27 May 2015

Today's Princess: Elisabeth of Denmark


While the line of succession to the British throne includes hundreds of people, succession in Denmark is limited to the descendants of King Christian X through approved marriage and therefore includes only 12 people. The lady at the end of that line is Queen Margrethe II's first cousin, Princess Elisabeth of Denmark (1935- ), who celebrated her 80th birthday on May 8.

At the time of her birth, however, Elisabeth was not in the line of succession at all because women were barred. Her father, Prince Knud became the Hereditary Prince as heir to his brother, King Frederik IX when Frederik only had daughters. By 1953, the law was changed to allow women to inherit, pushing Knud down the line but allowing Elisabeth to finally enter the line, although after her younger brothers. When the two of them made non-dynastic marriages, she moved up.

Elisabeth herself never married, perhaps because of the dynastic rules that remained in place until the 1990s. Instead, she lived with her partner, videographer Claus Hermanson, for 20 years until his death in 1997. Although she was the daughter of two royal parents (first cousins Prince Knud of Denmark and Princess Caroline Mathilde of Denmark), Elisabeth has never received income from the state. She made her own way in the world, studying at the Brillantmont International College, Suhr's School of Home Economics, the Scandinavian Academy of International Fashion and Design, and the Tempo Type School. She built her career in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, serving in several international appointments, including two postings to Washington, D.C. and one to the U.N. Mission in Geneva. She retired in 2001 after 45 years of service.

Like all of the Danish royals, she speaks multiple languages. (It is a point of pride for them, and is included in all of their official bios.) In her case, her languages her Danish, English, French and German. She also attends some official royal events like the traditional New Year's Courts and can be spotted at royal family occasions wearing fabulous jewelry. Like any good royal, she is also active with several patronages, particularly a couple supporting awareness of Denmark in foreign countries.

More on Elisabeth:
Her official bio on Kongehuset
Birth of Princess Elisabeth of Denmark on Unofficial Royalty
Happy Birthday Princess Elisabeth on Royalista
Princess Elisabeth of Denmark Turns 75 on Royal Musings

20 May 2015

A Title for Baby Charlotte

If royal tradition continues, baby Princess Charlotte of Cambridge could eventually be given the very special title of The Princess Royal. If so, she would be only the eighth princess to bear it over the course of the last 400 years.

The title can only be given to the oldest daughter of the monarch--so her father William would have to be King--and it can only be held by one person at a time, so the current Princess Royal, Charlotte's great-aunt Anne would have to be deceased. It is not an automatic title. In fact two of the princesses who were eligible to receive it did not, probably because they were already married to foreign princes at the time that they became eligible upon the accessions of their fathers.

The title of Princess Royal was first created by King Charles I for his daughter Mary. His wife was a French princess and she had grown up with a tradition that the king's eldest daughter was known as Madame Royal. Since then, the women who have borne the honor are:

Anthony van Dyck
via Wikimedia Commons
Mary Princess Royal (1631-1660). She was given the title at age 10, soon after her marriage to the Prince of Orange. At that time, she moved to the Dutch Republic with her mother and avoided the English Civil War, which cost her father his life several years later. Mary's only child was born on her 19th birthday, just days after her husband died of smallpox. She struggled to control her son's territory for him but ultimately was unable to do so. Following the execution of her father, she worked to have the Stuart monarchy restored in England. Her brothers had been left with very few assets, but Mary as Princess of Orange had much deeper pockets that she could access on their behalf. In 1660, after the restoration of the monarchy, she returned to England. She died from smallpox just a few months later at St. James's Palace. Her little boy eventually became joint monarch of Great Britain with his cousin-wife as William III and Mary II.

Johann Valentin Tischbein
via Wikimedia Commons
Anne Princess Royal (1709-1759) was the oldest daughter of King George II. She received the title when she was 18. She had survived smallpox but was terribly scarred. Thereafter, her sisters were inoculated against the disease, a progressive move in those days. Anne did, however, have the advantage of an excellent education, especially in music where her teacher was none other than George Frederick Handel. When a proposed marriage to the French King fell through, she jumped at the chance to marry the Prince of Orange. For a royal marriage, they were quite fond of each other and together they had five children, including two who were stillborn. When her husband died at age 40, she became the regent for their three-year-old son. Like today's Princess Royal of the same name, she had a somewhat abrasive personality but was fairly effective as a leader. Unfortunately, she died just eight years later of dropsy, and other regents took over for her still underaged son.

Ozias Humphrey via Wikimedia Commons
Charlotte Princess Royal (1766-1828) was the oldest of King George III's six daughters--he also had nine sons. None of sons wanted to marry and none of his daughters were allowed to. Many complications kept the girls sheltered--their parents' overprotection, the desire not to socialize with any but loyal Tories, the French Revolution, their father's periods of "madness." Although several marriage offers were received, Charlotte was 30 years old before her father finally let her marry the widowed heir of the Duke of Wurttemburg. None of her sisters married until after their brother had taken over as Regent for their dad. Largely as a result of these delays, none of the princesses had legitimate children. Even Charlotte had only a stillborn child but she was a beloved stepmother to her husband's four children by his first wife. Charlotte and her husband initially supported Napoleon and, as thanks, her husband was made King of Wurttemburg. They later switched sides before Napoleon's downfall. Charlotte died at the age of 62 of an apoplectic seizure.

Franz Xaver Winterhalter
via Wikimedia Commons
Victoria Princess Royal (1840-1901) is perhaps the best-known historical Princess Royal. As the smartest and oldest child of Queen Victoria, she was the favorite of her father Prince Albert. Her brother, the future King Edward VII, thought for a time that she was going to be the monarch and was not all pleased when he learned that was his destiny instead. Victoria fell in love as a young teenager and was allowed to marry the much-older future German emperor. Despite her happy marriage, she did not have good relationships with her oldest children. Things only worsened when her husband died of cancer only months after becoming emperor. Their eldest son, the infamous Kaiser Wilhelm, immediately began rifling through his mother's things and did everything he could to lessen her influence and authority. All together, Vicky, as she was known had eight children, but lost two little boys young--one to meningitis and one to diptheria. She died from cancer only months after her famous mother in 1901 at the age of 60.

via Wikimedia Commons
Louise Princess Royal (1867-1931) was Vicky's niece and the third child of King Edward VII. Her parents household was much less restricted than other royal homes, and these most important grandchildren of Queen Victoria earned the nickname "the Wild Waleses" while their father was Prince of Wales. Nevertheless, Louise and her two younger sisters were also incredibly shy, and also were known as "the whispering Waleses" for the way they spoke in the presence of others. There was a 17-year age difference between Louise and her aristocratic husband, the Duke of Fife. By the traditions of the day, their two daughters did not receive royal titles because these only went to male-line descendants. Louise's father did not like that his granddaughters were merely ladies. In 1905, when he made Louise The Princess Royal, he also gave her daughters the rank and style of Her Highness Princess Maud of Fife and Her Highness Princess Alexandra of Fife. Louise's whole family survived a shipwreck in Egypt in 1911, but her husband never really recovered and died within the year. Louise lived another 20 years.

Bain News Service
via Wikimedia Commons
Mary Princess Royal (1897-1965) was Louise's niece and the third child of King George V. Despite her own shyness, her first foray into public life was on a fairly large scale: as a teenager, she conceived a program to deliver Christmas gifts to all of the British Empire service members fighting in the Great War. (Read more here.) Later in the war, she took up nursing, but returned to a somewhat private life after the war, taking on occasional royal duties, especially in support of nursing and the Girl Guides. Like her aunt, the previous Princess Royal, she married a nobleman, the Earl of Harewood, and had two children--both boys in her case. Her children were never raised to the rank of princes; those days were over. She was given the title of Princess Royal in 1932, a year after her aunt's death. Mary's husband died shortly after World War II, and she lived a quiet life in the country, dying 17 years later, at the age of 67.


Anne Princess Royal (1950- ) is the only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II. Known for her no-nonsense approach to everything and her career as an equestrienne, she has always been one of the hardest working members of the British Royal Family, routinely racking more engagements than most of the rest of the family. She and her first husband were brought together by their shared sport. When they married, they declined titles for him and for their children. Their children are simply Peter Phillips and Zara Phillips Tindall, and they now have three granddaughters. After love letters from the princess to a court official were revealed, Anne divorced her first husband and married her paramour. He likewise took no title. Their marriage has lasted nearly 23 years. (Her granddaughters, Savannah and Isla Phillips look remarkably like this childhood portrait of her.)

Since Prince Charles has no daughters, the next Princess Royal will likely be his new granddaughter Princess Charlotte, which makes it look like there is a pattern to the naming of these very special princesses. The first three were Mary then Anne then Charlotte. The last two have been Mary and Anne; so I guess it was inevitable that the new princess would be Charlotte and the next, little Prince George's future daughter, will be Victoria! Hope I'm around long enough to see if I'm right.

07 May 2015

Today's Princess: Sibylle of Saxony

School of Lucas Cranach the Elder via Wikimedia Commons
Exactly 500 years before little Princess Charlotte of Cambridge was born on May 2, another princess was born in Freiburg, Saxony. Sibylle of Saxony (1515-1592) was the first child of the future Duke Henry IV of Saxony and Catherine of Mecklenburg. Granted the area of Friesland by his brother, who was then the Duke, Henry wasn't much of a ruler and eventually gave it back to his brother in exchange for money. Sibylle was born some years after this. Her childhood was likely colored by this as well as by the Protestant Reformation. Her uncle was a staunch Catholic while her parents were secret Protestants.

Her brother, husband and extended relations were eventually caught up in the religious wars of the century. Sibylle, however, had more troubles at home. Just before her 25th birthday, she married Duke Francis I of Saxe-Lauenburg. Despite having nine children together, theirs was a rocky relationship. They separated and reunited more than once. Unlike in other royal marriages, however, it was the wife who was accused of "vindictive and unloving acts."

The relationships with and among their children was no less complicated. The marriage lasted four decades until his death. Having plunged his territories deeply in to debt and pawned off some of his demesnes, Francis abdicated in favor of their eldest son Maurice, who had promised to use the money from his Swedish marriage to  restore the treasury. When he didn't do this, Francis deposed him and reasserted himself as Duke. Magnus gathered an army and returned but, with the help of his second son Francis II, Francis defeated him. He then named son #2 his heir, in violation of the laws of inheritance. After Dad's death in 1581, Francis II with help from little brother Maurice, warded off Magnus and imprisoned him for the rest of his life.

Meanwhile, Sibylle was not making things any easier for her sons. In fact, she so disapproved of Maurice's mistress, Gisela von Tschammer, that she brought charges of witchcraft against her.

Her daughters' lives were not so dramatic. They all married various German Dukes. Dorothea's husband built the pleasure gardens at Herzberg Castle for her, although she had no children. Ursula gave her husband five children. The youngest Sidonia Catherine, lost her first husband, by whom she had six children in 12 years, and remarried another Duke.

Sibylle died in 1592 at the age of 77.

04 May 2015

Princess Charlotte of Cambridge


It's official. Britain's newest princess has a name: Charlotte Elizabeth Diana. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have selected a name that is surely pleasing to almost everyone. It includes both The Queen and the late Diana Princess of Wales. The choice of Charlotte may also be in honor of royal granddad Charles The Prince of Wales. It is also the middle name of Kate's sister, Philippa, while Elizabeth is the middle name of both Kate and her mother Carole.

The name Charlotte entered the British royal family during the Georgia era when King George III married Charlotte of Mecklenburg Strelitz. Together they had 15 children, including the oldest daughter named Charlotte for her mother. Their eldest granddaughter was also named Charlotte, who married Leopold of Saxe Coburg on May 2, the new baby's birthdate. She was heir to the throne until her tragic death in childbirth along with her infant son. That Charlotte's uncle, King William IV, gave the name to one of his two daughters, both of whom died as young children. After that the name was not used for a bit. It was reintroduced among the continental grandchildren of Queen Victoria, but not in the British until today. (Although I believe King George V had a parrot called Charlotte.)

The name Elizabeth has been used for centuries in Great Britain. The most prominent Elizabeths were certainly the mother/daughter/great-granddaughter of the 15th and 16th centuries. The widowed Elizabeth Woodville was a controversial queen when she married the Yorkist King Edward IV. After his untimely death, her sons disappeared and became known to history as the Princes in the Tower, and her eldest daughter, Elizabeth of York, married the victor of Battle of Bosworth, King Henry VII. As his queen, she was the mother of the infamous King Henry VIII, who showed his love for his mum by naming one of his daughters for her. That little girl, against innumerable odds, grew up to be the famous Gloriana, The Virgin Queen, Elizabeth I. Of course, Baby Charlotte is not named for any of these ladies. The origin of her second name is much closer to home. Not only is it the middle name of her mother and maternal grandmother, but is the name of her father's granny, Queen Elizabeth II, who was herself named for own mother, who had been born the daughter of a Scottish earl, became a Royal Duchess, then a Queen Consort, and is best known today for the 50 years she reigned in everyone's hearts as The Queen Mother.

The final name of Diana requires absolutely no explanation at all. If you are reading this blog and are unaware of the identity of Diana Princess of Wales, I wonder what strange Google search term landed you here. The Duke of Cambridge's mother remains one of the most iconic women of the modern age, even almost 18 years after her tragic death. At the time when her marriage to The Prince of Wales was falling apart, she said she wanted to be remembered as the "Queen of People's Hearts." After her death, the Prime Minister Tony Blair called her "The People's Princess." It is this legacy that some people are already expecting baby Charlotte to inherit. Even without Diana among her names, Charlotte would have been considered the heir to Diana by many. I hope that it is a joy for her and not a burden.

Welcome HRH Princess Charlotte of Cambridge.

03 May 2015

What to Call a Princess?


 The world is eagerly awaiting the name of the new Princess of Cambridge. Unlike her older sibling, this child of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge has far fewerpossibilities. For Prince George Alexander Louis, the choice of first name was almost certainly limited to names that had been previously borne by previous kings. There are likely no restrictions on this choice. However, William and Kate are rather traditional, so don't expect her to be named Princess Apple or Princess Poppy.

A traditional royal name for Lady
Louise Mountbatten-Windsor
By Carfax2 via Wikimedia Commons
Nevertheless, William's royal cousins have been selecting far less traditional names for their kids. In this century, members of the Windsor family have named their children Savannah and Isla (Peter Phillips), Mia (Zara Phillips Tindall), Xan and Cosima (Earl of Ulster), Senna and Tane (Lady Davina Windsor Lewis), and Lyla and Rufus (Lady Rose Windsor Gilman). Only The Queen's son The Earl of Wessex and Lord Nicholas Windsor have used more traditional names with Louise and James for Wessex and Albert, Leopold and Arthur for Lord Nicholas.

While none of this may mean anything to Kate and William, they are friends with these various cousins and have been very exposed to their name choices. Maybe they also would like something a bit more chic for their daughter.

So, here is a guide to some of their possible choices:

Expected Royal Names:
Alexandra
Alice
Charlotte
Diana (although only one precedent)
Elizabeth
Margaret
Victoria

Less Expected Royal Choices:
Adelaide
Amelia
Augusta
Bridget
Caroline
Catherine
Cecily
Dorothea
Eleanor
Helena
Joanna
Maud
Patricia
Rose
Ursula

Nonroyal but Acceptable:
Claire
Jemima
Julia
Natasha
Octavia
Portia
Susanna
Veronica
Zoe

Here are all my previous posts about what they might name the baby:
(These include more explanations.)
Cambridge Baby #2 Names
Unusual Name Choices for the Cambridge Baby
Final Baby Name Predictions


A Prince and His Sister

In honor of Prince George of Cambridge and his as-yet unnamed little sister, who was born yesterday at the Lindo Wing of St. Mary's Hospital in Paddington, let's take a look at other royal big brother-little sister combinations starting with the most recent.




In Denmark, we actually have two sets with the children of Crown Princess Mary and the children of Princess Marie. True, Marie's children do have two older half brothers, the sons of their shared father Prince Joachim and his first wife Alexandra Manley, now the Countess of Frederiksborg. Prince Henrik, who was named for his royal grandfather, celebrates his sixth birthday tomorrow, while his sister Princess Athena, is two years younger. Their first cousins, Prince Christian, a future king, and Princess Isabella are a bit older at nine and eight, respectively. They have two younger siblings, four-year-old royal twins, Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine.



Closer to home, Prince William's cousins, the nonroyal grandchildren of The Queen are slightly older than Prince William. Their mother, Princess Anne The Princess Royal, decided that they would have no titles or royal responsibilities. So, her first child was born simply Peter Phillips in 1977 and daughter Zara Phillips, the Olympic equestrienne was born in 1981, shortly before THE royal wedding of that century. Peter now has two daughters of his own, Savannah and Isla, while Zara's daughter, Mia is five months old.



A generation earlier, six sets of boy-girl siblings were born in the British royal family. The most recent two sets are actually age contemporaries of William and Kate. Lord Frederick Windsor was born in 1979 and his sister Lady Gabriela was born a month before Zara Phillips in 1983. They are the children of The Queen's first cousin, Prince Michael of Kent his controversial wife. The children of The Duke of Gloucester, who is The Queen's youngest first cousin, were born just a few years earlier. Alexander Earl of Ulster was born in 1974 and his first sister Lady Davina Lewis nee Windsor arrived in 1977.


The Queen's cousin Princess Alexandra's son James Ogilvy was the first of four royal children born in 1964. His younger sister Marina Ogilvy was born two years later. Alexandra's brother, The Duke of Kent also had a son George Earl of St. Andrews (born in 1962) followed by a daughter Lady Helen, the third of the 1964 babies. The Queen's sister, Princess Margaret had her son David Viscount Linley in 1962 and delivered the last of the 1964 royal babies, Lady Sarah. The Queen herself was included in the 1964 royal baby boom with the birth of her youngest child, Prince Edward The Earl of Wessex.


The first of that generation's six sets of boy-girl siblings was the offspring of The Queen. Her first two children, Charles The Prince of Wales and Anne The Princess Royal, were born when she was simply The Princess Elizabeth The Duchess of Edinburgh. Charles arrived in 1948 and Anne came almost two years later. They have almost exactly the same age difference as George and his new sister, and have reportedly been close all of their lives, although they have very different temperaments. Charles is said to have been a very sensitive child while Anne has always been very no-nonsense like their father, The Duke of Edinburgh. (Looks like Anne was never a fan of photo calls!)

Marlene A. Eilers Koenig Collection
In The Queen's generation, she had one set of cousins who were firstborn son followed by a daughter, the previously mentioned Edward Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra. About a decade younger than The Queen, they were the first of three children of the glamorous George Duke of Kent and his equally glamorous wife Princess Marina of Greece, a cousin of Philip Duke of Edinburgh. Edward was born in 1933. Alexandra, born in 1936, was a bridesmaid at the Queen's wedding in 1947, and has always been a popular member of the extended royal family.




02 May 2015

Happy Birthday, Princess of Cambridge!

By Ricky Wilson via Wikimedia Commons
The Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to a much-anticipated baby girl this morning at 8:34 a.m., which was 3:34 a.m. for those of us on the U.S.-Canada Atlantic Coast. After the long wait, the big news happened while we were sleeping. Perhaps some of you West Coasters were still awake! Congratulations to the happy family!

Here are all my posts about what they might name the baby:
Cambridge Baby #2 Names
Unusual Name Choices for the Cambridge Baby
Final Baby Name Predictions


Now, let's take a look at other significant births on May 2.

via Wikimedia Commons
The most significant is undoubtedly the birth of an insignificant German princess named Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst in 1729. Despite her relatively low birth, she became one of the most powerful women in history. Politics led the Prussian king to marry off his subject to the heir of Elizabeth Empress of Russia, daughter of Peter the Great. With no children of her own, Elizabeth adopted her nephew Peter as heir and renamed his new wife Catherine after her own mother, Empress Catherine I. Peter while was a cruel idiot. He didn't rule long before the Army rose in a coup supporting Catherine as Empress. Considered one of the "enlightened despots" of the 18th century, Catherine sought to introduce many reforms into the "backwards" Russian nation, seeing herself as the true heir of Peter the Great. She was disappointed in trying to end serfdom, but did expand the empire and is remembered today as Catherine the Great.

Another girl born on this day also later changed her name to Catherine, Born in France in 1806 as  Zoe, St. Catherine Labouré adopted her new name when she became a Daughter of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. After she had a vision of the Virgin Mary, the Miraculous Medal of the Virgin, which many people wear today. Her vision also reinforced a growing belief in the Immaculate Conception of Mary that was later incorporated as official doctrine by the Roman Catholic Church. The popular Pope John Paul II even used some of the imagery from the medal as part of his coat of arms. Today, the uncorrupted body of St. Catherine Labouré can be viewed in Paris.

via Wikimedia Commons
In 1890, Princess Helen of Greece and Denmark was a born. A great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria, she grew up to marry one of the least responsible princes of the 20th century. If Britain's King Edward VIII is the most famous throne-shirker, his cousin King Carol II of Romania is actually the worst. Married illegally to a Romanian, whom he had divorced before marrying his royal bride, Carol later ran off with another lowborn Romanian and surrendered his throne. Then, he later returned to take the throne from Helen's only child, King Michael, who is still living today although he permanently lost the throne after World War II. Although three decades older, Helen was a first cousin of Prince Philip The Duke of Edinburgh, our new baby's 93-year-old great-granddaddy.


Other famous people born on May 2:
Child psychologist Dr. Benjamin Spock (1903-1998)
Fiddler on the Roof actor Theodore Bikel (1924- ), 91 today
Famous actor Engelbert Humperdinck (1936- ), 79 today
Model, actress, and famous ex-wife Bianca Jagger (1945- ), 70 today
Much-banned singer-songwriter Judge Dread (1945-1998)
Detective Hercule Poirot actor David Suchet (1946- ), 69 today
Founder of the Dyson Company, James Dyson (1947- ), 68 today
Gardener and presenter Alan Titchmarsh (1949- ), 66 today (known to royalwatchers for his Golden Jubilee special)
"I Don't Want to Live Without You" singer Lou Gramm (1950- ), 65 today
American actor Christine Baranski (1952- )
Donatella Versace (1955- ), 60 today (OMG she looks older to me!)
Celebrity chef Phil Vickery (1961- ), 54 today
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (1972- ), 43 today
French pop singer Lorie (1982- ), 33 today
Singer actor Lily Allen (1985- ), the big 3-0 today


01 May 2015

May Birth Dates for Cambridge Baby

In March, I offered possible historic ties for April birthdates for the anticipated second child of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Now that April is behind us with no baby in sight, I thought I would update you on significant dates in the first week of May. (Since the parking restrictions around Kate's hospital have only been extended until May 5th, everyone is crossing fingers for an imminent arrival.)

Margaret of Connaught
By Carl Rudolph Sohn (1845-1908) 
(The Royal Collection) via Wikimedia Commons
May 1:
In 1859, Queen Victoria's seventh child, Prince Arthur, the future Duke of Connaught. Interestingly, several knowledgeable royalwatchers have offered Arthur for the new baby if it is a boy. Thirty-three years later, his daughter Princess Margaret of Connaught, the future Crown Princess of Sweden was born on this day. Her grandson, King Carl XVI Gustav of Sweden celebrated his birthday yesterday. Today is also the 51st birthday of The Queen's niece, Lady Sarah Chatto, who coincidentally (or not) named one of her sons Arthur.

May 2:
On this date, 199 years ago, Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales married Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg. She was the heir to the British throne who died tragically giving birth to a stillborn son, and her widower eventually became the first King of the Belgians. He named his first daughter for his late wife, but that daughter, who as Empress of Mexico lost her husband to a firing squad, is best known as Mad Carlota. Nevertheless, some royal fans believe the Cambridges could name a daughter Charlotte.

Helena Victoria
Alexander Bassano 
via Wikimedia Commons
May 3:
In 1870, another of Queen Victoria's granddaughters, Princess Helena Victoria of Schleswig Holstein, was born. Despite her Germanic title, she lived most of her life in Windsor, where her father was the Ranger of Windsor Great Park, an honor currently held by The Queen's husband, Prince Philip. She dropped her German territorial title during World War I. Also, Cecily Neville, Duchess of York was born on this date exactly 500 years ago. As the wife of Richard Plantagenet, she was the mother of the first Yorkist King Edward IV and his extremely famous brother King Richard III (of recent car park fame). She was also mother-in-law of Tudor King Henry VII. I have not seen Cecily on many lists of royal baby names, but maybe it could happen. Readers of historical fiction will definitely recognize Cecily from the many, many books about the Wars of the Roses.

May 4:
In another Wars of the Roses link, King Edward IV defeated the Lancastrians on this date in 1471 and killed their heir, Edward Prince of Wales, whose widow Anne Neville later married Edward IV's brother, Richard III.

May 5:
This date is not a happy one for the British monarchy. In 1215, the barons renounced their allegiance to King John, which ultimately led to the Magna Carta, which limited the power of the sovereign. A good reason why perhaps few British since then have been named John. Then, 435 years later, King Charles I, dissolved the Short Parlimanent. His insistence on his Divine Right as king eventually caused Parliament to behead him. Although his son Charles II restored the monarchy after a couple of decades, their shared name fell into disuse. Most people were quite surprised when The Queen chose it for her first son, Prince William's father, The Prince of Wales.

Princess Margaret
William Timym
via Wikimedia Commons
May 6:
Ninety-five years ago, The Queen's grandfather became King George V upon the death of his father King Edward VIII. She called him Grandpapa England and he enjoyed romping in the floor with her. I can say with certainty, however, that the new baby will not be called George! In 1960, The Queen's sister Princess Margaret married Antony Armstrong-Jones. Their turbulent marriage ended in divorce in 1978, and Margaret died in 2002. However, The Queen has remained very close to Margaret's children and grandchildren.

May 7:
Oddly, I don't know of any significant British royal events that have happened on this day. Perhaps our new royal baby will make it significant!