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#OTD In Royal History 29 July - 4 August

Updated: Aug 14, 2022

On this day in royal history header for 29 July to 4 August. The Queen Mother, Princess Diana, George VI & Zara Phillips

29 July

29 July 796 – Offa of Mercia died (b. 730)

29 July 796 – Offa of Mercia died (b. 730)

29 July 796 – Offa of Mercia died (b. 730)

29 July 796 – Offa of Mercia died (b. 730)


29 July 1565 – The widowed Mary, Queen of Scots marries Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, Duke of Albany, at Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh, Scotland.

29 July 1565 – The widowed Mary, Queen of Scots marries Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, Duke of Albany, at Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh, Scotland.


Portrait of James VI & I as a boy, after Arnold Bronckorst, 1574
Portrait of James as a boy, after Arnold Bronckorst, 1574

29 July 1567 – The infant James VI is crowned King of Scotland at Stirling.

James was crowned King of Scots at the age of thirteen months at the Church of the Holy Rude, Stirling, by Adam Bothwell, Bishop of Orkney, on 29 July 1567. The sermon at the coronation was preached by John Knox. In accordance with the religious beliefs of most of the Scottish ruling class, James was brought up as a member of the Protestant Church of Scotland.

James VI of Scotland would later become James I of England too with the union of the Scottish and English crowns on 24 March 1603 until his death.

King James VI & I


29 July 1981 – the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer at St Paul's Cathedral in London.

A worldwide television audience of over 700 million people watch the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, & Lady Diana Spencer at St Paul's Cathedral in London.

The wedding of Prince Charles & Lady Diana Spencer took place on Wednesday, 29 July 1981, at St Paul's Cathedral in London, United Kingdom. The groom was the heir apparent to the British & Commonwealth thrones, & the bride was a member of the Spencer family.

The ceremony was a traditional Church of England wedding service. Alan Webster, Dean of St Paul's, presided at the service, & Robert Runcie, Archbishop of Canterbury, conducted the marriage. Notable figures in attendance included many members of other royal families, republican heads of state & members of the bride's & groom's families. After the ceremony, the couple made the traditional appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. The United Kingdom had a national holiday on that day to mark the wedding. The ceremony featured many ceremonial aspects, including use of the state carriages & roles for the Foot Guards & Household Cavalry.

Their marriage was widely billed as a "fairytale wedding" & the "wedding of the century". It was watched by an estimated global television audience of 750 million people. Events were held around the Commonwealth to mark the wedding. Many street parties were held throughout the United Kingdom to celebrate the occasion. The couple separated in 1992 & divorced in 1996 after fifteen years of marriage.


30 July

30 July 1700 – Prince William, Duke of Gloucester, English royal died (b. 1689)

30 July 1700 – Prince William, Duke of Gloucester, English royal died (b. 1689)

30 July 1700 – Prince William, Duke of Gloucester, English royal died (b. 1689)

30 July 1700 – Prince William, Duke of Gloucester, English royal died (b. 1689)

At his birthday party at Windsor, on 24 July 1700, he complained of a sudden fatigue, but was initially thought to have overheated himself while dancing. By nightfall, he was suffering from a sore throat & chills, followed by a severe headache & a high fever the next day. A physician, Hannes, did not arrive until 27 July. Gloucester was immediately bled, but his condition continued to deteriorate. Over the next day, he developed a rash & suffered a bout of diarrhoea. A second physician, Gibbons, arrived early on 28 July, followed by Radcliffe that evening.

The physicians could not agree on a diagnosis. Radcliffe thought he had scarlet fever, while others thought it was smallpox. They administered "cordial powders & cordial juleps". Gloucester was bled, to which Radcliffe strongly objected. He told his colleagues, "you have destroyed him & you may finish him". He prescribed blistering, which was no more effective. In great pain, Gloucester spent the evening of 28 July "in great sighings & dejections of spirits ... towards morning, he complained very much of his blisters." Anne, who had spent an entire day & night by her son's bedside, now became so distressed that she fainted. However, by midday on 29 July, Gloucester was breathing more easily & his headache had diminished, leading to hopes that he would recover. The improvement was fleeting, & that evening, he was "taken with a convulsing sort of breathing, a defect in swallowing & a total deprivation of all sense". Prince William died close to 1 a.m. on 30 July 1700, with his parents beside him. In the end, the physicians decided the cause of death was "a malignant fever". An autopsy revealed severe swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck & an abnormal amount of fluid in the ventricles of his brain: "four and a half ounces of a limpid humour were taken out." Gloucester may have died from smallpox or, according to modern medical diagnosis, an acute bacterial pharyngitis, with associated pneumonia. Had he lived, though, it is almost certain the prince would have succumbed to complications of his hydrocephalus.

Anne was prostrate with grief, taking to her chamber. In the evenings, she was carried into the garden "to divert her melancholy thoughts." Gloucester's body was moved from Windsor to Westminster on the night of 1 August, & he lay in state in the Palace of Westminster before being entombed in the Royal Vault of the Henry VII Chapel in Westminster Abbey on 9 August.


30 July 1900 – Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha died (b. 1844)

30 July 1900 – Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha died (b. 1844)

Prince Alfred died of throat cancer on 30 July 1900 in a lodge adjacent to Schloss Rosenau, the ducal summer residence just north of Coburg. He was buried at the ducal family's mausoleum in the public Glockenburg Cemetery of Coburg.

Prince Alfred was born on 6 August 1844. He was the second son & fourth child of Queen Victoria & Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

Prince Alfred reigned as Duke of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha from 1893 to 1900. He was known as the Duke of Edinburgh from 1866 until he succeeded his paternal uncle Ernest II as the reigning Duke of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha in the German Empire.

Alfred remained second-in-line to the British throne from his birth until 8 January 1864, when his older brother Edward & his wife Alexandra of Denmark had their first son Prince Albert Victor. Any legitimate children of his older brother took priority in the succession list. Alfred became third-in-line to the throne & as Edward & Alexandra continued to have children, Alfred was further demoted in the order of succession.

In the Queen's Birthday Honours on 24 May 1866, the Prince was created Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Ulster, & Earl of Kent.

Alfred served in the Royal Navy, from 1856, eventually being promoted to admiral on 18 October 1887, he went on to be Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth in August 1890. He was promoted to Admiral of the Fleet on 3 June 1893. Alfred was the first member of the royal family to visit Australia, the Duke was received with great enthusiasm. During his stay of nearly five months he visited Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane & Tasmania. Adelaide school Prince Alfred College was named in his honour to mark such an occasion. He was also the first member of the Royal Family to visit New Zealand, arriving in 1869 on HMS Galatea. The Duke of Edinburgh also became the first European prince to visit Japan & on 4 September 1869, he was received at an audience by the teenaged Emperor Meiji in Tokyo.

On 23 January 1874, the Duke of Edinburgh married the Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia (1853 – 1920), the second & only surviving) daughter of Emperor Alexander II of Russia & his first wife Princess Marie of Hesse and by Rhine, daughter of Louis II, Grand Duke of Hesse & by Rhine & Princess Wilhelmine of Baden, at the Winter Palace, St Petersburg. To commemorate the occasion, a small English bakery made the now internationally popular Marie biscuit, with the Duchess' name imprinted on its top. They had five surviving children;

  • Prince Alfred (1874-1899), Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha from 22 August 1893.

  • Princess Marie (1875-1938), later Queen of Romania as the wife of King Ferdinand I of Romania (1865–1927).

  • Princess Victoria Melita (1876-1936). Married (1), Ernst Ludwig, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine; divorced 21 December 1901; Married (2) 8 October 1905, Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich of Russia.

  • Princess Alexandra (1878-1942), married Ernst II, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.

  • Unnamed son (13 October 1879), stillborn.

  • Princess Beatrice (1884-1966). Married, Infante Alfonso, Duke of Galliera.


30 July 2011 – Marriage of Queen Elizabeth II's eldest granddaughter Zara Phillips to former rugby union footballer Mike Tindall.

Zara Anne Elizabeth Tindall MBE (née Phillips; born 15 May 1981) is a British equestrian, an Olympian, & the daughter of Princess Anne & Captain Mark Phillips. She is the eldest granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip. At birth, she was sixth in the line of succession to the British throne; she is currently 20th in line.

Phillips met rugby union player Mike Tindall (born 18 October 1978), who was playing for the England national team, during their Rugby World Cup-winning campaign in Australia in 2003. On 21 December 2010, Buckingham Palace announced their engagement. As was at that time required by the Royal Marriages Act 1772, the Queen gave her consent to their marriage in a meeting of the Privy Council on 10 May 2011. Tindall proposed to her with "a custom-designed diamond & platinum ring with a divided diamond band". The couple held a celebration on the royal yacht Britannia prior to the wedding.

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 off-the-peg ivory silk dress 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.


31 July

Princess Augusta Frederica of Great Britain (31 July 1737 – 23 March 1813) was a British princess, granddaughter of King George II and the only elder sibling of King George III

31 July 1737 - Princess Augusta of Great Britain was born

Princess Augusta Frederica was born at St. James's Palace, London. Her father was Frederick, Prince of Wales, the eldest son of George II & Caroline of Ansbach. Her mother was Augusta of Saxe-Gotha. As the eldest child, she was born second in the line of succession to the British throne, after her father.

On 16 January 1764, Augusta married Charles William Ferdinand at the Chapel Royal of St James's Palace. The wedding was followed by a state dinner at Leicester House, congratulations from the House of Parliament, a ball given by the Queen & an opera performance at Covent Garden, before departing from Harwich on the 26th.

Augusta never fully adapted to life in Brunswick due to her British patriotism & disregard of all things "east of the Rhine". This attitude did not change with time, & twenty five years after her marriage, she was described as: "wholly English in her tastes, her principles & her manners, to the point that her almost cynical independence makes, with the etiquette of the German courts, the most singular contrast I know". The Duke & Duchess of Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel had 7 children.

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King George VI (1895-1952) when Duke of York c. 1920 - c. 1922

31 July 1919 - Prince Albert (later George VI) qualified as an RAF pilot .

Prince Albert's military career 1918-1919; 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.


1 August

1 August 1315 - Siege of Carlisle ends

1 August 1315 - Siege of Carlisle ends

1 August 1315 - Siege of Carlisle ends

1 August 1315 - Siege of Carlisle ends


1 August 1402 - Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York, son of Edward III died.

Edmund of Langley remonstrating with the King of Portugal, Ferdinand I. Late 15th century. Image taken from Chronique d' Angleterre (Volume III). This file has been provided by the British Library from its digital collections.

Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York, (b.5 June 1341) was the fourth surviving son of King Edward III of England & Philippa of Hainault. Like many medieval English princes, Edmund gained his nickname from his birthplace: Kings Langley Palace in Hertfordshire. He was the founder of the House of York, but it was through the marriage of his younger son, Richard of Conisburgh, 3rd Earl of Cambridge, to Anne de Mortimer, great-granddaughter of Edmund's elder brother Lionel of Antwerp, 1st Duke of Clarence, that the House of York made its claim to the English throne in the Wars of the Roses. The other party in the Wars of the Roses, the incumbent House of Lancaster, was formed from descendants of Edmund's elder brother John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, Edward III's third son.

As a son of the sovereign, Edmund bore the arms of the sovereign, differenced by a label argent, on each point three torteaux.


1 August 1714 - Queen Anne died

Queen Anne Queen of Great Britain
Queen Anne

Queen Anne (born. 6 February 1665 – died. 1 August 1714)

Anne was Queen of England, Scotland & Ireland between 8 March 1702 & 1 May 1707. On 1 May 1707, under the Acts of Union, the kingdoms of England & Scotland united as a single sovereign state known as Great Britain. She continued to reign as Queen of Great Britain & Ireland until her death in 1714.

Anne was born in the reign of Charles II to his younger brother & heir presumptive, James, whose suspected Roman Catholicism was unpopular in England. On Charles's instructions, Anne & her elder sister, Mary, were raised as Anglicans. Mary married their Dutch Protestant cousin, William III of Orange, in 1677, & Anne married Prince George of Denmark (2 April 1653 – 28 October 1708) in 1683.

Queen Anne Queen of Great Britain & Prince George of Denmark
Prince George of Denmark & Queen Anne

On Charles's death in 1685, James succeeded to the throne, but just three years later he was deposed in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Mary & William became joint monarchs. Although the sisters had been close, disagreements over Anne's finances, status, & choice of acquaintances arose shortly after Mary's accession & they became estranged. William & Mary had no children. After Mary's death in 1694, William reigned alone until his own death in 1702, when Anne succeeded him.

During her reign, Anne favoured moderate Tory politicians, who were more likely to share her Anglican religious views than their opponents, the Whigs. The Whigs grew more powerful during the course of the War of the Spanish Succession, until 1710 when Anne dismissed many of them from office. Her close friendship with Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, turned sour as the result of political differences. The Duchess took revenge with an unflattering description of the Queen in her memoirs, which was widely accepted by historians until Anne was re-assessed in the late 20th century.

Queen Anne Queen of Great Britain & Prince William, Duke of Gloucester
Anne with Prince William, Duke of Gloucester

Anne was plagued by ill health throughout her life, & from her thirties, she grew increasingly ill & obese. Despite seventeen pregnancies by her husband, she died without surviving issue & was the last monarch of the House of Stuart. Under the Act of Settlement 1701, which excluded all Catholics, she was succeeded by her second cousin George I of the House of Hanover.


  • Stillborn daughter (12 May 1684, London - 13 May 1684).

  • Mary (2 June 1685, Palace of Whitehall - 8 February 1687, Windsor Castle), christened 2 June 1685 by the Bishop of London; styled "the Lady Mary". Died of smallpox.

  • Anne Sophia (Mary's younger sister), & their father all becoming ill at Windsor Castle in early 1687.

  • Anne Sophia (12 May 1686, Windsor Castle - 2 February 1687), christened by the Bishop of Durham, with Lady Churchill one of the godmothers; styled "the Lady Anne Sophia".

  • Miscarriage (21 January 1687).

  • Stillborn son (22 October 1687, Whitehall), Anne gave birth at seven months, but the baby "lay dead a full month within her".

  • Miscarriage (16 April 1688).

  • Prince William, Duke of Gloucester (24 July 1689, Hampton Court Palace - 30 July 1700).

  • Mary (14 October 1690, St James's Palace). She was two months premature, & lived about two hours.

  • George (17 April 1692, Syon House). He lived only for a few minutes, just long enough to be baptised; styled "Lord George".

  • Stillborn daughter (23 March 1693, Berkeley House).

  • Miscarriage (21 January 1694). Modern historians Edward Gregg & Alison Weir do not agree on whether it was a son or possibly a daughter. Contemporary chronicler Narcissus Luttrell wrote only that Anne "miscarried of a dead child".

  • Miscarried daughter (17 or 18 February 1696).

  • Miscarriage (20 September 1696). Luttrell said Anne "miscarried of a son". Dr Nathaniel Johnson told Theophilus Hastings, 7th Earl of Huntingdon, in a letter dated 24 October 1696, "Her Royal Highness miscarried of two children, the one of seven months' growth, the other of two or three months, as her physicians & midwife judged: one was born the day after the other." If so, the smaller foetus was probably a blighted twin or fetus papyraceus.

  • Miscarriage (25 March 1697).

  • Miscarriage (early December 1697). According to Saunière de L'Hermitage, the Dutch resident in London, Anne miscarried twins who were "too early to determine their sex". Other sources say the pregnancy ended in a stillborn son, or "two male children, at least as far as could be recognised".

  • Stillborn son (15 September 1698, Windsor Castle). James Vernon wrote to Charles Talbot, 1st Duke of Shrewsbury, that Anne's physician thought the foetus "might have been dead 8 or 10 days".

  • Stillborn son (24 January 1700). Contemporary sources say Anne gave birth at seven & a half months, after the foetus had been dead for a month.

How is Anne, Queen of Great Britain related to Queen Elizabeth II?

Anne, Queen of Great Britain is the 2nd cousin 8 times removed of Queen Elizabeth II. Their common ancestor is James VI & I.


1 August 1714 – George, Elector of Hanover, becomes King George I of Great Britain, marking the beginning of the Georgian era of British history.

George I of Great Britain

George I (28 May 1660 – 11 June 1727) was King of Great Britain & Ireland from 1 August 1714 & also ruler of the Duchy & Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover) within the Holy Roman Empire from 23 January 1698 until his death in 1727. He was the first British monarch of the House of Hanover.


1 August 1800 – The Acts of Union 1800 are passed which merge the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

The Acts of Union 1800


2 August

King William II of England

2 August 1100 - King William II died.

William went hunting on 2 August 1100 in the New Forest, probably near Brockenhurst, & was killed by an arrow through the lung, though the circumstances remain unclear. The earliest statement of the event was in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, which noted that the king was "shot by an arrow by one of his own men." Later chroniclers added the name of the killer, a nobleman named Walter Tirel, although the description of events was later embroidered with other details that may or may not be true. Over the following centuries, the obvious suggestion that one of William's enemies may have had a hand in this extraordinary event has repeatedly been made: chroniclers of the time point out themselves that Tirel was renowned as a keen bowman, & thus was unlikely to have loosed such an impetuous shot.

The king's body was abandoned by the nobles at the place where he fell. A peasant later found it. His younger brother, Henry (Henry I), hastened to Winchester to secure the royal treasury, then to London, where he was crowned within days, before either archbishop could arrive. William of Malmesbury, in his account of William's death, stated that the body was taken to Winchester Cathedral by a few countrymen. William's brother Henry was among the hunting party that day & benefited directly from William's death, being crowned king shortly thereafter. Indeed, Henry's actions "seem to be premeditated: wholly disregarding his dead brother, he rode straight for Winchester, seized the treasury (always the first act of a usurping king).

William's remains are in Winchester Cathedral, scattered among royal mortuary chests positioned on the presbytery screen, flanking the choir. His skull appears to be missing, but some long bones may remain. A stone known as the "Rufus Stone", close to the A31 near the village of Minstead, is claimed to mark the spot where William II fell.

William II (c. 1056 – 2 August 1100), the third son of William the Conqueror, was King of England from 26 September 1087 until his death in 1100, with powers over Normandy, & influence in Scotland. He was less successful in extending control into Wales. William is commonly referred to as William Rufus (Rufus being Latin for "the Red"), perhaps because of his ruddy appearance or, more likely, due to having red hair as a child that grew out in later life.


Knights templar, the crusades.

2 August 1274 – Edward I of England returns from the Ninth Crusade & is crowned King seventeen days later.

Lord Edward's crusade, sometimes called the Ninth Crusade, was a military expedition to the Holy Land under the command of Lord Edward, Duke of Gascony (future King Edward I of England) in 1271–1272. It was an extension of the Eighth Crusade & was the last of the Crusades to reach the Holy Land before the fall of Acre in 1291 brought an end to the permanent crusader presence there.


Yolande of Dreux (20 March 1263 – 2 August 1330) was a sovereign Countess of Montfort from 1311 until 1322. Through her first marriage to Alexander III of Scotland, Yolande became Queen consort of the Kingdom of Scotland. Through her second marriage to Arthur II, Duke of Brittany, she became Duchess Consort of Brittany.

2 August 1330 – Yolande of Dreux, Queen consort of Scotland died.

Yolande of Dreux (20 March 1263 – 2 August 1330) was a sovereign Countess of Montfort from 1311 until 1322. Through her first marriage to Alexander III of Scotland, Yolande became Queen consort of the Kingdom of Scotland. Through her second marriage to Arthur II, Duke of Brittany, she became Duchess Consort of Brittany.

She was the daughter of Robert IV, Count of Dreux, & Beatrice, Countess of Montfort. Her father was a patrilineal descendant of King Louis VI of France, making her a member of a cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty with powerful connections. In 1281, King Alexander III of Scotland lost his son David & two other children in the two following years, leaving his granddaughter, Margaret, Maid of Norway, as his heir presumptive. His first wife Magraret of England had died in 1275, & he was in need to remarry to have a new heir to the throne. An embassy was sent from Scotland in February 1285 & returned with Yolande in the company of her brother Jean. The marriage was celebrated on 15 October 1285 at Jedburgh Abbey, attended by a great many nobles of France and Scotland. Alexander died on either 18 March or 19 March 1286, after falling from his horse, while riding from his court at Edinburgh to join Yolande at Kinghorn. Following his death, queen dowager Yolande moved to Stirling Castle & declared that she was pregnant. The Guardians of Scotland were elected by a parliament held at Scone, Perth & Kinross on 2 April or 28 April 1286 & swore to govern the kingdom until Alexander's declared heir Margaret of Norway arrived to take the throne or Yolande gave birth to a child who would be preferred over Margaret. It is unclear what happened to her pregnancy; either she had a miscarriage, or the baby was stillborn or died shortly after birth. However, by one account the Guardians gathered at Clackmannan on Saint Catherine's Day – 25 November 1286 – to witness the birth, but the child was stillborn. Tradition says the baby was buried at Cambuskenneth. After the queen dowager's pregnancy did not result in a living child, the council begun preparations for Margaret of Norway to be taken to Scotland as their new sovereign.

Queen dowager Yolande remained in Scotland for a couple of years supported by her dower provisions & living possibly at Stirling Castle: it is known that she was still in Scotland at least as late as in 1288. At some point, she returned to France.

In May 1294, she married Arthur II, Duke of Brittany. Together they had at least six children. Arthur died in 1312, being succeeded by his son John III, Duke of Brittany. Yolande succeeded her mother as suo jure Countess of Montfort in 1311. She continued to manage her Scottish affairs: as late as shortly before her death, she is noted to have sent a knight to Scotland to see to her dower lands. Yolande died on 2 August 1330 in the convent of Port-Royal des Champs outside of Paris. Her county of Montfort passed to her son John, who would later fight for his claim to his father's duchy in the Breton War of Succession.


2 August 1415 – Thomas Grey is executed for participating in the Southampton Plot.

Sir Thomas Grey (30 November 1384 – 2 August 1415), of Heaton Castle in the parish of Norham, Northumberland, was one of the three conspirators in the failed Southampton Plot against King Henry V in 1415, for which he was executed.

Grey's father, Sir Thomas Grey (1359–1400), & Sir Thomas Erpingham, were among those chosen allies of Henry Bolingbroke to witness the abdication of King Richard II in Westminster Hall on 29 September 1399. Grey was only 16 years of age when he succeeded his father in 1400, & was shown great favour in the early years of the reign of Henry IV, including the grant of the wardship of his own inheritance while he was under age. By August 1404 he had been retained for life by Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland, but by May 1408 was in the service of Henry, Prince of Wales.

Grey, Cambridge, & Henry Scrope, 3rd Baron Scrope of Masham, were the ringleaders of the failed Southampton Plot of 1415, which was a plot to assassinate King Henry V at Southampton before he sailed to France and to replace him with Edmund Mortimer, 5th Earl of March. On 31 July 1415 Mortimer revealed the plot to the King at Portchester Castle, near Portsmouth. The conspirators were promptly arrested & executed. Sir Thomas Grey was beheaded at the North Gate of Southampton on 2 August 1415. The Southampton Plot is dramatized in Shakespeare's Henry V, & in the anonymous play, The History of Sir John Oldcastle.


3 August

King of Scots, James  II

3 August 1460 - James II King of Scotland died.

James II (16 October 1430 – 3 August 1460) was King of Scots from 1437 until his death in 1460.

James II enthusiastically promoted modern artillery, which he used with some success against the Black Douglases. His ambitions to increase Scotland's standing saw him besiege Roxburgh Castle in 1460, one of the last Scottish castles still held by the English after the Wars of Independence.

For this siege, James took a large number of cannons imported from Flanders. On 3 August, he was standing near one of these cannons, known as "the Lion", when it exploded & killed him. Robert Lindsay of Pitscottie stated in his history of James's reign that "as the King stood near a piece of artillery, his thigh bone was dug in two with a piece of misframed gun that brake in shooting, by which he was stricken to the ground and died hastily."

The Scots carried on with the siege, led by George Douglas, 4th Earl of Angus, & the castle fell a few days later. Once the castle was captured, James' widow, Mary of Guelders, ordered its destruction. James' son became king as James III & Mary acted as regent until her own death three years later.


4 August

4 August 1265 – Second Barons' War: Battle of Evesham: The army of Prince Edward (the future king Edward I of England) defeats the forces of rebellious barons led by Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, killing de Montfort & many of his allies.

Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, in rebellion against Henry III, dies at the Battle of Evesham.
Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, in rebellion against Henry III, dies at the Battle of Evesham.

The Battle of Evesham was one of the two main battles of 13th century England's Second Barons' War. It marked the defeat of Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, & the rebellious barons by the future King Edward I, who led the forces of his father, King Henry III. It took place on 4 August 1265, near the town of Evesham, Worcestershire.

With the Battle of Lewes (14 May 1264), de Montfort had won control of royal government, but after the defection of several close allies & the escape from captivity of Prince Edward, he found himself on the defensive. Forced to engage the royalists at Evesham, he faced an army twice the size of his own. The battle soon turned into a massacre.

With their defeat at Lewes still fresh in memory, the royalists fought with a strong sense of bitterness & resentment. As a result, & despite attempts to surrender, most of the baronial rebels were killed on the battlefield rather than taken prisoner & ransomed, as was the common custom & practice. In what has been referred to as "an episode of noble bloodletting unprecedented since the Conquest", de Montfort's son Henry was killed first, then Simon himself lost his horse & died fighting. His body was mutilated; his head, hands, feet & testicles cut off. King Henry himself, who had been in the custody of de Montfort & dressed up in his colours, was barely rescued from the mêlée by Roger de Leybourne, a converted rebel.

Death and mutilation of Simon de Montfort at the Battle of Evesham. Above Simon is the body of Hugh le Despencer, 1st Baron le Despencer (1223-1265) (with arms of Despencer on his surcoat) an important ally of Simon de Montfort who served briefly as Justiciar of England in 1260 and as Constable of the Tower of London. He was killed fighting on de Montfort's side at the Battle of Evesham in August, 1265.

Death & mutilation of Simon de Montfort at the Battle of Evesham. Above Simon is the body of Hugh le Despencer, 1st Baron le Despencer (1223-1265) (with arms of Despencer on his surcoat) an important ally of Simon de Montfort who served briefly as Justiciar of England in 1260 & as Constable of the Tower of London. He was killed fighting on de Montfort's side at the Battle of Evesham in August, 1265.

It was described by the contemporary historian Robert of Gloucester as the "murder of Evesham, for battle it was none". Though the battle effectively restored royal authority, scattered resistance remained until the Dictum of Kenilworth was signed in 1267.


4 August 1327 – First War of Scottish Independence: James Douglas leads a raid into Weardale & almost kills Edward III of England.

Sir James Douglas (also known as Good Sir James & the Black Douglas) (c. 1286 – 1330)
Sir James Douglas (also known as Good Sir James & the Black Douglas) (c. 1286 – 1330)

The Weardale campaign, part of the First War of Scottish Independence, occurred during July & August 1327 in Weardale, England. A Scottish force under Lord Douglas & the earls of Moray & Mar faced an English army commanded by Roger Mortimer, 3rd Baron Mortimer, accompanied by the newly crowned Edward III.

In 1326 the English king, Edward II, was deposed by his wife, Isabella, & her lover, Mortimer. England had been at war with Scotland for 30 years & the Scots took advantage of the chaotic situation to launch large raids into England. Seeing opposition to the Scots as a way of legitimising their position, Isabella & Mortimer prepared a large army to oppose them. In July 1327 this set off from York to trap the Scots & force them to battle. After two weeks of poor supplies & bad weather the English confronted the Scots when the latter deliberately gave away their position.

The Scots occupied an unassailable position immediately north of the River Wear. The English declined to attack it & the Scots declined to fight in the open. After three days the Scots moved overnight to an even stronger position. On the night of 3/4 August, Douglas led a night attack on the English camp, cutting guy ropes & creating panic. They penetrated to the centre of the English camp & collapsed the King's tent with a terrified Edward III inside.

The English believed that they had the Scots surrounded & were starving them out, but on the night of 6 August the Scottish army escaped & marched back to Scotland. The campaign was ruinously expensive for the English. Isabella & Mortimer were forced to negotiate with the Scots & in 1328 the Treaty of Edinburgh–Northampton was signed, recognising Scottish sovereignty.

An English herald approaches the Scots
An English herald approaches the Scots


4 August 1900 – Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother was born (d. 2002)

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother by Richard Stone
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother by Richard Stone

Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (4 August 1900 – 30 March 2002) was Queen of the United Kingdom & the Dominions from 1936 to 1952 as the wife of King George VI. She was the last Empress of India from 1936 until India gained independence from Britain in 1947. After her husband died, she was known as Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, to avoid confusion with her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II.

Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon was the youngest daughter & the ninth of ten children of Claude Bowes-Lyon, Lord Glamis (later the 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne in the Peerage of Scotland), & his wife, Cecilia Cavendish-Bentinck. Her mother was descended from British Prime Minister William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland, & Governor-General of India Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley, who was the elder brother of another prime minister, Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington.

Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon (Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother) by Philip de László, 1925

Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon (Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother) by Philip de László, 1925

Elizabeth came to prominence in 1923 when she married the Duke of York, the second son of King George V & Queen Mary. The couple & their daughters Elizabeth & Margaret embodied traditional ideas of family & public service. The Duchess undertook a variety of public engagements & became known for her consistently cheerful countenance.

In 1936, Elizabeth's husband unexpectedly became king when his older brother, Edward VIII, abdicated in order to marry the American divorcée Wallis Simpson. Elizabeth then became queen. She accompanied her husband on diplomatic tours to France & North America before the start of the Second World War.

The Queen & Princess Elizabeth talk to paratroopers preparing for D-Day, 19 May 1944

During the war, her seemingly indomitable spirit provided moral support to the British public. After the war, her husband's health deteriorated, & she was widowed at the age of 51.

 Coronation portrait of Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (4 August 1900 – 30 March 2002) by Gerald Kelly, c.1938.

Coronation portrait of Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (4 August 1900 – 30 March 2002) by Gerald Kelly, c.1938.

Her elder daughter Elizabeth, aged 25, became the new queen on 6 February 1952. After the death of Queen Mary in 1953, Elizabeth was viewed as the matriarch of the British royal family. In her later years, she was a consistently popular member of the family, even when other members were suffering from low levels of public approval. She continued an active public life until just a few months before her death at the age of 101 years, 238 days, which was seven weeks after the death of her younger daughter, Princess Margaret.

The Queen Mother at Dover Castle Kent by Allan Warren

The Queen Mother at Dover Castle Kent by Allan Warren


4 August 1981 - Meghan Markle was born.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (born Rachel Meghan Markle)

Markle was born & raised in Los Angeles, California. Her acting career began while she was studying at Northwestern University. Her last & most significant on-screen role during that period was that of Rachel Zane in the American legal drama Suits, in which she starred for seven seasons (2011–2018). During her acting career, Markle became involved in charity work, focusing primarily on women's issues & social justice. Markle was married to American film producer Trevor Engelson from 2011 until their divorce in 2013. She retired from acting upon her marriage to Prince Harry in 2018, & started undertaking engagements as a member of the British royal family. Since then, she has been known as Duchess of Sussex. The couple stepped down as senior members of the royal family in 2020 following a period of privacy issues & perceived hostile treatment by particularly the British tabloids. They subsequently settled in her native California, where they are pursuing business ventures & charity work. They have two children, Archie & Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor.


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