Louis Mountbatten: 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, Viceroy of India

British naval officer Lord Louis Mountbatten accepted the Japanese surrender during World War II. He was the last Viceroy of India, and also mentor to Prince Charles. Mountbatten, known as “Dickie” to family and friends, was born Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas on 25 June 1900 at Frogmore House, Windsor. His parents were Prince Louis…

Edward VI (1547-1553): The Boy King

Nine-year-old Edward VI introduced the Reformation, established the English Church, understood international affairs and showed a keen interest in reforming the currency. Henry VIII’s lengthy wait for a male heir ended when Edward was finally born on 12 October 1537 at Hampton Court Palace. However, Henry’s joy was short-lived as his third wife, Jane Seymour,…

The Provisions of Oxford: Simon de Monfort’s Reforms

The British parliament’s origins began with the Provisions of Oxford when the barons took control of the government, key appointments and reform of common law. English kings always summoned gatherings of ministers and barons to discuss state matters. They were known as Witans under the Anglo-Saxons or great councils (colloquia) after the Norman Conquest. They…

Phillipa of Hainault: Queen Consort of Edward III of England

Philippa of Hainault and Edward III brought stability to the monarchy after his father’s disastrous reign. She was interested in education, art and literature. She was often portrayed as “bourgeois”—solid, comfortable and domestic—as her homely features and motherly figure are captured in Master Hennequin of Liège's fine alabaster effigy on her tomb. Her great amiability…

George II of Great Britain (1727-1760)

George II was the last British monarch to lead troops into battle, whilst many great social and political changes occurred during his reign. He was born Georg August on 30 October 1683 at Herrenhausen Palace, Hanover, the eldest of two children born to Crown Prince Georg of Hanover and Sophia Dorothea of Celle. His sister…

The Birth of James Francis Edward Stuart

The Old Pretender was born amidst controversy as the Warming-pan Baby, and survived against all odds. James II had produced two daughters, Mary and Anne, from his first marriage to Anne Hyde. They became increasingly important when their uncle Charles II failed to produce a legitimate heir. Anne died in 1671 but she had supported…

Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland (1660-1685)

Charles II was best known as the Merry Monarch but his reign also saw the rise of colonisation and trade in India, the East Indies and America. He was born at St James’s Palace on 29 May 1630—the first surviving child of Charles I and Henrietta Maria. He was a robust and an exceptionally large…

Elizabeth II: Heir-Presumptive

Princess Elizabeth was suddenly thrust into the spotlight as Heir-Presumptive when her father was crowned George VI. However, Elizabeth's life changed after her beloved grandfather died in 1936, as her uncle Edward VIII abdicated the throne less than a year later. Many people, including Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin visited 145 Piccadilly to discuss the Constitutional…

Australia’s Role in the Abdication Crisis: Edward VIII Gave up Throne for Mrs Simpson

The Australian Government also insisted Edward VIII abdicated rather than marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson. Edward VIII became King of Great Britain on 20 January 1936 when his father George V died. He was determined to marry his mistress, Mrs Wallis Simpson, and told Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin on 16 November. Baldwin was horrified. Mrs…