Fact of the day: 10th July

On this day in 1553 Lady Jane Grey took the throne of England.

The King, Edward V, died on 6 July 1553. On 9 July Jane was informed that she was now queen, and according to her own later claims, accepted the crown only with reluctance.

The next day, she was officially proclaimed Queen of England after she had taken up secure residence in the Tower of London, where English monarchs customarily resided from the time of accession until coronation.

Jane refused to name her husband Dudley as king by letters patent and deferred to Parliament. She offered to make him Duke of Clarence instead.

Northumberland faced a number of key tasks to consolidate his power after Edward’s death.

Most importantly, he had to isolate and, ideally, capture Lady Mary to prevent her from gathering support.

As soon as Mary was sure of King Edward’s demise, she left her residence at Hunsdon and set out to East Anglia, where she began to rally her supporters.

download (2)

Northumberland set out from London with troops on 14 July; in his absence the Privy Council switched their allegiance from Jane to Mary, and proclaimed her queen in London on 19 July among great jubilation of the populace.

Jane was imprisoned in the Tower’s Gentleman Gaoler’s apartments, her husband in the Beauchamp Tower.

The new queen entered London in a triumphal procession on 3 August, and the Duke of Northumberland was executed on 22 August 1553.

In September, Parliament declared Mary the rightful queen and denounced and revoked Jane’s proclamation as that of a usurper.


Fact of the day: 23rd June

On this day in 1456 Margaret of Denmark, Queen of Scotland was born.

Margaret of Denmark (23 June 1456 – 14 July 1486), also referred to as Margaret of Norway, was Queen of Scotland from 1469 to 1486 as the wife of King James III.

She was the daughter of Christian I, King of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, and Dorothea of Brandenburg.

Margaret was betrothed to James of Scotland in 1460.

The marriage was arranged by recommendation of the king of France to end the feud between Denmark and Scotland about the taxation of the Hebrides islands, a conflict that raged between 1426 and 1460.

In July 1469 (at age 13), at Holyrood Abbey, she married James III, King of Scots (1460–88).

Margaret became a popular queen in Scotland and was described as beautiful, gentle, and sensible.


Many later historians called her far better qualified to rule than her husband. A story given by her son claims that Margaret was killed by poison given to her by John Ramsay, 1st Lord Bothwell, and leader of one of the political factions.

However, as Ramsay was favoured by the royal family also after the death of the queen, this is considered doubtful and may have been slander, although he did have some knowledge of poisons.

During the crisis of 1482 when her husband was deprived of power for several months, Margaret was said to have shown more interest in the welfare of her children than her husband, and this apparently led to an estrangement.

Despite later rumours however there is no reason to think that the King wished for her death.

Fact of the day: 17th May

On this day in 1590 Anne of Denmark was crowned Queen of Scotland.

The second daughter of King Frederick II of Denmark, Anne married James in 1589 at age 14 and bore him three children who survived infancy, including the future Charles I.

She demonstrated an independent streak and a willingness to use factional Scottish politics in her conflicts with James over the custody of Prince Henry and his treatment of her friend Beatrix Ruthven.

Anne appears to have loved James at first, but the couple gradually drifted and eventually lived apart, though mutual respect and a degree of affection survived.


In England, Anne shifted her energies from factional politics to patronage of the arts and constructed her own magnificent court, hosting one of the richest cultural salons in Europe.

After 1612, she suffered sustained bouts of ill health and gradually withdrew from the centre of court life. Though she was reported to have been a Protestant at the time of her death, evidence suggests that she may have converted to Catholicism sometime in her life.

Historians have traditionally dismissed Anne as a lightweight queen, frivolous and self-indulgent. However, recent reappraisals acknowledge Anne’s assertive independence and, in particular, her dynamic significance as a patron of the arts during the Jacobean age.

Fact of the day: 16th May

On this day in 1532 Sir Thomas More resigned as Lord Chancellor of England.

As the conflict over supremacy between the Papacy and the King reached its apogee, More continued to remain steadfast in supporting the supremacy of the Pope as Successor of Peter over that of the King of England.

download (36)

In 1530, More refused to sign a letter by the leading English churchmen and aristocrats asking Pope Clement VII to annul Henry’s marriage to Catherine, and also quarreled with Henry VIII over the heresy laws.

In 1531, Henry had isolated More by purging most clergy who supported the papal stance from senior positions in the church.

In addition, Henry had solidified his denial of the Papacy’s control of England by passing the Statute of Praemunire which forbade appeals to the Roman Curia from England.

Realizing his isolated position, More attempted to resign after being forced to take an oath declaring the King the Supreme Head of the English Church, pursuant to Parliament’s Act of Supremacy of 1534. He tried to limit the oath “as far as the law of Christ allows.”

images (12)

Furthermore, the Statute of Praemunire made it a crime to support in public or office the claims of the Papacy.

Thus, he refused to take the oath in the form in which it would renounce all claims of jurisdiction over the Church except the sovereign’s.

Nonetheless, the reputation and influence of More as well as his long relationship with Henry kept his life secure for the time being and he was not relieved of office.

However, with his supporters in court quickly disappearing, in 1532 he asked the King again to relieve him of his office, claiming that he was ill and suffering from sharp chest pains. This time Henry granted his request.

Fact of the day: April 24th

On this day in 1953 Winston Churchill was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, the British leader who guided Great Britain and the Allies through the crisis of World War II, is knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

In July 1945, 10 weeks after Germany’s defeat, his Conservative government suffered an electoral loss against Clement Attlee’s Labour Party, and Churchill resigned as prime minister.

download (21)

He became leader of the opposition and in 1951 was again elected prime minister. Two years later, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature for his six-volume historical study of World War II and for his political speeches; Queen Elizabeth II also knighted him.

In 1955, he retired as prime minister but remained in Parliament until 1964, the year before his death.

Fact of the day: 21st April

First of all today is my Dad’s birthday so – Happy Birthday!!!!

He’s not the only one celebrating a birthday though.

On this day in 1926 Queen Elizabeth II was born.

Elizabeth was born in London and educated privately at home. Her father acceded to the throne as George VI in 1936 on the abdication of his brother Edward VIII, from which time she was the heir presumptive.

She began to undertake public duties during the Second World War, in which she served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service.

download (19)

In 1947, she married Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, with whom she has four children: Charles, Anne, Andrew, and Edward. Her coronation service took place in 1953 and was the first to be televised.

Since Elizabeth rarely gives interviews, little is known of her personal feelings. As a constitutional monarch, she has not expressed her own political opinions in a public forum. She does have a deep sense of religious and civic duty and takes her coronation oath seriously.

Fact of the day: 11th April

On this day in 1689 William III and Mary II were crowned as joint sovereigns of Britain.

William and Mary were crowned together at Westminster Abbey on 11 April 1689 by the Bishop of London, Henry Compton. Normally, the coronation is performed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, but the Archbishop at the time, William Sancroft, refused to recognise James’s removal.

William also summoned a Convention of the Estates of Scotland which met on 14 March 1689, and sent a conciliatory letter while James sent haughty uncompromising orders, swaying a majority in favour of William. On 11 April, the day of the English coronation, the Convention finally declared that James was no longer King of Scotland William and Mary were offered the Scottish Crown; they accepted on 11 May.

aa William and Mary_Copyright Historic Royal Palaces 05

Although most in Britain accepted William and Mary as sovereigns, a significant minority refused to accept the validity of their claim to the throne, holding that the divine right of kings was authority directly from God, not delegated to the monarch by Parliament. Over the next 57 years Jacobites pressed for restoration of James and his heirs. Nonjurors in England and Scotland, including over 400 clergy and several bishops of the Church of England and Scottish Episcopal Church as well as numerous laymen, refused to take oaths of allegiance to William.