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.

Consorts of English monarchs since 1066

Last week I set the first History Jar Challenge which was to name as many English royal consorts as you could since 1066. There are, I think, 38 of them. Not all royal spouses became kings or queens alongside the monarch in question. How did you do? There will be another challenge on Saturday!

The Normans

William the Conqueror = (1) Matilda of Flanders. Following the conquest she was crowned as William’s consort in 1068.

William Rufus = unmarried.

Henry I =

  1. (2) Edith of Scotland who became Matilda of Scotland upon her marriage to Henry. Henry I’s mother Matilda of Flanders was Edith’s godmother and it is said that at her christening she pulled at Matilda’s head dress signifying that one day she would rise to her godmother’s rank. She died on 1st May 1118 and is buried in Westminster Abbey.
  2. (3) Adeliza (there are alternative spellings and pronunciations) of Louvain.

Stephen = (4) Matilda of Boulogne who was the niece of Edith/Matilda of Scotland.

The Empress Matilda was never crowned queen of England. And you will be delighted to hear that there aren’t any more Matildas!

The Plantagenets

Eleanor of Aquitaine

Henry II = (5) Eleanor of Aquitaine

Richard the Lionheart = (6) Berengaria of Navarre

John =

  1. Isabella of Gloucester but she was never queen of England due to an annulment on the grounds of consanguinity.
  2. (7) Isabella of Angoulême. She was crowned in Westminster in 1200 when she was 12.

Henry III = (8) Eleanor of Province

Eleanor of Castile

Edward I =

  1. (9) Eleanor of Castile (after who the Eleanor crosses are named.)
  2. (10) Margaret of France

Edward II = (11) Isabella of France – one of English history’s she-wolves.

Edward III = (12) Philippa of Hainhault. They married in 1328 in York Minster during a snow storm – which was unfortunate as the minster was without a roof at the time.

Richard II =

  1. (13) Anne of Bohemia. She died of plague in 1394 at Sheen Palace. Richard was so devastated that he ordered that the palace be demolished.
  2. (14) Isabella of France who was a child at the time of her marriage. Following Richard II’s usurpation by his cousin Henry Bolingbroke she returned to France.

Henry IV =

  1. Mary de Bohun who died before Henry became king.
  2. (15) Joan of Navarre became queen upon her marriage to Henry in 1402 but she wasn’t crowned until the following year.

Henry V = (16) Katherine of Valois who would marry Owain Tudor following Henry’s death.

Henry VI = (17) Margaret of Anjou (another she-wolf)

Edward IV = (18) Elizabeth Woodville (and this is not the time to discuss whether or not Edward was a bigamist)

Richard III = (19) Anne Neville

The Tudors

Elizabeth of York

Henry VII = (20) Elizabeth of York

Henry VIII = famously married six times. He believed that he had only ever been legitimately married to Jane Seymour and Katherine Parr – one because she produced a son and the other because he died before she could be toppled from the rather tenuous position as Henry’s spouse.

  1. (21) Catherine of Aragon
  2. (22) Anne Boleyn
  3. (23) Jane Seymour
  4. Anne of Cleves – not crowned because Henry took against her.
  5. (24) Katherine Howard
  6. (25) Katherine Parr

Edward VI = unmarried

Lady Jane Grey was never crowned although she was proclaimed queen.

Mary Tudor and Philip II of Spain part of the Woburn Abbey Collection

Mary I = (26) Philip II of Spain. The Spanish Match as it was known was deeply unpopular. Although Philip became king he had very little power.

Elizabeth I = unmarried

The Stuarts

Anne of Denmark by Gheeraerts

James I = (27) Anne of Denmark

Charles I = (28) Henrietta Maria

Charles II = (29) Katherine of Braganza

James II =

  1. Anne Hyde who died before James became king.
  2. (30) Mary of Modena

William III and Mary II who were married to one another.

Anne = George of Denmark – was raised to the English peerage prior to Anne becoming queen but was never crowned as prince consort.

The Hanoverians

George I = Sophia Dorothea who never became queen of England because George divorced her for adultery before he became king of England. She spent the remainder of her life locked up in Ahlden Castle in Germany.

George II = (31) Caroline of Brandenburg-Ansbach

George III = (32) Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. There is a possibility that he married bigamously.

George IV =

  1. Maria Fitzherbert – who was Catholic and therefore the marriage was against the 1701 Act of Settlement and the Royal Marriages Act of 1772. This marriage was deemed to be invalid.
  2. Caroline of Brunswick. It wasn’t a happy marriage. She was forcibly barred from attending George’s coronation so was never crowned.

William IV = (33) Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen

Victoria = (34) Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

Edward VII =(35) Alexandra of Denmark

The Windsors

George V = (36) Mary of Teck

Edward VIII was proclaimed king but never crowned, preferring to abdicate in order to marry Mrs Wallis Simpson.

George VI = (37) Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon

Elizabeth II = (38) Philip of Greece