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British RoyalsFeaturesHistory

August 4 – a day with regal history

Charlie Proctor/Royal Central

The fourth day of August turned out to be a very good one for the House of Windsor. Two of its most famous women made their debut on that date. They joined a rather interesting list of people with regal connections who celebrated birthdays then. As the royal bunting comes out once more for the Duchess of Sussex’s celebrations, here’s a look at those born on August 4th.

Birth of the Renaissance

They were one of the most powerful families in Europe for centuries and August 4th saw the Medicis welcome a string of well known members whose links to the arts world helped power the Renaissance.

Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de’ Medici, born on August 4th 1463, was part of a junior branch of the clan but the early death of his own father saw him end up living in the house of his cousin, Lorenzo the Magnificent. As a result, the younger Lorenzo developed a passion for the arts that would result in some of the most famous paintings in the world. Sandro Botticelli’ s ‘Allegory of Spring’ was commissioned to mark Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco’s wedding, quite possibly by the groom himself, while the equally celebrated ‘The Birth of Venus’ is also believed to have been painted at his request.

Lucrezia de’ Medici, born on August 4th 1470, spent part of her childhood with Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco as she was the eldest daughter of Lorenzo the Magnificent and his wife, Clarice Orsini. However, her similar passion for the arts was overshadowed by her political prowess. She was involved in a plot to restore the Medici to power when they were exiled from Florence at the end of the 15th century and when her brother, Giovanni, was elected Pope Leo X she led celebrations. She was also influential during the reign of the second Medici pope, Clement VII.

France’s one time heir to the throne

Louis, Duke of Orleans, born on August 4th 1703, was first in line to the French crown for almost a decade but has faded into royal history. His mother, Francoise Marie de Bourbon, was a legitimised daughter of King Louis XIV while his father, Philippe, was a nephew of the Great Sun King. Philippe, Duke of Orleans was regent of France following the death of Louis XIV and when he himself died his son, Louis, became heir to the throne. But he exercised none of his father’s power and ended up being sidelined. When the new king, Louis XV, had a son, the Duke of Orleans was pushed further from court and he died in 1752.

The House of Windsor

Elizabeth Angela Marguerite, born on August 4th 1900, ended up becoming a matriarch of one of Britain’s most famous royal dynasties. The youngest daughter of the Earl and Countess of Strathmore, she married Albert, second son of George V and Queen Mary, in 1923 and just over a decade later became queen consort on the Abdication of her brother in law, Edward VIII. As consort to King George VI, she was hugely popular and the couple’s actions during World War Two further endeared them to their country. The early death of her husband in 1952 transformed her into the ‘Queen Mother’ and for over half a century she remained a bedrock of the Royal Family until her own death in 2002.

Rachel Meghan, born on August 4th 1981 in Los Angeles, California, as the only child of the marriage of Doria Ragland and Thomas Markle, grew up in Los Angeles, and went on to forge a successful career in acting. Meghan became Duchess of Sussex on May 19th 2018 on her marriage to Prince Harry, quickly taking on a string of royal patronages and special projects which focused on humanitarian and social issues. After a year which has seen her step back as a senior member of the Royal Family, she will celebrate her special day with her husband and their son, Archie, who arrived on May 6th 2019.

About author

Lydia is a writer, blogger and journalist. She's worked in the media for over twenty years as a broadcast reporter, producer and editor as well as feature and online writer. As well as royals and royal history, she's a news junkie and podcaster.