On This Day in History

2nd to the 8th December

2 December 1849

Queen Adelaide died aged 57


Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen was the queen consort of the United Kingdom & of Hanover as spouse of King William IV of the United Kingdom.


She died during the reign of her niece Queen Victoria on 2 December 1849 of natural causes at Bentley Priory in Middlesex & was buried at St. George's Chapel, Windsor.

She wrote instructions for her funeral during an illness in 1841 at Sudbury Hall: "I die in all humility", she wrote, "we are alike before the throne of God, & I request therefore that my mortal remains be conveyed to the grave without pomp or state…to have as private & quiet a funeral as possible. I particularly desire not to be laid out in state…I die in peace & wish to be carried to the fount in peace, & free from the vanities & pomp of this world."

About Adelaide;


Adelaide was born on 13 August 1792 at Meiningen, Thuringia, Germany.

Adelaide married the Duke of Clarence & St Andrews (later King William IV) in a double wedding with the Duke's brother, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, & his bride Victoria, Dowager Princess of Leiningen, on 11 July 1818, at Kew Palace in Surrey, England. They had only met for the first time about a week earlier, on 4 July at Grillon's Hotel in Bond Street. Neither William nor Adelaide had been married before, & William was twenty-seven years her senior.


They had two daughter's who sadly died ; Princess Charlotte of Clarence, was born on 27 March 1819 & died the same day, & Princess Elizabeth of Clarence was born on 10 December 1820 & died on 4 March 1821.


Did You Know? Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia, is named after her.


3rd December 1935

Princess Victoria of the United Kingdom died.


Princess Victoria's last years were plagued with health issues. She suffered from neuralgia, migraines, indigestion, depression, colds & influenza. Princess Victoria died aged 67 at home on 3 December 1935. Her funeral took place on 7 December 1935 at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, where she was initially buried. Her remains were later moved & reburied at the Royal Burial Ground, Frogmore, Windsor Great Park on 8 January 1936. Her death greatly affected her brother King George V, who died one month later.



About Victoria;


Princess Victoria (full name: Victoria Alexandra Olga Mary; b.6 July 1868), was the fourth child & second daughter of King Edward VII & Queen Alexandra. As the granddaughter of the British monarch, in the male line, she was styled Her Royal Highness Princess Victoria of Wales. She was known to her family as Toria.


The Princess was particularly close to her brother, the future King George V. Tsar Alexander II of Russia was among her godparents. She was a bridesmaid at the wedding of the Duke & Duchess of York (the future George V & Queen Mary) on 6 July 1893. Although she had a number of suitors, the most famous of them being King Carlos I of Portugal, Princess Victoria never married & had no children.


Did You Know? Princess Victoria set up her own home at Coppins, Iver, in Buckinghamshire. She took a keen interest in the village life, & became honorary president of the Iver Horticultural Society.



3 December 1944

Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark died in the Metropole Hotel, Monte Carlo, Monaco of heart failure & arterial sclerosis.


About Prince Andrew;

Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark (b.2 February 1882) of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, was the seventh child & fourth son of King George I of Greece & Olga Constantinovna of Russia. He was a grandson of Christian IX of Denmark & father of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. He began military training at an early age, & was commissioned as an officer in the Greek army. His command positions were real appointments rather than honorary, & he saw service in the Balkan Wars.


On 6 October 1903 he married Princess Alice of Battenberg, the eldest child of Prince Louis of Battenberg & his wife Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine.

In 1913, his father was assassinated & Andrew's elder brother, Constantine, became king. Dissatisfaction with his brother's neutrality policy during World War I led to his brother's abdication & most of the royal family, including Andrew, was exiled. On their return a few years later, Andrew saw service in the Greco-Turkish War (1919–1922), but the war went badly for Greece, & Andrew was blamed, in part, for the loss of Greek territory. He was exiled for a second time in 1922, & spent most of the rest of his life in France. By 1930, he was estranged from his wife, Princess Alice of Battenberg. His only son, Prince Philip, served in the British navy during World War II, while all four of his daughters were married to Germans, three of whom had Nazi connections. Separated from his wife and son by the effects of the war, Andrew died in Monte Carlo in 1944. He had seen neither of them since 1939. Andrew was at first buried in the Russian Orthodox church in Nice, but in 1946 his remains were transferred, by the Greek cruiser Averof, to the royal cemetery at Tatoi Palace, near Athens.


Did You Know? Prince Andrew met his wife Princess Alice of Battenberg during his stay in London on the occasion of the coronation of King Edward VII, who was his uncle-by-marriage & her grand-uncle.


5 December 902

Ealhswith, wife of King Alfred the Great died



About Ealhswith;


Ealhswith or Ealswitha (birthdate unknown) was the wife of King Alfred the Great.

Her father was a Mercian nobleman, Æthelred Mucil (or Mucel), Ealdorman of the Gaini, which is thought to be an old Mercian tribal group. Her mother was Eadburh, a member of the Mercian royal family, & according to the historian Cyril Hart she was a descendant of King Coenwulf of Mercia. She was married to Alfred the Great in 868. His elder brother Æthelred was then king, & Alfred was regarded as heir apparent. The Danes occupied the Mercian town of Nottingham in that year, & the marriage was probably connected with an alliance between Wessex & Mercia. Alfred became king on his brother's death in 871.



Details of Ealhswith in contemporary sources are very few. In accordance with ninth century West Saxon custom, she was not given the title of queen. According to King Alfred, this was because of a former queen of Wessex called Eadburh, who had accidentally poisoned her husband. Alfred gave his wife three important symbolic estates in his will, Edington in Wiltshire, the site of one important victory over the Vikings, Lambourn in Berkshire, which was near another, & Wantage, his birthplace. These were all part of his bookland, & they stayed in royal possession after her death.


It's most likely that after Alfred's death in 899, that Ealhswith founded the convent of St Mary's Abbey, Winchester, known as the Nunnaminster. She died on 5 December 902, & was buried in her son Edward's new Benedictine abbey, the New Minster, Winchester. She is commemorated in two early tenth century manuscripts as "the true & dear lady of the English". Alfred & Ealhswith had five children who survived to adulthood; Æthelflæd (d. 918), Lady of the Mercians, married Æthelred, Lord of the Mercians Edward the Elder (d. 924), King of the Anglo-Saxons Æthelgifu, made abbess of her foundation at Shaftesbury by her father Ælfthryth, Countess of Flanders (d. 929), married Baldwin II, Count of Flanders Æthelweard (d. c.920)

Did You Know?


5 December 1969


Princess Alice of Battenberg, mother of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, & mother-in-law of the Queen died aged 84.


Alice was a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria, she grew up in Germany, England & the Mediterranean. She was congenitally deaf. After marrying Prince Andrew of Greece & Denmark in 1903, she lived in Greece until the exile of most of the Greek royal family in 1917. On returning to Greece a few years later, her husband was blamed in part for the defeat of Greece in the Greco-Turkish War (1919–1922), & the family were once again forced into exile until the restoration of the Greek monarchy in 1935.



In 1930, she was diagnosed with schizophrenia & committed to a sanatorium in Switzerland; thereafter, she lived separately from her husband. After her recovery, she devoted most of her remaining years to charity work in Greece. She stayed in Athens during the Second World War, sheltering Jewish refugees, for which she is recognized as "Righteous Among the Nations" at Yad Vashem. After the war, she stayed in Greece & founded an Orthodox nursing order of nuns known as the Christian Sisterhood of Martha & Mary.


After the fall of King Constantine II of Greece & the imposition of military rule in Greece in 1967, she was invited by her son & daughter-in-law to live at Buckingham Palace in London, where she died two years later. Her remains were transferred to the Mount of Olives in 1988.


Her marriage produced five children;


▪ Princess Margarita of Greece and Denmark (1905-81),

▪ Princess Theodora of Greece and Denmark (1906–69),

▪ Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark (1911-37),

▪ Princess Sophie of Greece and Denmark (1914-2001),

▪ Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark (now the Duke of Edinburgh), born 10 June 1921



6 December 1421

King Henry VI was born



About Henry VI;


King from 1422 to 1461 & from 1470 to 1471 & the last Lancastrian ruler of England, Henry's reign was dominated by the Wars of the Roses.


Henry was born at Windsor Castle. He was only nine months old when he succeeded his father, king Henry V. His mother was Catherine of Valois.


He was crowned king of England in 1429 &, as result of his father's successes against the French, king of France in 1431. A regency council ran England until Henry was considered old enough to rule in 1437. In 1445, he married Margaret of Anjou.



Henry was a pious man whose interest in government was sporadic, who picked the wrong advisors & who was unable to prevent the power struggles that began to develop at court.

Meanwhile, the dual monarchy proved too difficult to maintain; the successes of the Dauphin & Joan of Arc began to weaken England's grip on its French possessions & Normandy was lost in 1450. This only contributed to the erosion of Henry's prestige & authority.


In 1453, the king had a mental breakdown & Richard, Duke of York (father of King’s Edward IV & Richard III), was made protector. The king recovered in 1455, but civil war broke out between the Yorkist & Lancastrian factions. The ensuing struggle came to be known as the Wars of the Roses. While the Duke of York was the main figure on the Yorkist side, Margaret, Henry's queen, took charge of the Lancastrian cause.


In 1460, York was killed at the Battle of Wakefield but his son took up the fight, defeating the Lancastrians at Towton in 1461 & crowning himself Edward IV. Henry fled into exile, but returned & was captured by Edward in 1465.


The Earl of Warwick - previously an ally of Edward - now switched sides & restored Henry to the throne in 1470. Edward returned from exile & destroyed the Lancastrian forces at Tewkesbury in May 1471. Henry & Margaret's only son was among the Lancastrian dead. Henry VI, who had been imprisoned in the Tower of London, was murdered shortly afterwards.

Did You Know? Henry VI founded Eton College, King's College, Cambridge & All Souls College, Oxford.


Further interest;


Places to visit;


English Heritage


The National Portrait Gallery


The National Gallery, London


The Royal Collection Trust


Book Depository


British Monarchy stores;


UK


Canada


USA



My personal recommendations;


All items below are available in our UK, Canadian, & U.S stores & also Book Depository for other nations.

The Warrior Queen: The Life and Legend of Æthelflæd, Daughter of Alfred the Great - Paperback book by Joanna Arman.


Æthelflæd, eldest daughter of Alfred the Great, has gone down in history as an enigmatic & almost legendary figure. To the popular imagination, she is the archetypal warrior queen, a Medieval Boudicca, renowned for her heroic struggle against the Danes & her independent rule of the Saxon Kingdom of Mercia. In fiction, however, she has also been cast as the mistreated wife who seeks a Viking lover, & struggles to be accepted as a female ruler in a patriarchal society.

History of Britain and Ireland: The Definitive Visual Guide Hardcover book


Discover the pivotal political, military, & cultural events that shaped British and Irish history, from Stone Age Britain to the present day, in this revised & updated book.


Combining over 700 photographs, maps, & artworks with accessible text, the History of Britain and Ireland is an invaluable resource for families, students, & anyone seeking to learn more about the fascinating story of the England, Scotland, Wales & Ireland


This guide to the Georgian era examines the key events of the period from 1714 to 1837. Starting with the culture a& style of the period, it moves on to the 'movers & shakers' of the political scene & looks at the growth of empire & the abolition movement. As well as exploring the politics of the period, we see how the Georgians dined, how they relaxed & how they socialised. We learn what it was to be fashionable in the time of Beau Brummell, and explore the world of Georgian entertainment, from the birth of the modern circus to the origins of sports such as cricket, billiards & squash. This book is intended for anyone interested in a century that still resonates with us today - much of our world was shaped by the Georgians.







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