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Died on this day in 1534 aged 11 Henry Brandon(my toy,wikipedia). Son of the sister of Henry VIII. Henry was a strong contender to inherit the throne - alas, he died too young.

Born on this day in 1683 to Margrave John of Brandenburg-Ansbach and Princess Eleonore of Saxe-Eisenach, Caroline of Ansbach(my toy,wikipedia). Caroline married George II.
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Died on this day in 1453 aged 53 Duchess Isabella of Lorraine(my
Mother of Margaret who married Henry VI. Isabella was Duchess of
Lorraine in her own right, and married Rene who was Duke of Anjou,
King of Naples, and King of Jerusalem (although it doesn't seem that
they did any Kinging there).

Born on this day in 1155 to King Henry II of England and Eleanor of
Aquitaine, Henry the young king(my
Henry was crowned Junior King of the English following the French
fashion (AFAIK no other English monarch ever was) but died before his
father. He had an important role at the court of his father. He was
betrothed at the age of 5 to the daughter of the King of France and
married her 12 years later. In 1173 though he fell out with his
father and a civil war was started, after they were reconciled he
retreated from politics. Later they were fighting again, and the
young Henry was killed.
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Died on this day in 1666 aged 52 Luisa de Guzman(my
Mother of Catherine who married Charles II. Luisa was the daughter of
Spanish nobels, and married the King of Portugal, she was Regent of
Portugal when her son was a child King.

Born on this day in 1370 to King Charles V of France and Joanna of
Bourbon Mary of France(my
Died aged 7. Aunt of Catherine who married Henry V.
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Died on this day in 1275 aged 34 Margaret of England(my toy,wikipedia). Daughter of Henry III. Married the King of Scotland when she was 11 and he was 10... they later had 3 children (the first when she was 20).

Born on this day in 1361 to King Charles IV of Bohemia and Anna von Schgweidnitz, King Wenceslaus IV of Bohemia(my toy,wikipedia). Half sister of Anne of Bohemia who married Richard II. Bohemia is now (roughly) the Czech Republic, somehow "Bohemia" sounds much more romantic. Wenceslaus was apparently a popular name, and this one is not the one in the song.
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This post should appear at 9am on Friday, will it?
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Still reading Mecca, not finished anything new. Changed "next book" plan to the Just City since fivemack has offered the loan of a copy.
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Died on this day in 1458 Ralph Neville(my
So boring he doesn't even get a wikipedia page. His half-sister
Cecily was the mother of Edward IV. His half-brother Richard's son
(also Richard) was the Earl of Warwick known as the 'kingmaker'. The
Nevilles got their fingers in a lot of pies in the 15th century; or at
least from the way I'm confused about which of them is which it feels
like it.

Born on this day in 1885 to Prince Louis of Battenberg and Princess
Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine Princess Alice of Battenberg(my
Mother in law of Elizabeth II. She married her 5th cousin once
removed, which is quite a distant cousin really. During WWII she
sheltered Jewish refugees from the Nazis, later she founded an order
of Orthodox nursing nuns. Congenitally deaf and diagnosed with
schizophrenia her life can't have been exactly easy, even with piles
of money. She lived her last years in Buckingham palace, after the
Greek monarchy was booted out. Battenberg is the name that was
Anglicised as Mountbatten, which prince Philip has because (I guess)
his father didn't have a surname? Anyway, Battenberg is better,
because it reminds me of cake.

(posted by email! does this work? yes, yes it does)
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Died on this day in 1525 aged 45 Richard de la Pole(my toy,wikipedia). Nephew of Eward IV. Rebelled against Henry VII, unsuccessfully.

Born on this day in 1500 to King Philip I of Castile and Queen Joanna of Castile Emperor Charles V(my toy,wikipedia). Father of Philip who married Mary I. Charles V was in charge of an enormous empire, unfortunately not *very* in charge of it. Have a YouTube video about him:
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Died on this day in 1554 aged 37 Henry Grey(my toy,wikipedia). Henry Grey was the great grand child of Elizabeth Woodville by her first husband, and the father of Jane Grey. A zealous Protestant Grey is mostly remembered for his attempt to make his daughter Queen. He escaped execution over that, but was later executed after a different failed plot to overthrow Queen Mary.

Born on this day in 1708 to Duke Adolphus II of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Princess Christiane of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen, Duke Charles of Mecklenburg(my toy,wikipedia). Father of Charlotte who married George III. Adolphus was a musician and served in the army, as well as Duke.
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Died on this day in 1371 aged 46 King David II of Scotland(my toy,wikipedia). David married Joan, daughter of Edward II. He was defeated by the English and exiled to France for a bit, and then invaded England (from Scotland) to assist the French but alas captured by the English, but later he got away and went back to Scotland. The Scots and French spent a lot of time being friends, especially when they both hated the English (it is important to have a common enemy ;-p).

Born on this day in 1403 to King Charles VI of France and Isabeau of Bavaria, King Charles VII of France(my toy,wikipedia). Sister of Isabella who married Richard II. He was an unlikely King, having 4 older brothers, who all died childless. At the start of his reign Charles had little of France, which was mostly held by the English under Henry VI; then he encountered Joan of Arc, and with her help reclaimed much of France. Later he had an unpleasant falling out with his son Louis, who followed him as King.

Died yesterday (oops) in 1554 aged 42 Sibylle of Cleves(my toy,wikipedia). Aunt of Anne of Cleves who married Henry VIII. She married the Elector of Saxony, and in his absence defended Wittenberg. She was a staunch supported of the Reformation and they were at times at war with the Emperor, who was not.

Born yesterday in 1397 to King John I of Portugal and Philippa of Lancaster, Isabella of Portugal(my toy,wikipedia). Grand-daughter of John of Gaunt. She married the Duke of Burgundy, her third cousin. She was a capable leader, and devoted mother, but her marriage was not very happy.
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Died on this day in 1685 aged 56 Sophie of Brunswick-Luneburg(my toy,wikipedia). Sophie was the mother of the husband of Queen Anne. The daughter of the Duke of Brunswick Luneberg she married her second cousin the King of Denmark (before he was King). She had substantial political influence for many years, during the reigns of both her husband and her son.

Born on this day in 1867 to King Edward VII of UK and Alexandra of Denmark, Louise Princess Royal(my toy,wikipedia).
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Died on this day in 1505 aged 31 Matilda of Hesse(my toy,wikipedia). Matilda was the grandmother of Anne of Cleves, she was the daughter of the Landgrave of Upper Hesse and married the Duke of Cleves when she was 16.

Born on this day in 1399 to Count Bernard VII of Armagnac and Bonne of Berry, Bonne of Armagnac(my toy,wikipedia). Second wife of Charles of Orleans whose first wife Isabella's first husband was Richard II (as his second wife). People's multiple marriages can get a Bit Complicated sometimes. She was her husband's 2nd cousin, and is descended from several Kings of France and England; because European royalty were an incestuous lot.
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Maybe I'll try this thing...

The thing I am reading at the moment is a Mecca by Ziauddin Sardar. I think I am reading this because the Economist said it was good, it is a history of Mecca... it's quite interesting, and it's certainly a different perspective on history than I am used to. Many Meccans have very similar names, which is quite confusing, but of course many Brits have very similar names too (which is only less confusing when I know who they are anyway)

The thing I most recently finished is Bending by Greta Christina, a collection of erotic stories. This was actually a)hot and b)readable, yay. Also Gulp by Mary Roach (I read these two at much the same time) which is a tour of the alimentary canal from mouth to arse, and which I read on the recommendation of Women's Hour; it was really interesting, but perhaps more chatty than I like my pop-sci.

Next. Er, not sure. Maybe Dance 'til Dawn by Genevievie Griffin, which was mentioned on Mary Robinette Kowal's blog; or maybe a History of Crusade through Arab Eyes, which rjk recommended (but maybe I'll leave off the history books for a bit). or maybe the Just City by Jo Walton if I can actually get ahold of it (doesn't currently seem to be published in the UK, grrr)

also this meme (nicked off liv)
book meme )
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Died on this day in 1478 aged 28 George Plantagenet(my toy,wikipedia). Better known as the Duke of Clarence (is this more or less confusing that everyone being called George? At least there's only one Clarence *at a time*). He married Isabelle Neville, the daughter of the Earl of Warwick, and later became Earl of Warwick himself (through his wife) when the older Warwick died; fortunately Dukes are more important than Earls and his name doesn't get changed in Shakespeare plays... He allegedly conspired against his brother Edward IV, and was executed (allegedly by drowning in Malmsey wine). It is not clear to me whether either of these alleged things were true, but he was definitely executed.

Born on this day in 1516 to King Henry VIII of England and Catherine of Aragon, Queen Mary I of England(my toy,wikipedia). Mary was the only surviving child of Catherine and Henry, and was declared illegitimate when Henry annulled his marriage to Catherine in order to marry Anne, later she was put back into the succession by Act of Parliament after Catherine Parr talked Henry into reconciling with his daughters (Mary and Elizabeth). When Mary married King Philip of Spain there was the question of would he be King (the usual thing, would be that any titles inherited by a woman became her husband's)? In the end a compromise was arranged where Philip was King, but Mary & Philip ruled jointly, rather than Philip ruling alone. Philip wasn't much interested in Mary and spent little time in England during their marriage. Philip was Mary's first cousin once removed twice over, and she was his 2nd wife. During Mary's rule she restored the country to Catholicism, and persecuted Protestants (of course the Protestant rulers of the time also persecuted Catholics, she was not uniquely horrid in this regard) and feared plots to overthrow her in favour of her sister (Elizabeth) (at least some existed) although in the event she died of illness and not plotters.
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Died on this day in 1461 aged 29 Sir John Grey(my toy,wikipedia). John Grey was the first husband of Elizabeth Woodville, later wife of Edward IV. Through his son Thomas he was the great-great-grand-father of Jane Grey (through her father) which is an interesting sort of genealogical connection. He was also on the Lancastrian side, but clearly Elizabeth (and family) switched sides when she married.

Born on this day in 1861 Princess Helena of Waldeck and Pyrmont(my toy,wikipedia). Helena married Prince Leopold, son of Queen Victoria. She was the daughter of a German prince (who for some reason I have not writ the name of in my database)
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Died on this day in 1573 aged 78 Isabel Leigh(my toy,wikipedia). Isabel was the half-sister of Katherine Howard, wife of Henry VIII. She married three times, the second time to her step-daughter's widower (um, is that even legal these days?). She was lady-in-waiting to Katherine and went with her when she was banished from the court.

Born on this day in 1419 to Duke Adolf I of Cleves and Marie of Burgundy, Duke John I of Cleves(my toy,wikipedia), grandfather of Anne of Cleves.
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Died on this day in 1152 aged 59 King Conrad I of Germany(my toy,wikipedia). His mother was the brother of Henry V who married Matilda. Conrad was the first German King from the house of Hohenstaufen, which was an elected position (ish, from suitable candidates) so presumably by being better than the other options. He was succeeded by his nephew Frederick rather than his son Frederick, allegedly having preferred this on his death bed (and I guess all the electors went along with his alleged wish?). Conrad was never crowned Holy Roman Emperor.

Born and also died on this day in 1530 to King John III of Portugal and Catherine of Austria, Beatriz(my toy,wikipedia). The only person I've got born on 15/02. Beatriz's longer-lived sister was the first-cousin and first wife of King Philip II of Spain who also married Queen Mary I.
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Died on this day in 1318 aged 39 Margaret of France(my toy,wikipedia). Margaret was the second wife of King Edward I and the daughter of King Philip III of France. Margaret was 20 when she married the 60 year old Edward to seal a truce with France, but the marriage seems to have been happy. She apparently talked Edward into pardoning many who would otherwise have felt his wrath. After Edward's death she was marginalised, especially by Piers Gaveston (favourite, and possibly lover, of Edward II, her step-son).

Born on this day in 1368 to King Charles IV of Bohemia and Elizabeth of Pomerania Emperor Sigismund(my toy,wikipedia). King of Hungary and Croatia (through his wife), Germany, and Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor, his sister Anne married Richard II (who died on this day, but I already did him). Hungary and Croatia seem to have been ruled together for ages, I don't know why. Sigismund did a lot of stuff, which I really don't know anything about (I mean, I read the wiki, but so can you).
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Died on this day in 1542 aged 19 Katherine Howard(my toy,wikipedia). Katherine was the 4th woman to marry Henry VIII, and also his 5th cousin once removed. She was young and pretty and backed by the powerful Howard family, and much more interesting to the King than Anne of Cleves who he didn't especially like (and after having married two women "because he liked them" a political arranged marriage apparently wasn't so attractive). She was allegedly sexually involved with at least two young met at court (possibly because she was young and stupid, possible because she was desperate to get pregnant, from what I've read it's more likely that these accusations were true than the earlier ones against Anne), this was a very bad plan, the accusations made Henry very angry, he had her arrested, the marriage annulled and then he executed her. She was 19 when she died, and had been Henry's wife for nearly a year. Katherine was a Catholic, and it had perhaps been the hope of her family that she would bring Henry back to the Catholic fold - that... didn't go so well.

Born on this day in 1457 to Charles the Bold, Duchess Mary of Burgundy(my toy,wikipedia). Mother of Philip of Castile who married Joanna sister of Catherine wife of Henry VIII. Mary was Duchess of Burgundy in her own right, having no brothers. She married the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian.
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Died on this day in 1554 aged 18 Queen Jane of England(my toy,wikipedia).

Jane was the grand-daughter of the sister of Henry VIII. When Edward VI died with no children you might think his sister (Mary) was the obvious heir - but both Mary and Elizabeth had been declared illegitimate when their mothers' marriages to Henry had been annulled, although they had also been restored to the succession by Act of Parliament. The other options were the children of Henry's sisters Margaret and Mary (who were both dead) , Margaret is the ancestor of James who was eventually King of England - I don't know why she (well, her children) were excluded from the English succession, probably because they were Catholic and Edward wanted England to remain Protestant (also possibly because "union with Scotland" seemed bad). Mary's daughter Frances was also left out (I don't know why, she was Protestant, and in England, married to an English noble); Jane being married to Guildford Dudley the son of the Duke of Northumberland might have been part of it. Jane was only 17 when Edward died and she was told he had made her his successor. She (famously) got to be Queen for only 9 days before Mary showed up with an army and a lot of public support. Jane was arrested for treason, and held in the tower; allegedly it was at the urging of Philip (who was to marry Mary) that she was eventually executed. Jane was highly educated, and a convinced protestant to the end.

Born on this day in 1074 to Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor and Bertha of Savoy, King Conrad II of Italy(my toy,wikipedia). Conrad's brother was married to Matilda (or Maud) who fought (and lost to) Stephen. From skimming the wikipedia article I see two other women called Matilda who were important in his life. Apparently every other woman in the 11th century was called Matilda. This is very confusing.
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Born on this day in 1466 to King Edward IV of England and Elizabeth Woodville and died on this day in 1503 aged 37 Elizabeth of York,(my toy,wikipedia).

I have 3 out of 1351 people who have known birth and death days who died on their birthday (and 29 who died on the day they were born). 1351/365 is about 3.7, so I guess that's about the number of people you would expect to die on their birthday if people died at the same rate throughout the year.

Elizabeth of York was the daughter of Edward IV, of the house of York, she married Henry VII, heir to the Lancastrian claim to the throne through his mother Margaret Beaufort; thus uniting the opposing sides from the wars of the roses. She was the mother of Henry VIII, and another of her children an ancestor of the current Queen. Although her marriage was political it seems that it wasn't terrible and they did actually care for each other. Elizabeth didn't have much political influence, her mother-in-law was the dominating female presence at court. She had 7 children in 16 years, and died (like so many women of the era) shortly after having the last.
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Died on this day in 1567 aged 21 Henry Lord Darnley(my toy,wikipedia). Darnley was the husband (and first cousin) of Mary Queen of Scots, and the father of James VI & I.

Born on this day in 1606 to King Henry IV of France and Marie de'Medici, Christine of France(my toy,wikipedia). Christine was the sister of Henrietta who married Charles I and also of Louis XIII. She married the Duke of Savoy and after his death acted as regent for her sons.
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Died on this day in 1670 aged 60 King Frederick III of Denmark and Norway(my toy,wikipedia). Frederick's son Prince George married Queen Anne. King Frederick instituted absolute (rather than elected) monarchy in Denmark and Norway and lost a war to Sweden.

Born on this day in 131 Maria of Portugal(my toy,wikipedia). Maria's granddaughter Isabella married Edmund of Langley one of the sons of Edward III. She was born an Infanta of Portugal and married the King of Castile; she was largely ignored at the court of Castile in favour of the King's mistress (why he not marry her then? silly man! Stupid politics) she persuaded her father (the King of Portugal) to invade to get rid of the mistress, but this didn't work. Doesn't seem like a very nice life really.
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Died on this day in 1587 aged 44 Mary Queen of Scots(my toy,wikipedia). Mary was Queen of Scotland when only a few days old, but was sent away to France to marry the dauphin while Scotland was ruled by regents. When Francis died, Mary returned to Scotland where she married her cousin Lord Darnley. After Darnleys murder she married Lord Bothwell, who probably murdered Darnley and certainly kidnapped the Queen, this was an unpopular move and eventually the Scots decided to overthrow her, defeated her armies, and arrested her, forcing her to resign in favour of her young song James VI. Mary escaped to England where she apparently hoped Elizabeth would help, but Elizabeth viewed Mary as a rival for the English crown (and Mary might not have done, but lots of English Catholics did which certainly did not help her cause). After years of imprisonment in England Mary was eventually executed in 1587. Her son James eventually succeeded the childless Elizabeth and James II of England.

Born on this day in 1634 to King John IV of Portugal and Luisa de Guzman, Prince Teodosio of Brazil(my toy,wikipedia). Teodosio was the brother of Catherine of Braganza who married Charles II of England; he was the heir to the crown of Portugal but died before his father, who was succeeded by Teodosio's younger brother.
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Died on this day in 1930 aged 43 John Bowes-Lyon(my toy,wikipedia). John went to Oxford, and played cricket, and married a lady with an extensively hyphenated surname; and then there was the first world war, and things were bad. He was the brother of the Queen Mother, and the uncle of the Queen.

Born on this day in 1102 to King Henry I Beuclerc and Matilda of Scotland, Empress Matilda(my toy,wikipedia). Matilda (or maybe Maud) married Henry V the Holy Roman Emperor when only 12, he died 10 years later and left her a young, childless widow. She later married Geoffrey of Anjou (who was then 13) at the insistence of her father. When Henry I died Matilda was his only surviving child, "how the succession works" was not a settled question at the time so rather than Matilda simply becoming Queen she ended up in a war with her cousin Stephen; the eventual resolution was that Stephen got be Be King but Matilda's oldest son Henry would be king *next* (as indeed he was, becoming Henry II). Matilda's mother and one of her grandmothers were also called Matilda, as was Stephen's wife and one of his daughters... this sounds like it might have been confusing.
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Died on this day in 1685 aged 54 King Charles II of England(my toy,wikipedia). The young Charles fled the country to escape the Roundheads, after the death of Cromwell senior, and the general rubbishness of Cromwell, and the election of a new (more royalist) parliament he was invited back to Be King, but with rather reduced powers and funds. Charles had lots of mistresses and lots of children with them, but no children by his wife (who was rather inconveniently, at least according to Parliament, Catholic). He was succeeded by his brother James.

Born on this day in 180 Thomas Lyon-Bowes(my toy,wikipedia). (Thomas is person 3456 in the database, this is mildly amusing). Great-grandfather of the Queen Mother. Interestingly he is Lyon-Bowes but some of his children are Bowes-Lyon; I have no idea why, maybe someone reading this does?
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Died on this day in 1722 aged 83 Eleonore Desmier d'Olbreuse(my toy,wikipedia). Eleonore was the mother of Sophia who married George I. She was first the mistress and then the wife of the Duke of Brunswick-Luneberg, a somewhat rare instance of people this dynastically important actually marrying because they like each other rather than because they have been told to.

I actually don't have anyone born on the 5th of February; I have 1374 people with known birthdates, which I think gives an expected "people per date" of about 3.7 so 0 doesn't seem too unusual although I haven't actually done any stats at it (the biggest number of people sharing a birthday is 10).
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Letter meme! (oh memes, how I have missed you!)

letter meme )
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Died on this day in 1461 aged 61 Owen Tudor(my toy,wikipedia). Owen Tudor married Catherine of Valois, the widow of Henry V (and mother of Henry VI); Owen was the "keeper of the Queen's wardrobe", which was presumably how he met Catherine. He was descended from very important Welsh people I haven't researched yet... but very important Welsh people were not well looked upon at the English court, especially after the uprising Owen's father was involved in. Owen's father was Mareddud ap Tudur, meaning Mareddud son-of Tudur but he changed Owen's name from Owen ap Mareddud to Owen Tudor to be more in line with English style names, and incidentally naming the Tudor dynasty. Owen and Catherine's son Edmund married Margaret Beaufort and was the father of Henry VII. The naming of the Heir Apparent to the English as "Prince of Wales" pre-dates this, and has nothing to do with the personal union of Henry's claims to English and Welsh titles (the English not being interested in Princes of bits of Wales being A Thing) there is some history of that here: I include this random fact because I was somehow under the delusion that it *was* and have de-deluded myself I felt the need to pass it on (maybe I am uniquely stupid/ill-informed)

Born on this day in 1378 to King Charles V of France and Joanna of Bourbon, Catherine of Valois(my toy,wikipedia). But not *that* Catherine of Valois, a different one. This one died tragically young and didn't do very much; but got picked out because of having the same name as the other as yet another illustration of lots of names being very common. I have got 5 Catherines of Valois all daughters or grand-daughters of Kings of France born in the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries (
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Died on this day in 1399 aged 58 John of Gaunt(my toy,wikipedia). John of Gaunt was the 3rd son of Edward III; Edward's first son predeceased him, and *his* son became Richard II. But then John of Gaunt's son became Henry IV; I'm sure that there is a bunch of purported reasons why this was the Right Thing, but given that it involved overthrowing the reigning king and then ignoring his sons (still children) *and* the daughter of Edward III's second son it was presumably all about who had the largest Army. John of Gaunt had three wives; Blanche of Lancaster, Constance of Castile, and Katherine Swynford - it is through his marriage to Blanche that he was the Duke of Lancaster, and from here the House of Lancaster gets its name. Notable Lancastrian Margaret Beaufort however was descended not from Blanche but from Katherine, Katherine had children by John whilst she was his mistress (and he was married to Constance) but he later married her and had the children legitimated (although he wrote a law saying they couldn't Be King, which obviously had about as much effect on the future of the succession as any other rule about who Should Be King vis none, because it was all about Armies; or maybe these sorts of arguments actually persuaded people which Army they should join). Katherine's sister was married to Chaucer, which is kinda a cool random thing.

Born on this day in 1338 to Duke Peter I of Bourbon and Isabella of Valois Joanna of Bourbon(my toy,wikipedia). Grandmother of Isabella of Valois who married Richard II. Joanna was the wife of the King of France who was her first cousin; you'd think the wife of a King of France would merit more on wikipedia than her basic biographic details, but no. That kinda sucks.
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Died on this day in 1353 aged 23 Anne of Bavaria(my toy,wikipedia). She married Charles IV HRE and King of Bohemia, her step-daughter (also Anne) married King Richard II. Her father was Duke of Bavaria and Count Palatine of the Rhine.

Born on this day in 1882 to King George I of Greece and Grand Duchess Olga Constantinovna, Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark(my toy,wikipedia). Andrew was the father of Prince Philip (the husband of the Queen).
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Died on this day in 1705 aged 36 Sophia of Hanover(my toy,wikipedia). Sophia Charlotte was Queen (by marriage) of Prussia and the sister of George I. Perhaps the most interesting thing about her is that she was friends with Liebniz, which possibly means she is in that interminable series of books by Neil Stephenson, but I can't recall if she is.

Born on this day in 1707 to King George II of GB and Caroline of Ansbach Frederick Prince of Wales(my toy,wikipedia). Frederick was the eldest son of George II, but predeceased him, so his (Frederick's) son George became George III.

A look back at January:

104 people were born, and 165 people died, in January (out of 3000-and some people, but many of them I don't have proper dates for). Maybe there is some interesting question about which months have more births/deaths?
(they are all here: Ya'll found some errors (mostly fixed), and suggested some things (mostly not... um). I'd link to the things wot I wrote, but since I wrote basically nowt else you can just go to my journal and scroll through them (also I probably repeated myself a bit);-p
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Born and died on this day in 1510 to King Henry VIII of England and Catherine of Aragon,an un-named daughter(my toy,wikipedia). The BBC are doing an adaption of Hillary Mantel's Wolf Hall at the moment which makes this almost topical (although I promise not to do too many of these, they get rather depressing). Catherine was pregnant many times but had only one child (Princess, later Queen, Mary) who lived to adulthood; Henry's lack of sons was one of the reasons he wanted rid of Catherine so he could marry again.
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Died on this day in 1163 aged 26 William FitzEmpress(my toy,wikipedia). Son of the Empress Matilda (who fought Stephen over the crown of England, she was an Empress because she was married to the Holy Roman Emperor Henry V, who was not William's father that was her 2nd husband Geoffrey of Anjou). Interestingly he is mostly known as "FitzEmpress" meaning "son of the Empress" which I guess highlights Matilda's importance. William was supposed to marry the widow of his cousin, but failed to get papal permission, so didn't. Permission was needed because marriages created "affinity" which was as important as "consanguinity" in the laws about who you were allowed to marry; the distance to which cousin-marriage was permitted has varied a lot over time and in different countries, and the degree to which permission could be obtained by asking the Pope or other authority. Currently in England the law allows cousin marriage but still affinity can still matter (for instance you may not marry your step-child). "Oops I found out she is my cousin" was also a reason you could use to ask the Pope for an annulment. Possibly even if you already wrote to the Pope to ask for permission to marry her in the first place... this didn't work for Henry VIII (in this case Catherine being his sister-in-law, although also his 3rd cousin) but it did work for other people (who I am too lazy to find) who were presumably on better terms with the Pope. Since nobles tend to want to marry other nobles, and most of the nobility of Europe were cousins... the Pope had quite a lot of control over who married who (where people were in favour of doing what the Pope said). These days you are not allowed to petition parliament for permission to marry forbidden relations (well, obviously you *could* write to your MP, but I doubt it would work, even for very important and well connected people) but many fewer relations are forbidden.

Born on this day in 1699 to King Peter II of Portugal and Maria of Neuburg Francisca of Portugal(my toy,wikipedia). Her Aunt married Charles II, and, er, I can't think of anything interesting about her.
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Died on this day in 1820 aged 81 King George III of UK(my toy,wikipedia). Famously mad, for much of his long reign his son ruled as Prince Regent.

Born on this day in 1585 to William I, Prince of Orange and Louise de Coligny Frederick Prince of Orange(my toy,wikipedia). Grandfather of the William of Orange who became King of England; spent a lot of time fighting the Spanish.
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Born on this day in 1457 to Edmund Tudor and Lady Margaret Beaufort King Henry VII of England(my toy,wikipedia). Henry VII took the crown at the Battle of Bosworth, where his army defeated and killed Richard III then buried him under a (future) carpark. He then married his 3rd cousin Elisabeth to "unite the houses of York and Lancaster" (interestingly Elisabeth was herself descended from John of Gaunt through her grandmother Cecily; I don't know why Cecily's marriage to Richard of York didn't "unite the houses blah blah" but probably because no-one had just won a decisive battle). Henry was the first Tudor monarch (possibly the Tudors are descended from people in charge in of Wales, but I forget exactly how) and created the Tudor badge (with both the white and red roses). He was super-paranoid about people claiming to be the sons of Edward IV.

Died on this day in 1547 aged 55 King Henry VIII of England(my toy,wikipedia). Son of the previous Henry. Henry was destined for the church until his older brother Arthur died making Henry heir to the throne, Henry married Arthur's widow because *why not* (or possibly because "we want this alliance with Spain and she is here and negotiations take forever") and then famously had another 5 weddings (4 of these marriages were annulled, so it's probably wrong to say he "had 6 wives"; at least from his point of view). *all 6* of his "wives" were cousins of his (because royalty is very incestuous); only 3 of his children survived him but he did have others including many who died very young.
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Died on this day in 1763 aged 75 Duke Anton of Saxe-Meiningen(my toy,wikipedia). Anton had 2 wives and a total of 18 children, wow, a lot of children (11 of them survived to adulthood).

Born on this day in 1773 to King George III of UK and Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz , Prince Augustus(my toy,wikipedia). Augustus' first marriage was annulled because it had not been approved by the King (clearly very unfair!)
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Died on this day in 946 aged 36 Eadgyth of England(my toy,wikipedia). Eadgyth was the daughter of Edward the Elder, she married Otto I Holy Roman Emperor.

Born on this day in 1624 to Duke George of Brunswick-Luneburg and Anne of Hess Darmstadt, Duke George of Brunswick-Luneburg(my toy,wikipedia). Father of Sophia of Celle, who married George I. I think that Brunswick-Luneburg was part of the Holy Roman Empire... which was around for a long time (I may have said that already).
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Died yesterday (oops) in 1376 aged 70 Richard FitzAlan(my toy,wikipedia). Grandfather of Mary de Bohun who married Henry IV. Richard married his first wife when he was very young, and later the marriage was annulled because of his young age at the time. He had a son by this first wife, and that son was bastardised by the annullment and thus could not inherit the title of Earl of Arundel which went to Richard's first son by his second wife.

Born yesterday in 1391 to King Charles VI of France and Isabeau of Bavaria, Joan of France(my toy,wikipedia). Sister of Isabella and Catherine of Valois who married (respectively) Richard II and Henry V. Joan married the Duke of Brittany.

Died on this day in 1139 aged 79 Count Godfrey I of Louvain(my toy,wikipedia). Father of Adeliza who married Henry I.

Born on this day in 1719 to King Frederick I of Prussia and Sophia of Hanover Princess Sophia of Prussia(my toy,wikipedia). Niece of George II, daughter of the King of Prussia.
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Died on this day in 1698 aged 68 Elector Ernest of Brunswick-Luneburg(my toy,wikipedia). Ernest married his second cousin once removed Sophia and was the father of George I (Sophia's mother Elizabeth, the Winter Queen, was the daughter of James I&VI hence George's claim to the throne after Anne died with no living children). Sophia's father was Elector Palatine.

Born on this day in 1378 Louis III, Elector Palatine(my toy,wikipedia). Louis III was another Elector Palatine, but from a rather earlier... he married Blanche, the daughter of Henry IV.

"Elector" means that the person got to vote in elections for the Holy Roman Emperor. The County Palatine of the Rhine is in German Pfalzgrafschaft bei Rhein from which I have no idea how we get to "Palatine" ... it existed from 1085 to 1803, although not always the same place. Looking at the map on wikipedia it seems to have been non-contiguous, which is a bit odd and leaves me feeling that I really don't understand German history or geography.
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Random thought on the news: in NI there is a problem with people not having water, because the water-company employees are on a work-to-rule. It strikes me as very odd that the water-company is so short-staffed that it is reliant on the good-will (and overtime-working) of its employees to manage to provide even a basic service!
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Died on this day in 1901 aged 81 Queen Victoria of UK(my toy,wikipedia). Married her first cousin, Albert, and the niece of the previous King (who had no children). The wikipedia page unaccountably lacks an "in popular culture" section but I rather enjoyed the film "Young Victoria".

Born on this day in 1397 to King Charles VI of France and Isabeau of Bavaria Louis(my toy,wikipedia). Dauphin of France, like three of his brothers, his younger brother managed to live long enough to be King. Louis was a really very popular name.
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Died on this day in 1900 aged 62 Duke Francis of Teck(my toy,wikipedia). Father in law of George V. Francis's father was the Duke of Wurtemburg, but couldn't inherit because his father's marriage was "morganatic" which is basically the notion that if a Duke does marries a commoner this is a BAD THING and his children can't be Dukes; this seems to have been A Thing on and off, in various places, I guess depending on the whims of whoever was in charge when the couple married?

Born on this day in 1338 to King John II of France and Bonne of Bohemia, King Charles V of France(my toy,wikipedia). Not all Kings of France were called Louis, many of them wore Charles... (kings of France lacking something in the imagination department?). Charles V was mostly at war with the English - the French? at war with the English? Never! ;-p

Incidentally, this toy is a database thingy, so is amenable to being asked questions wikipedia isn't. So if you want to know what Charles V *did* then you read wikipedia, but I can tell you which of the people-in-my-database are his 5th cousins (it is, lamentably, inevitably, incomplete)... for instance I have this fun list of people who married their cousins (incomplete, obviously). The website doesn't let users type arbitrary SQL at the database (OBVIOUSLY) but I can ask it questions you might have.
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Died on this day in 1936 aged 70 King George V of the UK(my toy,wikipedia). King George married Mary of Teck (his 2nd cousin once removed; although they are different generations they were born only two years apart), who had previously been engaged to his older brother (who had died before they could marry); royals have a habit of this it seems. George changed the name of the royal family to Windsor to be less German.

Born on this day in 1292 to King Wenceslaus II of Bohemia and Judith of Hapsburg Elizabeth of Bohemia(my toy,wikipedia). Her grand-daughter married Richard II. Bohemia is (mostly) now the Czech Republic, having previous been part of the Holy Roman and Austro-Hungarian Empires.
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Died on this day in 1601 aged 63 Henry Herbert(my toy,wikipedia). A nephew of Catherine Parr he was briefly married to Catherine Grey (sister of Jane).

Born on this day in 1544 to King Henry II of France and Catherine de'Medici King, Francis II of France(my toy,wikipedia). Husband of Mary, Queen of Scots and briefly King of France, Francis died young and childless and was succeeded by a younger brother.
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Died on this day in 1919 aged 13 Prince John of the United Kingdom(my toy,wikipedia). Prince John had epilepsy and maybe autism, and he was largely hidden from view by the family. The film "The Lost Prince" is quite good iirc, I watched it some time ago.

Born on this day in 1602 to King James VI of Scotland & I of England and Anne of Denmark Robert(my toy,wikipedia). Robert did not live long, only a few months :(
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Died on this day in 1991 aged 87 King Olav V of Norway(my toy,wikipedia). Grandson of Edward VII, Olav was a very popular King in Norway, and also an Army Officer and later Chief of Defence. He married his first cousin, in 1929.

Born on this day in 1517 to Thomas Grey and Margaret Wotton Henry Grey(my toy,wikipedia). Father of Lady Jane Grey (briefly Queen of England). Thomas and his wife were 2nd cousins, both being descended from Elizabeth Woodville, Thomas by her first husband Sir John Grey, Frances by her second King Edward IV.
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Died on this day in 1373 aged 31 Humphrey de Bohun(my toy,wikipedia). Father of Mary, wife of Henry IV; a descendant of Edward I. His wife was his third cousin, they had only daughters who managed to inherit his estates (which would normally have gone to a more distant relative in the absence of sons).

Born on this day in 1409 to King Louis II of Naples and Yolande of Aragon King Rene I of Naples(my toy,wikipedia). Father of Margaret of Anjou. Titular King of a lot of places, but doesn't seem to have been *actually in charge* of most of them.
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Died on this day in 1669 aged 0 Henrietta(my toy,wikipedia). Born the day previously.

Born on this day in 1776 to Prince William Prince and Maria Walpole, William(my toy,wikipedia). He married his cousin Princess Mary, with whom he had no children.
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Died on this day in 1772 aged 48 Princess Mary of Great Britain(my toy,wikipedia). Daughter of George II she married the Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel, they had 4 sons but the marriage was not happy and she went to live in Denmark with her nieces; I guess "leaving to live somewhere else" was less scandalous than actually getting a divorce.

Born on this day in 1273 to King Henry I of Navarre and Blanche of Artois Queen Joan I of Navarre(my toy,wikipedia). Joan was Queen regnant of Navarre, but never actually went there and left it all to governors; she was also Queen consort of France and her son Louis was King of both France and Navarre. Her daughter married Edward II of England.


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March 2015



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