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A Calendar of Queens: May

Elizabeth Woodville

May is a month filled with queenly anniversaries. From coronations to christenings, marriages to monarchical moments, all four weeks contain special dates linked to majesty. Royal Central’s Calendar of Queens reaches May.

Birth of a Queen

Let’s start with a much forgotten queen who was hugely popular during her lifetime. The first consort of Richard II, Anne of Bohemia, was born on May 11th 1366 in Prague. She was also the first Anne to hold the title of Queen of England.

Another much loved consort made her debut on a May day. Charlotte of Mecklenberg-Strelitz was born on May 19th 1744, Unteres Schloss which is in Mirow. She became Queen in 1761 on her marriage to George III.

Her successor as consort was another May baby. Charlotte of Brunswick, wife of George IV, was born on May 17th 1768 in Brunswick.

The second longest reigning Monarch in British history, Queen Victoria, was born on May 24th 1819 at Kensington Palace, London.

The month of her birth gave her the name her family always used for her but we know her as Queen Mary. May of Teck was born Victoria Mary on May 26th 1867 in the same room at Kensington Palace where Queen Victoria had made her debut.

To marry a monarch

One of England’s greatest ever consorts began her path to her second crown on a May day. Eleanor of Aquitaine married the future Henry II on May 18th 1152 at Poitiers Cathedral, Eleanor had already been Queen of France and within two years of her second marriage she had helped her new husband secure the throne of England.

Eleanor was instrumental in choosing the woman who followed her as consort. She selected Berengaria of Navarre as wife for her son, Richard I. The couple wed on May 12th 1191 at the Chapel of St. George in Limassol, Cyprus.

The witnesses to this secret royal wedding were few and far between which would eventually cause all kinds of problems for the bride. But on May 1st 1464, at Grafton Regis in Northamptonshire, Elizabeth Woodville wed Edward IV and became the first commoner to become Queen of England.

Just eleven days after the death of her predecessor, Jane Seymour became consort of Henry VIII. She wed the king on May 30th 1536 at the Palace of Whitehall.

The Queen’s Farewell

Born Edith Dunkeld, she had changed her name to Matilda on her marriage to Henry I in 1100 and that was the name by which she was mourned. Queen Matilda died on May 1st 1118 at Westminster Palace.

The consort of King Stephen also died on a May day. Matilda of Boulogne passed away on May 3rd 1152 at Hedingham Castle in Essex.

The most controversial of all queenly demises took place on May 19th 1536 when Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII, was executed at The Tower of London. Anne’s fate, convicted of treason, is still the subject of heated debate today.

Another queen whose reign ended suddenly and violently died on May 7th 1718. Maria of Modena was consort to James II and the birth of their son in 1688 had led to a revolution that forced them into exile. Queen Maria died at the Chateau de Saint Germain en Laye, Paris.

The May Coronations

England’s first post Conquest queen was crowed in May. Matilda of Flanders’s coronation took place on May 11th 1068.

Berengaria of Navarre is known as the queen who never set foot in England. Her coronation took place on May 12th 1191 in Cyprus, immediately after her marriage.

The last Queen of the House of Lancaster, Margaret of Anjou, was crowned on May 30th 1445 at Westminster Abbey.

Her rival, and the first York queen, had her coronation in May. Elizabeth Woodville was crowned on May 26th 1465 at Westminster Abbey.

Another Queen Elizabeth was crowned at Westminster Abbey on a May day. Later known as the Queen Mother, the consort of George VI’s coronation took place on May 12th 1937.

The Funeral of a Queen

Anne of Denmark, wife of James I, died in March 1619. However, her funeral at Westminster Abbey was held over two months later, on May 13th 1619.

Ascending a throne

The queen called May became a consort in the month of her birth. Mary of Teck became queen on May 6th 1910 on the accession of George V

The Queen’s Christening

The longest reigning Monarch in British history has a May claim to fame. Elizabeth II was christened on May 29th 1926 in London.

About author

Lydia Starbuck is Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton, a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. June has been a reporter, producer and editor, picking up several awards over the years. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.