This is a tricky one – how did you do?
We’re not sure if William’s wife Matilda bore any daughters after the Conqueror became king of England in 1066. His eldest daughter Cecilia was born some time around 1054 and she was sent to the Abbey of the Holy Trinity just prior to the invasion of 1066. She became a bride of Christ, sealing the compact that her father was making with God in exactly the same way that a royal bride would seal any other treaty. She would one day become the abbess at Caen.
William Rufus was unmarried
Henry I had only two legitimate children. His first daughter Euphemia died whilst still a baby but the second daughter Adelaide born in 1102 took the name Matilda upon her marriage and is better known as the Empress Matilda – The Lady of the English.
King Stephen’s eldest surviving daughter, Mary, became a nun in Romsey Abbey Hampshire and in time became it’s abbess. Which sounds straight forward enough until you realise that when her brother William died she succeeded him as the Countess of Boulogne in 1159. Matthew I Count of Flanders abducted her from her convent and married her despite the fact that she was very clearly a nun. The couple had two daughters but the married was eventually annulled and Mary entered a French nunnery where she died in 1182.
Henry II’s eldest daughter was named after her grandmother Matilda. She married Henry “the Lion” of Saxony and Bavaria., a keen supporter of his cousin Frederick Barbarossa. He was an extremely powerful prince – so definitely a dynastic marriage as Henry sought to create his empire.
Richard I had no issue.
John’s daughter Joan fund herself married off to Alexander II of Scotland in 1221 when she was eleven. She died in 1238. Matthew Paris, the chronicler, suggests that the royal couple had a falling out and in 1237 when Joan came with her husband to England to negotiate with Henry III the Scottish queen remained in England. Henry granted her various manors and it is said that she died in the arms of her brothers Henry III and Richard of Cornwall. Henry must have love this sister very much because the effigy he ordered for her tomb some fourteen years after her death is the first we have of a queen in England.
Henry III’s first daughter Margaret married Alexander II’s successor, Alexander III. Alexander III was the son of Alexander of Scotland and his first wife Mary de Coucy. Alexander III was the monarch who died when his horse plunged from a cliff, allegedly, on a dark and stormy night leaving his and Margaret’s granddaughter, known as the Maid of Norway, to inherit the Scottish throne. Her death ultimately led to Edward I’s claim of overlordship and the Scottish Wars of Independence.
Edward I’s eldest daughter was named Eleanor, presumably after her mother Eleanor of Castile. The issue Rolls of 1302 describe her as Edward’s eldest daughter. She was first married to Alfonso III of Aragon by proxy but the marriage was never consummated as he died. She then married Henry III, Count of Bar.
Edward II’s daughter was another Eleanor who married Reginald II, Count of Guilders and Zuptphen. He would one day become his brother-in-law, Edward III’s, closest ally against the french when he launched the Hundred Years War. However, in 1338 Eleanor contracted leprosy – or so Reginald the Black said- her husband banished her from court. She became a nun.
Edward III’s daughter was Isabella – so he can’t have had that much of a grudge against his mother Isabella of France- she was born in 1332 at Woodstock and would on to marry Enguerrand II, Lord of Coucy. Her husband’s father is described as a “brigand-lord.” Coucy is in Picardy. Her father, to whom she was close, had attempted to marry her off when she was just three to Pedro of Castile, though this match was ultimately negotiated for Isabella’s younger sister. As her father’s favourite she was a bit over indulged and unusually didn’t get married until she was 33. When she was 19 she was betrothed to the son of the Lord of Albret. The fleet that was going to take her to her spouse was all set to sail but Isabella changed her mind and the marriage was called off – demonstrating Edward’s indulgence. Instead he granted her 1,000 marks a year and she eventually married her husband who was seven years her junior. He was actually a hostage for John II of France. The couple met at Windsor, Edward made a huge settlement on the couple, including lands that had once belonged to Enguerrand’s family across the north of England. Edward even made his son-in-law the Earl of Bedford.
Richard II had no issue.
Henry IV’s eldest daughter was named Blanche after her paternal grandmother. She was born in 1392 before Henry usurped his cousin’s throne. Her marriage to Louis Duke of Bavaria and Count Palatine was another dynastic arrangement. As with many women, she died in childbirth.
Henry V and Henry VI had one son each but no daughters.
Edward IV’s eldest daughter was Elizabeth of York, who found herself married to Henry Tudor bringing the Wars of the Roses to a close.
Richard III had no legitimate daughters. His illegitimate daughter Katherine married William Herbert, Earl of Huntingdon. He had been Earl of Pembroke but was made to give it up by Edward IV along with his lands to Prince Edward (the one who died along with his brother in the Tower.) By 1487 he is listed as a widower.
Henry VII’s eldest daughter was Margaret who was sent north to marry James IV of Scotland. After James’ death at Flodden in 1513, Margaret married for a second time to Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus. She is the grandmother of Mary Queen of Scots and Henry Lord Darnley. She is also the great grandmother of Arbella Stuart. Margaret’s life was complicated by her flight from Scotland to England, her divorce from her second husband and her third marriage to Lord Methven. She died in 1541.
Henry VIII’s eldest daughter became Bloody Mary. She was succeeded by her Protestant half-sister Elizabeth. Mary married Philip II of Spain. Neither Mary nor Elizabeth had any children.
Elizabeth was succeeded by Margaret Tudor’s great grandson James VI of Scotland, who became James I of England. His eldest daughter was named after Elizabeth. James I who saw himself as a peacemaker married Elizabeth to the Protestant prince Frederick Henry who was the Elector Palatine of the Rhine and for one winter the King of Bohemia. Elizabeth is often known as the Winter Queen. Her sons Rupert and Maurice played an active part in their uncle’s campaign to retain his throne during the English Civil War.
Charles I’s eldest daughter Mary married William II of Orange. She was the mother of William III of Orange who married his cousin Mary, the daughter of King James II.
Charles II had no legitimate children.
James II inherited the throne from his brother. His two daughters from his first marriage to Anne Hyde became Queen Mary and Queen Anne in turn. Neither of his daughters had children who survived to adulthood.
The House of Hanover is descended from Elizabeth, the Winter Queen. Elizabeth’s daughter Sophia married Ernest Augustus of Brunswick-Luneberg. She died in June 1714 shortly before her cousin Queen Anne. Her son, George Elector of Hanover was invited to become king of England.
George I’s eldest daughter, Sophia Dorothea, was born in 1685 so a long while before the crown passed into George’s hands. She married Frederick William who became the first king of Prussia. One of her sons was Frederick the Great of Prussia. Sophia had fourteen children with her husband who had an unpredictable temper.
George II’s eldest daughter Anne was created Princess Royal in 1729. She married William IV of Orange. She died in 1759.
George III’s eldest daughter was called Charlotte Augusta Matilda and she married Frederick I of Wurttemburg.
George IV’s daughter another Charlotte Augusta died in childbirth in 1817.
William IV’s eldest daughter was …yes you’ve guessed…Charlotte Augusta. She was born on the 27th March 1819 and died on the same day.
Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter was Victoria who married Frederick III of Prussia, so a descendent of Sophia Dorothea of Hanover, the daughter of George I. Victoria and Frederick’s son was, of course, Kaiser Wilhelm.
Edward VII’s eldest daughter was Louise and she married the Marquess of MacDuff who became the 1st Duke of Fife. Lousie and MacDuff were inevitably related, both being descended from George III. She married him in 1889 and it was only the second time one of Victoria’s immediate family cycle had married a British subject rather than being part of Victoria and Albert’s plan to create a royal family network that covered Europe.
George V’s eldest daughter was Victoria known as Mary and she arrive Henry Lascelles, the 6th Earl of Harewood.
Edward VIII abdicated and had no heirs.
George VI’s eldest daughter became Queen Elizabeth II.
Elizabeth II’s eldest daughter, Princess Anne became the Princess royal in 1987. She was married first to Captain Mark Philips, they separated two years after Anne became Princess Royal and divorced in 1992. She then married Sir Timothy Laurence.
Weir. Alison, Britain’s Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy.
What an amazing article! I enjoy ALL of your articles but this one really tickled my fancy.
I’m glad that you enjoyed it – having done this particular feature I’ve got a coulee more in depth articles added to my list for the future.
An interesting, indeed very important, oddity about the unfortunate Maid of Norway, who dies before being inaugurated to the Scottish throne, is that she bought as her dowry the Hebrides which previously been part of Norway, Although it was claimed by Norway that they should be handed back as the marriage never took place, the Scots refused and, so, we ended up with the great offshore oil wealth of the islands as epitomised by Scapa Flow. Of course, no one had any idea of this at the time.