Day in History – May 1: Acts of Union 1707

The Acts of Union 1707 took effect on 1 May 1707, finally uniting the Kingdoms of England and Scotland into one, united country – Kingdom of Great Britain.

The Flag of Great Britain. Created by James VI and I, it symbolised the union of England and Scotland first under one Crown, and then as one country

The Flag of Great Britain. Created by James VI and I, it symbolised the union of England and Scotland first under one Crown, and then as one country

The counties were at the point de facto united for over a century, ever since James VI of Scotland ascended to the English Throne as James I on 24 March 1603, after the death of Elizabeth I. However, back then, the two countries merely entered into a Personal Union of Crowns – a situation when two or more countries share the same Monarch, while remaining, separate, sovereign states (not unlike, say, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom now).

There had been previous attempts at unification through the 17th century. Indeed, when James VI became King of England, he announced his intention to unite the two Kingdoms so that he wouldn’t be “guilty of bigamy”. He styled himself as King of Great Britain and declared the country should be viewed as “presently united, and as one realm and kingdom, and the subjects of both realms as one people’.

(more…)

Advertisements

Day in History – March 24: James VI of Scotland Ascends to the English Throne

March 24 was a pivotal day in English and British monarchical history. Exactly 410 years ago, in 1603, Elizabeth I died and James VI of Scotland ascended to the English Throne as James I, creating Personal Union of Crowns of the Kingdoms of England and Scotland. A century later, on 1 May 1707, the Acts of Union were signed, officially uniting the Kingdoms of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain. The question of James VI’s accession will be discussed in this article, while the Act of Union – in a separate one to be published on May 1.

James VI and I of Scotland and England

James VI and I of Scotland and England

Elizabeth I’s death in 1603 marked the end of the House of Tudor which had ruled the Kingdom of England and its realms for 118 years, since Henry Tudor (Henry VII) defeated Richard III in the Battle of Bosworth Field. Elizabeth was childless and the last of Henry VIII’s legitimate children, so the line ended with her. She named as her successor her closest surviving male relative, James VI of Scotland. James VI was her second cousin once removed as both were descendants of Henry VII Tudor: Elizabeth was Henry VII’s granddaughter (Henry VII -> Henry VIII -> Elizabeth I), while James was his great-great-grandson through two lines (Henry VII -> Margaret Tudor -> James V of Scotland -> Mary, Queen of Scots -> James VI, and Henry VII -> Margaret Tudor -> Margaret Douglas -> Lord Darnley – James VI). James VI’s accession to the English Throne as James I met virtually no resistance, yet the interesting thins is the fact he wasn’t legally an Heir to the English Throne at all.

(more…)

The Duchess of Cornwall to accompany the Queen to the State Opening of Parliament

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will attend the State Opening of Parliament on Wednesday, May 8. In a somewhat surprise announcement from the Buckingham Palace, it emerged they will be accompanied by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. While Prince Charles has attended the ceremony several times before, this will be Camilla’s first-ever State Opening of Parliament.

The Queen and the Duchess of Cornwall during the Diamond Jubilee Concert

The Queen and the Duchess of Cornwall during the Diamond Jubilee Concert

Camilla’s invitation can perhaps be seen as a sign of growing confidence in her role, as well as a gradual transition of responsibilities from Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh, to the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. Just a year ago, Queen Elizabeth appointed her daughter-in-law Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order – one of the highest honours that remain the personal gift of the Monarch.

(more…)

The Duke of Kent hospitalised after a mild stroke

The Buckingham Palace announced yesterday that the Duke of Kent had suffered a mild stroke. The 77-year-old royal was taken to a London hospital in the early hours of Monday, where his condition was assessed by doctors.

Prince Edward, Duke of Kent

Prince Edward, Duke of Kent

Although the Queen’s cousin is still believed to be under the supervision of doctors, his condition has improved and the Duke if “looking forward to resuming official engagements as soon as possible”.

(more…)

The Duke of Cambridge appointed Aide-de-Camp to the Queen

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge has been appointed personal Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty.

The Court Circular stated that the Queen “has been pleased to appoint The Duke of Cambridge as a personal Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty” with immediate effect. His Royal Highness wore the insignia of an aide-de-camp for the first time at the St Patrick’s Day parade for the 1st Battalion Irish Guards at Mons Barracks in Hampshire.

The Duke of Cambridge wearing his aide-de-camp insignia

The Duke of Cambridge wearing his aide-de-camp insignia

A Personal Aide-de-Camp is a senior officer of the military of a Commonwealth Realm who is appointed to act as the honorary military attendant to the Monarch and/or her viceroys.

Prince William is the seventh member of the Royal Family who currently holds the appointment, the others being The Duke of Kent (Field Marshal), the Prince of Wales (Admiral of the Fleet), Mark Phillips (Captain, Retired), The Duke of York (Rear-Admiral), The Earl of Wessex (Second Lieutenant), and Sir Timothy Laurence (Vice Admiral).

(more…)

Queen Elizabeth II Leaves Hospital

Her Majesty had everyone worried with her hospitalisation yesterday but it looks like there was nothing serious for she has already left hospital.

Her Majesty thanks the nurses

Her Majesty thanks the nurses

In the morning, she had a visit from her personal physician, Professor John Cunningham, who asserted the Queen was well enough to be discharged. Apart from being the Queen’s personal physician, Professor Cunningham also occupies the position of the Head of the Medical Household to Her Majesty.

The Queen left King Edward VII Hospital shortly before 3pm. Before being driven away, she made sure to thank the doctors and nurses for their excellent care and flashed her charming smile to the waiting photographers. The Queen was driven back to Buckingham Palace where she will stay tonight – as apparent by the royal standard flying over the Palace (which is done only when the Monarch is in the residence).

Meanwhile, other members of the Royal Family are stepping in to cover for Her Majesty while she is recuperating; the Countess of Wessex and the Duke of Edinburgh will now attend a reception hosted for Members of the British and European Parliaments.

Queen Elizabeth Hospitalised

Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II

The Queen was admitted to King Edward VII hospital on Sunday to be treated for symptoms of gastroenteritis.

Her Majesty’s condition was initially treated by her personal physicians. However, at some point they advised the best course of action would be a hospitalisation It is possible the Queen suffers from dehydration, a common symptom of gastroenteritis, which may require giving her fluids intravenously.

No information is given on how long Queen Elizabeth will stay in hospital, although according to doctors, it would normally take about two days for her condition to be stabilised. All of the Queen’s engagements for the upcoming week, including a high-profile official visit to Rome – were cancelled.

(more…)

Week in Review – 24 February-03 March: Royal Health Worries

It’s was a rather unfortunate week health-wise from royals across the world.

Queen Elizabeth II was forced to cancel a visit to Swansea on Saturday to celebrate St David’s Day, after developing symptoms of gastroenteritis. She will now spend the weekend at Windsor and will be “assessed in the coming days”. It is very unusual of Her Majesty to cancel engagements for health reasons.

Elizabeth II and King Juan Carlos

Elizabeth II and King Juan Carlos

King Juan Carlos of Spain had to be treated on Wednesday because of a dislocated left hip. The procedure was non-invasive and lasted for less than an hour. The King had undergone a surgery on his left hip in November of 2012, after suffering from osteoarthritis in his left hip. At the beginning of the week, His Majesty felt numb pain and after x-rays the doctors found he had a “slight dislocation” of the left hip.

(more…)

Day in History: 130 years since the birth of Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone

Since Prince Philip became the oldest-ever British male royal yesterday, it is only appropriate we shall dedicate a post to a woman who was the longest-lived British Princess by blood.

Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone

Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone

At her death, Princess Alice was 97 years and 313 days old. Apart from being oldest British Princess by blood, she was also the last surviving grandchild of Queen Victoria. The Princess had lived through six reigns: born during the reign of her grandmother, Queen Victoria, she also saw five other Monarchs – Edward VII, George V, Edward VIII, George VI, and Elizabeth II – on the Throne.

(more…)

Prince Philip becomes the longest-lived male member of the British Royal Family

The Duke of Edinburgh

The Duke of Edinburgh

On 24 February 2013, Prince Philip became the oldest-ever British male royal.

The Duke of Edinburgh was born on  10 June 1921 and will turn 92 this year. His parents were the Prince and Princess Andrew of Greece and Denmark. His mother, born Princess Alice of Battenberg, was a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of the United Kingdom. His father was a grandson of Christian IX of Denmark and a great-grandson of Tsar Nicholas I of Russia. He had a distinguished naval career, including active service during World War II, before marrying Princess Elizabeth (now Elizabeth II) in 1947.

Prince Philip is also the longest serving royal consort in history, as well as the oldest spouse of a reigning British Monarch in history.

(more…)