top of page
  • Writer's pictureLSS

#otd in Royal History - March

Updated: Mar 12, 2023

On This Day in Royal History - March

1 March

Caroline of Ansbach (1 March 1683 – 20 November 1737)
Caroline of Ansbach (1 March 1683 – 20 November 1737)

1 March 1683

Caroline of Ansbach was born in Ansbach, Principality of Ansbach

Full name: Wilhelmina Charlotte Caroline of Brandenburg-Ansbach, commonly known as Caroline of Ansbach, was queen of Great Britain as the wife of King George II.

As a young woman, Caroline was much sought-after as a bride. After rejecting the suit of the nominal King of Spain, Archduke Charles of Austria, she married George Augustus, the third-in-line to the British throne & heir apparent to the Electorate of Hanover. They had eight children, seven of whom grew to adulthood.

King George II Portrait by Charles Jervas, c. 1727
King George II Portrait by Charles Jervas, c. 1727

Caroline moved permanently to Britain in 1714 when her husband became Prince of Wales. As Princess of Wales, she joined her husband in rallying political opposition to his father King George I. In 1717, her husband was expelled from court after a family row. Caroline came to be associated with Robert Walpole, an opposition politician who was a former government minister. Walpole re-joined the government in 1720, & Caroline's husband & King George I reconciled publicly, on Walpole's advice. Over the next few years, Walpole rose to become the leading minister.

Official Coronation medal of Queen Caroline in 1727 by J. Croker
Official Coronation medal of Queen Caroline in 1727 by J. Croker

Caroline succeeded as queen & electress consort in 1727, when her husband became King George II. Her eldest son, Frederick, became Prince of Wales. He was a focus for the opposition, like his father before him, & Caroline's relationship with him was strained. As princess & as queen, Caroline was known for her political influence, which she exercised through & for Walpole. Her tenure included four regencies during her husband's stays in Hanover, & she is credited with strengthening the Hanoverian dynasty's place in Britain during a period of political instability. Caroline was widely mourned following her death in 1737, not only by the public but also by the King, who refused to remarry.


2 March

Anne of Denmark, c. 1614, by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger
Anne of Denmark, c. 1614, by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger

2 March 1619

Anne of Denmark died

Anne of Denmark was Queen consort of Scotland, England, & Ireland as the wife of James VI and I.

By late 1617, Anne's bouts of illness had become debilitating. John Chamberlain recorded: "The Queen continues still ill disposed & though she would fain lay all her infirmities upon the gout yet most of her physicians fear a further inconvenience of an ill habit or disposition through her whole body." In January 1619, royal physician Sir Theodore de Mayerne instructed Anne to saw wood to improve her blood flow, but the exertion served to make her worse. James visited Anne only three times during her last illness, though Prince Charles often slept in the adjoining bedroom at Hampton Court Palace & was at her bedside during her last hours, when she had lost her sight. With her until the end was her personal maid, Anna Roos, who had arrived with her from Denmark in 1590.

Queen Anne died aged 44 on 2 March 1619, of a dangerous form of dropsy.

Despite his neglect of Anne, James was emotionally affected by her death. He did not visit her during her dying days or attend her funeral, being himself sick, the symptoms, according to Sir Theodore de Mayerne, including "fainting, sighing, dread, incredible sadness ...". The inquest discovered Anne to be "much wasted within, specially her liver". After a prolonged delay, she was buried in King Henry's Chapel, Westminster Abbey, on 13 May 1619. The catafalque, designed by Maximilian Colt, placed over her grave was destroyed during the civil war.

James turned to verse to pay his respects;

'So did my Queen from hence her court remove

And left off earth to be enthroned above.

She's changed, not dead, for sure no good prince dies,

But, as the sun, sets, only for to rise'.

Anne of Denmark, between circa 1595 and circa 1603
Anne of Denmark, between 1595-1603


Queen Victoria by Bassano, 1882
Queen Victoria by Bassano, 1882

2 March 1882

Queen Victoria narrowly escapes an assassination attempt by Roderick McLean

On 2 March 1882, Roderick Maclean, a disgruntled poet apparently offended by Victoria's refusal to accept one of his poems, shot at the Queen with a pistol as her carriage left Windsor railway station. Two schoolboys from Eton College struck him with their umbrellas, until he was hustled away by a policeman. Victoria was outraged when he was found not guilty by reason of insanity, but was so pleased by the many expressions of loyalty after the attack that she said it was "worth being shot at, to see how much one is loved".

Queen Victoria narrowly escapes an assassination attempt by Roderick McLean in Windsor.

McLean was tried for high treason that April 20, & was found "not guilty, but insane" by a jury after five minutes' deliberation, & he lived out his remaining days in Broadmoor Asylum. The verdict prompted the Queen to ask for a change in English law so that those implicated in cases with similar outcomes would be considered as "guilty, but insane." This led to the Trial of Lunatics Act 1883.

This was the last of eight attempts by separate people to kill or assault Victoria over a period of forty years. .

Queen Victoria narrowly escapes an assassination attempt by Roderick McLean in Windsor. Extract from The Times


3 March

Wedding portrait of Mary Tudor and Charles Brandon
Wedding portrait of Mary Tudor and Charles Brandon

3 March 1515

Mary Tudor and Charles Brandon secret wedding

Mary Tudor sister of King Henry VIII, secretly wed Henry’s close friend Charles Brandon.

Mary had been unhappy with her marriage of state to Louis XII of France, she was almost certainly already in love with Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk. At the time of her first wedding Mary was 18, her husband Louis XII was 52, (One of the Maids of Honour who attended her in France was Anne Boleyn). Despite two previous marriages, Louis had no living sons, & sought to produce an heir; but he died on 1 January 1515, less than three months after marrying Mary, reputedly worn out by his exertions in the bedchamber. Their union produced no children.

Henry knew of his sister's feelings but wanted any future marriage to be to his advantage. When he sent Brandon to bring Mary back to England in late January 1515 he made the Duke promise that he would not propose to her. However, the couple married in secret in France on 3 March 1515. Technically this was treason, as Brandon had married a Royal Princess without Henry's consent.

The King was outraged, & the Privy Council urged that Brandon should be imprisoned or executed. Because of the intervention of Thomas Wolsey, & Henry's affection for both his sister & Brandon, the couple were let off with a heavy fine. They were officially married on 13 May 1515 at Greenwich Palace.

Mary & Brandon had four children, two daughters & two sons: including Lady Frances Brandon (16 July 1517 – 20 November 1559), the mother of Lady Jane Grey

Mary died at Westhorpe, Suffolk, on 25 June 1533. Mary's widower now aged 49 would later marry their son's betrothed, who was also his ward, the fourteen-year-old Catherine Willoughby, by whom he had two sons.

👑 Interesting Fact; Charles Brandon's father Sir William Brandon was Henry Tudor's standard-bearer at the Battle of Bosworth Field, where he was slain by king Richard III.


4 March

Joan of England, Queen of Scotland

4 March 1238

Joan of England, queen of Scotland died

Joan of England (born.22 July 1210), was Queen consort of Scotland as the wife of Alexander II of Scotland from 1221 until her death. She was the third child of John, King of England & Isabella of Angoulême.

Joan married Alexander married on 21 June 1221, at York Minster. Alexander was twenty-three. Joan was almost eleven. They had no children. This fact was a matter of concern, but an annulment of the marriage was regarded as risky as it could provoke war with England. Queen Joan did not have a strong position at the Scottish court, which was dominated by her mother-in-law, queen dowager Ermengarde. Her English connections nevertheless made her important regardless of her personal qualities. Joan accompanied Alexander to England in September 1236 at Newcastle, & in September 1237 at York, during the negotiations with her brother King Henry III over disputed northern territories. At this point, the chronicler Matthew Paris suggests that Joan & Alexander had become estranged & that Joan wished to spend more time in England, & her brother King Henry III granted her several manors to reside if needed. In York, Joan & her sister-in-law Eleanor of Provence agreed to make a pilgrimage to Thomas Becket's shrine in Canterbury. Joan died in the arms of her brothers King Henry & Richard of Cornwall at Havering-atte-Bower in 1238, & was buried at Tarrant Crawford Abbey in Dorset.


5 March

Henry II, King of England

5 March 1133

Henry II of England was born

Henry was born in France at Le Mans on 5 March 1133 as the eldest child of the Empress Matilda & her second husband, Geoffrey the Fair, Count of Anjou.

Henry's mother, firstly married to the Holy Roman Emperor Henry V, was the eldest daughter of Henry I, King of England & Duke of Normandy. Henry had named his daughter Matilda as his successor to the English throne but her cousin Stephen had taken over.

In 1150 - 1151, the seventeen year old Henry became ruler of Normandy & Anjou, after the death of his father. In 1152, he married Eleanor of Aquitaine, the greatest heiress in western Europe. In 1153, he crossed to England to pursue his claim to the throne, reaching an agreement that he would succeed Stephen on his death, which occurred in 1154.

Henry now king, began to restore order. Using his talented chancellor Thomas Becket, Henry began reorganising the judicial system. The Assize of Clarendon (1166) established procedures of criminal justice, establishing courts & prisons for those awaiting trial. In addition, the assizes gave fast & clear verdicts, enriched the treasury & extended royal control.

In 1164, Henry reasserted his ancestral rights over the church. Now archbishop of Canterbury, Becket refused to comply. An attempted reconciliation failed & Becket punished priests who had co-operated with Henry. On hearing this Henry reportedly exclaimed, 'Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?' Four knights took his words literally & murdered Becket in Canterbury Cathedral in December 1170. Almost overnight Becket became a saint. Henry reconciled himself with the church, but royal control over the church changed little.

In 1169, an Anglo-Norman force landed in Ireland to support of one of the claimants to the Irish high kingship. Fearing the creation of a separate Norman power to the west, Henry travelled to Dublin to assert his overlordship of the territory they had won. And so, an English presence in Ireland was established. In the course of his reign, Henry had dominion over territories stretching from the Ireland to the Pyrenees.


Mary II, Queen of England

5 March 1695

Mary II funeral

In late 1694, Mary had contracted smallpox. She sent away anyone who had not previously had the disease, to prevent the spread of infection. Her sister Anne (later Queen Anne), who was pregnant, sent Mary a letter saying she would run any risk to see her sister again, but the offer was declined by Mary's groom of the stole, the Countess of Derby.

Mary died at Kensington Palace shortly after midnight on the morning of 28 December 1694 aged 32. King William III, who had grown increasingly to rely on Mary, was devastated by her death, "from being the happiest" he was "now going to be the miserablest creature on earth". She was widely mourned in Britain.

During a cold winter, in which the Thames froze, her embalmed body lay in state in Banqueting House, Whitehall until her burial in March the following year.

On 5 March, Mary II was buried at Westminster Abbey. Her funeral service was the first of any royal attended by all the members of both Houses of Parliament. For the ceremony, composer Henry Purcell wrote Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary.


6 March

Emma of Normandy, Queen of England
Emma receiving the Encomium, in The Encomium of Queen Emma, c. 1050, British Library

6 March 1052

Emma of Normandy died

Emma of Normandy (born. c. 985) was a queen consort of England, Denmark & Norway. She was the daughter of Richard I, Duke of Normandy (aka Richard the fearless), & his second wife, Gunnora

Through her marriages to king Æthelred the Unready (reigned.1002-1016) & king Cnut the Great (r.1017-1035), she became the Queen Consort of England, Denmark, & Norway.

Æthelred the Unready ( 966 – 1016)
Æthelred the Unready ( 966 – 1016)

Æthelred & Emma were married in 1002. They had two sons, Edward the Confessor & Alfred (Ælfred Æþeling, meaning Alfred the Noble), & a daughter, Goda of England (or Godgifu). Emma & Æthelred’s marriage ended with Æthelred’s death in London in 1016.

King Cnut (c. 990-1035)
King Cnut (c. 990-1035)

In July 1017 Emma married king Cnut the Great, becoming Queen consort of England again, and now Queen consort of Denmark & Norway. They had two children ; were king Harthacnut; & Gunhilda of Denmark.

After her death in 1052 Emma was interred alongside king Cnut & their son king Harthacnut in the Old Minster, Winchester before being transferred to the new cathedral built after the Norman Conquest. During the English Civil War, their remains were disinterred & scattered about the Cathedral floor by parliamentary forces.


7 March

Tomb of William Longespée, 3rd Earl of Salisbury, Salisbury Cathedral
Tomb of William Longespée, 3rd Earl of Salisbury, Salisbury Cathedral

7 March 1226

William Longespée, 3rd Earl of Salisbury died

William Longespée, 3rd Earl of Salisbury ("Long Sword", Latinised to de Longa Spatha) was an Anglo-Norman nobleman, primarily remembered for his command of the English forces at the Battle of Damme & for remaining loyal to his half-brother, King John. His nickname "Longespée" is generally taken as a reference to his great physical height & the oversize weapons that he used.

William was an illegitimate son of Henry II, King of England. His mother was unknown for many years until the discovery of a charter William made that mentions "Comitissa Ida, mater mea" (Countess Ida, my mother). This referred to Ida de Tosny, a member of the prominent Tosny (or Toesny) family, who had married Roger Bigod, 2nd Earl of Norfolk in 1181.

King Henry acknowledged William as his son & gave him the honour of Appleby, Lincolnshire, in 1188. Eight years later, his half brother King Richard I married him to a great heiress, Ela of Salisbury, 3rd Countess of Salisbury, & granted him the title & lands of the earldom.

During the reign of King John, Salisbury was at court on several important ceremonial occasions & held various offices: High Sheriff of Wiltshire; lieutenant of Gascony; constable of Dover; & Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports; & later warden of the Welsh Marches. He was appointed sheriff of Cambridgeshire & Huntingdonshire about 1213.

Salisbury was one of the few who remained loyal to John, except for a few months in 1216. In the civil war that took place the year after the signing of the Magna Carta, Salisbury was one of the leaders of the king's army in the south. He was made High Sheriff of Wiltshire again, this time for life. After raising the siege of Lincoln with William Marshall he was also appointed High Sheriff of Lincolnshire (in addition to his current post as High Sheriff of Somerset) & governor of Lincoln castle. However, after the French prince Louis (later Louis VIII) landed as an ally of the rebels, Salisbury went over to his side. Presumably, he thought John's cause was lost.

After John's death & the departure of Louis, Salisbury, along with many other barons, joined the cause of John's young son, now Henry III of England. He held an influential place in the government during the king's minority & fought in Gascony to help secure the remaining part of the English continental possessions. He was appointed High Sheriff of Devon in 1217 & High Sheriff of Staffordshire & Shropshire in 1224.

Salisbury died not long after his return to England at Salisbury Castle. Roger of Wendover alleged that he was poisoned by Hubert de Burgh. One reliable source, however, states that "there is little evidence [of murder] aside from Roger of Wendover’s account in Flores Historiarum". He was buried at Salisbury Cathedral in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England.

Did you know? Salisbury's tomb was opened in 1791. Bizarrely, the well-preserved corpse of a rat which carried traces of arsenic, was found inside his skull. The rat is now on display in Salisbury Cathedral Chapter House.


8 March

King William III, king of England

8 March 1702

King William III died

William died of pneumonia at Kensington Palace, due to a complication from a broken collarbone following a fall from his horse, Sorrel. The horse had been confiscated from Sir John Fenwick, one of the Jacobites who had conspired against William. Because his horse had stumbled into a mole's burrow, many Jacobites toasted "the little gentleman in the black velvet waistcoat". William was buried in Westminster Abbey alongside his wife. His sister-in-law, Anne, became queen regnant of England, Scotland & Ireland.

King of England: Reigned jointly with Mary II, 1689 - 28 December 1694, then alone until his death on 8 March 1702

Prince of Orange: Reign. 4 November 1650 – 8 March 1702

House of: Orange.

Born: 4 November 1650, Binnenhof, The Hague, Dutch Republic

Parents: William II, Prince of Orange (27 May 1626 – 6 November 1650), sovereign Prince of Orange & Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, Overijssel & Groningen in the United Provinces of the Netherlands from 14 March 1647 until his death three years later; & Mary, Princess Royal (4 November 1631 – 24 December 1660), an English princess, member of the House of Stuart, & by marriage Princess of Orange & Countess of Nassau.

Married: Mary II of England in 1677. They had no surviving children, after Mary had several miscarriages.

Also widely known as William of Orange, was sovereign Prince of Orange from birth, Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders & Overijssel in the Dutch Republic from the 1670s & King of England, Ireland & Scotland from 1689 until his death. Popular histories usually refer to his joint reign with his wife, Queen Mary II, as that of William & Mary. As King of Scotland, he is known as William II. He is sometimes informally known as "King Billy" in Northern Ireland & Scotland, where his victory at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 is still commemorated by Unionists & Ulster loyalists.

William was the only child of William II, Prince of Orange, who died a week before his birth, & Mary, Princess of Orange, the daughter of King Charles I of England. In 1677, during the reign of his uncle King Charles II of England, he married his cousin Mary, the fifteen-year-old daughter of Charles II's brother James, Duke of York. A Protestant, William participated in several wars against the powerful Catholic King Louis XIV of France, in coalition with Protestant & Catholic powers in Europe. Many Protestants heralded him as a champion of their faith.

In 1685, his Catholic uncle & father-in-law, James, became King of England, Scotland & Ireland. James's reign was unpopular with the Protestant majority in Britain, who feared a revival of Catholicism. Supported by a group of influential British political & religious leaders, William invaded England in what became known as the Glorious Revolution. In 1688, he landed at the south-western English port of Brixham. Shortly afterwards, James was deposed.

William's reputation as a staunch Protestant enabled him & his wife to take power. During the early years of his reign, he was occupied abroad with the Nine Years' War (1688–97). Queen Mary II died in 1694. In 1696, the Jacobites plotted unsuccessfully to assassinate William & return his father-in-law to the throne.

William's lack of children & the death in 1700 of his sister-in-law Anne's last surviving child Prince William, Duke of Gloucester, threatened the Protestant succession. The danger was averted by placing distant relatives, the Protestant Hanoverians, in line. Upon his death in 1702, the king was succeeded in Britain by Anne & as titular Prince of Orange by his cousin, John William Friso.

Died 8 March 1702 (aged 51), Kensington Palace, Middlesex.

Burial 12 April 1702, Westminster Abbey, London.

Successor: Queen Anne (his sister in law)


9 March

David Rizzo, secretary of Mary, Queen of Scots

9 March 1566

David Rizzo murdered in front of Mary, Queen of Scots

David Rizzio (c. 1533 – 9 March 1566), was an Italian courtier, born close to Turin, a descendant of an ancient & noble family still living in Piedmont, the Riccio Counts di San Paolo e Solbrito, who rose to become the private secretary of Mary, Queen of Scots. Mary's husband, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, is said to have been jealous of their friendship because of rumours that Rizzio had impregnated Mary, & he joined in a conspiracy of Protestant nobles to murder him, led by Patrick Ruthven, 3rd Lord Ruthven. Mary was having dinner with Rizzio & a few ladies-in-waiting when Darnley joined them, accused his wife of adultery & then had a group murder Rizzio, who was hiding behind Mary. Mary was held at gunpoint & Rizzio was stabbed numerous times. His body took 57 dagger wounds. The murder was the catalyst of the downfall of Darnley, & had serious consequences for Mary's subsequent reign.


10 March

Catherine of Aragon watching Henry jousting in her honour after giving birth to a son
Henry VIII depicted in an earlier joust, 1511

10 March 1524

Henry VIII jousting accident with Charles Brandon

The king suffered a jousting accident after he forgot to lower his visor in a joust against Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. Tudor chronicler, Edward Hall, gives the following account of the accident:

“The 10th day of March, the king having a new harness [armour] made of his own design & fashion, such as no armourer before that time had seen, thought to test the same at the tilt & appointed a joust to serve this purpose. The King came to one end of the tilt & the Duke of Suffolk to the other. Then a gentleman said to the Duke, “Sir, the King is come to the tilt’s end.” “I see him not,” said the Duke, “on my faith, for my headpiece takes from me my sight.” With these words, God knoweth by what chance, the King had his spear delivered to him, the visor of his headpiece being up & not down nor fastened, so that his face was clean naked.

Then the gentleman said to the Duke, “Sir, the King cometh”. Then the Duke set forward & charged his spear, & the King likewise inadvisedly set off towards the Duke. The people, perceiving the King’s face bare, cried “Hold! Hold!”, but the Duke neither saw nor heard, & whether the King remembered that his visor was up or not few could tell.

Alas, what sorrow was it to the people when they saw the splinters of the Duke’s spear strike on the King’s headpiece. For most certainly, the Duke struck the King on the brow, right under the defence of the headpiece, on the very skull cap or basinet piece where unto the barbette is hinged for power & defence.

But when the spear landed on that place, it was great jeopardy of death, in so much that the face was bare, for the Duke’s spear broke all to splinters & pushed the King’s visor or barbet so far back by the counter blow that all the King’s headpiece was full of splinters. The armourers for this matter were much blamed & so was the Lord Marquis for delivering the spear when his face was open, but the King said that no-one was to blame but himself, for he intended to have saved himself & his sight.

The Duke immediately disarmed himself & came to the King, showing him the closeness of his sight, & swore that he would never run against the King again. But if the King had been even a little hurt, the King’s servants would have put the Duke in jeopardy.

Then the King called his armourers & put all his pieces together & then took a spear & ran six courses very well, by which all men might perceive that he had no hurt, which was a great joy & comfort to all his subjects there present.”

This jousting accident was not as serious as the one Henry suffered on 24th January 1536. That one gave Henry a severe blow to the head &, according to Chapuys, he went “two hours without speaking”.


Prince Albert Edward and Princess Alexandra on their wedding day, 1863

10 March 1863

Edward VII married Alexandra of Denmark

His Royal Highness Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) married Princess Alexandra of Denmark at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. Edward married Princess Alexandra of Denmark at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, on 10 March 1863. He was 21; she was 18.

The wedding of the Prince of Wales and Princess Alexandra of Denmark, Windsor, 10 March 1863, by William Powell Frith
The wedding of the Prince of Wales and Princess Alexandra of Denmark, Windsor, 10 March 1863, by William Powell Frith

For more about the wedding visit Victorian Brides - Queen Alexandra


10 March 1964

Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh was born

Prince Edward Antony Richard Louis was born at Buckingham Palace, on 10 March 1964, the third son & fourth child of Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

As a child of the Sovereign, Edward was styled from birth as His Royal Highness The Prince Edward. At the time of his birth, he was third in line to succeed his mother; as of 2015, he is currently 13th in line (as of 10 March 2023).

The Duke is a full-time working member of the British royal family & supports the king in his official duties – often alongside his wife, the Duchess of Edinburgh – as well as undertaking public engagements for many of his own charities. In particular he has assumed many duties from his father, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (1921-2021), after retired from public life in 2017.

Prince Edward succeeded Prince Philip as president of the Commonwealth Games Federation (vice-patron since 2006) & opened the 1990 Commonwealth Games in New Zealand & the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Malaysia. He has also taken over the Duke's role in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award.

Interesting fact - his initials read 'EARL' (Edward Antony Richard Louis)


11 March

Queen Anne of Great Britain

11 March 1702

Queen Anne delivers her first speech to parliament

Anne became Queen upon the death of William III on 8 March 1702, & was immediately popular.

In her first speech to the English Parliament, on 11 March, she distanced herself from her late Dutch brother-in-law & said, "As I know my heart to be entirely English, I can very sincerely assure you there is not anything you can expect or desire from me which I shall not be ready to do for the happiness & prosperity of England."

"I am firmly persuaded, that the Love & good Affection of my Subjects is the surest Pledge of their Duty & Obedience & the truest & justest Support of the Throne; & as I am resolved to defend & maintain the Church as by Law established, & to protect you in the full Enjoyment of all your Rights & Liberties, so I rely upon your Care of me; my Interests & yours are inseparable; & my Endeavours shall never be wanting to make you all Safe & Happy."

Soon after her accession, Anne appointed her husband Prince George of Denmark, Lord High Admiral, giving him nominal control of the Royal Navy. Anne was crowned on St George's Day, 23 April 1702. Afflicted with gout, she was carried to Westminster Abbey in an open sedan chair, with a low back to permit her train to flow out behind her.


12 March

Edward IV, King of England

12 March 1470

The Battle of Losecoat Field

The Battle of Losecoat Field (also known as the Battle of Empingham) was fought on 12 March 1470, during the Wars of the Roses. Spellings of "Losecoat" vary, with "Losecote" & "Loose-coat" also seen.

The battle secured the defeat of the poorly organised Welles Uprising against King Edward IV, but ultimately led to the defection of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick & the king's brother George, Duke of Clarence to the Lancastrian cause after they were forced to flee the country having been implicated in the rebellion.

King Edward's scouts informed him that the rebel army commanded by Robert Welles, 8th Baron Willoughby de Eresby was some five miles from Stamford, arrayed for battle beside the Great North Road to the north of Tickencote Warren near Empingham in Rutland.

Edward positioned his men in a battle line to the north of Welles' army, & then, in the space separating the two forces, had Lord Welles (Robert's father) executed in view of both armies.

This action set off the rebels (currently numbering 30,000), advancing with cries of á Warwick & á Clarence. A single barrage of cannonballs was fired & then Edward had his men charge towards the enemy. Before the leaders of this attack could even come to blows with the rebel front line the battle was over. The rebels broke & fled rather than face the King's highly trained men.

Both captains, Sir Robert Welles & his commander of foot Richard Warren were captured during the rout & were executed a week later on 19 March. Welles confessed his treason, & named Warwick & Clarence as the "partners & chief provokers" of the rebellion. Documents were also found proving the complicity of Warwick & Clarence, who were forced to flee the country.


13 March

 Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, Prime Minister of Great Britain
Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, Prime Minister of Great Britain, c.1820 by Thomas Phillips

13 March 1764

Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey was born

I've decided to add a random event for days where I cannot find anything royal related, rather than leave it blank as I have done in some previous blogs.

Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, (13 March 1764 – 17 July 1845), known as Viscount Howick between 1806 & 1807, was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1830-1834. He was a descendant of the noble House of Grey (Lady Jane Grey (c. 1537-1554) "the Nine Days' Queen" was of the House of Grey) & a member of the Whig Party.

Grey was a long-time leader of many reform movements, & as prime minister, his government was known for bringing about two notable reforms. The Reform Act 1832 brought about parliamentary reform, bringing changes to the House of Commons. His government also enacted the Slavery Abolition Act 1833, bringing about the abolition of slavery in most of the British Empire.

Grey was a strong opponent of the foreign & domestic policies of William Pitt the Younger in the 1790s. In 1807, he resigned as foreign secretary to protest against King George III's uncompromising rejection of Catholic Emancipation. Grey finally resigned in 1834 over disagreements in his cabinet regarding Ireland, & retired from politics. Scholars rank him highly among British prime ministers, believing that he averted much civil strife & enabled Victorian progress.

Cup of Earl Grey Tea
Did You Know? Earl Grey tea is named after him


14 March

Claude Bowes-Lyon, 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne
Claude Bowes-Lyon, 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne

14 March 1855

Claude Bowes-Lyon, 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne was born

Claude George Bowes-Lyon, 14th and 1st Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, (14 March 1855 – 7 November 1944), styled as Lord Glamis from 1865 to 1904, was a British peer & landowner who was the father of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother & the maternal grandfather of Queen Elizabeth II.

He was born in Lowndes Square, London, the son of Claude Bowes-Lyon, 13th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, & his wife, the former Frances Smith. After being educated at Eton College, he received a commission in the 2nd Life Guards in 1876 & served for six years until the year after his marriage. He was an active member of the Territorial Army & served as honorary colonel of the 4th/5th Battalion of the Black Watch.

Did You Know? His younger brother Patrick Bowes-Lyon was a tennis player who won the 1887 Wimbledon doubles.

He married Cecilia Cavendish-Bentinck on 16 July 1881 in Petersham, Surrey. The couple had ten children. The Earl would part his moustache in a theatrical but courteous gesture before kissing them

Upon succeeding his father to the Earldom on 16 February 1904, he inherited large estates in Scotland & England, including Glamis Castle, St Paul's Walden Bury, Gibside Hall & Streatlam Castle in County Durham & Woolmers Park, near Hertford. He was made Lord Lieutenant of Angus, an office he resigned when his daughter became queen. He had a keen interest in forestry & was one of the first to grow larch from seed in Britain. His estates had a large number of smallholders, & he had a reputation for being unusually kind to his tenants. He worked his own land & enjoyed physical labour on the grounds of his estates; visitors often mistook him for a common labourer.

In 1923 his youngest daughter, Elizabeth, married Prince Albert, Duke of York, the second son of King George V & Queen Mary. Lord Strathmore was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order to mark the marriage. Five years later he was made a Knight of the Thistle. In 1936, his son-in-law became king & assumed the name George VI. As the father of the new queen, he was created a Knight of the Garter & the 1st Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, a United Kingdom peerage in the Coronation Honours of 1937 (although he was the 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne which was a Scottish title). This enabled him to sit in the House of Lords as an earl (because members of the peerage of Scotland did not automatically sit in the House of Lords, he had previously sat only as a baron through the Barony of Bowes created for his father). At the coronation of his daughter & son-in-law, the Earl & Countess sat in the royal box with Queen Mary & their shared granddaughters, Princesses Elizabeth & Margaret.

Later in life the Earl became extremely deaf. Lord Strathmore died of bronchitis on 7 November 1944, aged 89, at Glamis Castle. (Lady Strathmore had died in 1938.) He was succeeded by his son Patrick Bowes-Lyon, Lord Glamis.

Did You Know? His son Captain The Hon. Fergus Bowes-Lyon (1889-1915) served in The British Army & was killed in the early stages of the Battle of Loos.


15 March

Lady Mary, later Queen Mary I of England

15 March 1551

The Lady Mary, daughter of Henry VIII, sister of king Edward VI & the future Queen Mary I, rode through London causing a stir.

Here is diarist Henry Machyn’s record of the event:

“The xv day the Lady Mary rode through London unto St John’s, her place, with fifty knights & gentlemen in velvet coats & chains of gold afore her, & after her iii score gentlemen & ladies every one havyng a peyre of bedes of black. She rode through Chepe-syde & thrugh Smythfeld.”

A note in the diary by historian John Strype notes that the carrying of beads was “to make an open profession, no doubt, of their devotion for the mass” & the carrying of rosaries during Edward’s Protestant reign was definitely a statement.


King Charles II of England

15 March 1672

Charles II of England issues the Royal Declaration of Indulgence

The Royal Declaration of Indulgence was Charles II of England's attempt to extend religious liberty to Protestant nonconformists & Roman Catholics in his realms, by suspending the execution of the Penal Laws that punished recusants from the Church of England. Charles issued the Declaration on 15 March 1672.

It was highly controversial & Sir Orlando Bridgeman, son of a bishop, resigned as Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, because he refused to apply the Great Seal to it, regarding it as too generous to Catholics. The Cavalier Parliament in 1673, compelled Charles to withdraw this declaration & implement, in its place, the first of the Test Acts (1673), which required anyone entering public service in England to deny the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation & take Anglican communion.

When Charles II's openly Catholic successor James II attempted to issue a similar Declaration of Indulgence, an order for general religious tolerance, this was one of the grievances that led to the Glorious Revolution that ousted him from the throne.


16 March

Anne Neville, Queen of England

16 March 1485

Anne Neville, Queen of England died

Anne Neville died on 16 March 1485, probably of tuberculosis, at Westminster. The day she died, there was an eclipse, which some took to be an omen of her husband's fall from heavenly grace. She was buried in Westminster Abbey, in an unmarked grave to the right of the High Altar, next to the door to the Confessor's Chapel. Richard III is said to have wept at her funeral.

Lady Anne Neville (born.11 June 1456) was an English queen, the daughter of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick (the "Kingmaker"). She became Princess of Wales as the wife of Edward of Westminster & then Queen of England as the wife of King Richard III.

As a member of the powerful House of Neville, she played a critical part in the Wars of the Roses fought between the House of York & House of Lancaster for the English crown. Her father Warwick betrothed her as a girl to Edward, Prince of Wales, the son of Henry VI. The marriage was to seal an alliance to the House of Lancaster & continue the civil war between the two houses of Lancaster & York.

After the death of Edward at the Battle of Tewkesbury 1471, the Dowager Princess of Wales married Richard, Duke of Gloucester, brother of Edward IV & of George, Duke of Clarence, the husband of Anne Neville's older sister Isabel.

Anne Neville became queen when Richard III ascended the throne in June 1483, following the declaration that Edward IV's children by Elizabeth Woodville were illegitimate. Anne Neville predeceased her husband by five months, dying in March 1485. Her only child was Edward of Middleham, who predeceased her. There was no memorial to Queen Anne until 1960, when a bronze tablet was erected on a wall near her grave by the Richard III Society.



17 March

Harold Harefoot, king of the English

17 March 1040

Harold Harefoot died

Harold I (died 17 March 1040), also known as Harold Harefoot, was King of England from 12 November 1035 – 17 March 1040.

Harold's nickname "Harefoot" is first recorded as "Harefoh" or "Harefah" in the twelfth century in the history of Ely Abbey, & according to some late medieval chroniclers it meant that he was "fleet of foot".

Harold was the son of Cnut the Great & Ælfgifu of Northampton, Harold was elected regent of England following the death of his father in 1035. He initially ruled England in place of his brother Harthacnut, who was stuck in Denmark due to a rebellion in Norway which had ousted their brother Svein. Although Harold had wanted to be crowned king since 1035, Æthelnoth, Archbishop of Canterbury, refused to do so. It was not until 1037 that Harold, supported by earl Leofric & many others, was officially proclaimed king. The same year, Harold's two step-brothers Edward & Alfred returned to England with a considerable military force. Alfred was captured by Earl Godwin, who had him seized & delivered to an escort of men loyal to Harefoot. While en route to Ely, he was blinded & soon after died of his wounds.

Harold died in 1040, having ruled just five years; his half-brother Harthacnut soon returned & took hold of the kingdom peacefully. Harold was originally buried in Westminster, but Harthacnut had his body dragged up & thrown into a fen, as well as then thrown into the river Thames, but it was after a short time picked up by a fisherman, immediately taken to the Danes, & honourably buried by them in their cemetery at London.

Harold may have had a wife, Ælfgifu, & a son, Ælfwine, who became a monk on the continent when he was older – his monastic name was Alboin. Ælfwine/Alboin is recorded in 1060 & 1062 in charters from the Abbey Church of Saint Foy in Conques, which mention him as son of "Heroldus rex fuit Anglorum" (Latin: Harold, who was king of the English People). Harold Harefoot is the most likely father as the only other king Harold was Harold Godwinson, who would not rise to the throne until 1066. Either way, an underage boy would be unable to claim the throne in 1040. His possible hereditary claims would not be enough to gain the support of the leading nobles against the adult Harthacnut.

Ælfgifu of Northampton disappears with no trace after 1040. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Harold Harefoot ruled for four years & sixteen weeks, by which calculation he would have begun ruling two weeks after the death of Cnut.


18 March

Edward the Martyr, king of the English

18 March 978

Edward the Martyr, king of the English was murdered at Corfe Castle in Dorset

Edward the Martyr (Old English: Eadweard; born. c. 962) was King of the English from 975 until he was murdered in 978. Edward was the eldest son of King Edgar but was not his father's acknowledged heir. On Edgar's death, the leadership of England was contested, with some supporting Edward's claim to be king & others supporting his much younger half-brother Æthelred the Unready, recognized as a legitimate son of Edgar. Edward was chosen as king & was crowned by his main clerical supporters, the archbishops Dunstan & Oswald of Worcester.

The great nobles of the kingdom, ealdormen Ælfhere & Æthelwine, quarrelled, & civil war almost broke out. In the so-called anti-monastic reaction, the nobles took advantage of Edward's weakness to dispossess the Benedictine reformed monasteries of lands & other properties that King Edgar had granted to them.

Edward's short reign was brought to an end by his murder at Corfe Castle in circumstances that are not altogether clear. His body was reburied with great ceremony at Shaftesbury Abbey early in 980. In 1001 Edward's remains were moved to a more prominent place in the abbey, probably with the blessing of his half-brother King Æthelred. Edward was already reckoned a saint by this time.

A number of lives of Edward were written in the centuries following his death in which he was portrayed as a martyr, generally seen as a victim of the Queen Dowager Ælfthryth, mother of Æthelred. He is today recognized as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church, & the Anglican Communion.

On Ælfthryth orders Edward's body was hidden in a poor cottage. There it was discovered by a blind woman who had her sight miraculously restored. According to one tale the king's body was then thrown into a nearby marsh. A supernatural light appeared over the marsh, & Edward's body was recovered, & buried at Wareham without ceremony.

The remains of Corfe Castle
The remains of Corfe Castle

English Castles: England’s most dramatic castles and strongholds - Pocket book


Mary Tudor, Queen of France

18 March 1495

Mary Tudor, Queen of France was born

Mary Tudor was the third daughter of Henry VII of England & Elizabeth of York. She was the younger sister of the future king, Henry VIII.

In 1507, Mary was betrothed to Charles of Castile (the future Charles V Holy Roman Emperor), & their wedding was planned for 1514. However, the betrothal was cancelled due to Henry VIII’s diplomatic dealings &, much to Mary’s horror, she was betrothed instead to the fifty-two year-old King Louis XII of France, a man thirty-four years her senior, as part of Cardinal Wolsey’s peace treaty with France.

Mary married King Louis XII of France in Abbeville on 9th October 1514 when she was just eighteen, but the marriage was short-lived, with the King dying just a few months later, on 1st January 1515.Charles Mary was kept isolated from men for six weeks at the Palais de Cluny to see if she was carrying the heir to the French throne

Mary had been in love with Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk & a great friend of Henry VIII. Charles, was sent to France to escort her home. Mary & Charles Brandon took a huge risk by secretly marrying in France on 3rd March 1515, without the King’s permission, something which could be classed as treason. Henry VIII was furious but the intervention of Thomas Wolsey, & his love for his favourite sister & his friendship with Brandon led to the couple receiving a heavy fine. The fine of £24,000, approximately equivalent to £7,200,000 today, was later reduced by the King.

Mary married Charles at Greenwich Palace, 13th May 1515. Although she was now the Duchess of Suffolk, Mary was still referred to as the “French Queen”.

Mary's second marriage produced four children; & through her eldest daughter Frances, Mary was the maternal grandmother of Lady Jane Grey, who was the de facto monarch of England for a little over a week in July 1553. Mary died at Westhorpe, Suffolk, on 25 June 1533, and was first interred "with much heraldic ceremony" at Bury St Edmunds Abbey.

Mary was renowned for her beauty, being described as “a Paradise - tall, slender, grey-eyed, possessing an extreme pallor” by the Venetian ambassador, & her motto was “La volenté de Dieu me suffit” (The will of God is sufficient for me).


19 March

Coronation of King Alexander III on Moot Hill, Scone.
Coronation of King Alexander III on Moot Hill, Scone.

19 March 1286

Alexander III, king of Scotland died

Alexander was King of Scots from 1249 until his death. He was the only son of Alexander II by his second wife Marie de Coucy. Alexander's father died on 6 July 1249 & he became king at the age of seven, inaugurated at Scone on 13 July 1249.

As king, Alexander concluded the Treaty of Perth, by which Scotland acquired sovereignty over the Western Isles & the Isle of Man. His heir, Margaret, Maid of Norway, died before she could be crowned.

Alexander had married Margaret, daughter of King Henry III of England & Eleanor of Provence, on 25 December 1251, when he was ten years old & she was eleven! She died in 1275, after they had had three children.

  • Margaret (28 February 1261 – 9 April 1283), who married King Eric II of Norway

  • Alexander, Prince of Scotland (21 January 1264 Jedburgh – 28 January 1284 Lindores Abbey);

  • David (20 March 1272 – June 1281 Stirling Castle)

Towards the end of Alexander's reign, the death of all three of his children within a few years made the question of the succession one of pressing importance. In 1284 he induced the Estates to recognize as his heir-presumptive his granddaughter Margaret, the "Maid of Norway". The need for a male heir led him to contract a second marriage to Yolande de Dreux on 1 November 1285.

Alexander died in a fall from his horse while riding in the dark to visit the queen at Kinghorn in Fife on 19 March 1286 because it was her birthday the next day. He had spent the evening at Edinburgh Castle celebrating his second marriage & overseeing a meeting with royal advisors. He was cautioned against making the journey to Fife because of weather conditions, but crossed the Forth from Dalmeny to Inverkeithing anyway.

After a brief stop at Inverkeithing, Alexander ignored the repeated warnings about travelling in a storm, & set off with his retinue & two local guides. The king became separated from his party near Kinghorn, & was found dead with a broken neck near the shore the following morning.

As Alexander left no surviving children, the heir to the throne was his unborn child by Queen Yolande. When Yolande's pregnancy ended, probably with a miscarriage, Alexander's seven-year-old granddaughter Margaret, Maid of Norway, became the heir. Margaret died, still uncrowned, on her way to Scotland in 1290.

Scottish Castles: Scotland’s most dramatic castles and strongholds


Princess Louisa of Great Britain

19 March 1749

Princess Louisa of Great Britain was born

Princess Louisa was born on 19 March 1749, at Leicester House, Westminster, London, & was christened there on 11 April. Her father was Frederick, Prince of Wales, eldest son of George II & Caroline of Ansbach. Her mother was The Princess of Wales (née Augusta of Saxe-Gotha).

Her health was delicate throughout her life. In 1764, negotiations were made between the British & Danish royal houses of a marriage between the Danish heir to the throne & a British princess.

The marriage was considered suitable in status & welcomed by both houses, as there were few Royal Protestant houses to choose between at that point for either party. The preferred choice for a bride was initially princess Louisa, but after the Danish representative in London, count von Bothmer, was informed of her weak constitution, her two year's younger sister Caroline Mathilda was chosen for the match instead. The marriage was announced in Great Britain 10 January 1765.

Princess Louisa died, at Carlton House, London, on 13 May 1768, at the age of 19.


20 March

Henry IV, King of England

20 March 1413

Henry IV died

The later years of Henry's reign were marked by serious health problems. He had a disfiguring skin disease &, more seriously, suffered acute attacks of some grave illness in June 1405; April 1406; June 1408; during the winter of 1408–09; December 1412; & finally a fatal bout in March 1413. In 1410, Henry had provided his royal surgeon Thomas Morstede with an annuity of £40 p.a. which was confirmed by Henry V immediately after his succession. This was so that Morstede would 'not be retained by anyone else'. Medical historians have long debated the nature of this affliction or afflictions. The skin disease might have been leprosy (which did not necessarily mean precisely the same thing in the 15th century as it does to modern medicine), perhaps psoriasis, or some other disease. The acute attacks have been given a wide range of explanations, from epilepsy to some form of cardiovascular disease. Some medieval writers felt that he was struck with leprosy as a punishment for his treatment of Richard le Scrope, Archbishop of York, who was executed in June 1405 on Henry's orders after a failed coup.

According to Holinshed, it was predicted that Henry would die in Jerusalem, & Shakespeare's play repeats this prophecy. Henry took this to mean that he would die on crusade. In reality, he died in the Jerusalem Chamber in the abbot's house of Westminster Abbey, on 20 March 1413 during a convocation of Parliament.

Henry IV, King of England - r. 30 September 1399 – 20 March 1413.

Coronation: 13 October 1399.

He was known as Henry Bolingbroke before ascending to the throne. He was the first English ruler since the Norman Conquest, over three hundred years prior, whose mother tongue was English rather than French.

Born: c. 15 April 1367, Bolingbroke Castle, Lincolnshire, England.

Parents: John of Gaunt & Blanche of Lancaster.

House of: Lancaster (Plantagenet)


(1.) Mary de Bohun in 1381. Mary de Bohun (c. 1369/70 – 4 June 1394) a daughter of Humphrey de Bohun, 7th Earl of Hereford (1341-1373) by his wife Joan FitzAlan (1347/8–1419).


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

  • Thomas of Lancaster, Duke of Clarence (1387–1421). Married Margaret Holland in 1411.

  • John of Lancaster, Duke of Bedford (1389–1435). Married (1.) Anne of Burgundy in 1423; she died in 1432). (2.) Jacquetta of Luxembourg in 1433. Jacquetta remarried after John died to Richard Woodville, 1st Earl Rivers, their daughter Elizabeth Woodville became Queen of England as the wife of Edward IV.

  • Humphrey of Lancaster, Duke of Gloucester (1390–1447). Married; (1.) Jacqueline of Hainaut in 1422, annulled in 1428). (2.) Eleanor Cobham in 1428–1431, annulled. c. 1441). Eleanor was a convicted sorceress, her imprisonment for treasonable necromancy in 1441 was a cause célèbre.

  • 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 & Sweden. Mary died giving birth to Philippa.

Married (2); Joan of Navarre in 1403). Joan was a daughter of King Charles II of Navarre & Joan of France. Their marriage was childless.

Died: 20 March 1413 (aged 45), Jerusalem Chamber, Westminster, England.

Burial: Canterbury Cathedral, Kent, England.

Successor: Henry V (son)


21 March

Medieval Helmet

21 March 867

Ælla, king of Northumbria was executed or died in battle.

Ælla (fl. 866; died 21 March 867) was King of Northumbria, a kingdom in medieval England, during the middle of the 9th century. Sources on Northumbrian history in this period are limited, & so Ælla's ancestry is not known & the dating of the beginning of his reign is questionable.

In addition to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Ælla is also mentioned in Scandinavian sources, such as the Norse sagas. According to the latter, Ælla captured the most legendary Swedish-Danish Viking leader in history Ragnar Lodbrok & put him to death in a pit of snakes. The historical invasion of Northumbria in 866 occurred in retaliation for Ragnar's execution, according to Ragnarssona þáttr (The Tale of Ragnar's Sons). While Norse sources claim that Ragnar's sons tortured Ælla to death by the method of the blood eagle, Anglo-Saxon accounts maintain that he died in battle at York on 21 March 867. Concerning the Norse claim, Roberta Frank reviewed the historical evidence for the ritual in her Viking Atrocity & Skaldic Verse: The Rite of the Blood-Eagle, where she writes: "By the beginning of the ninth century, the various saga motifs—eagle sketch, rib division, lung surgery, & 'saline stimulant'—were combined in inventive sequences designed for maximum horror." She concludes that the authors of the sagas misunderstood alliterative kennings that alluded to leaving one's foes face down on the battlefield, their backs torn as carrion by scavenging birds. If this is to be believed, then it is easy to surmise that the mention of his death via the blood eagle is in fact a description of his death on the battlefield, which would make both accounts of his death consistent.

Map of the British Isles claiming to be circa 802AD.
Map of the British Isles claiming to be circa 802AD.


22 March

Crossed sword/ Axe and shield

22 March 871

Aethelred of Wessex defeats a Danish army at the Battle of Mereton

The Battle of Meretun (or Merton) between the Saxon army of Wessex and the Danish Great Heathen Army took place on 22 March 871 at an unknown location in Wessex, probably in one of the modern counties of Dorset, Hampshire, or Wiltshire.

Æthelred as depicted in the early-fourteenth-century Genealogical Roll of the Kings of England
Æthelred as depicted in the early-fourteenth-century Genealogical Roll of the Kings of England

According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the battle took place "about two months" after a prior loss to the Danes at the Battle of Basing. It is known that it occurred in 871 before Easter, which fell on 15 April in that year, as Heahmund, the Bishop of Sherborne, died in the fighting, & his death is listed in the English calendar of saints as 22 March 871.

King Æthelred of Wessex & Prince Alfred fought against the Danes, who were possibly under the leadership of King Halfdan Ragnarsson, as he had commanded many of the earlier battles that year. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle states that the forces were split in two and that the Danes were initially put to flight, but at the end of the day and after "much slaughter" the Danes retained the field after a Saxon retreat.

Various names & spellings similar to Marton or Meretun have been used for the site of the engagement. The location is currently unknown, but there are two possibilities based on the location names used in the original text sources. One is in the vicinity of ancient Merdon Castle, which is in Hursley parish near Winchester, which was arguably the capital of Wessex at the time. The other is the village of Marten in Wiltshire, although there is a similarly named village called Marden, also in Wiltshire. Æthelred died around 23 April 871, about a week after Easter. He was buried at Wimborne Minster in Dorset.


23 March

Margaret of Anjou, Queen consort of Henry VI of England

23 March 1430

Margaret of Anjou was born

Margaret was born on 23 March 1430 at Pont-à-Mousson in the Duchy of Lorraine, an imperial fief east of France ruled by a cadet branch of the French kings, the House of Valois-Anjou.

Margaret of Anjou was the wife of King Henry VI of England (1421–1471). As such, she was Queen of England from 1445 to 1461 & again from 1470 to 1471. Born in the Duchy of Lorraine, into the House of Valois-Anjou, Margaret was the second eldest daughter of René I of Naples and Isabella, Duchess of Lorraine.

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

She was one of the principal figures in the series of dynastic civil wars known as the Wars of the Roses & at times personally led the Lancastrian faction.

Due to her husband's frequent bouts of insanity, Margaret ruled the kingdom in his place. It was she who called for a Great Council in May 1455 that excluded the Yorkist faction headed by Richard, Duke of York, & thus provided the spark that ignited a civil conflict that lasted for over thirty years, decimated the old nobility of England, & caused the deaths of thousands of men, including her only son Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales, at the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471.

Margaret was taken prisoner by the victorious Yorkists after the Lancastrian defeat at Tewkesbury. In 1475, she was ransomed by her cousin, King Louis XI of France. She went to live in France as a poor relation of the French king, & she died there at the age of 52 on 25 August 1482.


23 March 1990

Princess Eugenie was born

Princess Eugenie was born in London at the Portland Hospital on 23 March 1990, the second child of Prince Andrew, Duke of York, & Sarah, Duchess of York, & sixth grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

She is also a distant cousin of her late aunt Diana, Princess of Wales, whose father was John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer, since Eugenie's mother Sarah, Duchess of York is a direct descendant of Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, daughter of John Spencer, 1st Earl Spencer, (via Georgiana's illegitimate daughter Eliza Courtney).

On 30 March, the seventh day after her birth, it was announced that the Duke & Duchess of York had named the princess Eugenie Victoria Helena. She was named after Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg & after Princess Helena, Queen Victoria's granddaughter & daughter respectively.

She was baptised at St. Mary Magdalene Church, Sandringham, by the Bishop of Norwich, on 23 December 1990.


24 March

Queen Elizabeth I of England

24 March 1603

Elizabeth I of England died

Queen Elizabeth I, daughter of Anne Boleyn & Henry VIII, died at Richmond Palace at the age of sixty-nine. She was the third of Henry’s children to be monarch but reigned for far longer than her siblings, ruling for 44 years & 127 days.

Sir Robert Carey, Earl of Monmouth, & grandson of Mary Boleyn, recorded Elizabeth’s last days:

“After this he began to pray, & all that were by did answer him. After he had continued long in prayer, till the old man’s knees were weary, he blessed her, & meant to rise & leave her. The Queen made a sign with her hand. My sister Scroop knowing her meaning, told the bishop the Queen desired he would pray still. He did so for a long half hour more, with earnest cries to God for her soul’s health, which he uttered with that fervency of spirit, as the Queen, to all our sight, much rejoiced thereat, & gave testimony to us all of her Christian & comfortable end.

By this time it grew late, & every one departed, all but her women that attended her. This that I heard with my ears, & did see with my eyes, I thought it my duty to set down, & to affirm it for a truth, upon the faith of a Christian; because I know there have been many false lies reported of the end & death of that good lady.”

& diarist John Manningham recorded the moment of her death:- “This morning, about three o’clock her Majesty departed from this life, mildly like a lamb, easily like a ripe apple from a tree… Dr Parry told me he was present, & sent his prayers before her soul; & I doubt not but she is amongst the royal saints in heaven in eternal joys.”

Elizabeth I, Queen of England; r. 17 November 1558 – 24 March 1603.

Coronation: 15 January 1559.

House of: Tudor

Born: 7 September 1533, Palace of Placentia, Greenwich, England.

Parents: King Henry VIII & Anne Boleyn.

Elizabeth I's signature
Elizabeth I's signature

Elizabeth I was Queen of England & Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death on 24 March 1603. Sometimes called the Virgin Queen, Gloriana or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the last of the five monarchs of the House of Tudor.

Elizabeth's parents, Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Anne was executed within three years of Elizabeth's birth.
Elizabeth's parents, Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Anne was executed within three years of Elizabeth's birth.

Elizabeth was the daughter of Henry VIII & Anne Boleyn, his second wife, who was executed two-and-a-half years after Elizabeth's birth. Anne's marriage to Henry VIII was annulled, & Elizabeth was declared illegitimate. Her half-brother, Edward VI, ruled until his death in 1553, bequeathing the crown to Lady Jane Grey & ignoring the claims of his two half-sisters, the Roman Catholic Mary & the younger Elizabeth, in spite of statute law to the contrary. Edward's will was set aside & Mary became queen, deposing Lady Jane Grey. During Mary's reign, Elizabeth was imprisoned for nearly a year on suspicion of supporting Protestant rebels.

Elizabeth I in her coronation robes, patterned with Tudor roses and trimmed with ermine
Elizabeth I in her coronation robes, patterned with Tudor roses and trimmed with ermine

In 1558 upon Mary's death, Elizabeth succeeded her half-sister to the throne & set out to rule by good counsel. She depended heavily on a group of trusted advisers, led by William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley. One of her first actions as queen was the establishment of an English Protestant church, of which she became the supreme governor. This Elizabethan Religious Settlement was to evolve into the Church of England. It was expected that Elizabeth would marry and produce an heir; however, despite numerous courtships, she never did. She was eventually succeeded by her first cousin twice removed, James VI of Scotland. She had earlier been responsible for the imprisonment & execution of James's mother, Mary, Queen of Scots.

In government, Elizabeth was more moderate than her father & half-siblings had been. One of her mottoes was "video et taceo" ("I see but say nothing"). In religion, she was relatively tolerant & avoided systematic persecution. After the pope declared her illegitimate in 1570 & released her subjects from obedience to her, several conspiracies threatened her life, all of which were defeated with the help of her ministers' secret service. Elizabeth was cautious in foreign affairs, maneuvering between the major powers of France & Spain. She only half-heartedly supported a number of ineffective, poorly resourced military campaigns in the Netherlands, France, & Ireland. By the mid-1580s, England could no longer avoid war with Spain. England's victory against the Spanish Armada in 1588 associated Elizabeth with one of the greatest military victories in English history.

The Pelican Portrait by Nicholas Hilliard. The pelican was thought to nourish its young with its own blood and served to depict Elizabeth as the "mother of the Church of England".
The Pelican Portrait by Nicholas Hilliard. The pelican was thought to nourish its young with its own blood and served to depict Elizabeth as the "mother of the Church of England".

As she grew older, Elizabeth became celebrated for her virginity. A cult grew around her which was celebrated in the portraits, pageants, and literature of the day. Elizabeth's reign became known as the Elizabethan era. The period is famous for the flourishing of English drama, led by playwrights such as William Shakespeare & Christopher Marlowe, & for the seafaring prowess of English adventurers such as Francis Drake. Some historians depict Elizabeth as a short-tempered, sometimes indecisive ruler, who enjoyed more than her share of luck. Towards the end of her reign, a series of economic & military problems weakened her popularity. Elizabeth is acknowledged as a charismatic performer & a dogged survivor in an era when government was ramshackle & limited, & when monarchs in neighbouring countries faced internal problems that jeopardised their thrones. After the short reigns of her half-siblings, her 44 years on the throne provided welcome stability for the kingdom & helped forge a sense of national identity.

Portrait commemorating the defeat of the Spanish Armada, depicted in the background. Elizabeth's hand rests on the globe, symbolising her international power. One of three known versions of the "Armada Portrait".
Portrait commemorating the defeat of the Spanish Armada, depicted in the background. Elizabeth's hand rests on the globe, symbolising her international power. One of three known versions of the "Armada Portrait".

Died: 24 March 1603 (aged 69), Richmond Palace, Surrey, England.

Burial: 28 April 1603, Westminster. Abbey.

Silver sixpence struck 1593 identifying Elizabeth as "by the Grace of God Queen of England, France, and Ireland"
Silver sixpence struck 1593 identifying Elizabeth as "by the Grace of God Queen of England, France, and Ireland"

Successor: James VI of Scotland (first-cousin twice-removed), who became James I of England.


Queen Mary, wife of King George V

24 March 1953

Queen Mary died

Born Mary of Teck, 26 May 1867, she was Queen consort from 1910 until 1936 as the wife of King George V (married 1893). She was concurrently Empress of India.

Although technically a princess of Teck, in the Kingdom of Württemberg, she was born & raised in the UK. Her parents were Francis, Duke of Teck, who was of German extraction, & Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, who was a granddaughter of King George III. She was informally known as "May", after the month of her birth.

At the age of 24, she was betrothed to her second cousin once removed Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale, the eldest son of the Prince of Wales, but six weeks after the announcement of the engagement, he died unexpectedly during an influenza pandemic. The following year, she became engaged to Albert Victor's only surviving brother, George, who subsequently became king. Before her husband's accession, she was successively Duchess of York, Duchess of Cornwall, & Princess of Wales.

As queen consort from 1910, she supported her husband through the First World War, his ill health, & major political changes arising from the aftermath of the war. After George's death in 1936, she became queen mother when her eldest son, Edward VIII, ascended the throne; but to her dismay, he abdicated later the same year in order to marry twice-divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson. She supported her second son, George VI, until his death in 1952. She died the following year, during the reign of her granddaughter Elizabeth II, who had not yet been crowned. Among much else, an ocean liner, a battlecruiser, & a university were named in her honour.

Mary died on 24 March 1953 in her sleep at the age of 85, ten weeks before her granddaughter's coronation. She had let it be known that should she die, the Coronation should not be postponed. Her remains lay in state at Westminster Hall, where large numbers of mourners filed past her coffin. She is buried beside her husband in the nave of St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.

Related blog; Queen Mary


25 March

Portrait of Anne, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange (1709-1759) by Jacopo Amigoni
Portrait of Anne, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange (1709-1759) by Jacopo Amigoni

25 March 1734

Anne, Princess Royal married William IV, Prince of Orange in the Chapel Royal at St. James's Palace

Anne (1709 – 1759), the second child & eldest daughter of King George II of Great Britain & his consort Caroline of Ansbach, Anne ceased to use her British title (Princess Royal) in favour of the new one she gained by marriage (Princess of Orange). In the Netherlands she was styled Anna van Hannover.

William IV, Prince of Orange (1711–1751)
William IV, Prince of Orange (1711–1751)

The music played at her wedding, This is the day was set by Handel to the princess's own words based on Psalms 45 & 118. Handel also composed an operatic entertainment, Parnasso in Festa, in honour of her wedding which was performed for the first time at the King's Theatre, London, on 13 March 1734, with great success.

They had three children;

  • Princess Carolina (1743-1787)

  • Princess Anna (November 1746 - December 1746)

  • William V, Prince of Orange (1748-1806)


26 March

Richard I of England

26 March 1199

King Richard I is wounded by a crossbow bolt while fighting France.

In the early evening of 25 March 1199, Richard was walking around the castle (Châlus-Chabrol) perimeter without his chainmail, investigating the progress of sappers on the castle walls. Missiles were occasionally shot from the castle walls, but these were given little attention.

One defender in particular amused the king greatly a man standing on the walls, crossbow in one hand, the other clutching a frying pan he had been using all day as a shield to beat off missiles. He deliberately aimed at the king, which the king applauded; however, another crossbowman then struck the king in the left shoulder near the neck. He tried to pull this out in the privacy of his tent but failed; a surgeon, called a "butcher" by Howden, removed it, "carelessly mangling" the King's arm in the process.

Château de Châlus-Chabrol in 1460