Archive for August, 2011

1106 – Death of Magnus I Billung, Duke of Saxony

1305 – William Wallace, one of the leaders of the Scottish Rebellion against Edward I Plantagenet, King of England, is executed for high treason by being hung, drawn and quartered.

1387 – Death of Olav IV Bjälboätten, King of Norway and Denmark

1754 – Birth of Louis XVI de Bourbon, King of France

1775 – George III Hanover, King of Great Britain, declares the American colonies exist in an ‘open and avowed state of rebellion’.

1836 – Birth of Marie Henriette Habsburg-Lotharingen, Archduchess of Austria and wife of Leopold II Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, King of the Belgians



Having spent the majority of the day researching the tale of Margaret de Valois, Queen of England, I started to wonder what her reputation would have been if her cause had won the English War of the Roses. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the topic, at a very basic level, the war was between two rival factions of the English royal family, the Lancasters and the Yorks. The Lancasters instigated the initial part of the war in 1399 by deposing Richard II Plantagenet for his incompotence and placed themselves upon the throne. They were descended from John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster and third son of Edward III Plantagenet whereas Richard II was descended from the first son, Edward, the Black Prince of Wales, who had unfortunately predeceased his father. This dynasty ruled England until an equally unworthy monarch inherited the throne, Henry VI Lancaster. The Yorks, on the other hand, were twice descended from Edward III; through the male line from Edward’s fourth son, Edmund, the Duke of York; through the female line from Edward’s second son, Lionel, the Duke of Clarence. When Henry VI began having catatonic episodes during the 1450’s, there was much political infighting in regards to who should rule the regency during the king’s incapacity; it was between Henry’s own uncles, the dukes of Gloucester and Suffolk, his wife, Queen Margaret, and his cousin, the Duke of York. When it became clear that regardless of his mental capacity, Henry VI was never going to be an effectual monarch; the Yorks used the same reasonings the House of Lancaster had used in their successful rebellion of 1399. The House of York ultimately won during the Battle of Tewkesbury when Henry and Margaret’s son, Edward, was killed and Henry himself was captured.

My question is what would have happened if Prince Edward had not been killed during the heat of battle and Henry had not been captured? Would Margaret have been able to lead the Lancastrian dynasty back to its former glory? How differently would she be remembered now? Equally with Blanche of Castile; there were numerous attempts to remove Blanche from the regency and even a plot to kidnap the young king in order to remove him from Blanche’s sphere of influence. How would Blanche be remembered now if those plots had succeeded? Would Blanche be ‘the She-Wolf’ instead of Margaret and would Margaret now be the prime example of queenship instead of Blanche?

1188 – Death of Ferdinand II de Anscarids, King of Leon

1304 – Death of John II de Avesnes, Count of Hainaut

1350 – Death of Philip VI de Valois, King of France

1358 – Death of Isabella Capet, Princess of France and Navarre and wife of Edward II Plantegenet, King of England

1485 – Death of Richard III York, King of England, at the Battle of Bosworth

1642 – Charles I Stuart, King of England, publically calls the English Parliament ‘traitors’, sparking the English Civil War

1680 – Death of John George II Wettin, Elector of Saxony

1854 – Birth of Milan I Obrenović, King of Serbia

1860 – Birth of Eleonore Reuss, Princess of Köstritz and wife of Ferdinand I Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Tsar of Bulgaria

1157 – Death of Alfonso VII de Anscarids, King of Castile

1165 – Birth of Philip II Capet, King of France

1271 – Death of Alphonse Capet, Count of Toulouse, Prince of France and son of Louis VIII Capet, King of France

1331 – Abdication of Stephen III Nemanjić, King of Serbia, in favour of his son, Stephen IV Nemanjić, King of Serbia

1614 – Death of Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed, Countess and Serial Murderer

1643 – Birth of Alfono VI de Braganca, King of Portugal

1670 – Birth of James FitzJames, Duke of Berwick and illegitimate son of James II Stuart, King of England

1765 – Birth of William IV Hanover, King of Great Britain

1810 – Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte is elected as the Crown Prince of Sweden by the Riksdag of the Estates

1858 – Birth of Rudolf Habsburg-Lotharingen, Archduke and Crown Prince of Austria

1930 – Birth of Margaret Windsor, Princess of England and Countess of Snowdon

1963 – Birth of Mohammend VI Alaouite, King of Morocco

20th August

984 – Death of John XIV, His Holiness the Pope

1823 – Death of Pius VII, His Holiness the Pope

1914 – Death of Pius X, His Holiness the Pope

19th August

1186 – Death of Geoffrey I Plantagenet, Duke of Brittany, Prince of England and son of Henry II Plantagenet, King of England

1245 – Death of Ramon Berenguer IV Carcassone, Count of Provence

1284 – Death of Alphonse Platagenet, Earl of Chester and Prince of England, son of Edward I Plantagenet, King of England

1342 – Birth of Katherine von Limburg, Princess of Bohemia and wife of Rudfolk IV Habsburg, Duke of Austria, and Otto V Wittelsbach, Duke of Bavaria

1493 – Death of Frederick III Habsburg, Holy Roman Emperor

1561 – A widowed Mary I Stuart, Queen of Scotland and France, returns home to Scotland, after an absence of thirteen years.

1557 – Birth of Frederick I von Gruningen, Duke of Württemberg

1596 – Birth of Elizabeth Stuart, Princess of England and wife of Frederick V Wittelsbach, Elector Palatine and King of Bohemia

1743 – Birth of Jeanne Bécu, Countess du Barry and mistress of Louis XV de Bourbon, King of France and Navarre

1745 – The beginning of the Second Jacobite Rebellion lead by Charles Edward Stuart, Prince of Wales

1772 – Gustav III Oldenburg, King of Sweden stages a coup d’etat where he established himself as an autocratic monarch


 The third daughter and sixth child of Henri II de Valois, King of France, and Catherine de Medici, Countess of Auvergne, Marguerite was born on 14th May 1553 at the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Yvelines, France. Growing up at the French court, Marguerite fell in love with a local nobleman, Henri Baudemont, the future Duke of Guise; however her mother’s hatred for the entire Guise family prevented any such match from materialising. Being the daughter of the King of France, Marguerite had a number of suitors including Carlos Habsburg, the Prince of Asturias, and Sebastian I Avis, King of Portugal. Instead, as was common with princesses of her age, Marguerite’s marriage would be used to cement a political and religious alliance with a neighbouring kingdom. Whilst France was fiercely Catholic, neighbouring Navarre was Protestant and the marriage between its king, Henri III de Bourbon, and Marguerite was meant to ‘create harmony between Catholics and the Protestant Huguenots’.

Their marriage took place on 18th August 1572 at the Cathedral of Notre Dame; however because the groom was Protestant and not Catholic, he had to remain outside the cathedral for most of the ceremony. Paris was filled with Catholics and Protestants alike, attending the celebrations of the wedding and the hope of a time of religious peace between the two factions. Alas it was not to be as a widespread massacre of the visiting Protestants swept the city and continued out into the provinces in the following days. Historians differ on the death toll, but believe it was as low as 5,000 people or as high as 30,000. This lead to the outbreak of the French Wars of Religion between the Valois of France and the Baudemont of Guise against the Bourbons of Navarre. This was a precarious position to be in as until Margurite’s brother, Charles IX de Valois, managed to father a son, it was Henri of Navarre who was the heir of the throne of France. Having been captured during the riots, Henri was forced to convert to Catholicism before he was released, abelit under house arrest along with his wife. After three years of confinement, Henri managed to escape in 1576.

Neither Henri nor Marguerite was faithful during their marriage, in fact they were both notoriously known for their adultery. Alas they would never have any children, but neither would any of Marguerite’s brothers; therefore when her last brother, Henri III de Valois, King of France, died on 2nd August 1589, Marguerite became the Queen of France as her husband was now Henri IV de Bourbon, King of France. With his new throne came a desire for legitimate heirs. Marguerite and Henri divorced in 1599 after a marriage of 25 years, with Marguerite being allowed to keep her title of Queen. Henri IV remarried to Marie de Medici, another Florentine princess. Despite the failings of their marriage, Marguerite was allowed back at the French court where she established herself as a mentor of the arts and benefactress of the poor, helped plan events at court and nurtured the children of Henry IV and Marie. Marguerite died on 27th March 1615 and was buried in the St Denis Basilica.

1276 – Death of Adrian V, His Holiness the Pope

1503 – Death of Alexander VI, His Holiness the Pope

1559 – Death of Paul IV, His Holiness the Pope

1572 – Marriage of Henri III de Bourbon, King of Navarre, and Marguerite de Valois, Princess of France. The Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s would occur just days later.

1579 – Birth of Charlotte Flandrina von Nassau, Countess of Nassau, daughter of William I von Nassau, Prince of Orange

1606 – Birth of Maria Anna Habsburg, Princess of Spain, Archduchess of Austria and wife of Ferdinand II Habsburg, Holy Roman Emperor

1611 – Birth of Marie Louise Gonzaga, Princess of Mantua and wife of Wladyslaw IV Vasa, King of Poland, and John II Vasa, King of Poland

1620 – Death of Wanli of the Ming Dynasty, Emperor of China

1645 – Death of Eudoxia Streshneva, Tsarina of Russia, and wife of Michael I Romanov, Tsar of Russia

1765 – Death of Francis I Habsburg-Lotharingen, Holy Roman Emperor

1692 – Birth of Louis Henri de Conde, Duke of Bourbon, Prime Minister of France (1723-1726)

1819 – Birth of Maria Nikolaevna Romanov, Grand Duchess of Russia, and wife of Maximilian de Beauharnais, Duke of Leuchtenberg

1830 – Birth of Franz Josef I Habsburg, Emperor of Austria


17th August

1153 – Death of Eustace IV de Blois, Count of Boulogne, son and heir of Stephen I de Blois, King of England

1473 – Birth of Richard York, Duke of Norfolk, son of Edward IV York, King of England, and brother of Edward V York, King of England

1629 – Birth of John III Sobieski, King of Poland

1786 – Death of Frederick II Hohenzollern, King of Prussia

1789 – Birth of Victoria Wettin, Princess of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, wife of Edward Hanover, Duke of Kent, and mother of Victoria I Hanover, Queen of Great Britain

1887 – Birth of Charles I Habsburg-Lotharingen, Emperor of Austria