19th May - Tudor Queen Anne Boleyn is executed in 1523. Mughal Queen Mariam-uz-Zamani "Jodhaa Bai" dies after reigning for 43 years in 1623.
queens of portugal; leonor of viseu (1458-1525)
Born in 1458, Leonor was the sixth child and eldest daughter of Infante Fernando, Duke of Viseu and the King’s younger brother, and Beatriz of Portugal. Her father died in 1470, having spent a large part of Leonor’s childhood in his brother’s campaigns, in North Africa. Her mother was a granddaughter of Afonso, Duke of Braganza and the most powerful nobleman of Afonso V’s court. The widowed Beatriz took control of the estate, establishing herself as an astute and sucessful bussiness woman, and one of the key political figures of the later 15th century Spain. Her marriage had been arranged by her father before his death and the young Leonor was a favourite of her uncle, Afonso V, who remarked, delighted, upon “the beautiful traces of her face and more so in the perfections of her spirit”.
The marriage took place soon after her father’s death, however she returned to her family after the cerimony and the groom, the future João II, accompanied his father to Morocco. The two began living as husband and wife the following year, and Leonor gave birth to her only surviving child, Prince Afonso, three years later. At the time of the birth, both Afonso V and João were absent, undertaking the invasion of Castile on behalf of Juana of Castile. The seventeen year old Leonor was appointed regent of Portugal and moved the court closer to the castilian border. The Princess, taking advantage of her husband’s absence, breastfed her son herself, an act almost unheard of amongst the nobility. The Treaty of Alcáçovas, negotiated by Duchess Beatriz, which arranged the peace between Portugal and Castile was sealed by the betrothal of Prince Afonso and the Catholic Kings’ eldest daughter, Isabel, who would be reared by her mother, Duchess Beatriz, away from the court. Her husband had, during this period, taken Ana de Mendonça as mistress, with whom he had a son, D. Jorge, whose education Leonor would undertake.
The death of Afonso V in 1481 and the sucession of his son João would prove catastrophic for he Queen’s family. The clash between the high nobility and the King resulted in the execution of her brother-in-law, the Duke of Braganza and murder at the King’s own hands of her brother Diogo, Duke of Viseu. At her great signs of grief, João ordered her to remain silent lest she was accused of cumplicity in her brother’s treasonous attempt to crown himself King of Portugal. In 1490, the wedding of Afonso and Isabel of Castile took place. However, the prince would die soon afterward from a suspicious fall from his horse. Afonso’s death meant a problem of succession, for which two candidates presented themselves, Manuel, Duke of Viseu and the Queen’s younger brother, and D. Jorge, the King’s illegitimate son. João II’s attempt at legitimizing his son before the Roman Curia were blocked by Leonor’s agents, mainly Cardinal Alpedrinha.
The King died in 1495, possibly by poisoning. Leonor refused to go to João’s deathbed, despite his requests, and forbade her brother of going as well. Leonor maintained a position of great power for the rest of her life in her brother’s court, having distinguished herself for her piety and as a patron of the arts, particularly flemish. Leonor died in 1525, at the age of 67, and is one of the few Queens of Portugal not entombed next to her husband. The Misericordias, a charity system for the poor and whose network and efficiency she developed, eventually had branches all over the Portuguese Empire and operated successfully well into the eighteenth century.
Two sailors celebrating the end of World War II in style.
Primavera, Sandro Botticelli
This masterpiece by Botticelli was commissioned in 1481 by Lorenzo the Magnificent on behalf of the marriage of his cousin Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de’ Medici to Semiramide Appiani. Appiani is depicted as one of the three graces, her figure staring longingly at her betrothed, Lorenzo, who is portrayed as the Roman God Mercury. In the top center of the painting is a cupid shooting an arrow at the head of Appiani. This symbol, shooting an arrow at the head symbolizes what was known as an “ideal Renaissance Marriage” — a merging of two minds rather than two hearts.
♕ He contents the people where he goes best that ever did prince; for many a poor man hath suffered wrong many days have been relieved and helped by him and his commands in his progress. And in many great cities and towns were great sums of money given him which he hath refused. On my truth, I never liked the conditions of any prince as well as his. God hath sent him to us for the weal of us all. - Thomas Langton, Bishop of St David’s
People in Paris and at Kensington Palace marking the 17th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death on August 31, 2014. The Princess of Wales died in 1997 in a Paris car crash.
World War One began on July 28, 1914, exactly one month after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austria-Hungarian throne. As Austria-Hungary, determined to respond to the assassination, moved into Serbia (which Russia immediately mobilized to defend), Germany invaded Belgium before moving towards France, causing Great Britain to declare war on Germany and its allies. In less than a week, all of the world’s superpowers, with the exception of the United States, was at war.
The Central Powers were comprised of Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria. The Allied Powers consisted of the rest of the majority of Europe, leade by Great Britian, France, Russia, and, eventually, the United States of America. The U.S. joined the war in 1917, after intercepting the Zimmerman telegram. The telegram was a request from Germany to Mexico asking the Mexican government to declare war on the United States.
The Great War ended on November 11, 1918. Over 9 million soldiers and an estimated 7 million civlians lost their lives in the war. Considered the first “modern” war, it is thought to be one of the bloodiest wars in history.
Henry VII and Elizabeth of York // The Welsh Dragon & The White Rose of York
Henry was from the House of Lancaster; Elizabeth from the House of York. Between them, they united the warring parties that had fought the bloody century-long Wars of the Roses. There’s was a marriage of faithful love, of mutual attraction, affection and respect. As king and queen, they founded the enigmatic House of Tudor that was to rule over England for more than 100 years. Today, the dragon and his rose still lie side by side at the heart of Westminster Abbey…
MEDIEVAL TITLES, POSITIONS, TRADES, AND CLASSESQueen Regents are female monarchs who reign in their own right. They possess sovereign powers and are of higher rank than their King Consorts. And, vice versa, Queen Consorts share her husband’s rank, but does not hold much political or military power. Queen Dowagers are windows of a king, and Queen Mothers are dowagers who are also mothers of a reigning sovereign.
August 19th 14 AD: Augustus dies
On this day in 14 AD the first Roman Emperor, Augustus, died aged 75. Born Gaius Octavius and known as Octavian, he was named as heir of his great uncle Julius Caesar. Upon Caesar’s assassination in 44 BC, Augustus formed an alliance - the Second Triumvirate - with Marcus Aemilius Lepidus and Mark Antony, to rule and take vengeance on Caesar’s assassins. The alliance soon fell apart and the three fought for sole rule of Rome. Octavian emerged victorious after defeating Mark Anthony at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC. Octavian then set about ‘restoring’ the Roman Republic, which had been ruled by Caesar as Dictator, by formally returning power to the Senate. However in reality the new leader kept considerable power in his person, adopting many titles which became part of the imperial pantheon, including ‘Augustus’ (which loosely translates as ‘magnificent’), ‘princeps’ (first citizen), ‘pontifex maximus’ (priest of Roman religion) and ‘tribunicia potestas’ (power over the tribune assemblies elected by the people). Augustus’s constitutional system gave way to the birth of the Principate, the first period of the Roman Empire. He is also considered the first Roman Emperor because the empire greatly expanded under his rule. Augustus died in 14 AD, and was succeeded by his step-son and adopted heir Tiberius. Augustus thus began the stable line of ‘adoptive’ Roman Emperors which ended with Marcus Aurelius’s decision to name his birth son Commodus, who came to power in 180 AD. This year is the momentous 2000th anniversary of the death of the first Roman Emperor. Even today Rome is remembered as a pinnacle of civilisation and empire and much of modern Europe continues to be shaped by its legacy.