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Reply with quote  #46 
[14922]The tomb where Margaret of Austria lies with her husband Philibert II of Savoy

10th January

1480: Archduchess Margaret of Austria is born in Brussels, second child of the future Emperor Maximilian I and Mary, Duchess of Burgundy. There would be a third child, Archduke Franz, but he died in his fourth month and, Margaret herself failing of issue despite a complex marital career, all the posterity of her parents would come through her elder brother Philip the Handsome.

At three years old Margaret was engaged to the Dauphin Charles, then himself 13 years of age, and sent to the French court to be raised. She appears to have developed a considerable affection for her older fiancé and third cousin once removed, but if it was in any way returned that did not prevent Charles, by then 21 and Charles VIII, from repudiating her and marrying Anne of Brittany instead, as discussed in yesterday’s entry. Understandably hurt, Margaret was forced to remain in France for the next two years as Charles sought to gain advantage from his possession of her, but eventually was released back to her family.

That was in 1493, and in 1496 the girl, still only 16, was again sent off to be married, to Spain this time. The second attempt both was and wasn’t more successful than the first, as the marriage, to Margaret’s second cousin once removed Juan, Prince of Asturias, did actually take place and Margaret even became pregnant. But her husband died after only six months of marriage, reputedly worn out by his exertions in the marital bed, and their daughter was stillborn. There was one more try: in 1501 the by now 21-year-old Margaret wed her first cousin once removed Philibert II of Savoy, three months her junior. And less than three years later the childless union terminated with Philibert’s early death.

Once more Margaret returned to her family, swearing to marry no more after being once scorned and twice widowed by the time she was 24. Nor did she, busying herself governing the Netherlands for her nephew, godson and ward the future Emperor Charles V, whom she largely raised, and becoming a key player in international politics, notably negotiating the Treaty of Cambrai, called ‘the Ladies’ Peace’ because the chief representative on the French side was Louise of Savoy, mother of François I and Margaret’s sister-in-law, the late Philibert II being her brother. Aged 50 Margaret died in her palace at Mechelen, midway between Brussels and Antwerp, having made a considerable mark on the world in other ways than having children.

1538: Count Louis of Nassau is born at the family seat of Dillenburg in west-central Germany. The third of five brothers, of whom four would fall in the cause of Dutch independence and the Protestant religion, Louis would die in battle. So also did his younger brothers Adolf and Henry, while his eldest and by far most famous brother William the Silent was assassinated at the orders of Felipe II of Spain.

Their parents were William ‘the Rich’, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg, and Juliana of Stolberg, the pious lady after whom the late Queen Juliana of the Netherlands was named and who outlived all but the eldest two of her sons by William. Louis was prominent at the victorious Battle of Heiligerlee, where Adolf died, the loss at Jemmingen, the tactical loss but strategic victory at Mons and the loss at Mookerheyde. It was at the last battle that both Louis and Henry fell, their bodies never being recovered.

None of the three youngest brothers of William the Silent ever married or had progeny, but their names live on in Dutch history and in many monuments. William himself made up for this by marrying four times and having all of 15 children, and is multiply an ancestor of all sovereigns today. Just as an example, Jan Willem Friso, many times referenced as the nearest common ancestor of the current sovereigns, was twice his great-great-grandson, while Jan Willem Friso’s wife Landgravine Marie Luise of Hesse-Cassel was his great-great-great-granddaughter thrice.

To complete the picture, John VI of Nassau-Dillenburg, the only one of the five brothers to die naturally, was Jan Willem Friso’s male-line and also cognatic ancestor, and his sister Elisabeth was Jan Willem Friso’s great-great-great-grandmother. Twice. That makes a minimum nine descents for sovereigns of today from siblings of Louis, Adolf and Henry who fell so long ago in the Netherlands cause.

1824: The death at the castle of Moncalieri of Vittorio Emanuele I of Sardinia, the second of three brothers who reigned in turn, also the second to abdicate, which he had done in 1821 as the result of a revolution against his oppressive and reactionary rule. The Jacobite Victor of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, he passed this claim to his great-granddaughter Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria-Este, discussed in the 7th January 1845 entry as consort of Ludwig III of Bavaria. It continues in his cognatic line today, which extends to Liechtenstein’s future sovereign Prince Joseph Wenzel, though the only currently reigning sovereign to be descended from him is Grand Duke Henri.

2005: Today is the ninth anniversary of the death of Grand Duke Henri’s mother, Princess Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium. Named for Napoléon’s Empress Joséphine, from whom she twice descended, she married the then Hereditary Grand Duke Jean in 1953, aged 25. The marriage endured for 52 years and produced five children, all with issue themselves so the Luxembourg succession can be regarded as absolutely secure.
[800px-Counts_of_Nassau]                                            Louis of Nassau (left) with his brothers John (seated), Adolf and Henry


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Reply with quote  #47 
Thanks for the Haec est dies postings, which are an interesting combination of history and genealogy.

It was fascinating to see how Sarah, Duchess of York, and her daughters have a maternal descent from Archbishop James Ussher of Armagh. Here is a paternal descent, also traceable on Genealogics:

Archbishop Ussher, father of :
Elizabeth Ussher, mother of:
Mary Tyrrel, mother of:
William Cavendish of Doveridge Hall, father of:
Henry Cavendish, 1st Baronet, father of:
Pyne Cavendish, mother of:
Pyne Crosbie, mother of:
Henry Brand, 1st Viscount Hampden, father of:
Henry Brand, 2nd Viscount Hampden, father of:
Margaret Brand, mother of:
Col. Andrew Ferguson, father of:
Maj. Ronald Ferguson, father of:
Sarah, Duchess of York, mother of:
Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie

Archbishop Ussher had only one child, his daughter Elizabeth, yet his descendants are today widespread in the British aristocracy. The Ogilvy children of Princess Alexandra have a paternal descent from Archbishop Ussher. The Fellowes family into which a sister of the late Princess Diana married are also descendants.

Dis Aliter Visum "Beware of martyrs and those who would die for their beliefs; for they frequently make many others die with them, often before them, sometimes instead of them."

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Reply with quote  #48 
Thanks Windemere, and I'm glad you're finding the thread rewarding. In general for non-royal persons I cover I will just show one descent, basically to justify their being included in the first place. It's interesting though that there are these others. For royalty, I may show one descent, to establish the fact (and of course sometimes there is only one); several, to demonstrate the variety of it; or all, to be comprehensive. It depends on context and, I suppose, how much effort I feel like making. I've had a look at today and it's pretty quiet as far as royal anniversaries are concerned, but I expect I will write something later. I noticed that it is the 55th birthday of Archduke Karl, present Head of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine. I won't be posting separately, but will wish His Imperial and Royal Highness a very happy birthday here.

PS Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie actually have three descents altogether from Archbishop Ussher, since there is a second one through their maternal grandmother. Here in graphical form is the descent to Major Ronald Ferguson that you showed. The Samuel Whitbread who appears among the great-great-grandparents of Hon Doreen Wingfield in the first link was incidentally a grandson of the original Samuel Whitbread, of brewery fame, and his son-in-law Thomas Coke, 2nd Earl of Leicester, the son of the agricultural pioneer Thomas Coke, 1st Earl. Although Sarah, Duchess of York was not noble by birth and the late Diana, Princess of Wales was, in some ways the former has a more impressive and varied aristocratic lineage than the latter did.


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Reply with quote  #49 
                                                                    Erekle II of Kartli and Kakheti

11th January

1055: The death of Constantine IX Monomachus, identified by me in Blood Royal II post #47 as the second Eastern Emperor from whom known descent survives. Unfortunately a most unsuccessful ruler, he had been raised to Emperor as the third husband of the Empress Zoe, daughter of Constantine VIII. She had no children by her first two marriages and, 62 when they wed, was hardly likely to have any by Constantine XI. It was a third marriage for both, descent from Constantine surviving through a daughter by his second wife. The Great Schism began in his reign. 

1158: The Emperor Friedrich I Barbarossa raises Vladislav II, elected Duke of Bohemia, to be the country’s second King. He was the son of Duke Vladislav I and grandson of Vratislav II, Bohemia’s first King. He had obtained the rule in Bohemia in 1140 in succession to his paternal uncle Duke Soběslav I, and in rivalry with his cousin, also named Vladislav, the latter’s son. Vladislav II was succeeded by his son Bedřich but he was soon displaced by Duke Soběslav II, another son of Soběslav I. However, Vladislav II’s line prevailed, his younger son Přemysl I Otakar becoming Bohemia’s third and first hereditary King in 1212 (see 15th December 1230). And thus all seven Přemyslid Kings fell in direct male line, from the first to the childless last.

1798: Erekle II, King of Kartli and Kakheti, dies after a reign of 54 years over the second kingdom and 36 over the two combined. His son George XII would be the last Georgian monarch apart from Solomon II of Imereti. Descent can be traced from Erekle II to Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, sole lawful claimant to the Russian throne, who is actually descended from him three times over.

Erekle II himself was an interesting and impressive figure, who brought Georgia a freedom and unity not seen for three centuries. Caught between the pressures of the neighbouring Persian, Turkish and Russian empires, he managed to preserve the independence of his realms and stave off ever-threatening disaster until, near the end of his reign, the monstrous Aga Mohammed Shah, eunuch founder of the Kadjar dynasty and surely one of the cruellest and most abominable rulers in even Persia’s often ghastly history, invaded and completely devastated the country, the capital Tbilisi being brutally sacked and all the women left alive in it hamstrung.

A moderniser and enlightened despot in the style of the day, as with many Georgian Kings before him Erekle II faced enormous difficulties but showed courage, imagination and skill in overcoming them. Let us hope that there will some day be a modern King of Georgia to follow him.

1923: Constantine I of Greece dies in exile in Sicily. The first Prince born on Greek soil, and the first Prince of Greece ever, he was named literally by popular demand, there being a prophecy that a King called Constantine would recapture Constantinople and re-establish the Byzantine Empire, though no doubt also for his maternal grandfather Grand Duke Constantine Nicolaevich of Russia. His successes commanding the Greek armies on two fronts in the First Balkan War ensured that he was a very popular monarch when in 1913 he succeeded his assassinated father George I, yet four years later he was dethroned.

This was due to the strains imposed by WWI and the malign influence of Eleftherios Venizelos, Greece’s demagogic Prime Minister. The King believed Greece would be best served by remaining neutral, Venizelos was an enthusiastic proponent of joining in on the Entente side. The side of the Central Powers was not really an option for Greece; anyone could see that a) the British Royal Navy controlled the Mediterranean and b) if any country was vulnerable to naval attack, Greece was. So the King was accused of favouring neutrality because that was the best he could do for his German relatives, he being mainly German by blood and his Queen, Sophie, being the sister of the German Emperor Wilhelm II.

He was and she was, but a monarch springing from the Danish royal line would not thereby be predisposed to Germanic sympathies, in fact the reverse, and Queen Sophie was also the daughter of a British Princess Royal and a granddaughter of Queen Victoria and was in fact markedly Anglophile, plus had had chilly relations with her brother ever since he objected to her converting to the Orthodox faith upon marriage. The King’s concern was for Greece and Greece alone, while where Venizelos’s concerns lay apart from with himself was hard to say.

None of that mattered in the bitter propaganda campaign waged against King Constantine and Queen Sophie, which along with the appalling behaviour of the Allies towards neutral Greece led to the King’s deposition and exile. Alexander, his second son, was raised to the Throne in his father’s stead, the proper heir George being considered insufficiently malleable by Venizelos, then Alexander’s tragic death and the failure of Venizelos’s policies produced a recall and a second reign for Constantine I. It was though even shorter than the first, military calamities in Asia Minor which were not his fault causing him to be driven into a second and final exile after less than two years.

There have now been three generations of reigning descendants of Constantine I, his sons Alexander, George II and Paul of Greece, his grandsons Constantine II of Greece and Michael I of Romania, and his great-grandson Felipe VI of Spain. We can reasonably expect that further generations will reign in Spain and feel at least a flicker of hope for the same in Romania and Serbia, but would be extremely optimistic to believe in it happening in Italy. As for Greece, even Nostradamus would hesitate to make predictions for that chaotic country, and I’m certainly not him.
[image]                                                  Constantine I of Greece with his wife and eldest son


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Reply with quote  #50 
                 Gustav I of Sweden (right) meets with the Danish monarch Christian III at the border village of Brömsebro in 1541

12th January

1321: The death of Marie of Brabant, Queen of France as the second wife of Philippe III. Their son Louis, Count of Evreux, was progenitor of a line of Kings of Navarre, and their younger daughter Marguerite Queen of England as second wife of Edward I. Marie’s elder grandson by Marguerite, Thomas of Brotherton, was Earl of Norfolk, the title descending from him to the Mowbrays and then the Howards, and the younger, Edmund of Woodstock, was Earl of Kent.

The husbands of both Marie and Marguerite were followed by a son of their respective first marriages, but the blood of Marie eventually made it to the French throne with Charles VIII, and again with Louis XII, while that of Marguerite did to the throne of England with Richard II and then Edward IV.

1519: The Emperor Maximilian I dies. He had lost the ancient Swiss patrimony of the Habsburgs to independence, but added the Netherlands and other territories by marriage to the heiress Mary of Burgundy, Spain, the Indies and much of Italy by marrying his son Philip the Handsome to the heiress Juana I, and Tyrol by negotiation. A patron of the arts and sciences and a great builder, he began the custom by which the title of Emperor-Elect was assumed without the necessity of a Papal coronation. Through his grandson by Philip, the Emperor Ferdinand I, he is a universal ancestor of today’s sovereigns; see the first part of the 1453 note on posterities for verification.

1528: Gustav I Vasa is crowned King of Sweden at the Cathedral of Uppsala. Elected King five years previously, he had delayed being crowned so as to consolidate his position and rebuild Sweden’s finances, exhausted by years of warfare in the struggle for liberation from Danish rule, which he had led to final and permanent success. An administrative and religious reformer, he centralised the country’s tax system and improved its efficiency tenfold, provoking in the process a number of rebellions which he suppressed with equal efficiency.

As with Henry VIII in England, it seems likely that his break with Rome was provoked by Papal obstinacy rather than religious differences, in his case nothing to do with his marriage but with the appointment of a new Archbishop of Uppsala, the incumbent being seen as a traitor who had collaborated with the Danes. The Pope refused even to contemplate replacing him so Gustav appointed a new Archbishop himself, thus creating the formal breach. Unlike Henry VIII, though, Gustav embraced Lutheranism and abandoned Catholic practices wholesale, this causing further rebellions, likewise suppressed.

That he was authoritarian and ruthless cannot be doubted, but without those qualities his achievement in shaping Sweden into a modern and unified kingdom would not have been possible. The development and formalisation of the modern Swedish language also stems from him, through his commissioning of the first Swedish translation of the Bible, albeit it was a translation from Martin Luther’s German edition rather than the original languages.

As far as living legacy is concerned, descent survives from Erik XIV, sole child of his first (and only royal) wife Catharina of Saxe-Lauenburg, and from two sons and three daughters by his second wife (also second cousin once removed) Margareta Leijonhufvud, who was covered in the 1st January 1516 entry. For Erik XIV see 13th December 1533; for Johan III, the elder son by Margareta Leijonhufvud, 20th December 1537; and for the younger, Karl IX, 9th December 1594.

Karl IX is there shown to be a universal ancestor of today’s sovereigns, and so therefore is Gustav I. I don’t believe any of the three daughters are, but their descent is nevertheless very widespread, which I will show by tracing descent to Queen Victoria from the eldest daughter, Catharina, and the youngest, Elisabeth, and from the middle daughter Cäcilie to Friedrich II Eugen, Duke of Württemberg, an ancestor of all today’s monarchs except the two Princes (though, as usual, Prince Joseph Wenzel falls into the net, which, also as usual, will leave the Prince of Monaco as the sole exception).

More specifically to Sweden, an idea of the stability Gustav I brought is gained by considering the Kings before him, from AD 1000 on, and after. Of the former there were 35 (though a few of these may be mythical), of whom a mere three were a son succeeding a father in the normal way and 13, over a third, were deposed in the course of their reigns. Of the latter there have been 22, of whom 12, more than half, were sons (or a daughter in one case) succeeding a father and just three were deposed.

Quite a contrast, and of the 22 only three were not blood descendants of Gustav I. Two of those were the first two Bernadotte Kings but, while much was made of the Vasa blood of Princess Viktoria of Baden, spouse of Gustaf V, the fifth Bernadotte, that blood was present in the House of Bernadotte before she was ever born.

1562: Carlo Emanuele I, future Duke of Savoy, is born at the Castle of Rivoli in Piedmont. He was an only child, and his father Emanuele Filiberto had been the only child (of nine) of his father Carlo III to live to adulthood. An expansionist ruler, bold but rash in his actions, he had some success in increasing his territories, and more in securing the dynasty, future Dukes of Savoy and then Kings of Sardinia springing from his eldest son Vittorio Amadeo I and the Kings of Italy from his youngest Tommaso, Prince of Carignano. His wife Catalina Micaela was a daughter of Felipe II of Spain by his third wife Elisabeth of Valois, and is one of the two routes through which descent survives from Henri II of France and his famous Queen Catherine de’ Medici.

1759: Anne, eldest daughter of George II of Great Britain, dies at The Hague where, following the death of her husband Willem IV of Orange, she had for eight years been Regent for her son Willem V. The second Princess Royal, also the second to be a Princess of Orange by marriage, she was born in Hanover during the reign of Queen Anne for whom she was named. Brought up mainly In England, where she was a pupil of Händel who called her ‘the flower of princesses’, she also studied art, as can be seen below.

This talented princess worked hard for her adopted country but was not generally liked there, being considered haughty and imperious. Willem V is an ancestor of the Queen of Denmark, King of Norway, Grand Duke of Luxembourg and King of Belgium, plus of course the King of the Netherlands. Her daughter Carolina is as it happens an ancestress of all those, plus as I will show the Queen, the King of Sweden and the King of Spain, and inevitably Prince Joseph Wenzel, which once again will leave Monaco as the only standout.

1810: The birth in Palermo of Ferdinando II, penultimate King of the two Sicilies. His reign was one of considerable economic and industrial progress, but disturbed by serious revolts in its latter part. The sternness with which these insurrections were suppressed gave him an ill name in Europe, but the lack of resolve his son Francesco II showed when facing similar revolts led to the kingdom’s collapse just two years after Ferdinando II’s premature death. Descent from him is discussed in the second part of the 1848 note on posterities.

                                                            A 1740 self-portrait by Anne, Princess Royal

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Reply with quote  #51 
                                                   Queen Elisabeth Christine of Prussia

13th January

1177: the death of Heinrich II of Austria, known as ‘Jasomirgott’ for his characteristic oath. He had at various times in his life been Count Palatine of the Rhine, Margrave of Austria and Duke of Bavaria, and ended up as Duke of Austria, the first to bear that title. He was also the first Austrian ruler to take Vienna as his capital, all others since following suit. The city’s famous Cathedral of St Stephen was completed in his reign. Descent is traced in Blood Royal II post #50 from children of Heinrich II’s grandson Duke Leopold VI.

1334: The future Enrique II of Castile is born, third illegitimate son of Alfonso XI by Doña Eleonore de Guzmán and the elder twin of the fourth, Fadrique. In the same year was born their legitimate half-brother the later Pedro I, known as ‘the Cruel’, who would have both Eleonore and Fadrique executed. Enrique though took from him both his life, stabbing Pedro with his own hand, and his crown, founding the House of Trastámara which would come to rule all of Spain. There is further discussion of Enrique II in the 1371 historical introduction and he is covered also in that thread’s note on posterities.

1547: Sentence of death is passed on Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, a remote aristocratic ancestor of the Queen (stage I; stage II). After a brawling and boisterous youth he had settled down, several times performing important duties for the King, Henry VIII, and becoming an accomplished poet, significant in the development of the sonnet form in English. Then Henry VIII became convinced that Lord Surrey and his father the 3rd Duke of Norfolk were somehow conspiring to usurp the Crown, and had them indicted on charges of treason. There wasn’t much in the way of evidence, but not much or none at all sufficed in that monarch’s courts, and so both were duly convicted and condemned. The King’s timely death saved the father but not the son, who had perished on Tower Hill nine days before.

1610: The birth of Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria, daughter of the future Emperor Ferdinand II. Her paternal grandparents were uncle and niece and her parents first cousins, so naturally she married her own uncle, among other things, Maximilian I, first Elector of Bavaria. This really rather horrific degree of inbreeding did not however seem to affect their two children adversely, in fact their son Ferdinand Maria was one of Bavaria’s greatest rulers. Nor did it Maria Anna herself, who was a great support to her husband and ably governed the Electorate during their son’s minority. I will trace descent through Ferdinand Maria to Carlos IV of Spain, whence it can be traced further to today’s Catholic monarchs, the Prince of Monaco aside (links can be found in the 1330 note on posterities part II).

1797: Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, Queen of Prussia as the neglected spouse of Frederick the Great, dies in Berlin. Frederick was not interested in women, and had married only under the direct orders of his tyrannical father Friedrich Wilhelm I. Once he had succeeded even the pretence of a relationship was abandoned, he living at his palace of Sanssouci in Potsdam when not on campaign and she in Berlin, the couple rarely seeing each other and once not for six years at a stretch.

Elisabeth Christine busied herself with the ceremonial duties and Court appearances which her husband hated and generally refused to perform, being in that way at the centre of Prussian life. It was not a role for which her shy and retiring nature really suited her but she performed it well, occupying herself also with charitable activities and the writing of devotional literature in French.

The sad Queen had no children, in fact it is not unlikely that the marriage was never consummated, but a posterity survives from four of her siblings, the Queen of Denmark for example being descended from all four. These were Karl I, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, Luise, wife of Prince August Wilhelm of Prussia and mother of Frederick the Great’s successor Friedrich Wilhelm II, Sophie Antonie, wife of Ernst Friedrich, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, and Juliane Marie, Queen of Denmark and Norway as second wife of Friedrich V.

1865: The birth of Princess Marie of Orléans, who very unusually for a Catholic royal woman married a Protestant Prince, and who was unusual in other respects too, Bohemian and free-spirited in her ways and without any kind of pretension. This endeared her to the people of Denmark where she lived as the bride of Prince Valdemar, youngest son of Christian IX, and engaged in many charitable activities as well as the artistic endeavours which were her passion.

Her husband’s passions seemed to be mainly engaged with his nephew Prince George of Greece and Denmark, but nevertheless he and Marie had five children together, four boys and a girl, the former brought up Lutheran as per the marriage agreement and the latter Catholic. This was Princess Margrethe of Denmark, mother of Queen Anne of Romania and thus perhaps, who knows, ancestral to a future Romanian sovereign. There will be more tomorrow on the odd couple Marie and Valdemar and the bizarre entanglements between their family and that of Prince George.
                                                Prince Valdemar and Princess Marie with their children

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Reply with quote  #52 
                                                        Vratislav II, Bohemia’s first King

14th January

1092: Vratislav II, first ever King of Bohemia, dies following a hunting accident. He had succeeded his elder brother Spytihněv II as Duke of Bohemia in 1061, and in 1085 was given the lifetime title of King by the Emperor Heinrich IV, a reward for Vratislav’s loyal support in the Investiture Controversy and various internal and external conflicts. Vratislav was not without internal conflicts of his own, mainly with his surviving brothers Jaromír, Konrád and Ota. In pursuit of a quarrel with Jaromír, who was Bishop of Prague, Vratislav founded the See of Olomouc or Olmütz, raised to an archiepiscopate in 1777 and continuing today.

Despite his episcopal garb in the representation above, Vratislav was himself neither a bishop nor ordained; the privilege of wearing the robe and mitre had been granted to Spytihněv II by Pope Victor II who sought his support, and was renewed for Vratislav by Gregory VII in an attempt to wean him away from the Emperor’s side. Like any sensible ruler, Vratislav pocketed the concession and gave nothing in return. For descent from him, see 11th January 1158 above.

1131: The birth of the future Valdemar I of Denmark, known as den Store, ‘the Great’, posthumous son of Knud Lavard (see 7th January 1131). Aged 15 he claimed the throne in succession to his abdicated first cousin Erik III, claims also being made by another first cousin, Sweyn III, and a second cousin (twice), Knud V. After nearly ten years of civil war the three agreed to divide Denmark between themselves, but at a banquet hosted by Sweyn to celebrate the agreement the treacherous host turned on his guests, succeeding in killing Knud. Valdemar however escaped, killing Sweyn in battle later that year and reigning thereafter as sole King. That was in 1157, and there has never since been a Danish monarch not of Valdemar’s blood.

1236: Saint Sava, founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church and Serbia’s patron saint, dies at Trnovo, the Bulgarian capital, where he was staying on his way back from his second pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Saint Sava’s importance in Serbian culture and history cannot be overestimated, but his inclusion here is because he was born Rastko Nemanjić, youngest son of Stephen Nemanja, founder of the medieval Serbian kingdom. Made Prince of Hum as a youth, after two years Rastko abandoned his fief and journeyed to Mount Athos, where he became a monk under the name Sava by which he is known today. After 14 years he returned to Serbia, where he reconciled his quarrelling brothers Vukan and Stephen and laboured to ensure that Orthodoxy rather than Catholicism, towards which the latter seemed to lean, would be the Serbian religious tradition.

In Nicaea in 1219 the Patriarch Manuel I consecrated him as first Archbishop of Serbia, and he then returned home again to found the various sees into which the newly established autocephalous church would be divided, also finding time to write the country’s first constitution. He thus became the founder of Serbian law as well as the country’s national church, while the many devotional works and lives of saints he authored are regarded as crucial in the development of medieval Serbian literature. In 1594 his relics were publicly burnt by the Ottoman rulers of Serbia, but that made no difference to the veneration felt towards this extraordinary man, in his lifetime and ever since. All sovereigns today are descendants of his above-mentioned brother Stephen, who in 1217 had become Serbia’s first King. See the 1330 note on posterities part II for a link from Stephen’s grandson Stephen Dragutin.

1301: The death of András III, the last Árpád King of Hungary. His father Stephen was legally the posthumous son of András II by his third wife Beatrice d’Este, but Stephen’s elder half-brothers had refused to acknowledge his paternity and declared him to be the Queen’s bastard, a view that was widely held and led to András III’s accession and reign being far from uncontested. Eleven turbulent and troubled years after the reign began he died leaving only a daughter, removed from contention by being kidnapped and forced into the religious life. His eventual successor was his first cousin thrice removed Károly I, the country’s first Angevin King.

1477: The birth of Hermann of Wied, fifth son of Count Friedrich I, who inherited Wied maternally and was progenitor of the third and still surviving House of Wied. As with many younger sons Hermann entered the Church, rising in his case to be Archbishop-Elector of Cologne, in which capacity in 1520 he crowned the Emperor Charles V as German king. Hermann became more and more swayed by the arguments of the reformers, and in 1542 openly embraced Protestantism. In 1546 he was deposed and excommunicated by Pope Paul III, and in 1547 retired to Wied where five years later he died. To establish a genealogical connection between the apostate Archbishop and the present day, his elder brother Johann III, Count of Wied, was an ancestor of Jan Willem Friso, frequently cited as nearest common ancestor of the current sovereigns.

1766: Frederik V of Denmark and Norway dies and is subsequently buried in Roskilde Cathedral, where he lies with his Oldenburg predecessors back to Christian I, excepting only Hans and Christian II, buried in St Canute's Cathedral, Odense, and Frederik I, interred in Schleswig Cathedral. Generally viewed as a drunkard and womaniser, this appears to be an accurate assessment, and although an absolute monarch he left the governance of his realms mainly in the hands of ministers. He was nevertheless quite popular as having brought an end to the stifling Pietism that had dominated the Danish Court and public life under his father Christian VI, and his reported last words ‘It is a great consolation to me in my final hour that I have never wilfully offended anyone, and that there is not a drop of blood on my hands’ give a more appealing insight into his character.

He married twice, and all today’s sovereigns apart from the Kings of Sweden and the Netherlands plus the two Princes are descended at least once from a child of each marriage, and therefore a minimum twice from Frederik himself. Carl XVI Gustaf is nevertheless twice descended, both times from the first marriage, while the overall record (among sovereigns, the children and grandchildren of Constantine II of Greece are descended eight times) is held by the King of Norway, with six descents.

1814: The signature of the Treaty of Kiel, formally ending 433 years of personal union between Denmark and Norway. Under its provisions Norway was to go to Sweden, Denmark retaining Greenland, Iceland and the Faeroe Islands, all traditionally possessions of the Norwegian Crown, and Denmark was also to receive Swedish Pomerania and further compensation to be negotiated.

These final provisions were not observed, the Norwegians declining to accept subjection to Sweden and electing the Danish heir as their sovereign. They had their minds forcibly changed but won the crucial concession that Norway would remain separate and autonomous within a Union of Crowns rather than simply being merged with Sweden, then electing the Swedish monarch Carl XIII as King of Norway. Swedish Pomerania went to Prussia and Denmark received the Duchy of Saxe-Lauenburg from Hanover, which obtained the territory of Ostfriesland in its stead.

In 1864 Saxe-Lauenburg was annexed by Prussia (effectively, though for a time it technically remained a separate duchy with the Prussian monarch as Duke), as was the entire Kingdom of Hanover two years later. In 1905 Norway separated from Sweden and again elected a Danish prince as its King, the decision sticking this time. And in 1944 Iceland became an independent republic, so the only remaining effect of the Treaty of Kiel today is the Danish possession of Greenland and the Faeroes, both of which are now autonomous regions under the Crown of Denmark.

1939: The youngest and last surviving child of Christian IX of Denmark dies. This was Prince Valdemar, whose lifelong profession had been as a sailor, rising to the rank of Admiral in the Danish service. The previous day would have been the 74th birthday of his wife Princess Marie of Orléans, had Valdemar not been a widower for 29 years.

His extraordinary family life, touched upon yesterday in coverage of Princess Marie, featured a lifelong romance between Valdemar and his nephew Prince George of Greece and Denmark, son of Valdemar’s brother George I of Greece, an affair between his wife Marie and George’s wife Princess Marie Bonaparte, and another between the latter and Valdemar’s eldest son Prince Aage. Despite all these episodes relations between and within the two households, which during summers effectively merged into one, appear to have been almost always harmonious and serene.

1972: Frederik IX of Denmark dies. Twentieth Oldenburg monarch of Denmark, he was only the fourth of these not to be buried in Roskilde Cathedral. Instead he was interred just outside it, the country’s ‘sailor King’ having wished his grave to be in the open air and within sight of the sea. He had only daughters by his wife Princess Ingrid of Sweden, an aunt of King Carl Gustaf, and would therefore have been followed by his brother Knud (VI) were it not for the 1953 Act of Succession providing for male-preference rather than male primogeniture. The change was understandably resented by Prince Knud, but brought the country’s present sovereign Margrethe II to the Throne on what seems to have been a very Danish day so far as this entry is concerned (as well as somewhat episcopal).

                       An original manuscript page from the Karyes Typikon by Saint Sava

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In regard to the entry above on St. Sava of Serbia, Peter notes that the Ottomans burned the relics of the Saint in 1594 on a hill in Belgrade.  The spot that the relics were burned has now become a deeply venerated place in the Serbian Orthodox Church.  Serbia has constructed on this very spot, the largest Orthodox Church in all of Europe, known as the St. Sava Temple.  It is not yet complete as the interior is still being worked on, but it is a very impressive building and a "must see" for anyone visiting Belgrade.


The Lion of Judah hath prevailed.

Ethiopia stretches her hands unto God (Quote from Psalm 68 which served as the Imperial Motto of the Ethiopian Empire)

"God and history shall remember your judgment." (Quote from Emperor Haile Selassie I's speech to the League of Nations to plead for assistance against the Italian Invasion, 1936.)

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                       Louis XV of France and his then fiancée Mariana Victoria of Spain

15th January

936: Members of four dynasties have been Kings of France or the Franks since the kingdom’s foundation by Clovis, Merovingians, Carolingians, Robertians/Capetians and Burgundians. Or to be more precise a Burgundian, since King Raoul who died 1,080 years ago today was the sole example from this line. A son-in-law of Robert I, the second Robertian, he was elected to succeed him in 923, Robert’s son Hugues having refused the Crown. His 12-year reign, marked by conflicts with Germany and with his own nobles and by Viking raids and a Magyar invasion, was terminated by a fatal illness and the Carolingian Louis IV succeeded him. He is believed to have had at least one son and possibly a daughter, but next to nothing is known of them. His blood though did eventually make it back to the French throne, Louis VIII being a remote descendant of his sister Richildis, and remained on it while the kingdom endured.

1432: The birth at Sintra of an heir to Portugal’s throne. At six years old the boy would become Afonso V, a monarch I gave rather unfavourable consideration to in the 1453 introduction, while his posterity, identical to that of his son João II, is thereby covered in the second part of the 1492 note on posterities. He was the first to use the title ‘King of Portugal and the Algarves’. This had been introduced in singular form by Afonso III (reigned 1248-1279), but it was Afonso V that added the final s, counting his African conquests as a second Algarve.

1559: The coronation at Westminster Abbey of Queen Elizabeth I of England. The day, a Sunday, and time, noon, had been chosen on the advice of the famous astrologer John Dee; apparently the date was not favourable in all aspects, but was the best that could be found given that the coronation had to be held as soon as possible so as to strengthen the new Queen’s position, while allowing time for a suitably spectacular occasion to be organised. And spectacular it was, with a strong Protestant theme in the masques given and verses recited by children as the Queen made the traditional procession from the Tower to the Abbey.

The coronation itself though was by the Catholic rite, albeit there were Scripture readings in English as well as Latin and the Queen discreetly retired before the Host was elevated. Due to doubts about her religious intentions the Archbishop of York (Canterbury was vacant at the time) had refused to perform the ceremony, as did the other bishops until eventually Owen Oglethorpe, Bishop of Carlisle, was reluctantly persuaded.

Time was to prove the bishops right in their suspicions, and the smiling reception the monarch gave to the pageants and recitals above-mentioned had confirmed the hopes of the citizens of London. Elizabeth’s reign though would be neither intolerantly Protestant like that of her brother Edward VI, nor intolerantly Catholic like that of her sister Mary I, but would find the middle way that the Church of England she refounded has sought to follow ever since.

1781: The death in Lisbon of the Dowager Queen Mariana Vitoría. Born Infanta Mariana Victoria of Spain, eldest daughter of Felipe V and his second wife Elisabeth Farnese, she had been intended to marry Louis XV of France, her first cousin, but while she had been sent aged only two to the French court, and resided there for the next five years, her eight years older cousin had no wish to wait for her to reach marriageable age before he could be wed and she was spurned and sent back to Spain.

A plan B was now required for the young Infanta’s nuptials, and the answer lay in neighbouring Portugal. Having reached the grand age of ten, in 1729 Mariana Victoria married her twice second cousin José, Prince of Brazil and heir to the Portuguese throne, himself then 14. It was a good match, the two discovering a mutual passion for hunting and for music, especially opera, though Mariana Victoria was distressed by her husband’s frequent infidelities.

Becoming King and Queen upon the 1750 death of José’s father João V, they had four daughters that lived to adulthood but their only son was stillborn, so the successor was the eldest daughter Maria I, first of Portugal’s two regnant Queens. Their posterity is discussed in exhaustive detail in Blood of the Braganças parts II and III, which can be found in the 1848 thread. Wikipedia to the contrary, it does not include the present or any other King of Spain; this piece of misinformation seems to occur there in every conceivable place it could, Mariana Victoria’s own article being no exception.

1882: Princess Margaret of Connaught is born at her parents’ home, Bagshot Park, Surrey. Her father Prince Arthur, named for the great 1st Duke of Wellington, was Queen Victoria’s third son, created Duke of Connaught and Strathearn in 1874, while her mother was Princess Luise Margarete of Prussia, a daughter of Prince Friedrich Karl of the same (a double first cousin of the future German Emperor Friedrich III) and Princess Maria Anna of Anhalt.

As Margaret grew, she added beauty, charm and accomplishment to her impeccable royal pedigree, and was seen as one of Europe’s most marriageable princesses. In January 1905 she, her parents and her younger sister Patricia took a trip to Portugal, where they were entertained by the Portuguese royal family and there was talk of one of the princesses marrying their third cousin once removed Dom Luís, the heir to Portugal’s throne, presumably Patricia since she was nearer in age. But while one of the sisters would indeed meet her future husband on this trip, it was not in Portugal that her fate lay.

The family continued on to Egypt, then under British control. Also visiting Egypt at the time was their twice third cousin Prince Gustaf of Sweden and Norway, grandson of King Oscar II and heir after his father Crown Prince Gustaf. He and Margaret met, were immediately mutually attracted and Prince Gustaf soon proposed marriage. Marrying at Windsor Castle in June, after an Irish honeymoon they arrived in Sweden on 8th July. Crown Princess upon the 1907 death of Oscar II and accession of her father-in-law Gustaf V, by then Margaret was fluent in Swedish and the mother of two sons, with two more and a daughter to come.

Combining raising her family with diligent charitable work and pursuing her interests in sport, art and photography, the British princess became very popular with the Swedish public, and all mourned when in 1920 she died, only 38 years old and carrying what would have been her sixth child. Today her grandson reigns in Sweden as Carl XVI Gustaf and her granddaughter in Denmark as Margrethe II. One day perhaps her great-grandson will reign in Greece as Paul II, but while that could well be doubted her crowned descendants can be expected to occupy at least two thrones for the foreseeable future.

                                              Princess Margaret of Connaught, Crown Princess of Sweden

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[TheCathedraloftheDormition-e1367185291795]Moscow’s Cathedral of the Dormition

16th January

1400: The death of John Holland, 1st Duke of Exeter. Third-born son of Thomas Holland, a minor Lancashire nobleman who rose high for his service in the French wars of Edward III, and his wife the Princess Joan, a granddaughter of Edward I by his son Edmund of Woodstock, John Holland was a half-brother of Richard II, his mother Joan having married the Black Prince after Thomas Holland’s death. Fiercely loyal to his younger half-sibling, John was rewarded by him with the Earldom of Huntingdon and Dukedom of Exeter. To his brother-in-law Henry IV (John’s wife being the latter’s full sister Elizabeth of Lancaster) he was not so loyal, conspiring for his overthrow, and found himself at the wrong end of the headsman’s axe. He left three sons and three daughters by his royal bride, the Queen (stage I: stage II) being a descendant of their eldest daughter Constance.

1547: At the Cathedral of the Dormition in Moscow, the 16-year-old Ivan IV, popularly remembered as Ivan the Terrible, is crowned not as Grand Prince of Moscow but as Tsar of All the Russias, the first time this title was formally assumed. His tenth (ignoring various dubious claims) successor in the title, Peter the Great, was also the last, as in 1721 he altered it to Emperor. Tsar however continued to be generally if inaccurately used, as did Tsarevich (which had never been the specific title of the heir) instead of the correct Tsesarevich.

1556: The 42-year reign of Felipe II in Spain begins, following the abdication as King of his father the Emperor Charles V. Felipe had already been King of Naples, Sicily and nominally Jerusalem since 1554, also becoming England’s (and Ireland’s) only King Consort in that year, a status he lost in 1558 on the death of his wife Queen Mary I. He still had a further kingdom to add, though, forcibly taking possession of Portugal in 1581.

He had other notable successes in his four decades on the throne, ending Turkish domination of the Mediterranean with the victory at Lepanto, and establishing Spanish hegemony in Italy, decisively defeating the French who also sought to rule the peninsula. However, his ceaseless involvement in foreign wars, his attempts (the famous Armada of 1588 was just one of four he launched) to conquer England and the internal troubles his repressive policies and religious intolerance caused, most significantly the uprising in the Netherlands, drained the Spanish treasury to the extent that, despite the enormous wealth flowing in from the Indies, during his reign Spain defaulted on loans no less than four times.

Certainly a conscientious and hard-working ruler, and one of considerable ability, overall it seems to me that his reign must be judged a failure, for all the power he wielded and fame (mingled with a good measure of infamy) he accrued. Four times married, Felipe II had nine children altogether. Of the nine, four survived to adulthood and descent remains from two, which are Catalina Micaela, by marriage Duchess of Savoy, a daughter by Elisabeth of Valois, the third wife, and Felipe II’s successor Felipe III, a son by Anna of Austria, the fourth. Their descent is very widespread in Catholic royal lines; the Prince of Liechtenstein for example descends only through his paternal grandmother Archduchess Elisabeth of Austria, but still does so 36 times altogether, 14 through Catalina Micaela and 22 through Felipe III.

1592: Johann Casimir of Palatinate-Simmern dies at Heidelberg. A younger son of Elector Friedrich III, he shared his father’s Calvinist zeal and was accordingly dismayed by his brother Ludwig VI’s embrace of Lutheranism. There was little he could do about it apart from sheltering expelled Calvinist theologians in his own appanage, until his brother died leaving the nine-year-old Friedrich IV as his heir. Governing the Palatinate for nine years as Regent for his young nephew, he reverted the territory to Calvinism and ensured that his charge would follow in his faith. Johann Casimir’s marriage to Elisabeth of Saxony, ironically herself a Lutheran, was extremely unhappy and she ended up in her husband’s prison on charges of adultery and treason. They nevertheless had several children together, by one of whom, Dorothea, the feuding couple were ancestral to Jan Willem Friso and thus all sovereigns of today.

1836: The last King of the Two Sicilies, Francesco II, is born in Naples. The only child of his father Ferdinando II’s first wife Maria Christina of Savoy, his mother died five days after he was born, so he was raised by his stepmother Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria, whom his father married a year and six days after being widowed, along with his numerous half-brothers and sisters by her.

A gentle and melancholic character, more pious than practical, Francesco was ill-equipped for the role his father’s premature death thrust him into, and soon failed in it, losing the kingdom to Garibaldi’s revolutionary forces and the invading armies of Sardinia. He married Duchess Maria Sophia in Bavaria, sister of the Empress Elisabeth, but their only child, a daughter born in Rome after the fall of the kingdom, died aged three months and his father’s posterity was left to his half-siblings.

1942: Queen Victoria’s last surviving son, Prince Arthur, 1st Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, dies at his Surrey home Bagshot Park. His lengthy military career, which had begun in 1866 when he was 16, saw him rise on his merits to Field Marshal, and he engaged in public service throughout Britain and the Empire, including a five-year-stint as Governor-General of Canada, from 1911 to 1916. An individual esteemed and loved by all who knew him, through his daughter Margaret, covered in the preceding entry, he is the great-grandfather of two current sovereigns, the Queen of Denmark and King of Sweden. He might have been a sovereign himself but declined the succession to Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, it going instead to his nephew Charles Edward, posthumous son of Prince Arthur’s younger brother Leopold, 1st Duke of Albany.

1957: The death of another royal public servant, Alexander Cambridge, only Earl of Athlone. Born Prince Alexander of Teck, a younger brother of Queen Mary, he married Princess Alice of Albany, elder sister of the above-mentioned Charles Edward; see 3rd January 1981 for her. Also an army officer, he rose in his case to Major-General, seeing action in two conflicts in South Africa and in WWI, fighting in both France and Flanders. Governor-General of the Union of South Africa from 1924 to 1931 and of Canada from 1940 to 1946, he was a great success in both roles and played a key role as a facilitator in the crucial years of his Canadian viceregal appointment. Among the other public posts held by this eminent man were Governor and Constable of Windsor Castle from 1931 until his death, and Chancellor of the University of London from 1932 to 1955.

[Vista_aerea_del_Monasterio_de_El_Escorial]El Escorial, constructed under Felipe II
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