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Calendar of Kings: May

King Charles II
By Peter Lely, Public Domain, Wiki Commons

Many a monarch has made their mark on May and left interesting tales to tell in their wake. From the suspicious death of a tragic king to the impossibly romantic wedding of a royal whose legend outstripped reality, the month is filled with milestones linked to the best known names in regal history. Royal Central’s Calendar of Kings reaches May.

Birth of a Monarch

The merriest of monarchs, Charles II, made his debut on May 29th 1630. The king who reclaimed a lost crown was born at St. James’ Palace in London.

The first king of the House of Hanover was also a May baby. George I, who inherited the throne from his cousin Queen Anne, was born on May 28th 1660 in Hanover.

Marriage of a Monarch

Already famed for his bravery in battle, the king they called Lionheart had to come to the rescue of his intended bride when she ran into trouble on the way to their wedding. Richard I married Berengaria of Navarre at the Chapel of St. George in Limassol, Cyprus on May 12th 1191.

Death of a Monarch

The sorry story of the last Lancastrian king, Henry VI, came to an end on May 21st 1471 when he died at the Tower of London. It was announced he had died from melancholy although it has long been thought he was smothered to death on the orders of his rival, the Yorkist king, Edward IV.

The man who waited decades to rule then held the throne for just nine years also died on a May day. Edward VII passed away on May 6th 1910 at Buckingham Palace.

His romantic story had changed the Monarchy forever and the personal tale of Edward VIII came to an end on May 28th 1972 with his death in Paris.

To Crown a King

He might have ended up one of the most unpopular monarchs in history but no doubt King John could see nothing but glory ahead when he was crowned on May 17th 1199 at Westminster Abbey.

John’s son and successor, Henry III, was crowned exactly 21 years later although this was his second coronation. Henry walked into Westminster Abbey on May 17th 1220 for this special ceremony – his first coronation in Gloucester had been so rushed that the only crown available was a small jewel belonging to his mother.

George VI didn’t just inherit his brother’s throne when Edward VIII abdicated for love, he also got his coronation date. George was crowned on May 12th 1937 at Westminster Abbey.

The Start of a Reign

With all the PR skill he was famed for, Charles II made sure his restoration to the throne was as memorable as possible by ensuring it was confirmed on his 30th birthday, May 29th 1660.

Another royal PR supremo began his reign in May. George V took the throne on May 6th 1910 on the death of his father, Edward VII.

The Burial of a King

The first Tudor, Henry VII, was buried on May 11th 1509 at Westminster Abbey.

The first Stuart king’s funeral also took place on a May day. James I was buried on May 7th 1625 at Westminster Abbey.

And the first king of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was also buried in the fifth month of the year. Edward VII’s funeral took place on May 20th 1910 at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor.

A Calendar of Kings will return in June.

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.