December 31: Today in Royal History

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  • Post published:December 30, 2023
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Charles Edward Stuart, known as Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Young Pretender; Credit – Wikipedia

December 31, 1510 – Death of Bianca Maria Sforza, Holy Roman Empress, Archduchess of Austria, third wife of the three wives of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, Archduke of Austria, in Innsbruck, County of Tyrol, now in Austria; buried at the Abbey Church in the Crypt of the Princes of Tyrol at Stams Abbey in Stams, County of Tyrol, now in Austria

Unofficial Royalty: Bianca Maria Sforza, Holy Roman Empress, Archduchess of Austria

December 31, 1705 – Death of Catherine of Braganza, Queen of England, wife of King Charles II of England, at the Palace of Bemposta in Lisbon, Portugal; originally buried at the Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon, Portugal; re-interred at the Monastery of São Vicente de Fora in Lisbon, Portugal
The daughter of King João IV of Portugal, in 1662, Catherine married King Charles II of England in two ceremonies, a private Catholic one, and a public Anglican one.  Catherine’s Roman Catholicism made her an unpopular queen. Despite fathering at least 16 illegitimate children with his mistresses, Charles had no children with Catherine.  It is thought that Catherine did have at least three miscarriages.  Despite having many mistresses, Charles insisted that Catherine be treated with respect, and sided with her over his mistresses when he felt she was not receiving the respect she was due. After the death of King Charles II in 1685 and the accession of Charles’ brother King James II, Catherine continued to live in England. Catherine remained in England after King James II was overthrown in 1688 by the Glorious Revolution and his daughter and her husband and first cousin took the throne as King William III and Queen Mary II. However, Catherine found that her position with the new monarchs deteriorated and she decided to return to Portugal in 1693. She was an important female figure to her nephew, the future King João V of Portugal after his mother died. When her brother King Pedro II grew tired of government, Catherine served as his regent. Catherine died at her Palace of Bemposta in Lisbon, Portugal at the age of 67.
Unofficial Royalty: Catherine of Braganza, Queen of England

December 31, 1720 – Birth of Charles Edward Stuart, known as Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Young Pretender, at Palazzo Muti in Rome, Italy
Charles Edward Stuart was the elder of the two sons of James Francis Edward Stuart, The Old Pretender, who was the son of the exiled King James II of England/VII of Scotland. As the first-born son of the titular King James III of England/VIII of Scotland, Charles was styled as Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall from birth. Charles Edward Stuart was the instigator of the Jacobite rising of 1745 which culminated in the Battle of Culloden. The superior British forces needed just 25 minutes to defeat the Jacobite forces in the Battle of Culloden. Between 1,500 and 2,000 Jacobites were killed or wounded while the British losses were much lighter, with 50 dead and 259 wounded. After the Battle of Culloden, there were no further Jacobite uprisings. In 1766, when Charles’s father James Francis Edward died, Charles was still unmarried and his only sibling was a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, so Charles decided to find himself a bride so the Stuart line could be continued. In 1772, 52-year-old Charles married 20-year-old Princess Louise of Stolberg-Gedern. The marriage was unsuccessful and produced no children. With the deaths of Charles Edward Stuart in 1788, and his younger brother Cardinal Henry Benedict Stuart in 1807, the male line of the British Royal House of Stuart became extinct. The Jacobite line of succession to the British throne passed to King Carlo Emanuele IV of Sardinia through the line of Henrietta of England, Duchess of Orléans, the youngest child of King Charles I of England. The Jacobite line of succession has proceeded over the years to the House of Savoy, House of Austria-Este, and to the House of Wittelsbach. It appears in the future, that it will proceed to the House of Liechtenstein.
Unofficial Royalty: Charles Edward Stuart, The Young Pretender, Bonnie Prince Charlie
Unofficial Royalty: The Jacobite Succession – Pretenders to the British Throne

December 31, 1741 – Birth of Princess Isabella of Parma, Infanta of Spain, first wife of the future Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II, at Buen Retiro Palace in Madrid, Kingdom of Spain

Unofficial Royalty: Isabella of Parma, Archduchess of Austria

December 31, 1885 – Birth of Victoria Adelaide of Schleswig-Holstein, Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, wife of Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, at the Gut Grünholz in Thumby, Duchy of Schleswig-Holstein, now in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
Full name: Viktoria Adelheid Helene Luise Marie Friederike
In 1905, Viktoria Adelheid married Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the only son of Queen Victoria’s youngest son Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany and Princess Helena of Waldeck and Pyrmont. The couple had five children including Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the mother of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden. After World War I, Charles Edward abdicated from the throne of the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. During the period between the two World Wars, Charles Edward became active in the Nazi Party. After World War II, in 1949, a denazification appeals court classified Charles Edward as a Nazi Follower, Category IV. He was heavily fined and almost bankrupted. After World War II, some of the Saxe-Coburg and Gotha properties that were now in East Germany were seized. The family was left with Schloss Callenberg in Coburg, Bavaria, Germany and Schloss Greinburg an der Donau in Grein, Austria. After her husband’s death in 1954, Viktoria Adelheid spent time traveling, often with her sister-in-law, Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone.
Unofficial Royalty: Victoria Adelaide of Schleswig-Holstein, Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

December 31, 1893 – Birth of Prince Friedrich Christian of Saxony, Margrave of Meissen, pretender to the former throne of Saxony, and head of the House of Saxony, from 1932 until his death in 1968, in Dresden, Kingdom of Saxony, now in the German state of Saxony
Full name: Friedrich Christian Albert Leopold Anno Sylvester Macarius of Saxony
Friedrich Christian was the second son of the last King of Saxony, King Friedrich August III who lost his throne after World War I. In 1932, Friedrich Christian became heir apparent to the former throne of Saxony when his elder brother Georg renounced his rights to the throne and entered the priesthood. Nine years later, his father died and Friedrich Christian became Head of the House of Saxony and pretender to the former throne. At that time, he took on the historic title Margrave of Meissen.
Unofficial Royalty: Prince Friedrich Christian of Saxony, Margrave of Meissen

December 31, 1935 – Birth of King Salman of Saudi Arabia in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
King Salman is the current King of Saudi Arabia having succeeded his half-brother King Abdullah in 2015. King Salman initially named his younger half-brother Muqrin as Crown Prince. However, in April 2015, he removed Muqrin and instead named his nephew Muhammad bin Nayef as Crown Prince.  In June 2017, King Salman removed his nephew Muhammad bin Nayef from all positions and named his son Mohammad bin Salman as Crown Prince. King Salman has made headlines for his extravagant trips to the United States and the southern coast of France, traveling with an entourage numbering in the hundreds. He has also been the source of much media speculation as to his health. Some media reports have suggested that the King is suffering from some form of dementia, possibly Alzheimer’s Disease. There has been no formal statement from the Royal Court regarding these claims. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is considered the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia and has led many reforms within the country, as well as creating a number of controversies,
Unofficial Royalty: King Salman of Saudi Arabia

December 31, 2016 – Death of Prince Dmitri Romanov in a hospital in Copenhagen, Denmark; buried at Vedbæk Cemetery in Rudersdal, Denmark
Prince Dmitri Romanov, a great-great-grandson of Nicholas I, Emperor of All Russia, was one of the disputed pretenders to the Headship of the Russian Imperial Family from 2014 – 2016.
Unofficial Royalty: Prince Dmitri Romanov

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