The first month of summer has brought many new beginnings for some famous queens and it’s been a moment of crowning glory for others. June is also the month when five English queens said farewell. Here’s a calendar of queens for June.
Birth of a Queen
Just two British queens have, so far, made their debut in June. Philippa of Hainault, wife of Edward III, was born in Valenciennes (now in northern France) on June 24th 1310. She would become Queen of England in 1328.
England’s other June queen was a far less successful and popular consort. Anne of Cleves, fourth of Henry VIII’s six wives, made her debut on June 28th 1515 in Dusseldorf.
It might be a popular month for weddings now, but June has only seen the marriages of two queens. Catherine of Valois married Henry V on June 2nd 1420 at Troyes Cathedral, bringing him the promise of the crown of France as part of the deal that sealed their union.
Catherine of Aragon, first of Henry VIII’s wives, wed the king on June 11th 1509 in the Church of the Observant Friars, in the environs of Greenwich Palace. Two decades later, their fight over the validity of that ceremony would change Europe forever.
The coronations of four consorts have been June events. Catherine of Aragon was crowned on June 24th 1509, alongside Henry VIII, at Westminster Abbey. On June 1st 1533, the woman who replaced her as queen, Anne Boleyn, entered the same building for her own coronation.
Queen Mary, consort to King George V, was crowned at Westminster Abbey on June 22nd 1911. She died just months before the coronation of their granddaughter, Elizabeth II, there on June 2nd 1953.
Starting to Reign
Queen Victoria’s historic reign began on June 20th 1837 when she succeeded her uncle, William IV, to the throne. William’s own reign had begun on June 26th 1830 when his wife, Adelaide, had begun her own time as queen consort.
Caroline of Ansbach, wife of George II, had become queen on June 11th 1727 when he ascended the throne. And Jane Seymour, third of Henry VIII’s wives, was proclaimed queen on June 2nd 1536, less than three weeks after the execution of Anne Boleyn. Jane was never crowned.
The End of the Story
Five English queens have died in June. Isabella of Angouleme, the controversial queen of the equally controversial King John, died in Fontevraud Abbey on June 4th 1246. The woman who succeeded her as queen consort, Eleanor of Provence, died on June 24th 1291 at Amesbury in Wiltshire.
Anne of Bohemia, first wife of Richard II, died at Sheen Palace on June 7th 1294. The loss of her steadying influence is often cited as a reason for her husband’s descent into tyranny soon afterwards.
Joanna of Navarre, queen to the man who took Richard’s throne from him, died on June 19th 1437. The consort of Henry IV was buried next to him at Canterbury Cathedral.
Elizabeth Woodville, the first non royal to marry a King of England and mother of the Princes in the Tower, died on June 8th 1492 at Bermondsey Abbey. Her passing came in the reign of her eldest daughter, Elizabeth, who was, by then, queen consort to Henry VII.
A Calendar of Queens returns in July.