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March 23, 1429 – Birth of Margaret of Anjou, Queen of England, wife of King Henry VI of England, at Pont-à-Mousson, Duchy of Lorraine, now in France
In 1445, Margaret married King Henry VI of England and had one son Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales. Margaret was one of the principal players in the Wars of the Roses, the battle for the English crown between the House of Lancaster and the House of York. Her son was killed at the Battle of Tewkesbury where Margaret led the Lancastrian forces. Her husband was sent to the Tower of London and where he died, probably murdered on orders from King Edward IV from the House of York. Margaret was imprisoned at Wallingford Castle in England while her father René, Duke of Anjou worked tirelessly to arrange his daughter’s release. In 1475, King Louis XI agreed to pay Margaret’s ransom provided that her father would cede to France his territories of Anjou, Bar, Lorraine, and Provence. Margaret returned to France and died on August 25, 1482, at the age of 53.
Unofficial Royalty: Margaret of Anjou, Queen of England
March 23, 1801 – Assassination of Paul I, Emperor of All Russia at the Mikhailovsky Castle in St. Petersburg, Russia; buried at the Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia
Paul was the son of Grand Duchess Catherine Alexeievna (born Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst, later Catherine II (the Great), Empress of All Russia), and was recognized by Catherine’s husband, Grand Duke Peter Feodorovich (born Karl Peter Ulrich of Holstein-Gottorp, later Peter III, Emperor of All Russia, as his son although he may be was Sergei Vasilievich Saltykov. His first wife Wilhelmine of Hesse-Darmstadt (Grand Duchess Natalia Alexeievna) died in childbirth with her only child. Paul’s second wife was Sophia Dorothea of Württemberg (Maria Feodorovna) with whom he had ten children. Paul became Emperor of All Russia upon the death of his mother Catherine II (the Great) in 1796. Paul agreed with the practices of autocracy and did not tolerate freedom of thought or resistance against autocracy. Because he overly taxed the nobility and limited their rights, the Russian nobles, by increasing numbers, were against him. Paul’s reign was becoming increasingly despotic. Eventually, the nobility reached their breaking point. On the night of March 23, 1801, at the Mikhailovsky Castle in St. Petersburg, Russia, a group of conspirators charged into the bedroom of 46-year-old Paul I, Emperor of All Russia, forced him to abdicate, and then strangled and trampled him to death.
Unofficial Royalty: Assassination of Paul I, Emperor of All Russia
Unofficial Royalty: Paul I, Emperor of All Russia
March 23, 1818 – Death of Princess Augusta of Wales, Duchess of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, daughter of Frederick, Prince of Wales, at Hanover Square in London, England; buried in the Royal Vault at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle in Windsor, England
Augusta was the elder sister of King George III of the United Kingdom. She married Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand, the future Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. The couple had seven children including Caroline who married her first cousin, the future King George IV of the United Kingdom. (The marriage was a disaster.) Augusta never fully adapted to life in Brunswick nor was she well-liked. Any popularity she had was damaged by the fact that her three eldest sons were born with handicaps. Although Augusta reported to her brother King George III that her marriage was happy, in truth it was unhappy. Karl found Augusta dull and preferred to spend time with his mistresses. After her husband was killed during the Napoleonic Wars and Brunswick–Wolfenbüttel was occupied by the French, Augusta escaped to Sweden. Her brother King George III sent a British naval ship to transport his sister back home to England. Augusta lived in London with her daughter Caroline, Princess of Wales. Augusta got to know her granddaughter Princess Charlotte of Wales, who told her grandmother upon their first meeting “that she was the merriest old woman she ever saw.” Caroline died on March 23, 1813, at the age of 75.
Unofficial Royalty: Princess Augusta of Wales, Duchess of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
March 23, 1897 – Death of Sophie of the Netherlands, Grand Duchess of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, wife of Karl Alexander, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, in Weimar, Grand Duchy of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach now in Thuringia, Germany; buried in the Weimarer Fürstengruft in the Historical Cemetery in Weimar
In 1842, Sophie married Grand Duke Karl Alexander of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach and the couple had four children. With her own significant wealth, she founded numerous schools and hospitals throughout the grand duchy. Sophie was the sister of King Willem III of the Netherlands. When her brother died in 1890, the Dutch throne passed to his ten-year-old only surviving child Queen Wilhelmina, and Sophie was first in line to inherit the Dutch throne until her death in 1897. She was very close to her niece Wilhelmina and her sister-in-law Queen Emma and made regular visits to the Netherlands to see them. After the death of her son in 1894, Sophie’s health began to deteriorate. She died on March 23, 1897, aged 73.
Unofficial Royalty: Sophie of the Netherlands, Grand Duchess of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
March 23, 1931 – Death of Anna Nahowski, mistress of Franz Joseph I, Emperor of Austria, in Vienna, Austria; buried at Hietzing Cemetery in Vienna, Austria, adjacent to Schönbrunn Palace
Franz Joseph and Anna’s relationship lasted for fourteen years, overlapping Franz Joseph’s long-standing private relationship with actress Katharina Schratt. It is probable that Franz Joseph was the father of at least one of Anna’s three children. After the suicide of Franz Joseph’s only son Crown Prince Rudolf, Franz Joseph broke off all contact with Anna. She was informed that she could determine her severance payment for the fourteen years in the service of the emperor. She asked for 200,000 guldens (millions of dollars today) and in return, she had to sign the following statement: “I hereby confirm that I received 200,000 guldens as a gift from His Majesty the Emperor today. I also swear that I will remain silent at all times about the relationship with His Majesty.” Anna never spoke publicly about her affair during her life. She did keep a diary which was released in 1976 after the death of her daughter Helene. The diary revealed the true nature of the relationship between Anna and Franz Joseph. Anna died in Vienna, Austria on March 23, 1931, at the age of 70.
Unofficial Royalty: Anna Nahowski, Mistress of Franz Joseph I, Emperor of Austria
March 23, 1947 – Death of Luise of Austria, Crown Princess of Saxony, wife of the future King Friedrich August III of Saxony, in Brussels, Belgium; buried at the Hedingen Monastery in Sigmaringen, Germany
In 1891, Luise married the future King Friedrich August III, the last King of Saxony and the couple had six children. From the beginning of her marriage, Luise was unhappy. She was unwilling to conform to the strict Saxon court which often caused conflicts with her father-in-law and others in the royal family. She sought refuge in several affairs, including her children’s French tutor, André Giron. Her affair with Giron was discovered when a telegram she sent him was intercepted. With the help of two of her maids, Luise – pregnant with her youngest child – fled Dresden and headed toward Lake Geneva where she met up with her brother, Leopold Ferdinand, before reconnecting with Giron. Luise and Giron stayed in Geneva, often being seen in public. Their relationship ended just a few days before her divorce was announced on February 11, 1903. In 1907, Luise married for a second time to Enrico Toselli, an Italian musician 12 years younger, and the couple had one son. After World War I, Luise found herself virtually penniless. She had lost all of her Austrian titles and assets upon her second marriage, and with the end of the Austrian Empire, lost the little financial support that she had continued to receive from a few relatives. She spent some time living in Spain with an uncle before moving to Belgium where she spent the remainder of her life. Luise, aged 77, died on March 23, 1947. At the time, she was working as a flower seller to survive.
Unofficial Royalty: Luise of Austria, Crown Princess of Saxony
March 23, 1990 – Birth of Princess Eugenie, Mrs. Jack Brooksbank, born at Portland Hospital in London, England
Full name: Eugenie Victoria Helena
Princess Eugenie is the younger daughter of Prince Andrew, The Duke of York, and Sarah Ferguson. She is the sixth grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh. In 2018, she married Jack Brooksbank. Eugenie and Jack have one son August Philip Hawke Brooksbank, born in 2021. In January 2023, Princess Eugenie and her husband announced they were expecting their second child.
Unofficial Royalty: Princess Eugenie, Mrs. Jack Brooksbank
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