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#otd in Royal History 1st - 25th October

Updated: Oct 13, 2023


On this day in royal history blog cover. Elizabeth II, Richard III, Jane Seymour

1 October

King Eadwig

1 October 959

Eadwig, king of the English died


Eadwig, also spelled Edwy or Eadwige, & sometimes called the All-Fair (c. 940 – October 959).


Eadwig was King of the English from 955 until his premature death in 959. He was the elder son of Edmund I & Ælfgifu of Shaftesbury, He became king in 955 aged 15 following the death of his uncle Eadred. Eadwig's short reign was tarnished by disputes with nobles & men of the church, including Archbishops Dunstan & Oda.


According to the earliest life of St Dunstan, written around the year 1000, Eadwig left the banquet which followed his coronation in Kingston upon Thames, & was found cavorting with a noblewoman named Æthelgifu & her daughter. Dunstan dragged him back to the banquet, earning the enmity of Eadwig & the two women, & at Æthelgifu's instigation Dunstan was deprived of his abbacy of Glastonbury & forced into exile.


He later married Ælfgifu, who seems to have been the sister of Æthelweard the Chronicler. Æthelweard describes himself as the "grandson's grandson" of King Æthelred I. Eadwig was the son of King Edmund the Magnificent, grandson of King Edward the Elder, great-grandson of King Alfred the Great, & therefore great-great-nephew of King Æthelred I. Eadwig & Ælfgifu were therefore third cousins once removed.


The annulment of the marriage of Eadwig & Ælfgifu is unusual in that it was against their will, clearly politically motivated by the supporters of Dunstan. The Church at the time regarded any union within seven degrees of consanguinity as incestuous. At the time, "degree" was reached by counting up to the common ancestor: a second cousin would have been related within the third degree. Dunstan, whilst in exile, became influenced by the Benedictines of Flanders. A pro-Dunstan, pro-Benedictine party began to form around Athelstan Half-King's domain of East Anglia & supporting Eadwig's younger brother Edgar. Frustrated by the king's impositions & supported by Archbishop Oda of Canterbury, the Thanes of Mercia & Northumbria switched their allegiance to Eadwig's brother Edgar.


In 957, rather than see the country descend into civil war, the nobles agreed to divide the kingdom along the Thames, with Eadwig keeping Wessex & Kent in the south & Edgar ruling in the north. Eadwig died on 1 October 959 & was buried in the New Minster, Winchester. He was succeeded by his brother Edgar, who reunited the kingdom.


 

King Henry III of England

1 October 1207

King Henry III was born


Henry III, also known as Henry of Winchester, Henry was King of England, Lord of Ireland, & Duke of Aquitaine from 1216 until his death. He was the fourth king of the House of Plantagenet. The son of King John & Isabella of Angoulême, Henry assumed the throne when he was only nine in the middle of the First Barons' War. Cardinal Guala declared the war against the rebel barons to be a religious crusade & Henry's forces, led by William Marshal, defeated the rebels at the battles of Lincoln & Sandwich in 1217.


For more about Henry III visit our previous blog.



 

Queen Mary I of England

1 October 1553

Queen Mary I coronation


Mary I (b.18 February 1516 – d.17 November 1558), also known as Mary Tudor, & as "Bloody Mary" by her Protestant opponents, was Queen of England & Ireland from July 1553 until her death in 1558. She is best known for her attempt to reverse the English Reformation, which had begun during the reign of her father, Henry VIII. Her attempt to restore to the Church the property confiscated in the previous two reigns was largely thwarted by Parliament, but during her five-year reign, Mary had over 280 religious dissenters burned at the stake in the Marian persecutions.


Mary was the only child of Henry VIII by his first wife, Katharine of Aragon, to survive to adulthood. Her younger half-brother, Edward VI, succeeded their father in 1547 at the age of nine. When Edward became mortally ill in 1553, he attempted to remove Mary from the line of succession because he supposed, correctly, that she would reverse the Protestant reforms that had taken place during his reign. Upon his death, leading politicians proclaimed Lady Jane Grey as queen. Mary assembled a force in East Anglia & deposed Jane, who was ultimately beheaded. Mary was—excluding the disputed reigns of Jane & the Empress Matilda—the first queen regnant of England. On 1 October 1553, Gardiner crowned Mary at Westminster Abbey.


In 1554, Mary married Philip of Spain, becoming queen consort of Habsburg Spain on his accession in 1556. After Mary's death in 1558, her re-establishment of Roman Catholicism was reversed by her younger half-sister & successor, Elizabeth I.


Santa Maria Extra Large Gemstone Cross Pendant Gold

 

2 October

Richard III, king of England

2 October 1452

Richard III, king of England was born (d. 22 August 1485)


Richard was born on 2 October 1452, at Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire, the eleventh of the twelve children of Richard, 3rd Duke of York, & Cecily Neville. His childhood coincided with the beginning of what has traditionally been labelled the 'Wars of the Roses', a period of political instability & periodic open civil war in England during the second half of the fifteenth century, between the Yorkists, who supported Richard's father (a potential claimant to the throne of King Henry VI from birth), & opposed the regime of Henry VI & his wife, Margaret of Anjou, & the Lancastrians, who were loyal to the crown.


Richard III was King of England & Lord of Ireland from 26 June 1483 until his death on 22 August 1485. He was the last king of the House of York & the last of the Plantagenet dynasty. His defeat & death at the Battle of Bosworth Field, the last decisive battle of the Wars of the Roses, marked the end of the Middle Ages in England.


When his brother Edward IV died in April 1483, Richard was named Lord Protector of the realm for Edward's eldest son & successor, the 12-year-old Edward V. Arrangements were made for Edward's coronation on 22 June 1483. Before the king could be crowned, the marriage of his parents was declared bigamous & therefore invalid.


Now officially illegitimate, their children were barred from inheriting the throne. On 25 June, an assembly of lords & commoners endorsed a declaration to this effect & proclaimed Richard as the rightful king. He was crowned on 6 July 1483. The young princes, Edward & his younger brother Richard, Duke of York, were not seen in public after August & accusations circulated that they had been murdered on Richard's orders.


Detail from the Rous Roll showing Richard III, in armour, holding a sword in his right hand and an orb in his left hand, a boar at his feet, and six helms and crests alongside.
Detail from the Rous Roll showing Richard III, in armour, holding a sword in his right hand & an orb in his left hand, a boar at his feet, & six helms & crests alongside.

There were two major rebellions against Richard during his reign. In October 1483, an unsuccessful revolt was led by staunch allies of Edward IV & Richard's former ally, Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham. Then in August 1485, Henry Tudor & his uncle, Jasper Tudor, landed in southern Wales with a contingent of French troops & marched through Pembrokeshire, recruiting soldiers.


Henry's forces defeated Richard's army near the Leicestershire town of Market Bosworth. Richard was slain, making him the last English king to die in battle. Henry Tudor then ascended the throne as Henry VII. Richard's corpse was taken to the nearby town of Leicester & buried without pomp. His original tomb monument is believed to have been removed during the English Reformation, & his remains were lost, as they were believed to have been thrown into the River Soar.


In 2012, an archaeological excavation was commissioned by the Richard III Society on the site previously occupied by Greyfriars Priory Church. The University of Leicester identified the skeleton found in the excavation as that of Richard III as a result of radiocarbon dating, comparison with contemporary reports of his appearance, & comparison of his mitochondrial DNA with that of two matrilineal descendants of his eldest sister, Anne of York, Duchess of Exeter.


He was reburied in Leicester Cathedral on 26 March 2015.


Stained glass depiction of Richard and Anne Neville in Cardiff Castle
Stained glass depiction of Richard and Anne Neville in Cardiff Castle

Marriage & family;


Following a decisive Yorkist victory over the Lancastrians at the Battle of Tewkesbury, Richard married Anne Neville, the younger daughter of the Earl of Warwick, on 12 July 1472. By the end of 1470 Anne had previously been wedded to Edward of Westminster, only son of Henry VI, to seal her father's allegiance to the Lancastrian party. Edward died at the Battle of Tewkesbury on 4 May 1471, while Warwick had died at the Battle of Barnet on 14 April 1471.


They had one child, Edward of Middleham, Prince of Wales, Earl of Chester, Duke of Cornwall, 1st Earl of Salisbury (December 1473 – 9 April 1484),



Contemporary illumination (Rous Roll, 1483) of Richard, his wife Anne Neville, and their son Edward
Contemporary illumination (Rous Roll, 1483) of Richard, his wife Anne Neville, & their son Edward

Further interest: Visit Middleham Castle



 

3 October

Dafydd ap Gruffydd coat of arms
Dafydd ap Gruffydd coat of arms

3 October 1283

Dafydd ap Gruffydd was executed by hanging, drawing & quartering.


Dafydd ap Gruffydd (or Dafydd ap Gruffudd, David, son of Gruffydd; (11 July (?) 1238 – 3 October 1283) was Prince of Wales from 11 December 1282 until his execution on 3 October 1283 on the orders of King Edward I of England. He was the last independent ruler of Wales.


He was a prince of Gwynedd, a younger son of Gruffudd ap Llywelyn & his wife, Senena, & thus grandson of Llywelyn Fawr.


On 30 September, Dafydd ap Gruffudd, Prince of Wales, was condemned to death 'for plotting the kings death' (Edward I of England), the first person known to have been tried & executed for what from that time onwards would be described as high treason against the King. Edward I ensured that Dafydd's death was to be slow & agonising, & also historic; he became the first prominent person in recorded history to have been hanged, drawn & quartered, preceded by a number of minor knights earlier in the thirteenth century. Dafydd was dragged through the streets of Shrewsbury attached to a horse's tail, then hanged alive, revived, then disembowelled and his entrails burned before him for "his sacrilege in committing his crimes in the week of Christ's passion", & then his body cut into four-quarters "for plotting the king's death". Geoffrey of Shrewsbury was paid 20 shillings for carrying out the gruesome act on 3 October 1283.


 

4 October

The Coverdale Bible was printed, with translations into English by William Tyndale & Myles Coverdale.

4 October 1535

The Coverdale Bible was printed, with translations into English by William Tyndale & Myles Coverdale.


The Coverdale Bible, compiled by Myles Coverdale & published in 1535, was the first complete Modern English translation of the Bible (not just the Old Testament or New Testament), & the first complete printed translation into English (cf. Wycliffe's Bible in manuscript). The later editions (folio & quarto) published in 1537 were the first complete Bibles printed in England. The 1537 folio edition carried the royal licence & was therefore the first officially approved Bible translation in English. The Psalter from the Coverdale Bible was included in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer beginning in 1662, & in all editions of the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer until 1979.


 

5 October

Mary of Modena, Queen of England

5 October 1658

Mary of Modena was born


Mary of Modena (Full name: Maria Beatrice Eleonora Anna Margherita Isabella d'Este) was Queen consort of England, Scotland & Ireland. She was the second wife of King James II. Mary was a very firm Catholic. She married James, Duke of York, (the future James II) in 1673. He was the younger brother of Charles II. Mary was not interested in politics. Instead, she was devoted to James, & gave birth to two children who lived to become adults. They were Louise Mary & the Jacobite James Francis Edward Stuart, who became known in history as "The Old Pretender".


Mary was born as a princess of the Italian Duchy of Modena. She is mostly remembered for the birth of James Francis Edward. Most of the English people thought he was not really Mary's son. They believed he had been secretly brought into the birth-room in a warming-pan to continue King James II's Catholic rule. The privy council investigation declared that the story was false. However, James Francis Edward's birth was one of the reasons why the Glorious Revolution happened. In the Glorious Revolution, King James II was deposed by his daughter Mary & her husband William III of Orange.


The "Queen over the water"—as Jacobites (followers of James II) called Mary—was exiled to France. She lived with her family in the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, which Louis XIV of France had given her. Louis XIV's courtiers liked Mary, but thought James was not interesting. When James died, Mary spent a lot of time with the nuns at the Convent of Chaillot. When James II died in 1701, the Jacobites saw James Francis Edward as king. Because he was too young to rule, Queen Dowager Mary acted as regent until he became 16. Later, "James III" was forced to leave France because of the Treaty of Utrecht. This left Mary without any family in France (Princess Louise Mary had died of smallpox). Mary died of breast cancer in 1718.


 

6 October

Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark (1882-1944) and Princess Alice of Battenberg (1885-1969) 1903. Royal Collection

6 October 1903

Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark married Princess Alice of Battenberg


In 1902, Prince Andrew met Princess Alice of Battenberg at the coronation of her grand-uncle & his aunt's husband, King Edward VII, in London. Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, was the seventh child & fourth son of King George I of Greece & Olga Constantinovna of Russia. Princess Alice was a daughter of Prince Louis of Battenberg & Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine.


They fell in love, & the following year, on 6 October 1903, Andrew married Alice in a civil wedding at Darmstadt. The following day two religious wedding services were performed: one Lutheran in the Evangelical Castle Church, & another Greek Orthodox in the Russian Chapel on the Mathildenhöhe.


She adopted the style of her husband, becoming "Princess Andrew". The bride & groom were closely related to the ruling houses of Great Britain, Germany, Russia, Denmark, & Greece; their wedding was one of the great gatherings of the descendants of Queen Victoria & Christian IX of Denmark held before World War I.


Prince & Princess Andrew had five children;


  • Princess Margarita (born.18 April 1905 - died 24 April 1981)

  • Princess Theodora (b.30 May 1906 - d.16 October 1969)

  • Princess Cecilie (b.22 June 1911 - d.16 November 1937)

  • Princess Sophie (b.26 June 1914 - d.24 November 2001)

  • Prince Philip (b.10 June 1921 - d. 9 April 2021). Married Princess Elizabeth of the United Kingdom (later Queen Elizabeth II) in 1947.


By 1930, Prince Andrew was estranged from his wife, who by this time had been diagnosed with schizophrenia & committed to a sanatorium in Switzerland. After her recovery, she devoted most of her remaining years to charity work in Greece. She stayed in Athens during the Second World War, sheltering Jewish refugees, for which she is recognized as "Righteous Among the Nations" at Yad Vashem. After the war, she stayed in Greece & founded an Orthodox nursing order of nuns known as the Christian Sisterhood of Martha & Mary.


Their son, Prince Philip, served in the British navy during World War II, while all four of his daughters were married to Germans, three of whom had Nazi connections. Separated from his wife & son by the effects of the war, Andrew died in Monte Carlo in 1944. He had seen neither of them since 1939.


After the fall of King Constantine II of Greece & the imposition of military rule in Greece in 1967, Alice was invited by her son & daughter-in-law to live at Buckingham Palace in London, where she died two years later. Her remains were transferred to the Mount of Olives in 1988.



 

7 October

7 October 1763 – King George III issues the Royal Proclamation of 1763, closing Indigenous lands in North America north & west of the Alleghenies to white settlements.

7 October 1763

King George III issued the Royal Proclamation of 1763, closing Indigenous lands in North America north & west of the Alleghenies to white settlements.


The Royal Proclamation of 1763 was issued by King George III on 7 October 1763. It followed the Treaty of Paris (1763), which formally ended the Seven Years' War & transferred French territory in North America to Great Britain. The Proclamation forbade all settlements west of a line drawn along the Appalachian Mountains, which was delineated as an Indian Reserve. Exclusion from the vast region of Trans-Appalachia created discontent between Britain & colonial land speculators & potential settlers. The proclamation and access to western lands was one of the first significant areas of dispute between Britain & the colonies & would become a contributing factor leading to the American Revolution. The 1763 proclamation line is similar to the Eastern Continental Divide's path running northwards from Georgia to the Pennsylvania–New York border & north-eastwards past the drainage divide on the St. Lawrence Divide from there northwards through New England. The Royal Proclamation continues to be of legal importance to First Nations in Canada, being the first legal recognition of aboriginal title, rights & freedoms, & is recognized in the Canadian Constitution of 1982.


 

8 October

Isabella of Angoulême, Queen of England
Isabella of Angoulême

8 October 1200

Isabella of Angoulême was crowned Queen of England.


Isabella of Angoulême (c. 1186/1188 – 4 June 1246) was Queen of England as the second wife of King John from 1200 until John's death in 1216. She was also suo jure Countess of Angoulême from 1202 until 1246.


Isabella was the only daughter & heir of Aymer Taillefer, Count of Angoulême, by Alice of Courtenay, who was sister of Peter II of Courtenay, Latin Emperor of Constantinople & granddaughter of King Louis VI of France.


Her marriage to King John took place on 24 August 1200, in Angoulême. She was crowned queen in an elaborate ceremony on 8 October at Westminster Abbey in London. At the time of her marriage to John, the blonde-haired blue-eyed Isabella was already renowned by some for her beauty & has sometimes been called the Helen of the Middle Ages by historians


Isabella had five children by the king, including his heir, later Henry III. King John died in 1216. In 1220, Isabella married Hugh X of Lusignan, Count of La Marche, by whom she had another nine children.


Some of Isabella's contemporaries, as well as later writers, claim that Isabella formed a conspiracy against King Louis IX of France in 1241, after being publicly snubbed by his mother, Blanche of Castile, for whom she had a deep-seated hatred. In 1244, after the plot had failed, Isabella was accused of attempting to poison the king. To avoid arrest, she sought refuge in Fontevraud Abbey, where she died two years later, but none of this can be confirmed.


Isabella of Angoulême, tomb in the church of Fontevraud Abbey (France)
Isabella of Angoulême, tomb in the church of Fontevraud Abbey (France)

 

9 October

Prince Edward, Duke of Kent

9 October 1935

Prince Edward, Duke of Kent was born


Prince Edward was born on 9 October 1935, at No. 3 Belgrave Square, London, to Prince George, Duke of Kent & Princess Marina. Home Secretary Sir John Simon was present to verify the birth. His father was the fourth son of George V & Queen Mary. His mother was the daughter of Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark & Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna of Russia.


For more about Prince Edward, Duke of Kent visit my Duke of Kent blog.


 

10 October

Mary of Waltham, Daughter of Edward III of England

10 October 1344

Mary of Waltham, daughter of Edward III was born


Mary of Waltham (10 October 1344 – September 1361), Duchess of Brittany, was a daughter of King Edward III of England & Philippa of Hainault & was the wife of John IV, Duke of Brittany, known in England as "John V" & "The Conqueror". Mary was made a Lady of the Garter in 1378.


 

11 October

Princess Marie Louise of Hanover
Princess Marie Louise of Hanover

11 October 1879

Princess Marie Louise of Hanover was born


Princess Marie Louise of Hanover and Cumberland (11 October 1879 – 31 January 1948) was the eldest child of Ernest Augustus, Crown Prince of Hanover, & Princess Thyra of Denmark, the youngest daughter of Christian IX of Denmark & Louise of Hesse-Kassel. Through her father, Marie Louise was a great-great-granddaughter of George III of the United Kingdom & Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. She was a first cousin of Nicholas II of Russia, Constantine I of Greece, Christian X of Denmark, Haakon VII of Norway & Queen Maud of Norway & George V of the United Kingdom.


Marie Louise married on 10 July 1900 in Gmunden, Austria-Hungary to her third cousin twice removed Prince Maximilian of Baden (1867–1929), son of Prince Wilhelm of Baden & his wife Princess Maria Maximilianovna of Leuchtenberg, thus making him a first cousin twice removed of Napoleon III of France. Marie Louise & Maximilian had one daughter & one son:


  • Princess Marie Alexandra of Baden (1 August 1902 – 29 January 1944). Marie Alexandra was killed in a bombing of Frankfurt by the Allies of World War II.

  • Berthold, Margrave of Baden (24 February 1906 – 27 October 1963). Married Princess Theodora of Greece and Denmark, a daughter of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark & Princess Alice of Battenberg. Prince Berthold was the brother-in-law of Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.


Prince Maximilian of Baden and Princess Marie Louise with their children
Prince Maximilian of Baden and Princess Marie Louise with their children

 

12 October

King Edward VI of England

12 October 1537

King Edward VI was born


Edward VI (12 October 1537 – 6 July 1553) was the King of England & Ireland from 28 January 1547 until his death in 1553. Edward was the son of Henry VIII & Jane Seymour & England's first monarch to be raised as a Protestant.


Edward VI became king at the age of nine upon the death of his father, Henry VIII, & a Regency was created. Although he was intellectually precocious (fluent in Greek & Latin, he kept a full journal of his reign), he was not, however, physically robust.


Portrait of Edward VI of England, seated, wearing a gown lined in ermine (or lynx?!) over a crimson doublet with the collar of the Order of the Garter and holding a Bible.

Portrait of Edward VI of England, seated, wearing a gown lined in ermine (or lynx?!) over a crimson doublet with the collar of the Order of the Garter & holding a Bible.


His short reign was dominated by nobles using the Regency to strengthen their own positions. The King's Council, previously dominated by Henry, succumbed to existing factionalism. On Henry's death, Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford & soon to be Duke of Somerset, the new King's eldest uncle, became Protector.


Seymour was too liberal to deal with Kett's rebellion against land enclosures in Norfolk. Seymour was left isolated in the Council & the Duke of Northumberland subsequently overthrew him in 1551. Seymour was executed in 1552, an event which was only briefly mentioned by Edward in his diary: 'Today, the Duke of Somerset had his head cut off on Tower Hill.'


Northumberland took greater trouble to charm & influence Edward; his powerful position as Lord President of the Council was based on his personal ascendancy over the King. However, the young king was ailing. Northumberland hurriedly married his son Lord Guilford Dudley to Lady Jane Grey, one of Henry VIII's great-nieces & a claimant to the throne. Edward accepted Jane as his heir &, on his death from tuberculosis in 1553, Jane assumed the throne.


During Edward's reign, the Church of England became more explicitly Protestant - Edward himself was fiercely so. The Book of Common Prayer was introduced in 1549, aspects of Roman Catholic practices (including statues & stained glass) were eradicated & the marriage of clergy allowed. The imposition of the Prayer Book (which replaced Latin services with English) led to rebellions in Cornwall & Devon.



 

12 October 1940

Princess Elizabeth's first broadcast during a 'Children's Hour' programme.



 

13 October

Eleanor of England

13 October 1162

Eleanor of England, Queen of Castile was born


Eleanor was Queen of Castile & Toledo as wife of Alfonso VIII of Castile. Eleanor was born in the castle at Domfront, Normandy & was the sixth child & second daughter of Henry II, King of England, & Eleanor of Aquitaine.


 

Westminster Abbey

13 October 1269

Westminster Abbey was consecrated


An architectural masterpiece of the 13th to 16th centuries, Westminster Abbey also presents a unique pageant of British history – the shrine of St Edward the Confessor, the tombs of kings & queens, & countless memorials to the famous & the great. It has been the setting for every Coronation since 1066 & for numerous other royal occasions, including sixteen royal weddings.


In the middle of the 13th century when King Henry III decided to rebuild it in the new Gothic style of architecture. It was a great age for cathedrals: in France it saw the construction of Amiens, Evreux & Chartres & in England Canterbury, Winchester & Salisbury, to mention a few. Under the decree of the King of England, Westminster Abbey was designed to be not only a great monastery & place of worship, but also a place for the coronation & burial of monarchs. This church was consecrated on 13th October 1269. Unfortunately, the king died before the nave could be completed so the older structure stood attached to the Gothic building for many years.


Every monarch since William the Conqueror has been crowned in the Abbey, with the exception of Edward V & Edward VIII (who abdicated) who were never crowned. The ancient Coronation Chair can still be seen in the church.


Royal weddings have included (not a full list);


  • 11 November 1100 - King Henry I & Matilda of Scotland.

  • 20 January 1382 - King Richard II & Anne of Bohemia.

  • 18 January 1486 - King Henry VII & Elizabeth of York.

  • 26 April 1923 - Prince Albert, Duke of York (later King George VI), & Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (later Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother).

  • 20 November 1947 - The Duke of Edinburgh (who was Lt Philip Mountbatten until that morning) & The Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II).

  • 29 April 2011 - Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, & Miss Catherine Middleton


 

14 October

The Battle of Hastings 1066 - Bayeux Tapestry

14 October 1066

The Battle of Hastings


The Battle of Hastings was fought on 14 October 1066 between the Norman-French army of William, the Duke of Normandy, & an English army under the Anglo-Saxon King Harold Godwinson, beginning the Norman conquest of England. It took place approximately 7 miles northwest of Hastings, close to the present-day town of Battle, East Sussex, & was a decisive Norman victory.


The background to the battle was the death of the childless King Edward the Confessor in January 1066, which set up a succession struggle between several claimants to his throne. Harold was crowned king shortly after Edward's death, but faced invasions by William, his own brother Tostig, & the Norwegian King Harald Hardrada (Harold III of Norway). Hardrada & Tostig defeated a hastily gathered army of Englishmen at the Battle of Fulford on 20 September 1066 & were in turn defeated by Harold at the Battle of Stamford Bridge five days later. The deaths of Tostig & Hardrada at Stamford Bridge left William as Harold's only serious opponent. While Harold & his forces were recovering, William landed his invasion forces in the south of England at Pevensey on 28 September 1066 & established a beachhead for his conquest of the kingdom. Harold was forced to march south swiftly, gathering forces as he went.


Norman knights and archers at the Battle of Hastings, as depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry
Norman knights and archers at the Battle of Hastings, as depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry

The exact numbers present at the battle are unknown; modern estimates are around 10,000 for William & about 7,000 for Harold. The composition of the forces is clearer; the English army was composed almost entirely of infantry & had few archers, whereas only about half of the invading force was infantry, the rest split equally between cavalry & archers. Harold appears to have tried to surprise William, but scouts found his army and reported its arrival to William, who marched from Hastings to the battlefield to confront Harold. The battle lasted from about 9 am to dusk. Early efforts of the invaders to break the English battle lines had little effect; therefore, the Normans adopted the tactic of pretending to flee in panic & then turning on their pursuers. Harold's death, probably near the end of the battle, led to the retreat & defeat of most of his army. After further marching & some skirmishes, William was crowned as king on Christmas Day 1066.


Scene from the Bayeux Tapestry depicting mounted Norman soldiers attacking Anglo-Saxons who are fighting on foot in a shield wall
Scene from the Bayeux Tapestry depicting mounted Norman soldiers attacking Anglo-Saxons who are fighting on foot in a shield wall

There continued to be rebellions & resistance to William's rule, but Hastings effectively marked the culmination of William's conquest of England. Casualty figures are hard to come by, but some historians estimate that 2,000 invaders died along with about twice that number of Englishmen. William founded a monastery at the site of the battle, the high altar of the abbey church supposedly placed at the spot where Harold died.


Ruins of the monks' dormitory at Battle Abbey
Ruins of the monks' dormitory at Battle Abbey


 

15 October


15 October - 1959

Sarah, Duchess of York was born


Born Sarah Margaret Ferguson; 15 October 1959), she is the former wife of Prince Andrew, Duke of York, the third child of Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. She is the mother of Princesses Beatrice & Eugenie of York.


16 October

James II, king of Scots

16 October 1430

James II of Scotland was born (d. 1460)


James II was King of Scots from 1437 until his death in 1460. James was born in Holyrood Abbey. He was the son of King James I & Joan Beaufort. By his first birthday, his only brother, his older twin, Alexander, had died, thus leaving James as heir apparent with the title Duke of Rothesay. On 21 February 1437, James I was assassinated, and the six-year-old James immediately succeeded him as James II. He was crowned in Holyrood Abbey by Abbot Patrick on 23 March 1437.


On 3 July 1449 the eighteen-year-old James married the fifteen-year-old Mary of Guelders, daughter of the Arnold, Duke of Guelders, & Catherine of Cleves, at Holyrood Abbey. She bore him seven children, six of whom survived into adulthood.



 

17 October


17 October 1980

As part of the Holy See–United Kingdom relations a British monarch makes the first state visit to the Vatican.


The Queen's visit was seen as a big step towards forging relations with the Church Of England & the Roman Catholics. In 1982 John Paul II was welcomed by Her Majesty two years later at Buckingham Palace during a historic visit to Great Britain. The Queen visited the Vatican again in 2000 to mark the 20th anniversary of their first meeting.


The Pope reinforced their close ties over the years when he said: "Relations between the United Kingdom & the Holy See have not always been untroubled; long years of common inheritance were followed by the sad years of division. "But in recent years there has emerged between us a cordiality more in keeping with the harmony of earlier times & more genuinely expressive of our common spiritual roots."


 

18 October

Margaret Tudor, queen of James IV of Scotland

18 October 1541

Margaret Tudor, queen of James IV of Scotland died at Methven Castle in Perthshire, Scotland


Margaret Tudor also known as Margaret, Queen of Scots, was born at Westminster Palace on 28 November 1489. She was the elder of the two surviving daughters of Henry VII of England & Elizabeth of York, & the elder sister of Henry VIII.


In 1503, she married James IV, King of Scots. James died in 1513, & their son became King James V. In 1513, James invaded England to honour his commitment to the Auld Alliance (with France), only to die at the Battle of Flodden. Margaret had opposed the war but was still named in the royal will as regent for the infant king, James V, for as long as she remained a widow.


She married secondly Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus on 6 August 1514. Through her first & second marriages, respectively, Margaret was the grandmother of both Mary, Queen of Scots, & Mary's second husband, Lord Darnley. They divorced in 1527. In 1528 Margaret married Henry Stewart, 1st Lord Methven.


Interesting fact: Margaret's marriage to James IV foreshadowed the Union of the Crowns their great-grandson, King James VI of Scotland, the child of Mary & Darnley, also became the king of England & Ireland on the death of Margaret's fraternal niece, Elizabeth I of England in 1603.


Margaret Tudor, , thought to have been drawn from life.
Margaret, thought to have been drawn from life.

Did you know? Margaret suffered from nosebleeds, & an apothecary William Foular provided a blood stone or heliotrope as a remedy. Foular also sent the queen medicinal spices including pepper, cinnamon, "cubebarum", & "galiga", with glass urinals.


Children by King James IV,


  • James, Duke of Rothesay (21507 - 1508).

  • Daughter (died shortly after birth 15 July 1508).

  • Arthur Stewart, Duke of Rothesay (1509 – 1510).

  • James V (10 April 1512 - 1542).

  • A daughter, who was born prematurely & died shortly after birth, November 1512.

  • Alexander Stewart, Duke of Ross (1514 – 1515).


Children by Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus,


  • Margaret Douglas (1515-1577), who married Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox, Regent of Scotland from 1570 to 1571.


Children by Henry Stewart, 1st Lord Methven;


  • Dorothea Stewart (died young)


 

19 October

King John

19 October 1216

King John died (b. 1166)


King John died of dysentery at Newark-on-Trent whilst on campaign in eastern England.


King John (r. 1199–1216) is best remembered for granting Magna Carta in June 1215, although he sought its annulment almost immediately. The youngest son of Henry II (r. 1157–1189), John succeeded his brother, Richard I who is known as Richard the Lionheart (r. 1189–1199), as King of England in 1199. His reign was marked by a string of unsuccessful military campaigns, a prolonged struggle with the Church & the baronial rebellion which led to Magna Carta.


John exploited his feudal rights to extort money from the barons: he set taxes at very high levels; he enforced arbitrary fines & he seized the barons’ estates. John used this income to fund his expensive wars in France, but still he failed to hold together the empire created by his father.


John was an efficient and able administrator, but he was also unpredictable & aggressive. He disregarded justice when dealing with opponents, regularly taking hostages & imposing ruthless punishments.


His conflict with the Church led to his excommunication. The annulment of Magna Carta by Pope Innocent III in August 1215, at John’s request, led to a renewal of the baronial revolt which was still raging when John died in October 1216.



 

20 October

20 October 1973

The Sydney Opera House was opened by Elizabeth II after 14 years of construction.



Video: Queen Elizabeth II with other dignitaries including Prince Phillip on stage, for the opening ceremony of the Sydney Opera House on 20 October 1973.


The ceremony included a display of fireworks & a performance of Beethoven's Symphony No 9. Thousands of people celebrated the ceremony along the shoreline & in boats on the harbour, while another 3 million people all over the world viewed the proceedings on television.


 

21 October

Photograph of a group portrait on the occasion of the Christening of Princess Anne, 21 October 1950. Standing, left to right, are the princess's godparents Vice Admiral Earl Mountbatten of Burma, Princess Margarita of Hohenlohe-Langensburg and the Hon. Andrew Elphinstone; seated are Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, (who represented Princess Anne's paternal grandmother and godparent Princess Andrew of Greece at the service), HRH Princess Elizabeth holding Princess Anne on her lap, and HM Queen Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother). Prince Charles stands in front of his mother and sister.

Image: Royal Collection Trust/© His Majesty King Charles III 2023


21 October 1950

Princess Anne was christened


Anne was born during the reign of her maternal grandfather, King George VI, at Clarence House on 15 August 1950 at 11:50 am, the second child & only daughter of Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh (now Queen Elizabeth II), & Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Anne was christened in the Music Room of Buckingham Palace on 21 October 1950, by Archbishop of York, Cyril Garbett. At the time of her birth, she was third in the line of succession to the British throne, behind her mother – at that time Princess Elizabeth – & older brother, Charles. She rose to second after her mother's accession; she is currently 17th in line.


Photo above: Photograph of a group portrait on the occasion of the Christening of Princess Anne, 21 October 1950. Standing, left to right, are the princess's godparents Vice Admiral Earl Mountbatten of Burma, Princess Margarita of Hohenlohe-Langensburg & the Hon. Andrew Elphinstone; seated are Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, (who represented Princess Anne's paternal grandmother & godparent Princess Andrew of Greece at the service), HRH Princess Elizabeth holding Princess Anne on her lap, & Queen Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother). Prince Charles stands in front of his mother & sister.


 


23 October

Interpretation of Charles I holding a council of war before the Battle of Edgehill, by Charles Landseer (1845)
Interpretation of Charles I holding a council of war before the Battle of Edgehill, by Charles Landseer (1845)

23 October 1642

The Battle of Edgehill, the first pitched battle of the First English Civil War.


It was fought near Edge Hill & Kineton in southern Warwickshire. The Royalist army descended from Edge Hill to force battle. After the Parliamentarian artillery opened a cannonade, the Royalists attacked. Both armies consisted mostly of inexperienced & sometimes ill-equipped troops. Many men from both sides fled or fell out to loot enemy baggage, & neither army was able to gain a decisive advantage.


After the battle, the King resumed his march on London, but was not strong enough to overcome the defending militia before the Earl of Essex's army could reinforce them. The inconclusive result of the Battle of Edgehill prevented either faction gaining a quick victory in the war, which eventually lasted four years.


 

24 October

Jane Seymour , Queen of England

24 October 1537

Jane Seymour died


On 12 October 1537 Jane, Queen of England, the third wife of Henry VIII, gave birth to the future king Edward VI. Jane's labour had been difficult, lasting two days & three nights, probably because the baby was not well positioned. After the christening, it became clear that she was seriously ill. She died on 24 October 1537 at Hampton Court Palace.


Within a few weeks of her death, there were conflicting testimonies concerning the cause of her demise. In retrospect from the current day, there are various speculations that have been offered, such as an infection from a retained placenta; puerperal fever following a bacterial infection contracted during the birth or possibly a pulmonary embolism. Jane was buried on 12 November 1537 in St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle after the funeral in which her stepdaughter Mary acted as chief mourner. A procession of 29 mourners followed Mary, one for every year of Queen Jane's life. She was the only one of Henry's wives to receive a queen's funeral. After her death, Henry wore black for the next three months. Historians have speculated she was his favourite wife because she gave birth to a male heir. When he died in 1547, he was buried beside her, on his request, in the grave he had made for her.



 
25 October

The Battle of Agincourt 1415

25 October 1415

The Battle of Agincourt


The Battle of Agincourt was an English victory in the Hundred Years' War. It took place on 25 October 1415 (Saint Crispin's Day) near Azincourt, in northern France. The unexpected English victory against the numerically superior French army boosted English morale & prestige, crippled France & started a new period of English dominance in the war.


King Henry V of England led his troops into battle & participated in hand-to-hand fighting. King Charles VI of France did not command the French army as he suffered from psychotic illnesses & associated mental incapacity. The French were commanded by Constable Charles d'Albret & various prominent French noblemen of the Armagnac party. This battle is notable for the use of the English longbow in very large numbers, with the English & Welsh archers comprising nearly 80 percent of Henry's army. The Battle of Agincourt is one of England's most celebrated victories & was one of the most important English triumphs in the Hundred Years' War, along with the Battle of Crécy (1346) & Battle of Poitiers (1356).


Visit my previous blog for more information.


 




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