37CE – Caligula is declared Roman Emperor after the Senate annuls the will of adopted grandfather, Tiberius. Caligula would rule Rome for less than 5 years before his assassination, and is still one of the most infamous Roman Emperors.
1229 – Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II is crowned as King of Jerusalem as part of the truce that ended the Sixth Crusade. His second wife Yolande, was an heiress of Jerusalem, but she had recently died, so Frederick’s claim to the throne was very weak.
1314 – The last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, Jacques DeMolay is burned at the stake under orders from the French King Phillip IV. DeMolay and the other Templars were accused of heresy and other crimes, but their immense land holdings and Phillip’s own debt to them is believed to be a motivating factor behind the executions.
1496 – A daughter, christened Mary, is born to Henry VII of England and Elizabeth of York. She was the younger sister to Henry VIII and Margaret, Scottish Queen consort. Mary’s first marriage would be to the (male) heir-less Louis XII of France, who would die just months into their marriage. She would marry the Duke of Suffolk, Charles Brandon, shortly after Louis’ death. She would later be the grandmother of the young Lady Jane Grey, who would rule England for nine days in 1553.
1555 – Francis, the future Duke of Alençon and Anjou is born to Henry II of France and Catherine de Medici. He would be the younger brother to three French kings, Francis II, Charles IX, and Henry III. Although a Catholic, he would be considered a champion for the Protestant cause in the Netherlands against the Catholic forces of Spain and the Empire. For a period of time, he would be a suitor for Elizabeth I, despite the 20+ year age gap between them.
1609 – The future Frederick III of Denmark is born as a younger son of Christian IV of Denmark. He was not expected to accede to the throne until the death of his older brother, also named Christian. He would become the Danish king by election after the sudden death of his father in 1648. While initially unsuccessful in military endeavors, he would lead an a defensive measure that protected Copenhagen. Frederick would capitalize on his popularity after the victory to change Denmark from an elective monarchy to an absolute monarchy.
1848 – A sixth child is born to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert named Princess Louise. In 1871, she married the heir to the Duchy of Argyll, John Campbell. He became Governor General of Canada in 1878 and he and Louise would live there for years, despite her unhappiness in Ottawa. She would live until her 91st year, tying for the longest lived of Victoria’s children.
978 – Edward, King of the English is murdered under suspicious circumstances at Corfe Castle. While how he was killed and by whom is still contested, it is believed his stepmother, Aelfthryth was behind it. He is called Edward the Martyr now, and is venerated as a Saint in the Catholic and Anglican churches and a Passion-bearer in the Eastern Orthodox church.
1584 – The first Tsar of all the Russias, Ivan the Terrible would die in Moscow of a stroke. He was the first to consolidate Russian territories and derived the word Tsar from his claim that he was descended from the Roman Caesars. While in one part he was an effective ruler and politician, he was also ruthless, paranoid, and violent, to the point of killing his son and groomed heir, also named Ivan. This would leave his mentally handicapped son, Feodor I, as Tsar, beginning what is called the Time of Troubles.
1913 – George I, King of the Hellenes dies after being shot being in the back by a man claiming to be a Socialist. The Danish born George had been declared King in 1863 at age 17. He was a younger son of Christian IX of Denmark, and his siblings would number a future Danish King, British Queen, and Russian Empress. His son, Constantine would succeed him, but no Greek ruler after would be as secure on the throne as he was.
1965 – A 45 year old King Farouk I of Egypt dies living in exile in Rome. He was overthrown in 1952, in favor of his infant son, Faud II. Farouk had been king since age 16, and was despised for his over the top lifestyle, even during the wars. He was largely an ineffective and useless ruler, and his son’s kingship would be ended in 1953, when Egypt became a republic.
1983 – The last Italian king, Umberto II dies in exile in Switzerland. He had been in exile for 37, since Italy was declared a republic in 1946. He was called the May King, since he only ruled from May 9th, 1946, until June 12th, 1946. His father had abdicated in his favor, but it was too late. The republican wave was already too strong. Some historians believe that if his father, Victor Emmanuel III, had abdicated sooner, the monarchy may have been saved.
2012 – George Tupou V, King of Tonga dies after just six years on the throne. He succeeded his father, Tupou IV. He would be in favor of transferring power to the Prime Minister and making Tonga more of a democracy. He would pass from leukemia, with his brother and heir Tupou VI, at his side.
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