History jar challenge 10 – monarchs whose mothers were not queens of England

Complete set of Players cigarette cards depicting kings and queens of England.
Can you spot the queen of England who was barred from attending the coronation of her husband?

I should have been clear that I was dating this from 1066. How did you do? I think there’s 15 clear cases of monarchs whose mothers were not queens of England and a further 3 who became queen after their children were born – but they were queens of England.

William the Conqueror’s mother was Herleva (1). Apparently Duke Robert the Devil or the magnificent depending on your view point spotted her doing the laundry by the river and the rest is history as they say.

Technically William Rufus’s mother wasn’t queen of England when he was born – Matilda of Flanders (i) only became queen in 1066 following the conquest and Rufus was born sometime between 1056 and 1060. She was very definitely queen of England by the time Henry I was born at Selby in 1068 – so I shall leave it up to you to count William Rufus in or not depending on your frame of mind.

King Stephen’s mother was Adela of Normandy (2), a daughter of William the Conqueror and Matilda of Flanders. She married Theobald III of Blois.

Henry II’s mother, the Empress Matilda (3) was never crowned so technically wasn’t the ruler.

Henry IV’s parents were John of Gaunt, the third surviving son of Edward III and his wife Blanche of Lancaster (4) – who very definitely wasn’t queen of England.

Henry V’s mother was Mary de Bohun (5) who died before Henry IV usurped Richard II’s throne.

And then we arrive at the Wars of the Roses – Edward IV and Richard III’s mother was Cecily Neville (6 and 7), the daughter of the 1st Earl of Westmorland and her husband was Richard of York.

Henry Tudor who became Henry VII was the last scion of the House of Lancaster, certainly his claim to the throne couldn’t be described as very strong bloodline wise but he did win the Battle of Bosworth – his mother was Margaret Beaufort (8), descended from John of Gaunt and Kathryn Swynford. The Beaufort children from the union were retrospectively legitimised by Richard II and then excluded from the throne by Henry IV.

James I of England but VI of Scotland’s mother was, of course, Mary Queen of Scots (9).

If you’re being picky Anne of Denmark (ii) was queen of Scotland when she gave birth to Charles I – he was too sickly to initially travel to England with the rest of the family but like Matilda of Flanders she was crowned once her husband took the throne.

James II’s wife was Anne Hyde (10 and 11) she died in 1671 before James ascended the throne in 1685. Therefore their daughters Mary and Anne are on the list and since Mary reigned alongside her husband William of Orange he also features. William of Orange’s parents were William II of Orange and Mary Henrietta (12) a much loved daughter of Charles I.

When Queen Anne died in 1714 her nearest Protestant relation was her third cousin George of Hanover – he was a grandson of Elizabeth Stuart, the Winter Queen – so the daughter of James I and Anne of Denmark. George’s mother was Elizabeth’s daughter Sophia of the Palatinate better known as Sophia of Hanover (13). She was Queen Anne’s heir but predeceased the monarch by two months.

George II’s mother was Sophia Dorothea of Celle (14) – the marriage with George of Hanover had not been happy one. On being told that she was to marry George, Sophia threw his picture at the wall declaring she wouldn’t marry “pig snout” – sadly she wasn’t given any option in the matter. His family didn’t like her overly much and she didn’t like them or her new husband. It was apparently perfectly acceptable for George to take a mistress but Sophia’s relationship with Count Philip Cristoph von Konigsmarck resulted in his death and her incarceration for thirty years in Ahlden where she died.

George III was possibly married bigamously to Queen Charlotte in which case George IV shouldn’t have been king anyway, and nor should William IV but that’s an entirely different story and so far as the record is concerned their mother was the queen of England and George III’s only spouse…despite what other documents might suggest.

Queen Victoria’s father was George III’s son Edward, Duke of Kent. Her mother was Victoria of Safe-Coburg-Saalfield (15).

And finally King George VI was Duke of York when our current queen Elizabeth II was born – her mother was Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (iii) who became queen in 1936 when her brother-in-law abdicated. The coronation took place in 1937.

8 thoughts on “History jar challenge 10 – monarchs whose mothers were not queens of England

  1. And Julia, don’t forget Richard II, son of Edward the Black prince and Joan of Kent. Thanks for featuring it. A shorter list but Princes of Wales who never became king.

  2. Thank you Julia for setting these challenges. I am really enjoying them. I struggled with the Battles one and ended up with far more battles than needed but it was actually fun doing the research. When battles come up in my reading or in the Schools I tend to glaze over a bit until we get back to the people so I wasn’t sure I would tackle that one in the first place.
    Very best wishes – so looking forward to seeing everyone again when we can get back to something like ‘normal’.
    Edith (or Matilda or Maud depending on how you are feeling today!!)

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