Updated: May 23, 2019
In association with English Heritage
The Year 978
King Edward the Martyr was murdered at Corfe castle.
◼ Edward the Martyr (Old English: Eadweard; born. c. 962) was King of the English from 975 until he was murdered in 978. Edward was the eldest son of King Edgar but was not his father's acknowledged heir. On Edgar's death, the leadership of England was contested, with some supporting Edward's claim to be king & others supporting his much younger half-brother Æthelred the Unready, recognized as a legitimate son of Edgar. Edward was chosen as king & was crowned by his main clerical supporters, the archbishops Dunstan & Oswald of Worcester.
◼ The great nobles of the kingdom, ealdormen Ælfhere & Æthelwine, quarrelled, & civil war almost broke out. In the so-called anti-monastic reaction, the nobles took advantage of Edward's weakness to dispossess the Benedictine reformed monasteries of lands & other properties that King Edgar had granted to them.
◼ Edward's short reign was brought to an end by his murder at Corfe Castle in circumstances that are not altogether clear. His body was reburied with great ceremony at Shaftesbury Abbey early in 980. In 1001 Edward's remains were moved to a more prominent place in the abbey, probably with the blessing of his half-brother King Æthelred. Edward was already reckoned a saint by this time.
◼ A number of lives of Edward were written in the centuries following his death in which he was portrayed as a martyr, generally seen as a victim of the Queen Dowager Ælfthryth, mother of Æthelred. He is today recognized as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church, & the Anglican Communion.
◼ On Ælfthryth orders Edward's body was hidden in a poor cottage. There it was discovered by a blind woman who had her sight miraculously restored. According to one tale the king's body was then thrown into a nearby marsh. A supernatural light appeared over the marsh, & Edward's body was recovered, & buried at Wareham without ceremony.
◼ According to some versions of the tale a light appeared over the grave at Wareham, & the king was dug up & reinterred with ceremonial dignity in Shaftesbury the following year. The dead king's supporters at court spread tales that miracles could be attributed to the murdered king, who was duly declared a saint.
◼ Much later the cottage where his body had lain was replaced by an early medieval church, dedicated, not surprisingly, to St Edward the Martyr.
The Year 1496
Mary Tudor was born
Mary Tudor was the third daughter of Henry VII of England & Elizabeth of York. She was the younger sister of the future king, Henry VIII. (not to be confused with Henry VIII's first born daughter)
◼ In 1507, Mary was betrothed to Charles of Castile (the future Charles V Holy Roman Emperor), & their wedding was planned for 1514. However, the betrothal was cancelled due to Henry VIII’s diplomatic dealings &, much to Mary’s horror, she was betrothed instead to the fifty-two year-old King Louis XII of France, a man thirty-four years her senior, as part of Cardinal Wolsey’s peace treaty with France.
◼ Mary married King Louis XII of France in Abbeville on 9th October 1514 when she was just eighteen, but the marriage was short-lived, with the King dying just a few months later, on 1st January 1515.Charles Mary was kept isolated from men for six weeks at the Palais de Cluny to see if she was carrying the heir to the French throne
Mary had been in love with Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk & a great friend of Henry VIII. Charles, was sent to France to escort her home. Mary & Charles Brandon took a huge risk by secretly marrying in France on 3rd March 1515, without the King’s permission, something which could be classed as treason. Henry VIII was furious but the intervention of Thomas Wolsey, & his love for his favourite sister & his friendship with Brandon led to the couple receiving a heavy fine. The fine of £24,000, approximately equivalent to £7,200,000 today, was later reduced by the King.
Mary married Charles at Greenwich Palace, 13th May 1515. Although she was now the Duchess of Suffolk, Mary was still referred to as the “French Queen”. Mary's second marriage produced four children; & through her eldest daughter Frances, Mary was the maternal grandmother of Lady Jane Grey, who was the de facto monarch of England for a little over a week in July 1553.
Mary died at Westhorpe, Suffolk, on 25 June 1533, & was first interred "with much heraldic ceremony" at Bury St Edmunds Abbey.
Mary was renowned for her beauty, being described as “a Paradise - tall, slender, grey-eyed, possessing an extreme pallor” by the Venetian ambassador, & her motto was “La volenté de Dieu me suffit” (The will of God is sufficient for me).
The Year 1848
Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll was born at Buckingham Palace . She was the fourth daughter & sixth child of the reigning British monarch, Queen Victoria, & her husband Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha.
As the daughter of the sovereign, Louise was styled Her Royal Highness The Princess Louise from birth. The Queen's labour with Louise was the first to be aided with chloroform. Albert & Victoria chose the names Louisa Caroline Alberta. Louise was chosen to honour Albert's mother. Though christened Louisa in Buckingham Palace's private chapel by the Archbishop of Canterbury, on 13 May 1848, she was invariably known as Louise throughout her life.
Before her marriage, Louise served as an unofficial secretary to her mother, the Queen (1866–1871).
Louise married John, Marquess of Lorne, the heir to the Duke of Argyll on 21 March 1871. Despite a happy beginning, the two drifted apart, possibly because of their childlessness & the Queen's constraints on their activities. In 1878, Lorne was appointed Governor General of Canada. Louise became viceregal consort, but her stay was unhappy as a result of homesickness & dislike of Ottawa.
Following Victoria's death in 1901, Louise entered the social circle established by her brother, the new king, Edward VII. Louise's marriage survived thanks to long periods of separation, but the couple reconciled in 1911, and she was devastated by her husband's death in 1914. After the end of the First World War in 1918, at the age of 70, she began to retire from public life, undertaking few public duties outside Kensington Palace, where she died at age 91.
Louise was an able sculptor & artist, & several of her sculptures remain today.
The Year 1749
Princess Louisa of Great Britain was born Princess Louisa was born on 19 March 1749, at Leicester House, Westminster, London, & was christened there on 11 April. ▪ Her father was Frederick, Prince of Wales, eldest son of George II & Caroline of Ansbach. Her mother was The Princess of Wales (née Augusta of Saxe-Gotha). ▪ Her health was delicate throughout her life. In 1764, negotiations were made between the British & Danish royal houses of a marriage between the Danish heir to the throne & a British princess. ▪ The marriage was considered suitable in status & welcomed by both houses, as there were few Royal Protestant houses to choose between at that point for either party. The preferred choice for a bride was initially princess Louisa, but after the Danish representative in London, count von Bothmer, was informed of her weak constitution, her two year's younger sister Caroline Mathilda was chosen for the match instead. The marriage was announced in Great Britain 10 January 1765. ▪ Princess Louisa died, at Carlton House, London, on 13 May 1768, at the age of 19.
The Year 1413
King Henry V accession.
After his father, Henry IV died on 20 March 1413, Henry V succeeded him & was crowned on 9 April 1413 at Westminster Abbey. The ceremony was marked by a terrible snowstorm, but the people were undecided as to whether it was a good or bad omen.
Henry was described as having been "very tall (6ft 3 in), slim, with dark hair cropped in a ring above the ears, & clean-shaven". His complexion was ruddy, the face lean with a prominent & pointed nose. Depending on his mood, his eyes "flashed from the mildness of a dove's to the brilliance of a lion's". HENRY V (b.16 September 1386/1387 – d.31 August 1422) was King of England from 1413 until his death at the age of either 34 or 35 in 1422. He was the second English monarch who came from the House of Lancaster.
After military experience fighting the Welsh during the revolt of Owain Glyn Dwr, & against the powerful aristocratic Percys of Northumberland at the Battle of Shrewsbury, Henry came into political conflict with his father, whose health was increasingly precarious from 1405 onward.
After his father's death in 1413, Henry assumed control of the country & embarked on war with France in the ongoing Hundred Years' War (1337–1453) between the two nations. His military successes culminated in his famous victory at the Battle of Agincourt (1415) & saw him come close to conquering France. After months of negotiation with Charles VI of France, the Treaty of Troyes (1420) recognized Henry V as regent & heir-apparent to the French throne, & he was subsequently married to Charles's daughter, Catherine of Valois (1401–37). Following Henry V's sudden & unexpected death in France two years later, he was succeeded by his infant son, who reigned as Henry VI (1422–61, 1470–71)
The Year 1871
Princess Louise married John Campbell, Marquess of Lorne in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle The build up to marriage; Louise viewed marriage to any prince as undesirable, & announced that she wished to marry John Campbell, Marquess of Lorne, heir to the Dukedom of Argyll. No such marriage, between a daughter of a Sovereign & a British subject, had been given official recognition since 1515, when Charles Brandon, the first Duke of Suffolk, married Mary Tudor (Henry VIII's sister).
Louise's brother, the Prince of Wales, was strongly opposed to a marriage with a non-mediatized noble. Nevertheless, the opposition was crushed by Queen Victoria, who wrote to her son; That which you object to [that Louise should marry a subject] I feel certain will be for Louise's happiness & for the peace & quiet of the family ... Times have changed; great foreign alliances are looked on as causes of trouble & anxiety, & are of no good. As to position, I see no difficulty whatever; Louise remains what she is, & her husband keeps his rank ... only being treated in the family as a relation when we are together . The Queen averred that Louise's marriage to a subject would bring "new blood" into the family, while all European princes were related to each other. She was convinced that this would strengthen the royal family morally & physically.
The Wedding; Queen Victoria found it difficult to let go of her daughter, confiding in her journal that she "felt painfully the thought of losing her". The new breach in royal tradition caused surprise, especially in Germany, & Queen Victoria wrote to the Queen of Prussia that princes of small impoverished German houses were "very unpopular" in Britain & that Lord Lorne, a "person of distinction at home" with "an independent fortune" was "really no lower in rank than minor German Royalty". The ceremony was conducted at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle on 21 March 1871, & the crowd outside was so large that, for the first time, policemen had to form chain barriers to keep control. Louise wore a wedding veil of Honiton lace that she designed herself, & was escorted into the Chapel by her mother, & her two eldest brothers, the Prince of Wales & the Duke of Edinburgh. On this occasion, the usually severe black of the Queen's mourning dress was relieved by the crimson rubies & blues of the Garter star. Following the ceremony, the Queen kissed Louise, & Lorne – now a member of the royal family, but still a subject – kissed the Queen's hand. The couple then journeyed to Claremont in Surrey for the honeymoon, but the presence of attendants on the journey, & at meal times, made it impossible for them to talk privately. The short four-day visit did not pass without an interruption from the Queen, who was curious about her daughter's thoughts on married life. Among their wedding gifts was a maplewood desk from Queen Victoria, now at Inveraray Castle.
The Wedding Dress;
Louise wore a white silk wedding gown, heavily decorated with national & royal symbols, with deep flounces of flower-strewn Honiton lace, & a short wedding veil of Honiton lace that she designed herself & was held in place by two diamond daisy hair pins presented by her siblings, Princes Arthur & Leopold & Princess Beatrice. The hair pins were supplied by Garrard. The tulip brooches are now the property of Princess Michael of Kent, whose husband received them as a legacy from his mother HRH Princess Marina, who may have received them from Princess Louise as a gift. A beautiful bracelet was a present from her fiancé. The centre could be worn as a pendant ornament, with a large & fine sapphire mounted with brilliants & pearls & pearl drop. Princess Louise wore this pendant on a diamond necklace on her wedding day, & it can be seen in her wedding photographs. It was also supplied by Garrard.
The year 1430 Margaret of Anjou was born
Margaret was born on 23 March 1430 at Pont-à-Mousson in the Duchy of Lorraine, an imperial fief east of France ruled by a cadet branch of the French kings, the House of Valois-Anjou. Margaret of Anjou was the wife of King Henry VI of England. As such, she was Queen of England from 1445 to 1461 & again from 1470 to 1471. Born in the Duchy of Lorraine, into the House of Valois-Anjou, Margaret was the second eldest daughter of René I of Naples & Isabella, Duchess of Lorraine. She was one of the principal figures in the series of dynastic civil wars known as the Wars of the Roses & at times personally led the Lancastrian faction.
Due to her husband's frequent bouts of insanity, Margaret ruled the kingdom in his place. It was she who called for a Great Council in May 1455 that excluded the Yorkist faction headed by Richard, Duke of York, & thus provided the spark that ignited a civil conflict that lasted for over thirty years, decimated the old nobility of England, & caused the deaths of thousands of men, including her only son Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales, at the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471. Margaret was taken prisoner by the victorious Yorkists after the Lancastrian defeat at Tewkesbury. In 1475, she was ransomed by her cousin, King Louis XI of France. She went to live in France as a poor relation of the French king, & she died there at the age of 52 on 25 August 1482.
The year 1534 . Parliament passed 'The First Act of Succession '
Parliament passed the “First Act of Succession” declaring the validity of Henry VIII & Anne Boleyn’s marriage, & recognising the rights of their issue to inherit the throne. The main points of the act were: Parliament’s declaration that the marriage between “the Lady Katharine (Katharine of Aragon)” & the King was “void & annulled”, judged to be against God’s laws & that “the said Lady Katharine shall be from henceforth called & reputed only dowager to Prince Arthur, & not queen of this realm”. Parliament’s Declaration that the marriage between Henry VIII & Anne Boleyn was valid - “that the lawful matrimony had & solemnized between your highness & your most dear & entirely beloved wife Queen Anne, shall be established, & taken for undoubtful, true, sincere, & perfect ever hereafter, according to the just judgment of the 1534.” Parliament’s ruling on marriages “within the prohibited degrees” which had been allowed to take place due to papal dispensations & its declaration that “no man, of what estate, degree, or condition soever he be, has power to dispense with God’s laws”. Parliament’s declaration on the children of these unlawful marriages - “& that the children proceeding & procreated under such unlawful marriage, shall not be lawful nor legitimate; any foreign laws, licences, dispensations, or other thing or things to the contrary thereof notwithstanding.” Parliament’s declaration that the succession would pass through the heirs of Henry VIII & Anne Boleyn. Parliament’s declaration that in the absence of sons, the succession would pass to “the issue female” of Henry VIII & Anne Boleyn”.
The Act Respecting the Oath to the Succession
Later in the year The Act Respecting the Oath to the Succession (26 Hen. 8 c. 2) was passed by the Parliament of England in November 1534, & required all subjects to take an oath to uphold the Act of Succession passed that March. It was later given the formal short title of the Succession to the Crown Act 1534.
The Act required all those asked to take the oath to recognise Anne Boleyn as King Henry VIII's lawful wife & their children legitimate heirs to the throne. Anyone refusing to take the oath was guilty of treason.
The Oath of Succession itself went further than the original Act in several ways. It demanded that persons swearing the oath renounce the power of any "foreign authority or potentate" & repudiate any oath previously made to such an authority.
This discrepancy did not go unnoticed by Sir Thomas More who claimed he had been sent to the Tower "for refusing of this oath not agreeable with the statute". He thought that Thomas Cromwell & Thomas Audley "did of their own heads add more words unto it" & therefore they were unable "by their own law ... to justify my imprisonment".
Refusal to take the oath led to the arrests of Sir Thomas More & Bishop John Fisher for treason in 1534. They refused to take the oath because it included the abjuration of the pope & claimed the marriage between King Henry VIII & Katharine of Aragon was annulled & it went against their Roman Catholic beliefs. More & Fisher were beheaded in 1535.
The year 1990
Princess Eugenie of York was born
Princess Eugenie was born in London at the Portland Hospital on 23 March 1990, the second child of Prince Andrew, Duke of York, & Sarah, Duchess of York, & sixth grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. She is also a distant cousin of her late aunt Diana, Princess of Wales, whose father was John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer, since Eugenie's mother Sarah, Duchess of York is a direct descendant of Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, daughter of John Spencer, 1st Earl Spencer, (via Georgiana's illegitimate daughter Eliza Courtney). On 30 March, the seventh day after her birth, it was announced that the Duke & Duchess of York had named the princess Eugenie Victoria Helena. She was named after Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg & after Princess Helena, Queen Victoria's granddaughter & daughter respectively. She was baptised at St. Mary Magdalene Church, Sandringham, by the Bishop of Norwich, on 23 December 1990.
The year 1275
Beatrice of England died
Beatrice was the second eldest daughter of King Henry III of England & Eleanor of Provence. Beatrice's childhood was plagued by tragedy. Her oldest brother Edward became dangerously ill when she was very young. Though he recovered, Beatrice's youngest sister Katharine died at a very young age leaving Beatrice's parents grief-stricken. Katharine, who possibly had a degenerative disease that had caused her to become deaf, died at the age of four.
On the other hand, Eleanor & Henry enjoyed a happy marriage, & Beatrice grew up in a loving environment, close to her siblings.
On 22 January 1260, when she was seventeen, she married John de Dreux, heir to the duchy of Brittany. She and John II had six children. Beatrice died on 24 March 1275 in London, England. Her death was once said to have occurred in childbirth, but the dates do not bear out this theory, which has been disproved in several articles. John II honoured his wife with a chantry, an institutional chapel on private land or within a greater church, which was to be finished when he died, so that he & Beatrice would be together again. Beatrice was buried at Grey Friars Church in Greenwich, London. Her husband succeeded as duke 11 years after her death, therefore Beatrice was never styled Duchess of Brittany..
The year 1603 Queen Elizabeth I died
Queen Elizabeth I, daughter of Anne Boleyn & Henry VIII, died at Richmond Palace at the age of sixty-nine. She was the third of Henry’s children to be monarch but reigned for far longer than her siblings, ruling for 44 years & 127 days. Sir Robert Carey, Earl of Monmouth, & grandson of Mary Boleyn, recorded Elizabeth’s last days: - On Wednesday 23rd of March, she grew speechless. That afternoon, by signs, she called for her council, & by putting her hand to her head, when the king of Scots was named to succeed her, they all knew he was the man she desired should reign after her. About six at night she made signs for Archbishop Whitgift & her chaplains to come to her, at which time I went in with them, & sat upon my knees full of tears to see that heavy sight. The Queen lay upon her back, with one hand in the bed, & the other without. The bishop kneeled down by her, & examined her first of her faith; & she so punctually answered all his several questions, by lifting up her eyes, & holding up her hand, as it was a comfort to all the beholders. Then the good man told her plainly what she was, & what she was to come to; & though she had been long a great Queen here upon earth, yet shortly she was to yield an account of her stewardship to the King of kings. “After this he began to pray, & all that were by did answer him. After he had continued long in prayer, till the old man’s knees were weary, he blessed her, & meant to rise & leave her. The Queen made a sign with her hand. My sister Scroop knowing her meaning, told the bishop the Queen desired he would pray still. He did so for a long half hour more, with earnest cries to God for her soul’s health, which he uttered with that fervency of spirit, as the Queen, to all our sight, much rejoiced thereat, & gave testimony to us all of her Christian & comfortable end. By this time it grew late, & every one departed, all but her women that attended her. This that I heard with my ears, & did see with my eyes, I thought it my duty to set down, & to affirm it for a truth, upon the faith of a Christian; because I know there have been many false lies reported of the end & death of that good lady.” & diarist John Manningham recorded the moment of her death:- “This morning, about three o’clock her Majesty departed from this life, mildly like a lamb, easily like a ripe apple from a tree… Dr Parry told me he was present, & sent his prayers before her soul; & I doubt not but she is amongst the royal saints in heaven in eternal joys.”
Elizabeth established an English church that helped shape a national identity & remains in place today. Those who praised her later as a Protestant heroine overlooked her refusal to drop all practices of Catholic origin from the Church of England. Historians note that in her day, strict Protestants regarded the Acts of Settlement & Uniformity of 1559 as a compromise. In fact, Elizabeth believed that faith was personal & did not wish, as Francis Bacon put it, to "make windows into men's hearts & secret thoughts". Though Elizabeth followed a largely defensive foreign policy, her reign raised England's status abroad. "She is only a woman, only mistress of half an island," marvelled Pope Sixtus V, "& yet she makes herself feared by Spain, by France, by the Empire, by all". Under Elizabeth, the nation gained a new self-confidence & sense of sovereignty, as Christendom fragmented. Elizabeth was the first Tudor to recognise that a monarch ruled by popular consent. She therefore always worked with parliament & advisers she could trust to tell her the truth—a style of government that her Stuart successors failed to follow. . Some historians have called her lucky; she believed that God was protecting her. Priding herself on being "mere English", Elizabeth trusted in God, honest advice, & the love of her subjects for the success of her rule. In a prayer, she offered thanks to God that: " [At a time] when wars & seditions with grievous persecutions have vexed almost all kings & countries round about me, my reign hath been peacable, & my realm a receptacle to thy afflicted Church. The love of my people hath appeared firm, & the devices of my enemies frustrate."
The Queen is shown facing slightly to the left, wearing a richly jewelled dress & holding an ostrich feather fan in her right hand. Her black bodice is decorated with bands of gold thread embroidery while her sleeves are embroidered with black silk in a variety of different fruits and flowers. At this time gossamer thin oversleeves were particularly fashionable & this may be what the artist here is attempting to represent. A complicated headdress included pleats of linen, jewels & pearls & from this hangs a fine veil. Around her neck is a linen & needlepoint lace ruff set into deep pleats, & similar spiky lace adorns her cuffs.
Dress was a key component in the iconography of Elizabeth I and was used to contribute to the cult of the ‘Virgin Queen’. Pearls have been associated with chastity since the middle ages, due to their perfect purity of shape & colour – here they are used to decorate the queen’s bodice & headdress in abundance. The resemblance of a pearl to the full moon also linked Elizabeth to Diana, chaste goddess of the moon & the hunt. This portrait shows the monarch in her favoured colour scheme of black & white, colours frequently adopted by courtiers in homage to the queen. Her sleeves are covered with foliate blackwork embroidery on white linen in a variety of stitches.
This is a contemporary version of a portrait painted in the 1580s. A similar portrait was presented to Cambridge University in 1588-9. The artist would have been British or a Flemish artist working in England. Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.
James I accession to the English throne
As Elizabeth I was the last of Henry VIII's descendants, James VI of Scotland was seen as the most likely heir to the English throne through his great-grandmother Margaret Tudor, who was Henry VIII's oldest sister.
From 1601, in the last years of Elizabeth I's life, certain English politicians, notably her chief minister Sir Robert Cecil, maintained a secret correspondence with James to prepare in advance for a smooth succession. In March 1603, with the Queen clearly dying, Cecil sent James a draft proclamation of his accession to the English throne. Elizabeth died in the early hours of 24 March, & James was proclaimed king in London later the same day.
On 5 April, James left Edinburgh for London, promising to return every three years (a promise he did not keep), & progressed slowly southwards. Local lords received him with lavish hospitality along the route & James was amazed by the wealth of his new land & subjects. James said he was 'swapping a stony couch for a deep feather bed'. At Cecil's house, Theobalds, Hertfordshire, James was so in awe, he bought it there & then, arriving in the capital after Elizabeth's funeral. His new subjects flocked to see him, relieved that the succession had triggered neither unrest nor invasion. When he entered London on 7 May, he was mobbed by a crowd of spectators.
His English coronation took place on 25 July, with elaborate allegories provided by dramatic poets such as Thomas Dekker & Ben Jonson. Even though an outbreak of plague restricted festivities, "the streets seemed paved with men," wrote Dekker. "Stalls instead of rich wares were set out with children, open casements filled up with women."
The kingdom to which James succeeded was, however, not without its problems. Monopolies & taxation had engendered a widespread sense of grievance, & the costs of war in Ireland had become a heavy burden on the government. By the time of his succession, England had incurred a debt of £400,000.
The year 1953
Queen Mary died
In 1952, King George VI died, the third of Queen Mary's children to predecease her; her eldest granddaughter, Princess Elizabeth, ascended the throne as Queen Elizabeth II. The death of a third child profoundly affected her. Mary remarked to Princess Marie Louise: "I have lost three sons through death, but I have never been privileged to be there to say a last farewell to them.
Mary died on 24 March 1953 in her sleep at the age of 85, ten weeks before her granddaughter's coronation. Mary insisted that, in the event of her death, the coronation was not to be postponed. Her remains lay in state at Westminster Hall, where large numbers of mourners filed past her coffin. She is buried beside her husband in the nave of St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.
Born Mary of Teck (born 26 May 1867), she was Queen of the United Kingdom & the British Dominions & Empress of India as the wife of King George V. Although technically a princess of Teck, in the Kingdom of Württemberg, she was born & raised in England. Her parents were Francis, Duke of Teck, who was of German extraction, & Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, who was a granddaughter of King George III. She was informally known as "May", after her birth month.
At the age of 24, she was betrothed to her second cousin once removed Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale, the eldest son of the Prince of Wales, but six weeks after the announcement of the engagement, he died unexpectedly during an influenza pandemic. The following year, she became engaged to Albert Victor's next surviving brother, George, who subsequently became king. Before her husband's accession, she was successively Duchess of York, Duchess of Cornwall, & Princess of Wales.
As queen consort from 1910, she supported her husband through the First World War, his ill health, & major political changes arising from the aftermath of the war. After George's death in 1936, she became queen mother when her eldest son, Edward VIII, ascended the throne, but to her dismay, he abdicated later the same year in order to marry twice-divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson. She supported her second son, George VI, until his death in 1952. She died the following year, during the reign of her granddaughter Elizabeth II, who had not yet been crowned.
Did you know? Mary had eight Christian names, (Victoria Mary Augusta Louise Olga Pauline Claudine Agnes)