Abdication of King Edward VIII

Edward VIII - Wallis Simpson

Edward VIII – Wallis Simpson

On the 23rd June 1894, Edward Albert Christian George was born at White Lodge in Richmond, to parents King George V and Queen Mary.

Edward, the Prince of Wales, served in the Army in World War One, but was not permitted to go to the front.

He became a celebrity playboy about town, and had several affairs with married women, and high on the list was; Mrs Wallis Simpson.

On the 20th January 1936, King George V died, and Edward ascended to the English throne.

In 1936, Mrs Wallis Simpson obtained a divorce from her second husband, it was clear to see, Edward wanted to be husband number three.

In November of 1936, the uncrowned Edward sent shock waves through Parliament and family.  The two were very much in love, and Edward had to choose Wallis Simpson or the English throne.  She a divorced woman would have been an unacceptable Queen.

On the 11th December 1936, Edward abdicated, which meant any children he might have, were excluded from succession to the English throne.

In 1937 Edward became the Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson his Duchess, and the couple were married in France.

Eleanor of Castile

Eleanor of Castile

Eleanor of Castile

Eleanor of Castile, was born in 1241, and was one of five children of Ferdinand III, the King of Castile and Joan of Dammartin, Countess of Ponthieu.

On the 1st November 1254, aged thirteen she married Edward aged fifteen, son of King Henry III of England.

In 1272, upon the death of King Henry III, Edward was crowned King Edward I of England, along with his wife; Queen Eleanor of Castile.

In 1272, Edward led his army to the Holy Land in the ninth crusade, accompanied by his Queen.  Where he went, she went, they were inseparable.

At Haifa, Edward was stabbed with a poisoned dagger, and Eleanor saved his life by sucking out the poison from his wound … putting her own life at risk.

On the 13th August 1277, Edward and Eleanor laid the foundation stone, for the Cistercian Abbey of Vale Royal in Cheshire.

On the 25th April 1284, Edward, the future King of England was born at Caernarvon Castle.

In the autumn of 1290, Eleanor was taken ill at the Palace of Clipstone in Sherwood Forest.  Queen Eleanor of Castile, beloved wife of King Edward I, died on the 28th November at Harby, near Lincoln.

Eleanor wished her heart to go to Black Friars in London, her body embalmed at St.Catherine’s Priory in Lincoln.  She was buried in Westminster Abbey on the 17th December 1290.  Her tomb consisted of a marble chest, with carved mouldings and shields, surmounted by a gilt bronze effigy by William Torel.

Crosses were erected at each location where her body rested overnight between Lincoln and her final resting place … Westminster Abbey.

Philippa of Hainault

Philippa of Hainault

Philippa of Hainault

Philippa of Hainault was born on the 24th June 1314 in Valenciennes, in the county of Hainaut.  She was the daughter of William III, Count of Holland and Hainaut, and Joan Valois, grand-daughter of Philip III of France.

King Edward II of England, desired an alliance with Flanders, by way of marriage to his eldest son and heir, Prince Edward to one of Count William of Hainauts daughter’s.

Bishop Stapledon of Exeter, acted as ambassador for Edward II, to determine which daughter would be most suitable as a bride for his son.

In the summer of 1326, Queen Isabella and Prince Edward attended Hainault Court.  Isabella sought assistance to depose the current King Edward her husband, in return for the couple’s betrothal.  Once dispensation had been granted for the marriage of cousins (both great-grandchildren of Philip III of France through their mothers).

In the December of 1327, Philippa arrived in England, with her escort, her uncle; John of Hainaut.  On the 23rd December she reached London, to a rousing reception of cheers.

On the 24th January 1328, Philippa of Hainault married King Edward III at York Minster Cathedral.

Philippa and Edward’s Children:

Edward of Woodstock, Prince of Wales (The Black Prince) – (1330-1376) married Joan Plantagenet the Countess of Kent.

Isabella (1332-1382) married Enguerrand de Coucy, Seigneur de Coucy, Earl of Bedford.

Princess Joan of England (1335-1348).

Prince William of Hatfield (1337-1337).

Lionel of Antwerp, Duke of Clarence (1338-1368) married (1) Elizabeth de Burgh, Countess of Ulster (2) Violante Visconti.

John of Gaunt (1340-1399) married (1) Blanche Plantagenet (2) Constance of Castille (3) Katherine Swynford.

Edmund of Langley (1341-1402) married (1) Isabella of Castille (2) Joan of Holland.

Princess Blanche Plantagenet (1342-1342).

Princess Mary Plantagenet (1334-1362) married John V, Duke of Brittany.

Margaret Plantagenet (1346-1361) married John Hastings, Earl of Pembroke.

Thomas of Woodstock (1335-1397) married Eleanor de Bohun.

Thomas of Windsor (1347-1348)

William of Windsor (1348-1348)

Edward was not ruler of England at the time of his marriage, for his mother Queen Dowager Isabella and her lover Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March, acted jointly as regents, until Edward came of age.

In October of 1330, King Edward staged a coup, ordering the arrest of Isabella and Mortimer, and taking control of his kingdom.

Roger Mortimer was tried for treason, found guilty and beheaded at Tyburn.  Isabella was sent to Berkhamsted Castle, and then placed under house arrest at Windsor Castle until 1332.  Finally she was moved to Castle Rising in Norfolk, where she would spend the remainder of her life.

Philippa served as England’s regent during Richard’s absence in 1346, when King David planned an attack on England.

Philippa proved a worthy Queen, gathering English forces near Newcastle.  She put courage into her troops, riding out upon a white charger, (much like Joan of Arc would have done).

The English troops and longbow archers served their Queen well, with victory over the Scots.

In 1369, Edward visited Philippa at her deathbed, asking if she had any final wish.  She only wanted one thing, that they both be buried side by side in Westminster Abbey.

Philippa of Hainault died from Black Death on the 15th August 1369 at Windsor Castle.  She was buried at Westminster Abbey, following a state funeral on the 29th January 1370.

When she died, Edward never really recovered; his reason for living had gone.  Edward and England mourned the passing of their Queen.

In 1377, King Edward III died, and he fulfilled Philippa’s dying wish, and was buried next to his beloved Queen.

Anne of Denmark

Anne of Denmark

Anne of Denmark

Anne of Denmark was born on the 12th December 1574 at Skanderborg Castle, Denmark, to parents King Frederick II and Sophie of Mecklenburg-Gustrow.

On the 20th August 1589 Anne of Denmark and King James VI of Scotland were married by proxy at Kronburg Castle.

On the 1st September 1589, the Danish fleet carried Anne to Scotland, but got stranded on route in Norway, and violent storms forced the fleet to abandon its winter crossing.

On the 12th September, James heard the news, that the Danish fleet had to dock at Oslo for safety.  He sent his fleet, arriving at Oslo on the 19th November.  On the 23rd November 1589, Anne of Denmark and King James VI of Scotland were married at Old Bishop’s Palace in Oslo, and the service was performed in French.

They arrived back in Leith, Scotland on the 1st May 1590, and on the 17th May she was crowned Queen of Scotland, in the Abbey Church at Holyrood.

Anne bore James seven children, of which only three would survive infancy:

Henry Frederick, the Prince of Wales (1594)

Elizabeth Stuart (1596), who would become Queen of Bohemia and whose grandson would become King George I of England.

Charles Stuart (1600) who would become King Charles I of England, and be executed by order of Parliament.

In the mid 1590’s Anne converted to Catholicism, putting a strain on their marriage, and their royal position, in a Presbyterian Scotland.

On the 25th July 1603 James and Anne were crowned King and Queen of England at Windsor Castle.  Anne as a practising Catholic, refused to par take of Anglican Communion.

In November of 1612, Henry Frederick, the Prince of Wales died of typhoid.

In February of 1613, Elizabeth Stuart married Frederick, Elector Palatine, becoming Queen of Bohemia.

Anne of Denmark, Queen of England and Scotland, died on the 4th March 1619 at Hampton Court Palace, and was buried in the Henry VII chapel in Westminster Abbey on the 13th May.

Margaret of France

Margaret of France 1279

Margaret of France

Margaret of France was born in 1279, to parents Philip III of France and Maria of Brabant.

A grief stricken King Edward I, reeling from the death of his wife; Eleanor of Castile, who had died in 1290, decided to re-marry.  In the summer of 1291, Edward was due to marry Blanche of France, but when his son attended the French court, to collect his father’s bride, it was discovered she had been promised to another; Rudolph III of Habsburg.

Philip offered a replacement; Margaret.  Edward refused Margaret, and went to war with France.

In 1296, a truce was agreed, and Edward did indeed marry Margaret of France, and his son married Isabella of France.

King Edward I married Margaret of France on the 8th September 1299 at Canterbury Cathedral, and he presented his new Queen, with jewels as a wedding gift.

In 1300, Margaret gave birth to a son, Thomas of Brotherton, Earl of Norfolk, named in honour of St.Thomas Becket.  In 1301, Edmund of Woodstock, the Earl of Kent was born. In 1305, Eleanor was born, but sadly died in 1310.

King Edward I died on the 7th July 1307, at Burgh-on-Sands in Cumberland.  His wife Margaret retired to Marlborough Castle.

In 1308 Margaret granted £40,000 and her brother Philip IV, to assist the English barons defeat Gaveston.

On the 14th February 1318, Margaret died at Marlborough Castle, and was dressed in the habit of a Franciscan Nun, and buried at Christ Church, Greyfriars, Newgate in London.

Isabella of Valois

Isabella of Valois

Isabella of Valois

Isabella of Valois, was born on the 9th November 1389, to parents King Charles VI of France and Queen Isabeau of Bavaria, at the Louvre in Paris.

King Richard II of England, lost his first wife “Anne of Bohemia” to the plague in June of 1394.

Charles VI of France, desperately wanted to prevent any alliance between England and Spain, which could result in an end to peace between England and France.  Furthermore the Duke of Burgundy wanted to see a continuation of trading with England.  To this end, it was essential that Richard II should marry a French princess.

On the 31st October 1396, King Richard II of England, accepted into his care, his child bride; Isabella of Valois, at a ceremony held at St.Omer in France.

In November of 1396, the couple were married at the Church of St.Nicholas in Calais.  On the 3rd January 1397, Isabella spent the night in the Tower of London and on the 4th rode through the streets of London, where she met Richard at Westminster.  On the 5th January was crowned Queen at her coronation.

Following the coronation, she went to Windsor, to receive her royal education.

Isabella, a child Queen had no political influence, and as such came under the care of the Duchess Eleanor de Bohun and Duchess Katherine Swynford and her French governess Margaret de Courcy.

In February of 1397, Richard and Isabella went on pilgrimage to Canterbury and spent Christmas at Litchfield, and attended the opening of Parliament in January of 1398 at Shrewsbury.

Political trouble was brewing for Richard.  He had the Duke of Gloucester executed, for plotting against him, in an attempt to seize the throne.  Upon returning from Ireland, having put down a rebellion, he found Henry Bolingbroke was leading an insurrection against him… he had no alternative but to exile him from English lands.

Henry Bolingbroke had no intention in staying in exile, so when Richard was back in Ireland, he returned to England and raised an army of thousands of troops.

Edward the Duke of York, who had been appointed by Richard to look after England in his absence, had a choice, Richard or Bolingbroke, he chose Bolingbroke.

Richard was apprehended and escorted to Flint Castle, where Bolingbroke had him arrested on his return to England.

Richard was forced to abdicate and Parliament declared Richard deposed.  Henry Bolingbroke was crowned King Henry IV on the 13th October 1399 at Westminster.

Richard was believed to have been murdered in February of 1400 at Pontefract Castle.  A requiem was held at St.Paul’s Cathedral in London, out of respect.

Isabella had now become England’s prisoner.

King Henry IV proposed that Isabella should marry his heir, Henry of Monmouth, the Prince of Wales.  The proposition was rejected, time and time again by Isabella.

In May of 1401, a treaty was signed at Leulinghem, whereby King Henry IV would return Isabella to France along with her jewels… Isabella was returned, minus her jewels, for they had been retained to swell England’s royal treasury.

The Earl of Worcester delivered her to the Count of St.Pol at Calais on the 21st July 1401.

In May of 1406, Isabella married Charles of Orleans, son of Duke Louis of Orleans.  When Louis was murdered in the November of 1407, Charles became the new Duke.

On the 14th September 1409, Isabella gave birth to a daughter; Jeanne.  A few hours later Isabella died and was buried at the Chapel of the Abbey of St.Laumer in Blois.

In 1624, her remains were moved to the Orleans Chapel, Celestines Church in Paris.

Anne of Bohemia

Anne of Bohemia

Anne of Bohemia

Anne of Bohemia was born on the 11th May 1366 in Prague, to parents; Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia, and Elizabeth of Pomerania, she being the daughter of Bogislaw V, Duke of Pomerania and Elisabeth of Poland.

Pope Urban VI approved the alliance, the marriange of Richard and Anne, noting that he might have a stronger hand to play in negotiations with the French.

Anne was the daughter, of Europe’s most powerful monarch at the time, ruler of half of Europe’s population and territory.  A useful father-in-law for Richard II, one might say.

Anne’s marriage to Richard came about when Michael de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk, and his former tutor proposed the said joining of hands.  It was at a time when Christendom had two rival popes.

Anne’s brother, King Wenceslas supported pope Urban VI in Rome, who also had England’s support, whilst the French preferred Pope Clement who lived in Avignon.

Anne had not been the first choice of bride chosen by English nobility or Parliamentary members, for she brought no dowry with her.  Richard had to pay her brother Wenceslas 20,000 florins, for her hand in marriage.

On the plus side, English merchants were permitted to trade with Bohemian lands and the Holy Roman Empire.

In the December of 1381, Anne of Bohemia landed at Dover and travelled to Canterbury, to be received by Thomas, Duke of Gloucester and Richard’s uncle.  She continued onto Blackheath, to be greeted by the Lord-mayor of London.

On the 20th January 1382, King Richard II of England married Anne of Bohemia at Westminster Abbey.  On the 22nd January Anne was crowned Queen.

In 1383, Anne of Bohemia, visited the city of Norwich, visiting the Great Hospital where 252 black eagles were displayed on the ceiling, in her honour.

Anne became a popular Queen in England, as the years passed by, described as intelligent with an inquiring mind, renowned for her love of reading.  Referred to as Good Queen Anne, she was liked by the poor for her acts of kindness and generosity.

Anne often interceded, begging on her knees to her husband, procuring pardons for those who had done wrong.

She became well known through the land, with her pleas of mercy, on behalf of the condemned.  She persuaded Richard to pardon many of the participants who took part in the Peasants Revolt.

Anne’s intercession saved the life of John Northampton, former Mayor of London in 1384, committed the offender to life in prison rather than the gallows.

In 1388, Anne confronted the barons of the Merciless Parliament.  Five of the King’s closest advisors were arrested, and Richard objected to a panel of judges.  The judges came out on the side of the King.  Parliament arrested the judges and sentenced them to death.  Anne’s pleas for their lives saw them exiled to Ireland.

Simon Burley, Richard’s tutor, mentor and friend was accused of treason.  He being a father figure to Richard and Anne.  Parliament decreed he should be hung, drawn and quartered, a barbaric death sentence.

Anne fell to her knees and wept.  Richard could not get the barons to commute the sentence to life in prison, but changed the means of death, to one of beheading.

Anne and Richard, from historical evidence, were truly in love.  Anne was an ideal consort, not stepping over the line, but generally complying with Richard’s decisions, and endeavouring to make him happy.

Of all the palaces and castles, Sheen Palace on the Thames, some seven miles from Westminster, was their favourite venue.

On the 7th June 1394, tragedy struck Richard, when his wife of twelve years; Anne of Bohemia died of the plague at Sheen Palace.  A twelve year love affair came to an end.

Richard was so distraught following Anne’s death, he had Sheen Palace torn down and destroyed.

Richard commissioned a double tomb for the woman who had supported him… So they could be together in death.

King Richard II abdicated his throne in the September of 1399, on the condition his life be spared.  His cousin became Henry IV.

Richard lived out his remaining years at Pontefract Castle, until his death on the 14th February 1400.  King Henry V had Richard’s remains moved from King’s Langley in Buckinghamshire, and placed beside Anne in 1413, in the elaborate tomb Richard had prepared for them at Westminster Abbey.