Each monarch leaves their mark, placing their personality on the fabric of history. And charting those footprints tells a story all of its own. From births to weddings, coronations to the passing of power, the major moments in a monarch’s life have an impact far beyond palace walls. Here, we look at the stand out kingly events that fell in the first month of the year. A Calendar of Kings considers the monarchical milestones that have taken place in January.
Birth of a King
The baby boy born in Bordeaux on January 6th 1367 was never expected to rule, but within a few years of his arrival, his path to the throne was inevitable. The second son of the Black Prince, the child had an older brother ahead of him in the line of succession, but his sibling’s death along with the passing of their father turned him into the heir to the throne by the age of nine. He succeeded as Richard II in 1377.
The only other King of England to be born in January, so far, was also an unlikely candidate for the crown on the day he arrived. Henry, only son of Edmund Tudor and Margaret Beaufort, was born on January 28th 1457 at Pembroke Castle, three months after his father’s death. He won the throne through conquest, defeating Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 and becoming King Henry VII.
Death of a Monarch
Henry’s son and successor, Henry VIII, died on the 90th anniversary of his father’s birth. The Tudor colossus, perhaps the most famous of all England’s kings, died the Palace of Whitehall on January 28th 1547.
The tragic end of another king came in the cold days of January at the same palace. Charles I was executed for treason outside Whitehall on January 30th 1649.
George III’s long reign came to an end on January 29th 1820 with his death at Windsor Castle. He was 81 when he passed away and is still the longest lived of all England’s kings.
The Queen’s grandfather, George V, died on January 20th 1936 at Sandringham House after a short illness.
Here Comes the Reign
The death of George V signalled the start of a short and dramatic reign. On January 20th 1936, Edward VIII became king with the official proclamation taking place the following day at St James’s Palace, London.
Edward VII’s reign began in January as well. He became monarch on January 22nd 1901 on the death of his mother, Queen Victoria.
George IV ascended the throne on January 29th 1820 on the death of King George III although he had in effect assumed royal power a decade earlier when he had been declared Prince Regent.
Edward VI’s reign began on a cold January day with the death of his father, Henry VIII. However, although the crown passed to the boy king on January 28th 1547, the official proclamation of his accession came on January 31st that year once the then nine year old was in London.
Edward III’s reign started on January 25th 1327 after his mother, Isabella, seized power from his unpopular father, Edward II, in a coup.