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#otd in royal history 13-30 June

Updated: Jun 29, 2023

On this day in royal history blog cover - June part 2

13 June

King Charles I and his family

13 June 1625

Charles I married Henrietta Maria of France

In May 1625 king Charles I was married by proxy to the fifteen-year-old French princess Henrietta Maria in front of the doors of Notre Dame de Paris in France. The married couple met in person on 13 June 1625 in Canterbury. Charles delayed the opening of his first Parliament until after the marriage was consummated, to forestall any opposition. Members of the Commons were deeply opposed to the king's marriage to a Roman Catholic, fearing that Charles would lift restrictions on Catholic recusants & undermine the official establishment of the reformed Church of England.

Although he told Parliament that he would not relax religious restrictions, he promised to do exactly that in a secret marriage treaty with his brother-in-law Louis XIII of France. Also, the treaty loaned to the French seven English naval ships that would be used to suppress the Protestant Huguenots at La Rochelle in September 1625. Charles was crowned on 2 February 1626 at Westminster Abbey, without his wife at his side because she flatly refused to participate in a Protestant religious ceremony.


13 June 1987

Princess Anne made Princess Royal

Princess Royal is a substantive title customarily (not automatically) awarded by a British monarch to his or her eldest daughter. There have been seven Princesses Royal. Princess Anne is the current Princess Royal. Queen Elizabeth II was never known as the Princess Royal because her aunt, Princess Mary, held the title.

The title Princess Royal came into existence when Queen Henrietta Maria (1609–1669), wife of King Charles I (1600–1649), wanted to imitate the way the eldest daughter of the King of France was styled "Madame Royale". Thus Princess Mary (born 1631), the daughter of Henrietta Maria & Charles, became the first Princess Royal in 1642. Mary was also The Princess of Orange as husband of William II, & the mother of William III of England.

Princess Mary (later Queen Mary II) (1662–1694), eldest daughter of King James II & VII, & Princess Sophia Dorothea (1687–1757), only daughter of King George I, though eligible for this honour they didn't receive it.


Other 13 June history;

1381 – In England, the Peasants' Revolt, led by Wat Tyler, comes to a head, as rebels set fire to the Savoy Palace.

1917 – World War I: The deadliest German air raid on London of the war is carried out by Gotha G.IV bombers & results in 162 deaths, including 46 children, and 432 injuries.

1944 – World War II: Germany launches the first V1 Flying Bomb attack on England. Only four of the eleven bombs strike their targets.

1981 – At the Trooping the Colour ceremony in London, a teenager, Marcus Sarjeant, fires six blank shots at Queen Elizabeth II.


14 June

The Young king is crowned
The Young king is crowned

14 June 1170

Henry the young King's coronation

Henry the Young King is the only King of England since the Norman Conquest to be crowned during his father's reign.

Henry the Young King (b.28 February 1155 – d.11 June 1183) was the eldest surviving son of Henry II of England & Eleanor of Aquitaine. Beginning in 1170, he was titular King of England, Duke of Normandy, Count of Anjou & Maine. Despite being crowned king he was frustrated by his father's refusal to grant him meaningful autonomous power. He died aged 28, six years before his father, leaving his brother Richard (Lionheart) to become the next king.

In June 1170, the fifteen-year-old Henry was crowned king of England during his father's lifetime, something that was originally practised by the French Capetian dynasty. The physical appearance of Henry at his coronation in 1170 is given in a contemporary court poem written in Latin, where the fifteen-year-old prince is described as being handsome, "tall but well proportioned, broad-shouldered with a long & elegant neck, pale & freckled skin, bright & wide blue eyes, & a thick mop of the reddish-gold hair".

During his own lifetime he was known as "Henry the Young King" to distinguish him from his father Henry II. But because he was not a 'reigning' king, he is not counted in the numerical succession of kings of England. According to a correspondent of Thomas Becket, Henry was knighted by his father before the coronation, but the biographer of William Marshal asserts that the king was knighted by William in the course of the rebellion in 1173 (Georges Duby, Guillaume le Maréchal. Le meilleur chevalier du monde. 1984).

At his coronation banquet, the Young King is served by his father, King Henry II (Becket Leaves, c.1220-1240).

At his coronation banquet, the Young King is served by his father, King Henry II (Becket Leaves, c.1220-1240).


Richard II meets the rebels on 14 June 1381 in a miniature from a 1470s copy of Jean Froissart's Chronicles.
Richard II meets the rebels on 14 June 1381 in a miniature from a 1470s copy of Jean Froissart's Chronicles.

14 June 1381

Peasants Revolt: rebels take Tower of London

The Peasants' Revolt, was a major uprising across large parts of England in the year of 1381. The revolt had several causes, including the socio-economic & political tensions generated by the Black Death pandemic in the 1340's, high taxes resulting from the conflict with France during the Hundred Years' War, & the 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. As he attempted to collect unpaid poll taxes in Brentwood a violent confrontation erupted, which spread across the south-east of the country. People from all backgrounds of rural society, including many artisans & village officials, rose up in protest, burning court records & setting free prisoners. They sought a reduction in taxation, an end to the system of unfree labour known as serfdom, & the removal of the King's senior officials & law courts.

The rebels were inspired by the radical cleric John Ball & led by Wat Tyler. A contingent of Kentish rebels arrived at London & were met at Blackheath by representatives of the government, who unsuccessfully tried to persuade them to return home. King Richard II, then aged 14, retreated to the safety of the Tower of London. at the time most of the royal forces were abroad or in northern England. On 13 June, the rebels entered London. They were joined by many Londoners, & they attacked the gaols, sacked the Savoy Palace, set fire to law books & buildings in the Temple, & executed anyone associated with the royal government. On 14 June 1381 the king met the rebels at Mile End & agreed to most of their demands, including the end of serfdom. Richard issued charters that announced the abolition of serfdom, which immediately began to be sent around the country. He declined to hand over any of his officials, instead promising that he would personally implement any justice that was required.

While Richard was at Mile End, around 400 rebels operating separately from Tyler got into the Tower of London, & hunted down their targets. They killed the Lord Chancellor & the Lord High Treasurer, whom they found inside, beheading them out on Tower Hill. Their heads were shown to people around the town, before being affixed to London Bridge. The rebels found the future Henry IV, son of John of Gaunt & were about to execute him too, until one of the royal guards, John Ferrour saved the future king. They also stole all the armour & royal paraphernalia they could find.

On 15 June, king Richard II met Tyler & the rebels at Smithfield. Fighting broke out, & Richard's party killed Tyler in the melee. The king managed to defuse the situation long enough for London's mayor, William Walworth, to gather a militia from the city & push out the rebel forces.

The rebel leader's head was cut off & displayed on a pole &, with their leader now dead & the royal government backed by the London militia, the rebel movement began to disintegrate. Richard knighted Walworth & his leading supporters for their services. The king re-established order in London & rescinded his previous grants to the rebels. The revolt had also spread into East Anglia, where the University of Cambridge was attacked & royal officials were killed. Unrest continued until the intervention of Henry Despenser, who defeated a rebel army at the Battle of North Walsham on 25 or 26 June. Trouble even extended north to York, Beverley & Scarborough, & as far west as Bridgwater in Somerset. Richard put together an army of 4,000 soldiers to restore order. The majority of the rebel leaders were tracked down & executed; by November, at least 1,500 rebels had been killed.

Image:14th-century depiction of William Walworth killing Wat Tyler; the King is represented twice, watching events unfold (left) & addressing the crowd (right). British Library, London.

Image:14th-century depiction of William Walworth killing Wat Tyler; the King is represented twice, watching events unfold (left) & addressing the crowd (right). British Library, London.


Other 14 June history;

1216 – First Barons' War: Prince Louis of France takes the city of Winchester, abandoned by John, King of England, and soon conquers over half of the kingdom.

1404 – Welsh rebel leader Owain Glyndŵr, having declared himself Prince of Wales, allies himself with the French against King Henry IV of England.

1645 – English Civil War: Battle of Naseby: Twelve thousand Royalist forces are beaten by 15,000 Parliamentarian soldiers.

1690 – King William III of England (William of Orange) lands in Ireland to confront the former King James II.


15 June

15 June 1215

King John puts his great seal to The Magna Carta

A romanticised 19th-century recreation of King John signing Magna Carta. Rather than signing in writing, the document would have been authenticated with the Great Seal and applied by officials rather than John himself.

A romanticised 19th-century recreation of King John signing Magna Carta. Rather than signing in writing, the document would have been authenticated with the Great Seal & applied by officials rather than John himself.

Image: The Magna Carta (originally known as the Charter of Liberties) of 1215, written in iron gall ink on parchment in medieval Latin, using standard abbreviations of the period, authenticated with the Great Seal of King John. The original wax seal was lost over the centuries. This document is held at the British Library and is identified as "British Library Cotton MS Augustus II.106".

Image: The Magna Carta (originally known as the Charter of Liberties) of 1215, written in iron gall ink on parchment in medieval Latin, using standard abbreviations of the period, authenticated with the Great Seal of King John. The original wax seal was lost over the centuries. This document is held at the British Library and is identified as "British Library Cotton MS Augustus II.106".

The document known as the Magna Carta or Great Charter, is recognised as a fundamental part of the English constitutional tradition.

In 1215 King John of England (r.1199–1216) fought more than forty English barons & their followers in a civil war. The king had enraged the barons by extracting revenues based on their feudal obligations in order to fight his war in France. After John lost the war, the barons rebelled against their king.

The rebels demanded that the king confirm the Charter of Henry I, a coronation charter from 1100 in which King Henry I had promised to end all evil customs that oppressed the realm. Additional grievances were added to the charter, which King John was forced to accept at Runnymede, 15 June 1215, after the rebels occupied London.

Magna Carta contains sixty-three chapters. Many of the chapters defined the king's feudal rights over his vassals, preventing the king from collecting revenue from the barons as & when he pleased. Chapter 39 established the right to due process of law, & in chapter 40 the king promised that he would not sell, deny, or delay justice to anyone.

However, the Magna Carta didn't resolve the dispute between the barons & the King. Within months they were at war again. In August 1215 the charter was annulled by Pope Innocent III, John's feudal overlord, on the grounds that it had been executed under duress. In 1216, however, after John's death the charter was reissued with some modifications. At the conclusion of the civil war in 1217, it was reissued again with minor revisions. This version of Magna Carta became part of the English constitutional tradition; confirmed by later kings & interpreted by Parliament, it is still revered as a symbol of English liberties.


Edward is granted Aquitaine by his father Edward III
Edward is granted Aquitaine by his father Edward III

15 June 1330

Edward the Black Prince was born (d.1376)

Edward the Black Prince, also known as Edward of Woodstock (after his place of birth), was the eldest son of Edward III & Philippa of Hainaut. On 18 March, 1333, shortly before his third birthday, he was created Earl of Chester, & he was made Duke of Cornwall on 3 March, 1337.

During the next few years he was guardian of the kingdom while his father was absent on the Continent, & on 12 May, 1343, Edward was created Prince of Wales. At the age of 15 he was knighted by his father at La Hogue, & the following year Edward took an active role in the winning of the Battle of Crécy against the French. It was at this battle that he obtained the name of "the Black Prince," possibly because he wore black armour.


Henry FitzRoy, Duke of Richmond, illegitimate son of Henry VII of England
Henry FitzRoy, Duke of Richmond, illegitimate son of Henry VII of England

15 June 1519

Henry Fitzroy was born

Henry was the illegitimate son of Henry VIII by Elizabeth Blount, a lady-in-waiting to Katharine of Aragon. Henry was given the surname 'FitzRoy' to make sure that all knew he was the son of the King (FitzRoy is an Anglo-Norman name originally meaning "son of the king"). The child was officially acknowledged by the King after the early deaths of the three sons born to the Queen.

Following his divorce from Katharine of Aragon & his subsequent marriage to Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's attachment to Henry Fitzroy assumed a greater significance, particularly when his second wife also failed to produce a male heir. Appointed Knight of the Garter in 1525 & made Duke of Richmond & Somerset in the same year, Henry Fitzroy was given several important positions, including that of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

His education was entrusted to the distinguished classical scholar Richard Croke, who had taught Greek to Henry VIII, & was extended by attendance at the court of Francis I in France for eleven months in 1532. At the age of 14, on 28 November 1533 the Duke married Lady Mary Howard, the only daughter of Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk. Thomas Howard was an uncle of two of the wives of Henry VIII: Anne Boleyn & Catherine Howard,

It appears that Henry VIII may have contemplated making Henry Fitzroy his heir, but whatever the King's intentions may have been, the plan was spoiled by Henry Fitzroy's premature death of tuberculosis at the age of 17 in 1536.


Other 15 June history;

960 – Eadburh of Winchester, English princess and saint died.

1905 - Princess Margaret of Connaught married Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden. Princess Margaret was the elder daughter of Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, third son of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, & his wife Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia.


16 June

The red rose of Lancaster & white rose of York
The red rose of Lancaster & white rose of York

16 June 1487

Battle of Stoke field

It was the last major engagement between contenders for the throne whose claims derived from descent from the houses of Lancaster & York respectively, & is seen as the last battle of the Wars of the Roses. Henry VII's victory at The Battle of Bosworth Field, two years previously, had established himself on the throne, ending the last period of Yorkist rule & the beginning of the Tudor dynasty. The Battle of Stoke Field was the decisive engagement in an attempt by leading Yorkists to unseat him in favour of the pretender Lambert Simnel, who claimed to be Edward Plantagenet, 17th Earl of Warwick.

Henry VII, the first Tudor king of England
Henry VII, the first Tudor king of England

Simnel was captured, but was pardoned by Henry in a gesture of clemency which did his reputation no harm. Henry realised that Simnel was just a puppet for the leading Yorkists. He was given a job in the royal kitchen, & later promoted to falconer.

To mark his victory, Henry raised his standard on Burham Furlong. The spot is marked by a large stone memorial with the legend "Here stood the Burrand Bush planted on the spot where Henry VII placed his standard after the Battle of Stoke 16 June 1487". Later in Henry's reign, the 1490's, another pretender to the throne emerged, in the person of Perkin Warbeck; however, this time the matter was resolved without having to fight a major battle.


Other 16 June history;

1332 - Isabella, Countess of Bedford, daughter of Edward III & Philippa of Hainault was born.

John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, Captain-General of the English forces and Master-General of the Ordnance, 1702, attributed to Michael Dahl, after Godfrey Kneller. This painting is in the collection of the National Army Museum, London.
John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, 1702, attributed to Michael Dahl, after Godfrey Kneller.

1722 - General John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough died (b.1650). Churchill was an English soldier & statesman whose career spanned the reigns of five monarchs. As de facto leader of Allied forces in the Low Countries, his victories at Blenheim (1704), Ramillies (1706), Oudenarde (1708), & Malplaquet (1709) ensured his place in history as one of Europe's great generals. He was an ancestor of Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965) & Diana, Princess of Wales (1961-1997).

1815 – Battle of Ligny & Battle of Quatre Bras, two days before the Battle of Waterloo.

1883 – The Victoria Hall theatre panic in Sunderland, England, kills 183 children.


17 June

King Edward I of England
King Edward I

17 June 1239

Edward I was born at the Palace of Westminster (d.1307)

Edward (also known as Edward Longshanks & the Hammer of the Scots) was born at Westminster, & was the son of Henry III & Eleanor of Provence. Before his accession to the throne, he was commonly referred to as The Lord Edward. Edward is an Anglo-Saxon name, & was not commonly given among the aristocracy of England after the Norman conquest, but Henry was devoted to the veneration of Edward the Confessor, & decided to name his firstborn son after the saint.

In 1254, he married Eleanor of Castile. Edward's early adulthood took place against a backdrop of civil strife between his father Henry III & rebel barons. Edward was himself held captive at one point by the rebel leader Simon de Montfort before escaping & leading royalist forces to victory at the Battle of Evesham in August 1265, where de Montfort was killed. In 1270, Edward left England to join the Eighth Crusade. His father died two years later in 1272 & Edward left the crusade, eventually returning to London, in August 1274. The new king was determined to enforce his primacy in the British Isles. The first part of his reign was dominated by his campaigns in Wales. He invaded in 1277, defeated the Welsh leader, Llywelyn ap Gruffyd & built a ring of castles to enforce his authority. After his rule provoked rebellion, he invaded again. Gruffyd was killed in battle in 1282 & his brother David executed, ending Welsh hopes of independence. Wales was brought into the English legal & administrative framework & in 1301 Edward's son was proclaimed prince of Wales - a tradition that persists to this day.

At home, Edward was responsible for a variety of legal & administrative reforms, asserting the rights of the Crown, promoting the uniform administration of justice & codifying the legal system.

His military campaigns necessitated increases in taxation which in turn required more regular meetings of parliament - by the end of Edward's reign, these had become an established feature of political life. The desire for financial gain contributed to Edward's expulsion of Jews from England in 1290.

In 1292, Edward was asked to arbitrate in a succession dispute in Scotland & nominated John Balliol as king. Balliol duly swore allegiance to Edward, but Edward's demands pushed the Scots into an alliance with France. Edward invaded & conquered Scotland. Opposition gathered around William Wallace, but he was captured by the English & executed in 1305. When the King died in 1307, he left to his son Edward II an ongoing war with Scotland & many financial & political problems.

Edward was an imposing man; at 6 ft 2 in (188 cm) he towered over most of his contemporaries, & hence perhaps his epithet "Longshanks", meaning "long legs" or "long shins".

Early fourteenth-century manuscript initial showing Edward and his wife Eleanor of Castile. The artist has perhaps tried to depict Edward's blepharoptosis (drooping eyelid), a trait he inherited from his father.

Early fourteenth-century manuscript initial showing Edward & his wife Eleanor of Castile. The artist has perhaps tried to depict Edward's blepharoptosis (drooping eyelid), a trait he inherited from his father.


Other 17 June history;

1219 – David of Scotland died (b.1192). He was a Scottish prince & 8th Earl of Huntingdon. He was, until 1198, heir to the Scottish throne.

1497 Cornish rebels under Michael an Gof are soundly defeated by Henry VII at the Battle of Deptford Bridge.

1940 – World War II: RMS Lancastria is attacked & sunk by the Luftwaffe near Saint-Nazaire, France. At least 3,000 are killed in Britain's worst maritime disaster.


18 June

Eleanor of Woodstock

18 June 1318

Eleanor of Woodstock was born

Eleanor was an English princess & Duchess consort of Guelders by marriage. She was regent of Guelders as the guardian of her minor son from 1343 until 1344.

Eleanor was born at Woodstock Palace in Oxfordshire. Her parents were King Edward II of England & his queen Isabella of France. She was a younger sister of Edward III & the second wife of Reginald II of Guelders, "the Black". Eleanor's maternal grandfather was King Philip the Fair of France.

In May 1332 Eleanor married the reigning Count of Guelders, Reinoud II "the black" (English: Reginald), of the House of Wassenberg (born c. 1287), he was a widower with four daughters. Her wedding trousseau included a wedding gown of Spanish cloth, caps, gloves, shoes, a bed, rare spices & loaves of sugar. She was well received by the people of Guelders. They had two children; Reinald III "the fat" (1334–1371) & Edward, Duke of Guelders (1336–1371).

Eleanor suffered with anxiety & was over-eager to please her husband, who eventually tired of her & sent her from court (1338). He told people she had leprosy. Her husband then tried to annul the marriage. Eleanor turned up in Court in Nijmegen to contest the annulment, & proceeded to strip down, proving she was no leper, & thus forcing her husband to take her back. He died from a fall from his horse on 12 October 1343.

Eleanor became the regent of Guelders for her nine-year-old son Reginald, until she was forced to resign in 1344. She & Reginald later argued over making peace with his younger brother, & he confiscated her lands. On 22 April 1355, twelve years after she became a widow, Eleanor died in poverty in a Cistercian convent aged 36 on 22 April 1355. She had been too proud to ask her brother Edward III for help & was buried in Deventer Abbey.

Her tombstone had the simple inscription ELEANOR on it; however, in England, on the south side of Queen Philippa of Hainault's tomb in Westminster Abbey there is an image of her & her husband.


Other 18 June history;

1429 – Charles VII's army defeats an English army under John Talbot at the Battle of Patay during the Hundred Years' War. The English lost 2,200 men, over half their army, crippling their efforts during this segment of the war.

1525 - Henry Fitzroy (Henry VIIIs illegitimate son), made Duke of Somerset & Richmond

1633 – Charles I is crowned King of Scots at St Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh.

1643 - The Royalists gain victory at the Battle of Chalgrove Field, during the First English Civil War.

1815 - The Battle of Waterloo. The allied coalition led by the Duke of Edinburgh defeats the French led by Napoleon Bonaparte.

1940 – The "Finest Hour" speech is delivered by Winston Churchill.


18 June 2020

Vera Lynn, English singer who was the "Forces' Sweetheart" in World War II died

Dame Vera Margaret Lynn (née Welch), born in 1917, was an English singer & entertainer whose musical recordings & performances were very popular during the Second World War. She is honorifically known as the "Forces' Sweetheart", having given outdoor concerts for the troops in Egypt, India & Burma during the war as part of the Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA). The songs most associated with her include "We'll Meet Again", "(There'll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover", "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square" & "There'll Always Be an England".


19 June

Portrait by Paul van Somer, c. 1620. In the background is the Banqueting House, Whitehall, by architect Inigo Jones, commissioned by James.
Portrait by Paul van Somer, c. 1620.

19 June 1566

James VI & I was born (d.1625)

James was the only son of Mary, Queen of Scots, & her second husband, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. Both his parents were great-grandchildren of Henry VII of England through Margaret Tudor, the older sister of Henry VIII.

James was born at Edinburgh Castle, & as the eldest son & heir apparent of the monarch, automatically became Duke of Rothesay & Prince & Great Steward of Scotland. He was baptised "Charles James" or "James Charles" on 17 December 1566 in a Catholic ceremony held at Stirling Castle. Mary's rule as Queen of Scotland was insecure, & being Roman Catholic, she faced a rebellion by Protestant noblemen. Her husband secretly allied himself with the rebels & conspired in the murder of the Queen's private secretary, David Rizzio.

Portrait of James as a boy, after Arnold Bronckorst, 1574
Portrait of James as a boy, after Arnold Bronckorst, 1574

James's father, Darnley, was murdered on 10 February 1567 at Kirk o' Field, Edinburgh, possibly in revenge for the killing of Rizzio. James inherited his father's titles of Duke of Albany & Earl of Ross. Mary was already unpopular, & her marriage on 15 May 1567 to James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell, who was suspected of murdering Darnley only added to her problems. In June 1567, Protestant rebels arrested Mary & imprisoned her in Loch Leven Castle; she never saw her son again. Mary was forced to abdicate on 24 July 1567 in favour of the infant James & to appoint her illegitimate half-brother, James Stewart, Earl of Moray, as regent.

James VI & I was King of Scotland as James VI from 24 July 1567 & King of England & Ireland as James I from the union of the Scottish & English crowns on 24 March 1603 until his death in 1625. The kingdoms of Scotland & England were individual sovereign states, with their own parliaments, judiciaries, & laws, though both were ruled by James in personal union. In 1603, he succeeded the last Tudor monarch of England, Elizabeth I, who died childless. He reigned in all three kingdoms for 22 years, a period known after him as the Jacobean era. After the Union of the Crowns, he based himself in England from 1603, & styled himself "King of Great Britain & Ireland". He was a major advocate of a single parliament for England & Scotland. In his reign, the Plantation of Ulster & British colonisation of the Americas began.

He was married to Anne of Denmark (m.1589), they had seven children who survived beyond birth, of whom three reached adulthood, including the future king Charles I.

James VI & I's descendants include Queen Elizabeth II, Philippe, king of the Belgians, Felipe VI king of Spain, Carl XVI Gustaf king of Sweden, Margrethe II Queen of Denmark, Harald V king of Norway, Willem-Alexander king of the Netherlands, & Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg.

Kings and Queens - Amazing and Extraordinary Facts Book


19 June 1999

Prince Edward married Sophie Rhys-Jones

The Queen's youngest son Prince Edward met Sophie Rhys-Jones, then a public relations executive with her own firm, at a tennis event in 1994. Their engagement was announced on 6 January 1999. Edward proposed to Sophie with an Asprey & Garrard engagement ring worth an estimated £105,000: a two-carat oval diamond flanked by two heart-shaped gemstones set in 18-carat white gold.

The wedding took place in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. On his wedding day, Prince Edward was created Earl of Wessex, with the subsidiary title of Viscount Severn (derived from the Welsh roots of the Countess's family), breaking from a tradition whereby sons of the sovereign were created royal dukes. It was however revealed that the Queen wished that he be elevated from the rank of Earl to Duke of Edinburgh after that dukedom, held by Prince Philip since 1947, reverts to the Crown (after the death of the current Duke & the Queen), & for his children to be styled as the children of an Earl, rather than as prince/ss & royal highness.

Edward & Sophie decided the wedding would not be turned into a state occasion, without ceremonial state or military involvement. The wedding ceremony was mainly a family occasion. Rather than court dress, the couple asked guests to wear formal evening gowns, & not to wear hats to reflect its wish for a more informal royal wedding. Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother wore a hat regardless, as she was rarely seen in public without one! Prince Edward's two brothers, the Prince of Wales & the Duke of York, both served as his supporters (the royal equivalent of the "best man"). Children of the couple's friends served as Sophie's attendants: Camilla Hadden, Olivia Taylor, Felix Sowerbutts, & Harry Warburton.

The bride arrived with her father Christopher Rhys-Jones in a Rolls Royce owned by the Queen, & he walked her down the aisle while a fanfare by the Royal Marines was being played. Peter Nott, the Bishop of Norwich, performed the ceremony. Unlike previous royal weddings, like that of the Prince & Princess of Wales, Sophie chose to say the word "obey" in her vow "to love, cherish & obey". The couple said their respective vows properly, though some onlookers noted Edward had a little difficulty placing the wedding ring on Sophie's finger. In keeping with tradition, the wedding ring was crafted from Welsh gold from the Prince Edward mine in Gwynedd. The tradition of using Welsh gold within the wedding rings of the royal family dates back to 1923.


Other 19 June history;

1282 – Eleanor de Montfort, Welsh princess died (b. 1252).

1306 - The English defeat the Scots at the Battle of Methven during the Wars of Scottish Independence.

1500 - Edmund Tudor, Duke of Somerset died. Edmund (b.1499) was an English prince, & the sixth child of King Henry VII & his wife, Elizabeth of York.

1896 – Wallis Simpson, American wife of Edward VIII was born (d. 1986).


20 June

King William IV of Great Britain

20 June 1837

King William IV died

The 71 year old monarch was seriously ill in June 1837, Queen Adelaide attended the dying William devotedly, not going to bed herself for more than ten days. William IV died in the early hours of the morning of 20 June 1837 at Windsor Castle, where he was buried. As he had no living legitimate issue, the Crown of the United Kingdom passed to Princess Alexandrina Victoria of Kent, the only child of Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent, George III's fourth son. He was succeeded in Hanover by his brother, Ernest Augustus I.

William was born on 21 August 1765. He was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Ireland & King of Hanover from 26 June 1830 until his death in 1837. He was the third son of George III & Queen Charlotte, & younger brother & successor to George IV, he was the last king & penultimate monarch of Britain's House of Hanover.

'Sailor King'

William served in the Royal Navy in his youth & was, both during his reign & afterwards, nicknamed the "Sailor King". He served in North America & the Caribbean, but saw little actual fighting, though he was present at the Battle of Cape St Vincent in 1780. He did his share of the cooking & got arrested with his shipmates after a drunken brawl in Gibraltar. His time in the navy was similar to other midshipmen, the only difference was he was accompanied on board ships by a tutor. He served in New York during the American War of Independence, making him the only member of the British royal family to visit America up to and through the American Revolution. He became a lieutenant in 1785 & captain of HMS Pegasus the following year. In late 1786, he was stationed in the West Indies under Horatio Nelson, who wrote of William: "In his professional line, he is superior to two-thirds, I am sure, of the [Naval] list; & in attention to orders, & respect to his superior officer, I hardly know his equal." The two were great friends, & dined together almost nightly. At Nelson's wedding, the future king insisted on giving the bride away. He was given command of the frigate HMS Andromeda in 1788, & was promoted to rear-admiral in command of HMS Valiant the following year. In 1789, he was created Duke of Clarence & St Andrews. He ended his naval service in 1790.

In the House of Lords, William spoke in opposition to the abolition of slavery, which although not legal in the UK still existed in the British colonies. Freedom would do the slaves little good, he argued. William had travelled widely &, in his view, the living standard among freemen in the Highlands & Islands of Scotland was worse than that among slaves in the West Indies. He was appointed Lord High Admiral in 1827. He abolished the cat o' nine tails for most offences other than mutiny, attempted to improve the standard of naval gunnery, & required regular reports of the condition & preparedness of each ship.

At Kew Palace on 11 July 1818, William married Princess Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen in a double wedding with William's brother, Prince Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent & Strathearn, & his bride Victoria, Dowager Princess of Leiningen (Queen Victoria's parents),

William was 27 years her senior. The marriage, which lasted almost twenty years until his death, was a happy one. Adelaide took both William & his finances in hand. For their first year of marriage, the couple lived in economical fashion in Germany. William is not known to have had mistresses after his marriage. The couple had two short-lived daughters & Adelaide suffered three miscarriages.

He inherited the throne when he was 64 years old. During William's reign the British Parliament enacted major reforms, including the Factory Act of 1833 (preventing child labour), the Slavery Abolition Act 1833 (emancipating slaves in the colonies), & the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834 (standardising provision for the destitute). Though William didn't have any interest in politics unlike his brother or his father, he was the last monarch to appoint a prime minister contrary to the will of Parliament. William had no surviving legitimate children but he was survived by eight of the ten illegitimate children he had by the actress Dorothea Jordan, with whom he cohabited for twenty years.


20 June 1837

Queen Victoria accession

Portrait: Victoria receives the news of her accession from Lord Conyngham (left) & the Archbishop of Canterbury. Engraving after painting by Henry Tanworth Wells, 1887.

Portrait: Victoria receives the news of her accession from Lord Conyngham (left) & the Archbishop of Canterbury. Engraving after painting by Henry Tanworth Wells, 1887.

On 20 June 1837, king William IV died at the age of 71, Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandrina Victoria of Kent became Queen of the United Kingdom. The new Queen wrote in her diary,

"I was awoke at 6 o'clock by Mamma, who told me the Archbishop of Canterbury & Lord Conyngham were here & wished to see me. I got out of bed & went into my sitting-room (only in my dressing gown) & alone, & saw them. Lord Conyngham then acquainted me that my poor Uncle, the King, was no more, & had expired at 12 minutes past 2 this morning, & consequently that I am Queen."

The Official documents prepared on the first day of her reign described her as Alexandrina Victoria, but the first name was withdrawn at her own wish & not used again.

From 1714, Britain had shared a monarch with Hanover in Germany, but under Salic law women were excluded from the Hanoverian succession. Victoria inherited all the British Dominions, & her father's unpopular younger brother, the Duke of Cumberland, became King of Hanover. He was her heir presumptive while she was childless.

Queen Victoria's coronation by Sir George Hayter
Queen Victoria's coronation by Sir George Hayter

Victoria's coronation took place on 28 June 1838 at Westminster Abbey. Aided by the newly built railways, over 400,000 visitors came to London for the celebrations. The Queen became the first sovereign to take up residence at Buckingham Palace.

Queen Victoria photographed for her Diamond jubilee, 1897
Queen Victoria photographed for her Diamond jubilee, 1897

Victoria would reign as Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Ireland until her death in 1901. She also adopted the additional title of Empress of India on 1 May 1876. Her reign of 63 years & seven months was known as the Victorian era. It was a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, & military change within the United Kingdom, & was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire.


Other 20 June history;

1389 - John of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Bedford, son of Henry IV & Mary De Bohun was born (d.1345).

1667 - James Stuart, Duke of Cambridge died (b.1663). He was the second son of the Duke of York (later James II of England) & his first wife, Anne Hyde. The disease he died from was probably smallpox or bubonic plague, as an eyewitness account given by Samuel Pepys states that Cambridge was "full of spots" & that his physician, Dr. Frazier, did not know how to treat this disease.

1685 – Monmouth Rebellion: Protestant James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth declares himself King of England at Bridgwater. Scott was the illegitimate son of Charles II by one of his many mistresses Lucy Walter. His rebellion against his catholic uncle James II was doomed to fail, leading to his execution in 1685.


21 June

Edward III, king of England

21 June 1377

King Edward III died

Edward was born on 13 November 1312, the son of Edward II & Isabella of France. Before becoming king he was known as Edward of Windsor. He is known for his military success & for restoring royal authority after the disastrous & reign of his father, Edward II. He built the Kingdom of England into one of the most formidable military powers in Europe. His 50-year reign was the second-longest in medieval English history (behind Henry III, 56 years), & saw vital developments in legislation & government, such as the evolution of the English Parliament. His reign also saw the ravages of the Black Death.

Edward was crowned at age fourteen after his father was deposed by his mother, Isabella of France, & her lover Roger Mortimer. At seventeen he led a successful coup d'état against Mortimer, the de facto ruler of the country, & began his personal reign. After a successful campaign in Scotland he declared himself rightful heir to the French throne in 1337. This ignited what became known as the Hundred Years' War between England & France (1337–1360). The first phase of the war went exceptionally well for England; with victories at Crécy & Poitiers leading to the Treaty of Brétigny, in which England made territorial gains, & Edward renounced his claim to the French throne. This phase would become known as the Edwardian War. Edward's later years were marked by international failure & domestic strife, largely as a result of his inactivity & poor health.

Battle of Crécy between the English & French in the Hundred Years' War
Battle of Crécy between the English & French in the Hundred Years' War

Edward III was a temperamental man but capable of unusual clemency. He was in many ways a conventional king whose main interest was warfare. He was the last common ancestor of the House of Lancaster & York. The Wars of the Roses were fought between the two houses for the succession after Edward's grandson Richard was deposed.

King Edward III of England & his wife, Philippa of Hainault, had eight sons & five daughters.

Edward III (Penguin Monarchs): A Heroic Failure - Paperback


21 June 1982

Prince William was born

Prince William was born at Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital, London, at 9:03 pm on 21 June 1982 as the first child of Charles, Prince of Wales, heir apparent to Queen Elizabeth II & Diana, Princess of Wales. His names, 'William Arthur Philip Louis', were announced by Buckingham Palace on 28 June.

He was baptised in the Music Room of Buckingham Palace, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie on 4 August, the 82nd birthday of his paternal great-grandmother Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. He was the first child born to a prince & princess of Wales since Prince John in 1905. Since his birth, William has been second in the line of succession to the British throne.

Prince William was educated at four schools in the UK & studied for a degree at the University of St Andrews. During a gap year, he spent time in Chile, Belize, & Africa. In December 2006, he completed 44 weeks of training as an officer cadet & was commissioned in the Blues & Royals, a cavalry regiment of the British Army, & part of the Household Cavalry. In 2008, he completed pilot training at Royal Air Force College Cranwell, then helicopter flight training & became a full-time pilot with the RAF Search & Rescue Force in early 2009. His service with the British Armed Forces ended in September 2013. He then trained for a civil pilot's licence & spent over two years working as a pilot for the East Anglian Air Ambulance.

In 2011, Prince William was made Duke of Cambridge & married Catherine Middleton (b.1982). The couple have three children: Prince George (b.2013), Princess Charlotte (b.2015), & Prince Louis (b.2018).

He became Duke of Cornwall & Duke of Rothesay following his father's accession to the throne on 8 September 2022. The following day he was made Prince of Wales, the traditional title for the heir apparent to the British monarch.


Other 21 June history;

1377 - Richard II accession. Richard II (1367 – 1400), also known as Richard of Bordeaux, was King of England from 1377 until he was deposed in 1399 by Henry Bolingbroke (Henry IV)


22 June

22 June 1897

Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee procession through London.

👑 ‘No one ever, I believe, has met with such an ovation as was given to me, passing through those six miles of streets… so the crowds were quite indescribable, & their enthusiasm truly marvellous & deeply touching. The cheering was quite deafening, & every face seemed to be filled with real joy’ wrote Queen Victoria following her Diamond Jubilee procession through London on 22 June 1897 in glorious sunshine, popularly dubbed ‘the Queen’s weather’.

Since the 78-year-old Queen was too frail to mount the steps of St Paul’s, she remained in her carriage in front of the cathedral whilst the religious ceremony took place. Throughout the day, new technology was employed. A stand was erected on Whitehall equipped with telephones to allow descriptions of the event direct to newspapers & other interested parties, and the Queen pressed the button that sent a telegraph message across the world: ‘From my heart, I thank my beloved people. May God bless them!’

A very poor-quality cinematograph record was made of the proceedings, which the Queen considered both ‘very wonderful’ & ‘a little hazy & too rapid’. That night, 2,500 beacons were lit around the country, and the Queen’s dinner table was adorned with 60,000 orchid blossoms in different varieties brought from every corner of the Empire. When she drove to Windsor on 24 June she was, for the first time in her life, showered with confetti, at which she swung her parasol with some vigour.

Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Service, 22 June 1897 by Andrew Carrick Gow
Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Service, 22 June 1897 by Andrew Carrick Gow

Victoria (Penguin Monarchs): Queen, Matriarch, Empress - Paperback + free photo

Victoria (Penguin Monarchs): Queen, Matriarch, Empress - Paperback + free photo.


Coronation portrait of George V by Luke Fildes
Coronation portrait of George V by Luke Fildes

22 June 1911

George V & Queen Mary coronation

The coronation of George V & his wife Mary as king & queen of the United Kingdom & the British Empire took place at Westminster Abbey, London, on 22 June 1911. This was the second of four coronations held during the 20th century & the last to be attended by royal representatives of the great continental European empires.

Coronation portrait of Queen Mary by Luke Fildes
Coronation portrait of Queen Mary by Luke Fildes

More than 50 grandstands were erected along the route of the processions, seating 250 to 3,500 spectators each. The construction of these required 2,100 Imperial tons (2,134 tonnes) of timber & 70 tons (71 tonnes) of bolts, nails & screws. The Festival of Empire opened on 12 May 1911 at the Crystal Palace in London, an exhibition of British & Imperial trade & culture to celebrate the upcoming coronation.

The order of service was prepared by Claude Jenkins, the Lambeth Palace librarian, supervised by Armitage Robinson, the Dean of Westminster, who insisted that innovation be balanced by tradition. Randall Davidson, who as the Bishop of Winchester, had worked on the 1902 coronation service, was now Archbishop of Canterbury. Davidson sought the help of Frank Edward Brightman, a liturgist from Magdalen College, Oxford. The main changes were to the words spoken at the actual crowning, which replaced those first used at the Coronation of James II with a translation of the simpler medieval form. & the coronation sermon, which had been omitted in 1902, was reintroduced for the last time, but in a shorter form. The service was conducted by Davidson, including the crowning of the queen.

The Director of Music, as in 1902, was Sir Frederick Bridge. As at the previous event, Bridge aimed to produce a celebration of four hundred years of English music, including work by George Frederick Handel. Bridge wrote a new anthem, Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous. The organist was Walter Alcock, who also wrote a new setting for the Sanctus. Sir Hubert Parry wrote an orchestral introduction for his setting of Psalm 122, I Was Glad. New orchestral music included a Coronation March by Edward Elgar.

The first of three processions left Buckingham Palace at 9:30 am. It consisted of representatives of foreign royal families & governments, carried in fourteen carriages. The second procession had five state landaus for members of the British royal family; the fifth contained the king & queen's children, the Prince of Wales, Princess Mary & the young Princes Albert, Henry & George. The third procession brought the officers of state in a further four carriages & the twenty-fifth & final carriage, the Gold State Coach carrying the king & queen. They were surrounded by equerries, aides-de-camp & the commanders of the armed forces mounted on horseback, all escorted by Yeomen of the Guard, colonial & Indian cavalry & the Royal Horse Guards.

After the coronation service, the three processions returned to the palace in reverse order & by an extended route, passing through Pall Mall, St James's Street, Piccadilly & Constitution Hill. Some 45,000 soldiers & sailors from across the empire either participated in the procession or lined the route.

After the end of the procession, there was an unexpected innovation, the appearance of the king & queen on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. This created much excitement. Soldiers outside the palace broke ranks & joined in the cheering. According to one account, "some of them put their helmets on their rifles & waved them vigorously aloft".

The royal progress in the City of London on 23 June.
The royal progress in the City of London on 23 June.

The Throne: 1,000 Years of British Coronations - Hardcover


1000 – Robert I, duke of Normandy was born (d. 1035). He was the duke of Normandy from 1027 until his death in 1035. He was succeeded by his illegitimate son, William the Conqueror, who became the first Norman king of England in 1066, following the Norman conquest of England.

1402 - Battle of Nesbit Moor. The Battle of Nesbit Moor (or Nisbet Muir) was a small but significant clash between Scottish & English forces in the borders area north of the River Tweed. In 1402, Scottish nobles launched a coordinated invasion of Northern England. In the initial foray, some 12,000 Scottish troops crossed into Cumberland & looted areas near Carlisle. On 22 June at Nisbet, Berwickshire, George de Dunbar, 10th Earl of March successfully led 200 English soldiers, mainly drawn from the garrison at Berwick-upon-Tweed, against 400 Scots returning from a raid on Northumberland.

1606 - Sophia of England was born. She died the next day at Greenwich Palace. She was a daughter of James VI & I and Anne of Denmark.

1906 - Haakon VII & Maud were crowned king & Queen of Norway. Maud was the youngest daughter of King Edward VII & Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom.

1948 – The ship HMT Empire Windrush brought the first group of 802 West Indian immigrants to Tilbury, marking the start of modern immigration to the United Kingdom.

1948 – King George VI formally gives up the title "Emperor of India", half a year after Britain actually gave up its rule of India.


23 June

Margaret of Denmark, Queen of Scotland
Margaret of Denmark, Queen of Scotland

23 June 1456

Margaret of Denmark, Queen of Scotland was born

Margaret of Denmark, was Queen of Scotland from 1469 to 1486 as the wife of King James III. She was the daughter of Christian I, King of Denmark, Norway & Sweden, & Dorothea of Brandenburg.

In July 1469, at the age of 13 Margaret married James III at Holyrood Abbey, Scotland. The queen was interested in clothes & jewellery, & known for always being dressed in the latest fashions of the time. She became a popular queen in Scotland & contemporaries described as beautiful, gentle, & sensible. The relationship between Margaret & James III wasn't a successful one. During the crisis of 1482, when James III was deprived of power by his brother for several months, Margaret was said to have shown more interest in the welfare of her children than her spouse, which led to a permanent estrangement. After the crisis of 1482, the couple lived apart: James III lived in Edinburgh, while queen Margaret preferred to live in Stirling with her children.

She died at Stirling Castle on 14 July 1486 after falling ill, & was buried in Cambuskenneth Abbey. Her husband, James III, was interred with her after his death in 1488. The abbey is mostly ruins, apart from its bell-tower, which is still standing today. The grave was enclosed & restored in 1865 at the expense of Margaret's descendant, Queen Victoria.


23 June 1894

Edward VIII was born (d.1972)

The christening of Prince Edward of York, White Lodge, Richmond Park, 1894 16 - 16 Jul 1894

The christening of Prince Edward of York, White Lodge, Richmond Park,16 July 1894

Edward was born on 23 June 1894 at White Lodge, Richmond Park, on the outskirts of London. His parents were the Duke & Duchess of York (later King George V & Queen Mary). His father was the son of the Prince & Princess of Wales (later King Edward VII & Queen Alexandra). His mother was the eldest daughter of Francis, Duke of Teck, & Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge. He was third in the line of succession to the throne, at the time of his birth, behind his grandfather & father.

He was baptised 'Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David' in the Green Drawing Room of White Lodge on 16 July 1894 by Edward White Benson, Archbishop of Canterbury. His names were chosen in honour of Edward's late uncle, who was known to his family as "Eddy" or Edward, & his great-grandfather King Christian IX of Denmark. The name Albert was included at Queen Victoria's request, for her late husband Albert, Prince Consort, & the last four names – George, Andrew, Patrick & David – came from the patron saints of England, Scotland, Ireland & Wales. He was always known to his family & close friends by his last given name, David.

He was later King of the United Kingdom & the Dominions of the British Empire, & Emperor of India, from 20 January 1936 until his abdication on 11 December of that year. As a young man, Edward served in the British Army during the First World War & undertook several overseas tours on behalf of his father. Edward became king on his father's death. As king, he showed little interest in court protocol, & caused alarm among politicians by his disregard for established constitutional conventions. Several months into his reign, Edward caused a constitutional crisis by proposing to Wallis Simpson, an American who had divorced her first husband & was seeking a divorce from her second. The prime ministers of the United Kingdom & the Dominions deeply opposed the marriage, arguing a divorced woman with two living ex-husbands was politically & socially unacceptable as a prospective queen consort. Added to that, such a marriage would've conflicted with Edward's status as the titular head of the Church of England, which at the time disapproved of remarriage after divorce if a former spouse was still alive. He was intent on marrying Wallis & knew he couldn't remain on the throne if he did, so he abdicated. He was succeeded by his younger brother, George VI. His brief reign was one of the shortest in British history, just 326 days.

Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson on their Mediterranean holiday, 1936
Edward VIII & Wallis Simpson on their Mediterranean holiday, 1936

After his abdication, Edward was created Duke of Windsor. He married Wallis in France on 3 June 1937, after her second divorce became final , & lived out the rest of his life in exile, mostly in France.

Edward VIII (penguin monarchs) paperback book


Other 23 June history;

Saint Æthelthryth of Ely from the Benedictional of St. Æthelwold, illuminated manuscript in the British Library
Saint Æthelthryth of Ely from the Benedictional of St. Æthelwold, illuminated manuscript in the British Library

679 – Æthelthryth, English saint died (b. 636). Æthelthryth was an East Anglian princess, a Fenland & Northumbrian queen & Abbess of Ely. She is an Anglo-Saxon saint, & is also known as Etheldreda or Audrey, especially in religious contexts.

The Battle of Bannockburn
The Battle of Bannockburn

1314 – First War of Scottish Independence: The Battle of Bannockburn (south of Stirling) begins.

1532 – Henry VIII of England & Francis I of France sign the "Treaty of Closer Amity With France" (also known as the Pommeraye treaty), pledging mutual aid against Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.

1912 – Alan Turing, English mathematician & computer scientist was born (d. 1954)

Cecilia Nina Bowes-Lyon, Countess of Strathmore & Kinghorne
Cecilia Nina Bowes-Lyon

1938 - Cecilia Bowes-Lyon died. Cecilia Nina Bowes-Lyon, Countess of Strathmore & Kinghorne (née Cavendish-Bentinck; b.11 September 1862) was the mother of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother & maternal grandmother & godmother of Queen Elizabeth II.

2016 – The United Kingdom votes in a referendum to leave the European Union, by 52% to 48%. Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and Westminster bridge in view.
2016 – The United Kingdom votes in a referendum to leave the European Union, by 52% to 48%.


24 June

Eleanor of Provence, Queen of England

24/25 June 1291

Eleanor of Provence, Queen of England died

Eleanor became Queen consort of England as the wife of King Henry III from 1236 until his death in 1272. She was the mother of Edward I.

Eleanor was born in Aix-en-Provence in southern France c.1223, she was the second daughter of Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Provence (1198–1245) & Beatrice of Savoy (1198–1267). She was well educated as a child, & developed a strong love of reading.

Interesting fact! Her three sisters also married kings.

  • Margaret of Provence (1221 – 1295) became Queen of France, by marriage to King Louis IX.

  • Sanchia of Provence ((c. 1225 – 1261), became Queen of Germany when her husband Richard of Cornwall became king.

  • Beatrice of Provence (c. 1229 – 1267), became Queen of Sicily as the wife of Charles I of Anjou, King of Sicily.

Like her mother, grandmother, & sisters, Eleanor was renowned for her beauty. She was a dark-haired brunette with fine eyes. Piers Langtoft speaks of her as "The erle's daughter, the fairest may of life". Eleanor married King Henry III of England on 14 January 1236. The first time she set eyes on her husband to be, was at the wedding ceremony, held at Canterbury Cathedral. She is reported as dressed in a shimmering golden dress that fitted tightly at the waist & flared out to wide pleats at her feet. Her sleeves were long & lined with ermine. The newlyweds rode into London the same day & were greeted by a procession of citizens. Eleanor was crowned queen consort of England in a ceremony at Westminster Abbey.

Eleanor (l) & Henry (r) returning to England from Poitou in 1243, by Matthew Paris
Eleanor (l) & Henry (r) returning to England from Poitou in 1243, by Matthew Paris

Eleanor was a loyal & faithful consort to Henry, but she brought a large number of uncles & cousins, "the Savoyards", & her influence with the King & her unpopularity with the English barons created friction during Henry's reign. Her uncle William of Savoy became a close advisor of her husband. Eleanor was named regent of England when her husband left for Gascony in 1253. Eleanor was devoted to her husband's cause.

She was sailing down the Thames in July 1263 when her barge was attacked by citizens of London. In revenge for their dislike Eleanor had demanded from the city all the back payments due on the monetary tribute known as queen-gold (where she received a tenth of all fines which came to the Crown). In fear for her life as she was pelted with stones, loose pieces of paving, dried mud, rotten eggs & vegetables, Eleanor was rescued by Thomas Fitzthomas, the Mayor of London, & took refuge at the bishop of London's home.

When king Henry III died in 1272, her son Edward, who was 33 years old, became king of England. She stayed in England as the queen dowager, & raised several of her grandchildren, Edward's son Henry & daughter Eleanor, & Beatrice's son John. She later moved to a convent; but she remained in contact with her son, King Edward, & her sister, Queen Margaret of France.

Eleanor died on 24/25 June 1291 in Amesbury. She was buried in Amesbury Abbey. The exact site of her grave at the abbey is sadly unknown making her the only English queen without a marked grave. Her heart was taken to London & buried at the Franciscan priory of Greyfriars.

Henry III (Penguin Monarchs): A Simple and God-Fearing King - Paperback

Eleanor was renowned for her learning, cleverness, & skill at writing poetry, as well as her beauty. She was known as a leader of fashion, importing clothes from France. She often wore parti-coloured cottes (a type of tunic), gold or silver girdles into which a dagger was casually thrust, she liked to wear red silk damask, & decorations of gilt quatrefoil, & to cover her dark hair she wore jaunty pillbox caps. Eleanor introduced a new type of wimple to England, which was high, "into which the head receded until the face seemed like a flower in an enveloping spathe". She developed a love for the songs of the troubadors as a child. She bought many romantic & historical books, of stories from ancient times to contemporary romances written in the period (13th century).

Henry III, king of England
Henry III


Eleanor Henry III had nine children together, sadly most died in childhood. Eleanor was especially devoted to her eldest son, Edward. When he was seriously ill in 1246, she stayed with him at the abbey at Beaulieu in Hampshire for three weeks. Her second youngest child, Katherine, may have had a degenerative disease that rendered her deaf. When she died at the age of three, both King & Queen suffered overwhelming grief.

  • Edward I (1239–1307), married Eleanor of Castile (1241–1290)

  • Margaret (1240–1275), married King Alexander III of Scotland

  • Beatrice (1242–1275), married John II, Duke of Brittany

  • Edmund Crouchback, 1st Earl of Lancaster (1245–1296), married Aveline de Forz in 1269, who died four years later, he then married Blanche of Artois in 1276

  • Richard (1247–1256)

  • John (1250–1256)

  • William (1251–1256)

  • Katherine (1253 - 1257)

  • Henry (1256–1257)


16th century woodcut of the coronation of Henry VIII & Katharine of Aragon showing their heraldic badges, the Tudor Rose & the Pomegranate of Granada.

image above: 16th century woodcut of the coronation of Henry VIII & Katharine of Aragon showing their heraldic badges, the Tudor Rose & the Pomegranate of Granada.

24 June 1509

The Coronation of King Henry VIII & Katharine of Aragon

The 17 year-old Henry became king on 21 April 1509, & one of his first actions as king, was to marry his brother's widow Katharine of Aragon. The royal wedding was kept low-key & was held at the friar's church, Greenwich on 11 June 1509.

On 23 June 1509, Henry led the 23-year-old Katharine from the Tower of London to Westminster for their coronation, which took place the following day. On the morning of the 24th June 1509, they made their way to the Palace of Westminster & walked from there to the Abbey in procession.

Henry VIII, king of England

The ceremony was performed by William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury. It was a lavish affair: the king's passage was lined with tapestries & laid with fine cloth. Henry wore a robe of crimson velvet furred with ermine & even his horse wore trappings of golden damask edged with ermine. Katharine was dressed in white, as a royal bride, with her hair hanging down her back almost to her heels – a symbol of virginity. She wore a coronet set with rich jewels. She was seated in a litter of white cloth of gold, borne by two white horses, & following her came attendant noble ladies carried two by two in open carriages called ‘whirlicotes’ – a newly-fashionable chariot-like vehicle. Then, came nine children dressed in blue velvet, representing Henry’s territorial possessions: England, Cornwall, Wales, Ireland, Gascony, Guyenne, Normandy, Anjou, & France.

As usual, the streets of London were lavishly decorated for the occasion, & as Henry & Katharine passed along Cornhill, maidens dressed in white lined the route carrying artificial palms of white wax, while priests dressed in their richest robes blessed the royal couple, swinging silver censers.

Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England

Henry & Katharine enthroned;

- 'The morrow following being Sunday, and also Midsummer's day (1509), this noble prince with his queen, at time convenient, under their canopies borne by the barons of the five ports (the Cinque Ports) went from the said palace, to Westminster Abbey upon cloth.... the which cloth was cut and spoiled (taken), by the rude and common people, immediately after their repair into the abbey, where according to the sacred observance, and ancient custom his grace with the queen were anointed and crowned by the Archbishop of Canterbury, with other prelates of the realm there present, and the nobility, with a great multitude of commons of the same. It was demanded of the people whether they would receive, obey, and take the same most noble prince for their king, who with great reverence, love and desire, said and cried, 'yea, yea'. After the which solemnity, and coronation finished, the lords spiritual and temporal did to him homage, and returned to Westminster Hall..... What should I speak or write, of the sumptuous fine and delicate meats, prepared for this high and honourable coronation, provided for as well in the parties beyond the sea, as in many and sundry places, within this realm, where God so abundantly hath sent such plenty...... ?

- (Henry VIII (Hall's Chronicle), edited by Charles Whibley, Vol 1, PP. 7-8

The banquet in Westminster Hall was 'greater than any Caesar had known' wrote Edward Hall, a contemporary historian. Henry & Katharine sat at an elevated stage in Westminster Hall. ‘The trumpets blew up’ as the first course, ‘sumptuous with many subtleties, strange devices, with several posies & many dainty dishes,’ was ushered in by the Duke of Buckingham & the Lord Steward, both on horseback. At the second course the king’s champion cried out the traditional challenge in three different places in the hall: ‘If there be any person of what estate or degree so ever he be, that will say or prove that Henry the Eighth is not the rightful inheritor & king of this realm, I, Sir Robert Dymock here, his champion, offer my glove to fight in his quarrel with any person to the utterance’ [à l’outrance].


Other 24 June history;

Philippa of Hainault, Queen of England

1314 Philippa of Hainault was born. She was Queen of England as the wife & political adviser of King Edward III. She acted as regent in 1346, when her husband was away for the Hundred Years' War.

 Battle of Sluys

1340 - Battle of Sluys. The Battle of Sluys was a naval battle fought on 24 June 1340 between England & France. It took place in the roadstead of the port of Sluys (French Écluse), on a since silted-up inlet between Zeeland & West Flanders. The English fleet of 120–150 ships was led by Edward III of England & the 230-strong French fleet by the Breton knight Hugues Quiéret, Admiral of France, & Nicolas Béhuchet, Constable of France. The battle was one of the opening engagements of the Hundred Years' War. The English were able to manoeuvre against the French & defeat them in detail, capturing most of their ships. The French lost 16,000–20,000 men. The battle gave the English fleet naval supremacy in the English Channel.

1902 - Edward VII Coronation postponed. Edward's coronation had originally been scheduled for 26 June 1902. Two days before he was diagnosed with appendicitis. The disease was generally not treated operatively. It carried a high mortality rate, but developments in anaesthesia & antisepsis in the preceding 50 years made life-saving surgery possible. Sir Frederick Treves, with the support of Lord Lister, performed a then-radical operation of draining a pint of pus from the infected abscess through a small incision (through 4+1⁄2-inch thickness of belly fat & abdomen wall); this outcome showed that the cause was not cancer. The next day, Edward was sitting up in bed, smoking a cigar. Two weeks later, it was announced that he was out of danger.


25 June

Mary Tudor, Queen of France

25 June 1533

Mary Tudor, Queen of France died

Born on 18 March 1496, Mary Tudor was an English princess who was briefly Queen consort of France. She was the younger surviving daughter of King Henry VII of England & Elizabeth of York.

As a child Mary learned French, Latin, music, dancing, & embroidery. In October 1514, aged 18, Mary married 52-year-old King Louis XII of France at Abbeville. She took four English maids of honour with her, one of whom was Anne Boleyn, future Queen of England. Louis was on his third marriage, & had no living sons, & was eager to produce one. He died on 1 January 1515, less than three months after marrying Mary. Their union produced no children. Following Louis's death, the new king Francis I made attempts to arrange a second marriage for the beautiful widow.

Mary was deeply unhappy with her 'marriage of state', & was likely to already be in love with Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk. King Henry VIII was aware of Mary's feelings; letters from her in 1515 indicate that she'd agreed to wed Louis only on condition that "if she survived him, she should marry whom she liked." But Henry wanted any future marriage to be to his advantage. In January 1515, King Henry VIII sent Charles to bring Mary back to England, & he made the Duke promise that he would not propose to her. On arrival in France, Mary persuaded Charles to forget the pledge & go ahead with the marriage. The couple married in a secret ceremony at the Hotel de Clugny in Paris on 3 March 1515 in the presence of just 10 people, among them King Francis I.

Technically, this was treason as Charles Brandon had married a royal princess without King Henry's consent. Henry was outraged, & the privy council urged that Charles be imprisoned or executed. But because of the intervention of Thomas Wolsey, & Henry's affection for both his sister & Charles, the couple were given a heavy fine of £24,000 to be paid to the King in yearly instalments of £1000, as well as the whole of Mary's dowry from King Louis XII of £200,000, together with the gold plate & jewels King Louis had given or promised her. The £24,000 is the equivalent to £7,200,000 today. It was later reduced by the King. The newlyweds 'officially' married on 13 May 1515 at Greenwich Palace in the presence of King Henry VIII & his courtiers.

Mary was Charles Brandon's third wife, & he had two daughters, Anne & Mary, by his second marriage to Anne Browne, who had died in 1511. Mary raised the girls with her own children. Even after her second marriage, Mary was normally referred to at the English court as the Queen of France, & was not known as the Duchess of Suffolk in her lifetime. Mary spent most of her time at Westhorpe Hall in Suffolk.

Mary died, age 37, at Westhorpe Hall, Suffolk, on 25 June 1533, having never fully recovered from the sweating sickness she caught in 1528. The cause of death has been reported to have been angina, tuberculosis, appendicitis, or cancer.

As an English princess, daughter of a king, sister to the current king, & a dowager queen of France, Mary Tudor's funeral & interment was conducted with much heraldic ceremony. A delegation from France joined the English delegation for the lavish funeral ceremony on 20 July 1533. Her daughter Frances was chief mourner, accompanied by her husband & siblings. As was tradition, Mary's husband & her brother the king did not attend. The funeral procession included 100 torch bearers, clergy carrying the cross, the hearse being pulled by six horses, other nobility & 100 of the duke's yeomen. The next day, followed a requiem mass & burial at Bury St. Edmunds Abbey.

Mary was described as being "handsome & well favoured, were not her eyes & eyebrows too light; she is slight, rather than defective from corpulence, & conducts herself with so much grace, & has such good manners, that for her age of 18 years & she does not look more, she is a paradise." She regularly took part in masques at her brother's court, & enjoyed "hearing singing, instrumental music, & dancing".

Mary Tudor and Charles Brandon
Mary & Charles Brandon

Mary & Charles had four children, two daughters & two sons:

  • Henry Brandon (1516 – 1522)

  • Lady Frances Brandon (1517 – 1559), who married Henry Grey, 3rd Marquess of Dorset, & was the mother of Lady Jane Grey.

  • Lady Eleanor Brandon (1519 – 1547), who married Henry Clifford, 2nd Earl of Cumberland.

  • Henry Brandon, 1st Earl of Lincoln (c. 1523 – 1534).

Did You Know? Her brother Henry later named his first surviving child, the future Queen Mary I, in her honour.


Other 25 June history;

1014 – Æthelstan Ætheling died. He was the son of Æthelred the Unready & Ælfgifu of York.

1242 – Beatrice of England was born (d. 1275). the daughter of Henry III of England and Eleanor of Provence.

Louis Mountbatten
Louis Mountbatten

1900 - Louis Mountbatten was born. He was a British nobleman, statesman, & military officer. Mountbatten, who was of German descent, was born in England to the prominent Battenberg family & was a maternal uncle of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, & a second cousin of King George VI.


26 June

A portrait painted by Jan Myten’s (1614-1670) of princess Henrietta Anne of England.
A portrait painted by Jan Myten’s (1614-1670) of princess Henrietta Anne of England.

26 June 1644

Henrietta Anne of England, Duchess of Orléans was born

Henrietta Anne of England was the youngest daughter of King Charles I of England & Queen Henrietta Maria.

After fleeing England (due to the English Civil War) with her mother & governess as an infant, Henrietta moved to the court of her first cousin King Louis XIV of France, where she was known as Minette. She married her cousin Philippe I, Duke of Orléans & became a fille de France. The marriage was elaborately celebrated & she & her husband moved into the Palais des Tuileries. As she had married Monsieur, Henrietta was styled Madame, la duchesse d'Orléans. Their children were;

  • Marie Louise d'Orléans (b.26 March 1662 – d.12 February 1689) who married Charles II, king of Spain.

  • Philippe Charles d'Orléans, Duke of Valois (16 July 1664 – 8 December 1666) died in infancy.

  • A stillborn daughter (9 July 1665).

  • stillborn twin sons (1667) ; a miscarriage (1668).

  • Anne Marie d'Orléans (27 August 1669 – 26 August 1728), she married Victor Amadeus II, Duke of Savoy (future king of Sardinia).

In April 1670 Henrietta began having severe digestive problems so severe that she could consume only milk. On 29 June, Henrietta drank a glass of iced chicory water. According to reports, immediately after drinking the water she felt intense pain in her side & cried out, "Ah! What a pain! What shall I do! I must be poisoned!". She assumed she had been poisoned & asked both for an antidote & for someone to examine the water. She was given common contemporary treatments for colic, as well as some anti-poisons. She died aged just 26 on 30 June 1670.

Jacobite claims to the British throne after Henry Benedict Stuart's death descend from her daughter Anne Marie, Queen of Sardinia.

Henrietta's husband, Philippe, Duke of Orléans
Henrietta's husband, Philippe, Duke of Orléans

An Illustrated Introduction to the Stuarts Paperback – Illustrated


King George IV of Great Britain

26 June 1830

King George IV died aged 67 (b.1762)

By the late 1820's George's heavy drinking & indulgent lifestyle had taken their toll on his health. Through huge banquets & copious amounts of alcohol, he had become obese. By 1797 his weight had reached 17 stone 7 pounds (111 kg; 245 lb), & by 1824 his corset was made for a waist of 50 inches (130 cm). He suffered from gout, arteriosclerosis, peripheral edema ("dropsy"), & possibly porphyria. In his last years, he spent whole days in bed & suffered spasms of breathlessness that would leave him half-asphyxiated. By December 1828, like his father, he was almost completely blind from cataracts, & was suffering from such severe gout in his right hand & arm that he could no longer sign documents. The King took laudanum to counteract severe bladder pains, which left him in a drugged & mentally handicapped state for days on end.

By the spring of 1830, George's imminent end was apparent. Attacks of breathlessness due to dropsy forced him to sleep upright in a chair, & doctors frequently tapped his abdomen to drain excess fluid. He was admired for clinging doggedly to life despite his obvious decline. He dictated his will in May & became very devout in his final months, confessing to an archdeacon that he repented of his early dissolute life, but hoped mercy would be shown to him as he had always tried to do the best for his subjects.

At about half-past three in the morning of 26 June 1830 at Windsor Castle, he reportedly called out "Good God, what is this?", clasped his page's hand & said "my boy, this is death", after which he died. An autopsy conducted by his physicians revealed he had died from upper gastrointestinal bleeding resulting from the rupture of a blood vessel in his stomach (gastric varices). A large tumour "the size of an orange" was found attached to his bladder, & he had an enlarged heart surrounded by a large fat deposit & heavily calcified heart valves. He was buried in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, on 15 July.

King George IV of Great Britain

George IV (George Augustus Frederick; 12 August 1762 – 26 June 1830) was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Ireland & King of Hanover from 29 January 1820 until his death in 1830.

George IV (Penguin Monarchs): King in Waiting Hardcover


Other 26 June history;