On This Day In History

Updated: Mar 16, 2019

The week 11 March to 17 March


1279 - Mary of Woodstock born

Mary of Woodstock was the seventh named daughter of Edward I of England & Eleanor of Castile.

She was a nun at Amesbury Priory, but lived very comfortably thanks to a generous allowance from her parents. Despite a papal travel prohibition in 1303, she travelled widely around the country.

Mary's grandmother, Eleanor of Provence, had decided to retire to Amesbury Priory in Wiltshire, a daughter house of Fontevrault. She lobbied for Mary & another granddaughter, Eleanor of Brittany, to become Benedictine nuns at the priory. Despite resistance from Eleanor of Castile, Mary was dedicated at Amesbury on Assumption Day 1285, at the age of seven, alongside thirteen daughters of nobles. She was not formally veiled as a nun until December 1291, when she had reached the age of twelve. Eleanor of Brittany had been veiled in March, while Eleanor of Provence did not arrive until June 1286.

Mary's parents granted her £100 per year for life (approximately £96,000 in 2019); she also received double the usual allowance for clothing & a special entitlement to wine from the stores, & lived in comfort in private quarters. Her father visited her & Eleanor at the priory repeatedly: twice in 1286 & in 1289, & again in 1290 & 1291. Eleanor of Provence died in 1291, & it was expected that Mary would move to Fontevrault. The prioress of Fontevrault wrote frequently to Edward I asking that his daughter be allowed to live there. Probably to prevent his daughter falling into French hands in the event of war with England, Edward refused, & Mary remained at Amesbury, while her allowance was doubled to £200 per year. In 1292, she was also given the right to forty oaks per year from royal forests & twenty tuns of wine per year from Southampton.

She ran up considerable dice gambling debts while visiting her father's court, & in 1305 was given £200 to pay them off.

Mary died in about 1332, & was probably buried in Amesbury. After her death, John de Warenne, 7th Earl of Surrey, attempting to divorce Mary's niece Joan, claimed to have had an affair with Mary before he married Joan. If John's claim was valid, his marriage to Mary's niece would have been rendered null & void, but despite papal mandates for inquests to be made into the matter, the truth was never established.

1702 - Queen Anne delivers her first speech to the English Parliament Anne became Queen upon the death of William III on 8 March 1702, & was immediately popular.

In her first speech to the English Parliament, on 11 March, she distanced herself from her late Dutch brother-in-law & said, "As I know my heart to be entirely English, I can very sincerely assure you there is not anything you can expect or desire from me which I shall not be ready to do for the happiness & prosperity of England."

'I am firmly persuaded, that the Love & good Affection of my Subjects is the surest Pledge of their Duty & Obedience & the truest & justest Support of the Throne; & as I am resolved to defend & maintain the Church as by Law established, & to protect you in the full Enjoyment of all your Rights & Liberties, so I rely upon your Care of me; my Interests & your's are inseparable; & my Endeavours shall never be wanting to make you all Safe & Happy.' Soon after her accession, Anne appointed her husband Prince George of Denmark, Lord High Admiral, giving him nominal control of the Royal Navy. Anne was crowned on St George's Day, 23 April 1702. Afflicted with gout, she was carried to Westminster Abbey in an open sedan chair, with a low back to permit her train to flow out behind her.


.1470 - The Battle of Losecoat Field (Wars of the Roses) The Battle of Losecoat Field (also known as the Battle of Empingham) was fought on 12 March 1470, during the Wars of the Roses. Spellings of "Losecoat" vary, with "Losecote" & "Loose-coat" also seen.

The battle secured the defeat of the poorly organised Welles Uprising against King Edward IV, but ultimately led to the defection of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick & the king's brother George, Duke of Clarence to the Lancastrian cause after they were forced to flee the country having been implicated in the rebellion.

The Battle;

King Edward's scouts informed him that the rebel army commanded by Robert Welles, 8th Baron Willoughby de Eresby was some five miles from Stamford, arrayed for battle beside the Great North Road to the north of Tickencote Warren near Empingham in Rutland.

Edward positioned his men in a battle line to the north of Welles' army, & then, in the space separating the two forces, had Lord Welles (Robert's father) executed in view of both armies.

This action set off the rebels (currently numbering 30,000), advancing with cries of á Warwick & á Clarence. A single barrage of cannonballs was fired & then Edward had his men charge towards the enemy. Before the leaders of this attack could even come to blows with the rebel front line the battle was over. The rebels broke & fled rather than face the King's highly trained men.

Both captains, Sir Robert Welles & his commander of foot Richard Warren were captured during the rout & were executed a week later on 19 March. Welles confessed his treason, & named Warwick & Clarence as the "partners & chief provokers" of the rebellion. Documents were also found proving the complicity of Warwick & Clarence, who were forced to flee the country.

1637 - Anne Hyde was born

Anne Hyde was Duchess of York & of Albany as the first wife of the future King James II of England.

Born the daughter of a commoner Edward Hyde (later created Earl of Clarendon), Anne is best known for her marriage to James, which caused much gossip. Two months after the marriage, Anne gave birth to the couple's first child, who had obviously been conceived out of wedlock. Until near the end of Anne's life, some observers disapproved of James' decision to marry Anne; but not King Charles II, James' brother, who wanted the marriage to take place. Another cause of disapproval was the public affection James showed towards Anne, such as kissing & leaning against each other, which was considered improper behaviour during the 1600's!

Anne married James in 1660 after she became pregnant by him, but James is said to have promised to marry her in 1659. The two first met in the Netherlands while Anne was living in the household of James' sister Mary (later Mary II). James & Anne had eight children, but six died in early childhood.

The two who survived to adulthood were Lady Mary, who succeeded her father after his deposition during the Glorious Revolution of 1688 & Lady Anne, who succeeded her brother-in-law William III & became the first monarch of Great Britain.

Anne was the reason her husband converted to Catholicism, having both been exposed to Catholicism during visits to the Netherlands & France. Anne was so strongly attracted to this religion that she converted quickly after her marriage. Years later, James followed suit, which was a contributing factor to the Glorious Revolution. Anne suffered from advanced breast cancer & died shortly after giving birth to her last child, on 31 March 1671.

Their children;

  • Charles, Duke of Cambridge (b.22 October 1660- d.5 May 1661); died of smallpox

  • Mary, later Queen Mary II (30 April 1662-28 December 1694)

  • James, Duke of Cambridge (12 July 1663-20 June 1667); died of the bubonic plague

  • Anne, later Queen of Great Britain (6 February 1665-1 August 1714)

  • Charles, Duke of Kendal (4 July 1666-22 May 1667); Died of convulsions

  • Edgar, Duke of Cambridge (14 September 1667-8 June 1671)

  • Henrietta (13 January 1669-15 November 1669)

  • Catherine (9 February 1671 - 5 December 1671)


1855 - Claude George Bowes-Lyon, 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne was born Claude George Bowes-Lyon, 14th and 1st Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, styled as Lord Glamis from 1865 to 1904, was a British peer & landowner who was the father of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother & the maternal grandfather of Queen Elizabeth II. He was born in Lowndes Square, London, the son of Claude Bowes-Lyon, 13th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, & his wife, the former Frances Dora Smith. His younger brother Patrick Bowes-Lyon was a tennis player who won the 1887 Wimbledon doubles.

After being educated at Eton College he received a commission in the 2nd Life Guards in 1876, & served for six years until the year after his marriage. He was an active member of the Territorial Army & served as Honorary Colonel of the 4th/5th Battalion of the Black Watch. Upon succeeding his father to the Earldom in 1904, he inherited large estates in Scotland & England, including Glamis Castle, St Paul's Walden Bury, & Woolmers Park, near Hertford. He was made Lord Lieutenant of Angus, an office he resigned when his daughter became Queen. He had a keen interest in forestry, & was one of the first to grow larch from seed in Britain. His estates had a large number of smallholders & he had a reputation for being unusually kind to his tenants. His contemporaries described him as an unpretentious man, often seen in "an old macintosh tied with a piece of twine". He worked his own land & enjoyed physical labour in the grounds of his estates. Visitors mistook him for a common labourer. He made his own cocoa for breakfast, & always had a jug of water by his place at dinner so he could dilute his own wine.

The wedding of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother by Bassano Ltd, 26 April 1923 © National Portrait Gallery, London

In 1923 his youngest daughter, Elizabeth, married George V's second son, Prince Albert, Duke of York, & Lord Strathmore was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order to mark the marriage. Five years later he was made a Knight of the Thistle.

In 1936 his son-in-law's brother, Edward VIII, abdicated & his son-in-law became King. As the queen consort's father, he was created a Knight of the Garter & Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne in the Peerage of the United Kingdom in the Coronation Honours of 1937. This enabled him to sit in the House of Lords as an Earl (because members of the Peerage of Scotland did not automatically sit in the House of Lords, he had previously sat only as a Baron through the Barony of Bowes created for his father).

Later in life he became extremely deaf. Lord Strathmore died of bronchitis on 7 November 1944, aged 89, at Glamis Castle. (Lady Strathmore had died in 1938.) He was succeeded by his son, Patrick Bowes-Lyon, Lord Glamis. He married Cecilia Cavendish-Bentinck on 16 July 1881 in Petersham, Surrey. The couple had ten children, of whom they were very fond. The Earl would part his moustache in a theatrical but courteous gesture before kissing them. Their children ;

The Hon. Violet Hyacinth Bowes-Lyon (17 April 1882-17 October 1893). She died from diphtheria & was buried at Ham church. She was never styled 'Lady' because she died before her father succeeded to the Earldom.

Lady Mary Frances Bowes-Lyon (30 August 1883-8 February 1961). She married Sidney Elphinstone, 16th Lord Elphinstone; in 1910.

Patrick Bowes-Lyon, Lord Glamis (22 September 1884-25 May 1949). He married Lady Dorothy Osborne in 1908. In 1944, he became 15th & 2nd Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne.

Lieutenant The Hon. John Bowes-Lyon (1 April 1886-7 February 1930). Known as Jock, he married The Hon. Fenella Hepburn-Stuart-Forbes-Trefusis in 1914.

The Hon. Alexander Francis Bowes-Lyon (14 April 1887-19 October 1911). Known as Alec, he died in his sleep of a tumour at the base of the cerebrum, unmarried.

Captain The Hon. Fergus Bowes-Lyon (18 April 1889-27 September 1915). He married Lady Christian Dawson-Damer in 1914. He was killed in the early stages of the Battle of Loos.

Lady Rose Constance Bowes-Lyon (6 May 1890-17 November 1967). She married William Leveson-Gower, 4th Earl Granville in 1916.

Lieutenant-Colonel The Hon. Michael Claude Hamilton Bowes-Lyon (1 October 1893-1 May 1953). Known as Mickie, he was a prisoner of war (at Holzminden prisoner-of-war camp) during World War I. He married Elizabeth Cator in 1928.

Lady Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon (4 August 1900-30 March 2002). In 1923, she married the future King George VI.

The Hon. Sir David Bowes-Lyon (2 May 1902-13 September 1961). He married Rachel Clay in 1929,

1917 Princess Louise margaret of prussia died

Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia,later Duchess of Connaught and Strathearn; was a German princess, & ater a member of the British Royal Family, the wife of Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn. She also served as the Viceregal Consort of Canada, when her husband served as the Governor General of Canada from 1911 to 1916. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden & Queens Margrethe II of Denmark & Anne-Marie of Greece are among her great-grandchildren.

Princess Luise Margarete was born at Marmorpalais (Marble Palace) near Potsdam, Kingdom of Prussia.

Her father was Prince Friedrich Karl of Prussia (1828–1885), the son of Karl of Prussia (1801–1883) & his wife Princess Marie of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (1808–1877).

Her mother was Princess Maria Anna of Anhalt (1837–1906), daughter of Leopold IV of Anhalt-Dessau.

Her father, was a nephew of the German Emperor Wilhelm I & also a double cousin of the German Emperor Friedrich III, the husband of her sister-in-law, Victoria, Princess Royal.

In 1879, Princess Luise Margarete married Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn at St. George's Chapel Windsor.Prince Arthur was the seventh child & third son of Queen Victoria & Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

The couple received a great number of expensive gifts; the Queen's gift consisted of a diamond tiara, a pearl & diamond pendant. Many members of England & Germany's royal families attended; these included the Prince & Princess of Wales. After her marriage, Princess Louise was styled Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Connaught and Strathearn & her name was Anglicised as Louise Margaret.

The Duchess of Connaught spent the first twenty years of her marriage accompanying her husband on his various deployments throughout the British Empire. The Duke & Duchess of Connaught acquired Bagshot Park in Surrey as their country home & after 1900 used Clarence House as their London residence. She accompanied her husband to Canada in 1911, when he began his term as Governor-General.

The Duchess of Connaught died of influenza & bronchitis at Clarence House. She became the first member of the British Royal Family to be cremated. This was done at Golders Green Crematorium. The procedure of burying ashes in an urn was still unfamiliar at the time, & her urn was transported in an ordinary coffin during the funeral ceremonies. Her ashes were eventually buried at the Royal Burial Ground, Frogmore. The Duke of Connaught survived her by almost twenty-five years.

The maternity hospital adjacent to the Cambridge Military Hospital at Aldershot was named in her honour as the Louise Margaret Maternity Hospital.

The Duke & Duchess had three children;

Princess Margaret of Connaught, later Crown Princess of Sweden (1882-1920)

Prince Arthur of Connaught (1883-1938)

Princess Patricia of Connaught (1886-1974)


1275 - Margaret of England, Duchess of Brabant was born

Margaret was born at Windsor Castle, & was the tenth child of King Edward I & Eleanor of Castile. Margaret's fifteen siblings included Joan of Acre, Eleanor, Countess of Bar, Elizabeth of Rhuddlan & her father’s successor, Edward II of England.

On 8 July 1290 Margaret married John II, Duke of Brabant in Westminster Abbey, London. She had been acquainted with her groom since childhood, as they had been betrothed in 1278 when she was three years old.

Margaret's wedding festivities were extravagant; they included a procession of knights in full body armour & richly dressed ladies singing as they paraded through the streets of London to the music provided by harpers, minstrels & violinists, while fools danced. Their only child was John III, Duke of Brabant, successor to his father.

Margaret, described as having been a good-natured, merry child in her youth, was unhappy at the Brabant court, as she was forced to accept her husband’s perennial succession of mistresses & the illegitimate children they bore him, all of whom were raised at court alongside her own son John. The latter was her only child, born 10 years into her marriage to the Duke.

During the reign of John II, Brabant continued supporting a coalition to stop French expansion. He tried to conquer South Holland from the pro-French count John II of Holland, but was not successful. John, who suffered from kidney stones and wanted his duchy to be peacefully handed over to his son upon his death, in 1312 signed the famous Charter of Kortenberg.

Margaret & John attended the wedding of her brother Edward to Isabella of France in Boulogne on 25 January 1308. They accompanied the royal pair to England for their joint coronation at Westminster Abbey the following month.

Margaret died twenty-two years after her husband. She died in Brabant & was buried at Cathedral of St. Michael & St. Gudula, Brussels. She was the longest-living & last surviving of Edward I's nineteen children, dying in the reign of her nephew Edward III of England.

1551 - Lady Mary rides through London

The Lady Mary (daughter of Henry VIII & Katharine of Aragon), sister of king Edward VI & the future Queen Mary I, rode through London causing a stir.

Here is diarist Henry Machyn’s record of the event:

“The xv day the Lady Mary rode through London unto St John’s, her place, with fifty knights & gentlemen in velvet coats & chains of gold afore her, & after her iiij score gentlemen & ladies every one havyng a peyre of bedes of black. She rode through Chepe-syde & thrugh Smythfeld.”

  • A note in the diary by historian John Strype notes that the carrying of beads was “to make an open profession, no doubt, of their devotion for the mass” & the carrying of rosaries during Edward’s Protestant reign was definitely a statement.

1672 - Charles ii issues the royal declaration of indulgence

The Royal Declaration of Indulgence was Charles II of England's attempt to extend religious liberty to Protestant nonconformists & Roman Catholics in his realms, by suspending the execution of the Penal Laws that punished recusants from the Church of England. Charles issued the Declaration on 15 March 1672.

It was highly controversial & Sir Orlando Bridgeman, son of a bishop, resigned as Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, because he refused to apply the Great Seal to it, regarding it as too generous to Catholics.

The Cavalier Parliament in 1673, compelled Charles to withdraw this declaration & implement, in its place, the first of the Test Acts (1673), which required anyone entering public service in England to deny the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation & take Anglican communion. When Charles II's openly Catholic successor James II attempted to issue a similar Declaration of Indulgence, an order for general religious tolerance, this was one of the grievances that led to the Glorious Revolution that ousted him from the throne.


1485 - Anne Neville died.

Anne Neville died on 16 March 1485, probably of tuberculosis, at Westminster. The day she died, there was an eclipse, which some took to be an omen of her husband's fall from heavenly grace. She was buried in Westminster Abbey, in an unmarked grave to the right of the High Altar, next to the door to the Confessor's Chapel. Richard III is said to have wept at her funeral.

  • Lady Anne Neville (born.11 June 1456) was an English queen, the daughter of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick (the "Kingmaker"). She became Princess of Wales as the wife of Edward of Westminster & then Queen of England as the wife of King Richard III.

As a member of the powerful House of Neville, she played a critical part in the Wars of the Roses fought between the House of York & House of Lancaster for the English crown. Her father Warwick betrothed her as a girl to Edward, Prince of Wales, the son of Henry VI. The marriage was to seal an alliance to the House of Lancaster & continue the civil war between the two houses of Lancaster & York.

Contemporary illumination (Rous Roll) of Richard III, Anne Neville & their son Edward, Prince of Wales

After the death of Edward at the Battle of Tewkesbury 1471, the Dowager Princess of Wales married Richard, Duke of Gloucester, brother of Edward IV & of George, Duke of Clarence, the husband of Anne Neville's older sister Isabel.

Anne Neville became queen when Richard III ascended the throne in June 1483, following the declaration that Edward IV's children by Elizabeth Woodville were illegitimate. Anne Neville predeceased her husband by five months, dying in March 1485. Her only child was Edward of Middleham, who predeceased her.

1687 - Sophia Dorothea of Hanover was born Sophia Dorothea of Hanover was the only daughter of George Louis of Hanover, later King George I of Great Britain, & Sophia Dorothea of Celle.

Sophia Dorothea married her cousin, Crown Prince Frederick William of Prussia, heir apparent to the Prussian throne, on 28 November 1706. They had met as children under the care of their grandmother, Sophia of Hanover, & had disliked each other ever since. Sophia Dorothea differed from her husband in every aspect & the marriage suffered as a result. One of the most important differences between them was that Sophia Dorothea, unlike her husband, loved entertainment. Frederick William contemplated to divorce her the same year they married, & judging by the letters of Sophia Dorothea, he accused her of not wanting to be married to him.

Her husband ascended the throne in 1713 & Sophia Dorothea became queen. She was nicknamed "Olympia" for her regal bearing. Her children were terrorized & frequently beaten by Frederick William, who may have suffered from porphyria.

She had a good relationship with her son, Frederick, later known as "Frederick the Great", who was very attached to her & deeply mourned her death. Sophia Dorothea was interested in art, science, literature & fashion. She was not described as a beauty, & she was scarred from smallpox. Nonetheless, she kept an attractive figure in spite of her many pregnancies, at least fourteen.

She was regarded as proud & ambitious, but her spouse refused to allow her any influence, as it was his belief that women should be kept only for breeding as they would otherwise dominate their husbands. It was the opinion of her daughter Wilhelmine that her father treated her mother unjustly. Frederick William disliked the interests of Sophia Dorothea, which he regarded to be frivolous, such as her interest in theatre & gambling, & he also disliked what he regarded to be a life she lived independently from his authority.

Her interest in gambling was particularly disliked by him, & it is reported that she & her partners had coffee beans ready on the table during gambling, so that if the king was to appear, they could pretend to be playing about them rather than money. His manner toward her was described as rough, & he is noted to have used uncivil language toward her. His usual bad manners toward her were so noted that the opposite was seen as a surprise. In 1726 Sophia Dorothea inherited a sum of three million from her mother, & Frederick William was noted to suddenly treat her very well. This was regarded to be very unusual, & the Imperial ambassador reported that his changed behaviour was merely because he wanted her money. When she never received it, because her brother refused to release the sum, Frederick William resumed his usual manner toward her!

17 March

1040 - King Harold Harefoot died Harold I (born c.1016), also known as Harold Harefoot, was King of England from 1035 to 1040.

Harold's nickname "Harefoot" is believed to refer to his speed, and the skill of his huntsmanship. Though it is not recorded before the late Middle Ages, it is probably contemporary. The son of Cnut the Great & Ælfgifu of Northampton, Harold was elected regent of England, following the death of his father in 1035. He was initially ruling England in place of his brother Harthacnut, who was stuck in Denmark due to a rebellion in Norway, which had ousted their brother Svein. Although Harold had wished to be crowned king since 1035, Æthelnoth, Archbishop of Canterbury, refused to do so. It was not until 1037 that Harold, supported by earl Leofric & many others, was officially proclaimed king. The same year Harold's two step-brothers Edward & Alfred returned to England with a considerable military force, Alfred was captured by earl Godwin who had him seized & delivered to an escort of men loyal to Harefoot. While en-route to Ely he was blinded & soon after died of his wounds.

Silver penny of Harold I

Harold died in 1040, having ruled just five years, his brother Harthacnut soon returned & took hold of the kingdom peacefully. Harold was originally buried in Westminster but Harthacnut had his body dragged up & thrown into a "fen" (sewer), & then thrown into the river Thames, but was after a short time picked up by a fisherman, being immediately taken to the Danes, was honourably buried by them in their cemetery at London.

1473 - King James IV was born James IV (17 March 1473 – 9 September 1513) was the King of Scotland from 11 June 1488 to his death. He assumed the throne following the death of his father, King James III, (1451/52–1488, reigned 1460–1488) in the Battle of Sauchieburn, a rebellion in which the younger James played an indirect role.

He is generally regarded as the most successful of the Stewart monarchs of Scotland, but like his father he died in battle. His reign ended in a disastrous defeat at the Battle of Flodden.

He was the last monarch not only from Scotland, but from all of Great Britain, to be killed in battle.

James IV's marriage in 1503 to Margaret Tudor (daughter of Henry VII of England & a sister of Henry VIII of England) linked the royal houses of Scotland & England. It led to the Union of the Crowns in 1603, when Elizabeth I died without heirs and James IV's great-grandson James VI succeeded to the English throne as James I, marking the end of the Tudor period & the beginning of the Stuart period in English history.

1637 - Anne of England was born

Anne of England was the daughter of King Charles I & his wife, Henrietta Maria of France. She was one of the couple's three children to die in childhood. Anne was born on 17 March 1637 at St. James's Palace, the seventh child & third daughter of King Charles I of England & his queen, Henrietta Maria of France. Her siblings included the future Charles II of England; Mary, Princess Royal & future Princess of Orange; the future James II of England & Elizabeth of England. Anne was baptised an Anglican at St. James's Palace on 30 March, by William Laud, the Anglican Bishop of London. Anne only lived to see the birth of two siblings: the stillborn Catherine (29 June 1639) & Henry Stuart, Duke of Gloucester. She died before the birth of her sister, Princess Henrietta of England, who married Philippe I, Duke of Orléans & had four children by him. Anne was a sickly child. She was frail & slightly deformed. Anne became ill with tuberculosis, a disease which would later kill her more famous sister Elizabeth. Aged just three, Anne died at Richmond Palace. She was buried in Westminster Abbey.

1883 - Queen Victoria fell down some stairs at Windsor, which left her lame until July; she never fully recovered & was plagued with rheumatism thereafter. .

Further interest;

99 views0 comments