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On this Date in History. February 5. This date has some significant events throughout European Royal History.


1. On the morning of February 6, 1952 King George VI of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland was found dead in bed at Sandringham House in Norfolk. He had died from a coronary thrombosis in his sleep at the age of 56. His eldest daughter succeeds as Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Her Majesty The Queen has been on the British throne for 66 years. This is a day she does not celebrate.

2. On this date February 5, 1649, the the Covenanter Parliament of Scotland proclaimed Charles II “King of Great Britain, France and Ireland” at the Mercat Cross, Edinburgh, but the Scottish Parliament also refused to allow Charles to enter Scotland unless he accepted the imposition of Presbyterianism throughout Britain and Ireland. This event occurred a week after his father, King Charles I, was beheaded for treason by the English Parliament at the end of the Civil War.

At this time England, Scotland and Ireland were not politically united (the title of “King of Great Britain” was not recognized even when the monarchy was extant) and though the monarchy had been abolished in England it had not been abolished in Scotland. The Scots had a difficult relationship with their potential king and in spite being independent from England, in spirit only, England fought against Charles II mounting the Scottish throne. This conflict culminated with the Instrument of Government passed by Parliament, December 1653, where Oliver Cromwell, as Head of State, was appointed The Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland, effectively placing the British Isles under military rule. The creation of Cromwell as Lord Protector replaced the First Council of State which held executive power. Charles II was exiled to the Netherlands.


3. On May 29, 1660 Charles II was formally restored to the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland. Charles II passed away on February 5, 1685 at the age of 54 after a reign of 24 years, 253 days. Charles suffered a sudden apoplectic fit on the morning of February 2, 1685, and died aged 54 at 11:45 am four days later at Whitehall Palace. The suddenness of his illness and death led to suspicion of poison in the minds of many, including one of the royal doctors; however, a more modern medical analysis has held that the symptoms of his final illness are similar to those of uraemia (a clinical syndrome due to kidney dysfunction). In the days between his collapse and his death, Charles endured a variety of torturous treatments including bloodletting, purging and cupping in hopes of effecting a recovery.

On his deathbed Charles asked his brother, James, to look after his mistresses: “be well to Portsmouth, and let not poor Nelly starve”. He told his courtiers, “I am sorry, gentlemen, for being such a time a-dying”, and expressed regret at his treatment of his wife. On the last evening of his life he was received into the Catholic Church, though the extent to which he was fully conscious or committed, and with whom the idea originated, is unclear. He was buried in Westminster Abbey “without any manner of pomp” on 14 February. Charles II did not have any legitimate issue with his wife, the Portuguese Princess Catherine of Braganza and there for Charles was succeeded by his brother, who became James II of England and reland and James VII of Scotland.


4. February 5, 1981. The death of Queen Frederica of the Hellenes age 63. She was the wife of King Pavlos of the Hellenes (1901-1964).

Born Her Royal Highness Princess Frederica of Hanover, of Great Britain and Ireland, and of Brunswick-Lüneburg on April 18, 1917 in Blankenburg am Harz, in the German Duchy of Brunswick, she was the only daughter of Ernest Augustus, then reigning Duke of Brunswick, and his wife Princess Viktoria Luise of Prussia, herself the only daughter of the German Emperor Wilhelm II, King of Prussia. Both her father and maternal grandfather would abdicate their crowns in November 1918 following Germany’s defeat in World War I, and her paternal grandfather would be stripped of his British royal dukedom the following year. As a descendant of Queen Victoria, she was, at birth, 34th in the line of succession to the British throne.


Prince Pavlos of Greece, her mother’s paternal first cousin, proposed to her during the summer of 1936, while he was in Berlin attending the 1936 Summer Olympics. Pavlos was a son of King Constantine I and Frederica’s grand-aunt Sophia. Their engagement was announced officially on September 28, 1937, and Britain’s King George VI gave his consent pursuant to the Royal Marriages Act 1772 on December 26, 1937. They married in Athens on January 9, 1938. Frederica became Hereditary Princess of Greece, her husband being heir presumptive to his childless elder brother, King George II.

Frederica died on February 6, 1981 in exile in Madrid during ophthalmic surgery. In its obituary of the former Queen, The New York Times reported that she died during “eyelid surgery,” which led to frequent but unsubstantiated rumours that she died while undergoing cosmetic surgery. Other sources state that her cause of death was a heart attack while undergoing the removal of cataracts. She was interred at Tatoi (the Royal family’s palace and burial ground in Greece). Her son, exiled King Constantine II of the Hellenes, and his family were allowed to attend the service but had to leave immediately afterwards. Queen Frederica was also the mother of Queen Sofia of Spain wife of King Juan-Carlos and mother of Spain’s current king, Felipe VI.