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On This Day In Royal History - July (15-21)

On this day in royal history cover July 15-21. Anne of Cleves, George V, Lady Jane Grey, Henry V.

15 July

15 July 1381 – John Ball, a leader in the Peasants' Revolt, is hanged, drawn & quartered in the presence of King Richard II of England.

An illustration of the priest John Ball ("Jehã Balle") on a horse encouraging Wat Tyler's rebels ("Waultre le tieulier") of 1381, from a ca. 1470 manuscript of Jean Froissart's Chronicles in the British Library. There are two flags of England (St. George's cross flags) and two banners of the Plantagenet royal coat of arms of England (quarterly France ancient and England), and an implausible number of unmounted soldiers wearing full plate armour among the rebels.
An illustration of the priest John Ball ("Jehã Balle") on a horse encouraging Wat Tyler's rebels ("Waultre le tieulier") of 1381

An illustration of the priest John Ball ("Jehã Balle") on a horse encouraging Wat Tyler's rebels ("Waultre le tieulier") of 1381, from a ca. 1470 manuscript of Jean Froissart's Chronicles in the British Library. There are two flags of England (St. George's cross flags) & two banners of the Plantagenet royal coat of arms of England (quarterly France ancient &d England), & an implausible number of unmounted soldiers wearing full plate armour among the rebels.

John Ball (c. 1338 – 15 July 1381) was an English priest who took a prominent part in the Peasants' Revolt of 1381*. Although he is often associated with John Wycliffe & the Lollard movement, Ball was actively preaching 'articles contrary to the faith of the church' at least a decade before Wycliffe started attracting attention.

Ball was imprisoned in Maidstone, Kent, at the time of the 1381 Revolt. What is recorded of his adult life comes from hostile sources emanating from the religious & political social order. He is said to have gained considerable fame as a roving preacher without a parish or any link to the established order by expounding the doctrines of John Wycliffe, & especially by his insistence on social equality. He delivered radical sermons in many places, including Ashen, Billericay, Bocking, Braintree, Cressing Temple, Dedham, Coggeshall, Fobbing, Goldhanger, Great Baddow, Little Henny, Stisted & Waltham. His utterances brought him into conflict with Simon of Sudbury, Archbishop of Canterbury, & he was thrown in prison on several occasions. He also appears to have been excommunicated; owing to which, in 1366 it was forbidden for anyone to hear him preach. These measures, however, did not moderate his opinions, nor diminish his popularity, & he took to speaking to parishioners in churchyards after official services. Shortly after the Peasants' Revolt began, Ball was released by the Kentish rebels from his prison.

When the rebels had dispersed, Ball was taken prisoner at Coventry, given a trial in which, unlike most, he was permitted to speak. He was hanged, drawn & quartered at St Albans in the presence of King Richard II on 15 July 1381. His head was displayed stuck on a pike on London Bridge, & the quarters of his body were displayed at four different towns.

King Richard II of England
King Richard II

*The Peasants' Revolt, also named Wat Tyler's Rebellion or the Great Rising, was a major uprising across large parts of England in 1381. The revolt had various causes, including the socio-economic & political tensions generated by the Black Death in the 1340s, the high taxes resulting from the conflict with France during the Hundred Years' War, & instability within the local leadership of London. The final trigger for the revolt was the intervention of a royal official, John Bampton, in Essex on 30 May 1381. His attempts to collect unpaid poll taxes in Brentwood ended in a violent confrontation, which rapidly spread across the south-east of the country. A wide spectrum of rural society, including many local artisans & village officials, rose up in protest, burning court records & opening the local gaols. The rebels sought a reduction in taxation, an end to the system of unfree labour known as serfdom, & the removal of King Richard II's senior officials & law courts.


15 July 1445 - Joan Beaufort, Queen of Scots died

Joan Beaufort, Queen of Scotland and James I king of Scotland

Joan Beaufort was a daughter of John Beaufort, 1st Earl of Somerset, a legitimized son of John of Gaunt by his mistress (& later third wife) Katherine Swynford. Joan's mother was Margaret Holland, the granddaughter of Joan of Kent (wife of Edward the Black Prince) from her marriage to Thomas Holland, 1st Earl of Kent. Joan was also a half-niece of King Henry IV of England, first cousin once removed of Richard II, & great-granddaughter of Edward III. Her uncle, Henry Beaufort, was a cardinal & Chancellor of England.

King James I of Scotland met Joan during his time as a prisoner in England, & knew her from at least 1420. She is said to have been the inspiration for King James' famous long poem, The Kingis Quair, written during his captivity, after he saw her from his window in the garden. The marriage was at least partially political, as their marriage was part of the agreement for his release from captivity. From an English perspective an alliance with the Beauforts was meant to establish Scotland’s alliance with the English, rather than the French. Negotiations resulted in Joan's dowry of 10,000 marks being subtracted from James's substantial ransom.

On 12 February 1424, Joan Beaufort & King James were wed at St Mary Overie Church in Southwark. They were feasted at Winchester Palace that year by her uncle Cardinal Henry Beaufort. She accompanied her husband on his return from captivity in England to Scotland, & was crowned alongside her husband at Scone Abbey. As queen, she often pleaded with the king for those who might be executed. The royal couple had eight children, including the future James II, & Margaret of Scotland, future spouse of Louis XI of France

James I was assassinated in Perth on 21 February 1437. Joan had also been a target of assassination along with her husband, but managed to survive her injuries. She successfully directed her husband's supporters to attack his assassin Walter Stewart, Earl of Atholl, but was forced to give up power three months later. The prospect of being ruled by an English woman was unpopular in Scotland. The Earl of Douglas was thus appointed to power, though Joan remained in charge of her son.

Near the end of July 1439, she married James Stewart, the Black Knight of Lorne after obtaining a papal dispensation for both consanguinity & affinity. James was an ally of the latest Earl of Douglas, & plotted with him to overthrow Alexander Livingston, governor of Stirling Castle, during the minority of James II. Livingston arrested Joan in August 1439 & forced her to relinquish custody of the young king. In 1445, the conflict between the Douglas/Livingston faction & the queen's supporters resumed, & she was under siege at Dunbar Castle by the Earl of Douglas when she died on 15 July 1445. She was buried in the Carthusian Priory at Perth.

Children with James I of Scotland:

  • Margaret Stewart, Princess of Scotland (1424–1445) married Prince Louis, Dauphin of Viennois (later King Louis XI of France)

  • Isabella Stewart, Princess of Scotland (1426–1494) married Francis I, Duke of Brittany

  • Mary Stewart, Countess of Buchan (c.1428-1465) married Wolfart VI van Borsselen

  • Joan of Scotland, Countess of Morton (c. 1428–1486) married James Douglas, 1st Earl of Morton

  • Alexander Stewart, Duke of Rothesay (born and died 1430); Twin of James

  • James II of Scotland (1430–1460)

  • Annabella Stewart, Princess of Scotland (c.1436-1509) married & divorced 1. Louis of Savoy, & then married & divorced 2. George Gordon, 2nd Earl of Huntly

  • Eleanor Stewart, Princess of Scotland (1433–1484) married Sigismund, Archduke of Austria.

With James Stewart, the Black Knight of Lorne:

  • John Stewart, 1st Earl of Atholl (c. 1440 – 1512)

  • James Stewart, 1st Earl of Buchan (1442–1499)

  • Andrew Stewart, Bishop of Moray (c. 1443 – 1501)


15 July 1685 - James Scott, Duke of Monmouth executed

James Scott commanding the English against the Dutch in 1672, by Jan Wyck
James Scott commanding the English against the Dutch in 1672, by Jan Wyck

He served in the Second Anglo-Dutch War & commanded English troops taking part in the Third Anglo-Dutch War before commanding the Anglo-Dutch brigade fighting in the Franco-Dutch War. He led the unsuccessful Monmouth Rebellion in 1685, an attempt to depose his uncle King James II & VII. After one of his officers declared Monmouth the legitimate king in the town of Taunton in Somerset, Monmouth attempted to capitalise on his Protestantism & his position as the son of Charles II, in opposition to James, who was a Roman Catholic. The rebellion failed,

& following the battle a reward of £5,000 was offered for his capture. On 8 July 1685, Monmouth was captured & arrested near Ringwood in Hampshire, by tradition "in a field of peas".

 James Scott is found hiding in a ditch after the failure of his Monmouth Rebellion
James Scott is found hiding in a ditch after the failure of his Monmouth Rebellion

Parliament passed an Act of Attainder, 1 Ja. II c. 2:

'Treason. Whereas James Duke of Monmouth has in an hostile Manner Invaded this Kingdom & is now in open Rebellion Laying War against the King contrary to the Duty of his Allegiance, Be it enacted by the Kings most Excellent Majesty by & with the Advice & Consent of the Lords Spiritual & Temporal & Commons in this Parliament assembled & by the Authorities of the same, That the said James Duke of Monmouth Stand & be Convicted & Attainted of High-Treason & that he suffer Paines of Death and Incurr all Forfeitures as a Traitor Convicted & Attainted of High Treason'

The King took the unusual step of allowing his nephew an audience, despite having no intention of extending a pardon to him, thus breaking with a longstanding tradition that the King would give an audience only when he intended to show clemency. The prisoner unsuccessfully implored his mercy, & even offered to convert to Catholicism, but to no avail. The King, disgusted by his abject behaviour, coldly told him to prepare to die, & later remarked that Monmouth "did not behave as well as I expected". Numerous pleas for mercy were addressed to the King, but he ignored them all, even that of his sister-in-law, the Dowager Queen Catherine.

Etching of the execution of the Duke of Monmouth, by Jan Luyken.
Etching of the execution of the Duke of Monmouth, by Jan Luyken.

Monmouth was beheaded by Jack Ketch on 15 July 1685, on Tower Hill. Shortly beforehand, Bishops Turner of Ely & Ken of Bath & Wells visited the Duke to prepare him for eternity, but withheld the Eucharist, for the condemned man refused to acknowledge that either his rebellion or his relationship with Lady Wentworth had been sinful. It is said that before laying his head on the block, Monmouth specifically bade Ketch finish him at one blow, saying he had mauled others before. Disconcerted, Ketch did indeed inflict multiple blows with his axe, the prisoner rising up reproachfully the while – a ghastly sight that shocked the witnesses, drawing forth execrations & groans. Some say a knife was at last employed to sever the head from the twitching body. Sources vary; some claim eight blows, the official Tower of London fact sheet says it took five blows, while Charles Spencer, in his book Blenheim, puts it at seven. His execution was alluded to in the film Kind Hearts & Coronets, where the executioner says "The last execution of a duke in this country was very badly botched. But that was in the days of the axe."

Monmouth was buried in the Church of St Peter ad Vincula in the Tower of London. His Dukedom was forfeited, but his subsidiary titles, Earl of Doncaster & Baron Scott of Tindale, were restored by King George II on 23 March 1743 to his grandson Francis Scott, 2nd Duke of Buccleuch (1695–1751).


Francis, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Francis, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

15 July 1750 - Francis, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was born

Francis, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, was one of the ruling Thuringian dukes of the House of Wettin. As progenitor of a line of Coburg princes who, in the 19th and 20th centuries, ascended the thrones of several European realms, he is a patrilineal ancestor of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, King Philippe of Belgium, Empress Carlota of Mexico, King Simeon II of Bulgaria, & King Manuel II of Portugal. His daughter Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld was the mother of Queen Victoria.


George IV Profile by Sir Thomas Lawrence, c. 1814
George IV Profile by Sir Thomas Lawrence, c. 1814

15 July 1830 - George IV was buried in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.

George IV (12 August 1762 – 26 June 1830) was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Ireland & King of Hanover from the death of his father, King George III, on 29 January 1820 until his own death ten years later.


Princess Beatrice of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha & Infanta Alfonso

15 July 1909 - Princess Beatrice of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha married Infanta Alfonso

Beatrice & Alfonso married in a Roman Catholic & Lutheran ceremony at Coburg on 15 July 1909. The couple settled in Coburg until, in 1912, Alfonso & Beatrice were allowed to return to Spain. The couple had three sons:

  • Infante Álvaro, Duke of Galliera (20 April 1910 Coburg, Germany–22 August 1997)

  • Alonso María Cristino Justo (28 May 1912 Madrid, Spain–18 November 1936 Spain); Killed in action during the Spanish Civil War.

  • Prince Ataúlfo of Orléans (20 October 1913 Madrid, Spain–4 October 1974 Málaga, Spain).

Princess Beatrice and her eldest son Alvaro
Princess Beatrice and her eldest son Alvaro

Princess Beatrice Leopoldine Victoria of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (20 April 1884 – 13 July 1966). Her father was Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, the second son of Queen Victoria & Albert, Prince Consort. Her mother was Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia, the only surviving daughter of Alexander II of Russia & Princess Marie of Hesse and by Rhine.

Alfonso de Orleans y Borbón, Infante of Spain, Duke of Galliera (12 November 1886 – 6 August 1975), was a Spanish prince, military aviator & first cousin of Alfonso XIII of Spain.


16 July

King Eadred, King of the English

16 July 946 - Eadred, king of the English coronation at Kingston-upon-Thames

Eadred (also Edred, 'the Weak-in-the-Feet') (923 – 23 November 955) was King of the English from 946 until his death. He was the son of Edward the Elder & his third wife Eadgifu of Kent, & a grandson of Alfred the Great. He came to the throne following the assassination of his older brother, Edmund I. The chief achievement of his reign was to bring the Kingdom of Northumbria under total English control, which occurred with the defeat & expulsion of Eric Bloodaxe in 954. Eadred died at the age of 32 having never married, & was succeeded by his 15-year-old nephew, Eadwig.


King Richard II Portrait at Westminster Abbey, mid-1390s
King Richard II

16 July 1377 – King Richard II of England is crowned

On 21 June the next year, Richard's grandfather King Edward III, died after a 50-year reign. This resulted in the 10-year-old Richard succeeding to the throne. He was crowned on 16 July 1377 at Westminster Abbey.

Richard II. of England with his court after his coronation. (British Library, Royal 14 E IV f. 10)
Richard II of England with his court after his coronation. (British Library, Royal 14 E IV f. 10)

Richard II (6 January 1367 – c. 14 February 1400), also known as Richard of Bordeaux, was King of England from 1377 until he was deposed in 1399.


Frances Grey, Duchess of Suffolk effigy at Westminster Abbey
Frances Grey effigy at Westminster Abbey

16 July - 1517 Frances Grey, Duchess of Suffolk was born in Hatfield, Hertfordshire.

Frances Grey, Duchess of Suffolk (née Lady Frances Brandon; 16 July 1517 – 20 November 1559), was an English noblewoman, the second child & eldest daughter of King Henry VIII's younger sister, Princess Mary, & Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk. She was the mother of Lady Jane Grey, de facto Queen of England & Ireland from 10 July until 19 July 1553, as well as Lady Katherine Grey & Lady Mary Grey.

Frances was close to her aunt Katharine of Aragon, first wife of her uncle King Henry VIII, & was a childhood friend of her first cousin, the future Queen Mary I.

In 1533 Frances married Henry Grey, Marquess of Dorset. The marriage took place at Suffolk Place, a mansion which belonged to her parents on the west side of Borough High Street in Southwark.

Her first two pregnancies resulted in the births of a son & daughter who both died young. These were followed by three surviving daughters:

  • Lady Jane Grey (c. 1536 – 12 February 1554) married Lord Guildford Dudley.

  • Lady Katherine Grey (25 August 1540 – 26 January 1568) - married Henry Herbert, Lord Herbert & later Edward Seymour, 1st Earl of Hertford.

  • Lady Mary Grey (c. 1545 – 20 April 1578) - married Thomas Keyes.

Frances is considered to have been a strong & energetic woman. Her residence at Bradgate was a minor palace in Tudor style. After the death of her two brothers, the title Duke of Suffolk reverted to the crown, & was granted to her husband as a new creation. She saw to it that her daughters were well educated. Around 1541 Bishop John Aylmer was made chaplain to the duke, & tutor of Greek to Frances's daughter, Lady Jane Grey.

Bradgate House, Bradgate Park, Leicestershire
Remains of Bradgate House, Bradgate Park, Leicestershire

Remains of Bradgate House, Bradgate Park, Leicestershire

Remains of Bradgate House, Bradgate Park, Leicestershire


Queen Mary I had Henry Grey beheaded on 23 February 1554, after his conviction for high treason for his part in Sir Thomas Wyatt's attempt (January – February 1554) to overthrow her after she announced her intention to marry King Philip II of Spain.

She married her Master of the Horse, Adrian Stokes (4 March 1519 – 30 November 1586) in 1555. Her childhood friend & stepmother Katherine Willoughby had married her gentleman usher, so Frances moved on familiar ground. She & Stokes married in 1555. Three children were born to the couple:

Elizabeth Stokes (20 November 1554), stillborn.

Elizabeth Stokes (16 July 1555 – 7 February 1556), died in infancy.

A son (December, 1556), stillborn.

Frances Grey, Duchess of Suffolk died on 20 November 1559. She was buried at Westminster Abbey at the expense of Elizabeth. Her daughter Katherine acted as chief mourner.


Anne of Cleves framed portrait

16 July 1557 - Anne of Cleves died

When Anne's health began to fail, Queen Mary I allowed her to live at Chelsea Old Manor, where Henry's last wife, Catherine Parr, had lived after her remarriage. Here, in the middle of July 1557, Anne dictated her last will. In it, she mentions her brother, sister, & sister-in-law, as well as the future Queen Elizabeth, the Duchess of Suffolk, & the Countess of Arundel. She left some money to her servants & asked Mary & Elizabeth to employ them in their households. She was remembered by everyone who served her as a particularly generous & easy-going mistress. Anne died at Chelsea Old Manor on 16 July 1557, eight weeks before her forty-second birthday. The most likely cause of her death was cancer.

A portrait of Anne in the 1540s by Bartholomäus Bruyn the elder

A portrait of Anne in the 1540s by Bartholomäus Bruyn the elder.

Anne was buried in Westminster Abbey, on 3 August, in what has been described as a "somewhat hard-to-find tomb" on the opposite side of Edward the Confessor's shrine & slightly above eye level for a person of average height.

Anne's epitaph in Westminster Abbey, which is in English, reads simply:



BORN 1515 * DIED 1557

Anne also has the distinction of being the last of Henry VIII's wives to die, as she outlived Henry's last wife, Catherine Parr, by nine years. She was not the longest-lived, however, since Katharine of Aragon was 50 at the time of her death.

Portrait Miniature of Anne of Cleves, 1539, Hans Holbein the Younger (V & A Museum)
Portrait Miniature of Anne of Cleves, 1539, Hans Holbein the Younger (V & A Museum)

Anne of Cleves (German: Anna von Kleve; 1515 – 16 July 1557) was Queen Consort of England from 6 January to 9 July 1540 as the fourth wife of King Henry VIII. Not much is known about Anne before 1527, when she became betrothed to Francis, Duke of Bar, son & heir of Antoine, Duke of Lorraine, although their marriage did not proceed. In March 1539, negotiations for Anne's marriage to Henry began, as Henry believed that he needed to form a political alliance with her brother, William, who was a leader of the Protestants of western Germany, to strengthen his position against potential attacks from Catholic France & the Holy Roman Empire. Anne arrived in England on 27 December 1539 & married Henry on 6 January 1540, but after six months, the marriage was declared unconsummated &, as a result, she was not crowned queen consort. Following the annulment, Henry gave her a generous settlement, & she was thereafter known as the 'King's Beloved Sister'.


17 July

Edward the Elder, Anglos-Saxon King of the English (r.26 October 899 – 17 July 924)
Edward the Elder (r.26 October 899 – 17 July 924)

17 July 924 - King Edward the Elder died

Edward the Elder (c. 874 – 17 July 924)

Coronation: 8 June 900, Kingston upon Thames.

Edward the Elder was King of the Anglo-Saxons from 899 until his death in 924.

He was the elder son of Alfred the Great & his wife Ealhswith. When Edward succeeded to the throne, he had to defeat a challenge from his cousin Æthelwold, who had a strong claim to the throne as the son of Alfred's elder brother and predecessor, Æthelred.

Alfred had succeeded Æthelred as king of Wessex in 871, & almost faced defeat against the Danish Vikings until his decisive victory at the Battle of Edington in 878. After the battle, the Vikings still ruled Northumbria, East Anglia & eastern Mercia, leaving only Wessex & western Mercia under Anglo-Saxon control. In the early 880s Æthelred, Lord of the Mercians, the ruler of western Mercia, accepted Alfred's lordship & married his daughter Æthelflæd, & around 886 Alfred adopted the new title King of the Anglo-Saxons as the ruler of all Anglo-Saxons not subject to Danish rule.

In 910 a Mercian & West Saxon army inflicted a decisive defeat on an invading Northumbrian army, ending the threat from the northern Vikings. In the 910s, Edward conquered Viking-ruled southern England in partnership with his sister Æthelflæd, who had succeeded as Lady of the Mercians following the death of her husband in 911. Historians dispute how far Mercia was dominated by Wessex during this period, & after Æthelflæd's death in June 918, her daughter Ælfwynn briefly became second Lady of the Mercians, but in December Edward took her into Wessex & imposed direct rule on Mercia. By the end of the 910s he ruled Wessex, Mercia & East Anglia, & only Northumbria remained under Viking rule. In 924 he faced a Mercian & Welsh revolt at Chester, & after putting it down he died at Farndon in Cheshire on 17 July 924. He was succeeded by his eldest son Æthelstan.

Edward had about fourteen children from three marriages.

He first married Ecgwynn around 893. Their children were:

Æthelstan, King of England 924–939.

A daughter, perhaps called Edith, married Sihtric, Viking King of York in 926, who died in 927. Possibly Saint Edith of Polesworth.

In c. 900, Edward married Ælfflæd, daughter of Ealdorman Æthelhelm, probably of Wiltshire. Their children were:

Ælfweard, died August 924, a month after his father; possibly King of Wessex for that month.

Edwin, drowned at sea 933.

Æthelhild, lay sister at Wilton Abbey.

Eadgifu (died in or after 951), married Charles the Simple, King of the West Franks, c. 918.

Eadflæd, nun at Wilton Abbey.

Eadhild, married Hugh the Great, Duke of the Franks in 926.

Eadgyth (died 946), in 929/30 married Otto I, future King of the East Franks, & (after Eadgyth's death) Holy Roman Emperor.

Ælfgifu or Edgiva, married "a prince near the Alps", perhaps Louis, brother of King Rudolph II of Burgundy.

Edward married for a third time, about 919, Eadgifu, the daughter of Sigehelm, Ealdorman of Kent. Their children were:

Edmund I, King of England 939–946

Eadred, King of England 946–955

Eadburh (died c. 952), Benedictine nun at Nunnaminster, Winchester, & saint

Eadgifu, existence uncertain, possibly the same person as Ælfgifu

How is Edward the Elder, king of the English related to Queen Elizabeth II?

Edward the Elder is the 32nd great grandfather of Queen Elizabeth II, & Queen Elizabeth II is the 32nd great granddaughter of Edward the Elder.

Visit our Kings and Queens photo album for more biographies.


17 July 1717 – King George I of Great Britain sails down the River Thames with a barge of 50 musicians, where George Frideric Handel's Water Music is premiered.

The Water Music is a collection of orchestral movements, often published as three suites, composed by George Frideric Handel. It premiered on 17 July 1717, in response to King George I's request for a concert on the River Thames. The Water Music opens with a French overture and includes minuets, bourrées, & hornpipes. It is divided into three suites: Suite in F major (HWV 348); Suite in D major (HWV 349) & Suite in G major (HWV 350).

The first performance of the Water Music is recorded in The Daily Courant, the first British daily newspaper. At about 8 p.m. on Wednesday, 17 July 1717, King George I & several aristocrats boarded a royal barge at Whitehall Palace, for an excursion up the Thames toward Chelsea. The rising tide propelled the barge upstream without rowing. Another barge, provided by the City of London, contained about 50 musicians who performed Handel's music. Many other Londoners also took to the river to hear the concert. According to The Courant, "the whole River in a manner was covered" with boats & barges. On arriving at Chelsea, the king left his barge, then returned to it at about 11 p.m. for the return trip. The king was so pleased with Water Music that he ordered it to be repeated at least three times, both on the trip upstream to Chelsea & on the return, until he landed again at Whitehall. Handel's orchestra is believed to have performed from about 8 p.m. until well after midnight, with only one break while the king went ashore at Chelsea.


17 July 1918 - Nicholas II of Russia and his family were executed by the Bolsheviks

Nicholas with his family (left to right): Olga, Maria, Nicholas II, Alexandra Fyodorovna, Anastasia, Alexei, and Tatiana. Livadia Palace, 1913.

Nicholas with his family (left to right): Olga, Maria, Nicholas II, Alexandra Fyodorovna, Anastasia, Alexei, & Tatiana. Livadia Palace, 1913.

Nicholas II or Nikolai II Alexandrovich Romanov (1868 – 1918), known in the Russian Orthodox Church as Saint Nicholas the Passion-Bearer, was the last Emperor of Russia, ruling from 1 November 1894 until his abdication on 15 March 1917.

Alexandra Feodorovna (1872-1918). Originally Princess Alix of Hesse & by Rhine at birth, was the empress consort of Emperor Nicholas II of Russia. She was given the name & patronymic Alexandra Feodorovna when she converted & was received into the Russian Orthodox Church.

Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna of Russia (Olga Nikolaevna Romanova) (1895 – 1918) was the eldest child of the last Tsar of the Russian Empire, Emperor Nicholas II, & of Empress Alexandra of Russia.

Grand Duchess Tatiana Nikolaevna of Russia (Tatiana Nikolaevna Romanova); (1897– 1918) was the second daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, the last monarch of Russia, & of Tsarina Alexandra.

Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna of Russia (Maria Nikolaevna Romanova) (1899 – 1918) was the third daughter of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia & Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna.

Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia (Anastasíya Nikoláyevna Románova; 1901 – 1918) was the youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, & his wife, Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna.

Alexei Nikolaev (1904 – 1918) of the House of Romanov, was the last Tsesarevich & heir apparent to the throne of the Russian Empire. He was the youngest child & only son of Emperor Nicholas II & Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. He was born with haemophilia, which his parents tried treating with the methods of faith healer Grigori Rasputin.


17 July 1947 – Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall was born.

The Duchess of Cornwall is the daughter of Major Bruce Middleton Hope Shand & The Hon Rosalind Maud Shand (nee Cubitt).

She was born Camilla Rosemary Shand on 17 July 1947 at King’s College Hospital, London, the eldest of three children. Her Royal Highness has a sister, Annabel Elliot; her brother, Mark Shand, died in 2014.

The Prince of Wales & The Duchess of Cornwall married at the Guildhall in Windsor on 9 April 2005 in a civil ceremony. Afterwards, there was a Service of Prayer & Dedication in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, over which the Archbishop of Canterbury presided. Her Majesty The Queen then hosted a reception for The Prince and The Duchess at the Castle.

Her Royal Highness was formerly married to Brigadier Andrew Parker Bowles, & the marriage was dissolved in 1995. They had two children, Thomas Henry & Laura Rose. Since her marriage to The Prince of Wales in 2005, The Duchess of Cornwall has become Patron or President of a number of charities & regularly attends events to support them.


18 July

18 July 1389 – France & England agree to the Truce of Leulinghem, inaugurating a 13-year peace, the longest period of sustained peace during the Hundred Years' War.

Charles VI, King of France, and Richard II, King of England, sign a truce in 1389, illustration from Harley manuscript of Jean Froissart's Chronicles.

Charles VI, King of France, and Richard II, King of England, sign a truce in 1389, illustration from Harley manuscript of Jean Froissart's Chronicles.

The Truce of Leulinghem was a truce agreed to by Richard II's kingdom of England & its allies, and Charles VI's kingdom of France & its allies, on 18 July 1389, ending the second phase of the Hundred Years' War. England was on the edge of financial collapse & suffering from internal political divisions. On the other side, Charles VI was suffering from a mental illness that handicapped the furthering of the war by the French government. Neither side was willing to concede on the primary cause of the war, the legal status of the Duchy of Aquitaine & the King of England's homage to the King of France through his possession of the duchy. However, both sides faced major internal issues that could badly damage their kingdoms if the war continued.

Richard II (6 January 1367 – c. 14 February 1400), also known as Richard of Bordeaux, was King of England from 1377 until he was deposed in 1399.

Richard II (6 January 1367 – c. 14 February 1400), also known as Richard of Bordeaux, was King of England from 1377 until he was deposed in 1399.

The truce was originally negotiated by representatives of the kings to last three years, but the two kings met in person at Leulinghem, near the English fortress of Calais, & agreed to extend the truce to a twenty-seven years' period.

Charles VI, called the Beloved (French: le Bien-Aimé) and later the Mad (French: le Fol or le Fou), was King of France from 1380 until his death in 1422.

Charles VI, (1368 – 21 October 1422) called the Beloved (French: le Bien-Aimé) & later the Mad (French: le Fol or le Fou), was King of France from 1380 until his death in 1422.

Other provisions were agreed to, in attempts to bring an end to the Papal schism, to launch a joint crusade against the Turks in the Balkans, to seal the marriage of Richard to Charles' daughter Isabella along with an 800,000 franc dowry, & to guarantee to continue peace negotiations, in order to establish a lasting treaty between the kingdoms. The treaty brought peace to the Iberian peninsula, where Portugal & Castile were supporting the English & French respectively. The English evacuated all their holdings in northern France except Calais.

The truce was the result of a decade of failed peace negotiations & inaugurated a thirteen years peace, the longest period of sustained peace during the Hundred Years' War.


18 July 1555 – The College of Arms is reincorporated by Royal charter signed by Queen Mary I of England and King Philip II of Spain.

The College of Arms description

The College of Arms description part two


18 July 1938 - Marie of Romania died

Marie Queen of Romania, born Princess Marie Alexandra Victoria of Edinburgh
Marie Queen of Romania

Marie of Romania (born Princess Marie Alexandra Victoria of Edinburgh; 29 October 1875 – 18 July 1938) was the last Queen of Romania as the wife of King Ferdinand I.

Marie, aged seven, in an 1882 portrait by John Everett Millais commissioned by Queen Victoria & exhibited at the Royal Academy

Marie was born into the British royal family. Her parents were Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh (later Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha) & Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia. Marie's early years were spent in Kent, Malta & Coburg. After refusing a proposal from her cousin, the future King George V, she was chosen as the future wife of Crown Prince Ferdinand of Romania, the heir apparent of King Carol I, in 1892. Marie was Crown Princess between 1893 & 1914, & became immediately popular with the Romanian people.

Ferdinand and Marie, the Crown Prince and Princess of Romania, pictured after their 1893 marriage
Ferdinand & Marie, the Crown Prince & Princess of Romania, pictured after their 1893 marriage.

After the outbreak of World War I, Marie urged Ferdinand to ally himself with the Triple Entente & declare war on Germany, which he eventually did in 1916. During the early stages of fighting, Bucharest was occupied by the Central Powers & Marie, Ferdinand & their five children took refuge in Moldavia. There, she & her three daughters acted as nurses in military hospitals, caring for soldiers who were wounded or afflicted by cholera.

Marie visiting a patient in a military hospital during World War I, 1917
Marie visiting a patient in a military hospital during World War I, 1917

After the war, on 1 December 1918, the historical region of Transylvania, following Bessarabia & Bukovina, united with the Old Kingdom. Marie, now queen of Greater Romania, attended the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, where she campaigned for international recognition of the enlarged Romania. In 1922, she & Ferdinand were crowned in a specially-built cathedral in the ancient city of Alba Iulia, in an elaborate ceremony which mirrored their status as queen & king of a united state. As queen, Marie was very popular, both in Romania & abroad. In 1926, she & two of her children undertook a diplomatic tour of the United States. They were received enthusiastically by the people & visited several cities before returning to Romania. There, Marie found that Ferdinand was gravely ill & he died a few months later. Now queen dowager, Marie refused to be part of the regency council which reigned over the country under the minority of her grandson, King Michael. In 1930, Marie's eldest son Carol, who had waived his rights to succession, deposed his son & usurped the throne, becoming King Carol II. He removed Marie from the political scene & strived to crush her popularity. As a result, Marie moved away from Bucharest & spent the rest of her life either in the countryside, or at her home by the Black Sea. In 1937, she became ill with cirrhosis & died the following year. Following Romania's transition to a Socialist Republic, the monarchy was excoriated by communist officials.

Official coronation portrait of Queen Marie, decked in full regalia. 1922
Official coronation portrait of Queen Marie, decked in full regalia. 1922


19 July

19 July 1333 – Wars of Scottish Independence: Battle of Halidon Hill: The English win a decisive victory over the Scots.

Monument marking the site of the battle of Halidon Hill
Monument marking the site of the battle

The Battle of Halidon Hill was fought during the Second War of Scottish Independence. Scottish forces under Sir Archibald Douglas were heavily defeated by the English forces of King Edward III of England on unfavourable terrain while trying to relieve Berwick-upon-Tweed.

A 19th-century view of the Scottish charge at Halidon Hill
A 19th-century view of the Scottish charge at Halidon Hill

The Battle;

Crossing the Tweed to the west of the English position, the Scottish army reached the town of Duns, 15 miles from Berwick, on 18 July. On the following day it approached Halidon Hill from the north-west, ready to give battle on ground chosen by Edward III. Edward III had to face the Scottish army to the front & guard his rear against the risk of a sortie by the garrison of Berwick. By some accounts, a large proportion of the English army was left guarding Berwick.

To engage the English, the Scots had to advance downhill, cross a large area of marshy ground & then climb the northern slope of Halidon Hill. The Battle of Dupplin Moor the previous year had shown how vulnerable the Scots were to arrows. The prudent course of action would have been to withdraw & wait for a better opportunity to fight, but this would guarantee the loss of Berwick. The armies encountered each other's scouts around midday on 19 July. Douglas ordered an attack. The Lanercost Chronicle reports:

. . . the Scots who marched in the front were so wounded in the face & blinded by the multitude of English arrows that they could not help themselves, & soon began to turn their faces away from the blows of the arrows & fall.

The Scots suffered many casualties & the lower reaches of the hill were littered with dead & wounded. The survivors continued upwards, through the arrows "as thick as motes in a sun beam", according to an unnamed contemporary quoted by Nicholson, & on to the waiting spears. The Scottish army broke, the camp followers made off with the horses & the fugitives were pursued by the mounted English knights. The Scottish casualties numbered in thousands, including Douglas & five earls dead on the field. Scots who surrendered were killed on Edward's orders & some drowned as they fled into the sea. English casualties were reported as fourteen; some chronicles give a lower figure of seven. About a hundred Scots who had been taken prisoner were beheaded the next morning, 20 July. This was the date that Berwick's second truce expired, & the town & the castle surrendered on the terms in the indentures.


Philippa of Lancaster (Portuguese: Filipa [fɨˈlipɐ]; 31 March 1360 – 19 July 1415) was Queen of Portugal from 1387 until 1415 by marriage to King John I. Born into the royal family of England, her marriage secured the Treaty of Windsor and produced several children who became known as the "Illustrious Generation" in Portugal.
Philippa of Lancaster (1360-1415), Queen consort of Portugal due to her marriage to King John I of Portugal.

19 July 1415 – Philippa of Lancaster died from the plague

Philippa of Lancaster (31 March 1360 – 19 July 1415) was Queen of Portugal from 1387 until 1415 by marriage to King John I. Born into the royal family of England, her marriage secured the Treaty of Windsor & produced several children who became known as the "Illustrious Generation" in Portugal.

Born on 31 March 1360, Philippa was the oldest child of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster(the third of the five sons of King Edward III of England) , & Blanche of Lancaster.

Philippa became Queen consort of Portugal through her marriage to King John I. This marriage was the final step in the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance against the Franco-Castillian axis. The couple were blessed by the church in the Cathedral of Porto on 2 February 1387 & their marriage was on 14 February 1387. The Portuguese court celebrated the union for fifteen days. Philippa married King John I by proxy, & in keeping with a unique Portuguese tradition, the stand-in bridegroom pretended to bed the bride. The stand-in for King John I was João Rodrigues de Sá.

The wedding of Philippa of Lancaster and John I of Portugal
The wedding of Philippa of Lancaster and John I of Portugal

The marriage itself, as was usually the case for the nobility in the Middle Ages, was a matter of state & political alliance, & the couple did not meet until twelve days after they were legally married. In marrying Philippa, John I established a political & personal alliance with John of Gaunt, initially because it was rumoured that John of Gaunt would claim the Kingdom of Castile through Catherine of Lancaster, his daughter by his second wife Constance of Castile. As the "de facto King of Castile," it was feared that John of Gaunt could challenge King John's claim to the newly installed dynasty. Instead, at Windsor in 1386, John I of Portugal signed the remarkably long-lasting Portuguese-English Alliance, which continued through the Napoleonic Wars & ensured Portugal's tenuous neutrality in World War II. Philippa, at the age of 27, was thought to be too old to become a bride for the first time, & the court questioned her ability to bear the King's children; however, Philippa bore nine children, six of whom survived into adulthood.

At the age of 55, Philippa fell ill with the plague. She moved from Lisbon to Sacavém & called her sons to her bedside so that she could give them her blessing. Philippa presented her three eldest sons with jewel-encrusted swords, which they would use in their impending knighthoods, & gave each a portion of the True Cross, "enjoining them to preserve their faith & to fulfil the duties of their rank". Philippa died on 19 July 1415.

Philippa & King John's union was praised for establishing purity & virtue in a court that was regarded as particularly corrupt. Philippa is remembered as the mother of "The Illustrious Generation". Her surviving children went on to make historically significant contributions in their own right. Edward became the eleventh King of Portugal, & was known as, "The Philosopher," or the "Eloquent." Henry the Navigator sponsored expeditions to Africa.


19 July 1545 – The Tudor warship Mary Rose sinks off Portsmouth.

The Mary Rose as depicted in the Anthony Roll. The distinct carrack profile with high "castles" fore and aft can clearly be seen. Although the number of guns and gun ports is not entirely accurate, the picture is overall an accurate illustration of the ship.

The Mary Rose as depicted in the Anthony Roll. The distinct carrack profile with high "castles" fore & aft can clearly be seen. Although the number of guns & gun ports is not entirely accurate, the picture is overall an accurate illustration of the ship.

Henry VIII and his fleet setting sail from Dover to Calais on 31 May 1520 on the way to meet Francis I at The Field of Cloth of Gold.

The Embarkation of Henry VIII at Dover, a painting that commemorated King Henry's voyage to the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520, painted in 1540. The vessels in the painting are shown decorated with wooden panels similar to those that would have been used on the Mary Rose on special occasions.

The Mary Rose (launched 1511) is a carrack-type warship of the English Tudor navy of King Henry VIII. She served for 33 years in several wars against France, Scotland, & Brittany. After being substantially rebuilt in 1536, she saw her last action on 19 July 1545. She led the attack on the galleys of a French invasion fleet, but sank in the Solent, the strait north of the Isle of Wight. The wreck of the Mary Rose was discovered in 1971 & was raised on 11 October 1982 by the Mary Rose Trust in one of the most complex & expensive maritime salvage projects in history. The surviving section of the ship & thousands of recovered artefacts are of great value as a Tudor-era time capsule. The excavation & raising of the Mary Rose was a milestone in the field of maritime archaeology. The Mary Rose site is designated under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973 by statutory instrument 1974/55. The wreck is a Protected Wreck managed by Historic England.

The finds include weapons, sailing equipment, naval supplies, & a wide array of objects used by the crew. Many of the artefacts are unique to the Mary Rose & have provided insights into topics ranging from naval warfare to the history of musical instruments. The remains of the hull have been on display at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard since the mid-1980s while undergoing restoration. An extensive collection of well-preserved artefacts is on display at the Mary Rose Museum, built to display the remains of the ship and its artefacts.

The Mary Rose was one of the largest ships in the English navy through more than three decades of intermittent war, & she was one of the earliest examples of a purpose-built sailing warship. She was armed with new types of heavy guns that could fire through the recently invented gun-ports. She was substantially rebuilt in 1536 & was also one of the earliest ships that could fire a broadside, although the line of battle tactics had not yet been developed. Several theories have sought to explain the demise of the Mary Rose, based on historical records, knowledge of 16th-century shipbuilding, & modern experiments. The precise cause of her sinking is still unclear because of conflicting testimonies & a lack of conclusive physical evidence.

Geni, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons


Lady Jane Grey, Queen of England from 10th to the 19th July 1553

19 July 1553 - Lady Jane Grey is replaced by Mary I of England as Queen of England after only nine days on the throne.

Lady Jane Grey (born. c. 1537 – died. 12 February 1554), also known as Lady Jane Dudley (after her marriage) & as "the Nine Days' Queen", was an English noblewoman & de facto Queen of England & Ireland from 10 July until 19 July 1553.

Jane was the great-granddaughter of Henry VII through his younger daughter Mary, & was a first cousin once removed of Edward VI. She had an excellent humanist education & a reputation as one of the most learned young women of her day. She studied Latin, Greek & Hebrew with John Aylmer, & Italian with Michelangelo Florio.

In May 1553, she married Lord Guildford Dudley, a younger son of Edward's chief minister John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland. In June 1553, Edward VI wrote his will, nominating Jane & her male heirs as successors to the Crown, in part because his half-sister Mary was Roman Catholic, while Jane was a committed Protestant & would support the reformed Church of England, whose foundation Edward claimed to have laid. The will removed his half-sisters, Mary & Elizabeth, from the line of succession on account of their illegitimacy, subverting their claims under the Third Succession Act. After Edward's death, Jane was proclaimed queen on 10 July 1553 & awaited coronation in the Tower of London. Support for Mary grew very quickly, & most of Jane's supporters abandoned her.

The Privy Council of England suddenly changed sides & proclaimed Mary as queen on 19 July 1553, deposing Jane. Her primary supporter, her father-in-law the Duke of Northumberland, was accused of treason & executed less than a month later. Jane was held prisoner in the Tower & was convicted in November 1553 of high treason, which carried a sentence of death—though Mary initially spared her life.

However, Jane soon became viewed as a threat to the Crown when her father, Henry Grey, 1st Duke of Suffolk, got involved with Wyatt's rebellion against Queen Mary's intention to marry Philip II of Spain. Both Jane & her husband were executed on 12 February 1554.

Did You Know? Lady Jane Grey is the 3rd cousin 12 times removed of Queen Elizabeth II. Their common ancestor is Elizabeth Woodville, wife of Edward IV.


19 July 1821 - George IV coronation

The coronation of George IV as king of the United Kingdom took place at Westminster Abbey, London, on 19 July 1821. Originally scheduled for 1 August of the previous year, the ceremony had been postponed due to the parliamentary proceedings of George's estranged wife, Caroline of Brunswick; because these failed to deprive Queen Caroline of her titles & obtain a divorce from the king, she was excluded from the ceremony. In accordance with George's lavish personal tastes, the coronation was the most extravagant ever staged & a number of the traditional elements of the ceremonial were conducted for the last time.

George had acceded to the throne on 29 January 1820, on the death of his father, King George III, at Windsor Castle. The late king had been debilitated by illness for most of the previous decade & George had been appointed Prince Regent in his father's place in 1811. From the start of the Regency, Prince George, already notorious for his numerous mistresses & being an extravagant follower of fashion, declared that he would "quite eclipse Napoleon".

To fund the coronation, the king was able to secure £100,000 from government funds & the rest came from the huge war reparations of 100 million French francs which had been forced on France by the Treaty of Paris in 1815. Preparation & furnishing Westminster Abbey & Westminster Hall cost £16,819, £111,810 was spent on jewels & plate, £44,939 on uniforms, robes & costumes, & £25,184 on the banquet. The total cost of the coronation was £238,000, the most expensive ever & more than twenty times the cost of the previous event in 1761.

King George IV

Scaffolding was erected in the abbey to seat 4,656 guests, more than three times the number at the previous coronation. Because of the limited space in the old Palace of Westminster, the interior of Westminster Hall had been subdivided by wooden partitions to serve as courtrooms & these all had to be demolished to create the large space required for the coronation banquet, which required galleries for 2,934 spectators & 1,268 diners seated at 47 tables, some of which had to be sited in other parts of the palace. A temporary triumphal arch was erected at the north end of the hall in the style of a medieval castle.

George IV with the train of his immense robe being carried by eight sons of peers and the Master of the Robes.
George IV with the train of his immense robe being carried by eight sons of peers & the Master of the Robes.

George insisted that the participants should dress in Tudor & Stuart period costumes. Peers were expected to provide their own clothing! The resulting outfits on the day, according to one report, "produced much amusement among the ladies"; but Sir Walter Scott enthused over the "gay & gorgeous & antique dress which floated before the eye". George's personal coronation outfit cost more than £24,000; his 27 feet (8.2 m) red velvet robe was afterwards sold to Madam Tussaud for display in her wax museum, but was eventually rediscovered & has been used at every coronation since that of George V in 1911.

Although many of the Crown Jewels had been inherited from George's ancestors, he spared no expense in enhancing their magnificence. St Edward's Crown, dating from 1661, was actually only a frame, & most of the jewels had to be hired to be set in it; this cost £375,000 in 1821. The new Coronation Crown of George IV was commissioned at an estimated cost of over £50,000. A crown-like hatband for George's plumed hat, now known as the George IV State Diadem, cost £8,000, while crowns for the royal dukes cost £4,000 & for the princesses, £2,000 each. In contrast, crowns for the extended royal family were produced for £40 each at the next coronation.

Queen Caroline was determined to attend the coronation. At 6 am, her carriage arrived at Westminster Hall & was received with applause from a sympathetic section of the crowd & "anxious agitation" by the soldiers & officials supervising the door, which after some confusion was closed. The queen approached on the arm of Lord Hood, but was asked for her ticket by the commander of the guard. Replying that she was the queen & didn't need a ticket, she was firmly turned away. When Caroline & Lord Hood tried to enter by a side door, it was slammed in their faces. Their attempt to find another entrance was blocked by a line of armed soldiers, so they then made for the House of Lords, which was connected to the hall, but when she was denied entry there too, the queen returned to her carriage. After about 20 minutes the party arrived at the abbey, & approached the door which leads into Poet's Corner. Lord Hood addressed the doorkeeper, who was probably one of the professional boxers who had been hired for the event, announcing; "I present to you your queen, do you refuse her admission?" The doorkeeper replied that he could admit no one without a ticket. Lord Hood had his own ticket, but the doorkeeper was insistent that this would only allow one person entry & the queen refused to enter alone. After further fruitless argument, the queen's party retreated, the crowds shouting "Shame! Shame!" as she left in her carriage. Queen Caroline died two weeks later.

The content of the coronation service was the responsibility of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Charles Manners-Sutton, who had only made minor modifications to the text used at the previous coronation, especially excluding any reference to the queen. As at the previous event, printed cards showing the order of service were issued to the participants; this was particularly helpful when the manuscript text of the coronation oath was mislaid & George simply signed the card instead. The wording of the oath itself had been amended from "the people of this kingdom of Great Britain" to "this United Kingdom of Great Britain & Ireland" to reflect the Acts of Union 1800. The sermon was preached by the Archbishop of York, Edward Venables-Vernon-Harcourt, on a text taken from the Book of Samuel; "he that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God".

It was a warm day & the king, encumbered by the weight of his lavish costume, was seen to be perspiring heavily throughout the service & later remarked; "I would not endure again the sufferings of that day for another kingdom!" At the end of the ceremony, the recessional was marred by the premature departure of the choir, so that the king had to pass empty benches covered in litter, described in the press as "a most unpicturesque arrangement".

The Third and Last Challenge by the Champion during King George IV's Coronation Banquet in Westminster Hall
The Third & Last Challenge by the Champion during King George IV's Coronation Banquet in Westminster Hall

The coronation feast or banquet was first recorded at the coronation of Richard I in 1194, but that of 1821 was to be the last. The king returned to the hall in procession at about 3:30 pm. The king retired to a withdrawing room to rest until 6 pm when the feast commenced.

The hall was lit by 2,000 candles in 26 vast chandeliers, but due to the heat of the day, the peers & peeresses below were continually being hit by large globules of melted wax!

The 23 temporary kitchens which had been built adjacent to the hall produced 160 tureens of soup & a similar number of hot fish & roast dishes, along with 3,271 cold dishes. The Deputy Earl Marshal, together with the Lord High Steward & Lord High Constable, supervised the proceedings on horseback, riding along the centre of the hall. An unfortunate incident occurred when the Lord High Steward, Henry Paget, 1st Marquess of Anglesey, was required to dismount & uncover the first dish on the royal table; he had lost his leg at the Battle of Waterloo & because he was wearing a prosthetic leg designed for riding, was unable to dismount without considerable difficulty & the assistance of several pages, which caused much amusement amongst the unsympathetic guests.

The highlight of the banquet was the arrival of the King's Champion, which had been a hereditary title held by the Dymoke family since the 14th century. Unfortunately, the holder of the post, the Reverend John Dymoke, was a clergyman & so the honour passed to his son, Henry Dymoke who was only 20 years old & did not possess a suitable horse, so one had to be hired from Astley's Circus. Amid much ceremony, the champion in a full suit of armour rode in through the archway, flanked by the Lord High Steward & the Lord High Constable & riding the length of the hall, throwing down his gauntlet three times in the traditional challenge, the last time that this was enacted. During the toasts, the choir sang God Save the King again, joined enthusiastically by the diners & spectators who had risen to their feet. The choir then sang Non nobis Domine, perhaps because it appears in William Shakespeare's play Henry V after the Battle of Agincourt as an echo of George's perceived victory over Napoleon.

The king finally rose from his table at 8:20 pm & left for Carlton House by carriage. The spectators from the galleries were allowed down to the hall floor & proceeded to clear the tables, not only of leftover food, but they helped themselves to the cutlery, glasses, silver platters & table ornaments as well. Lord Gwydyr managed to prevent the priceless gold coronation plates from being carried off & armed soldiers arrived in time to prevent the kitchens being ransacked. The hall was not cleared until 3 am the next morning, when some who had fallen asleep on the floor had to be carried to their coaches.


Princess Augusta of Cambridge

19 July 1822 – Princess Augusta of Cambridge was born (d. 1916)

Princess Augusta of Cambridge was a granddaughter of George III. She married into the Grand Ducal House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz & became the Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

Princess Augusta was born on 19 July 1822 at the Palace of Montbrillant, Hanover. Her father was Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge, the seventh son of George III & Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Her mother was Princess Augusta of Hesse-Kassel. As a male line granddaughter of the British monarch, she was titled a British princess with the style of Royal Highness. The Princess spent her earlier years in Hanover, where her father was the viceroy on behalf of his brother, George IV.

Princess Augusta of Cambridge by Georg Friedrich Reichmann
Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2021

Princess Augusta of Cambridge by Georg Friedrich Reichmann

Princess Augusta had one brother, Prince George, later 2nd Duke of Cambridge; & one sister, Princess Mary Adelaide, later Duchess of Teck. As such, Princess Augusta was an aunt to Mary of Teck, later consort of George V. Additionally, Princess Augusta was a first cousin through her father to Queen Victoria & through her mother to Princess Louise of Hesse-Kassel, the wife of King Christian IX of Denmark!

On 28 June 1843, Princess Augusta married her first cousin, Frederick William of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, at Buckingham Palace, London. (The two were also second cousins on their fathers' side.) Upon marriage, Augusta became the Hereditary Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz &, on 6 September 1860, the Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz following the death of her father-in-law. The Grand Duke & Grand Duchess had two children:

  • Duke Frederick William of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (born & died in London, 13 January 1845)

  • Duke Adolphus Frederick of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (22 July 1848 – 11 June 1914); succeeded his father as Adolphus Frederick V in May 1904.

[Princess Augusta of Cambridge, Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz] 1850.

Although she spent most of her adult life in Germany, the Grand Duchess Augusta retained close personal ties to the British Royal Family. She frequently visited her mother, the Duchess of Cambridge, at her Kensington Palace apartments. After her mother's death in 1889, the Grand Duchess acquired a house in London's Buckingham Gate area, where she spent a portion of the year until advanced old age made it impossible for her to travel abroad.

In making preparations for the coronation of King Edward VII & Queen Alexandra in 1901, the Duke of Norfolk consulted her on matters of etiquette & attire. This was due to her presence at the coronation of King William IV & Queen Adelaide seventy-one years earlier. She was nine years old at the time & kissed the Queen's hand. She was also able to provide details of the coronation of Queen Victoria. The Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was particularly close to her niece, the future Queen Mary. However, old age prevented her from attending the coronation of King George V & Queen Mary on 22 June 1911.

As an elderly lady, she was known for being cantankerous. She was also known as being quite shrewd & intelligent. The Dowager Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz died on 5 December 1916 in Neustrelitz & was buried in Mirow. As the longest-lived grandchild of George III, she was the last link to the British branch of the House of Hanover. At the time of her death, she was 94 years, 4 months & 16 days old, making her the longest-lived British princess by blood, until Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, a male-line granddaughter of Queen Victoria, surpassed her in 1977.


20 July

20 July 1304 - Edward I of England takes Stirling Castle using the War Wolf for the first time.

Scale model of Warwolf in front of Caerlaverock Castle.

The Warwolf, or War Wolf or Ludgar (Loup de Guerre), is believed to be the largest trebuchet ever made. It was created in Scotland by order of King Edward I of England, during the siege of Stirling Castle, as part of the Scottish Wars of Independence.

When disassembled, the weapon would fill 30 wagons in parts. It reportedly took five master carpenters & forty-nine other labourers at least three months to complete. A contemporary account of the siege states, "During this business the king had carpenters construct a fearful engine called the loup-de-guerre [War wolf], & this when it threw, brought down the whole wall."

Even before construction could be completed, Scottish soldiers offered surrender, fearing the weapon's potential to destroy the entire castle. Edward sent the truce party back inside the castle, declaring, "You do not deserve any grace, but must surrender to my will." Edward decided to carry on with the siege & witness the destructive power of the weapon. The Warwolf reportedly, could accurately hurl rocks weighing as much as 135 kilograms (298 lb) from distance of 200 metres (660 ft) & level a large section of the curtain wall.


20 July 1346 – Margaret of England, Countess of Pembroke was born

Margaret of England was born in Windsor. She was the daughter of King Edward III of England & his consort, Philippa of Hainault. Margaret would be the last princess born to a reigning English monarch for over a century, until the birth of Elizabeth of York in 1466. She was also known as Margaret of Windsor. Margaret was raised with John Hastings, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, son of Laurence Hastings, 1st Earl of Pembroke & his wife Agnes, the daughter of Roger Mortimer (the favourite of Isabella of France). As children they had a close companionship. On 13 May 1359, she became the wife of John Hastings in the same week as her brother John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster married Blanche of Lancaster, in Reading. Two years later, Margaret died, & was buried in Abingdon Abbey. The exact date and cause of her death is unknown; she was last mentioned as living on 1 October 1361.


20 July 1405 – Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan, fourth son of King Robert II of Scotland died.

Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan, fourth son of King Robert II of Scotland


Ferdinand I of Romania

20 July 1927 – Ferdinand I, king of Romania died

Ferdinand (24 August 1865 – 20 July 1927), nicknamed Întregitorul ("the Unifier"), was King of Romania from 1914 until his death in 1927. Ferdinand was the second son of Leopold, Prince of Hohenzollern & Infanta Antónia of Portugal, daughter of Ferdinand II of Portugal & Maria II of Portugal. His family was part of the Catholic branch of the Prussian royal family Hohenzollern. He married in 1892 Princess Maria Alexandra Victoria, later known as Queen Marie of Romania, granddaughter of Queen Victoria, daughter of Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha & Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia.


21 July

Battle of Shrewsbury, an illustration from Pennant's 'A tour in Wales', 1781
Battle of Shrewsbury, an illustration from Pennant's 'A tour in Wales', 1781

21 July 1403 - The Battle of Shrewsbury

The Battle of Shrewsbury was a battle fought on 21 July 1403, waged between an army led by the Lancastrian King Henry IV & a rebel army led by Henry "Harry Hotspur" Percy from Northumberland. The battle, the first in which English archers fought each other on English soil, demonstrated the effectiveness of the longbow & ended the Percy challenge to King Henry IV of England. Part of the fighting is believed to have taken place at what is now Battlefield, Shropshire, England, three miles north of the centre of Shrewsbury. It is marked today by Battlefield Church and Battlefield Heritage Park.

King Henry V framed portrait
Henry V

During the battle, Henry V then a sixteen-year-old prince was almost killed by an arrow that became stuck in his face. An ordinary soldier might have died from such a wound, but Henry had the benefit of the best possible care. Over a period of several days, John Bradmore, the royal physician, treated the wound with honey to act as an antiseptic, crafted a tool to screw into the broken arrow shaft & thus extract the arrow without doing further damage, & then flushed the wound with alcohol. The operation was successful, but it left Henry with permanent scars, evidence of his experience in battle.


Aragorn, lion headed rabbit
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