1558 – Mary, Queen of Scots marries the Dauphin of France, Francis in Paris. Francis was the heir of Henry II of France, and Mary had been Queen regnant of Scotland since days after her birth, although she had lived in France since age 5. Francis took the title of King consort of Scotland, until the following year, when he became King of France at age 15. Mary was then Queen consort of France, albeit for just over a year, as Francis died suddenly in 1560.
1854 – Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I married a 17 year old Elisabeth of Bavaria. They would later have four children, 3 daughters and one son, Rudolf, who famously committed suicide with his mistress in what’s known as the Meyerling Incident. Franz is said to have loved his beautiful wife dearly, but due to her inability to cope with court and public life, she retreated into herself, and was said to be unable to reciprocate his love.
1953 – The new Queen of the United Kingdom, Elizabeth II knighted Winston Churchill. Later, after his retirement, the Queen offered him a Dukedom, but he declined, accepting a position as a Knight Companion in the Order of the Garter instead.
1533 – William I, Prince of Orange and Stadtholder of the Dutch Provinces was born today in Nassau. Called William the Silent, he went on to be one of the early leaders of the Dutch Revolt against Catholic Spanish Habsburg rule. His fighting with the Imperial and Spanish forces are the precursors to the Eighty Years War, ending finally with Dutch Independence. William’s legacy lives on in the Netherlands today. Their flag, was based on his, although the colours have changed slightly. The Dutch coat of arms is also based on his. The National Anthem of the Netherlands, the Wilhelmus, comes from a propaganda song of Williams.
1736 – Prince Eugene of Savoy died in Vienna in his sleep, at age at age 72. He would attempt to serve in the French Military, but would be rejected. He then moved to Austria and began an illustrious military career spanning the lives of three Emperors, Leopold I, Joseph I, and Charles VI. He protected the Austrian Empire from French invasion, and removed the Ottomans from Central Europe. Napoleon himself considered Eugene to be one of the greatest military leaders in all of history.
1986 – Wallis, Duchess of Windsor died in Paris. She was the wife of the Duke of Windsor, Prince Edward, former King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom. Edward famously abdicated the throne in 1936 to marry Wallis, a twice divorced American socialite. Edward’s brother became George VI after the abdication. Wallis and Edward later married in 1937. Although she had a rather cold relationship with the royal family, she was buried at Frogmore Castle and her funeral was attended by the Queen, the Queen Mother and several other members of the royal family.
Have an awesome day!