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#OTD in Royal History - 17-31 July

#otd in royal history 17-31 July

17 July

Portrait miniature from a thirteenth-century genealogical scroll depicting Edward
Portrait miniature from a thirteenth-century genealogical scroll depicting Edward

17 July 924

King Edward the Elder died

Edward the Elder, (born c. 874) was King of the Anglo-Saxons from 899 until his death. He was the elder son of Alfred the Great & his wife Ealhswith. When Edward succeeded to the throne, he had to defeat a challenge from his cousin Æthelwold, who had a strong claim as the son of Alfred's elder brother & predecessor, Æthelred.

Edward was married three times, in all begetting 18 children. His first wife, whom he married around 893, was Egwina, a noblewoman. William of Malmesbury, writing in the twelfth century, informs us that her children, including Athelstan, who succeeded his father, were illegitimate, however this is unlikely as Athelstan ascended to the throne as undisputed King after the death of his father.

Edward the Elder died from his wounds gained while leading an army to combat a Cambro-Mercian rebellion, on 17 July 924 at Farndon-on-Dee, Mercia, his body was buried at the the New Minster at Winchester, which Edward himself had established. Following the Norman conquest, the minster was replaced by Hyde Abbey & King Edward's body was transferred there. His grave is currently marked by a cross-inscribed stone slab within the outline of the old abbey marked out in a public park. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Athelstan whom he had named as his heir.

Edward was admired by medieval chroniclers, & in the view of William of Malmesbury he was "much inferior to his father in the cultivation of letters" but "incomparably more glorious in the power of his rule"


King George V, 1923
King George V

17 July 1917

A royal proclamation issued by George V declared: that The House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was to be changed to House of Windsor.

Edward VII &, in turn, his son, George V, were members of the German ducal House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha by virtue of their descent from Albert, Prince Consort, husband of Queen Victoria. High anti-German sentiment amongst the people of the British Empire during World War I reached a peak in March 1917, when the Gotha G.IV, a heavy aircraft capable of crossing the English Channel, began bombing London directly & became a household name. In the same year, on 15 March, King George's first cousin, Nicholas II, the Emperor of Russia, was forced to abdicate, which raised the spectre of the eventual abolition of all the monarchies in Europe. The King & his family were finally convinced to abandon all titles held under the German Crown & to change German titles & house names to anglicised versions.

On 17 July 1917, a royal proclamation issued by George V declared:

'Now, therefore, We, out of Our Royal Will & Authority, do hereby declare & announce that as from the date of this Our Royal Proclamation Our House & Family shall be styled & known as the House & Family of Windsor, & that all the descendants in the male line of Our said Grandmother Queen Victoria who are subjects of these Realms, other than female descendants who may marry or may have married, shall bear the said Name of Windsor.'

The name had a long association with monarchy in Britain, through the town of Windsor, Berkshire, & Windsor Castle; the link is alluded to in the Round Tower of Windsor Castle being the basis of the badge of the House of Windsor.

From 1917 to 1919, George V also stripped 15 of his German relations—most of whom belonged to the House of Hanover—of their British titles & styles of prince & princess.

Badge of the House of Windsor
Badge of the House of Windsor


17 July 1918

Nicholas II of Russia and his family were executed by the Bolsheviks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ekaterinburg: The Last Days of the Romanovs Paperback


17 July 1947

Queen Camilla was born

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

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

She was married to Brigadier Andrew Parker Bowles (m.1973), & the marriage was dissolved in 1995. They had two children, Thomas Henry & Laura Rose.

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

◼ From the marriage until her husband's accession, she was known as Duchess of Cornwall. Upon the death of Queen Elizabeth II on 8 September 2022, Charles became king with Camilla as queen consort. Their coronation took place at Westminster Abbey on 6 May 2023.

Camilla carries out public engagements representing the British monarchy, often alongside her husband. She is also the patron, the president, or a member, of numerous charities & organisations. Since 1994, Camilla has campaigned to raise awareness of osteoporosis, which has earned her several honours & awards. She has also campaigned to raise awareness of issues such as rape, sexual abuse, illiteracy, animal welfare, & povery.


18 July

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

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

18 July 1389

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

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

Richard II, king of England

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

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

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

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

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

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


Marie of Romania

18 July 1938

Marie of Romania died

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

19 July

Philippa of Lancaster (1360-1415), Queen consort of Portugal due to her marriage to King John I of Portugal.

19 July 1415

Philippa of Lancaster, Queen of Portugal died from the plague

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Lady Jane Grey, Queen of England

19 July 1553

Lady Jane Grey is replaced by Mary I of England as Queen of England after only nine days on the throne

Lady Jane Grey (born. c. 1537 – died. 12 February 1554), also known as Lady Jane Dudley (after her marriage) & as "the Nine Days' Queen", was an English noblewoman & de facto Queen of England & Ireland from 10 July until 19 July 1553. Jane was the great-granddaughter of Henry VII through his younger daughter Mary, & was a first cousin once removed of Edward VI. She had an excellent humanist education & a reputation as one of the most learned young women of her day. She studied Latin, Greek & Hebrew with John Aylmer, & Italian with Michelangelo Florio. In May 1553, she married Lord Guildford Dudley, a younger son of Edward's chief minister John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland. In June 1553, Edward VI wrote his will, nominating Jane & her male heirs as successors to the Crown, in part because his half-sister Mary was Roman Catholic, while Jane was a committed Protestant & would support the reformed Church of England, whose foundation Edward claimed to have laid. The will removed his half-sisters, Mary & Elizabeth, from the line of succession on account of their illegitimacy, subverting their claims under the Third Succession Act. After Edward's death, Jane was proclaimed queen on 10 July 1553 & awaited coronation in the Tower of London. Support for Mary grew very quickly, & most of Jane's supporters abandoned her.

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

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


Coronation of George IV, 19 July 1821 by James Stephanoff
Coronation of George IV, 19 July 1821 by James Stephanoff

19 July 1821

George IV coronation

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

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

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

King George IV of Great Britain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


20 July

Stirling Castle, drawn by John Slezer in 1693, and showing James IV's now-demolished Forework
Stirling Castle, drawn by John Slezer in 1693

20 July 1304

Fall of Stirling Castle: Edward I of England takes the stronghold using the War Wolf.

After the defeat of William Wallace's Scots army at the Battle of Falkirk in 1298, it took Edward I six years to gain full control of Scotland. The last stronghold of resistance to English rule was Stirling Castle.

Armed with twelve siege engines, the English laid siege to the castle in April 1304. For four months the castle was bombarded by lead balls (stripped from nearby church roofs), Greek fire, stone balls, & even some sort of gunpowder mixture. Edward I had sulphur & saltpetre, components of gunpowder, brought to the siege from England.

Scale model of Warwolf.
Scale model of Warwolf.

Impatient with lack of progress, Edward ordered his chief engineer, Master James of St. George, to begin work on a new, more massive engine called Warwolf (believed to be the largest trebuchet ever made). The castle's garrison of 30, led by William Oliphant, eventually were allowed to surrender on 20 July after Edward had previously refused to accept surrender until the Warwolf had been tested. Despite previous threats, Edward spared all the Scots in the garrison & executed only one Englishman who had previously given over the castle to the Scots. Sir William Oliphant was imprisoned in the Tower of London.

Scottish Castles: Scotland’s most dramatic castles and strongholds - pocket book


21 July

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

21 July 1403

The Battle of Shrewsbury

The Battle of Shrewsbury was a battle fought on 21 July 1403, waged between an army led by the Lancastrian King Henry IV & a rebel army led by Henry "Harry Hotspur" Percy from Northumberland. The battle, the first in which English archers fought each other on English soil, demonstrated the effectiveness of the longbow & ended the Percy challenge to King Henry IV of England.

16th-century imaginary painting of Henry IV
16th-century imaginary painting of Henry IV

Part of the fighting is believed to have taken place at what is now Battlefield, Shropshire, England, three miles north of the centre of Shrewsbury. It is marked today by Battlefield Church & Battlefield Heritage Park.

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

Later portrait of Henry, late 16th or early 17th century
Later portrait of Henry, late 16th or early 17th century


22 July

Wedding of Princess Maud of Wales and Prince Carl of Denmark
Wedding of Princess Maud of Wales and Prince Carl of Denmark

22 July 1896

Princess Maud of Wales married Prince Carl of Denmark (later king & Queen of Norway)

Princess Maud was the youngest daughter of the future king, Edward VII & his spouse Alexandra of Denmark. Maud of Wales was the first queen of Norway in over five centuries who was not also queen of Denmark or Sweden. On 22 July 1896, Princess Maud married her first cousin, Prince Carl of Denmark, in the private chapel at Buckingham Palace. Prince Carl was the second son of Queen Alexandra's eldest brother, Crown Prince Frederick of Denmark, & Princess Louise of Sweden.

The bride's father gave her Appleton House on the Sandringham Estate as a country residence for her frequent visits to England. It was there that the couple's only child, Prince Alexander, was born on 2 July 1903 in Sandringham. Prince Carl was an officer in the Danish navy & he & his family lived mainly in Denmark until 1905. In June 1905 the Norwegian parliament, the Storting, dissolved Norway's 91-year-old union with Sweden & voted to offer the throne to Prince Carl. Maud's membership of the British royal house had some part in why Carl was chosen. Following a plebiscite in November, Prince Carl accepted the Norwegian throne, taking the name of Haakon VII, while his young son took the name of Olav. King Haakon VII & Queen Maud were crowned at Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim on 22 June 1906.

Coronation portrait of King Haakon VII and Queen Maud, 22 June 1906
King Haakon VII & Queen Maud, 22 June 1906


22 July 2013

Prince George was born

Prince George of Cambridge (George Alexander Louis) was born 22 July 2013. He is the eldest child of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, & Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, & third in the line of succession to the British throne behind his grandfather Prince Charles & his father. Prince George was born in Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital, London, at 16:24 BST (15:24 UTC) on 22 July 2013. The customary formal bulletin announcing the royal birth was displayed on an easel outside Buckingham Palace, although in a break with tradition the news was first conveyed in a press release from palace officials. The newborn was widely hailed as a future king. 21-gun salutes signalled the birth in the capitals of Bermuda, the UK, New Zealand, & Canada; the bells of Westminster Abbey & many other churches were rung; & iconic landmarks in the Commonwealth realms were illuminated in various colours, mostly blue to signify the birth of a boy. On 24 July, his name was announced as George Alexander Louis.


23 July

Princess Beatrice in her wedding dress, Osborne, 1885. Beatrice wore her mother's wedding veil of Honiton lace.
Princess Beatrice in her wedding dress, Osborne, 1885. Beatrice wore her mother's wedding veil of Honiton lace.

23 July 1885

Princess Beatrice of the United Kingdom UK married Prince Henry of Battenberg

Beatrice & Henry were married at Saint Mildred's Church at Whippingham, near Osborne, on 23 July 1885. Beatrice, who wore her mother's wedding veil of Honiton lace, was escorted by the Queen & Beatrice's eldest brother, the Prince of Wales (later king Edward VII).

Prince Henry of Battenberg
Prince Henry of Battenberg

Princess Beatrice was attended by ten royal bridesmaids from among her nieces: Princess Alix & Princess Irene of Hesse & by Rhine; Princess Alexandra, Princess Marie, & Princess Victoria Melita of Edinburgh; Princess Louise, Princess Maud, & Princess Victoria of Wales; Princess Marie Louise & Princess Helena Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein. The bridegroom's supporters were his brothers, Prince Alexander of Bulgaria & Prince Francis Joseph of Battenberg. The ceremony ended with the couple's departure for their honeymoon at Quarr Abbey House, a few miles from Osborne.

Princess Beatrice of the United Kingdom in her wedding dress

Princess Beatrice wore a wedding dress of white satin, trimmed with orange blossom & lace, the lace overskirt held by bouquets of the blossom entwined with white heather. There was lace on the pointed neck line, & on the sleeves, for the Princess was a lover of, & an expert on, lace. One of her most treasured possessions was a tunic of old point d'Alençon which had belonged to Katharine of Aragon. Knowing her daughter's love of lace, the Queen allowed Princess Beatrice to wear the Honiton lace & veil which she herself had worn on her wedding day. It was a very precious possession to the Queen, & Princess Beatrice was the only one of her daughters to be given the opportunity to wear it. Her veil was emblazoned with a diamond circlet with diamond stars, a marriage gift from her mother. St. Mildred's in Whippingham, where the couple was married, has a replica of the wedding dress worn by Princess Beatrice which, along with photographs from the wedding, can be viewed by visitors.

Princess Beatrice wearing her wedding dress

The couple had four children;

  • Alexander Mountbatten, 1st Marquess of Carisbrooke, (born Prince Alexander of Battenberg; 23 November 1886 – 23 February 1960). He was a Prince of Battenberg from his birth until 1917, when the British Royal Family relinquished their German titles during the First World War & he was created Marquess of Carisbrooke by King George V.

  • Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg (b.24 October 1887 – d.15 April 1969) was later Queen consort of Spain as the wife of King Alfonso XIII.

  • Lord Leopold Mountbatten, (b. 21 May 1889 – d.23 April 1922). Leopold was a haemophiliac, a condition he inherited from his mother, & died during a knee operation.

  • Prince Maurice of Battenberg, (b.3 October 1891 – d.27 October 1914), The young Prince served in World War I as a lieutenant in the King's Royal Rifle Corps, & was killed in service in the Ypres Salient in 1914. He is buried in Ypres Town Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery.


24 July

Prince William, Duke of Gloucester
Prince William, Duke of Gloucester

24 July 1689

Prince William, Duke of Gloucester was born

The future Queen Anne was married to Prince George of Denmark and Norway, & in their six years of marriage Anne had been pregnant six times, but none of her children had survived. At the end of her seventh pregnancy, at 5 a.m. on 24 July 1689, she was delivered of a son in Hampton Court Palace. As it was usual for the births of potential heirs to the throne to be attended by several witnesses, the King (William III) Queen (Mary II) & "most of the persons of quality about the court" were present. Three days later, the newborn baby was baptised William Henry after his uncle King William by Henry Compton, Bishop of London.

Princess Anne embraces her only surviving child, the Duke of Gloucester, in a painting by Sir Godfrey Kneller, c. 1694.
Princess Anne embraces her only surviving child, the Duke of Gloucester, in a painting by Sir Godfrey Kneller, c. 1694.

Prince William, Duke of Gloucester, was the son of Princess Anne, later Queen from 1702, & her husband, Prince George, Duke of Cumberland. He was their only child to survive infancy. Styled Duke of Gloucester, he was viewed by contemporaries as a Protestant champion because his birth seemed to cement the Protestant succession established in the "Glorious Revolution" that had deposed his Catholic grandfather James II the previous year.

Gloucester's mother was estranged from her brother-in-law & cousin, William III, & her sister, Mary II, but supported links between them & her son. He grew close to his uncle William, who created him a Knight of the Garter, & his aunt Mary, who frequently sent him presents. Gloucester's precarious health was a constant source of worry to his mother. His death, on 30 July 1700 at the age of eleven, precipitated a succession crisis as his mother was the only individual remaining in the Protestant line of succession established by the Bill of Rights 1689. The English Parliament did not want the throne to revert to a Catholic, & so passed the Act of Settlement 1701, which settled the throne of England on Electress, Sophia of Hanover, a cousin of King James II, & her Protestant heirs.

25 July

Mary I, Queen of England
Mary I, Queen of England

25 July 1554

Mary I marries Philip II of Spain at Winchester Cathedral.

Their marriage at Winchester Cathedral on 25 July 1554 took place just two days after their first meeting. Philip's view of the affair was entirely political. Lord Chancellor Gardiner & the House of Commons petitioned Mary to consider marrying an Englishman, preferring Edward Courtenay.

Under the terms of the Act for the Marriage of Queen Mary to Philip of Spain, Philip was to enjoy Mary I's titles & honours for as long as their marriage should last.

Philip II Portrait by Titian, c. 1550.
Philip II Portrait by Titian, c. 1550.

All official documents, including Acts of Parliament, were to be dated with both their names, & Parliament was to be called under the joint authority of the couple. Coins were also to show the heads of both Mary & Philip.

The marriage treaty also provided that England would not be obliged to provide military support to Philip's father in any war. The Privy Council instructed that Mary & Philip should be joint signatories of royal documents, & this was enacted by an Act of Parliament, which gave him the title of king & stated that he "shall aid her Highness ... in the happy administration of her Grace’s realms & dominions." In other words, Philip was to co-reign with his wife. As the new King of England could not read English, it was ordered that a note of all matters of state should be made in Latin or Spanish.

Acts which made it high treason to deny Philip's royal authority were passed in Ireland & England. Mary & Philip appeared on coins together, with a single crown suspended between them as a symbol of joint reign.

During their joint reign, they waged war against France, which resulted in the loss of Calais, England's last remaining possession in France.

Philip and Mary I of England, 1558
Philip and Mary I of England, 1558


26 July

Prince Charles in 1958

26 July 1958

Prince Charles was created 'The Prince of Wales & the Earl of Chester' by Queen Elizabeth II

In 1958 Prince Charles was created 'The Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester'. The Prince was nine-years-old. His investiture was not conducted though until 1 July 1969, when he was crowned by his mother in a televised ceremony held at Caernarfon Castle, & gave his replies & speech in both Welsh & English.


27 July

Henry IV

27 July 1380

King Henry IV married Mary De Bohun

Henry then known as Henry Bolingbroke married Mary De Bohun on 27 July 1380, at Arundel Castle. At the time of their marriage, Henry was thirteen, Mary was perhaps little more than twelve years old.

At Monmouth Castle, one of Henry's possessions, Mary gave birth to her first two children, both boys. Henry, the surviving son, was later to become Prince of Wales when his father seized the throne from Richard II in 1399. On the death of his father in 1413, he became King of England as Henry V.

Mary De Bohun
Mary De Bohun

Their children were:

▪ Henry V, King of England (1386–1422)

▪ Thomas of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Clarence (1387–1421)

▪ John of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Bedford (1389–1435)

▪ Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester (1390–1447)

▪ Blanche of England (1392–1409) married in 1402 Louis III, Elector Palatine

▪Philippa of England (1394–1430) married in 1406 Eric of Pomerania, King of Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

Mary was never queen, as she died at Peterborough Castle, giving birth to her last child, a daughter, Philippa of England before her husband came to the throne. She was buried in the collegiate Church of the Annunciation of Our Lady of the Newarke, Leicester.


Robert Pate attacks Queen Victoria

27 July 1850

Queen Victoria was attacked by former soldier Robert Pate

The Queen was visiting Cambridge House in Piccadilly on 27 June 1850, in order to see her dying uncle, Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge. At about 6:20 that evening, her carriage was leaving the courtyard when Robert Pate hit her on the head with the short cane with brass ferule that he was carrying. The blow was heavy enough to crush her bonnet & draw a little blood.

The attack was the only one of several attempts that caused Victoria actual harm & the mark on her forehead remained for a decade.

The Queen’s appearance within two hours at Covent Garden proved not that she hadn’t been greatly injured, but that she bravely refused to let her injury prevent her from going among her subjects.

Pate was immediately arrested & was quickly put on trial. His defence team did not plead insanity, but instead asked for a lenient sentence on the grounds of a momentary lapse caused by a weak mind. Pate was sentenced to seven years of penal transportation to Van Diemen's Land (now known as Tasmania), which his father thought a better result than the ignominy of imprisonment in the UK accompanied by a birching, even though that was a nominally lesser sentence.

Robert Pate attacks Queen Victoria newspaper report

Nearly half a century later, on New Year’s Day 1899, Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper reported in an article entitled “Notoriety of a Stick” that what was apparently Pate’s weapon was to be sold at auction in London. A quiet word was sent from Osborne, where the Queen was in residence, to the auction house. The cane was withdrawn from sale. It has never come before the public since.

Queen Victoria


28 July

Catherine Howard, fourth wife of king Henry VIII

28 July 1540

Henry VIII married Catherine Howard

On the same day Cromwell was executed, the 49 year old Henry married the young Catherine Howard (c. 1523 – 13 February 1542) , a first cousin & lady-in-waiting of Anne Boleyn at Oatlands Palace. Henry was delighted with his new queen & awarded her the lands of Cromwell & a vast array of jewellery.

Soon after the marriage, however, Queen Catherine had an affair with the courtier Thomas Culpeper. She also employed Francis Dereham, who had previously been informally engaged to her & had an affair with her prior to her marriage, as her secretary. The Privy Council was informed of her affair with Dereham whilst Henry was away; Thomas Cranmer was dispatched to investigate, & he brought evidence of Queen Catherine's previous affair with Dereham to the king's notice. Henry originally refused to believe the allegations, but Dereham confessed. It took another meeting of the council, before Henry believed the accusations against Dereham & went into a rage, blaming the council before consoling himself in hunting. When questioned, the queen could have admitted a prior contract to marry Dereham, which would have made her subsequent marriage to Henry invalid, but she instead claimed that Dereham had forced her to enter into an adulterous relationship. Dereham, meanwhile, exposed Catherine's relationship with Culpeper. Culpeper & Dereham were both executed, & Catherine too was beheaded on 13 February 1542.

Henry VIII, king of England


29 July

Charles and Diana wedding portrait

29 July 1981

Charles, Prince of Wales married Lady Diana Spencer at St Paul's Cathedral.

The wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, & Lady Diana Spencer took place on 29 July 1981 at St Paul's Cathedral, London. The ceremony was a traditional Church of England wedding service. Notable figures in attendance included many members of royal families from across the world, republican heads of state, & members of the bride's & groom's families.

Their marriage was widely billed as a "fairytale wedding" & the "wedding of the century". It was watched by an estimated global TV audience of 750 million. The United Kingdom had a national holiday on that day to mark the wedding.


30 July

30 July 2011

Zara Phillips married Mike Tindall.

The wedding was held on 30 July 2011 at the Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh, Scotland, with 400 guests in attendance. The marriage was officiated by the Reverend Neil Gardner. Her wedding dress was designed by Stewart Parvin & featured "a chevron-pleated bodice, a dropped waist, & a 'cathedral-length' train". The Meander Tiara was lent to her & secured the veil. Dolly Maude was her maid of honour, with her paternal half-sister, Stephanie, among the bridesmaids. A reception was held at Holyrood Palace following the service.

Zara Anne Elizabeth Tindall MBE (née Phillips; born 15 May 1981) is a British equestrian, an Olympian, & the daughter of Anne, Princess Royal, & Captain Mark Phillips. She is the eldest granddaughter of her mother's parents Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, & is 21st in line of succession to the British throne. Michael James Tindall, MBE (born 18 October 1978) is an English former rugby union player. Tindall played outside centre for Bath & Gloucester, & won 75 caps for England between 2000 & 2011. He was a member of the English squad which won the 2003 World Cup.

Tindall gave birth to a daughter, Mia Grace on 17 January 2014 at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, who is 22nd in the line of succession. Her next two pregnancies ended in miscarriage. Their second daughter, Lena Elizabeth was born on 18 June 2018 at the Stroud Maternity Hospital, & is 23rd in the line of succession. Her christening was held at St Nicholas Church in March 2019. Their third child, son Lucas Philip, was born on 21 March 2021 at the family home in Gatcombe Park, & is 24th in the line of succession.


31 July

Prince Albert, 1919. © National Portrait Gallery, London
Prince Albert, 1919. © National Portrait Gallery, London

31 July 1919

George VI (when Prince Albert) qualified as an RAF pilot

In February 1918, he was appointed Officer in Charge of Boys at the Royal Naval Air Service's training establishment at Cranwell. With the establishment of the Royal Air Force two months later & the reassignment of Cranwell from Admiralty to Air Ministry responsibility, Albert transferred from the Royal Navy to the Royal Air Force. He was appointed Officer Commanding Number 4 Squadron of the Boys' Wing at Cranwell until August 1918, before reporting to the RAF's Cadet School at St Leonards-on-Sea where he completed a fortnight's training & took command of a squadron on the Cadet Wing. He was the first member of the royal family to be certified as a fully qualified pilot.

Albert was greatly desirous of serving on the Continent while the war was still in progress and was very pleased to be posted to General Trenchard's staff. On 23 October he flew across the Channel to Autigny. For the closing weeks of the war, he served on the staff of the RAF's Independent Air Force at its headquarters in Nancy, France. Following the disbanding of the Independent Air Force in November 1918, he remained on the Continent for two months as a staff officer with the Royal Air Force until posted back to Britain. He accompanied the Belgian monarch King Albert on his triumphal re-entry into Brussels on 22 November. Prince Albert qualified as an RAF pilot on 31 July 1919 & gained a promotion to squadron leader on the following day.

Prior to 1918 he had served in the Royal Navy & one year after his commission, he began service in the First World War. He was mentioned in despatches for his action as a turret officer aboard Collingwood in the Battle of Jutland (31 May – 1 June 1916), an indecisive engagement with the German navy that was the largest naval action of the war. He did not see further combat, largely because of ill health caused by a duodenal ulcer, for which he had an operation in November 1917.

Prince Albert, later King George VI standing, facing the camera & wearing flying helmet, goggles, padded jacket & gauntlets. He stands beside a fellow Royal Flying Corps (RFC) airman. On the left stands a RFC officer.

Prince Albert, later King George VI standing, facing the camera & wearing flying helmet, goggles, padded jacket & gauntlets. He stands beside a fellow Royal Flying Corps (RFC) airman. On the left stands a RFC officer.


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