1174 – Baldwin IV becomes King of Jerusalem at age 13. Soon after, he was found to have leprosy, which claimed his life at age 24.
1274 – Estimated to be a possible birthday of Robert the Bruce, or King Robert I of Scotland. A claimant to the throne from an early age, he was crowned King in 1306. He was one of the primary leaders of the Scottish rebellions against the invasion and overlordship of Edward I of England. It wasn’t until the 1320’s after the death of Edward I, and major successes against Edward II, including the Battle of Bannockburn, that Robert was finally recognized by the Pope as King, and war with the new English King, the young Edward III, finally concluded. Robert would die in 1329. Nearly 700 years after his death, Robert is still a national hero of Scotland.
1657 – The future Frederick I of Prussia is born to Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg and Louise Henrietta of Orange-Nassau. In 1701, he convinced the Holy Roman Emperor to allow Brandenburg-Prussia to be elevated from a Duchy to a Kingdom, making himself the first Prussian King. However, the new nation was still under the sovereignty of the Empire.
1751 – Princess Caroline Matilda of Great Britain was born in London. She was the sister of George III of Great Britain and in 1766 she married Christian VII of Denmark at the ripe age of 15. In 1768, she gave birth to the future Frederick VI. But her marriage was unhappy, as Christian was mentally ill, and acted indifferent to his wife. In 1770, she most likely started an affair with Christian’s physician, Johann Struensee, who, it was rumored, fathered her second child, although Christian recognized the girl as his daughter. In 1772 though, Christian had enough apparently, and both Caroline and Struensee were arrested, and the marriage was dissolved. Her lover was executed and Caroline died suddenly of scarlet fever in 1775.
1866 – Princess Irene of Hesse and by Rhine was born in Darmstadt, Germany. She was a middle child of Grand Duke Ludwig IV and Princess Alice of the United Kingdom, and thus, a grandchild of Queen Victoria. She was also the elder sister of the doomed Empress Alexandra of Russia. Irene was married to Prince Heinrich of Prussia, a younger brother of Kaiser Wilhelm II. Like her sister, Irene turned out to be a carrier for the haemophilia gene, which affected two of her sons.
1766 – Elisabeth Farnese died in Spain. She was the Queen consort of Spain as the wife of Phillip V of Spain. Italian by birth, she was of the powerful Farnese family, who were the Dukes of Parma. Early in the marriage she exercised great influence on her husband, but it waned eventually. Among her children, she numbers a King of Spain, and Queen of Portugal and a Duke of her ancestral Parma. She was 73 years old at her death.
1920 – Eugenie de Montijo died in Madrid, Spain. She had lived in France while young and caught the eye of Prince Louis Napoleon, President of France and nephew of Napoleon I. They wed in 1853, a year after he became Emperor Napoleon III. She was the counter influences to liberal policies and was blamed for the French interventions in Mexico. Her husband was overthrown in 1871, and she lived the rest of her days first in England, then later her native Spain, outliving both her husband and son.
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