1424 – The Battle of Verneuil takes place in France as part of the Hundred Years War. The English and Burgundians were victorious over the armies of the French and the Scottish. While it was strategically important, the battle was particularly bloody.
1473 – Another son was born to King Edward IV and Queen Elizabeth, christened Richard. When he was a year old, he was created Duke of York, and since it has been tradition for the second son of the monarch to be given the title. Edward IV died in 1483, when Richard was only 9 years old. Both he and his brother were taken to the Tower of London to await the coronation of Richard’s brother as Edward V. However, he would never be crowned, and the boys would never be seen again after that summer. All the children of Edward IV were deemed illegitimate by an act of Parliament, and thus unable to rule. The elder Edward’s brother took the throne as Richard III. Exactly what happened and the parties responsible are still debated by historians.
1629 – The future John III Sobieski of Poland is born. He had been elected King of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1674. He was an able ruler, and his 20+ years on the throne offered much needed stability to the people of the Commonwealth. John is also famous for his defeat of the advancing Ottoman army in the Battle of Vienna in 1683. He still one of the most popular and well-loved rulers in Poland.
1786 – Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg and Saalfeld is born in Germany. She was a younger daughter of Duke Francis of Saxe-Coburg and Saalfeld and Countess Augusta of Ruess-Ebersdorf. She was the elder sister to the future Leopold I of Belgium. In 1803, she married for the first time, to Prince Charles of Leiningen, whom she bore two children by. In 1814, Charles died, leaving her a widow. However, in 1818, she remarried, this time to Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, who was a son of George III of Great Britain. In 1819, she gave birth to their only child, a daughter named Alexandrina Victoria. Edward died suddenly just a few months later. With her young daughter in direct succession for the throne, Duchess Victoria was very strict in raising her daughter, and clashed with her daughter’s uncle, now King William IV. When her daughter became Queen in 1837, as Victoria, they had a strained relationship, though eventually reconciling. Duchess Victoria died in 1861, at age 74.
1887 – Charles I of Austria was born. He was the grandnephew of Emperor Franz Joseph I, and the nephew of the doomed Franz Ferdinand. In 1911, he married Italian Princess Zita of Bourbon-Parma, and they would have eight children. After the death of his uncle, Charles was the heir apparent to the Imperial Austrian throne. In 1916, he became Emperor, and would be the last of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. After only two years of rule, he refused to further participate in state affairs, but did not formally abdicate. He attempted to regain the crown of Hungary, but to no avail. He died young, at age 34, while in Portuguese exile, in 1922.
1786 – Frederick the Great of Prussia died in Potsdam at age 74. He had been King in Prussia since the death of his father, Fredrick William I, in 1740. In his early years, he had a poor relationship with his father, and was imprisoned for a time. During his reign, he became renowned for his military acumen and was also a great patron of the arts. He married in 1733 to Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Bevern, but the marriage was unhappy and childless.
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