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March 24, 1275 – Death of Beatrice of England, daughter of King Henry III of England, in London, England; buried at Greyfriars Church in Newgate, London, England
In 1260, Beatrice married John of Dreux, the eldest son of John I, Duke of Brittany. In 1268, King Henry III granted the title Earl of Richmond to John I, Duke of Brittany as an enticement when tensions rose with France. However, John I soon transferred the title Earl of Richmond to his son and heir John of Dreux, who also became John II, Duke of Brittany upon his father’s death in 1286. John of Dreux became Duke of Brittany after the death of Beatrice so she never became Duchess of Brittany. Beatrice died on March 24, 1275, aged 32, in London, England while visiting her brother King Edward I of England. Possibly she died due to childbirth complications as her youngest child Eleanor was born in London in 1275.
Unofficial Royalty: Beatrice of England, Countess of Richmond
March 24, 1394 – Death of Constance of Castile, Duchess of Lancaster at Leicester Castle in Leicester, England; buried at the Church of the Annunciation of Our Lady of the Newarke in Leicester, England
Constance was the daughter of Pedro I, King of Castile, and the second wife of John of Gaunt, son of King Edward III. They married in 1371 and had two children but only one survived infancy, Catherine of Lancaster who married King Enrique III of Castile. Through their daughter Catherine, Constance and John are the great-grandparents of Queen Isabella I of Castile and the great-great-grandparents of Isabella I’s daughter Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of King Henry VIII of England. Constance and John are the ancestors of all subsequent monarchs of the Kingdom of Castile and a united Kingdom of Spain. Constance died on March 24, 1394, aged 39–40.
Unofficial Royalty: Constance of Castile, Duchess of Lancaster
March 24, 1558 – Death of Anna van Egmont, Princess of Orange, first of the four wives of Willem I, Prince of Orange (the Silent) in Breda, Duchy of Brabant (now the Netherlands); buried in the Grote Kerk in Breda
In 1551, 18-year-old Anna married another 18-year-old, Willem I, Prince of Orange. By all accounts, their marriage was a happy one and they had three children. Anna’s early death at the age of 25 brought much grief to Willem.
Unofficial Royalty: Anna van Egmont, Princess of Orange
March 24, 1603 – Death of Queen Elizabeth I of England at Richmond Palace in Surrey, England; buried at Westminster Abbey in London, England
The last monarch of the House of Tudor, Queen Elizabeth I became queen at the age of 25 on November 17, 1558, and reigned for 44 years, 127 days until her death at age 69 on March 24, 1603. During Elizabeth’s reign, called the Elizabethan Age, the Church of England took its final form, a middle path between Catholicism and Reform Protestantism, William Shakespeare created numerous works, modern science had its birth based upon Francis Bacon‘s inductive method for scientific inquiry, Francis Drake sailed around the world, and the first colony in America was founded and named Virginia in honor of Elizabeth the Virgin Queen. In January 1603, while suffering from a cold, Elizabeth moved from Whitehall Palace to Richmond Palace. She recovered from the cold but fell ill at the end of February with severe tonsillitis. She had no appetite and suffered from insomnia. On March 18, 1603, she became very ill and refused to go to bed, instead lying on a heap of pillows piled on the floor. When Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury urged her to go to bed, Elizabeth showed a last flash of her feisty spirit and said to him, “Little man, little man, MUST is not a word to use to princes.”
Unofficial Royalty: Queen Elizabeth I of England
March 24, 1628 – Birth of Sophie Amalie of Brunswick-Lüneburg, Queen of Denmark and Norway, wife of King Frederik III of Denmark and Norway, at Herzberg Castle in the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg, now in Lower Saxony, Germany
In 1643, Sophie Amalie married the future Frederik III, King of Denmark and Norway. Sophie Amalie and Frederik had eight children including Jørgen who married Queen Anne of Great Britain and had his name anglicized to George and Ulrika Eleonora married King Karl XI of Sweden. In 1647, Frederik’s 44-year-old childless elder brother Christian died and when his father died in 1648, Frederik became King of Denmark and Norway. As Queen, Sophie Amalie became the center of court life. She replaced the old medieval court entertainments with opera and ballet. She enjoyed fashion, parties, theatre, and masquerades, and made the French taste fashionable in Denmark. Sophie Amalie was ambitious, participated in state affairs, with the blessing of her husband, and influences policy as his adviser. Sophie Amalie survived her husband King Frederik II by fifteen years, dying on February 20, 1685, aged 56.
Unofficial Royalty: Sophie Amalie of Brunswick-Lüneburg, Queen of Denmark and Norway
March 24, 1805 – Death of Alois I, Prince of Liechtenstein in Vienna, Austria; buried at the Liechtenstein Crypt in Vranov, Czech Republic
Upon the death of his father Franz Josef I, Prince of Liechtenstein in 1781, 22-year-old Alois became the reigning Prince of Liechtenstein. In 1783, Alois married 15-year-old Karoline von Manderscheid-Blankenheim. Although the couple had no children, Karoline had two illegitimate children with her long-time lover Franz von Langendonck, a captain in the Imperial Austrian Army. Alois did much to improve the administration and management of his estates. He introduced modern methods of production on his estates, experimented with breeding, and imported numerous useful and ornamental plants for economic reasons and botanical interest. Alois was passionate about books and continued to expand the princely library by purchasing extensive collections. Alois I died on March 24, 1805, aged 45.
Unofficial Royalty: Prince Alois I, Prince of Liechtenstein
March 24, 1832 – Death of Maria Anna of Saxony, Grand Duchess of Tuscany, first wife of Leopoldo II, Grand Duke of Tuscany, at the Royal Palace in Pisa, Grand Duchy of Tuscany, now in Italy; buried at the Basilica of San Lorenzo in Florence, Grand Duchy of Tuscany, now in Italy
In 1817, Maria Anna married the future Leopoldo II, Grand Duke of Tuscany. The couple had three daughters. As Grand Duchess of Tuscany, Maria Anna, along with her husband, was the founding patron of L’Istituto Statale della Ss. Annunziata, the first female boarding school in Florence to educate aristocratic and noble young ladies. The school is still in existence. Maria Anna’s inability to produce a male heir caused depression which coupled with her chronic ill health, made her developing tuberculosis more severe. On March 24, 1832, 32-year-old Maria Anna died.
Unofficial Royalty: Maria Anna of Saxony, Grand Duchess of Tuscany
March 24, 1837 – Birth of Philippe, Count of Flanders at the Royal Castle of Laeken in Laeken, Brussels, Belgium
Full name: Philippe Eugène Ferdinand Marie Clément Baudouin Léopold Georges
Philippe was a younger son of Leopold I, King of the Belgians, and the ancestor of the current Belgian royal family as his son succeeded to the Belgian throne as King Albert I. In 1867, Philippe married Princess Marie of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen and they had five children. It was Philippe and Marie who secured the future of the Belgian dynasty. Philippe was the heir presumptive to the Belgian throne until his death in 1905. Philippe’s elder son Baudouin was second in line to the throne until his death in 1891 from influenza. Then Philippe’s younger son Albert became second in line to the throne. Eventually, Albert succeeded his uncle, King Leopold II, upon his death in 1909 as King Albert I. Philippe led a comfortable life in the intimacy of his Brussels palace surrounded by his objets d’art, his superb horses, and especially his precious library of 30,000 books. He died at the age of 68.
Unofficial Royalty: Philippe, Count of Flanders
March 24, 1866 – Death of Maria Amalia of the Two Sicilies, Queen of the French, wife of Louis-Philippe I, King of the French, in exile at Claremont House in Surrey in England; buried first at Weybridge, England, re-buried in 1876 in the Orléans Mausoleum in the Royal Chapel in Dreux, France
While still very young, Maria Amalia was engaged to her first cousin, the Dauphin of France. His mother Queen Marie Antoinette was Maria Amalia’s maternal aunt. However, the French Revolution resulting in the death of her aunt and her first cousin changed these plans. Her youth was spent in upheaval – the events in France – particularly the execution of her aunt – and subsequent conflict during the First Coalition soon found the family fleeing Sicily for the safety of Naples. After spending two years in Austria, she returned to Naples in 1802, but four years later, when Napoleon invaded, the family again fled, this time settling in Palermo where they were protected by British forces. In 1809, Maria Amalia married the future Louis Philippe I, King of the French and they had ten children. In 1830, King Charles X of France was overthrown during the July Revolution and forced to abdicate and Louis Philippe became king. After her husband was forced to abdicate in 1840, the family left France and was welcomed in England by Queen Victoria, who gave them the use of Claremont House in Surrey, England. After her husband’s death, Marie Amélie lived a very private life, spending time with her family and enjoying a close relationship with the British Royal Family. At the age of 83, Queen Marie Amélie died at Claremont House on March 24, 1866.
Unofficial Royalty: Maria Amalia of the Two Sicilies, Queen of the French
March 24, 1923 – Death of Ellen Franz, Baroness von Heldburg, morganatic third wife of Georg II, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen, in Meiningen, Germany; buried in the Park Cemetery in Meiningen
Ellen was an actress who came to the Meiningen Court Theatre in 1867 and appeared in numerous roles over the next six years. Within a year of arriving in Meiningen, Ellen became romantically involved with Georg II, who was still married to his second wife, Feodora of Hohenlohe-Langenburg who would die in 1872. In 1873, Ellen and Georg were married but they had no children. Sharing a love of the theatre with her husband, Ellen worked with him to reform and redevelop the Meiningen Theater. Much of their efforts became known as the Meininger Principles and is still taught in theater schools today. Ellen died March 24, 1923, at the age of 83. She is buried beside her husband in the Park Cemetery in Meiningen, now in the German state of Thuringia.
Unofficial Royalty: Ellen Franz, Baroness von Heldburg
March 24, 1946 – Death of Prince Barbu Alexandru Știrbey, lover/confidant of Queen Marie of Romania, in Bucharest, Romania; buried at the Holy Trinity Chapel in the park of Știrbey Palace in Buftea, Romania
Unofficial Royalty: Prince Barbu Alexandru Știrbey (Unofficial Royalty article coming soon)
March 24, 1953 – Death of Queen Mary of the United Kingdom, born Princess Victoria Mary of Teck, wife of King George V of the United Kingdom, at Marlborough House in London England; buried at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle in Windsor, England
Mary was a great-granddaughter of King George III and a first cousin once removed of Queen Victoria. She was first engaged to Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence (known as Prince Eddy), the oldest son and eldest child of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) and Princess Alexandra of Denmark. After his death from pneumonia, Mary married his brother, the future King George V. Mary and George had five sons and one daughter. Queen Mary lived long enough to see her granddaughter Elizabeth become Queen of the United Kingdom, but died on March 24, 1953, at age 85 of lung cancer (although her illness was referred to as “gastric problems”) just ten weeks before the coronation. Before her death, Queen Mary had insisted that the coronation go ahead as scheduled.
Unofficial Royalty: Mary of Teck, Queen of the United Kingdom
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