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May 2, 1729 – Birth of Catherine II (the Great), Empress of All Russia, born Princess Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst, in Stettin, Pomerania, Kingdom of Prussia, now Szczecin, Poland
Never destined at birth to be a monarch or even married to a monarch, Princess Sophie Auguste Friederike of Anhalt-Zerbst achieved both. She married Grand Duke Peter Feodorovich (born Carl Peter Ulrich of Holstein-Gottorp), the grandson of Peter I (the Great), Emperor of All Russia, and the successor of his unmarried aunt Elizabeth, Empress of All Russia as Peter III, Emperor of All Russia. A conspiracy to overthrow Peter was planned and centered around the five Orlov brothers. After a reign of five months, Peter III was deposed, died under circumstances that remain unclear, and his wife became Catherine II, Empress of All Russia, now known as Catherine the Great. During Catherine’s reign, Russia grew larger and stronger and was recognized as one of the great powers of Europe.
Unofficial Royalty: Catherine II (the Great), Empress of All Russia
May 2, 1816 – Wedding of Princess Charlotte of Wales and Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, later Leopold I, King of the Belgians, at Carlton House in London, England
In 1814, the handsome Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saafeld (after 1826, Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha) visited London and met Charlotte. It was love at first sight. The newlywed couple settled at Claremont House which the British nation had purchased by an Act of Parliament as a wedding gift for Charlotte and Leopold. Charlotte was second in the line of succession to the British throne and she would have succeeded her father, the future George IV, as Queen but on November 6, 1817, a great tragedy struck the British Royal Family. After a labor of over 50 hours, Charlotte delivered a stillborn son. Several hours later, twenty-one-year-old Princess Charlotte, the only child of George, Prince of Wales and King George III’s only legitimate grandchild, died of postpartum hemorrhage.
Unofficial Royalty: Princess Charlotte of Wales
Unofficial Royalty: Leopold I, King of the Belgians
May 2, 1831 – Wedding of Prince Augustus, Duke of Sussex, son of King George III of the United Kingdom, and Cecilia Underwood at Great Cumberland Place in London, England
This marriage was in contravention of the Royal Marriages Act and was considered void. It was the second such marriage Augustus made. In 1837, Augustus’ niece succeeded to the throne as Queen Victoria. Augustus had always been genuinely fond of his niece and Victoria gave Augustus the respect she knew was due to him. Victoria asked Augustus if he would give her away at her marriage to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha “as her nearest relation in this country and one who stands in the place of a Father.” Augustus was overjoyed to accept and sobbed emotionally throughout the wedding ceremony. As a token of her gratitude, Queen Victoria created Augustus’ wife Cecilia Duchess of Inverness in her own right in 1840.
Unofficial Royalty: Prince Augustus, Duke of Sussex
Wikipedia: Cecilia Underwood
May 2, 1896 – Birth of Princess Helen of Greece, Queen Mother of Romania, wife of King Carol II of Romania, in Athens, Greece
Helen’s marriage to Carol was unsuccessful and the couple divorced. She was the Queen Mother of Romania during the reign of her son King Michael. Helen was noted for her humanitarian efforts to save Romanian Jews during World War II, which led to her being named Righteous Among the Nations by Israel.
Unofficial Royalty: Princess Helen of Greece, Queen Mother of Romania
May 2, 1914 – Death of John Campbell, 9th Duke of Argyll, husband of Princess Louise of the United Kingdom, daughter of Queen Victoria, at Kent House in Cowes, Isle of Wight, England; buried at St. Munn’s Parish Church in Kilmun, Scotland
In 1878, Lorne, as he was called, was appointed Governor-General of Canada, where he served for five years. Along with his wife Princess Louise, they traveled extensively throughout Canada, bringing a royal touch to the country. From 1892 until his death, he was the Governor and Constable of Windsor Castle, having been appointed by his mother-in-law Queen Victoria. Although more of a title than an actual job, Lorne took the position very seriously. He wrote an extensive history of the castle – The Governor’s Guide to Windsor Castle.
Unofficial Royalty: John Campbell, 9th Duke of Argyll
May 2, 1938 – Birth of King Moshoeshoe II of Lesotho in Morija, Basutoland, now in Lesotho
Moshoeshoe II was Paramount Chief of Basutoland (the former name of Lesotho) from 1960 – 1965 and King of Lesotho from 1965 – 1990. The Kingdom of Lesotho is a country completely within the borders of South Africa. In December 1990, he was deposed and his elder son became king, reigning as King Letsie III. Letsie III was embarrassed at being king while his father was still alive, and tried to persuade the government to reinstate his father as king. In August 1994 he enacted a new coup d’état with the army. Having obtained power, Letsie promised to return power to the previous government on the condition that Moshoeshoe II would return to being King of Lesotho. Moshoeshoe II’s second reign was brief. In the Maloti Mountains in Lesotho, Moshoeshoe’s car plunged off a mountain road during the early hours of January 15, 1996, killing him and his chauffeur.
Unofficial Royalty: King Moshoeshoe II of Lesotho
May 2, 2015 – Birth of Princess Charlotte of Wales, daughter of Prince William, The Prince of Wales, at St. Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, London, England
Full name: Charlotte Elizabeth Diana
Regardless of the gender of any younger siblings, Princess Charlotte will retain her place in the line of succession to the British throne until her older brother has children. The Succession to The Crown Act 2013, which formally went into effect on March 26, 2015, put in place absolute primogeniture, which means that for those born after October 28, 2011, the eldest child born becomes the heir to his or her parent, regardless of gender. With the birth of her younger brother Prince Louis in 2018, Charlotte became the first British princess not to be overtaken in the line of succession by her younger brother.
Unofficial Royalty: Princess Charlotte of Wales
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