Day in History – February 13: William and Mary are declared co-regnant Monarchs

On 13 February 1689, the Prince and Princess of Orange formally became the new King and Queen Regnant of England. Their official titles and styles upon accession were “By the Grace of God, King and Queen of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, Stadholther of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands, Prince of Orange, Count of Nassau, Defenders of the Faith, etc.”

William and Mary’s reign is unique because they were both co-regnant Monarchs with equal powers and prerogatives, and not a Monarch and his/her Consort. Before 1689, the closest precedent in England for such an unusual arrangement was the joint reign of Mary I of England and Philip of Spain. Back then, Mary I’s husband had been declared King of England with almost all the powers and prerogatives of a Monarch; it was actually an act of treason to deny his authority. William III also derived his powers from his wife and reigned jure uxoris (in right of the wife). However, there were important differences between William and Philip’s situation.

William III and Mary II of England, Scotland and Ireland

William III and Mary II of England, Scotland and Ireland

Philip could only reign for the duration of his wife’s reign: in case of her death or a divorce, his reign ended (he stopped being a King of England as soon as Mary I died and Elizabeth I ascended to the Throne). William was a reigning Monarch in his own right and would continue to rule until his death. The other difference was that Philip was not in command of the English Army; according to the marriage treaties, England was not bound to provide assistance for Philip’s wars (a condition that was quite futile because Mary I always supported her husband’s campaigns which eventually cost England the port Calais). William had all the powers and prerogatives an English Monarch could have. Perhaps more crucially, in the event Mary II predeceased him, his children from a possible subsequent marriage were given succession rights.

Now, a little information on how things came to that in the first place.

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Day in History – January 18: 800 Years Since The Death of Queen Tamar of Georgia

Queen Tamar and King George III of Georgia

Queen Tamar and King George III of Georgia

One of the greatest and most beloved Monarchs in Georgian history died on January 18, 1213.  Her reign saw the Golden Age of Georgia when the Kingdom prospered and became the foremost power in the Caucasus, successfully repelling many foreign attacks. Tamar’s titles during her lifetime were “By the will of God, King of the Abkhazians, Kartvelians, Arranians, Kakhetians and Armenians, King of Kings and Queen of Queens of all the East and West, Glory of the World and Faith, Champion of the Messiah”.

Tamar was born in 1160 to George III and his wife, Queen Burdukhan (daughter of the King Khuddan of Alania). The couple had only two daughters, Tamar and Rusudan (who married Manuel Komnenos and whose sons founded the Empire of Trebizond). Tamar’s name is of Hebrew origin; the House of Bagrationi claimed direct descent from the biblical King David and Hebrew names were often used. (more…)

Peter II and Queen Alexandra of Yugoslavia

As news surfaced Peter II is to be reburied in Serbia, let’s have a look at the life of a man who was the last King of Yugoslavia.

Peter II with his younger brothers, Andrej and Tomislav

Peter II with his younger brothers, Andrej and Tomislav

Peter II was the eldest son of Alexander I and Queen Maria of Yugoslavia. He had two younger brothers – Prince Andrej and Prince Tomislav. Peter ascended to the Throne in 1934, upon the assassination of his father, aged just 11. Until he came of age, regency was established with Prince Paul of Yugoslavia acting as the country’s Regent.

At the start of World War II commenced, the young King was strongly against the Nazi Germany. However, Prince Paul felt the only way to save Yugoslavia from horrors of the war was to join the Tripartite Pact, which the country did on 25 March 1941. Two days later, on 27 March, the 17-yeaar-old King was proclaimed of age and led the British-supported coup d’état against the Pact. Germany’s response was swift and ruthless; within a week the joint troops of Germany, Italy, Hungary and Bulgaria invaded Yugoslavia, forcing Peter’s Government to surrender. Peter II had to leave the country; he settled in England where he led the Yugoslav Government-in-exile. During the time, the young Monarch joined the Royal Air Force to be of practical help, as well as worked to raise the morals his people.

Peter II and Princess Alexandra

Peter II and Princess Alexandra

Despite the constant worries about his country and people, Peter found happiness in those years; soon after arriving in London in 1941, he met the beautiful Princess Alexandra of Greece and Denmark, the only daughter of King Alexander of Greece and Aspasia Manos. The two teens immediately bonded over the tragic loss of their fathers (Peter’s father was killed by an assassin, while Alexandra’s father had died of blood poisoning after being bitten by a monkey).

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