1199 – Richard I of England is shot in the shoulder with a crossbow bolt while besieging the castle at Chalus-Chabrol in France. It would take several days, but Richard the Lionheart would die from his injuries.
1306 – Robert the Bruce is crowned as King of Scotland at the traditional place, Scone. He would continue to spend the rest of the year at war with the English king, Edward I.
1345 – Blanche of Lancaster is born to the Ducal family of Lancaster in northern England. She would later marry John of Gaunt, one of the sons of Edward III and her husband would be created Duke of Lancaster. Of her three surviving children, her oldest daughter would become Queen consort of Portugal, and her son, Henry Bolingbroke, would be the first Lancastrian king, Henry IV. She was just 23 when she died, possibly of the plague.
1767 – Joachim Murat, future King of Naples, is born in France. He rose to prominence under Napoleon Bonaparte, in the army. In 1800, he would marry Caroline, Napoleon’s sister, and in 1808 they would be made King and Queen of Naples by the French Emperor. However, their rule would not survive Bonaparte’s fall from power, and Murat would later be executed via firing squad for treason against King Ferdinand IV of Naples, who was the rightful king.
1782 – Joachim’s bride, Caroline Bonaparte was also born today on the island of Corsica, as one of the younger Bonaparte children. She was married at 17, and had a famous feud with Napoleon’s first wife, Josephine. She was known to be ambitious, and she and her husband were made Grand Duke and Duchess of Berg and Cleves in Germany, before given the Kingdom of Naples. She would flee after her brother’s final defeat and her husband’s execution, landing in Austria, where she remained and remarried.
1921 – Alexandra of Greece and Denmark is born in Athens, just months after the death of her father, Alexander I of Greece. In 1944, she would marry Peter II of Yugoslavia, becoming the last Queen of the country. When she was giving birth to Alexander, Crown Prince of Yugoslavia, while in exile in London, the British Government ceded the hotel they were in, to Yugoslavia, so the Prince could still be born on Yugoslavian territory. She would live out her days in Britain. Her remains, along with those of her husband, King Peter II, and mother-in-law, Queen Maria, were returned to Yugoslavia and reburied in the crypt of the Royal Mausoleum at Oplenac on May 26th, 2013.
1223 – Afonso II of Portugal dies at age 37 in Coimbra, Portugal. Afonso the Fat as he was called, was not interested in fighting the Spanish Moors like his father and grandfather Sancho I and Afonso I. He was more interested in peace with Castile, which he achieved and centralizing and strengthening his government. He helped to engineer the first written laws in Portugal. Afonso would eventually come to conflict with the Pope at the time, and at his death, he was actually an excommunicate of the church.
1751 – A 75 year old Frederick I of Sweden dies in Stockholm. He was first Prince consort of Sweden when he married his second wife, Ulrika Eleonora. Five years into her reign, she abdicated in her husband’s favor, thus making him the only person to have ever been King and Prince consort of Sweden. He was largely and weak and ineffective ruler, and its stated that that is the reason the Swedish Estates wanted him as king, so rule would fall into the hands of them and the nobility.
1975 – King Faisal is shot at close range by his nephew, Faisal bin Musaid. The Saudi King would die of his injuries later that day. The younger Faisal never gave an exact reason for the shooting, although theories abound, including that he was working with the American CIA and British MI6. The assassin was declared insane, but sane when he shot the king. He was executed just a few months later by beheading.
Have a great day!