Elizabeth II, Happy Birthday, Kings and Queens of England, kings and queens of Scotland, kings and queens of the United Kingdom, Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Elizabeth II, Happy Birthday, Kings and Queens of England, kings and queens of Scotland, kings and queens of the United Kingdom, Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
On this date in history: February 10, 1840. Her Majesty Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland married her maternal first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
Victoria once complained to her Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, that her mother’s close proximity promised “torment for many years”, Melbourne sympathized but said it could be avoided by marriage, which Victoria called a “schocking alternative”. Although a marriage between Victoria and her cousin Prince Albert had been encouraged by the Coburg family, specifically King Leopold I of the Belgians since 1936, Victoria was ambivalent at best toward the arrangement. She did however, show interest in Albert’s education for the future role he would have to play as her husband, but she resisted attempts to rush her into wedlock. King William IV of the United Kingdom preferred that Victoria marry her paternal first cousin, Prince George of Cambridge.
Victoria continued to praise Albert following his second visit in October 1839 and it was during this visit that genuine romantic feelings began to stir for Victoria. Albert and Victoria felt mutual affection and the Queen proposed to him on 15 October 1839, just five days after he had arrived at Windsor. They were married on 10 February 1840, in the Chapel Royal of St James’s Palace, London. Victoria was besotted. She spent the evening after their wedding lying down with a headache, but wrote ecstatically in her diary:
I NEVER, NEVER spent such an evening!!! MY DEAREST DEAREST DEAR Albert … his excessive love & affection gave me feelings of heavenly love & happiness I never could have hoped to have felt before! He clasped me in his arms, & we kissed each other again & again! His beauty, his sweetness & gentleness – really how can I ever be thankful enough to have such a Husband! … to be called by names of tenderness, I have never yet heard used to me before – was bliss beyond belief! Oh! This was the happiest day of my life!
Just before the marriage, Albert was naturalized by Act of Parliament and granted the style of Royal Highness by an Order in Council. This style was only legal in Britain and under the German system of styles and titles Prince Albert remained His Serene Highness. Lord Melbourne advised against the Queen’s strong desire to grant her husband the title of “King Consort”. Parliament even refused to make Prince Albert a peer of the realm—(granting him a title of nobility) partly because of anti-German sentiment and a desire to exclude Albert from any political role.
Initially Albert was not popular with the British public; he was perceived to be from an impoverished and undistinguished minor state, barely larger than a small English county. In time Albert became an important political adviser as well as the Queen’s companion, replacing Lord Melbourne as the dominant, influential figure in the first half of her life.
Czar Nicholas II of Russia, Delhi Durbar, George V, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, King Edward VII of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, King George V of Great Britain, Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, United Kingdom of Great Britain
On this date in History: January 20th, 1936. Death of HM King George V of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Emperor of India. The king had reigned for 25 years.
He was the second son of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), and the grandson of the reigning British monarch, Queen Victoria. From the time of his birth, he was third in the line of succession behind his father and his own elder brother, Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale. From 1877 to 1891, George served in the Royal Navy, until the unexpected death of his elder brother in early 1892 put him directly in line for the throne. On the death of his grandmother in 1901, George’s father became King-Emperor of the British Empire, and George was created Prince of Wales. He succeeded his father in 1910. He was the only Emperor of India to be present at his own Delhi Durbar.
His reign saw the rise of socialism, communism, fascism, Irish republicanism, and the Indian independence movement, all of which radically changed the political landscape. The Parliament Act 1911 established the supremacy of the elected British House of Commons over the unelected House of Lords. As a result of the First World War (1914–18) the empires of his first cousins Czar Nicholas II of Russia and Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany fell while the British Empire expanded to its greatest effective extent. In 1917, George became the first monarch of the House of Windsor, which he renamed from the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha as a result of anti-German public sentiment. In 1924 he appointed the first Labour ministry and in 1931 the Statute of Westminster recognised the dominions of the Empire as separate, independent states within the Commonwealth of Nations. He had health problems throughout much of his later reign and at his death was succeeded by his eldest son, Edward VIII.
One of the things I enjoy about the history of royalty is when I can connect todays royal family to the Victorian Era. On this date Prince Charles of Edinburgh (future Prince of Wales) was Baptized. The Prince of Wales was baptized in the Music Room of Buckingham Palace on 15 December 1948. At his birth on 14 November 1948, Charles was the first child of HRH Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh (later Queen Elizabeth II), and HRH Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, and the first grandchild of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth of the UK.
In the back row of this photograph are: (left to right) Patricia Mountbatten, the Lady Brabourne, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, HM King George VI, the Hon David Bowes-Lyon (his maternal great-uncle), HG Alexander Cambridge, Earl of Athlone, brother of Queen Mary, who stood proxy for King Haakon VII of Norway.
In the front: (left to right) Victoria Mountbatten, the Dowager Marchioness of Milford Haven (his paternal great-grandmother), who was born HGDH Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine, the eldest daughter of Grand Duke Ludwig IV of Hesse and by Rhine and his wife Princess Alice of the United Kingdom (second daughter of Queen Victoria), HRH Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh (holding Prince Charles) Queen Mary, Princess Margaret.
Pictured below. HGDH Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine, paternal great-grandmother of HRH The Prince of Wales.
Okay, I am a few months behind on this. The Norman Conquest of England occurred on October 14, 1066. The Battle of Hastings was fought between the Norman-French army of Duke William II of Normandy (who became King William I of England) and an English army under the Anglo-Saxon King Harold II Godwinson, beginning the Norman conquest of England. That was 950 years ago. In 50 years from now, the year 2066, this historic even will celebrate its 1,000th anniversary. Will this be something to celebrate or not?
Maybe celebrate is not the correct word? How about honor…or even mark the date? No matter how you want to note this historic event the topic is very controversial. Even though this was a significant date that forever changed England’s entire culture, language and structure of society; this event helped shape England and the United Kingdom into what it is today. The truth is, this is the date when England was conquered and defeated and then occupied by a foreign power. Who wants to celebrate or honor that!?
However, is there anything positive that can be acknowledged on this anniversary? Without the Norman Conquest England would have developed very differently. Certainly the end result of this conquest, the by product of this invasion, is something to honor? The monarchy itself, although it did exist pre-1066, also was significantly changed and a descendant of William the Conqueror sits on the throne today. In fact, many people alive in Britain are descendants of William the Conqueror.
Much of this is speculative. In 50 years I will be 103 so chances are I will not be here, but you never know!? I am sure the occasion will be marked in someway and maybe a balance can be found and the good and the bad from this can be acknowledged.
Today is my birthday!! So let’s see what royal related things happened on this day!!
1383 – The 1383–85 Crisis in Portugal: King Fernando dies without a male heir to the Portuguese throne, sparking a period of civil war and disorder.
1727 – George II and Caroline of Ansbach were crowned King and Queen of Great Britain.
1978 – Papal inauguration of Pope John Paul II.
1071 – William IX, Duke of Aquitaine (d. 1126)
1689 – John V of Portugal (d. 1750) (pictured below)
1701 – Maria Amalia of Austria (d. 1756)
1858 – Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein (d. 1921) Last German Empress, wife of Kaiser Wilhelm II of German, King of Prussia. (Pictured above)
741 – Charles Martel, King of the Franks (b. 688)
1383 – Ferdinand I of Portugal (b. 1345)
1751 – Willem IV, Prince of Orange (b. 1711)
1761 – Ludwig-Georg, Margrave of Baden-Baden (b. 1702)
2002 – Geraldine, Queen of Albania (b. 1915)
On this day, 800 years ago, October 19, 1216 King John of England dies at Newark-on-Trent and is succeeded by his nine-year-old son Henry III. King John has gone down in English history as one of England’s ineffective kings. Jim Bradbury, British historian specializing in the military history of the Middle Ages, states that the current consensus among historians was that John was a “hard-working administrator, an able man, an able general”, albeit, with “distasteful, even dangerous personality traits”, including pettiness, spitefulness and cruelty.”
His cause of death at the age of 49 after a reign plagued with numerous battles was dysentery. A condition highly curable today but often fatal in the Middle Ages. Shortly after his death rumors began circulating that he had been killed by poisoned ale, poisoned plums or a “surfeit of peaches”.His body was buried in Worcester Cathedral in front of the altar of St Wulfstan. A new sarcophagus with an effigy was made for him in 1232 in which his remains now rest.
An interesting factoid is that during the reign of King John the title of the monarch officially changed from “King of the English” to “King of England.” The standard title for all monarchs from Æthelstan (924-927) until the time of King John was Rex Anglorum (King of the English). Canute II the Great, King of Denmark, was the first king to call himself “King of England”. In the Norman period Rex Anglorum (King of the English) remained standard, with occasional use of Rex Anglie (King of England). From the time of King John onward all other titles were eschewed in favor of Rex or Regina Anglie .(King of England).
Aftermath of the Assassination of Archduke Franz-Ferdinand
One of the sad things for me is that even in death the insults and snubs to the Archduke’s wife Sofie continued. Alfred, 2nd Prince of Montenuovo, Emperor Franz Joseph’s Chamberlain, hated Franz Ferdinand and Sophie passionately and decided to turn the funeral into a massive and vicious snub. Foreign royalty had been invited to the funeral and planned to attend. Generally when an heir to the throne had passed away there were would be a large funeral attended by many royal heads of state. However, on this occasion they were pointedly dis-invited and a much smaller funeral planned with just the immediate imperial family, with the dead couple’s three children excluded from the few public ceremonies. The officer corps was forbidden to salute the funeral train, and this led to a minor revolt led by Archduke Karl, the new heir to the throne. The public viewing of the coffins was curtailed severely and even more scandalously, Montenuovo tried unsuccessfully to make the children foot the bill. Also during the viewing the Archduke’s coffin was set higher than Sofie’s to remind all that she was not an equal to her husband. The Archduke and Duchess were interred at Artstetten Castle because his wife could not be buried at the Imperial Crypt.
Of course the largest aftermath was War. However, I wanted to share what happened to the assassin, Gavrilo Princip. Like his fellow assassin Čabrinović who tried to swallow the cyanide pill but vomited instead, Princip had the same experience with his cyanide pill. It seems they had purchased stale cyanide that was out of date. Princeip was arrested and in October of 1914 was convicted of his part in the murder of the Archduke and his wife. Princip was too young to receive the death penalty, being only twenty-seven days short of the 20-year age limit required by Habsburg law for the death sentence. Instead, he received the maximum sentence of twenty years in prison. He was held in harsh conditions and squalor which were worsened by the war as supplies went to the war effort. While in prison he contracted tuberculosis. He died on April 28, 1918 at Terezín 3 years and 10 months after he assassinated the Archduke and Duchess. At the time of his death, Princip, weakened by malnutrition and disease, weighed around 40 kilograms (88 lb; 6 st 4 lb). His body had become racked by skeletal tuberculosis that ate away his bones so badly that his right arm had to be amputated. Now I am not happy that this man assassinated the Archduke and Duchess, but his treatment in prison was inhumane.
As the saying goes “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”? He’s their freedom fighter. Well in Serbia Princip is still regarded as a national hero and on the 100th anniversary of the assassination of the Archduke and Duchess Bosnian Serbs erected a statue of Gavrilo Princip.
War broke out on July 28th, 1914 when Austria fired the first shots in its invasion of Serbia. Russia mobilized against Germany, while Germany invaded neutral Belgium and Luxembourg before moving towards France, causing Britain to declare war on Germany. Closer to July 28th I will focus on what the three emperors, Franz-Joseph of Austria-Hungary, Nicholas II of Russia and Wilhelm II of Germany, did to either prevent or encourage the war.
100th Anniversary of the Assassination of HIH Archduke Franz-Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary
On this day, June 28, 1914 Archduke Franz-Ferdiand of Austria-Hungary and his wife, Sofie Duchess of Hohenberg, were assassinated in Sarajevo. This murder would, within weeks, spark a European war that became known as World War I. In its time it was known as either the Great War or the World War.
It is often said that this assassination caused World War I. I don’t think that is the entire truth. I view the assassination of Archduke Franz-Ferdinand as the initial spark that set off the war, however there were many issues that evolved over years, centuries even, that built up the tension to where War became almost inevitable. I don’t want this blog entry to be about the causes of the war nor a biography on the Archduke. I will write about some aspects of his life and what happened on that fateful day.
I have an affinity with Archduke Franz-Ferdinand. We were born about 100 years apart. I was born in October of 1963 and he was born in 1863, making him 50 years old at the time of his assassination. He held what were radical views at the time and it was his views that were his undoing. More on that in a moment.
He was the eldest son of Archduke Karl Ludwig of Austria (a younger brother of Emperor Franz Joseph and Maximilian) and of his second wife, Princess Maria Annunciata of Bourbon-Two Sicilies. When he was only eleven years old, his cousin Duke Francis V of Modena died, naming Franz Ferdinand his heir on condition that he add the name Este to his own. Franz Ferdinand thus became one of the wealthiest men in Austria. In 1889 his cousin, Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria committed suicide (after murdering his mistress Baroness Mary Vetsera at his hunting lodge in Mayerling. This tragedy left Franz-Ferdinand’s father as hier to the throne. Emperor Franz Joseph had only one son and the throne had to pass to a male heir for women were barred from the throne. Karl Ludwig renounced the throne in favor of Franz Ferdinand almost immediately, and died of typhoid fever in 1896.
As hier to the throne he garnered controversy. Franz-Ferdinad was more liberal than his uncle the emperor. In 1894 Franz-Ferdinand met Countess Sophie Chotek at a ball in Prague. The down side to this meeting was that Countess Sophie was not of equal rank with Franz-Ferdinand so marriage was out of the question. To be eligible to marry a member of the Imperial House of Habsburg, one had to be a member of one of the reigning or formerly reigning dynasties of Europe. Countess Sophie was rejected by the emperor as a suitable mate for the Archduke despite being a descendant of the princes of Baden, tyhe Catholic branch of the House of Hohenzollern (Hohenzollern-Hechingen), and the Princes of Liechtenstein. One of Sophie’s direct ancestors was Albert IV, Count of Habsburg; she was descended from Elisabeth of Habsburg, a sister of King Rudolph I of Germany.
Franz-Ferdinand would not consider marrying another. Even with Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and Czar Nicholas II of Russia tried to assist and spoke to Pope Leo XIII to presuade the Emperor. This took years to accomplish and in 1899 the emperor relented and allowed the couple to marry morganatically. This meant that their descendants would not have succession rights to the throne. Sophie would not share her husband’s rank, title, precedence, or privileges; as such, she would not normally appear in public beside him. The Emperor granted her the title Duchess of Hohenberg and it was by this title their children (and descendants) were known. Because of this morganatic marriage Sofie was treated coldly by many members of the Habsburg Dynasty.
One of the other things I admire about Franz-Ferdinand is that he seemed more progressive and liberal minded than the emperor. Austria was a conglomerate of ethnic groups. Germans, Hungarians and in an era where nationalism was desired many of these ethnic groups desired independence. In 1908 Austria had annexed the Bosnia-Herzegovina region where many ethnic Serbs lived. This action thwarted the desires of many in Serbia that wanted the Serbian regions of Bosnia to join Serbia in alarger kingdom. Franz-Ferdinand’s progressive ideas would have put an end to these desires.
In 1867 the Kingdom of Hungary (ruled by the Habsurgs since the Battle of Mohács in 1526) was granted an equal standing within the Austrian Empire (this changed the name of the Empire to Austria-Hungary). Franz-Ferdinad envisoned granting this same privilage to other ethnic groups creating a United States of Austria, with himself as Emperor. If Bosnian Serbs were granted such status within the Empire the chances of Bosnia becoming part of a larger Serbian Kingdom would be over. National groups such as the Black Hand viewed the assassination of the Archduke as essential to their plans of Serbian unity. One factor giving Serbia and the Black Hand confidence was knowing that Russia was on their side for greater Serbian independence.
June 28, 1914.
Generally, Sofie, Duchess of Hohenberg did not attend her husband on such official duties but she was there with him on this fateful day. In late 1913 Emperor Franz Joseph commanded Archduke Franz Ferdinand to observe the military maneuvers in Bosnia scheduled for June 1914. After the maneuvers Franz Ferdinand and his wife planned to visit Sarajevo to open the state museum in its new premises there. Generally such engagements are announced in the court circular months in advance so the assassins tagged him for murder months in advance.
There were six assassins ready for the Archduke that morning. When Franz-Ferdinand and Sofie arrived they were greeted by Governor Oskar Potiorek with six automobiles were waiting. Security was limited because many soldiers were on the military maneuvers that the Archduke witnessed the day before. The motorcade passed the first two assassins who failed to act. Nedeljko Čabrinović was on the opposite side of the street near the Miljacka River arming him with a bomb.
At 10:10 am Franz Ferdinand’s car approached and Čabrinović threw his bomb. The bomb bounced off the folded back convertible cover into the street and the timed detonator caused it to explode under the next car wounding 16–20 people. Čabrinović swallowed a cyanide pill and jumped into the Miljacka river. Čabrinović’s suicide attempt failed, as the cyanide only induced vomiting. Police dragged Čabrinović out of the river, and he was severely beaten by the crowd before being taken into custody.
A visably shaken Archduke arrived at his first destination which was Sarajevo’s Town Hall. He gave the speech he originally had written for the occasion but at the end added a few words about the bombing and the people of Sarajevo “as I see in them an expression of their joy at the failure of the attempt at assassination.” His entourage wanted to change plans fearing more assassination attempts would be made. Baron Rumerskirch proposed that the couple remain at the Town Hall until troops could be brought into the city to line the streets. Governor-General Oskar Potiorek vetoed this suggestion on the grounds that soldiers coming straight from maneuvers would not have the dress uniforms appropriate for such duties. The Royal couple did decide to postpone the rest of the schedualed activities and desired to visit the hospital to see those wounded in the morning’s bomb attack.
After hearing about the failed bomb attack one assassin, Gavrilo Princip, stood in front of a nearby food shop (Schiller’s delicatessen), on Appel Quay near the Latin Bridge waiting for the Archdukes return from the National Museum In the confusion the drivers of the motorcade were not told of the change in plans. When the motorcade was on Appel Quay, Governor Potiorek told the driver to turn off that road and take another route to the Hospital. The driver stopped the car and put it in reverse. As fate would have it they stopped directly in front of where Gavrilo Princip was standing.
Standing only 5 feet away (1.5 meters) Princip took two shots at the Archduke and Sofie. Franz-Ferdinand was shot in the jugular vein while Sofie was hit in the abdomen. Both The Archduke and Sofie remained sitting upright as they were taken to the Governor’s residence for medical treatment. Count Harrach reports that Franz Ferdinand’s last words were “Sophie, Sophie! Don’t die! Live for our children!” followed by six or seven utterances of “It is nothing.” These utterances were followed by a long death rattle. Sophie was dead on arrival at the Governor’s residence while Franz Ferdinand died 10 minutes later.
The death shocked all the crowned heads of Europe and Emperor Franz Joseph took the news very hard. Although in that moment it was not clear that this event would spark a global war, the assassination of the Archduke raised tentions between allied states within two days. Austria-Hungary and Germany advised Serbia that it should open an investigation, but Secretary General to the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Slavko Gruic, replied “Nothing had been done so far and the matter did not concern the Serbian Government.”
The beginning of the end had just happened.
Join me here this Friday for the aftermath and the start of the war.
1470 – King Edward V of England, one of the two princes in the Tower (d. 1483)
1475 – Princess Anne of York, Countess of Surrey (d. 1511)
1667 – James Sobieski, Crown Prince of Poland (d. 1737)
1709 – Anne, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange (d. 1759)
1755 – Marie Antoinette, Queen of France (d. 1793)
1777 – Princess Sophia of the United Kingdom (d. 1848)
943 – Queen Emma of France, (b. 894)
1083 – Matilda of Flanders, Queen consort of William I the Conqueror (b. 1031)
1285 – King Peter III of Aragon (b. 1239)
1327 – King James II of Aragon (b. 1267)
1483 – Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, English politician (b. 1454)
1610 – Richard Bancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury (b. 1544)
1618 – Archduke Maximilian III of Austria (b. 1568)
1945 – Princess Thyra, daughter of Frederick VIII of Denmark (b. 1880)