1397 – At the court of Richard II of England, Geoffrey Chaucer begins telling the Canterbury Tales for the first time. The book is most important for being written in Middle English, instead of French or Latin.
1968 – In not-so-dead royals, Prince Maurits of Orange-Nassau is born. He is the eldest child of Princess Margriet of the Netherlands. He is the nephew of Queen Beatrix and tenth in line for the throne. However at the Queen’s abdication, he will lose his claim to the throne and cease to be a member of the Dutch Royal family.
1080 – King Harald III of Denmark dies at approximately age 40. He had only been king for six years and is regarded as a weak and ineffective leader. His reign is overshadowed by his successor’s, his brother, Canute IV, who would later be canonized.
1711 – Holy Roman Emperor Joseph I died of smallpox at age 32 in Vienna. He was crowned King of Hungary in 1687 at age 9, King of the Romans in 1690 at 11, and finally Emperor in 1705 at the death of his father, Leopold I. He had continued the War of Spanish Succession to install his brother as King of Spain. Instead his brother would succeed him as Emperor, becoming Charles VI. Joseph had two daughters though, the eldest becoming Queen consort of Poland, the younger eventually becoming Holy Roman Empress, when her husband, a Bavarian prince, was elected as Charles VII.
1902 – Francis, Duke of Cadiz and King consort of Spain dies in French exile. He was the husband of Isabella II of Spain, his double first cousin. Although they had several children, the marriage was not happy until the overthrow of Isabella. He did see the restoration of the monarchy, with his son as King Alfonso XII.
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