March 18: Today in Royal History

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Maria Caterina Brignole, Princess of Monaco. Credit: Wikipedia

March 18, 979 – Assassination of Saint Edward the Martyr, King of England at Corfe Castle in Dorset, England; initially buried at St. Mary’s Church in Wareham, Dorset, England, later buried at Shaftesbury Abbey and finally in at St. Edward the Martyr Orthodox Church in Woking, Surrey, England
In 975, when King Edgar the Peaceful died, he left two surviving sons: Edward around 13 years of age, and Æthelred around 7 years old. Various nobles and clergy formed factions that supported each of the brothers’ succession to the throne. Both boys were too young to have played any significant role in the political maneuvering, and so it was the brothers’ supporters who were responsible for the turmoil which accompanied the choice of a successor to the throne. In the end, Edward’s supporters, mainly Saint Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury and Oswald of Worcester, Archbishop of York, proved more powerful and persuasive, and he was crowned king before the year was out. Ælfthryth, the mother of Edward’s half-brother Æthelred, was not happy that her son, born of a legal marriage, was not king.  Aelfthryth invited her stepson Edward to Corfe Castle and arranged for him to be welcomed with a cup of wine. As Edward drank the wine, he was stabbed in the back while still mounted on his horse. He fell off, but his foot caught in the stirrup and he was dragged to his death.
Unofficial Royalty: Assassination of Saint Edward the Martyr, King of England
Unofficial Royalty: Saint Edward the Martyr, King of England

March 18, 1496 – Birth of Mary Tudor, daughter of King Henry VII of England, at Richmond Palace in Surrey, England
The daughter of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, and the sister of King Henry VIII, 18-year-old Mary was first married to 52-year-old twice-married King Louis XII of France who was eager to have a son to succeed him but Louis XII died just three months after the wedding. Through her second marriage to Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk, Mary was the grandmother of the ill-fated Lady Jane Grey.  Mary got along well with her brother Henry VIII. However, in the late 1520s, their relationship became strained because Mary opposed Henry’s attempt to obtain an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon so he could marry Anne Boleyn. Mary had known Catherine for many years and had a great fondness for her, but had developed a strong dislike for Anne Boleyn when she served as one of her maids of honor in France.
Unofficial Royalty: Mary Tudor, Queen of France, Duchess of Suffolk

March 18, 1609 – Birth of King Frederik III of Denmark and Norway at Haderslevhus Castle in Haderslev, Denmark
Frederik had an elder brother so he was not expected to become king. In 1643, he married Sophie Amalie of Brunswick-Lüneburg, and the couple had eight children. In 1647, Frederik’s 44-year-old childless elder brother Christian, Prince-Elect of Denmark and heir apparent to the Norwegian throne, died and his death opened up the possibility for Frederik to be elected heir apparent to the Danish throne. However, when King Christian IV died less than nine months later, Frederik had not yet been elected heir apparent to the Danish throne. After long deliberations between the Danish Estates and the Rigsraadet (royal council), he was finally elected King of Denmark. In 1660, Frederik III used his popularity to end the elective monarchy in favor of a hereditary, absolute monarchy in which the legislature was dissolved and the monarch ruled by decree. This lasted until 1849 when Denmark-Norway became a hereditary, constitutional monarchy. Frederik was an enthusiastic collector of books and his collection became the foundation for the Royal Library in Copenhagen which he founded in 1648. Frederik died at the age of 60, after three days of a painful illness, on February 9, 1670.
Unofficial Royalty: King Frederik III of Denmark

March 18, 1722 – Birth of Heinrich XI, 1st Prince Reuss of Greiz in Greiz, County of Reuss-Obergreiz, now in Thuringia, Germany
Heinrich XI was only eight-months-old when his father died on November 17, 1722. His four-year-old brother Heinrich IX succeeded their father as Count Reuss of Obergreiz but he reigned only four months, dying on March 17, 1723. Heinrich XI became Count Reuss of Obergreiz the day before his first birthday. Heinrich XI was a reigning Count and then a reigning Prince from 1723 until his death in 1800, a total of 77 years.
Unofficial Royalty: Heinrich XI, 1st Prince Reuss of Greiz

March 18, 1813 – Death of Maria Caterina Brignole, Princess of Monaco, wife of Honoré III, Prince of Monaco, at Wimbledon House in Wimbledon, London, England; buried at St. Aloysius Church in London, England
In 1757, Maria Caterina married Honoré III, Prince of Monaco, who was eager to marry to provide Monaco with an heir and to obtain Maria Caterina’s large dowry. The couple had two sons including Honoré IV, Prince of Monaco. Maria Caterina and Honoré III lived mostly in Paris where Maria Caterina spent a lot of time with Louis Joseph de Bourbon, Prince of Condé, a great-grandson of Louis XIV, King of France and his mistress Françoise-Athénaïs de Rochechouart, Marquise de Montespan. Louis Joseph used his influence to obtain a legal separation for Maria Caterina from Honoré and the right to manage her own finances. Honoré finally realized his relationship with Maria Caterina was over and eventually accepted Maria Caterina’s relationship with Louis Joseph. There was never a divorce or annulment. Honoré continued with his mistresses and he allowed Maria Caterina to see her two sons.
Unofficial Royalty: Maria Caterina Brignole, Princess of Monaco

March 18, 1848 – Birth of Princess Louise of the United Kingdom, daughter of Queen Victoria, at Buckingham Palace in London, England
Full name: Louise Caroline Alberta
Louise developed a strong interest in the arts. Queen Victoria permitted her to enroll at The National Art Training School, to pursue her interests and she became a very skilled painter and sculptress. She sculpted a statue of Queen Victoria which stands today on the grounds of Kensington Palace. In 1871, Louise married John Campbell, Marquess of Lorne and heir to the Dukedom of Argyll. Queen Victoria found this to be a wonderful match, infusing ‘new blood’ into the royal family. Others, including the Prince of Wales, found it appalling that the Princess should marry below her class. Louise and her husband had no children. From 1878 – 1883, Louise’s husband was Governor-General of Canada and the couple resided at Rideau Hall in Ottawa. Louise was widowed in 1914 when her husband passed away after a lengthy illness. Louise would survive him by more than 25 years. During this time, she remained an active member of the royal family, taking part in official events and maintaining contact with many of her patronages and charities. Louise spent her remaining years at Kensington Palace, where she died at the age of 91.
Unofficial Royalty: Princess Louise of the United Kingdom

March 18, 1895 – Death of Charlotte Montagu Douglas Scott, Duchess of Buccleuch and Queensberry, Queen Victoria’s Mistress of the Robes 1841–1846, at Ditton Park in Slough, Buckinghamshire, England; buried in the family crypt at The Church of St. Mary the Virgin, at Dalkeith Palace in Midlothian, Scotland
Born Lady Charlotte Thynne, the daughter of Thomas Thynne, 2nd Marquess of Bath, Charlotte married Walter Montagu Douglas Scott, 5th Duke of Buccleuch and 7th Duke of Queensberry, in 1829.
Unofficial Royalty: Charlotte Montagu Douglas Scott, Duchess of Buccleuch and Queensberry

March 18, 1913 – Assassination of King George I of Greece in Thessaloniki, Greece, buried at the Royal Cemetery at Tatoi, Greece
George was the son of King Christian IX of Denmark and the brother of King Frederik VIII of Denmark, Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom, and Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia. In 1863, he was unanimously elected King by the Greek National Assembly. In 1867, George married Grand Duchess Olga Konstantinovna of Russia. They had eight children including Prince Andreas of Greece, the father of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. George quickly learned Greek and was often seen informally strolling through the streets of Athens. His reign of nearly 50 years was characterized by territorial gains as Greece established its place in pre-World War I Europe. In 1913, while walking in Thessaloniki, Greece, George was killed when an assassin shot him at close range in the back.
Unofficial Royalty: Assassination of George I, King of Greece
Unofficial Royalty: King George I of Greece

March 18, 1914 – Birth of Ernst August (IV), Hereditary Prince of Brunswick, Prince of Hanover in Brunswick in the Duchy of Brunswick now in Lower Saxony, Germany
Full name: Ernst August Georg Wilhelm Christian Ludwig Franz Joseph Nikolaus Oskar
Ernst August (IV) was the eldest son of Ernst August (III), Duke of Brunswick and Princess Viktoria Luise of Prussia, the only daughter of Wilhelm II, German Emperor and King of Prussia. He was the senior male-line descendant of King George III of the United Kingdom, which made him the pretender to the former Kingdom of Hanover. He was also a great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria via his mother. In 1951, Ernst August (IV) married Princess Ortrud of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg. They had six children including the present Prince Ernst August (V), the husband of Princess Caroline of Monaco. After his first wife’s death, Ernst August (IV) married Countess Monika zu Solms-Laubach. Ernst August (IV) died in 1987 at the age of 73.
Unofficial Royalty: Ernst August (IV), Hereditary Prince of Brunswick, Prince of Hanover

March 18, 1929 – Death of Princess Elise of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, Princess Reuss of Gera, wife of Heinrich XXVII, 5th and the last reigning Prince Reuss of Gera, at Schloss Osterstein in Gera, Germany; buried in the family cemetery in the Park of Schloss Ebersdorf in Saalburg-Ebersdorf in Thuringia, Germany
Elise was christened Elise Victoria Feodora Sophie Adelheid and two of her names reflect that her paternal grandmother was Princess Feodora of Leiningen, the half-sister of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. Elise’s two siblings have connections to Queen Victoria’s family through their marriages. In 1884, Elise married Heinrich XXVII, the future 5th Prince Reuss of Gera and the couple had five children. Upon the death of his father in 1913, Elise’s husband became the 5th Prince Reuss of Gera and the Regent of the Principality of Reuss-Greiz. His reign was only five years long. After the German defeat in World War I in 1918, Heinrich XXVII abdicated his position as 5th Prince Reuss of Gera, and as Regent abdicated for the disabled Heinrich XXIV, 6th Prince Reuss of Greiz. The new government of Reuss-Gera made an agreement with Heinrich XXVII that granted him some castles and land. Heinrich XXVII, the 5th and last Prince Reuss of Gera died at the age of 70 on November 21, 1928, at Schloss Osterstein in Gera, Germany. Elise survived her husband by only four months, dying on March 18, 1929, aged 64.
Unofficial Royalty: Princess Elise of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, Princess Reuss of Gera

March 18, 1983 – Death of Umberto II, the last King of Italy in Geneva, Switzerland; buried at Hautecombe Abbey in France
King Umberto II was the last monarch of Italy, reigning for just 34 days. In 1930, Umberto married Princess Marie-José of Belgium, the daughter of King Albert I of the Belgians and the couple had four children. At the end of World War II, Italy held a referendum to decide on the continuation of the monarchy, Umberto’s father King Vittorio Emanuele III formally abdicated on May 9, 1946, hoping to help ensure a positive result in the vote and Umberto took the throne as King Umberto II. The referendum was held on June 2, 1946, with the majority voting to become a Republic. Umberto had promised to accept and support the result and encouraged the Italian people to support the new government. On June 12, 1946, King Umberto II of Italy was formally deposed and left Italy. He settled in Cascais, Portugal, where he would live for the remainder of his life. His wife Queen Marie-José also left and settled near Geneva, Switzerland. The couple led separate lives but remained married. On March 18, 1983, King Umberto II died in a hospital in Geneva, Switzerland. Despite the nearly 37 years since he sat on the Italian throne, his funeral was attended by members of most of the reigning and non-reigning royal houses of Europe.
Unofficial Royalty: King Umberto II of Italy

March 18, 2011 – Death of Princess Antoinette of Monaco, Baroness de Massy, sister of Prince Rainier III of Monaco, at The Princess Grace Hospital Centre; buried at the Chapelle de la Paix in Monaco
Antoinette was the elder of the two children of Princess Charlotte of Monaco, Duchess of Valentinois and Count Pierre de Polignac.  Antoinette had one younger brother Prince Rainier III of Monaco. Princess Antoinette had a long-term affair with Alexandre-Athenase Noghès, a tennis player. The couple had three illegitimate children who were later legitimized when their parents married in 1951. The couple divorced three years later. Princess Antoinette married Dr. Jean-Charles Rey, President of the Conseil National, Monaco’s legislature, in 1961. Before they married, Antoinette and Rey had a long-term affair. Antoinette and Rey had no children and divorced in 1974. In 1983, Princess Antoinette married a former British ballet dancer John Gilpin. Gilpin died from a heart attack six weeks after marrying Antoinette. Princess Antoinette died at The Princess Grace Hospital Centre on March 18, 2011, at age 90.
Unofficial Royalty: Princess Antoinette of Monaco, Baroness de Massy

March 18, 2012 – Death of King George Tupou V of Tonga at Queen Mary Hospital in Pok Fu Lam, Hong Kong; buried at Malaʻekula Royal Burial Grounds, in Nukuʻalofa, Tonga
King George Tupou V had a short reign from 2006 – 2012. His father had been an absolute monarch. George Tupou is known for introducing democracy to Tonga. During the period between his accession to the throne and his coronation, George Tupou and his advisors put together a framework for sweeping political reforms. Three days before the coronation ceremony, King George Tupou V announced he was ceding most of his executive powers to a democratically elected parliament. On March 18, 2012, King George Tupou V, aged 63, died at Queen Mary Hospital in Pok Fu Lam, Hong Kong.
Unofficial Royalty: King George Tupou V of Tonga

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