“How fond and inconstant I were if I should prefer my mother to the title, let all men judge.”

July 29 was apparently a popular day for royal marriages and coronations.

From the British Library

Mary, Queen of Scots (December 8, 1542-February 8, 1587) was born less than a week after her father King James V of Scotland died. He and his army had been fighting the English when they were defeated at the Battle of Solway Moss. He collapsed on December 6 and died on December 15.

She was heir to Scotland but also a great-niece of Henry VIII of England through his sister Margaret Tudor, giving her a claim to the English throne.

To secure an alliance between England and Scotland, Mary was initially arranged to marry King Henry VIII’s son Prince Edward, but the Scots refused. King Henry attacked Scotland again and Mary was sent to France in 1548 to marry the French prince the Dauphin, to secure Catholic allies against the English Protestants. They married in April 1558 when they were around fifteen. Francis inherited the French throne in 1559 when he was 15 and Mary was 16. However, Francis was not strong and he died in December 1560 after only 17 months and Mary returned home to Scotland. By the time Mary returned, Scotland was in the middle of a Reformation. While Mary looked for Catholic husbands, including Don Carlos, heir to the Spanish throne,

But, Elizabeth I wanted Mary to marry a Protestant and proposed Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester, her favourite courtier. Neither Dudley nor Mary wanted the match and Dudley proposed Henry Lord Darnley, Duke of Albany, a Catholic. Mary and Darnley were cousins through their grandmother Margaret Tudor and more distantly related through King James II of Scotland. They were married on July 29, 1565.The marriage was a disaster.

Mary ruled alone and did not give Darnley any authority. His constant demands to be crowned King of Scotland in his own right alienated Mary and the nobles. He became a drunk, and, jealousy of Mary’s secretary and favourite David Riccio, he and several others murdered Riccio in front of Mary in Holyrood House. She was six months pregnant with the future King James VI of Scotland at the time.

Their son, the future King James VI of Scotland and I of England, was born on June 19, 1566 and baptized a Catholic, alarming the Protestants. Darnley’s behaviour worsened after James was born and the marriage did not last much longer. He and his men were found murdered at Kirk o’Field, Edinburgh on February 10, 1567. The house he was staying at was blown up, but Darnley’s body was found in the garden after the explosion. He had died of strangulation. How involved Mary was has never been determined.

Mary’s third husband was James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, who was accused of murdering Darnley but found not guilty. Shortly after he was acquitted, Bothwell forced Mary to marry him. The Lords of Congregation did not approve. After Mary failed to repress a rebellion by Scottish peers, she was not only imprisoned in Leven Castle but also forced to abdicate in favour of her one-year-old son James who became King James VI of Scotland. The family was never together again as Bothwell fled to Dunbar and died in sane in Denmark in 1578.

Meanwhile, Mary escaped from Leven Castle in May 1568 and gathered a small army that was defeated at Langside by Protestants. Mary then fled to England, hoping that Elizabeth would help her. Instead she became a pawn and was imprisoned in various castles for the next 19 years. Eventually Mary was found guilty of treason when incriminating letters of her plotting against Elizabeth were intercepted.

Mary was executed in 1587. Her son became King James VI of Scotland and King James I of England after Elizabeth died in 1603, uniting the countries. In 1612, he had Mary’s body exhumed and reburied in a place of honour at Westminster Abbey, and moved Elizabeth to a less prominent tomb nearby.

National Portrait Gallery

King James VI of Scotland and I of England (June 19, 1566-March 27, 1625) was crowned King James VI of Scotland on July 19, 1567, exactly two years after his parents were married. Without his parents, James was the pawn of four regents who tried to control him. The only constant was his tutor George Buchanan, who raised him to be a Protestant and unsuccessfully tried to teach him to hate his mother.

Two years after Queen Elizabeth signed the death warrant for his mother Mary Queen of Scots, James married Anne of Denmark. The couple had three sons and four daughters of whom three survived infancy: Henry, Prince of Wales, Charles I and the ‘Winter Queen’, Elizabeth of Bohemia. They were happy at first, but eventually drifted apart.

On March 24, 1603, Queen Elizabeth died and named James her successor, allowing James to achieve his ambition of ruling England. He went to England to claim the crown. Though he wanted the two countries to be completely united, Scotland retained its parliament, Church, and educational systems.

Two years after James became king, on November 5th 1605, the Gunpowder Plot to kill James and his government was foiled. Guy Fawkes was caught with barrels of gunpowder beneath the House of Lords.

The Gunpowder Plot, to kill James and his government on the 5th of November 1605, was foiled. Guy Fawkes was caught with barrels of gunpowder beneath the House of Lords.

In 1606 James granted a charter to establish a colony in North America, named “Jamestown” in his honour. It became the first permanent British settlement in America. When Pocahontas visited England with her husband John Rolfe in 1616 she met King James.

Though he was king of Scotland, he only returned once, in 1617. The following year, he forced through the Five Articles of Perth, to bring Church of Scotland government and worship into line with the Church of England. However, after strong opposition, he did not enforce the articles and made no further attempts to change the country’s religion

Royal Wedding

On July 29, 1981, Charles, Prince of Wales (Born: November 14, 1948) and Lady Diana Spencer (July 1, 1961–August 31, 1997) married at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. He is the eldest child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. She was the youngest daughter of John and Frances Roche Spencer, then the Viscount and Viscountess Althorp. Diana was born The Honourable Diana Frances Spencer and received the style Lady Diana Spencer in 1975, when her father became the 8th Earl Spencer. Diana was named for an ancestor also Lady Diana Spencer, later the Diana Russell, Duchess of Bedford, and her mother Frances.

The Spencers had a long history with the royal family. Viscount Althorp was Equerry to King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II. Her maternal grandmother Ruth, Lady Fermoy and paternal grandmother Cynthia, Countess Spencer were ladies-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth II’s mother, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

Lady Diana and Prince Charles married at St Paul’s Cathedral in London on July 29, 1981. An estimated 1,000 million watched or listened to the broadcast – at 750 million, it was the most popular program broadcast on TV – and hundreds of thousands lined the route from Buckingham Palace to the Cathedral. There were around 3,500 guests at the church. The day was declared a national holiday. There were even children re-creating the wedding.

Diana was the first Englishwomen to marry an heir to the throne in 300 years, since Anne Hyde married the future James II, Diana’s ancestor. On their marriage Diana became Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales.

The couple had two sons, Princes William in 1982 and Henry (Harry) in 1984. They divorced in 1996 and Diana continued to be a member of the royal family as mother of the heir to the throne. After the divorce, Diana became Diana, Princess of Wales, without the style of ‘Her Royal Highness’. She died on Sunday, August 31, 1997, after a car crash in Paris.

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