As September 2015 draws to a close, it has made its mark in the royal history books. This month will be remembered for decades for one big royal event. On September 9th 2015, The Queen became the longest reigning monarch in British history as she overtook the record set by her great-great grandmother, Queen Victoria.
But while September 9th will always be remembered in years to follow for this particularly majestic milestone, the date already has several regal claims to fame. Here are five other reasons that September 9th has a place in the royal history books.
1. Farewell to the Conqueror
He is one of the most famous kings ever but his dramatic reign came to an end on September 9th 1087. For on that date one of the world’s most famous monarchs, William the Conqueror, died.
Born the illegitimate son of Robert, Duke of Normandy, William went on to battle his way to a crown in one of the best known events in royal history. His victory at Hastings in 1066 made him king of England and he spent the next 21 years enforcing his rule. The Conqueror died on September 9th 1087 in Rouen aged 59, apparently from injuries sustained when his horse reared up several weeks earlier. He was buried in Caen.
2. Hello to a very unpopular king
William the Conqueror left his kingdom to his third son, William, so September 9th also marks the start of the reign of William II, known as Rufus.
The second William wasn’t a popular king in his lifetime and his star hasn’t really risen all that much since. He had a reputation for being totally ruthless and, determined to increase his power, he eventually snatched the Duchy of Normandy away from his own brother. He also constantly rowed with the clerics of England. William II’s reign lasted until 1100 when he died in a mysterious hunting accident in the New Forest and his youngest, and most ambitious, brother became Henry I.
3. A battle lost
September 9th 1513 saw the Battle of Flodden Field break out in Northumberland between the armies of England and Scotland. And by the end of the day the Scottish king, James IV, would be dead – the date marks the last time a monarch from a kingdom in the British Isles was killed in battle.
James IV had been a largely successful king but he was just 40 when he died and he was succeeded by his son, James V, who had only just turned one. September 9th therefore also marks the start of his reign.
4. A crown for a tragic queen
James V died at the age of thirty and his only living, legitimate child took his throne at the age of six days. The following year she was crowned and so September 9th 1543 has a place in the royal history books as the date of the coronation of Mary, Queen of Scots.
Mary’s life was filled with tragedy, turmoil and ambition and came to an end at Fotheringay Castle on February 8th 1587 when she was executed after being found guilty of treason. But her coronation, which took place when she was nine months old, was seen at the time as a hopeful event.
5. Birth of a matriarch
Princess Anna Sophie of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt may not be the best known European royal in the history books – let’s face it, most of us have never heard of her – but without her, there would have been no majestic milestone on September 9th 2015.
Anna Sophie, daughter of the equally forgotten Louis Frederik I of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, was born on September 9th 1700 and her descendants include Victoria’s consort, Prince Albert, as well as every single king of Belgium. And she is also the great, great grandmother of Queen Victoria and so the great, great, great, great grandmother of Elizabeth II.
So it’s perhaps appropriate that the moment when one of her descendants claimed the record of longest reigning monarch in British history from another of her descendants fell on the anniversary of her birth. September 9th really is a day for royal history.
photo credit: Royal Central