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#otd in Royal History 16-30 April

Updated: Apr 21, 2023

16 April

#otd in royal history April 16-30 (part 2). George V, Queen Elizabeth, Elizabeth II, Prince William, Kate Middleton, Lady Gabriela Windsor

16 April

An Incident in the Rebellion of 1745, an oil on canvas, painting by David Morier depicting the 1746 Battle of Culloden
An Incident in the Rebellion of 1745, an oil on canvas, painting by David Morier depicting the 1746 Battle of Culloden

16 April 1746

The Battle of Culloden


The Battle of Culloden was the final confrontation of the 1745 Jacobite Rising. On 16 April 1746, the Jacobite forces of Charles Edward Stuart (the grandson of the deposed James II) fought loyalist troops commanded by William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. The Hanoverian victory at Culloden decisively halted the Jacobite intent to overthrow the House of Hanover & restore the House of Stuart to the British throne; Charles Stuart never mounted any further attempts to challenge Hanoverian power in Great Britain. The conflict was the last pitched battle fought on British soil.


The lost portrait of Charles Edward Stuart, painted in Edinburgh in late 1745
The lost portrait of Charles Edward Stuart, painted in Edinburgh in late 1745

George II's French opponents encouraged rebellion by the Jacobites, the supporters of the Roman Catholic claimant to the British throne, James Francis Edward Stuart, often known as the Old Pretender. Stuart was the son of James II, who had been deposed in 1688 & replaced by his Protestant relations. Two prior rebellions in 1715 & 1719 had failed. In July 1745, the Old Pretender's son, Charles Edward Stuart, popularly known as Bonnie Prince Charlie or the Young Pretender, landed in Scotland, where support for his cause was highest. George, who was summering in Hanover, returned to London at the end of August. The Jacobites defeated British forces in September at the Battle of Prestonpans, & then moved south into England. The Jacobites failed to gain further support, & the French reneged on a promise of help. Losing morale, the Jacobites retreated back into Scotland. On 16/27 April 1746, Charles faced George's military-minded son Prince William, Duke of Cumberland, in the Battle of Culloden, the last pitched battle fought on British soil. The ravaged Jacobite troops were routed by the government army. Charles escaped to France, but many of his supporters were caught & executed. Jacobitism was all but crushed; no further serious attempt was made at restoring the House of Stuart.



 


16 April 1953

Queen Elizabeth II launches HMY Britannia


Britannia sailed on her maiden voyage from Portsmouth to Grand Harbour, Malta, departing 14 April & arriving 22 April 1954. She carried Princess Anne & Prince Charles to Malta in order for them to meet the Queen & Prince Philip in Tobruk at the end of the royal couple's Commonwealth Tour. The Queen & Prince Philip embarked on Britannia for the first time in Tobruk on 1 May 1954.


On 20 July 1959, Britannia sailed the newly opened Saint Lawrence Seaway en route to Chicago, where she docked, making the Queen the first Canadian monarch to visit the city. US President Dwight D. Eisenhower was aboard Britannia for part of this cruise; Presidents Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton also were later welcomed aboard the Yacht. Charles and Diana, the Prince and Princess of Wales, took their honeymoon cruise aboard Britannia in 1981. The ship also evacuated over 1,000 refugees from the civil war in Aden in 1986.


In 1997, John Major's Conservative government committed itself to replacing the Royal Yacht if re-elected, while the Labour Party declined to disclose its plans for the vessel. Following Labour's victory on 1 May 1997 it was announced that the vessel would be retired & no replacement would be built. The Conservative government argued that the cost of the vessel was justified by its role in foreign policy & promoting British interests abroad.


When cancelling the replacement of the vessel, the new Labour government argued that the expenditure could not be justified given the other pressures on the defence budget (from which it would be funded & maintained).


The Royal Yacht's last foreign mission was to convey the last governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten (now The Lord Patten of Barnes), & the Prince of Wales away from Hong Kong after its handover to the People's Republic of China on 1 July 1997. Britannia was decommissioned on 11 December 1997.



You can visit HMY Britannia yourself, visit for more information




 

17 April

A rare portrait of Elizabeth prior to her accession, attributed to William Scrots. It was painted for her father in c. 1546.
A rare portrait of Elizabeth prior to her accession, attributed to William Scrots. It was painted for her father in c. 1546.

17 April 1555

Lady Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth I) was recalled to court to attend the final stages of Queen Mary's apparent pregnancy.


On 17 April 1555, Elizabeth was recalled to court to attend the final stages of Mary's apparent pregnancy. If Mary & her child died, Elizabeth would become queen. If, on the other hand, Mary gave birth to a healthy child, Elizabeth's chances of becoming queen would recede sharply. When it became clear that Mary was not pregnant, no one believed any longer that she could have a child. Elizabeth's succession seemed assured. King Philip, who ascended the Spanish throne in 1556, acknowledged the new political reality & cultivated his sister-in-law. She was a better ally than the chief alternative, Mary, Queen of Scots, who had grown up in France & was betrothed to the Dauphin of France. When his wife fell ill in 1558, King Philip sent the Count of Feria to consult with Elizabeth. This interview was conducted at Hatfield House, where she had returned to live in October 1555. By October 1558, Elizabeth was already making plans for her government.


On 6 November, Mary recognised Elizabeth as her heir. On 17 November 1558, Mary died & Elizabeth succeeded to the throne.



 

18 April

Thomas Cromwell by Hans Holbein the Younger
Thomas Cromwell by Hans Holbein the Younger

18 April 1540

King Henry VIII made Thomas Cromwell Earl of Essex & the senior Court office of Lord Great Chamberlain.


Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex (born. c. 1485 – executed. 28 July 1540) was an English lawyer & statesman who served as chief minister to King Henry VIII of England from 1532 to 1540. Cromwell was one of the strongest & most powerful advocates of the English Reformation. He helped to engineer an annulment of the king's marriage to Queen Katharine so that Henry could lawfully marry Anne Boleyn. Henry failed to obtain the Pope's approval for the annulment in 1534, so Parliament endorsed the king's claim to be Supreme Head of the Church of England, giving him the authority to annul his own marriage. Cromwell subsequently charted an evangelical & reformist course for the Church of England from the unique posts of vicegerent in spirituals & vicar-general.


During his rise to power, Cromwell made many enemies, including his former ally Anne Boleyn. He played a prominent role in her downfall. He later fell from power, after arranging the king's marriage to German princess Anne of Cleves. Cromwell had hoped that the marriage would breathe fresh life into the Reformation in England, but Henry found his new bride unattractive & it turned into a disaster for Cromwell, ending in an annulment six months later. Cromwell was arraigned under a bill of attainder & executed for treason & heresy on Tower Hill on 28 July 1540. The king later expressed regret at the loss of his chief minister.


 

Louisa Maria Stuart - Portrait by Alexis Simon Belle, c. 1704
Louisa Maria Stuart Portrait by Alexis Simon Belle, c. 1704

18 April 1712

Louisa Maria Stuart died aged 19


Louisa Maria Stuart, known to Jacobites as Princess Royal, was the last child of James II & VII (1633–1701), the deposed king of England, Scotland, & Ireland, & of his queen, Mary of Modena. In English, she was called Louisa Maria & Louise Marie in French.


Louisa Maria was born in 1692, at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, during her parents' exile. The new-born princess was given the names Louisa & Maria in baptism, while Teresa (sometimes spelt Theresa) was added later, at the time of her confirmation. She was given the name Louisa in honour of King Louis XIV of France, who acted as her godfather.


Louisa was the only full sibling of Prince James Francis Edward, the 'Old Pretender', to survive infancy, & was four years younger than her brother. The two were brought up together in France. Louisa's tutor was an English Roman Catholic priest, Father Constable, who taught her Latin, history, & religion. In 1705, at the age of thirteen, Louisa Maria was a guest of honour at a ball at the Château de Marly, ranking only after Louis XIV himself, her own mother Queen Mary, & her brother James Francis Edward, considered by Louis to be another King.


Louisa Maria enjoyed dancing & the opera, & became popular at the French court. Two possible matches for her were considered, with Louis XIV's grandson Charles, Duke of Berry(1686–1714), & with King Charles XII of Sweden (1682–1718). Neither took place, the first apparently due to Louisa Maria's equivocal position, & the second because the young King of Sweden was not a Roman Catholic.


In April 1712, both James Francis Edward & his sister fell sick with smallpox. While the Old Pretender recovered, Louisa Maria died on 18 April & was buried with her father at the Church of the English Benedictines in Paris.


 


19 April

Robert II depicted on his great seal
Robert II depicted on his great seal

19 April 1390

King Robert II of Scotland died


Robert II (b.2 March 1316) reigned as King of Scots from 1371 to his death as the first monarch of the House of Stewart.


Robert Stewart, was the only child of Walter Stewart, High Steward of Scotland & King Robert I's (Robert the Bruce) daughter Marjorie Bruce. He had the upbringing of a Gaelic noble on the Stewart lands in Bute, Clydeside, & in Renfrew.


Robert the warrior and knight: the reverse side of Robert II's Great Seal, enhanced as a 19th-century steel engraving
Robert the warrior & knight: the reverse side of Robert II's Great Seal

In 1336, he first married Elizabeth Mure (died 1355). The marriage was criticized to be uncanonical, so he remarried her in 1349 after receiving a papal dispensation in 1347. From this union, ten children reached adulthood including John, who became King of Scotland as Robert III,


In 1355, Robert married his second wife Euphemia de Ross (died 1387), daughter of Hugh, Earl of Ross. They had four children. Robert II died in Dundonald Castle in 1390 & was buried at Scone Abbey.


Scone Abbey, Scotland
Scone Abbey


 

20 April

Cædwalla, king of Wessex
Cædwalla, king of Wessex

20 April 689

Cædwalla, king of Wessex died


Cædwalla (born c. 659) was the King of Wessex from 685 or 686 until he abdicated in 688. His name is derived from the Welsh Cadwallon. He was exiled from Wessex as a youth & during this period gathered forces & attacked the South Saxons, killing their king, Æthelwealh, in what is now Sussex. Cædwalla was unable to hold the South Saxon territory, & was driven out by Æthelwealh's ealdormen. In either 685 or 686, he became King of Wessex. He may have been involved in suppressing rival dynasties at this time, as an early source records that Wessex was ruled by underkings until Cædwalla.


After his accession Cædwalla returned to Sussex & won the territory again. He also conquered the Isle of Wight, gained control of Surrey & the kingdom of Kent, & in 686 he installed his brother Mul as king of Kent. Mul was burned in a Kentish revolt a year later, & Cædwalla returned, possibly ruling Kent directly for a period. Cædwalla was wounded during the conquest of the Isle of Wight, & perhaps for this reason he abdicated in 688 to travel to Rome for baptism. He reached Rome in April 689, & was baptised by Pope Sergius I on the Saturday before Easter, dying ten days later on 20 April 689. He was buried in St. Peter's church, Rome. The epitaph on his tomb described him as "King of the Saxons". He was succeeded by Ine.


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James portrayed c. 1685 in his role as head of the army, wearing a general officer's state coat
James II portrayed c. 1685

20 April 1689

The deposed king James II of England, lays siege to Derry.


The Siege of Derry involved a pre-emptive lockdown of the city gates in December 1688 & a violent defensive action lasting from 18 April to 28 July 1689, during the Williamite War in Ireland. The city, a Williamite stronghold (those loyal to King William III), was besieged by a Jacobite army (loyal to James II) until it was relieved by Royal Navy ships.


On 12 March 1689 James landed in Kinsale, Ireland, with 6,000 French soldiers. He first marched on Dublin, then marched north, joining the Siege of Derry on 18 April.


The Derry City Governor, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Lundy, turned away reinforcements, telling them that the city was to be surrendered. He wrote on 15 April that "without an immediate supply of money & provisions this place must fall very soon into the enemy's hands". Lundy called a meeting with his most loyal supporters to discuss surrender. News of the meeting spread, angering many of the citizens. That night, Lundy (in disguise) & many others left the city & fled to Scotland.


The city's defence was overseen by Major Henry Baker, Colonel Adam Murray, & Major George Walker (also an Anglican priest). Their slogan was "No Surrender". As the Jacobite army neared, all the buildings outside the city walls were set alight by the defenders to prevent them being used as cover by the besiegers. The Jacobite army reached Derry on 18 April. King James & his retinue rode to within 300 yards of Bishop's Gate & demanded the surrender of the city. He was rebuffed with shouts of "No surrender!", & some of the city's defenders fired at him.


James would ask thrice more, but was refused each time. This marked the beginning of the siege. Cannon & mortar fire were exchanged, & disease took hold within the city. James returned to Dublin & left his forces under the command of Richard Hamilton.


View of Derry during the siege. The Bishops Gate with its drawbridge is in the centre. Note the newly built ravelin before it.
View of Derry during the siege. The Bishops Gate with its drawbridge is in the centre. Note the newly built ravelin before it.

 

21 April

King Henry VII, the first Tudor Monarch of England

21 April 1509

King Henry VII died


Henry VII was the King of England & Lord of Ireland from his seizure of the crown on 22 August 1485 to his death.


Henry attained the throne when his forces defeated King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field, the culmination of the Wars of the Roses. He was the last king of England to win his throne on the field of battle. He cemented his claim by marrying Elizabeth of York, daughter of Richard's brother Edward IV in 1486.. Henry was successful in restoring the power & stability of the English monarchy after the civil war. Henry is credited with a number of administrative, economic & diplomatic initiatives. His supportive policy toward England's wool industry & his standoff with the Low Countries had long-lasting benefits to the whole English economy. He paid very close attention to detail, & instead of spending lavishly he concentrated on raising new revenues. New taxes stabilised the government's finances, although a commission after his death found widespread abuses in the tax collection process. After a reign of nearly 24 years, he was peacefully succeeded by his son, Henry VIII.


Key facts;


Coronation: 30 October 1485.


He was the first monarch of the House of Tudor.


Born: 28 January 1457, Pembroke Castle, Pembrokeshire, Wales.


Parents: Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond (c. 1430 – 3 November 1456) & Lady Margaret Beaufort (31 May 1441/43 – 29 June 1509). Born to Owen Tudor & the dowager queen Catherine of Valois, Edmund was half-brother to Henry VI of England. Lady Margaret Beaufort was a descendant of King Edward III, Lady Margaret passed a disputed claim to the English throne to her son, Henry Tudor.


Married: Elizabeth of York in 1486. Elizabeth of York (11 February 1466 – 11 February 1503) the eldest child of King Edward IV & his wife, Elizabeth Woodville.


Henry & Elizabeth had eight children;


  • Arthur, Prince of Wales (20 September 1486 – 2 April 1502). Married Katharine of Aragon in 1501. Arthur died on 2 April 1502 at Ludlow, six months short of his sixteenth birthday. Katherine would later marry his brother Henry.

  • Margaret, Queen of Scotland (28 November 1489 – 18 October 1541). Married king James IV of Scotland. Among their three children were; James IV of Scotland.

  • Henry VIII, King of England (28 June 1491 – 28 January 1547). Married six times.

  • Elizabeth (2 July 1492 – 14 September 1495).

  • Mary, Queen of France (18 March 1496 – 25 June 1533). Marry married Louis XII of France in 1514, he died just months later in 1515. Henry's close friend Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk was sent to bring Mary home & married her in secret in Paris.

  • Edward (1498? – 1499), Possibly confused with Edmund.

  • Edmund (1499 – 1500)

  • Catherine (born & died 1503).


Died: 21 April 1509 (aged 52), Richmond Palace, Surrey, England.

Burial: 11 May 1509, Westminster Abbey, London.



 

Her Majesty the Queen during her visit to HMS Ocean in Devonport at a ceremony to rededicate the ship. 2015
Her Majesty the Queen during her visit to HMS Ocean in Devonport at a ceremony to rededicate the ship. 2015

21 April 1926

Queen, Elizabeth II was born in Mayfair, London


Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary) was Queen of the United Kingdom & other Commonwealth realms from 6 February 1952 until her death in 2022. She was queen regnant of 32 sovereign states during her lifetime & was head of state of 15 realms at the time of her death on 8 September 2022. Her reign of 70 years & 214 days was the longest of any British monarch & the longest verified reign of any female monarch in history.


Elizabeth was the first child of Prince Albert, Duke of York (later King George VI), & his wife, Elizabeth, Duchess of York (later Queen Elizabeth). Her father was the second son of King George V & Queen Mary. Her mother was the youngest daughter of Scottish aristocrat Claude Bowes-Lyon, 14th Earl of Strathmore & Kinghorne.



Elizabeth was born by Caesarean section at 2.40 am (GMT) on 21 April 1926 at her maternal grandfather's London house: 17 Bruton Street, Mayfair. She was baptised by the Anglican Archbishop of York, Cosmo Gordon Lang, in the private chapel of Buckingham Palace on 29 May, & named Elizabeth after her mother, Alexandra after George V's mother, who had died six months earlier, & Mary after her paternal grandmother. Her close family called her "Lilibet".


To find our more about Elizabeth II's early life visit here




 

22 April

Princess Margaret of Prussia

22 April 1872

Princess Margaret of Prussia was born


Princess Margaret Beatrice Feodora of Prussia (died. 22 January 1954) was the youngest child of Frederick III, German Emperor, & Victoria, Princess Royal. As such, she was the younger sister of Emperor Wilhelm II & a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. She married Prince Frederick Charles of Hesse, the elected King of Finland, making her the would-be Queen of Finland had he not decided to renounce the throne on 14 December 1918. In 1926 they assumed the titles of Landgrave and Landgravine of Hesse. She lost three sons in World Wars I & II.


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23 April

Æthelred the Unready

23 April 1016

Æthelred the Unready died


Æthelred the Unready, or Æthelred II (born, c. 968), was King of the English (978–1013 & 1014–1016).


He was the son of King Edgar & Queen Ælfthryth & was only about ten years old (no more than thirteen) when his half-brother King Edward the Martyr was murdered. Æthelred was not personally suspected of participation, but as the murder was committed at Corfe Castle by the attendants of Ælfthryth, it made it more difficult for the new king to rally the nation against the military raids by Danes, especially as the legend of St Edward the Martyr grew.


From 991 onwards, Æthelred paid tribute, or Danegeld, to the Danish king. In 1002, Æthelred ordered a massacre of Danish settlers. In 1003, King Sweyn invaded England, & in 1013, Æthelred fled to Normandy & was replaced by Sweyn, who was also King of Denmark. Æthelred returned as king, however, after Sweyn died in 1014. He died in London while preparing to defend the city from the invading Danish invaders led by Cnut the great. He was succeeded by his son Edmund Ironside.


Æthelred married first Ælfgifu, daughter of Thored, earl of Northumbria, in about 985. Their known children were:


Æthelstan Ætheling (died 1014); Ecgberht Ætheling (died c. 1005); Edmund Ironside (died 1016); Eadred Ætheling (died before 1013); Eadwig Ætheling (executed by Cnut 1017); Edgar Ætheling (died c. 1008); Eadgyth or Edith (married Eadric Streona); Ælfgifu (married Uchtred the Bold, ealdorman of Northumbria); Wulfhild? (married Ulfcytel Snillingr); Abbess of Wherwell Abbey?


In 1002 Æthelred married Emma of Normandy, sister of Richard II, Duke of Normandy. Their children were:


Edward the Confessor (died 1066); Ælfred Ætheling (died 1036–7); & Goda of England.


👑 "Unready" is a mistranslation of Old English unræd (meaning bad-counsel)—a twist on his name "Æthelred", meaning noble-counsel.


A charter of Æthelred's in 1003 to his follower, Æthelred. British Library, London
A charter of Æthelred's in 1003 to his follower, Æthelred. British Library, London


 

Alexander I of Scotland

23 April 1124

Alexander I of Scotland died (b. 1078)


Alexander I, posthumously nicknamed The Fierce, was the King of Scotland from 1107 to his death. He succeeded his brother, King Edgar, & his successor was his brother David. He was married to Sybilla of Normandy, an illegitimate daughter of Henry I of England. Alexander was the son of Malcolm III & his wife Margaret of Wessex, grandniece of Edward the Confessor. Alexander was named after Pope Alexander II. Alexander was, like his brothers Edgar & David, a notably pious king. He was responsible for foundations at Scone & Inchcolm, the latter founded in thanks for his survival of a tempest at sea nearby.



 

Adeliza of Louvain
Adeliza of Louvain

23 April 1151

Adeliza of Louvain died (b. c.1103)


Adeliza was Queen of England from 1121 to 1135, as the second wife of King Henry I. She was the daughter of Godfrey I, Count of Louvain & Ida of Chiny. Henry I was some 35 years older than his bride, who was about 18 when they married. He already had children, though no surviving son, from his first marriage to Matilda of Scotland, as well as several illegitimate ones. As his second marriage produced no children, the decision was made to leave the throne to his daughter, the Empress Matilda; an oath was sworn by the clergy, members of the royal family, including Adeliza, as well as English nobles to recognise Matilda as Henry's heir upon his death. After his death Adeliza spent three years based in a convent, then married again & had seven children by William d'Aubigny, 1st Earl of Arundel. But a year before her death at the age of forty-eight she left her husband to move to the Affligem Abbey in Brabant, where she died in 1151.

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Adeliza's royal marriage seems to have been successful, apart from the failure to produce a new heir. The flow of Henry's illegitimate children seems already to have ceased by the time of the marriage, & they spent most of their marriage together, which was by no means inevitable in royal marriages of the period. She seems to have been influential in the promotion of French poetry & other arts at court, but played little part in politics.


 

Most Noble Order of the Garter: Arms: A cross of St George,
Most Noble Order of the Garter: Arms: A cross of St George,

23 April 1348

The founding of the Order of the Garter by King Edward III is announced on St. George's Day.


Visit my Order of the Garter Blog for more information.


The Most Noble Order of the Garter is an order of chivalry founded by king Edward III in 1348. It is the most senior order of knighthood in the British honours system, outranked in precedence only by the Victoria Cross & the George Cross. The Order of the Garter is dedicated to the image & arms of Saint George, England's patron saint.


Appointments are at the sovereign's sole discretion & are usually in recognition of a national contribution, for public service, or for personal service to the sovereign. Membership of the order is limited to the sovereign, the Prince of Wales, & no more than 24 living members, or Companions. The order also includes supernumerary knights & ladies (e.g., members of the British royal family & foreign monarchs).


Edward III as head of the Order of the Garter, drawing c. 1430–40 in the Bruges Garter Book
Edward III as head of the Order of the Garter, drawing c. 1430–40 in the Bruges Garter Book

The order's emblem is a garter with the motto Honi soit qui mal y pense (Middle French for 'Shame on him who thinks evil of it') in gold lettering. Members of the order wear it on ceremonial occasions.




 

The marriage of Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou is depicted in this miniature from an illustrated manuscript of Vigilles de Charles VII by Martial d'Auvergne

The marriage of Henry VI & Margaret of Anjou is depicted in this miniature from an illustrated manuscript of Vigilles de Charles VII by Martial d'Auvergne, c.1484.


23 April 1445

Henry VI married Margaret of Anjou


Henry VI (6 December 1421 – 21 May 1471) was King of England from 1422 to 1461 & again from 1470 to 1471, & disputed King of France from 1422 to 1453.


Cardinal Beaufort & the Earl of Suffolk persuaded the king that the best way of pursuing peace with France was through a marriage with Margaret of Anjou, the niece of King Charles VII. Henry agreed, especially when he heard reports of Margaret's stunning beauty. He sent Suffolk to negotiate with Charles, who agreed to the marriage on condition that he would not have to provide the customary dowry & instead would receive the lands of Maine & Anjou from the English. These conditions were agreed to in the Treaty of Tours, but the cession of Maine & Anjou was kept secret from parliament, as it was known that this would be hugely unpopular with the English populace.


The marriage took place at Titchfield Abbey, Hampshire on 23 April 1445, one month after Margaret's 15th birthday, Henry was 24.


Titchfield Abbey - English Heritage
Titchfield Abbey

They had one son, Edward of Westminster (b.13 October 1453 – 4 May 1471), also known as Edward of Lancaster. He married Anne Neville (later Queen of England as the wife of Richard III). He was killed at the Battle of Tewkesbury, during the War of the Roses, 4 May 1471, making him the only heir apparent to the English throne ever to die in battle.



Places to visit: Titchfield Abbey


 

Coronation procession of King James II and Queen Mary, 1685
Coronation procession of King James II & Queen Mary, 1685

23 April 1685

James II coronation at Westminster Abbey


Having no legitimate children, Charles II (died 6 February 1685) was succeeded by his brother James, who reigned in England & Ireland as James II, & in Scotland as James VII. There was little initial opposition to his succession, & there were widespread reports of public rejoicing at the orderly succession. James wanted to proceed quickly to the coronation, & was crowned with his second wife Mary of Modena at Westminster Abbey on 23 April 1685.


James II (1633 – 1701) was King of England & King of Ireland, & King of Scotland as James VII from 6 February 1685. He was deposed in the Glorious Revolution of 1688 by daughter & son-in-law Mary II & William III. He was the last Catholic monarch of England, Scotland & Ireland.


Mary of Modena in the year of her husband's accession, 1685, in a painting by Willem Wissing
Mary of Modena in the year of her husband's accession, 1685, in a painting by Willem Wissing

Mary of Modena (Italian: Maria Beatrice Eleonora Anna Margherita Isabella d'Este; 1658 - 1718) . She was the second (but eldest surviving) child of Alfonso IV, Duke of Modena, & his wife, Laura Martinozzi.


 

Queen Anne

23 April 1702

Queen Anne coronation


The Queen was so immobile, due to gout & rheumatism, that on 23 April 1702 Queen Anne, then 37, was unable to walk to her own coronation.


Instead she had to be carried into Westminster Abbey by the Yeomen of the Guard in an open sedan chair with a low back over which her 6yd (5.5m) train could pass to the Duchess of Somerset & other ladies walking behind her.


She was dressed in crimson velvet over a golden robe richly embroidered with jewels & a petticoat with bands of gold & silver lace between rows of diamonds, while more diamonds blazed in the wig covering her hair.


Despite her infirmities the Queen managed to dismount from the chair & walk into the Abbey for the five-hour service, during which she was carried in her chair when necessary & crowned by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Tenison, with a specially made crown flaming with massive diamonds.


She then left the Abbey on foot, ‘with obliging looks & bows to all that saluted her’, ahead of the coronation banquet in Westminster Hall.


Anne (6 February 1665 – 1 August 1714) was Queen of England, Scotland & Ireland from 8 March 1702. On 1 May 1707, under the Acts of Union, the kingdoms of England & Scotland united as a single sovereign state known as Great Britain. Anne continued to reign as Queen of Great Britain & Ireland until her death in 1714.


 



23 April 1981

Lady Gabriella Windsor was born


Lady Gabriella Marina Alexandra Ophelia Kingston (née Windsor) is an English freelance feature writer, & the only daughter of Prince Michael of Kent & his wife, Princess Michael, née Baroness Marie-Christine von Reibnitz.


Gabriella Windsor was born at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, London, England & has an older brother, Frederick, born on 6 April 1979 in the same hospital. She was educated at Downe House School in Cold Ash, Berkshire. In May 2004, Gabriella graduated from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, with a BA degree in Comparative Literature. In 2012, she obtained an MPhil degree in Social Anthropology from Linacre College, Oxford.



Prince Michael's marriage to a Roman Catholic debarred him from succession to the British Throne under the provisions of the Act of Settlement 1701. This was reversed by the Succession to the Crown Act 2013, which removed the disqualification of those who marry Roman Catholics. Gabriella (like her brother Frederick) was brought up in the Church of England & consequently retains her place in the line of succession. Her paternal great-grandparents were King George V & Queen Mary. She married Thomas Henry Robin Kingston (b. 22 June 1978) at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, on 18 May 2019.



 


23 April 2018

Prince Louis was born


Prince Louis of Cambridge (Louis Arthur Charles; born 23 April 2018). Louis is the third & youngest child, as well as the second son of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (now Prince of Wales, & Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (now Princess of Wales. He is fourth in the line of succession to the British throne.


On 27 April 2018, it was announced that the baby had been named Louis Arthur Charles. The first & last names honouring his paternal great-great-granduncle Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, & his paternal grandfather Charles, Prince of Wales, respectively.


On 9 July 2018, Louis was christened by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the Chapel Royal at St James's Palace, using water from the River Jordan in accordance with tradition. The family lived at Kensington Palace & Anmer Hall during Louis's early childhood, before moving to Adelaide Cottage in Windsor Home Park in 2022. On 8 September 2022, Queen Elizabeth II died & Louis's grandfather acceded as Charles III. Prince Louis became fourth in line to the throne. The next day, Louis's parents were made Prince & Princess of Wales, giving him the new title of "Prince Louis of Wales".



 

24 April


24 April 1963

Princess Alexandra of Kent married Angus Ogilvy at Westminster Abbey


Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy (Alexandra Helen Elizabeth Olga Christabel; born 25 December 1936) is a member of the British royal family. Alexandra was born to Prince George, Duke of Kent, & Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark. She is a first cousin of the current British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, & since her mother was a first cousin of the queen's husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, she was also his first cousin once removed. Sir Angus James Bruce Ogilvy (14 September 1928 – 26 December 2004) was a British businessman.


On 24 April 1963, Princess Alexandra married the Hon. Angus James Bruce Ogilvy, the second son of the 12th Earl of Airlie & Lady Alexandra Coke, at Westminster Abbey. Ogilvy presented Alexandra with an engagement ring made of a cabochon sapphire set in gold & surrounded by diamonds on both sides. The wedding ceremony was attended by the royal family & was broadcast worldwide on television, watched by an estimated 200 million people.


Alexandra wore a wedding gown of Valenciennes lace, with matching veil & train, designed by John Cavanagh with the City of London diamond fringe tiara. She made her way with her brother, the Duke of Kent, from Kensington Palace to the church. The bridesmaids included Princess Anne & Archduchess Elisabeth of Austria, & the best man was Peregrine Fairfax. The Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey conducted the service. Angus Ogilvy declined the Queen's offer to be created an Earl upon marriage, so their children carry no titles.


Angus Ogilvy was knighted in 1988 (when Princess Alexandra assumed the style of The Hon. Lady Ogilvy), later being sworn of the Privy Council in 1997. Princess Alexandra & Sir Angus had two children, James & Marina, & four grandchildren.




 

25 April

King Edward II of England

25 April 1284

Edward II was born


Edward II was born in Caernarfon Castle in North Wales on 25 April 1284, less than a year after Edward I had conquered the region, & as a result is sometimes called Edward of Caernarfon. The King probably deliberately chose the castle as the location for Edward's birth, as it was an important symbolic location for the native Welsh, associated with Roman imperial history, & it formed the centre of the new royal administration of North Wales.


Edward's birth brought with it predictions of greatness from contemporary prophets who believed that the Last Days of the world were imminent, declaring him to be a new King Arthur, who would lead England to glory.


Edward's name was English in origin, linking him to the Anglo-Saxon saint Edward the Confessor, & was chosen by his father instead of the more traditional Norman & Castilian names selected for Edward's brothers: Edward had three elder brothers: John & Henry who had died before Edward was born, & Alphonso, who died in August 1284, leaving Edward as the heir to the throne.


Although Edward was a relatively healthy child, there were enduring concerns throughout his early years that he too might die & leave his father without a male heir.


After his birth, Edward was looked after by a wet-nurse called Mariota or Mary Maunsel for a few months until she fell ill, when Alice de Leygrave became his foster mother. He would have barely known his natural mother Eleanor of Castile who was in Gascony with his father Edward I during his earliest years. An official household complete with staff was created for the new baby, under the direction of a clerk, Giles of Oudenarde.


Edward II was King of England & Lord of Ireland from 1307 until he was deposed in January 1327.


Caernarfon Castle, Wales
Caernarfon Castle, Wales

Places to visit: Caernarfon Castle

 

The Poppy Shop. The Royal British Legion

Princess Mary, Countess of Harewood  by Bassano Ltd, 1923
Princess Mary, Countess of Harewood by Bassano Ltd, 1923. © National Portrait Gallery, London

25 April 1897

Princess Mary was born (d.1965)


Princess Mary was born at York Cottage on the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, England. Her parents were the future George V & Mary of Teck. Mary was named after her paternal great-grandmother (who would have preferred that she be christened 'Diamond' rather than Victoria, because she was born during the Queen's Diamond Jubilee year),) her paternal grandmother, the Princess of Wales, & her maternal grandmother, Princess Mary Adelaide. Since she was born on the same day as her deceased grandaunt Alice, Grand Duchess of Hesse & by Rhine, the name Alice was added in. She was always known by the last of her Christian names, Mary.


As a great-grandchild of the British monarch (Queen Victoria), she was styled Her Highness Princess Mary of York. In 1898, the Queen passed letters patent granting the children of the Duke and Duchess of York the style, Royal Highness. Mary was then styled Her Royal Highness Princess Mary of York. She was fifth in the line of succession at the time of her birth.


The Princess of Wales (later Queen Mary) & Princess Mary, c.1902. bromide postcard print, circa 1902
The Princess of Wales (later Queen Mary) & Princess Mary, c.1902. bromide postcard print, circa 1902

Read more about Princess Mary here...

 

26 April

Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother; King George VI  by Elliott & Fry gelatin silver print, 26 April 1923 NPG x183992  © National Portrait Gallery, London
© National Portrait Gallery, London

26 April 1923

Prince Albert (later George VI) married Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon.


The wedding of Prince Albert, Duke of York, & Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon took place on 26 April 1923 at Westminster Abbey. The couple were later known as King George VI & Queen Elizabeth.


The couple's wedding rings were crafted from 22 carat Welsh gold from the Clogau St David's mine in Bontddu. In the following years, the use of Clogau Gold within the wedding rings of the royal family became a tradition. Albert's freedom in choosing Elizabeth, not a member of a royal family, though the daughter of a peer, was considered a gesture in favour of political modernisation; previously, princes were expected to marry princesses. The event was not broadcast on the radio due to the Archbishop of Canterbury's concern "that men might listen to it in public houses".


'Wedding of H.R.H. the Duke of York & Lady E. Bowes-Lyon'  by Elliott & Fry, published by J. Beagles & Co bromide postcard print, 1923 (26 April 1923) NPG x193255  © National Portrait Gallery, London

Prince Albert, Duke of York, later George VI (14 December 1895 – 6 February 1952) was King of the United Kingdom & the Dominions of the British Commonwealth from 11 December 1936 until his death in 1952. He was concurrently the last emperor of India until August 1947. He was the second son of King George V & Queen Mary.


Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (4 August 1900 – 30 March 2002) was Queen consort of the United Kingdom & the Dominions from 1936 to 1952 as the wife of King George VI. She was the last empress of India. After her husband died, she was known as Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, to avoid confusion with her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II.




 

27 April


27 April 1882

Prince Leopold married Princess Helena


Insisting that the children of British monarchs should marry into other reigning Protestant families, Queen Victoria suggested Princess Helene Friederike, the daughter of Georg Viktor, reigning Prince of Waldeck-Pyrmont.


On 27 April 1882, Leopold & Helena were married, at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. Leopold & Helena enjoyed a happy (although brief) marriage. In 1883, Leopold became a father when his wife gave birth to a daughter, Alice. He died aged 30 in 1884 shortly before the birth of his son, Charles Edward.


Through their son Charles Edward they are the great-grandparents of Carl XVI Gustav, the current King of Sweden.


Prince Leopold, 1880
Prince Leopold, 1880

Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, (Leopold George Duncan Albert; 7 April 1853 – 28 March 1884) was the eighth child & youngest son of Queen Victoria & Prince Albert. Leopold was later created Duke of Albany, Earl of Clarence, & Baron Arklow. He had haemophilia, which contributed to his death following a fall at the age of 30.


Princess Helena, 1882.
Princess Helena, 1882

Princess Helen of Waldeck and Pyrmont (later Duchess of Albany; 17 February 1861 – 1 September 1922) was the fifth daughter & child of George Victor, Prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont, & his first wife, Princess Helena of Nassau.


 

28 April

King Edward IV of England

28 April 1442

Edward IV, king of England was born (d. 1483)


Edward of York was born at Rouen in France, the second son of Richard, 3rd Duke of York (who had a strong genealogical claim to the throne of England), & Cecily Neville. He was the eldest of the four sons who survived to adulthood. His younger brother Edmund, Earl of Rutland, died along with his father at Wakefield on 30 December 1460.


Edward IV was the King of England from 4 March 1461 until 3 October 1470, & again from 11 April 1471 until his death in 1483. He was the first Yorkist King of England. The first half of his rule was marred by the violence associated with the Wars of the Roses, but he overcame the Lancastrian challenge to the throne at Tewkesbury in 1471 to reign in peace until his sudden death. Before becoming king, he was 4th Duke of York, 7th Earl of March, 5th Earl of Cambridge & 9th Earl of Ulster. He was also the 65th Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece. Edward IV married Elizabeth Woodville in 1464, they had ten children.



 

The "Darnley Portrait" of Elizabeth I of England. It was named after a previous owner. Probably painted from life, this portrait is the source of the face pattern called "The Mask of Youth" which would be used for authorized portraits of Elizabeth for decades to come. Recent research has shown the colours have faded. The oranges and browns would have been crimson red in Elizabeth's time.
Queen Elizabeth I

28 April 1603

Queen Elizabeth I’s funeral took place in London.


After her death on 24th March 1603, the body of Queen Elizabeth I was placed inside a lead coffin & carried by night in a torchlit barge along the Thames from Richmond Palace to Whitehall. There, the Queen was to lie in state until her funeral, giving time for King James to travel down to London. While the coffin lay in state, a life size effigy of the Queen, dressed in her royal robes, was placed on top of it to act as a symbol of the monarchy while there was no monarch in England.


On 28th April 1603, Elizabeth’s coffin was carried from Whitehall to Westminster Abbey on a hearse drawn by horses hung with black velvet. The coffin was covered in a rich purple cloth, topped with the effigy of Elizabeth with a sceptre in her hands & a crown on her head. Above the coffin was a canopy supported by six knights, & behind the hearse was the Queen’s Master of the Horse, leading her palfrey. The chief mourner was the Countess of Northampton who led the party of peers of the realm, all dressed in black.


Chronicler John Stow wrote:- “Westminster was surcharged with multitudes of all sorts of people in their streets, houses, windows, leads & gutters, that came out to see the obsequy, & when they beheld her statue lying upon the coffin, there was such a general sighing, groaning & weeping as the like hath not been seen or known in the memory of man.”


Elizabeth was then buried at Westminster Abbey in the vault of her grandfather, Henry VII, until she was moved in 1606 to her present resting place, a tomb in the Lady Chapel of Westminster Abbey which she shares with her half-sister Mary I.


King James I spent over £11,000 on Elizabeth I’s lavish funeral, & he also arranged for this white marble monument to be built. The tomb is inscribed with the words:- “Consorts both in throne & grave, here we rest two sisters, Elizabeth & Mary, in hope of our resurrection.”


Funeral of Elizabeth I of England. The casket of the queen is accompanied by mourners bearing the heraldic banners of her ancestors' coats of arms marshalled (side-by-side) with the arms of their wives. Susan Doran, editor, Elizabeth: The Exhibition at the National Maritime Museum, London, Chatto & Windus 2003.
Elizabeth's funeral cortège, 1603, with banners of her royal ancestors

Image source: Susan Doran, editor, Elizabeth: The Exhibition at the National Maritime Museum, London, Chatto & Windus 2003.


Elizabeth I effigy on her tomb at Westminster Abbey
Elizabeth I effigy on her tomb at Westminster Abbey

Elizabeth I effigy on her tomb at Westminster Abbey

Elizabeth I effigy on her tomb at Westminster Abbey


 

29 April


29 April 2011

Prince William married Catherine Middleton


The wedding of Prince William & Catherine Middleton took place on Friday, 29 April 2011 at Westminster Abbey in London. The groom was second in the line of succession to the British throne.


For more about the royal wedding visit


 

30 April

The Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh, by Thomas Lawrence, 1824
The Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh, by Thomas Lawrence, 1824

30 April 1857

Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh died


Princess Mary was born, on 25 April 1776, at Buckingham Palace (then called Buckingham House), London. Her father was the reigning British monarch, king George III. Her mother was Queen Charlotte.


Princess Mary was the 11th child & fourth daughter of King George III of the United Kingdom. According to author and historian Flora Fraser, Mary was considered to be the most beautiful daughter of George III.


She married her first cousin Prince William Frederick, Duke of Gloucester & Edinburgh ( the son of George III's brother, Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh), when both were 40. The couple lived at Bagshot Park, but after William's death (aged 58) she moved to White Lodge in Richmond Park. They had no children together.


In her last years, her niece, Victoria, was on the throne as the fourth monarch during Mary's life, after her father & two of her brothers. Princess Mary was said to be the favourite aunt of her niece, Queen Victoria.


Princess Mary was the longest-lived (at 81 years) & last survivor of George III's fifteen children; of those fifteen issue, thirteen lived to adulthood. She died on 30 April 1857 at Gloucester House, London.


1856 daguerreotype by Antoine Claudet of Princess Mary, seated far right. Sitting to her left are Queen Victoria and Princess Alice. Standing to the rear is the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII).

Princess Mary, seated far right. Sitting to her left are Queen Victoria and Princess Alice. Standing to the rear is the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII). 1856 daguerreotype by Antoine Claudet.


 

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