April 1: Today in Royal History

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Effigy of Eleanor of Aquitaine; Credit – Wikipedia

April 1, 1204 – Death of Eleanor of Aquitaine, wife of King Henry II of England, at Fontevrault Abbey in Maine-et-Loire, Duchy of Anjou, now in France; buried at Fontevrault Abbey
Eleanor of Aquitaine was Duchess of Aquitaine in her own right, Queen of France (the first wife of King Louis VII of France, marriage annulled after 15 years) and Queen of England (wife of King Henry II of England). She survived her first husband, her second husband, and eight of her ten children. Eleanor was about 82 when she died. No other queen consort was to reach this age for over 700 years. Queen Alexandra, wife of King Edward VII died at age 81 and Queen Mary, wife of King George V died at age 85. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, wife of King George VI, passed away on March 30, 2002, at age 101.  Eleanor’s tomb was desecrated during the French Revolution but her effigy is still displayed at Fontevrault Abbey.
Unofficial Royalty: Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen of England

April 1, 1704 – Birth of Amalie von Wallmoden, Countess of Yarmouth, mistress of King George II of Great Britain, in Hanover, Electorate of Hanover, now in the German state of Lower Saxony
Amalie von Wallmoden, Countess of Yarmouth was the mistress of King George II of Great Britain from 1735 until the King’s death in 1760. She was the last British royal mistress to be granted a peerage title.
Unofficial Royalty: Amalie von Wallmoden, Countess of Yarmouth, mistress of King George II of Great Britain

April 1, 1825 – Birth of Auguste of Austria, Princess of Bavaria, wife of Luitpold, Prince Regent of Bavaria, in Florence, Grand Duchy of Tuscany, now in Italy
Auguste was the daughter of Leopoldo II, Grand Duke of Tuscany.  In 1844, she married Prince Luitpold of Bavaria, a younger son of King Ludwig I of Bavaria. The couple had four children including Ludwig III, the last King of Bavaria. Auguste was a devoted mother to her four children, speaking to them only in Italian, as well as a strong supporter of her husband and the Bavarian monarchy. In 1848, she publicly criticized her father-in-law, King Ludwig I, for his relationship with his mistress Lola Montez and the negative effects it was having on the monarchy.  On April 26, 1864, Princess Auguste died, aged 39, from tuberculosis which she had suffered from for many years.
Unofficial Royalty: Auguste of Austria, Princess of Bavaria

April 1, 1851 – Birth of Bernhard III, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen in Meiningen, Duchy of Saxe-Meiningen now in Thuringia, Germany
Full name: Bernhard III Friedrich Wilhelm Albrecht Georg
Bernhard III was the last reigning Duke of Saxe-Meiningen, a scholar, a Field Marshal in the Prussian army, and the husband of Queen Victoria’s granddaughter Princess Charlotte of Prussia. He was interested in the Greek language and was the author and translator of several works. Between 1873 and 1894, he made numerous study trips to Greece and Asia Minor, where he visited archaeological sites and had worked with well-known archaeologists. In 1878,  Bernhard married Princess Charlotte of Prussia, the eldest daughter of Friedrich III, German Emperor and King of Prussia and Victoria, Princess Royal, and the sister of Wilhelm II, German Emperor. Bernhard and Charlotte had one child. After his abdication in 1918 at the end of World War I, Bernhard lived his remaining years at Schloss Altenstein in Bad Liebenstein, now in Germany. His wife Charlotte died in 1919. Bernhard survived her by nine years, dying at the age of 76.
Unofficial Royalty: Bernhard III, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen

April 1, 1922 – Death of Karl I, the last Emperor of Austria, in Madeira, Portugal; buried at the Church of Our Lady of the Monte in Madeira, Portugal; his heart is with the heart of his wife Zita at Loreto Chapel of Muri Abbey near Basle, Switzerland
In 1911, Karl married Princess Zita of Bourbon-Parma. The couple had eight children. Their oldest child Otto, who was Crown Prince during his father’s short reign, was the longest surviving of their children and died on July 4, 2011, at the age of 98. In 1889, after the suicide of Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria, the only son of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria, the next heir was Karl’s grandfather Archduke Karl Ludwig, but within a few days, he renounced his claim in favor of his son Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Archduke Franz Ferdinand was the heir until his assassination on June 28, 1914, an event that was one of the causes of World War I. Archduke Franz Ferdinand had been allowed to make a morganatic marriage with the condition that children of the marriage would not have succession rights. Upon Franz Ferdinand’s death, Karl became the heir. He succeeded to the throne upon the death of Emperor Franz Joseph I in 1916 and was the last Emperor of Austria. Karl spent the rest of his life in exile, dying in 1922. On October 3, 2004, Pope John Paul II beatified Karl I, the last Emperor of Austria, and he is known as Blessed Karl of Austria. Beatification is the third of four steps toward sainthood in the Roman Catholic Church. On January 31, 2008, the Roman Catholic Church, after a 16-month investigation, formally recognized a second miracle attributed to Karl I which is required for his canonization as a saint. However, no word on his canonization has been forthcoming.
Unofficial Royalty: Emperor Karl I of Austria

April 1, 1947 – Death of King George II of Greece at the Royal Palace in Athens, Greece; buried at Tatoi Royal Cemetery in Tatoi, Greece
George II was the eldest son of King Constantine I of Greece and Princess Sophie of Prussia. Due to unrest in Greece, George was King of Greece twice (1st reign 1922 – 1924, monarchy abolished; 2nd reign 1935 – 1947)  and was forced into exile three times. Also unlucky in marriage, he married his second cousin, Princess Elisabeta of Romania. Their marriage was childless and ended in divorce. His health declining, George was found unconscious in his office at the Royal Palace in Athens, Greece on April 1, 1947. Several hours later, it is announced that he had died of arteriosclerosis.
Unofficial Royalty: King George II of Greece

April 1, 1975 – Death of Philipp Albrecht, Duke of Württemberg in Ravensburg, Germany; buried in the family crypt in Altshausen, Germany
Full name: Georg Philipp Albrecht Carl Maria Joseph Ludwig Lubertus Stanislaus Leopold
Philipp Albrecht, Duke of Württemberg was Head of the House of Württemberg, and pretender to the former throne, from 1939 until his death in 1975.
Unofficial Royalty: Philipp Albrecht, Duke of Württemberg

April 1, 1993 – Death of Infante Juan of Spain, Count of Barcelona, son of King Alfonso XIII of Spain, father of King Juan Carlos of Spain, in Pamplona, Spain; buried in the Royal Crypt at San Lorenzo del Escorial in Escorial, Spain
Juan was a great-grandson of Queen Victoria through his mother Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg. In 1935, he married Princess Maria Mercedes of Bourbon-Two Sicilies. The couple had four children including King Juan Carlos I of Spain. After both of his elder brothers renounced their rights of succession, Juan became heir-apparent to the Spanish throne.  After the Spanish monarchy was overthrown and the Second Spanish Republic was declared, the royal family went into exile. In 1947, Francisco Franco, who ruled over Spain from 1939 to 1975, as a dictator, declared that the monarchy would be restored after his death. It would be another 22 years before Franco named his successor. Feeling that Juan would be too liberal, he instead passed over him and chose Juan’s son, Juan Carlos, as heir to the Spanish throne. Despite never being King of Spain, Juan was buried with the honors of a king upon his death in 1993.
Unofficial Royalty: Infante Juan of Spain, Count of Barcelona

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