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This Week in Royal History

Updated: Jan 11, 2022

22 June 1606

Sophia of England was born

Sophia of England, also known as Sophia Stuart was the fourth daughter & seventh and final child of King James VI & I by his wife Anne of Denmark. She was born at Greenwich Palace on 22 June 1606 & died there the next day. Sophia was buried in King Henry's Chapel, Westminster Abbey, in a monument designed by Maximilian Colt & painted by John de Critz that resembles a stone cradle. Her mother Anne of Denmark kept to her chamber at Greenwich for a month until her brother Christian IV of Denmark arrived on 17 July 1606. She remained at Greenwich & did not go the Entertainment at Theobalds House on 24 July 1606.

22 June 1911

George V coronation

 Coronation portrait of George V by Luke Fildes
Coronation portrait of George V by Luke Fildes

The coronation of George V & his wife Mary as king & queen of the United Kingdom & the British Empire took place at Westminster Abbey, London, on 22 June 1911. This was the second of four coronations held during the 20th century & the last to be attended by royal representatives of the great continental European empires.

Coronation portrait of Queen Mary of Teck by luke fildes
Coronation portrait of Queen Mary by Luke Fildes

More than 50 grandstands were erected along the route of the processions, seating 250 to 3,500 spectators each. The construction of these required 2,100 Imperial tons (2,134 tonnes) of timber & 70 tons (71 tonnes) of bolts, nails & screws. The Festival of Empire opened on 12 May 1911 at the Crystal Palace in London, an exhibition of British & Imperial trade & culture to celebrate the upcoming coronation.

The order of service was prepared by Claude Jenkins, the Lambeth Palace librarian, supervised by Armitage Robinson, the Dean of Westminster, who insisted that innovation be balanced by tradition. Randall Davidson, who as the Bishop of Winchester, had worked on the 1902 coronation service, was now Archbishop of Canterbury. Davidson sought the help of Frank Edward Brightman, a liturgist from Magdalen College, Oxford. The main changes were to the words spoken at the actual crowning, which replaced those first used at the Coronation of James II with a translation of the simpler medieval form. & the coronation sermon, which had been omitted in 1902, was reintroduced for the last time, but in a shorter form. The service was conducted by Davidson, including the crowning of the queen.

The Director of Music, as in 1902, was Sir Frederick Bridge. As at the previous event, Bridge aimed to produce a celebration of four hundred years of English music, including work by George Frederick Handel. Bridge wrote a new anthem, Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous. The organist was Walter Alcock, who also wrote a new setting for the Sanctus. Sir Hubert Parry wrote an orchestral introduction for his setting of Psalm 122, I Was Glad. New orchestral music included a Coronation March by Edward Elgar.

The first of three processions left Buckingham Palace at 9:30 am. It consisted of representatives of foreign royal families & governments, carried in fourteen carriages. The second procession had five state landaus for members of the British royal family; the fifth contained the king & queen's children, the Prince of Wales, Princess Mary & the young Princes Albert, Henry & George. The third procession brought the officers of state in a further four carriages & the twenty-fifth & final carriage, the Gold State Coach carrying the king & queen. They were surrounded by equerries, aides-de-camp & the commanders of the armed forces mounted on horseback, all escorted by Yeomen of the Guard, colonial & Indian cavalry & the Royal Horse Guards.

image above; Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2020

After the coronation service, the three processions returned to the palace in reverse order & by an extended route, passing through Pall Mall, St James's Street, Piccadilly & Constitution Hill. Some 45,000 soldiers & sailors from across the empire either participated in the procession or lined the route.

After the end of the procession, there was an unexpected innovation, the appearance of the king & queen on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. This created much excitement. Soldiers outside the palace broke ranks & joined in the cheering. According to one account, "some of them put their helmets on their rifles & waved them vigorously aloft".

The royal progress in the City of London on 23 June.
The royal progress in the City of London on 23 June.

George reigned until his death in 1936.


Other royal news on 22 June;

1948 – King George VI formally gives up the title "Emperor of India", six months after Britain actually gave up its rule of India.


23 June 1456

Margaret of Denmark, Queen of Scotland was born (d. 1486)

Margaret of Denmark, was Queen of Scotland from 1469 to 1486 as the wife of King James III. She was the daughter of Christian I, King of Denmark, Norway & Sweden, & Dorothea of Brandenburg.

In July 1469, at the age of 13 Margaret married James III at Holyrood Abbey, Scotland. The queen was interested in clothes & jewelry, & known for always being dressed in the latest fashions of the time. She became a popular queen in Scotland & contemporaries described as beautiful, gentle, & sensible. The relationship between Margaret & James III wasn't a successful one. During the crisis of 1482, when James III was deprived of power by his brother for several months, Margaret was said to have shown more interest in the welfare of her children than her spouse, which led to a permanent estrangement. After the crisis of 1482, the couple lived apart: James III lived in Edinburgh, while queen Margaret preferred to live in Stirling with her children.

She died at Stirling Castle on 14 July 1486 after falling ill, & was buried in Cambuskenneth Abbey. Her husband, James III, was interred with her after his death in 1488. The abbey is mostly ruins, apart from its bell-tower, which is still standing today. The grave was enclosed & restored in 1865 at the expense of Margaret's descendant, Queen Victoria.

23 June 1894

Edward VIII was born

Edward was born on 23 June 1894 at White Lodge, Richmond Park, on the outskirts of London. His parents were the Duke & Duchess of York (later King George V & Queen Mary). His father was the son of the Prince & Princess of Wales (later King Edward VII & Queen Alexandra). His mother was the eldest daughter of Francis, Duke of Teck, & Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge. He was third in the line of succession to the throne, at the time of his birth,  behind his grandfather & father.

He was baptised 'Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David' in the Green Drawing Room of White Lodge on 16 July 1894 by Edward White Benson, Archbishop of Canterbury. His names were chosen in honour of Edward's late uncle, who was known to his family as "Eddy" or Edward, & his great-grandfather King Christian IX of Denmark. The name Albert was included at Queen Victoria's request, for her late husband Albert, Prince Consort, & the last four names – George, Andrew, Patrick & David – came from the patron saints of England, Scotland, Ireland & Wales. He was always known to his family & close friends by his last given name, David.

Edward VIII in 1920
Edward in 1920

He was later King of the United Kingdom & the Dominions of the British Empire, & Emperor of India, from 20 January 1936 until his abdication on 11 December of that year. As a young man, Edward served in the British Army during the First World War & undertook several overseas tours on behalf of his father. Edward became king on his father's death. As king, he showed little interest in court protocol, & caused alarm among politicians by his disregard for established constitutional conventions. Several months into his reign, Edward caused a constitutional crisis by proposing to Wallis Simpson, an American who had divorced her first husband & was seeking a divorce from her second. The prime ministers of the United Kingdom & the Dominions deeply opposed the marriage, arguing a divorced woman with two living ex-husbands was politically & socially unacceptable as a prospective queen consort. Added to that, such a marriage would've conflicted with Edward's status as the titular head of the Church of England, which at the time disapproved of remarriage after divorce if a former spouse was still alive. He was intent on marrying Wallis & knew he couldn't remain on the throne if he did, so he abdicated. He was succeeded by his younger brother, George VI. His brief reign was one of the shortest in British history, just 326 days.

After his abdication, Edward was created Duke of Windsor. He married Wallis in France on 3 June 1937, after her second divorce became final , & lived out the rest of his life in exile, mostly in France.


Other royal news on 23 June;

47 BC – Caesarion, Egyptian king was born (d. 30 BC)

1222 – Constance of Aragon, Hungarian queen died (b. 1179)

1356 – Margaret II, Holy Roman Empress died (b. 1311)

1532 – Henry VIII of England and Francis I of France sign the "Treaty of Closer Amity With France" (also known as the Pommeraye treaty), pledging mutual aid against Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.

1794 – Empress Catherine II of Russia grants Jews permission to settle in Kiev.

24/25 June 1291

Eleanor of Provence died.

Eleanor of Provence, Queen of England

Eleanor became Queen consort of England as the wife of King Henry III from 1236 until his death in 1272. She was the mother of Edward I.

Eleanor was born in Aix-en-Provence in southern France, she was the second daughter of Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Provence (1198–1245) & Beatrice of Savoy (1198–1267). She was well educated as a child, & developed a strong love of reading.

Amazing Fact! Her three sisters also married kings.

  • Margaret of Provence (1221 – 1295) became Queen of France, by marriage to King Louis IX.

  • Sanchia of Provence ((c. 1225 – 1261), became Queen of Germany when her husband  Richard of Cornwall became king.

  • Beatrice of Provence (c. 1229 –  1267), became Queen of Sicily as the wife of Charles I of Anjou, King of Sicily.

Like her mother, grandmother, & sisters, Eleanor was renowned for her beauty. She was a dark-haired brunette with fine eyes. Piers Langtoft speaks of her as "The erle's daughter, the fairest may of life". Eleanor married King Henry III of England on 14 January 1236. The first time she set eyes on her husband to be, was at the wedding ceremony, held at Canterbury Cathedral. She is reported as dressed in a shimmering golden dress that fitted tightly at the waist & flared out to wide pleats at her feet. Her sleeves were long & lined with ermine. The newlyweds rode into London the same day & were greeted by a procession of citizens. Eleanor was crowned queen consort of England in a ceremony at Westminster Abbey.

Eleanor of Provence (l) and Henry (r) returning to England from Poitou in 1243, by Matthew Paris
Eleanor (l) & Henry (r) returning to England from Poitou in 1243, by Matthew Paris

Eleanor was a loyal & faithful consort to Henry, but she brought a large number of uncles & cousins, "the Savoyards", & her influence with the King & her unpopularity with the English barons created friction during Henry's reign. Her uncle William of Savoy became a close advisor of her husband. Eleanor was named regent of England when her husband left for Gascony in 1253. Eleanor was devoted to her husband's cause.

She was sailing down the Thames in July 1263 when her barge was attacked by citizens of London. In revenge for their dislike Eleanor had demanded from the city all the back payments due on the monetary tribute known as queen-gold (where she received a tenth of all fines which came to the Crown). In fear for her life as she was pelted with stones, loose pieces of paving, dried mud, rotten eggs & vegetables, Eleanor was rescued by Thomas Fitzthomas, the Mayor of London, & took refuge at the bishop of London's home.

When king Henry III died in 1272, her son Edward, who was 33 years old, became king of England. She stayed in England as the queen dowager, & raised several of her grandchildren, Edward's son Henry & daughter Eleanor, & Beatrice's son John. She later moved to a convent; but she remained in contact with her son, King Edward, & her sister, Queen Margaret of France.

king henry III during his coronation
Henry III

Eleanor died on 24/25 June 1291 in Amesbury. She was buried in Amesbury Abbey. The exact site of her grave at the abbey is sadly unknown making her the only English queen without a marked grave. Her heart was taken to London & buried at the Franciscan priory of Greyfriars.

Eleanor was renowned for her learning, cleverness, & skill at writing poetry, as well as her beauty. She was known as a leader of fashion, importing clothes from France. She often wore parti-coloured cottes (a type of tunic), gold or silver girdles into which a dagger was casually thrust, she liked to wear red silk damask, & decorations of gilt quatrefoil, & to cover her dark hair she wore jaunty pillbox caps. Eleanor introduced a new type of wimple to England, which was high, "into which the head receded until the face seemed like a flower in an enveloping spathe". She developed a love for the songs of the troubadors as a child. She bought many romantic & historical books, of stories from ancient times to contemporary romances written in the period (13th century).


Eleanor Henry III had nine children together, sadly most died in childhood. Eleanor was especially devoted to her eldest son, Edward. When he was seriously ill in 1246, she stayed with him at the abbey at Beaulieu in Hampshire for three weeks.  Her second youngest child, Katherine, may have had a degenerative disease that rendered her deaf. When she died at the age of three, both King & Queen suffered overwhelming grief.

  • Edward I (1239–1307), married Eleanor of Castile (1241–1290)

  • Margaret (1240–1275), married King Alexander III of Scotland

  • Beatrice (1242–1275), married John II, Duke of Brittany

  • Edmund Crouchback, 1st Earl of Lancaster (1245–1296), married Aveline de Forz in 1269, who died four years later, he then married Blanche of Artois in 1276

  • Richard (1247–1256)

  • John (1250–1256)

  • William (1251–1256)

  • Katherine (1253 - 1257)

  • Henry (1256–1257)

Eleanor of Provence is the 21st great grandmother of Queen Elizabeth II


Other royal news on 24 June;

637 – The Battle of Moira is fought between the High King of Ireland & the Kings of Ulster & Dál Riata. It is claimed to be the largest battle in the history of Ireland.

1314 - Philippa of Hainault, Queen of England as the wife of king Edward III was born.

1314 – First War of Scottish Independence: The Battle of Bannockburn concludes with a decisive victory by Scottish forces led by Robert the Bruce.

1340 – Hundred Years' War: Battle of Sluys: The French fleet is almost completely destroyed by the English fleet commanded in person by King Edward III.

1343 – Joan of Valois, Queen of Navarre was born (d. 1373).

1398 – Hongwu, Chinese emperor died (b. 1328).

1465 – Isabella del Balzo, Queen Consort of Naples was born (d. 1533).

1485 – Elizabeth of Denmark, Electress of Brandenburg was born (d. 1555).


24 June 1509

Henry VIII & Katharine of Aragon were crowned King & Queen of England.

16th century woodcut of the coronation of Henry VIII of England and Catherine of Aragon showing their heraldic badges, the Tudor Rose and the Pomegranate of Granada

image above: 16th century woodcut of the coronation of Henry VIII & Katharine of Aragon showing their heraldic badges, the Tudor Rose & the Pomegranate of Granada.

The 17 year-old Henry became king on 21 April 1509, & one of his first actions as king, was to marry his brother's widow Katharine of Aragon. The royal wedding was kept low-key & was held at the friar's church, Greenwich on 11 June 1509.

On 23 June 1509, Henry led the 23-year-old Katharine from the Tower of London to Westminster for their coronation, which took place the following day. On the morning of the 24th June 1509, they made their way to the Palace of Westminster & walked from there to the Abbey in procession.

18th-century copy of a lost original portrait of Katharine of Aragon
18th-century copy of a lost original portrait

The ceremony was performed by William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury. It was a lavish affair: the king's passage was lined with tapestries & laid with fine cloth. Henry wore a robe of crimson velvet furred with ermine & even his horse wore trappings of golden damask edged with ermine. Katharine was dressed in white, as a royal bride, with her hair hanging down her back almost to her heels – a symbol of virginity. She wore a coronet set with rich jewels. She was seated in a litter of white cloth of gold, borne by two white horses, & following her came attendant noble ladies carried two by two in open carriages called ‘whirlicotes’ – a newly-fashionable chariot-like vehicle. Then, came nine children dressed in blue velvet, representing Henry’s territorial possessions: England, Cornwall, Wales, Ireland, Gascony, Guyenne, Normandy, Anjou, & France. As usual, the streets of London were lavishly decorated for the occasion, & as Henry & Katharine passed along Cornhill, maidens dressed in white lined the route carrying artificial palms of white wax, while priests dressed in their richest robes blessed the royal couple, swinging silver censers.

Henry & Katharine enthroned;

- 'The morrow following being Sunday, and also Midsummer's day (1509), this noble prince with his queen, at time convenient, under their canopies borne by the barons of the five ports (the Cinque Ports) went from the said palace, to Westminster Abbey upon cloth.... the which cloth was cut and spoiled (taken), by the rude and common people, immediately after their repair into the abbey, where according to the sacred observance, and ancient custom his grace with the queen were anointed and crowned by the Archbishop of Canterbury, with other prelates of the realm there present, and the nobility, with a great multitude of commons of the same. It was demanded of the people whether they would receive, obey, and take the same most noble prince for their king, who with great reverence, love and desire, said and cried, 'yea, yea'. After the which solemnity, and coronation finished, the lords spiritual and temporal did to him homage, and returned to Westminster Hall..... What should I speak or write, of the sumptuous fine and delicate meats, prepared for this high and honourable coronation, provided for as well in the parties beyond the sea, as in many and sundry places, within this realm, where God so abundantly hath sent such plenty...... ?

- (Henry VIII (Hall's Chronicle), edited by Charles Whibley, Vol 1, PP. 7-8

The banquet in Westminster Hall was 'greater than any Caesar had known' wrote Edward Hall, a contemporary historian. Henry & Katharine sat at an elevated stage in Westminster Hall. ‘The trumpets blew up’ as the first course, ‘sumptuous with many subtleties, strange devices, with several posies & many dainty dishes,’ was ushered in by the Duke of Buckingham & the Lord Steward, both on horseback. At the second course the king’s champion cried out the traditional challenge in three different places in the hall: ‘If there be any person of what estate or degree so ever he be, that will say or prove that Henry the Eighth is not the rightful inheritor & king of this realm, I, Sir Robert Dymock here, his champion, offer my glove to fight in his quarrel with any person to the utterance’ [à l’outrance].


Other royal news on 24 June;

1532 – Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, English politician & close friend of Queen Elizabeth I was born (d. 1588).

1535 – Joanna of Austria, Princess of Portugal was born (d. 1573).

1869 – Prince George of Greece and Denmark was born (d. 1957)

25 June 1533

Mary Tudor, Queen of France died.

Mary Tudor was an English princess who was briefly Queen consort of France. She was the younger surviving daughter of King Henry VII of England & Elizabeth of York. As a child Mary learned French, Latin, music, dancing, & embroidery.

Did You Know?  Her brother Henry later  named his first surviving child, the future Queen Mary I, in her honour.

In October 1514, aged 18, Mary married 52-year-old King Louis XII of France at Abbeville. She took four English maids of honour with her, one of whom was Anne Boleyn!. Louis was on his third marriage, & had no living sons, & was eager to produce one. He died on 1 January 1515, less than three months after marrying Mary, apparently worn out by his exertions in the bedchamber, but more likely from the effects of gout. Their union produced no children. Following Louis's death, the new king Francis I made attempts to arrange a second marriage for the beautiful widow.

A sketch of Mary Tudor during her brief period as queen of France
Sketch of Mary as queen of France

Mary was deeply unhappy with her 'marriage of state', & was likely to already be in love with Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk. King Henry VIII was aware of Mary's feelings; letters from her in 1515 indicate that she'd agreed to wed Louis only on condition that "if she survived him, she should marry whom she liked." But Henry wanted any future marriage to be to his advantage. In January 1515, King Henry VIII sent Charles to bring Mary back to England, & he made the Duke promise that he would not propose to her. On arrival in France, Mary persuaded Charles to forget the pledge and go ahead with the marriage. The couple married in a secret ceremony at the Hotel de Clugny in Paris on 3 March 1515 in the presence of just 10 people, among them King Francis I.

Technically, this was treason as Charles Brandon had married a royal princess without King Henry's consent. Henry was outraged, & the privy council urged that Charles be imprisoned or executed. But because of the intervention of Thomas Wolsey, & Henry's affection for both his sister & Charles, the couple were given a heavy fine of £24,000 to be paid to the King in yearly instalments of £1000, as well as the whole of Mary's dowry from King Louis XII of £200,000, together with the gold plate & jewels King Louis had given or promised her. The £24,000 is the equivalent to £7,200,000 today. It was later reduced by the King. The newlyweds 'officially' married on 13 May 1515 at Greenwich Palace in the presence of King Henry VIII & his courtiers.

Mary Tudor and Charles Brandon
Mary Tudor & Charles Brandon

Mary was Charles Brandon's third wife, & he had two daughters, Anne & Mary, by his second marriage to Anne Browne, who had died in 1511. Mary raised the girls with her own children. Even after her second marriage, Mary was normally referred to at the English court as the Queen of France, & was not known as the Duchess of Suffolk in her lifetime. Mary spent most of her time at Westhorpe Hall in Suffolk.

Mary died, age 37, at Westhorpe Hall, Suffolk, on 25 June 1533, having never fully recovered from the sweating sickness she caught in 1528. The cause of death has been reported to have been angina, tuberculosis, appendicitis, or cancer.

As an English princess, daughter of a king, sister to the current king, & a dowager queen of France, Mary Tudor's funeral & interment was conducted with much heraldic ceremony. A requiem mass was held at Westminster Abbey. Her body was embalmed & held in state for three weeks at Westhorpe Hall. A delegation from France joined the English delegation for the lavish funeral ceremony on 20 July 1533. Her daughter Frances was chief mourner, accompanied by her husband & siblings. As was tradition, Mary's husband & her brother the king did not attend. The funeral procession included 100 torch bearers, clergy carrying the cross, the hearse being pulled by six horses, other nobility & 100 of the duke's yeomen. The next day, followed a requiem mass & burial at Bury St. Edmunds Abbey.

In 1538, when the monastery was dissolved, Mary's body was removed to nearby St. Mary's Church, Bury St. Edmunds. In 1784, her remains were disinterred, her coffin opened, & locks of her hair were taken by Horace Walpole, Dorothy Bentinck, Duchess of Portland, & several others.

Mary was described as being "handsome & well favoured, were not her eyes & eyebrows too light; she is slight, rather than defective from corpulence, & conducts herself with so much grace, & has such good manners, that for her age of 18 years & she does not look more, she is a paradise." She regularly took part in masques at her brother's court, & enjoyed "hearing singing, instrumental music, & dancing".

Mary & Charles had four children, two daughters & two sons:

  • Henry Brandon (1516 – 1522)

  • Lady Frances Brandon (1517 – 1559), who married Henry Grey, 3rd Marquess of Dorset, & was the mother of Lady Jane Grey.

  • Lady Eleanor Brandon (1519 – 1547), who married Henry Clifford, 2nd Earl of Cumberland.

  • Henry Brandon, 1st Earl of Lincoln (c. 1523 – 1534).


Other royal news on 25 June

635 – Gao Zu, Chinese emperor died (b. 566).

1014 – Æthelstan Ætheling, son of Æthelred the Unready died.

1242 – Beatrice of England was born (d. 1275). She was the daughter of Henry III of England & Eleanor of Provence.

1337 – Frederick III, king of Sicily died (b. 1272).

1371 – Joanna II of Naples was born (d. 1435).

1483 – Richard Grey, half brother of Edward V of England died (b. 1458).

1568 – Gunilla Bielke, Queen of Sweden was born (d. 1597).

1741 – Maria Theresa is crowned Queen of Hungary.

1755 – Natalia Alexeievna of Russia was born (d. 1776).

1900 – Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, English admiral & politician, 44th Governor-General of India was born (d. 1979)

26 June 1483

Richard III becomes king of England.

King Richard III, the last Plantagenet king of England, Late 16th-century portrait
King Richard III , Late 16th-century portrait

'Lord Protector'

Following the death of King Edward IV on 9 April 1483, his 12 year old son, Edward V succeeded him as king, Edward's brother Richard, was made Lord Protector of England.  Richard began his role & left Yorkshire for London. On 29 April, as previously agreed, Richard & his cousin, the Duke of Buckingham, met Queen Elizabeth's (Elizabeth Woodville) brother, Anthony Woodville, 2nd Earl Rivers, at Northampton. At the queen's request, Earl Rivers was escorting the young king to London with an armed escort of 2000 men, while Richard & Buckingham's joint escort was 600 men. Richard had Earl Rivers, his nephew Richard Grey & his associate, Thomas Vaughan, arrested & later executed at Pontefract Castle in June, on the charge of treason against Richard. Richard & Buckingham travelled to Stony Stratford, where Richard informed the young king of a plot aimed at denying him his role as protector & whose perpetrators had been 'dealt' with. Richard escorted the king to London, where they entered the city on 4 May. Richard first accommodated Edward in the Bishop's apartments; then, on Buckingham's suggestion, the king was moved to the royal apartments of the Tower of London, where kings awaited their coronation.

Robert Fabyan, in his ‘The new chronicles of England & of France’, writes that "the Duke caused the King" (Edward V) "to be removed unto the Tower & his broder with hym, & the Duke lodged himselfe in Crosbyes Place in Bisshoppesgate Strete." In Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotland, & Ireland, he states that "little by little all folke withdrew from the Tower, & drew unto Crosbies in Bishops gates Street, where the Protector kept his houshold. The Protector had the resort; the King in maner desolate." After hearing the news of her brother's arrest, the dowager queen fled to sanctuary in Westminster Abbey, along with her were her son by her first marriage, Thomas Grey, 1st Marquess of Dorset; her five daughters; & her youngest son, Richard, Duke of York. Richard wrote to Ralph, Lord Neville, the City of York & others asking for their support against "the Queen, her blood adherents & affinity". On 16 June, the dowager queen agreed to hand over the Richard, Duke of York to the Archbishop of Canterbury so that he might attend his brother Edward's coronation, still planned for 22 June.

Richard was informed by a clergyman that Edward IV's marriage to Elizabeth Woodville was invalid because of Edward's earlier union with Eleanor Butler, making Edward V & his siblings illegitimate. On 22 June, outside Old St. Paul's Cathedral, it was announced that Edward IV's children were bastards & Richard the rightful king. Following the announcement, the people of London, both nobles & commons, got together & drew up a petition asking Richard to take the throne. Richard accepted on 26 June & on 6 July was crowned at Westminster Abbey. His title to the throne was confirmed by Parliament in January 1484 by the document Titulus Regius.

The princes, who were still in the royal residence of the Tower of London at the time of Richard's coronation, disappeared from sight, never to be seen again after the summer of 1483. After his death Richard III was accused of having Edward & his brother killed, notably by Thomas More & in William Shakespeare's play, the facts surrounding their disappearance remain unknown. Other culprits have been named, including Buckingham & even Henry VII, although Richard remains a suspect.

After the coronation ceremony, Richard & his queen Anne Neville set out on a royal progress to meet their subjects. During this journey, the king & queen endowed King's College & Queens' College at Cambridge University, & also made grants to the church.

As King of England, Richard was styled Dei Gratia Rex Angliae et Franciae et Dominus Hiberniae (by the Grace of God, King of England & France & Lord of Ireland).

In October 1483, there was an unsuccessful revolt led by allies of Edward IV & Richard's former ally, Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham. Then in August 1485, Henry Tudor & his uncle, Jasper Tudor, landed in southern Wales with a contingent of French troops & marched through Pembrokeshire, recruiting soldiers. Henry's forces defeated Richard's army near the Leicestershire town of Market Bosworth. Richard was killed, making him the last English king to die in battle. Henry Tudor then ascended the throne as Henry VII.

The Plantagenets had held the English throne from 1154, with the accession of king Henry II, until 1485, when Richard III died in battle. The Tudors would reign from August  1485 until the death of Queen Elizabeth I in 1603.


Other royal news on 26 June;

116 BC – Ptolemy VIII, king of Egypt died.

985 – Ramiro III, king of León died.

1295 – Przemysł II crowned king of Poland, following Ducal period. The white eagle is added to the Polish coat of arms.

1460 – Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, & Edward, Earl of March, land in England with a rebel army and march on London.

1575 – Anne Catherine of Brandenburg was born (d. 1612).

1681 – Hedvig Sophia of Sweden was born (d. 1708).

1718 – Alexei Petrovich, Tsarevich of Russia, Peter the Great's son, mysteriously dies after being sentenced to death by his father for plotting against him.

1726 – Victor Amadeus III of Sardinia was born (d. 1796).

1830 - George IV, king of Great Britain died.

1830 - William IV accession as king of Great Britain.

1899 – Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna of Russia was born (d. 1918).

1914 – Princess Sophie of Greece and Denmark, was born (d. 2001). Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh is her younger brother.

27 June 1743

In the Battle of Dettingen, George II becomes the last reigning British monarch to lead his troops into battle.

king George II at the Battle of Dettingen, 1743

The Battle of Dettingen took place during the War of the Austrian Succession at Dettingen in the Electorate of Mainz, Holy Roman Empire (now Karlstein am Main in Bavaria). It was fought between an Army, composed of British, Hanoverian & Austrian troops, & a French army commanded by Adrien de Noailles, 3rd Duke of Noailles.

While the Earl of Stair had operational control, the Allied army was nominally commanded by George II, accompanied by his son Prince William, Duke of Cumberland. The allies had 35,000–37,000 troops, with 98 guns, the French came to battle with 45,000 troops & 56 guns. The Allied cavalry performed woefully, failing to locate 23,000 men across their line of retreat, less than 13 km (8 mi) away. The infantry's training & discipline saved the army from destruction; in recognition, one of the training companies at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst is named 'Dettingen.' In honour of the battle, & his patron king George II, Handel composed the Dettingen Te Deum & Dettingen Anthem.

Despite the battle being an Allied victory, the result had little effect on the wider war. 

Other royal news on 27 June

1194 – King Sancho VI of Navarre died (b. 1132).

1350 – Manuel II Palaiologos, Byzantine emperor was born (d. 1425).

1458 – Alfonso V, king of Aragon died (b.1462)

1462 – Louis XII, king of France was born (d. 1515).

1550 – Charles IX, king of France was born (d. 1574).

1556 – The thirteen Stratford Martyrs are burned at the stake near London for their Protestant beliefs.


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28 June 1491

Henry VIII was born.

Henry VIII aged eighteen in 1509, shortly after his coronation
Henry aged eighteen in 1509, shortly after his coronation

Henry VIII was King of England from 1509 until his death in 1547.

Young Henry;

He was born on 28 June 1491 at the Palace of Placentia in Greenwich, Kent. Henry Tudor was the third child & second son of king Henry VII & Elizabeth of York. He was baptised by Richard Fox, the Bishop of Exeter, at a church of the Observant Franciscans close to the palace. In 1493, the two year old Henry was appointed Constable of Dover Castle & Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. He was then appointed Earl Marshal of England & Lord Lieutenant of Ireland at age three, & was also made a Knight of the Bath around the same time. The day after the ceremony he was created Duke of York & a month or so later named Warden of the Scottish Marches. Then in May 1495, he was appointed to the Order of the Garter. The reason for all of these appointments to a young prince was so his father could keep personal control of lucrative positions & not share them with established families. Henry became fluent in Latin & French, & learned at least some Italian. Not much is known about his early life, because he was not expected to become king. In November 1501, Henry played a considerable part in the ceremonies surrounding his brother's marriage to Katharine of Aragon, a daughter of King Ferdinand II of Aragon & Queen Isabella I of Castile. In February 1506 Henry was honoured by the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I by being made a Knight of the Golden Fleece.

In 1502, his brother Arthur died at the age of 15, maybe of 'the sweating sickness', just five months after his marriage to Katharine. The 10-year-old Henry was now the heir to the throne. In October 1502 Henry became the new Duke of Cornwall, & the new Prince of Wales & Earl of Chester in February 1503. The Young Henry was strictly supervised & didn't appear in public. He ascended the throne in 1509 "untrained in the exacting art of kingship".


28 June 1838

Coronation of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom.

image: Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2020

Queen Victoria's uncle King William IV died on 20 June 1837 & the eighteen year old Princess Alexandrina Victoria became Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Ireland. Planning for the coronation, led by the prime minister, Lord Melbourne, began at in March 1838. It was budgeted at £70,000, which was more than double the cost of the "cut-price" 1831 William IV coronation, but much less than the £240,000 spent when George IV was crowned king in July 1821.

The coronation of Queen Victoria took place in Westminster Abbey on Thursday, 28 June 1838. The newly built railways were able to deliver huge numbers of people into London & an estimated 400,000 visitors arrived to swell the crowds who thronged the streets while the two processions took place & filled the parks where catering & entertainment were provided. At Hyde Park there was a huge fair, including a balloon ascent. The fair lasted over four days. On Green Park there was a firework display the night after the ceremony. The coronation coincided with a period of fine weather & the whole event was generally considered a huge success by both the press & the public. There was very little rehearsal, & on the day the ceremonial was marred by mistakes & accidents. In the words of Benjamin Disraeli, then a young MP, those involved "were always in doubt as to what came next, & you saw the want of rehearsal". The whole service lasted five hours, & involved two changes of dress for the Queen.

Sir George Hayter's view of the 1838 coronation
Sir George Hayter's view of the 1838 coronation

An accident occurred that the Queen later described in her journal:

"Poor old Ld Rolls [actually Lord Rolle], who is 82, & dreadfully infirm, fell, in attempting to ascend the steps, – rolled right down, but was not the least hurt. When he attempted again to ascend the steps, I advanced to the edge, in order to prevent another fall".

Charles Greville, noted in his account that the Queen went down a couple of steps to prevent Rolle from trying to climb them again. Greville described this as "an act of graciousness & kindness which made a great sensation". As was usual, special seating galleries were erected in the Abbey to accommodate the guests. There was an orchestra of 80 players, a choir of 157 singers, & various military bands for the processions to & from the Abbey.

Victoria's account of the events;

"I was awoke at four o'clock by the guns in the Park, & could not get much sleep afterwards on account of the noise of the people, bands, etc., etc. Got up at seven, feeling strong & well; the Park presented a curious spectacle, crowds of people up Constitution Hill, soldiers, Bands, etc.

At ten I got into the State Coach with the Duchess of Sutherland & Lord Albemarle & we began our Progress. It was a fine day, & the crowds of people exceeded what I have ever seen; many as there were the day I went to the City, it was nothing, nothing to the multitudes, the millions of my loyal subjects, who were assembled in every spot to witness the Procession. Their good humour & excessive loyalty was beyond everything, & I really cannot say how proud I feel to be the Queen of such a Nation. I was alarmed at times for fear that the people would be crushed & squeezed on account of the tremendous rush & pressure.

I reached the Abbey amid deafening cheers at a little after half-past eleven; I first went into a robing-room quite close to the entrance where I found my eight train-bearers: Lady Caroline Lennox, Lady Adelaide Paget, Lady Mary Talbot, Lady Fanny Cowper, Lady Wilhelmina Stanhope, Lady Anne Fitzwilliam, Lady Mary Grimston & Lady Louisa Jenkinson — all dressed alike & beautifully in white satin & silver tissue with wreaths of silver corn-ears in front, & a small one of pink roses around the plait behind, & pink roses in the trimmings of the dresses

Queen Victoria's Coronation Medal (1838)
Queen Victoria's Coronation Medal (1838)

Then followed all the various things; & last (of those things) the Crown being placed on my head — which was, I must own, a most beautiful impressive moment; all the Peers and Peeresses put on their coronets at the same instant. My excellent Lord Melbourne, who stood very close to me throughout the whole ceremony, was completely overcome at this moment, & very much affected; he gave me such a kind, & I may say fatherly look. The shouts, which were very great, the drums, the trumpets, the firing of the guns, all at the same instant, rendered the spectacle most imposing. The Archbishop had (most awkwardly) put the ring on the wrong finger, & the consequence was that I had the greatest difficulty to take it off again, which I at last did with great pain. At about half-past four I re-entered my carriage, the Crown on my head, & the Sceptre & Orb in my hands, & we proceeded the same way as we came — the crowds if possible having increased. The enthusiasm, affection, & loyalty were really touching, & I shall remember this day as the Proudest of my life! I came home at a little after six, really not feeling tired. At eight we dined."

Image: Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2020


Other royal news on 28 June;

751 – Carloman I, king of the Franks was born (d. 771).

1189 - Matilda of England, Duchess of Savoy died. She was the eldest daughter of King Henry II of England & Eleanor of Aquitaine.

1194 – Xiao Zong, Chinese emperor died (b. 1127).

1243 – Emperor Go-Fukakusa of Japan was born (d. 1304).

1385 – Andronikos IV, Byzantine emperor died (b. 1348).

1461 – Edward IV is crowned King of England.

1444 – Charlotte, Queen of Cyprus was born (d. 1487).

1682 - Louisa Maria Stuart was born (d.1712). She was the last child of James II & VII (1633–1701), the deposed king of England, Scotland, & Ireland, & Mary of Modena.

1709 – Peter the Great defeats Charles XII of Sweden at the Battle of Poltava.

1740 - Princess Mary of Great Britain married Frederick II, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel. Mary was the second-youngest daughter of King George II of Great Britain & his wife, Caroline of Ansbach.

1757 – Sophia Dorothea of Hanover, queen consort of Frederick William I died (b. 1687).

1914 – Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria & his wife Sophie are assassinated in Sarajevo; this is the casus belli of World War I.


Thank you for reading 😊

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