Wednesday, 24 Apr 2024

This week in royal history: Princess Margaret seals divorce

This week in royal history: Birth of Queen Victoria, Princess Margaret seals divorce from Lord Snowdon and Princess Anne becomes first British royal to visit Moscow since the murder of Tsar Nicholas II and his family

  • For the latest royal news, pictures and video click here 

When Queen Victoria was born this week in 1819, few would have expected that she would reign for nearly 64 years, or even become monarch at all.

The collapse of Princess Margaret’s marriage to photographer Anthony Armstrong-Jones was however far more predictable. 

The pair sealed their divorce on May 24, 1978, after a tempestuous 18-year union. 

On the same day in 1990, Princess Anne became the first British royal to visit Russia since the murders of Tsar Nicholas II and his family in 1918. 

Today also marks the anniversary of Queen Wilhelmina’s first BBC radio address to her people, after the Nazi invasion of her country.

And on May 22, 2004, Spain’s Prince Felipe – who is now the King after his father Juan Carlos abdicated in disgrace in 2014 – tied the knot with Princess Letizia, a TV journalist.  

The birth of Queen Victoria – May 23, 1819 

On May 24, 1819, Queen Victoria was born at Kensington Palace to mother Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfield

On May 24, 1819, Queen Victoria was born at Kensington Palace to mother Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfield. 

If history had worked out differently, she would have been a relatively junior princess. 

As the daughter of Edward Duke of Kent, the fourth son of George III, Victoria should have been destined for life as a relatively junior princess.

But, thanks to the fact that her father died shortly after her birth and her three uncles had no legitimate children who survived, Victoria ended up becoming one of Britain’s most iconic monarchs. 

As the daughter of Edward Duke of Kent, the fourth son of George III, Victoria should have been destined for life as a relatively junior princess

After coming to the throne at the age of 18 in 1824, Victoria’s reign lasted for nearly 64 years. 

It was surpassed only by the late Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 years on the throne. 

In keeping with the spirit of the age, Victoria was educated at home by a governess and had a gift for drawing and painting. 

She was also a dedicated diarist and kept a regular journal throughout her long life, which was defined by her love match with husband Prince Albert and her decades of mourning after his death aged 42 in 1861. 

But, thanks to the fact that her father died shortly after her birth and her three uncles had no legitimate children who survived, Victoria ended up becoming one of Britain’s most iconic monarchs. By the time of her death in 1901, it was said that Britain had an empire on which the sun never set

The couple had nine children, most of whom married into the royal families of Europe.

Victoria’s reign saw immense industrial, technological and social change and her name defined an entire era. 

By the time of her death in 1901, it was said that Britain had an empire on which the sun never set.   

Princess Margaret seals her divorce from Lord Snowdon – May 24, 1978 

Princess Margaret’s tempestuous relationship with photographer Anthony Armstrong Jones was the talk of high society for more than two decades. 

After meeting at a party in 1958, the couple married two years later and had two children together, David Armstrong-Jones and Sarah Chatto. 

Princess Margaret’s tempestuous relationship with photographer Anthony Armstrong Jones was the talk of high society for more than two decades. Above: The couple in the Bahamas in 1967

After meeting at a party in 1958, the couple married two years later and had two children together, David Armstrong-Jones and Sarah Chatto

Other royal anniversaries this week 

  • Opening battle in England’s 30-year Wars of the Roses – May 22, 1455
  • King Charles II returns from exile – May 23, 1660
  • Alexandra Palace opens on Queen Victoria’s 54th birthday – May 24 1873
  • Malcolm IV becomes King of Scots – May 24, 1153
  • Napoleon Bonaparte is crowned King of Italy – May 25, 1805

But their marriage was defined by their inability to be faithful to each other, or to get along at all. 

On May 24, 1978, their divorce was finally sealed, two years after Kensington Palace announced their separation. 

Jones, formally Lord Snowdon, said when they separated that he was ‘naturally desperately sad in every way that this has had to come.’ 

He died aged 86 in 2017, outliving his former wife by 15 years.  

Princess Anne begins two-week visit to Russia – May 24, 1990

On May 24, 1990, Princess Anne arrived in Moscow for a two-week visit to the Soviet Union.

Although she had been to Russia previously in 1973 for the European Equestrian Championships, Anne’s 1990 trip was the first official visit by a British monarch since the murder Tsar Nicholas II and his family in 1918.

On the first full day of her trip, Anne met Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and the pair smiled as they chatted about the weather. 

They ended up talking for 15 minutes longer than scheduled.

After spending three days in Moscow, Anne went to Siberia, Turkmenistan and Ukrainian capital Kyiv – then known as Kiev.

In Siberia, she was pictured tasting goat’s milk offered by a resident in the village of Arbishil.  

Anne’s trip had come about as part of efforts to lay the groundwork for a visit by her mother, Queen Elizabeth II. 

By the time the Queen did head to Russia, in 1994, the Soviet Union had collapsed and Gorbachev had been replaced by Boris Yeltsin.  

On the first full day of her trip, Anne met Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and the pair smiled as they chatted about the weather

On May 24, 1990, Princess Anne arrived in Moscow for a two-week visit to the Soviet Union. Above: Anne looks at the architecture as she tours the Zagorsk Monastery near Moscow on the third day of her visit

The Princess Royal looks at old Russian horse-drawn carriages as she goes on a private visit of the Kremlin’s Armoury in Moscow

Dutch Queen Wilhelmina speaks on BBC radio after Nazi invasion of the Netherlands – May 24, 1940

After the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands in May 1940, Queen Wilhelmina fled to Britain, where she was met in London by King George V.

On May 24, she spoke on BBC radio for the first time in a series of broadcasts that were known as Radio Orange.

Addressing millions of her Dutch subjects who were now living under German occupation, she said: ‘I am delighted that thanks to the benevolent cooperation of the English authorities, this Dutch quarter-hour has been incorporated into the broadcasts of British radio, and I express the hope that many fellow countrymen, wherever they may be, will now be faithful listeners of the patriotic thoughts that reach them along this way. 

After the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands in May 1940, Queen Wilhelmina fled to Britain, where she was met in London by King George V. On May 24, she spoke on BBC radio for the first time in a series of broadcasts that were known as Radio Orange

‘And now I am delighted to be the first to speak to you in these fifteen minutes.’

Speaking of thousands of her countrymen who had already been killed as they resisted the Nazis, the Queen said their ‘sacrifice’ would not be in vain.

She finished her broadcast by saying: ‘I implore my countrymen in the Fatherland and wherever they are to continue to trust, no matter how dark and difficult the times are, in the final victory of our cause, which is strong not only by the strength of arms but no less by the realisation that it concerns our most sacred goods.’ 

Queen Wilhelmina spent the rest of the war in Britain and narrowly survived a bomb attack on her residence in Hertfordshire in 1944. 

The then Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, later described her as ‘the only real man among the governments-in-exile.’ 

Nazi troops and armoured divisions driving along a main street in Amsterdam after invading the country

Spain’s King Felipe VI, then the Crown Prince, marries Queen Letizia – May 22, 2004 

On May 22, 2004, Prince Felipe of Spain, the heir to his father King Juan Carlos, married television journalist Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano.

The ceremony was attended by royals including King Charles, who watched as the bride swept into Almudena Cathedral at the Royal Palace of Madrid.

The couple were tying the knot just two months after the Madrid train bombings and the pair dedicated their union to the victims of the attack.

Princess Letizia wore a dress that boasted a high-standing collar and delicate embroidery. She paired the dress with a veil gifted by her husband. 

The couple unexpectedly became King and Queen in 2014, when Juan Carlos abdicated in disgrace after a string of scandals.  

On May 22, 2004, Prince Felipe of Spain, the heir to his father King Juan Carlos, married television journalist Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano 

Princess Letizia wore a dress that boasted a high-standing collar and delicate embroidery. She paired the dress with a veil gifted by her husband 

Source: Read Full Article

Related Posts