April 19: Today in Royal History

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Prince Hendrik of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, husband of Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands; Credit – Wikipedia

April 19, 1390 – Death of Robert II, King of Scots at Dundonald Castle in Ayshire, Scotland; buried at Scone Abbey in Scone, Scotland
The first monarch of the House of Stewart, Robert II, King of Scots was the only child of Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland and Marjorie Bruce, the daughter of Robert I the Bruce, King of Scots. Fortunately, Robert II’s reign was more peaceful than previous reigns. Hostilities with England were renewed in 1378 and went on intermittently for the rest of Robert II’s reign. In 1384, when Robert II became senile, he left the administration of the kingdom to his eldest son John, Earl of Carrick, who succeeded him as Robert III, King of Scots.
Unofficial Royalty: Robert II, King of Scots

April 19, 1658 – Death of Kirsten Munk, Countess of Schleswig-Holstein, morganatic second wife of King Christian IV of Denmark, at Boller Castle in Horsens, Denmark; buried at Saint Canute’s Cathedral in Odense, Denmark
When widower Christian IV became attracted to 18-year-old Kirsten, her astute mother did not want her daughter to become Christian’s mistress and instead negotiated a morganatic marriage between Christian and her daughter due to Kirsten’s status as a noble. Kirsten received properties in her name and was assured of a widow’s pension. Christian IV and Kirsten’s ten children were styled Count and Countess of Schleswig-Holstein and did not have succession rights. On April 19, 1658, Kirsten died at Boller Castle, her estate near Horsens on Jutland in Denmark at the age of 60. Her remains were brought to the city of Odense, now in Denmark but then occupied by Kirsten’s son-in-law Count Corfitz Ulfeldt and the Swedish army. There Kirsten was given a splendid funeral at St. Canute’s Cathedral where she was also buried.
Unofficial Royalty: Kirsten Munk, Countess of Schleswig-Holstein

April 19, 1680 – Death of Maria Hedwig of Hesse-Darmstadt, Duchess of Saxe-Meiningen, first wife of Bernhard I, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen in Ichtershausen Duchy of Anhalt, now in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany; first buried in the crypt of the city church in Meiningen, Duchy of Anhalt, now in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany, before being moved to the castle church at Elisabethenburg Palace in Meiningen
In 1671, Marie Hedwig married Bernhard I, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen. The couple had seven children. In 1680, Marie Hedwigs’s husband Bernhard and his six brothers, who collectively governed the Duchy of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, concluded a treaty of separation, with each brother getting a portion of the Duchy of Saxe-Gotha Altenburg and becoming a Duke. One of the seven new duchies was the Duchy of Saxe-Meinigen and Bernhard became the first Duke of Saxe-Meinigen. However, the principality’s coat of arms featured a black hen, which was seen at the time as a symbol of magic and witchcraft. Marie Hedwig made it clear that she would not move to the “land of the black hen”. Nine weeks before the planned move, Marie Hedwig died after giving birth to her youngest child just a few weeks earlier.
Unofficial Royalty: Maria Hedwig of Hesse-Darmstadt, Duchess of Saxe-Meiningen

April 19, 1689 – Death of Queen Christina of Sweden in Rome, Italy; buried at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Italy
Christina, Queen of Sweden was the only surviving child of Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden and became Queen of Sweden at the age of six upon his death in battle. Christina caused a scandal when she decided not to marry and then when she abdicated her throne and subsequently converted to Roman Catholicism. she left Sweden and lived most of the rest of her life in Rome where she played a prominent role in the city’s cultural life. Christina is one of three women to be interred in the crypt at St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican.
Unofficial Royalty: Queen Christina of Sweden

April 19, 1733 – Death of Elizabeth Hamilton, Countess of Orkney, mistress of King William III of England, at her London, England home in Albemarle Street; buried at Taplow Court, in Taplow, Buckinghamshire, England
Born Elizabeth Villiers, she was the first cousin of another royal mistress, Barbara Palmer, 1st Duchess of Cleveland, born Barbara Villiers, a mistress of King Charles II of England.  Within a year of the death from smallpox of Queen Mary II, his wife and first cousin, William III ended his relationship with Elizabeth Villiers, motivated by the wishes of his wife expressed before her death. He arranged for Elizabeth to marry one of his regimental commanders and thereafter ignored her. Both Elizabeth and her husband went from serving the Stuart monarchs to serving the Hanoverian monarchs.
Unofficial Royalty: Elizabeth Hamilton, Countess of Orkney, mistress of King William III of England

April 19, 1793 – Birth of Ferdinand I, Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary and Bohemia, in Vienna, Austria
Full name: Karl Leopold Joseph Franz Marcellin
Ferdinand was developmentally delayed and suffered from epilepsy, hydrocephalus, neurological problems, and a speech impediment. His epilepsy caused him to have as many as twenty seizures per day, and this severely restricted his ability to rule with any effectiveness.  Ferdinand abdicated the throne in favor of his nephew Franz Joseph during the Revolutions of 1848.
Unofficial Royalty: Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria

April 19, 1822 – Death of Prince Platon Alexandrovich Zubov, lover of Catherine II (the Great), Empress of All Russia, at Rundāle Palace in Rundāle, Russian Empire, now in Latvia; buried in the Zubov family crypt at the Coastal Monastery of Saint Sergius in Strelna near St. Petersburg, Russia
Prince Platon Alexandrovich Zubov was the last lover of Catherine II (the Great), Empress of All Russia. There was a thirty-eight-year age difference between Platon and Catherine. He was also one of the conspirators in the assassination of Catherine II’s son and successor Paul I, Emperor of All Russia, and was one of the fourteen people present at Paul’s murder.
Unofficial Royalty: Prince Platon Alexandrovich Zubov, lover of Catherine II (the Great), Empress of All Russia

April 19, 1876 – Birth of Prince Hendrik of the Netherlands, born Prince Heinrich of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, husband of Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, in Schwerin, Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, now in the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
Full name: Heinrich Wladimir Albrecht Ernst
Heinrich was the youngest of the four children of Friedrich Franz II, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and his third wife Marie of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt. Among his half-siblings were Friedrich Franz III, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, father of Alexandrine, Queen of Denmark and Cecile, last Crown Princess of Prussia, and Marie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (Maria Pavlovna of Russia) who married Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich of Russia. Their son Kirill became a pretender to the Russian throne after the assassination of his cousin Nicholas II of Russia.
Unofficial Royalty: Prince Heinrich of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Prince of the Netherlands

April 19, 1902 – Death of Heinrich XXII, 5th Prince of Reuss of Greiz, in Greiz, Principality of Reuss-Greiz, now in Thuringia, Germany; first buried in the Waldhaus Mausoleum in Greiz, Principality of Reuss-Greiz, 1969 remains cremated and buried at the Neue Friedhof (New Cemetery) in Greiz, Thuringia, Germany; 1997 remains moved to Stadtkirche St. Marien in Greiz, Thuringia, Germany
When Heinrich XXII was thirteen-years-old, his father Heinrich XX, 4th Prince of Reuss of Greiz died. He then succeeded his father as the 5th Prince Reuss of Greiz. Heinrich XXII’s mother Caroline Amalie was Regent of the Principality of Reuss-Greiz from 1859 until 1867. In 1872, Heinrich XXII married Princess Ida of Schaumburg-Lippe, and they had one son and five daughters including Princess Hermine Reuss of Greiz who was the second wife of the former German Emperor and King of Prussia, Wilhelm II. Heinrich XXII, 5th Prince of Reuss of Greiz died from heart disease on April 19, 1902, aged 56, in Greiz, Principality of Reuss-Greiz. Heinrich XXII’s disabled son Heinrich XXIV succeeded him nominally as the 6th Prince Reuss of Greiz. However, two regents from the House of Reuss-Gera (also called the Younger Line) successively ruled the Principality of Reuss-Greiz for the disabled Heinrich XXIV: Heinrich XIV, 4th Prince Reuss of Gera from 1901 – 1913, and then his son Heinrich XXVII, 5th and last Prince Reuss of Gera from 1913 – 1918, when the monarchy was abolished in 1918 at the end of World War I.
Unofficial Royalty: Heinrich XXII, 5th Prince of Reuss of Greiz

April 19, 1956 – Wedding of Prince Rainier III of Monaco and Grace Kelly at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Monaco
Grace Kelly was a well-known film actress before her marriage and she won an Academy Award for Best Actress for The Country Girl which also starred Bing Crosby and William Holden. Since much of Grace and Rainier’s lives were in the public eye, a private courtship was something of a task, especially considering the distance between the United States and Monaco. After meeting the Prince in Monaco during the Cannes Film Festival in May 1955, Grace corresponded with Rainier until he made a trip to the United States in December of that year. He asked Grace to marry him over the Christmas holiday, and on January 5, 1956, their engagement was announced in a press conference held at her family’s home in Philadelphia.
Unofficial Royalty: Wedding of Prince Rainier III of Monaco and Grace Kelly

April 19, 1968 – Birth of King Mswati III of Eswatini at Raleigh Fitkin Memorial Hospital in Manzini, then in Swaziland
Born: Prince Makhosetive Dlamini
King Mswati is one of many sons fathered by King Sobhuza II, who married 70 wives who gave him 210 children between 1920 and 1970.  King Sobhuza II died in 1982, at the age of 83, having reigned for 82 years. Kings cannot appoint their successors, nor is there a line of succession. A traditional council called the Liqoqo decides which of the wives shall be “Great Wife” and “Indlovukati” (She-Elephant / Queen Mother) after the death of a king. The “Great Wife” must be of good character and cannot be one of the first two wives (known as ritual wives) chosen for the king by the national councilors. The son of this “Great Wife” will automatically become the next king. 14-year-old Mswati was selected to be the next king.
Unofficial Royalty: King Mswati III of Eswatini

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