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January 1, 1515 – Death of King Louis XII of France at the Hôtel des Tournelles in Paris, France; buried at the Basilica of St. Denis near Paris, France
Louis succeeded his father as Duke of Orléans at the age of three. Although his descent from the French ruling line was somewhat distant, Louis was aware of his close proximity to the throne should the main Valois line become extinct. King Charles VIII died unexpectedly in 1498. Although he and his wife had had several children, none survived him, allowing Louis’ succession as King Louis XII of France. Louis XII married three times. His last wife was 18-year-old Mary Tudor, daughter of King Henry VII of England and sister of King Henry VIII of England. The 52-year-old Louis XII was still eager to provide himself with a male heir. However, the marriage lasted only four months due to Louis’s death.
Unofficial Royalty: King Louis XII of France
January 1, 1516 – Birth of Margareta Leijonhufvud, Queen of Sweden, wife of King Gustav I of Sweden; at Ekeberg Castle in Närke, Sweden
Margareta was selected as the king’s second wife because she belonged to one of the leading Swedish noble families which created an alliance between the king and one of the most powerful factions of the nobility. Although Margareta was twenty years younger than her husband, she felt very comfortable in her role as Queen of Sweden and had a great influence on King Gustav I Vasa. Margareta gave birth to ten children. Her constant pregnancies took a toll on her health and she died from pneumonia at the age of 35.
Unofficial Royalty: Margareta Leijonhufvud, Queen of Sweden
January 1, 1559 – Death of King Christian III of Denmark and Norway at Koldinghus in Kolding, Denmark; buried at Roskilde Cathedral in Roskilde, Denmark
Christian III lived during the time of the Reformation. After the death of his father, the Catholic Frederik I, the Council of State had a lengthy discussion on whether the Danish throne should go to Christian, Frederik I’s Lutheran son from his first marriage, or Frederik I’s Catholic twelve-year-old son Johann from his second marriage. In 1534, Christian was proclaimed Christian III, King of Denmark at an assembly of Lutheran nobles in Jutland. However, the Council of State, made up of mostly Catholic bishops and nobles, refused to accept Christian III as king. Johann, Frederik’s son from his second marriage, was deemed too young and the council was more amenable to restoring the deposed King Christian II to the throne because he had supported both the Catholics and Protestant Reformers at various times. Christopher, Count of Oldenburg, the grandson of a brother of King Christian I of Denmark and the second cousin of both Christian II and Christian III, led the military alliance to restore King Christian II to the throne. What resulted was a two-year civil war, known as the Count’s Feud, from 1534 – 1536, between Protestant and Catholic forces, that led to King Frederik I’s son from his first marriage ascending the Danish throne as King Christian III. In 1537, Christian III was also recognized as King of Norway. He died on January 1, 1559, aged 55.
Unofficial Royalty: King Christian III of Denmark
January 1, 1728 – Death of Friedrich Anton Ulrich, Prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont in Arolsen, Principality of Waldeck and Pyrmont, now in Hesse, Germany; first buried at the Stadt-Kirche Bad Wildungen in Bad Wildungen now in the German state of Hesse; in 1962, his remains were transferred to the Princely Burial Chapel at the Church of St. Mary in Netze, a district of Waldeck, now in the German state of Hesse
Friedrich Anton Ulrich was the Count of Waldeck-Pyrmont from 1706 – 1712 and then the first Prince of Waldeck-Pyrmont from 1712 – 1728. In 1700, Friedrich Anton Ulrich married Luise of Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld and the couple had eleven children. Friedrich Anton Ulrich’s most notable accomplishment was his building program which resulted in considerable indebtedness for the small principality. With the building of the Residenzschloss Arolsen, the town of Arolsen became the main town of the Principality of Waldeck-Pyrmont. Friedrich Anton Ulrich died on January 1, 1728, aged 51.
Unofficial Royalty: Friedrich Anton Ulrich, Prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont
January 1, 1766 – Death of James Francis Edward Stuart, the Old Pretender, son of King James II of England, at the Palazzo Muti in Rome, Italy; buried at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City
Upon the death of his exiled father in 1701, James was recognized by King Louis XIV of France as the rightful heir to the English and Scottish thrones. Spain, the Vatican, and Modena recognized him as King James III of England and VIII of Scotland and refused to recognize William III, Mary II, or Anne as legitimate sovereigns. As a result of James claiming his father’s lost thrones, he was attainted for treason in 1702 and his titles were forfeited under English law. After James II lost his throne, the Jacobite (from Jacobus, the Latin for James) movement formed. The goal of the Jacobites was to restore the Roman Catholic Stuart King James II of England/VII of Scotland and his heirs to the thrones of England and Scotland. 1719, James Francis Edward Stuart married Maria Clementina Sobieska. The couple had two sons: Charles Edward Stuart, The Young Pretender, (Bonnie Prince Charlie) and Henry Benedict Stuart, Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. After James’ failures to regain the throne, attention fell upon his son Charles Edward, The Young Pretender, whose Jacobite Rising of 1745 culminated in the final devastating loss for the Jacobites at the Battle of Culloden. James Francis Edward Stuart died at his home, the Palazzo Muti in Rome, on January 1, 1766, aged 77.
Unofficial Royalty: James Francis Edward Stuart
Unofficial Royalty: The Jacobite Succession – Pretenders to the British Throne
January 1, 1808 – Death of Luise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, Duchess of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, wife of the future Friedrich Franz I, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin at Ludwigslust Palace in Ludwigslust, then in the Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, now in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany; buried in the Luise Mausoleum at Ludwigslust Palace
In 1775, Luise married Friedrich Franz, then the Hereditary Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. The couple had six children including Luise Charlotte who married Emil Leopold, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, and had one daughter Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, mother of Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Queen Victoria’s husband. Luise became the Duchess of Mecklenburg-Schwerin upon her husband’s accession in 1785. She died at the age of 52.
Unofficial Royalty: Luise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, Duchess of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
January 1, 1850 – Death of Friederike of Prussia, Duchess of Anhalt in Dessau, Duchy of Anhalt, now in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany; buried in the Marienkirche in Dessau, after the church was destroyed by bombing during World War II, the Duchess’s remains were moved to the Berenhorst crypt in the Historical Cemetery in Dessau
In 1818, Friederike married Leopold IV Friedrich, Duke of Anhalt-Dessau. The marriage had been arranged by the Prussian court, and they had been formally engaged since May 1816. Friederike and Leopold had four children. Friederike also became Duchess of Anhalt-Köthen in 1847 when that duchy was inherited by her husband. She died in 1850 at the age of 54. Three years after Friederike’s death, the Dessau and Köthen duchies were joined as one – the Duchy of Anhalt-Dessau-Köthen, and in 1863, were merged with the last remaining Anhalt duchy – Anhalt-Bernburg – becoming the unified Duchy of Anhalt, with her husband becoming the first reigning Duke.
Unofficial Royalty: Friederike of Prussia, Duchess of Anhalt
January 1, 1851 – Death of Leopold II, Prince of Lippe in Detmold, Principality of Lippe, now in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany; first buried at the Church of the Redeemer in Detmold, later his remains were moved to the Mausoleum at the Büchenberg in Detmold
When Leopold II was just five-years-old, his father Leopold I, Prince of Lippe died at the age of 34. Leopold II’s mother Pauline of Anhalt-Bernburg very capably acted as Regent of the Principality of Lippe until 1820. In 1820, Leopold II married Princess Emilie of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen. They had nine children including three reigning Princes of Lippe. Leopold, shy by nature, lived a restrained life. He had two passions: hunting and the theater. The Lippe Princely Court Theater (Hochfürstliches Lippisches Hoftheater) he established in Detmold was among the best in the German monarchies. The theater established by Leopold II is still in existence today. Now called the Landestheater Detmold, it is a theater for operas, operettas, musicals, ballets, and stage plays in Detmold, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. In 1851, Leopold died at the age of 54.
Unofficial Royalty: Leopold II, Prince of Lippe
January 1, 1888 – Death of Marie Friederike of Hesse-Kassel, Duchess of Saxe-Meiningen, wife of Bernhard II, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen, in Meiningen, Duchy of Saxe-Meiningen, now in Thuringia, Germany; buried in the Ducal Crypt Chapel in the Meiningen municipal cemetery until 1977 when her remains were removed from the chapel, cremated and buried elsewhere in the cemetery
Marie Friederike married Bernhard II, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen in 1825 and the couple had two children. Marie Friederike was the Duchess of Saxe-Meiningen until her husband was forced to abdicate in favor of his son, in 1866 following the defeat of Austria, who he supported, in the Austro-Prussian War. The couple took up residence at the Great Palace in Meiningen, where they would live for the rest of their lives. Marie Friederike died in 1888 at the age of 84.
Unofficial Royalty: Marie Friederike of Hesse-Kassel, Duchess of Saxe-Meiningen
January 1, 1952 – Birth of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Emir of Qatar in Doha, Qatar
Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani was Emir of Qatar from 1995 until 2013. Sheikh Hamad traveled extensively, promoting diplomatic ties with countries both within the region and elsewhere. He spent a significant amount of time in the United Kingdom, having several private properties there. He was typically accompanied by his second wife Sheikha Mozah who took on a much more public role than his other two wives who, in keeping with tradition, were seldom seen in public. On June 25, 2013, after eighteen years as Emir, Sheikh Hamad announced his abdication in favor of his son Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa.
Unofficial Royalty: Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Emir of Qatar
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