Sunday, June 17, 2012

June 15th

Events -

1215 - King John of England put his seal on the charter of liberties drawn up by his barons at Runnymeade.  Four days later, the barons swore oaths of fealty to King John, at which time the Magna Carta was created.  The charter, which put limits on the power of the king and protected those of the barons, was declared null and void by Pope Innocent III, a ruling which was ignored by the barons.  The charter, which was modified several times over the years, is considered the foundation of constitutional law in the English-speaking world.

1580 -  Willem I, Prince of Orange, who led a revolt against Spain which resulted in the Eighty Years' War, was declared an outlaw by King Philip II of Spain.  The war eventually led to the independence of the Netherlands.  Philip promised a reward for William's assassination, an offer which was taken up by Balthasar Gérard four years later.

1905 - Princess Margaret of Connaught, daughter of Arthur, Duke of Connaught (son of Queen Victoria), married the Crown Prince of Sweden, Prince Gustaf.  The couple had five surviving children, including the father of a future King of Sweden and a Queen Consort of Denmark.  Eight-months-pregnant with her sixth child, Margaret died in 1920 due to a post-op infection.  Gustaf married Margaret's cousin Louise Mountbatten (granddaughter of Queen Victoria's daughter Alice) in 1923 and became King of Sweden in 1950.

1978 - American Lisa Najeeb Halaby became the fourth wife of King Hussein of Jordan, taking the name Noor al Hussein on her conversion to Islam.  She became friends with the King while he was mourning the death of his third wife due to a helicopter crash, and they became engaged the following year.  Noor and Hussein had four children, two sons and two daughters, before Hussein's death in 1999.

Born on this date -

1330 - Edward of Woodstock, son of King Edward III of England and Philippa of Hainault.  Edward was invested as the third English Prince of Wales in 1343 and became the first Knight of the Garter in 1348.  In 1361, he married his cousin Joan of Kent, by whom he had two sons.  A renowned military commander, Edward was responsible for the English victories at Crécy and Poitiers during the Hundred Years' War.  He became the first English Prince of Wales not to succeed his father as King of England, as he died on June 8, 1376 at the age of 45 (a week before his 46th birthday), a year before his father.  His oldest son having died in 1372, his younger son succeeded Edward III in 1377 as King Richard II of England.

1519 - Henry FitzRoy, illegitimate but oldest surviving son of King Henry VIII of England and Elizabeth Blount.  He was six when he was created Duke of Richmond and Somerset in 1525. After Henry's second daughter Princess Elizabeth was declared a bastard, there were rumors that Henry was planning to name his illegitimate son as his heir, but the duke died before an act which would have permitted this was passed by Parliament.  Henry FitzRoy died July 23, 1536 at the age of 17, probably of tuberculosis.  He had no children, as his marriage to Mary Howard, daughter of the Duke of Norfolk, was unconsummated.

Died on this date -

923 - King Robert I of France, aged 56. He was born on August 15, 866, the younger son of Robert IV of Neustria and Adelaide of Tours.  The younger brother of Odo, King of the West Franks, he did not claim the kingdom after his brother's death, but remained a vassal under the rule of Charles III of France until 922, when he rebelled and had himself proclaimed King of France.  Charles led an army against Robert and defeated him in battle at Soissons, where Robert was killed.  His only son, born of his second wife Béatrice of Vermandois, was the father of Hugh Capet.

991 - Holy Roman Empress Theophano Skleraina, aged 30-31.  She was born in 960 in Constantinople, the Constantine Skleros and Sophia Phokaina.  Holy Roman Emperor Otto I wanted to marry his son to a Byzantine princess as part of a treaty between the Eastern and Western Empires.  Her mother was a cousin of Byzantine Emperor Iōannēs I Tzimiskēs and neice of Emperor Nikēphoros II Phōkas, while her father was the brother of Iōannēs I Tzimiskēs first wife.  She married Emperor Otto II on April 14, 972 and was crowned Empress the same day.  Otto II died in 983, and Theophano became regent for their only son, who became Otto III.  She died eight years later, with her mother-in-law taking over as regent until Otto III came of age.

1073 - Emperor Go-Sanjō (後三条天皇) of Japan, aged 40.  He was born on September 3, 1032, the second son of Emperor Go-Suzaku (後朱雀天皇) and Empress Sadako (禎子内親王, daughter of Emperor Sanjō, 三条天皇) with the name of Takahito-shinnō (尊仁親王).  He succeeded his older brother Chikahito (Emperor Go-Reizei, 後冷泉天皇) as emperor in 1068 when his brother died with no children.  Go-Sanjō abdicated in favor of his son Sadahito (Emperor Shirakawa, 白河天皇) in 1072 and became a Buddist priest.

1246 - Friedrich II, Duke of Austria, aged 35.  He was the son of Duke Leopold VI of Austria and Theodora Angelina of Byzantium and was born on April 25, 1211.  He became heir to the duchy in 1228 on the death of his older brother Heinrich and succeeded his father in 1230.  He died without children at the Battle of the Leitha River, fought against King Béla IV of Hungary.  Although a woman could have inherited the duchy, it became a part of Bohemia with the marriage of Friedrich's sister Margaret to Ottokar II of Bohemia.

1341 - Emperor Andronikos III Palaiologos, aged 44.  He was born on March 25, 1297, the son of so-Emperor Mikhaēl IX Palaiologos and Rita of ArmeniaA rift developed between Andronikos and his grandfather Andronikos II after he accidentally killed his brother Manuel and his father Mikhaēl died of grief.  Andronikos began a civil war against his grandfather and was eventually recognized as co-emperor in 1328, in which year he deposed his grandfather and became sole emperor.  During his rule, the Ottoman Turks began encroaching on his territories in Asia Minor, and the Serbians expanded their territory into Macedonia.  By his second wife, Anna of Savoy, he had four children, including his heir Iōannēs V Palaiologos and a daughter Maria, future Empress of Bulgaria.

1383 - Iōannēs VI Kantakouzēnos, aged about 91.  He was the son of the governor of Morea Mikhaēl Kantakouzēnos and Theodora Palaiologina Angelina, which gave him a relationship to the reigning Palaiologos dynasty.  After the death of Andronikos III Palaiologos, Iōannēs became regent for the nine-year-old heir, Iōannēs V Palaiologos.  Iōannēs had no desire to become emperor himself, having declined several offers to become co-emperor during the reign of Andronikos III.  When Iōannēs left for Morea, enemies who suspected him of wanting the throne for himself overthrew the regency, the army naming Iōannēs emperor when they found out, which started a six-year civil war.  The war was ended with an agreement for the two Iōannēs to be co-emperors, and Iōannēs V Palaiologos to marry Iōannēs VI Kantakouzēnos' daughter Helena.  After Iōannēs V Palaiologos seized sole power in 1354, Iōannēs VI Kantakouzēnos retired to a monastery.  One of his sons, Matthaios, was co-emperor from 1353-1357 and a daughter, Theodora, was wife of Sulta Orhan of the Ottoman Empire.

1389 - Sultan Murad I of the Ottoman Empire, aged 62-63.  Murad was born the son of Sultan Orhan I and Nilüfer Hatun in March or June 1326.  He became Sultan in 1361 on the death of his father.  During his reign, most of the Balkans came under Ottoman rule and the Byzantine Emperor was forced to pay him tribute.  Murad was assassinated during the Battle of Kosovo Polje (fought against Prince Lazar Hrebeljanović of Moravian Serbia) and was succeeded by his son Bayezid I. 

1389 - Prince Lazar Hrebeljanović of Moravian Serbia, aged 59-60.  He was born around 1329, the son of Pribac Hrebeljanović, chancellor of King Stephen Uroš IV Dušan of Serbia. Serbia began falling apart during the reign of Stephan Uroš V Dušan, after which Lazar became knez (translated as Prince).  When Stephan Uroš V Dušan died childless in 1371, Serbia split into several principalities, of which Moravia was the most powerful.  The Turks began raiding into Moravia in 1381 and the threat from the Ottomans against Serbia increased until they met in the Battle of Kosovo Polje.  Prince Lazar was killed during the battle and was succeeded by his son Stefan Lazarević under the regency of Stefan's mother Milica.  The following year, Serbia submitted to the Ottoman empire.  Lazar was later venerated in the Serbian Orthodox Church as a saint and martyr.

1467 - Philip III, Duke of Burgundy, aged 70.  He was born on July 31, 1396, the son of Jean II of Burgundy and Margaret of Bavaria.  He became Duke of Burgundy on his father's assassination in 1419.  Blaming the Dauphin of France for his father's death - his father was killed during a meeting between the two - Philip allied himself with Henry V of England, marrying his sister Anne to Henry's brother John.  Although he mostly stayed out of the Hundred Years' War, his troops were responsible for the capture of Jean of Arc.  On his death, he was succeeded by his son Charles, who was the last Duke of Burgundy from the Valois family.

1888 - Kaiser Friedrich III of Germany, aged 56.  The son of Wilhelm of Prussia (younger son of Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia, later Wilhelm I) and Augusta of Saxe-Weimar, he was born on October 18, 1831.  As early as 1851, Friedrich was looked at by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert as a husband for their oldest daughter Victoria, the Princess Royal, in the hopes of bringing liberal ideas to Germany.  The couple became engaged in 1856 and were married on January 25, 1858.  Their successful marriage produced eight children.  However, the couple were at odds with the conservative ideals of Friedrich's father and his chancellor Otto von Bismarck, the two of whom greatly influenced Friedrich and Victoria's oldest son Wilhelm (later Kaiser Wilhelm II) against them.  Friedrich was unable to implement any of his liberal ideals, as his father lived to age 90, by which time Friedrich was already dying of throat cancer.  Friedrich ascended the throne March 9, 1888, reigning for only 99 days before losing his battle against cancer.  He was succeeded by his oldest son, Wilhelm, who became the last Kaiser of Germany.

June 14th

Events -

1276 - In exile in Fuzhou due to advancing Mongols, the Song Dynasty crowned Prince Zhào Shì (趙昰) as Emperor Duānzōng ( 端宗).  The next to the last Song emperor, he was the son of Emperor Duzong (宋度宗).  His older brother, Emperor Gong (恭宗), had been captured by the Mongols in 1276, so Zhào Shì fled with his brother Zhào Bǐng (趙昺) to Fuzhou and established a court there.  In 1278, with the Mongols closing in, Duānzōng fled again.  He almost drowned during his escape, becoming ill and dying two months later in May 1278.

1285 - Prince Chiêu Minh Trần Quang Khải, son of Vietnam's Emperor Trần Thái Tông, led an army against the invading Mongols and defeated them at a battle in Chương Dương.  The Mongols, who had recently taken control of China from the Song Dynasty, were seeking to advance south before being stopped by the Trần Dynasty.  Prince Trần Quang Khải, grand chancellor for his father, remained in that position until his death in 1294.

1287 - Prince Nayan, a great-great-grandson of Ghengis Khan's half brother Belgutei, revolted against the rule of Kublai Khan in Mongolia.  Kublai Khan's troops defeated the rebels in battle, after which Nayan was executed.

1381 - King Richard II of England met at Blackheath in London with leaders of the Peasants' Revolt (also known as Way Tyler's Rebellion).  The rebels presented the king with a list of demands, including the abolition of serfdom and the removal of some of the king's ministers. At the same time as this meeting, another group of rebels invaded the Tower of London and executed those hiding within, including the Archbishop of Canterbury (who was Chancellor of England) and the Lord Treasurer.  The following day, Richard promised to meet the rebels demands, but the nobles reasserted control, chasing down and executing most of the rebel leaders.

1821 - King Badi VII, the last king of the Sudanese kingdom of Sennar, surrendered his kingdom to the Ottoman Empire.  After surrendering to Isma'il Pasha, general of the Ottoman army, Badi was placed back in nominal control of his territory under the auspices of the Ottoman Empire.

Born on this date -

1529 - Ferdinand of Austria, second son of Emperor Ferdinand I and Anne of Bohemia and Hungary.  After the death of his father in 1564, he inherited Further Austria according to the terms of his father's will.  He was also an administrator in Bohemia from 1547-1567, under his father and his brother Maximilian II.  He had no surviving legitimate male issue - his first marriage was morganatic and his second produced only daughters - so his territory was united with the rest of the Habsburg domains on his death on January 24, 1595 at the age of 65.  His youngest daughter by his second wife became Holy Roman Empress as consort of her cousin Matthias.

1870 - Sophie Dorothea Ulrike Alice of Prussia, seventh child of Crown Prince Friedrich of Prussia and Victoria, Princess Royal of the United Kingdom (daughter of Queen Victoria).  Staying in London in 1887 during her grandmother's Golden Jubilee, Sophie became acquainted with Crown Prince Constantine of Greece.  During the mourning for her father, Emperor Friedrich, she agreed to marry Constantine.  The marriage was celebrated on October 27, 1889 in Athens.  Due to her status as Crown Princess, Sophie was required to convert to the Greek Orthodox faith, which caused an estrangement with her brother Kaiser Wilhelm II and his wife Empress Augusta.  When Augusta went into premature labor after an argument with Sophie about religion, Wilhelm proclaimed to his mother that it would be Sophie's fault if the baby died (he didn't).  Wilhelm even went so far as to ban Sophie from Germany, although there was nothing he could do if she visited the country while accompanied by her husband, who could not be arrested as the Crown Prince of a sovereign state.  On the assassination of her father-in-law in 1913, Sophie and her husband ascended the throne, but were forced into exile in 1917 because of Constantine's pro-Germany sympathies.  Their second son Alexander became King, but died three years later, at which time Constantine was invited back as king.  A year later, after a defeat at the hands of Turkey, Constantine was forced to abdicate again.  Sophie died in Germany ten years later January 13,1932 at the age of 61.  Of her six children with Constantine, three were Kings of Greece (Alexander I, George II and Paul I) and one was Queen Mother of Romania (Helen, mother of Michael I of Romania).  She was also the paternal grandmother of Queen Sofia of Spain.

1894 - Marie Adélaïde Thérèse Hilda Antonie Wilhelmine of Luxembourg, daughter of William IV of Luxembourg and Maria Anna of Portugal.  Since her father had no sons, she was named heiress presumptive in 1907 and became the reigning Grand Duchess of Luxembourg in 1912 on her father's death.  After the country was invaded by Germany during World War I, Marie Adélaïde became friendly with the Germans, making her look pro-German in the eyes of her people.  In 1919, the parliament began to demand her abdication, which she finally agreed to on January 14, 1919, being succeeded by her younger sister Charlotte.  After becoming a nun, she left religious life because of ill health and died of the flu at the age of 29 on January 24, 1924.

Died on this date -

1161 - Emperor Qinzong (欽宗) of the Song Dynasty of China, aged 61.  He was born on May 23, 1100, the oldest son of Emperor Huizong (徽宗) and Empress Xiangong (顯恭皇后), with the name Zhao Huan ().  As the Jurgen of the Jin Dynasty prepared to invade, Emperor Huizong abdicated in favor of his son in 1126.  Qinzong tried to make peace with the Jurgen, but his lands were invaded anyway and he was captured in January 1127.  He was deported to northern Manchuria, where he spent the rest of his life imprisoned.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

June 13th


1625 - King Charles I of England married Princess Henrietta Maria of France, daughter of the late King Henry IV of France and Maria de' Medici, in Canterbury.  The couple had already been married by proxy on May 11th before Charles' first Parliament - he had just ascended the throne in March - could meet and forbid the marriage.  Many in England were against the marriage because Henriette Maria was Catholic, and they feared that Charles would move away from the Church of England and back to the old religion.  When Charles was crowned in February of the following year, Henrietta Maria was unable to be crowned due to the controversy over her religion.  Although the marriage did not start out well - Henrietta Maria was an extremely devote Catholic which made her unpopular in England and Charles forcibly removed most of the French entourage she had brought to England with her - Henrietta Maria eventually became Charles' closest advisor.  The couple had nine children, four sons and five daughters.  Two of their children were stillborn and two died in childhood.  Of the remaining five, two were future kings of England (Charles II and James II), one daughter was the mother of a future king (Mary, Princess Royal married William II of Orange and was the mother of William III of England), and another daughter (Henrietta) was the great-grandmother of Louis XV of France.  In addition to William III, the couple had two other grandchildren who would become queens of England - Mary II and Anne.

Born on this date

823 - Charles, youngest son of Emperor Louis I (Holy Roman Emperor and King of the Franks, son of Charlemagne) and Judith of Bavaria.  By the time of his birth, Charles' older brothers were all adults and had been assigned their own subkingdoms.  Louis attempted to provide his youngest son his own kingdom, but several attempts were unsuccessful.  Eventually, Louis made Charles heir to the land that would eventually become France.  When Louis insisted that the nobles honor Charles as their heir, Louis' older sons rebelled against their father.  After Louis' death in 840, the sons went to war with each other, with Charles aligning himself with his brother Ludwig of Bavaria against Lothair I, the new Holy Roman Emperor, and Pepin II of Aquitaine (son of Pepin I of Aquitaine and nephew of Charles, Ludwig and Lothair).  The war ended in 843 with the Treaty of Verdun, which gave Charles the kingdom of the West Franks, which roughly corresponds to present-day France.  Charles became Holy Roman Emperor in 875 after the death of his nephew Louis II (son of Lothair).  Ludwig, angered at being passed over for the imperial crown, then invaded France, but died the following year.  Charles reigned as emperor for only two years before dying of an illness on October 6, 877.  By his two wives, Ermentrude of Orléans and Richilde of Provence, he had 14 children, including his heir as King of the West Franks Louis, King of Aquitaine Charles, and Judith, who married two kings of Wessex and the first count of Flanders.

839 - Charles, youngest son of Ludwig of Bavaria and Emma.  In 865, Ludwig divided his lands among his heirs, with Charles receiving Alemannia (the German duchy of Swabia, the two names being used interchangeably) and a share of Lotharingia.  Charles later received Italy in 879 when his oldest brother Carloman had a stroke.  After the Papal States were invaded in 880, Pope John VIII appealed to Charles for help, crowning him emperor on February 12, 881.  In 882, he inherited East Francia when his brother Louis died, and was invited to be king of West Francia on the death of Carloman II in 884.  Charles proved to be an inept king and was deposed in 887.  He died six weeks later on January 13, 888. leaving no legitimate heirs, although he tried twice without success to make his illegitimate son Bernard his heir.

1673 - Anna Maria Franziska of Saxe-Lauenburg, oldest surviving daughter of Duke Julius Franz of Saxe-Lauenburg and Maria Hedwig of the Palatinate-Sulzbach.  On her father's death in 1689, she was the legal heir to the duchy of Saxe-Lauenburg since the male line had died out and Salic Law did not apply.  Her cousin Georg Ludwig of Branschweig-Lüneburg conquered the duchy the same year, while several other monarchs tried to stake their claims as well.  The resulting war ended in 1693 with Anna Maria and her sister being dispossessed from their claims.  By her second husband, Gian Gastone de' Medici, she became Grand Duchess consort of Tuscany in 1723.  She died October 15, 1741 at the age of 69.

1965 - Cristina Federica Victoria Antonia de la Santísima Trinidad de Borbón y de Grecia, younger daughter of the future King Juan Carlos of Spain and Sofia of Greece.  She was named Duchess of Palma de Mallorca by her father when she married team handball player Iñaki Urdangarín Liebaert in 1997, with whom she has four children.

Died on this date -

1886 - King Ludwig II of Bavaria, aged 40.  He was born on August 25, 1845, the oldest son of then-Crown Prince Maximilian of Bavaria and Marie of Prussia.  He was named after his grandfather Ludwig I of Bavaria, with whom he shared a birthday (August 25th is also the feast day of St. Louis, who is the patron saint of Bavaria).  Ludwig was not close to his parents - his father refused to spend time with him and he called his mother "my predecessor's consort" - and was greatly influenced by his grandfather, who had abdicated in 1848.  Ludwig succeeded as king at age 18 on his father's death.  One of his first acts as king was to become the patron of composer Richard Wagner, an act which probably saved the constantly-in-debt Wagner's career.  Ludwig became engaged to his cousin Sophie in 1867 (younger sister of Empress Elisabeth of Austria), but broke off the relationship later that year.  He never married and fought an internal battle against his homosexual inclinations for most of his life.  Ludwig was also known for the fairy tale castles he had built, particularly Neuschwanstein, which became the model for Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle.  his castles and other projects were paid out of his private funds, but when he demanded his finance ministers seek loans from other monarchs to continue his works, his cabinet acted (before he could dismiss them due to their opposition to his projects) and declared him unfit to rule due to mental illness.  His uncle was declared regent and Ludwig was eventually captured and sent into exile at Castle Berg, on the shore of Lake Starnberg.  The day after his capture, Ludwig invited psychiatrist Dr. Bernhard von Gudden (chief of the Munich asylum) to walk with him along the lake.  That evening, both men's bodies were pulled from the lake.  Ludwig's death was declared suicide by drowning, although an autopsy showed no water in his lungs.  The doctor had received blows to the head and neck and showed signs of being strangled.  Some believed that Ludwig was murdered trying to escape from his captors.

1918 - Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich of Russia, aged 39.  He was the youngest son of then-Tsesarevich Alexander Alexandrovich and Dagmar of Denmark and was born on December 4, 1878.  After the death of his brother George of tuberculosis in 1899, Mikhail became their brother Nicholas II's heir, until the birth of Tsesarevich Alexei in 1904.  After he was forbidden to marry his cousin Beatrice of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, daughter of his aunt Marie (marriage between first cousins being forbidden in the Russian Orthodox Church), he became involved with one of his sister's ladies-in-waiting, a relationship which was forbidden by his mother and brother.  He married in 1912 the ex-wife of a fellow Army officer, Natalia Sergeyevna Wulfert, who had given birth to his illegitimate son George in 1910.  Mikhail, who stood to become heir to the throne again if the hemophilic Alexei died, said that he married Natalia so that he would be removed from the succession.  The couple was banished from Russia, but were allowed back after World War I broke out.  When Nicholas was forced to abdicate in March 1917, it was in favor of Mikhail, due to Alexei's ill health.  Mikhail refused to accept the throne unless approved by the Provisional Government.  Since they did not approve, Mikhail was never officially tsar, although some still consider him to be Mikhail II, last Tsar of Russia.  In August, Mikhail and Natalia were placed under house arrest, along with Mikhail's secretary Nicholas Johnson.  The foreign minister said the Mikhail would be allowed to go into exile in England, but as with Nicholas and his family, England refused to accept him.  His house arrest was lifted and reinstated twice more, before he and his secretary were sent to Perm in Siberia in March 1918.  His wife had their son smuggled out of Russia and joined her husband in Perm in May, although she left a week later due to the advance of the White Army.  The local secret police planned to murder Mikhail, and forced him out of his hotel with a forged transfer order.  Mikhail and his secretary (who insisted on accompanying him) were taken into the woods outside Perm, on the pretext of going to catch a train, and were shot to death.  Mikhail was the first Romanov to be executed by the Soviets.  His body was never found.

1972 - Stephanie Julianne von Hohenlohe, aged 80.  When in her 20s, she had an affair with the son-in-law of Emperor Franz Josef I, Archduke Franz Salvator (husband of Franz Josef's daughter Marie Valerie).  When she became pregnant, she was married off to Prince Friedrich Franz von Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Schillingsfürst.  She gave birth to Franz Salvator's son, Franz Josef Rudolf Hans Weriand Max Stefan Anton von Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Schillingsfürst, on December 5, 1914.  After she and her husband divorced in 1920, she traveled throughout Europe as Princess von Hohenlohe.  Despite being of Jewish descent, she became close friends with several high Nazi officials, including Adolf Hitler.  After moving to London in 1932, she used her developing connections to Britain's elite to spy for the Nazis.  It was she who arranged the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor to Germany in 1937.  She fled to the US after the outbreak of World War II and started an affair with the director of the INS.  After the attack on Pearl Harbor, she was arrested and detained until the end of the war.  She returned to Europe after the war and died in Switzerland.

1982 - King Khalid bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud of Saudia Arabia, aged 69.  He was born on February 13, 1913, the fifth son of King Abdulaziz and his one of his favorite wives, Al Jawharah bint bin Abdulaziz bin Musaed bin Jalawi.  Khalid was named Crown Prince in 1965 to his older half-brother Faisal, after his full brother Mohammed declined the position.  He became king on March 25, 1975, after the assassination of Faisal by their nephew.  His half-brother Fahd became Crown Prince and, since Khalid was uninterested in politics, took over the running of the government.  After reigning for seven years, King Khalid died of a heart attack and his brother Fahd became king.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

June 12th

Born on this date

1107 - Zhao Gou (構) of China, son of Emperor Huizong (徽宗) of China and his concubine, later dowager Empress Xianren ((顯仁皇后).  After his father and his older half-brother Emperor Qinzong (欽宗) were captured by the Jurchen, Gou became emperor of China as Emperor Gaozong (高宗) and established the Southern Song empire.  After years of fighting the Jurchen, Gaozong turned pacifist, a major reason being that he did not want his brother released and restored to the throne.  Gaozong abdicated in 1162 after a reign of just over 35 years, but lived in retirement for 25 more years until his death on November 9, 1187.  He was a notable poet of his time, his work influencing other Chinese poets.  As his only son predeceased him, his successor was his sixth cousin, Emperor Ziaozong (孝宗), a descendant of Emperor Taizu (太祖), the founder of the Song dynasty.

1519 - Cosimo de' Medici, son of Giovanni dalle Bande Nere and Maria Salviati.  Cosimo became Grand Duke of Tuscany when he was 17, after his distant cousin Alessandro de' Medici was assassinated.  Since Cosimo was relatively unknown in Florence at the time of his ascension, the city's nobles favored him as heir because they thought they could control him.  Once he was in power, Cosimo rejected the agreement he had signed which gave much of his power to a council of Forty-Eight.  Later that year, Cosimo was recognized as grand duke by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.  Charles would remove imperial garrisons from Tuscany, while Cosimo would provide help against France in the Italian Wars.  Cosimo is most known today for his creation of the Uffizi, which is now a museum with one of the most important art collections in the world.  Cosimo died in 1574 at the age of 54 and was succeeded by his oldest son Francesco I de' Medici, who had taken over day-to-day administration of Tuscany a decade earlier.  By his first wife, Eleanora di Toledo, he had 11 children, several of whom were infamous in Italian history.  His daughter Isabella was famously murdered by her husband for adultery in 1576.  Another daughter, Lucrezia was the wife of Alfonso II d'Este and was the subject of Robert Browning's poem, "My Last Duchess".  Her mysterious death when she was 17 was suggested to be due to poisoning because of her loose morals.  Cosimo's youngest son, Pietro, murdered his wife and cousin, Eleanora di Garzia di Toledo, due to adultery five days before his sister Isabella died for the same reason.  It is believed the two murders were coordinated between Pietro and Isabella's husband with the tacit approval of Francesco I de' Medici.

Died on this date

918 - Æthelflæd of Wessex, aged about 48-49.  She was born around 869-870, the oldest child of King Alfred and Ealhswith.  Before 890, she was married to Æthelred of Mercia, by whom she had a daughter Ælfwynn.  After her husband's death in battle in 911, she became Lady of the Mercians, ruling Mercia as her husband's successor.  Unusually for women at the time, she was considered to be a master tactician and military leader.  After her death, she was succeeded by her daughter Ælfwynn.  Ælfwynn's rule did not last long, as she was forced to submit to her uncle Edward the Elder, merging Wessex and Mercia into a single kingdom.

1675 - Carlo Emanuele II of Savoy, aged 40.  He was born on June 20, 1634, the son of Duke Vittorio Amedeo I of Savoy and Christine of France.  Carlo became duke at the age of 4 on his older brother's death in 1638.  He was known for his persecution of the Vaudois, a heretical Christian sect, leading to a massacre of Vaudois in 1655.  He married twice, and had by his second wife, his successor Vittorio Amedeo II of Savoy, who was the first King of Sicily, although he was forced to give up the title and become King of Sardinia.  The Kings of Italy of the late 19th and early 20th centuries are descended from Carlo and Vittorio.

1758 - August Wilhelm of Prussia, aged 35.  He was the son of Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia and Sophia Dorothea of Hanover and was born on August 9, 1722.  His older brother was Frederick the Great.  By his wife Luise of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, August was the father of Friedrich II of Prussia, who inherited the throne from the childless Frederick the Great.  His daughter Wilhelmina was the Princess Consort of Orange and the mother of the first King of the Netherlands.

1818 - Emperor Egwale Seyon of Ethiopia, unknown age.  He was the son of Emperor Hezqeyas.  His father lost the throne in 1794 and a number of appointees became emperor before until several nobles brought Egwale Seyon back as emperor.  He married Walatta Iyasus and had five children.  His reign was marked by civil war among the nobles.  After his death, he was succeeded as emperor by his brother Iyoas, instead of his sons, supposedly due to his sons' bad character.

June 11th


1509 - King Henry VIII of England married Catherine of Aragon, thus beginning Henry's checkered marital history.  Catherine was the widow of Henry's older brother Arthur, but claimed that the marriage had never been consummated.  Soon after Arthur died, marriage between Henry and Catherine was already being discussed between Henry VII of England and Ferdinand II of Aragon, Henry having already spent a good portion of Catherine's dowry, which he would have had to return if her second marriage wasn't made to another member of his family.  There was even talk that Henry VII was thinking of marrying her himself, since he had only one living son.  Henry VII dithered on the proposed marriage, and died before matters could be resolved.  Henry VIII, who seemed to truly love Catherine at the time, married her as soon as feasible after his father's death (less than two months).  Catherine had no problem getting pregnant, but out of six pregnancies, she had two stillbirths (one boy, one girl), three babies of whom the longest lived was just under two months (two boys, one girl), and one surviving girl, Mary.  By the time of her last pregnancy, Catherine was already into her thirties.  Since England had never "technically" had a queen regnant (Empress Matilda was hardly in power long enough to count in the 1140s), Henry was obsessed with having a son.  In the mid-1520s, one of Catherine's ladies-in-waiting, Anne Boleyn, caught his eye and he began to look for ways to get out of his marriage.  He claimed he was being punished with no living sons because he had sinned in marrying his brother's widow, as well as suggesting the marriage was invalid because Catherine had consummated her marriage to Arthur.  Finally, after much protesting on Catherine's part and the reluctance of the Catholic Church to sanction an annulment, Henry's new Archbishop of Canterbury declared the marriage invalid - even though he had secretly married a pregnant Anne Boleyn four months earlier.  Catherine was more or less kept imprisoned in two castles, forbidden to see her daughter Mary, until she died, probably of cancer, in January 1536.  Ironically, the woman she had been tossed away for only survived her by four months.

Born on this date

1456 - Anne Neville, daughter of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, and Anne Beauchamp.  Along with her older sister Isabella, Anne would spend her childhood as a marriage pawn in her father's desire for power.  Warwick first encouraged relationships to develop between his daughters and the younger brothers of King Edward IV, George and Richard.  When Edward refused to grant permission for the marriages, Warwick had Isabella married to George, who remained on Warwick's side when he rebelled against Edward with the intent of putting George on the throne.  Richard, who remained on Edward's side in the conflict, was separated from Anne.  When it became obvious that putting George on the throne would not work, Warwick made a deal with Margaret of Anjou to help her regain the throne for her husband Henry VI, and offered his daughter Anne as wife for Margaret and Henry's son Edward.  Warwick did succeed in driving Edward IV and Richard from the kingdom and install Henry VI back on the throne, but Edward and Richard invaded England in the spring of 1470.  Warwick was killed in the Battle of Barnet on Easter Sunday, 1471.  The Lancastrians made a last stand at Tewkesbury at the beginning of May, but they were defeated and Edward, Prince of Wales, was killed, leaving Anne a widow.  Anne was taken into her sister and brother-in-law's home shortly afterwards, but disappeared under mysterious circumstances.   Theories behind the disappearance include George hiding her away to prevent Richard from marrying her, or Anne running away because George was threatening her, again to prevent her marriage to Richard.  The Neville sisters were their parents' only heirs and George didn't want to split the inheritance with Richard and Anne.  Richard eventually found her and took her to sanctuary, where George could not get to her.  Richard and Anne finally married in July 1472 and settled at their mutual childhood home of Middleham.  They lived contentedly there for 11 years with Richard as Lord of the North, trying to reconcile northern Lancastrians to Yorkist rule.  About a year after their marriage, Anne gave birth to their only son, Edward of Middleham.  After Richard became King of England when the marriage of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville was declared invalid (making all their children bastards, and thus ineligible for the throne), Anne, who had been Princess of Wales through her first husband, was now Queen of England through her second.  Anne would not enjoy her time as Queen.  In April 1484, her only child died suddenly of what seems to be appendicitis.  Anne would die the following year at the age of 28, likely of tuberculosis.  There were rumors that Richard poisoned his wife so that he could take another who would give him sons, but Anne had been ailing for some time and contemporary reports indicate Richard was very grieved when she died.

1726 - María Teresa Antonia Rafaela of Spain, the second daughter of Philip V of Spain and Elizabeth Farnese.  Relations were tense between the French and Spanish royal courts, largely due to a broken engagement between Louis XV and Maria Teresa's older sister Mariana Victoria.  Maria Teresa was engaged to Louis XV's son Louis, while her brother Felipe of Spain was married to Louis' sister Louise Elisabeth of France.  Five years after her engagement was announced, Maria Teresa married Louis, the Dauphin by proxy in December 1844 and arrived in France two months later.  Although the marriage did not start off well - it went unconsummated for seven months - Louis and Maria Teresa seem to have fallen in love.  Nine months later, Maria Teresa gave birth to a daughter and died 3 days later in July 1746.  The Dauphin was so devastated that the King had to drag his son away from his wife's deathbed.  When the Dauphin died 19 years later, he requested that his heart be buried by his first wife.

1897 - Tatiana Nikolaevna Romanova (Татьяна Николаевна), second daughter of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and Alix of Hesse.  For the second time, Alix had given birth to a daughter instead of the son Russia wanted, since girls could not inherit the throne.  Two more daughters followed after Tatiana's birth before the long-awaited heir was finally born.  Her sisters gave her the nickname "The Governess" as she was the practical and organized one.  They also said that if they needed a favor from their parents, Tatiana should be the one to ask for it.  After World War I began, Tatiana trained as a Red Cross nurse with her mother and older sister Olga.  At the outbreak of the revolution, Tatiana was sick at Alexander Palace with the rest of her siblings - that had all contracted measles.  Nicholas returned to the family soon after the abdication, and the family lived in fairly comfortable captivity at their home until August, when they were taken to Tobolsk in Siberia for protection.  While they were in Tobolsk, the Bolsheviks overthrew the Provisional Government in the October Revolution.  Soon, life became more difficult for the Romanovs, and they were told they were being moved to Moscow, presumably for trial.  However, Alexei was suffering a hemorrhage and was unable to travel.  Afraid of what might happen to Nicholas, Alix decided to travel with him and took Maria along to help take care of her.  Tatiana was left behind in charge of the household.  Nicholas and his party was diverted to Ekaterinburg by a bloodthirsty Ural Soviet which was anxious to take revenge on Nicholas.  The rest of the family joined them a few weeks later in Ekaterinburg.  Two months later, on July 17, 1918, Tatiana was murdered at the age of 21, along with her parents, four siblings, and four servants.  The bodies remained missing until a grave containing nine of the eleven bodies was excavated in 1991.  Tatiana's body was finally given a proper burial with the rest of the recovered bodies on July, 17, 1998, the 80th anniversary of the murders.

1928 - Fabiola de Mora y Aragón, daughter of Gonzalo de Mora y Fernández and Blanca de Aragón y Carrillo de Albornoz.  Fabiola married King Baudouin of Belgium on December 15, 1960.  Unfortunately, the new queen was unable to provide an heir to the throne, as all five of her pregnancies ended in miscarriage.  As a result, when her husband died in 1993, his younger brother Albert succeeded to the throne.  Although she reduced her appearances after her husbands death, she still does make appearances on behalf of the Royal Family.

1934 - Henri Marie Jean André de Laborde de Monpezat, son of André de Laborde de Monpezat and Renée Doursenot.  In June 1967, he married the heiress presumptive to the Danish throne, Princess Margarete.  The couple have two sons and eight grandchildren. 

1968 - Alois Philipp Maria von und zu Liechtenstein, the son of Prince Hans Adam II and Marie Aglaë Kinsky of Wchinitz and Tettau.  Their oldest son, Alois is the heir apparent to the Lichtenstein throne.  In preparation for his future responsibilities, Hans Adam II handed the day-to-day governmental power over to his son, although he remains head of state.  In July 1993, Alois married Duchess Sophie in Bavaria.  The couple has four children, the oldest of whom is second in line to the throne after his father.

Died on this date -

1183 - Henry of England, "the Young King", aged 28.  Henry was born on February 28, 1155 as the son of King Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine.  In June 1170, Henry was crowned king during his father's lifetime, following the custom on the continent.  Two years later, Henry married Margaret of France, daughter of Louis VII of France by his second wife.  Henry, who wanted his father to share the power, and not just the title, of king, rebelled against his father in 1173.  The civil war which resulted from this rebellion led to Eleanor of Aquitaine being kept a prisoner for the remainder of her husband's life.  Henry would predecease his father, contracting dysentery in Jun 1183 while on a campaign against his father and brother Richard.  Near the end, he asked for is father, but Henry II, suspecting a trick, refused to meet his son.  Henry did send men to ascertain his son's condition and to pass on a ring as a sign of the father's love.  Henry predeceased his own son William, who lived for a few days in 1177.  As a result, Richard became heir to the throne - although Henry kept him in suspense over whether he wasn't going to be bypassed - and became King when their father died.

1216 - Henry of Flanders, Emperor of the Latin empire of Constantinople, aged about 42.  He was born around 1174 as the son of Baldwin V of Hainault (also Baldwin VIII of Flanders) and Margaret I of Flanders.  He distinguished himself during the Fourth Crusade and was named regent of Constantinople when his older brother Baldwin was captured after the Battle of Adrianople.  Once word of Baldwin's death reached him, he ascended to the throne.  By his first wife, Agnes of Montferrat, he only had a stillborn child.  His second marriage, to Maria of Bulgaria, was childless.  Henry's death was allegedly caused by poison, possibly supplied by his second wife.

1488 - James III of Scotland, aged 36.  He was the son of King James II of Scotland and Mary of Guelders and was born on July 10, 1451.  He was nine when he ascended the throne after his father was killed by a misfiring cannon.  James married Margaret of Denmark in 1469 and had three sons, the oldest of whom would succeed his father as James IV.  James died at the Battle of Sauchieburn, fighting against a rebellious group of Scottish nobles, leading to the succession of yet another child king.

1557 - João III of Portugal, aged 55.  He was born the son of King Manuel I of Portugal and Maria of Aragon on June 7, 1502.  He succeeded his father as King in 1521 when he was 19.  Portugal during his reign was the first western country to make contact with China and Japan.  He married Catherine of Austria, a marriage which produced nine children.  None of his sons followed him as king, as they all predeceased him.  His successor was his grandson Sebastião I, son of his fifth son João, who ascended to the throne at three when João died of a stroke.

1727 - King George I of Great Britain, aged 67.  He was the son of Ernest Augustus, Elector of Hanover, and Sofia von der Pfalz.  Sofia was the heir to the throne of Great Britain under the 1701 Act of Settlement, which barred Catholics and those married to Catholics from the throne.  Sofia predeceased Queen Anne by two months, leaving her claim to the British throne to her son, George.  George went back and forth between his two kingdoms, spending about a fifth of his time in Hanover.  It was while on a trip to Hanover that he had a stroke and died, being succeeded by his only son, George II.

1879 - Willem Nicolaas Alexander Frederik Karel Hendrik, Prince of Orange, aged 38. He was born on September 4, 1840, the son of King Willem III of the Netherlands and Sophie of Württemberg.  Willem was originally looked at by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert as a possible husband for their second daughter, Alice.  After those plans fell through, Willem fell in love with the non-royal Mathilde van Limburg-Stirum.  Even though she was from a noble family, his parents refused to allow the marriage, not seeing her as a suitable bride for their son.  Willem planned to marry Mathilde without permission, but since she was under 21, her parents still had to approve.  After her parents' lack of approval, Willem moved to Paris, where he led a dissipated life..  He died of typhus and liver problems.  After both Willem and his brother predeceased their father, the succession law in the Netherlands was changed to allow their half-sister Wilhelmina to succeed to the throne, which she did in 1890.

1903 - Alexander I of Serbia, aged 26 and Queen Draga of Serbia, aged 38.  He was the son of King Milan I of Serbia and Natalija Keşco and was born on August 14, 1876.  He unexpectedly came to the throne in 1889 when his father abdicated, with his mother as regent until he came of age.  When he was 16, he overthrew the regency and declared himself of age.  The following year, he made his father commander-in-chief of the army, in essence making him the country's ruler again.  Alexander's engagement to the widowed Draga Mašin (born September 11, 1864) in 1900 was very unpopular, both with his family and the country at large.  The marriage weakened the king in everyone's eyes.  When Alexander wished to name his wife's brother as his heir if their marriage was childless, a group of Army officers revolted and invaded the palace, murdering the King and Queen.  Eyewitnesses said that their mutilated bodies were thrown out a window onto a manure pile.  Alexander was replaced on the throne by Peter I, from the rival family of Karađorđević, which had ruled Serbia before the Obrenović family.

1914 - Adolf Friedrich V of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, aged 65.  He was born on July 22, 1848, the son of Grand Duke Friedrich Wilhelm of Mecklenburg and Augusta of Cambridge (granddaughter of King George III of Great Britain).  He became the grand duke on the death of his father in 1904, and at the time of his death, he was the second richest person in Germany after Kaiser Wilhelm II.  By his wife, Elisabeth of Anhalt, he had four children, including his heir Adolf Friedrich VI, who committed suicide four years later, a few months before the abolition of the monarchy.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

June 10th

Born on this date

1688 - James Francis Edward Stuart, son of King James II of England and Mary of Modena.  James' birth was controversial in a country which wanted a Protestant back on the throne - some claimed that the King and Queen's son had been stillborn and another child substituted in his place, the so-called "warming pan baby".  Six months after his birth, his mother took him to France to protect him from those seeking to overthrow the Catholic James II.  The following day, James II was captured and imprisoned as he attempted to flee England, but was allowed to escape to France later that month.  When James II died in 1701, his son declared himself James III of England and VIII of Scotland, a title which was recognized in several Catholic countries in Europe.  The following year, just a few days before his half-sister Anne came to the throne, James was attained and his English titles considered forfeit.  In 1708, he attempted to invade Scotland, but was turned back.  It was suggested that had he been willing to convert to Protestantism, he might have been acceptable as next in line to the throne under the 1707 Act of Settlement, but James refused.  As a result, the throne passed under the Act to the son of Sophia of Hanover, the closest in the line of succession who was Protestant - George I.  In 1715, James finally landed in Scotland and planned to have himself crowned at Scone, but lack of support for his cause led him to leave the country again.  Since his patron King Louis XIV of France had passed away, James was no longer welcome in France and accepted the offer of a home in Rome from Pope Clement XI.  He married Maria Clementina Sobieska (granddaughter of the Polish King) in 1719 and had two son, each of whom succeeded to his claims to the English throne.  James died at the age of 77 on New Years' Day, 1766 in Rome and was buried in St. Peter's Basilica.  Had James actually ascended to the throne on his father's death, he would have ruled for over 64 years, longer than Queen Victoria (at 63+ years) and Queen Elizabeth II (at 60+ years), and the longest reigning monarch in British history.  Queen Elizabeth II will have to reign until May 23, 2016 to surpass his "reign."

1713 - Princess Caroline Elizabeth of Hanover, daughter of George, the Hereditary Prince of Hanover, and Caroline of Ansbach.  The year after her birth, Caroline's grandfather succeeded as King George I of England, making her father the Prince of Wales.  She became known as HRH Princess Caroline of Great Britain on her grandfather's ascension and HRH The Princess Caroline on the ascension of her father as George II.  Caroline died unmarried at the age of 44 on December 28, 1757 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

1825 - Hildegard Luise Charlotte Theresia Friederike von Bayern, the fourth daughter of King Ludwig I of Bavaria and Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen.  In 1844, she married Archduke Albrecht of Austria, giving birth to three children.  Her oldest daughter married the heir to the Kingdom of Würrtemberg, her only son died of smallpox at only a year old, and her younger daughter accidentally set herself on fire at the ag of 18 while trying to hid a lit cigarette from her father, who detested smoking.  The cigarette, hidden behind her back, set fire to her dress.  Fortunately, her mother did not live to see her daughter burn to death in front of her (as had the rest of the family) - while in Munich for the funeral of her brother Maximilian II of Bavaria, she became ill, dying the following month in Vienna on April 2, 1864.

1894 - Prince Igor Constantinovich of Russia (Игорь Константинович), the sixth child of Grand Duke Constantine Constantinovich (Константи́н Константи́нович) and Elisabeth of Saxe-Altenburg (Елизавета Маврикевна).  Igor served as a captain during World War II and was a decorated hero, but ill-health forced him away from the front.  After the Russian Revolution broke out in 1917, Igor was allowed a relative amount of freedom compared to some of the other Romanovs.  However, he was exiled to Siberia in April 1918, eventually joining up with two of his brothers (Ioann and Constantine), two cousins (Vladimir Paley and Sergei Mikhailovich) and a cousin by marriage (Grand Duchess Elisabeth).  They, along with two other companions, were murdered July 18, 1918 by being thrown down a mind shaft outside of Alapayevsk.  The bodies were discovered in October 1918 after the White Army retook the area from the Bolsheviks. 

1921 - Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, fifth child and only son of Prince Andrew of Greece and Alice of Battenberg.  When he was a year old, revolution forced his family into exile, with Philip being smuggled out of the country in a fruit box.  The family settled just outside Paris, where Philip began school.  He was eventually sent to England to continue his schooling under the guardianship of his maternal grandmother, Victoria of Milford Haven and his uncle George Mountbatten.  He was separated from his immediately family during this time - all his sisters were now married and living in Germany, his mother diagnosed with schizophrenia  and institutionalized and his father opting to live in Monte Carlo.  In 1939, Philip joined the British Navy and also met his future wife when, on a visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth to Dartmouth Naval College, Philip was assigned to escort the royal couple's two daughters Elizabeth and Margaret.  Elizabeth fell in love and began corresponding regularly with Philip.  After World War II ended, Philip formally asked for Elizabeth's hand, but the announcement of the engagement was postponed until after Elizabeth's 21st birthday.  Around this time, Philip changed his name to that selected by Philip and Elizabeth married November 20, 1947, eventually becoming the parents of four children.  In 1952, while the couple were on a visit to Kenya, King George VI died and Elizabeth ascended to the throne.  60 years later, Philip is both the longest living consort (91 years, although his mother-in-law was older at her death, she was a widow and not consort for 50 years) and the longest serving (over 60 years) in British history.  In addition, Philip and Elizabeth have the longest lived marriage (almost 65 years) among British monarchs.

1956 - Georg Borwin Friedrich Franz Karl Stephan Konrad Hubertus Maria of Mecklenburg, son of Grand Duke Georg Alexander of Mecklenburg and Ilona of Austria.  In 1963, Borwin became heir to the House of Mecklenburg when his grandfather died and his father succeeded to the title.  When his father died in 1996, Borwin because the head of the house.  With his wife Alice Wagner, he is the father of three children, a daughter and two sons.

1981 - Prince Hashim bin Al Hussein, the younger son of King Hussein and Queen Noor.  In 2006, he married Fahdah Mohammed Abunayyan of Saudi Arabia, with whom he has three daughters.

1982 - Madeleine Thérèse Amélie Joséphine of Sweden, youngest child of King Carl XVI Gustav and Queen Sylvia.  She is currently fourth in line to the Swedish throne, after her older sister Victoria, Victoria's daughter Estelle and Madeleine's older brother Carl Philip.  After the breakup of her engagement, she moved to New York, where she words for the World Childhood Foundation.

Died on this date -

323 BC - King Alexander III of Macedon, "Alexander the Great", aged 32.  He was born in July 356 BC, the son of Philip II of Macedon and Olympias of Epirus.  When he was 19, he succeeded to the throne on the assassination of his father.  He continued with plans drawn up by his father to expand the empire, and at its height, the empire stretched from Greece to the Indian subcontinent.  Alexander died in Babylon (modern-day Al Hillah, Iraq), allegedly of poisoning, although natural causes have been suggested.  He was succeeded by his half-brother, Philip III, and his posthumous son by Roxana of Bactria, Alexander IV.

1190 - Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor, aged 67-68.  Frederick was born on 1122 as the son of Friedrich II of Swabia and Judith of Bavaria.  His descent from the two foremost families in Germany made him a desirable candidate to replace Conrad III as Holy Roman Emperor, which he did in 1152.  During his lifetime, he launched six expeditions into Italy for various reasons.  He also joined the Third Crusade in 1189, but he died the following year crossing the Saleph River, rather than trying to cross at the nearby bridge, which was clogged with soldiers.  He was succeeded as Holy Roman Emperor by a son by his second wife, Heinrich VI.

1424 - Duke Ernest of Austria, aged 56-57.  Ernest was born in 1377 as the son of Leopold III, Duke of Inner Austria, and Viridis Visconti.  He became Duke of Inner Austria on the death of his older brother Wilhelm in 1406.  Beginning in 1414, he called himself Archduke, the first time a member of the Habsburg dynasty had used it.  On his death, he was succeeded jointly by two of his sons, Friedrich and Albrecht.  Friedrich later became Holy Roman Emperor.

1776 - Hsinbyushin, King of the Konbaung dynasty in Burma, aged 39.  He was born on September 12, 1736, the second son of King Alaungpaya, and came to the throne in 1763 on the death of his older brother Naungdawgyi.  During his reign, he fought two wars with Siam (Thailand) and one with China.  When he died, his next brother should have been king, as his father Alaungpaya had wished each of his six sons to succeed in turn.  However, Hsinbyushin made his son Singu heir apparent, and Singu ascended the throne without incident.

1974 - Henry William Frederick Albert, Duke of Gloucester, aged 74.  The son of King George V and Mary of Teck, Henry was born on March 31, 1900.  After his brother Bertie ascended the throne (George VI), Henry was named a potential regent for his niece Elizabeth, should she come to the throne while a minor, which required Henry to remain in England until she turned 18.  At the time of his death in 1974, he was the last surviving child of King George V and Queen Mary.  His title was inherited by his younger son, the elder predeceasing him by two years.

June 9th

Events -

53 - Nero Claudius Caesar Drusus Germanicus, aged 15, married his stepsister Claudia Octavia, aged 13.  Octavia was the daughter of Emperor Claudius, while Nero was the son of Claudius' fourth wife Agrippina (who was also Claudius' niece).  Nero, who had been adopted by Claudius as his heir, succeeded as emperor the following year on Claudius' death.  The following year, Octavia's full brother Britannicus died, likely poisoned by Nero.  Although Octavia was careful to hide her feelings about the death of her brother, the marriage was unhappy and Nero tries several times to murder his wife.  After his lover, Poppaea Sabina, became pregnant with his child, Nero divorced Octavia because she had not provided him an heir.  Octavia was banished, which was unpopular with the Roman citizenry who demanded her return.  Nero considered remarrying her, but decided to have her executed.  Her wrists were slit and she was suffocated in a hot bath.

1946 -  Bhumibol Adulyadej became King of Thailand on the murder of his brother King Ananda Mahidol. Bhumibol Adulyadej is the curernt longest-reigning monarch in the world, having been on the throne 66 years as of today.

Born on this date -

1595 - Władysław Vasa was born near Kraków, Poland, the oldest son of King Zygmunt III Vasa of Poland and his wife Anna of Austria.  Władysław was elected King of Poland at the death of his father in 1632, reigning as Władysław IV.  He attempted to press his claims to the throne of Sweden - his father had been King of Sweden after his own father Gustav I, but had been deposed by his uncle - but was rebuffed.  Władysław reigned until his death, from either gallstones or kidney stones, on May 20, 1648 at the age of 52.  Despite two marriages - Cecilia Renata of Austria and Maria Luisa Gonzaga - he had no surviving legitimate children, so he was succeeded on the throne by his brother.

1640 - Leopold Ignaz Joseph Balthasar Felician of Austria, the second son of Emperor Ferdinand III and Maria Anna of Spain.  On the death of his older brother Ferdinand in 1654, he became heir and succeeded his father as Holy Roman Emperor four years later.  He married three times, to Margarita Teresa of Austria (his niece, not unusual among the Habsburgs), then to Claudia Felicitas of Austria, and finally to Eleanor Magdalene von der Pfalz.  By his wives, he had a total of 16 children, his oldest child by his third wife succeeding him as Emperor on his death on May 5, 1705, at the age of 64.

1661 - Fyodor Alexeyevich Romanov, son of Tsar Alexei and his first wife Maria Miloslavskaya.  Fyodor was 15 when he succeeded his father on the throne in 1676 as Fyodor III.  He was intelligent but disabled since birth.  He married twice - to Agaphia Simeonovna Grushevskaya (who died in childbirth with a son who died a few days later) and to Marfa Apraksina.  The second marriage was short-lived as Fyodor died three months later, on May 7, 1682, with no surviving heirs.  He was succeeded on the throne by his two younger brother, full-brother Ivan V and half-brother Peter I, with their sister Sophia as regent.

1672 - Pyotr Alexeyevich Romanov, son of Tsar Alexei and his second wife Natalya Naryshkina.  Pyotr was not quite four when his half-brother Fyodor ascended to the throne.  When Fyodor died in 1382, the Boyer Duma decided on ten-year-old Pyotr as the next tsar since his older brother Ivan suffered from ill health.  Sophia Alekseyevna, the boys' older sister, led a revolt in favor of putting her full-brother Ivan on the throne over her half-brother Pyotr.  A compromise was agreed to that the boys would be named joint Tsars, with Ivan being considered the senior, while Sophia ruled as regent for the next seven years.  Pyotr, now 17, overthrew his sister and forced her into a convent.  Pyotr took the reins of power, while Ivan V remained co-tsar - Pyotr was fond of his brother and never blamed him for Sophia's actions.  Pyotr became sole tsar when Ivan died in 1696.  During his 42-year reign, Pyotr used his interest in shipbuilding to found Russia's Navy and built a new city to be the capital of the country, St. Petersburg.  He was also known for the "Grand Embassy," where Pyotr traveled (incognito, although people often ended up recognizing him) to various European countries, seeking ideas and innovations he could bring back to Russia to make her more Westernized.  He fought a long war with Sweden, which ended with Russian gains of Ingria, Estonia, Livonia, and part of Karelia.  After the peace treaty that ended the war, Pyotr was proclaimed Emperor, and also received the appellation "the Great", the first of two Romanovs to receive the title.  Pyotr died February 8, 1725, at the age of 52, of a bladder infection which had turned to gangrene.  He was succeeded not by one of his children - his daughter Elizaveta would come to the throne in 1741 - but by his wife Martha Skavronskaya, who had taken the name Catherine on her marriage to Pyotr.

Died on this date

62 - Claudia Octavia, wife of the Emperor Nero, around age 22.  She was born in late 39 AD or early 40 AD, the daughter of Emperor Claudius and his second wife Valeria Messalina.  After Claudius married his niece Agrippina and adopted her son Nero as his heir, a marriage was arranged between the step-siblings.  The pair lived unhappily for nine years, until Nero divorced Octavia in 62 because she was barren.  Octavia was banished, but after the Roman citizens expressed their displeasure at her banishment, Nero ordered Octavia's death.  Her wrists were slit in the manner of a traditional Roman suicide - although not of her free will - and she was placed in an extremely hot vapor bath, where she suffocated.  Her head was severed and sent by Nero to his second wife as a gift.  According to one historian, her death would cause Nero nightmares, along with the death of his mother.

68 - Emperor Nero, aged 30.  He was born December 15, 37, to Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus and Agrippina the Younger, sister of Emperor Caligula.  His mother was exiled by her brother two years later and Nero was sent to be raised by his aunt Domitia Lepida, the mother of Valeria Messalina, third wife of Claudius.  When Claudius became emperor in 41, he brought Agrippina back from exile.  After Claudius and Agrippina were married, Nero was adopted as Claudius' heir (even though he had a living son, Britannicus) and married to Claudius' daughter Claudia Octavia.  The following year, Claudius died, probably poisoned by his wife, and Nero became emperor.  Just 17, Nero was then the youngest man to become Emperor.  Originally greatly influenced by his mother, he broke with her when she took the side of his neglected wife Octavia.  Agrippina then pressed for the passed over Britannicus to be named Emperor in Nero's place, which led to the murder of Britannicus in 55.  Nero began an affair with Poppaea Sabina, whom he planned to marry after putting Octavia aside.  Since his mother championed Octavia, Nero decided to kill his mother to smooth the path.  He also had Claudia killed when the Roman citizenry demanded that Nero bring her back as Empress.  Aside from the numerous murders he ordered, he was known for "fiddling while Rome burned" during a fire in 64.  The store is certainly untrue, as there were no fiddles in 1st century Roman.  According to one historian, Nero - away from Rome at the time of the fire - returned to organize relief efforts which he paid for out of his own funds.  He was also known for persecuting Christians during his reign (Apostles Peter and Paul both died during his reign) and for an uprising in Britain by Queen Boadicca of the Iceni.  Rebellions broke out, with support eventually coalescing around Galba.  Nero fled, and after receiving a report that the Senate had ordered his execution, he decided to committ suicide.  Ultimately unable to do the deed, he asked his private secretary to kill him instead.  The secretary was later executed for failing to prevent Nero's suicide.  His death was the anniversary of his marriage to Claudia Octavia and of Octavia's death.

630 - Shahrbaraz, Shah of Persia, unknown age.  He was a general and commander of the Army of all Iran under King Khosrau II of Persia.  Shahrbaraz captured Damascus and Jerusalem for the Persians, but distrust between Shahrbaraz and Khosrau led to Shahrbaraz holding his army back, leading to the end of the war and victory for the Byzantine Empire.  In 630, Shahrbaraz killed King Ardashir III of Persia, thereby becoming the new King.  Shahrbaraz made peace with the Byzantine Empire and returned to Emperor Heraclius the True Cross which had been carried off during the conquest of Jerusalem.  A short time later, Armenia was invaded, and Shahrbaraz was slain two months later.  He was succeeded by Purandokht, the daughter of Khosrau II and one of only two women to rule during the Sassanid dynasty.

1923 - Princess Helena of the United Kingdom, aged 77.  She was born on May 25, 1846, the fifth child of Queen Victoria and Albert, the Prince Consort.  In 1866, Helena married Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, who had agreed that the couple would live in England so Helena could be close to her mother.  The marriage was controversial because of Schleswig-Holstein, which were claimed by the Prussians, the Danes and by Austria on behalf of Prince Christians family.  Alix, the Princess of Wales, naturally sided with the Danes in the controversy, as did her husband Bertie and his sister Alice.  Vicky, the Princess Royal and Crown Princess of Prussia, might have been expected to come out against the marriage because of Prussia's interest in Schleswig-Holstein, but she had been friends with Prince Christian's family for years and came out in support of the marriage.  The marriage eventually took place, with Bertie being prodded to attend by Alice as a show of family unity.  Alix was unwilling to accept Christian although he was a third cousin, also descended from the Kings of Denmark.  The marriage turned out to be a happy one and they had four surviving children.  Two additional sons were short-lived, one living eight days and the other being stillborn.  Prince Christian died in 1917, with Helena following him six years later.

1946 - King Ananda Mahidol of Thailand, aged 20.  He was born September 20, 1925, the oldest son of Prince Mahidol Adulyadej of Songkhla (son of King Chulalongkorn) and Mom Sangwal.  His father died when he was four, pushing Ananda Mahidol forward in the line of succession.  He ascended the throne in 1935 on the abdication of his uncle King Prajadhipok, as the Cabinet found much to like in a nine-year-old monarch going to school in Switzerland, leaving all the power with them.  Thailand was drawn into World War II on December 8, 1941, during an invasion and occupation coordinated with the attack of Pearl Harbor in the United States.  Formally allied with Japan from 1942, Thailand came under attack by the Allies, with the country becoming the responsibility of Britain after the war ended.  Almost a year after the war ended, the King was found shot to death in his bedroom.  Although three men were executed for the death, the circumstance of the King's death are still considered a mystery.  Ananda Mahidol was succeeded by his brother Bhumibol Adulyadej, who is currently the longest-reigning monarch in the world (66 years as of today).