April 13: Today in Royal History

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Maria Theresa of Naples and Sicily, Empress of Austria; Credit – Wikipedia

April 13, 1275 – Death of Eleanor of England, Countess of Leicester, daughter of King John of England, at Montargis Abbey, France; buried at Montargis Abbey
After a seven-year, childless marriage, to the much older William Marshal, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, Eleanor married Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester. The displeasure of the English nobility with Eleanor’s brother King Henry III resulted in the Second Barons’ War. The leader of the forces against Henry III was led by Eleanor’s husband who wanted to reassert the Magna Carta and force the king to surrender more power to the baron’s council. Henry III’s son, the future King Edward I led the royalists into battle, defeating and killing de Montfort and his eldest son Edward at the Battle of Evesham. Today, Simon de Montfort is considered one of the fathers of representative government. Eleanor lived the rest of her life as a nun at Montargis Abbey where she died and was buried.
Unofficial Royalty: Eleanor of England, Countess of Leicester

April 13, 1519 – Birth of Catherine de Medici, wife of King Henri II of France, in Florence, Republic of Florence, now in Italy
Catherine de’ Medici was a member of the Italian House of Medici, a banking family and political dynasty that first came to prominence during the first half of the 15th century in the Republic of Florence. In 1533, Catherine married Henri, Duke of Orléans (the future King Henri II), the second son of François I, King of France. They had ten children including three Kings of France. In 1536, Henri’s elder brother François died and Henri became the heir to the French throne. He succeeded his father on March 31, 1547, his 28th birthday. After the death of her husband in 1559 due to injuries suffered while jousting in a  tournament, Catherine played an important role in the government of France as three of her sons reigned as King of France. She continued to play a role in the government until the last few weeks of her life, dying on January 5, 1589, aged 69.
Unofficial Royalty: Catherine de Medici, Queen of France

April 13, 1573 – Birth of Christina of Holstein-Gottorp, Queen of Sweden, second wife of King Karl IX of Sweden, in Kiel, Duchy of Holstein-Gottorp, now in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
In 1592, Christina married the future King Karl IX of Sweden as his second wife. They had four children including Gustavus II Adolphus the Great, King of Sweden. In 1611, Christina’s husband died. Christina was co-regent for her son Gustavus II Adolphus during his short regency. Christina was considered the real power behind the throne during the early years of her son’s reign. In 1622, Christina’s younger son Karl Philip died at the age of twenty after a serious illness. Christina was heartbroken after the death of her younger son, and she retired from public life and lived in seclusion. She survived her husband by fourteen years, dying at the age of 52.
Unofficial Royalty: Christina of Holstein-Gottorp, Queen of Sweden

April 13, 1807 – Death of Maria Theresa of Naples and Sicily, Empress of Austria, second of the four wives of Emperor Franz I of Austria; at Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria; buried at the Imperial Crypt in Vienna, Austria
Maria Theresa married her double first cousin then Archduke Franz of Austria. This was Franz’s second marriage and the only one of his four marriages that resulted in surviving children. Seven of their twelve children survived to adulthood. Among the children of Franz and Maria Theresa were: Marie-Louise, the second wife of Napoleon Bonaparte; Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria, and Maria Leopoldina, the wife of Emperor Pedro I of Brazil.  The marriage lasted nearly seventeen years and was said to be a happy one. Maria Theresa died soon after giving birth to her twelfth child, who also died.
Unofficial Royalty: Maria Theresa of Naples and Sicily, Empress of Austria

April 13, 1866 – Birth of Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich of Russia, husband of Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna of Russia (daughter of Alexander III, Emperor of All Russia), in Tbilisi, Caucasus Viceroyalty of the Russian Empire, now the capital of Georgia
Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich of Russia, known as Sandro, was the son of Grand Duke Michael Nikolaevich of Russia (son of Nicholas I, Emperor of All Russia). In 1894, Sandro married Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna of Russia, the sister of Sandro’s friend, the future Nicholas II, Emperor of All Russia, and the daughter of Alexander III, Emperor of All Russia and Dagmar of Denmark (Empress Maria Feodorovna). The couple had one daughter and six sons and they are the ancestors of most of the current Romanov descendants. Sandro and Xenia escaped during the Russian Revolution, and Sandro was the only one of four surviving brothers to escape Russia. His brother Sergei was killed by the Bolsheviks in July 1918 with Grand Duchess Elisabeth Feodorovna and four other Romanovs. His brothers Nicholas and George along with two other Grand Dukes were shot in January 1919 at the Fortress of St. Peter and Paul in St. Petersburg.
Unofficial Royalty: Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich of Russia

April 13, 1870 – Death of Sarah Lyttelton, Baroness Lyttelton, Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Victoria and Governess to the Royal Children, at Hagley Hall in Hagley,  Worcestershire; buried in the Lyttelton family plot in the cemetery at St. John the Baptist Church in Hagley
Born Lady Sarah Spencer, the daughter of George Spencer, 2nd Earl Spencer, she married Sir William Henry Lyttelton, 3rd Baron Lyttelton. She was in Queen Victoria’s service from 1837 – 1850. Upon her retirement from service, Sarah returned to her family at Hagley Hall and settled into life as a grandmother. She kept in contact with the Royal Family and occasionally met them at social functions. In January 1858, she was a guest at the wedding of The Princess Royal and Prince Friedrich of Prussia (the future German Emperor Friedrich III). Ten years later, she hosted a visit from the couple at her home in London. At the age of 82, The Dowager Baroness died at Hagley Hall on April 13, 1870.
Unofficial Royalty: Sarah Lyttelton, Baroness Lyttelton

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