No documentation of such a marriage exists. Moreover, even if they had been married, the question arises whether the marriage would have been lawful, given the Act of 1428. At the same time, there is no contemporaneous evidence that the validity of the marriage and the legitimacy of her children were questioned in secular or canon law. From the relationship of Owen Tudor and Queen Catherine descended the Tudor dynasty of England, starting with King Henry VII. Tudor historians asserted that Owen and Catherine had been married, for their lawful marriage would add respectability and stronger royal ties to the claims of the Tudor dynasty.

Owen and Catherine had at least six children. Edmund, Jasper and Owen were all born away from court. They had one daughter, Margaret, who became a nun and died young.

When discussing the maternal ancestry of King Henry VII of England I didn’t mention several times that Henry was descended from the kings of France. I was reserving the discussion about Catherine of Valois to cite some of the prominent royals from France that Henry is a descendant. I will begin with the founder of the French House of Capet, Hugh Capet. Keep in mind as I discuss the ancestry of Hugh Capet, these are also ancestors of Henry VII.

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Hugh Capet, King of the Franks

Hugh Capet (c. 939 – October 24, 996) was the King of the Franks from 987 to 996. He is the founder and first king from the House of Capet. He was elected as the successor of the last Carolingian king, Louis V. Hugh was a descendant in the illegitimate line from Charlemagne, King of the Franks and Emperor of the Romans.

Descent and inheritance

The son of Hugh the Great, Duke of the Franks, and Hedwige of Saxony, daughter of the German king Heinrch I the Fowler, Hugh was born sometime between 938 and 941. He was born into a well-connected and powerful family with many ties to the royal houses of France and Germany.

Through his mother, Hugh was the nephew of Otto I the Great, Holy Roman Emperor; Heinrich I, Duke of Bavaria; Bruno the Great, Archbishop of Cologne; and finally, Gerberga of Saxony, Queen of the Franks. Gerberga was wife of Louis IV, King of the Franks and mother of Lothair of France and Charles, Duke of Lower Lorraine.

His paternal family, the Robertians, were powerful landowners in the Île-de-France. His grandfather had been King Robert I. King Odo was his granduncle and King Rudolph was his uncle by affinity. Hugh’s paternal grandmother was a legitimate descendant of Charlemagne.

From Hugh descends many Kings of France and Kings and Queens of England.

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Charlemange, King of the Franks and Emperor of the Romans.

For a little fun I want to end this series demonstrating how Henry VII of England is a descendant of Heinrich VII, Holy Roman Emperor.

Heinrich VII (c. 1275 – August 24, 1313) was the King of Germany (or Rex Romanorum) from 1308 and Holy Roman Emperor from 1312. He was the first emperor of the House of Luxembourg. During his brief career he reinvigorated the imperial cause in Italy, which was racked with the partisan struggles between the divided Guelf and Ghibelline factions, and inspired the praise of Dino Compagni and Dante Alighieri. He was the first emperor since the death of Friedrich II in 1250, ending the great interregnum of the Holy Roman Empire; however, his premature death threatened to undo his life’s work. His son, Johann of Bohemia, failed to be elected as his successor. Heinrich VII was married to Margaret of Brabant (4 October 1276 – 14 December 1311), She was the daughter of Jean I, Duke of Brabant and Margaret of Flanders.

Johann of Bohemia (August 10, 1296 – August 26, 1346) was the Count of Luxembourg from 1313 and King of Bohemia from 1310 and titular King of Poland. He was the eldest son of the Holy Roman Emperor Heinrich VII and his wife Margaret of Brabant. He is well known for having died while fighting in the Battle of Crécy at age 50, after having been blind for a decade. Jean of Bohemia was married to Elizabeth of Bohemia (1292–1330) a princess of the Bohemian Přemyslid dynasty who became queen consort of Bohemia as the first wife of King John the Blind. She was the mother of Emperor Charles IV, King of Bohemia. She was the daughter of Wenceslaus II of Bohemia and Judith of Habsburg (Judith 1271 – 21 May 1297, also named Guta (Czech: Guta Habsburská), was a member of the House of Habsburg, was the youngest daughter of King Rudolf I of Germany and his wife Gertrude of Hohenburg.

Bonne of Luxemburg or Jutta of Luxemburg (May 20, 1315 – September 11, 1349), was born Jutta (Judith), the second daughter of Johann the Blind, king of Bohemia, and his first wife, Elisabeth of Bohemia. She was the first wife of King Jean II of France; however, as she died a year prior to his accession, she was never a French queen. Jutta was referred to in French historiography as Bonne de Luxembourg. She was a member of the House of Luxembourg. Among her children were Charles V of France, Philippe II, Duke of Burgundy, and Joan, Queen of Navarre.

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Charles V, King of France

Charles V (21 January 1338 – 16 September 1380), called “the Wise” was King of France from 1364 to his death, the third from the House of Valois. His reign marked a high point for France during the Hundred Years’ War, with his armies recovering much of the territory held by the English, and successfully reversed the military losses of his predecessors. On April 8, 1350 Charles V was married to Joanna of Bourbon (3 February 1338 – 4 February 1378). She was born in the Château de Vincennes, a daughter of Peter I, Duke of Bourbon, and Isabella of Valois, a half-sister of Philippe VI of France.

Charles VI (3 December 1368 – 21 October 1422), called the Beloved and the Mad was King of France for 42 years from 1380 to his death in 1422, the fourth from the House of Valois. Charles VI married Isabeau of Bavaria (ca. 1371 – 24 September 1435) on 17 July 1385. She was born into the House of Wittelsbach as the eldest daughter of Duke Stephen III of Bavaria-Ingolstadt and Taddea Visconti of Milan. She gave birth to 12 children: Among them was Catherine of Valois who first married Henry VI, King of England and secondly to Owen Tudor and through her second marriage she was the Paternal grandmother of Henry VII of England. This concludes Henry VII’s descent from Holy Roman Emperor Heinrich VII.

Speaking of conclusions, this concludes my series on the Royal Ancestry of King Henry VII of England. Although he won the throne by conquest and his hereditary right was pretty week, he did have many royal ancestors from many of the prominent royal houses of Europe.

6th Anniversary of the Accession of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands.

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April 30th should be renamed “Abdication Day.” Today the Heisei Emperor Akihito abdicated the Chrysanthemum Throne of Japan in favor of his son, Naruhito (徳仁, born 23 February 1960) who is now the current Emperor of Japan. He succeeded to the Chrysanthemum Throne on May 1, 2019, following the abdication of his father Akihito on April 2019. (As I type this today, April 30, 2019, it is already tomorrow in Japan). The Emperor of Japan is the only head of state in the world with the English title of “Emperor.” The Era of Naruhito’s reign bears the name “Reiwa” (令和), and according to custom he will be renamed Emperor Reiwa(令和天皇 Reiwa Tennō) by order of the Cabinet after his death.

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HM King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, Prince of Orange-Nassau.

On 30 April 1980, Beatrix became Queen of the Netherlands when her mother, Queen Juliana, abdicated. Queen Beatrix herself abdicated in favor of her eldest son, Prince Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange, on April 30 2013.

The rest of this blog post will have some biographical information on King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and also information on the Dutch inauguration ceremony

Willem-Alexander (born Willem-Alexander Claus George Ferdinand, 27 April 1967) was born in Utrecht as the oldest child of Princess Beatrix and diplomat Claus van Amsberg. He became Prince of Orange as heir apparent upon his mother’s accession as queen on 30 April 1980, and succeeded her following her abdication on 30 April 2013. He went to public primary and secondary schools, served in the Royal Netherlands Navy, and studied history at Leiden University.

On January 31, 2013, Beatrix announced her intention of abdicating. On the morning of 30 April, Beatrix signed the instrument of abdication at the Moseszaal (Moses Hall) at the Royal Palace of Amsterdam. Later that afternoon, Willem-Alexander was inaugurated as king in front of the joint assembly of the States General in a ceremony held at the Nieuwe Kerk.

As king, Willem-Alexander has weekly meetings with the prime minister and speaks regularly with ministers and state secretaries. He also signs all new Acts of Parliament and royal decrees. He represents the kingdom at home and abroad. At the State Opening of Parliament, he delivers the Speech from the Throne, which announces the plans of the government for the parliamentary year. The Constitution requires that the king appoint, dismiss and swear in all government ministers and state secretaries. As king, he is also the chairman of the Council of State, an advisory body that reviews proposed legislation. In modern practice, the monarch seldom chairs council meetings.

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The Dutch Royal Family.

On February 2, 2002, he married Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti at the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam. Máxima is an Argentine woman of Basque, Portuguese and Italian ancestry, who prior to their marriage worked as an investment banker in New York City. The marriage triggered significant controversy due to the role the bride’s father, Jorge Zorreguieta, had in the Argentinian military dictatorship. The couple have three daughters:

* The Princess of Orange (Catharina-Amalia Beatrix Carmen Victoria; born 7 December 2003 at HMC Bronovo in The Hague)
* Princess Alexia Juliana Marcela Laurentien of the Netherlands(born 26 June 2005 at HMC Bronovo in The Hague)
* Princess Ariane Wilhelmina Máxima Inés of the Netherlands(born 10 April 2007 at HMC Bronovo in The Hague).

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HRH Prince Catharina-Amalia of the Netherlands, The Princess of Orange.

Willem-Alexander is the first Dutch king since Willem III, who died in 1890. Willem-Alexander had earlier indicated that when he became king, he would take the name Willem IV, but it was announced in January 2013 that his regnal name would be Willem-Alexander.

Inauguration Ceremony

Upon his or her accession to the throne, the new Dutch monarch undergoes an inauguration ceremony as required by the constitution. The ceremony is taken as a joint session of the two houses of the States General, and is held at the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam.

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The King and Queen of the Netherlands at their Inauguration Ceremony.

As with many other European monarchic customs, in the Netherlands new monarchs are not crowned. (Only the British Monarchy continues a coronation ceremony) The Dutch crown and other regalia have never been physically bestowed. Article 32 of the Dutch constitution states that as soon as the monarch assumes the royal prerogative, he is to be sworn-in and invested in Amsterdam at a public joint session of the two houses of the States General. The monarch may not exercise the royal prerogative until reaching the age of 18.

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Crown of the Netherlands.

Inauguration is strictly ceremonial as the successor to the throne instantly becomes the new monarch at the moment the former monarch dies or abdicates. The last Dutch monarch to rule until his death was Willem III in 1890. His successor was his daughter, Wilhelmina; however, she was not inaugurated until her coming of age in 1898. Her mother Emma of Waldeck and Pyrmont was regent from 1890 to 1898. Wilhelmina passed the throne via abdication to her daughter Juliana in 1948. Every monarch since Wilhelmina have so far chosen to abdicate their thrones after a certain time. This is a custom or tradition and not required by the constitution. The monarch can choose to reign until their death if her or she so chooses.

The monarch, the heir to the throne, the royal family and the cabinet led by the prime minister meet in the Royal Palace of Amsterdam in the State Hall. The monarch signs the instrument of abdication, which is then signed by the heir, members of the royal family and members of government. As soon as the instrument is signed, the new monarch’s accession is complete. The previous monarch then steps on the balcony of the palace, where the new monarch is introduced to the waiting public outside.

The ritual is held at the Nieuwe Kerk, in the capital city of Amsterdam. Regalia such as the crown, orb and sceptre are present but are never physically given to the monarch, nor are they worn by him or her, instead they are placed on cushions, on what is called a credence table. The royal regalia surround a copy of the Dutch constitution. Two other regalia–the sword of state and the standard of the kingdom bearing the coat of arms of the Netherlands–are carried by two senior military officers. During the ceremony, the monarch, wearing a ceremonial mantle, is seated on a chair of state on a raised dais opposite members of the States General.

On this date in History: April 29, 2011. The wedding of Prince William of Wales and Catherine Middleton.

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The Kiss

The wedding of Prince William of Wales and Catherine Middleton took place on April 29, 2011 at Westminster Abbey in London, United Kingdom. The groom, Prince William of Wales (now the Duke of Cambridge) is second in the line of succession to the British throne. The bride, Catherine Middleton, had been his girlfriend since 2003.

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HRH The Duke of Cambridge

Prince William Arthur Philip Louis, KG, KT, PC, ADC. (Born June 21, 1982) He is the eldest son of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Diana, Princess of Wales. Since birth, he has been second in the line to succeed his grandmother Elizabeth II, who is the Queen of the United Kingdom and 15 other Commonwealth realms.

On the morning of his wedding Her Majesty the Queen bestowed upon Prince William of Wales the hereditary titles of Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn, and Baron Carrickfergus. These titles were formally patented on May 26 that year.

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HRH The Duchess of Cambridge.

Catherine Elizabeth Middleton was born at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading on January 9, 1982 into an upper-middle-class family. She is the eldest of three children born to Michael Middleton (b. 1949),and his wife, Carole (née Goldsmith; b. 1955), Catherine was baptised at St Andrew’s Bradfield, Berkshire, on June 20, 1982.

On November 16, 2010, Clarence House stated that Prince William of Wales was to marry Catherine Middleton “in the Spring or Summer of 2011, in London.” They were engaged in October 2010, while on a private holiday in Kenya; Prince William gave Middleton the same engagement ring that his father had given to William’s mother, Diana, Princess of Wales an 18-karat white gold ring with a 12-carat oval Ceylon (Sri Lankan) sapphire and 14 round diamonds.

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Engagement Ring

The Dean of Westminster, John Hall, presided at the service; the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, conducted the marriage; Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, preached the sermon; and a reading was given by the bride’s brother, James. William’s best man was his brother, Prince Harry, (now the Duke of Sussex) while the bride’s sister, Pippa, was maid of honor.

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

The ceremony was attended by the bride’s and groom’s families, as well as members of foreign royal dynasties, diplomats, and the couple’s chosen personal guests. After the ceremony, the couple made the traditional appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. As Prince William was not the heir apparent to the throne, the wedding was not a full state occasion and many details were left to the couple to decide, such as much of the guest list of about 1,900.

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

The build-up to the wedding and the occasion itself attracted much media attention, being compared in many ways with the 1981 marriage of William’s parents. The occasion was a public holiday in the United Kingdom and featured many ceremonial aspects, including use of the state carriages and roles for the Foot Guards and Household Cavalry.

Events were held around the Commonwealth to mark the wedding; organisations and hotels held events across Canada, over 5,000 street parties were held throughout the United Kingdom, and one million people lined the route between Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace. The ceremony was viewed live by tens of millions more around the world, including 72 million live streams on YouTube. In the United Kingdom, television audiences peaked at 26.3 million viewers, with a total of 36.7 million watching part of the coverage.

In accordance with the settled general rule that a wife takes the status of her husband Catherine is a Princess of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Duchess of Cambridge, Countess of Strathearn, and Baroness Carrickfergus.

On this date in History: April 26, 1923. Wedding of Prince Albert, Duke of York, and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon.

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The wedding of Prince Albert, Duke of York, and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon took place on April 26, 1923 at Westminster Abbey.

Prince Albert, Duke of York—”Bertie” to the family—was the second son of King George V and Princess Mary of Teck. He was second in line to succeed his father, behind his elder brother the Prince of Wales (future Edward VIII).

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The Duke and Duchess of York

Lady Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon was the youngest daughter and the ninth of ten children of Claude Bowes-Lyon, Lord Glamis (later the 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne in the Peerage of Scotland), and his wife, Cecilia Cavendish-Bentinck. Her mother was descended from British Prime Minister William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland, and Governor-General of India Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley, who was the elder brother of another Prime Minister, Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington.

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HRH Prince Albert, The Duke of York

Prince Albert initially proposed to Elizabeth in 1921, but she turned him down, being “afraid never, never again to be free to think, speak and act as I feel I really ought to”. When he declared he would marry no one else, his mother, Queen Mary, visited Glamis to see for herself the girl her son wanted to marry. She became convinced that Elizabeth was “the one girl who could make Bertie happy”, but nevertheless refused to interfere. At the same time, Elizabeth was being courted by, James Stuart, 1st Viscount Stuart of Findhorn, Albert’s equerry, until he left the prince’s service for a better-paid job in the American oil business.

In February 1922, Elizabeth was a bridesmaid at the wedding of Albert’s sister, Princess Mary, to Viscount Lascelles. The following month, Albert proposed again, but she refused him once more. Eventually, in January 1923, Elizabeth agreed to marry Albert, despite her misgivings about royal life.
Wedding

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Combined coat of arms of Albert and Elizabeth, the Duke and Duchess of York.

Prince Albert, Duke of York, and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon were married on April 26, 1923 in Westminster Abbey. The couple’s wedding rings were crafted from 22 carat Welsh gold from the Clogau St David’s mine in Bontddu. In the following years, the use of Clogau Gold within the wedding rings of the royal family became a tradition. In an unexpected and unprecedented gesture, Elizabeth laid her bouquet at the Tomb of The Unknown Warrior on her way into the Abbey, in memory of her brother Fergus. Ever since, the bouquets of subsequent royal brides have traditionally been laid at the tomb, though after the wedding ceremony rather than before.

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Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon.

Lady Elizabeth was attended by eight bridesmaids:

* The Lady Mary Cambridge, daughter of the Marquess and Marchioness of Cambridge, niece of Queen Mary and thus a cousin of the groom
* The Lady May Cambridge, daughter of Princess Alice and the Earl of Athlone, niece of Queen Mary and thus first cousin of the groom
* The Lady Mary Thynn, daughter of the Marquess and Marchioness of Bath
* The Lady Katharine Hamilton, daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Abercorn
* The Hon Diamond Hardinge, daughter of Lord and Lady Hoarding
* The Hon Cecilia Bowes-Lyon, daughter of Lord and Lady Glamis, niece of the bride
* The Hon Mary Elizabeth Elphinstone, daughter of Lord and Lady Elphinstone, niece of the bride
* Miss Betty Cator (later sister-in-law to the bride, as Hon Mrs Michael Bowes-Lyon)

Upon their marriage, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon was styled Her Royal Highness The Duchess of York. Following a wedding breakfast at Buckingham Palace prepared by chef Gabriel Tschumi, they honeymooned at Polesden Lacey, a manor house in Surrey, and then went to Scotland, where she caught “unromantic” whooping cough.

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Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of York.

After the wedding Buckingham Palaced released this statement on the styling and status of the new Duchess of York. This should also put to rest whether or not women marrying into the British Royal Family are a princess…they are!

In accordance with the settled general rule that a wife takes the status of her husband Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon on her marriage has become Her Royal Highness the Duchess of York with the status of a Princess.