Births……..

Today is quite full of birthdays for notable people in history.

We begin in 1688.  A boy named James Francis Edward Stuart was born at St James Palace in London.  His parents were the current King, James II and VII and his second wife, Mary of Modena.

This was the King’s first son, he had two elder daughters from his first marriage, and there should have been widespread celebration at his birth, but there was not.

James is famous in history as the alledged ‘warming pan’ baby.  Rumours abounded in the realm that the King amd Queen’s child was still born and a replacement baby had been sneaked into the birthing chamber inside a warming pan.

If anyone has ever seen one of those warming pans, you would never fit a squirming newborn baby into one of them!!!

But the King was unpopular, so the rumour took hold and spread widely, despite there being nearly a hundred people in the birthing chamber to witness the actual birth!!!!

The King and Queen were Catholic and not afraid to hide it, whereas the country was generally Protestant.  The elder daughter of the King, Mary and Anne had been brought up in the Protestant faith and had been expected to succeed the King, before this surprising birth.

The possibility of this child being raised as a Catholic and becoming a Catholic KIng, scared many nobles, who turned on their monarch.  His eldest daughter Mary, had been married to William, Duke of Orange.  The nobles invited the Duke to invade England, remove the King (his father-in-law!) and take the throne.

This happened and James was smuggled to the continent with his mother and would grow up in a French Chateau.  When his father died in 1701, the young James was recognised as King James III and VIII by many of the royal families on the continent.

He had many supporters in Scotland and a Jacobite rebellion was started for him in 1715, after the English had appointed the German speaking, but protestant, King George I.  The rebellion failed and James returned to exile.

He married a daughter of the Polish King and had two sons by her, Charles (Bonnie Prince Charlie) and Henry.

He died in Rome in 1766, having the longest reign of a British monarch, until Queen Elizabeth II passed his record in 2016, though James’ reign is not generally recognised.

He is forever remembered to history as the ‘Old Pretender’.

Moving forward to 1713, and to the other ruling family of Britain, the Hanoverians, we have the birth of a little girl, Caroline Elizabeth.

She was born in Germany though her family would soon remove to Britain, when her grandfather took over the crown as King George I.

She was the third daughter in a family of 3 boys and 5 girls, but was always her mother’s favourite.

The most notable thing that Caroline is remembered for, would be that she retired to her apartments in St James Palace for the last 15 years of her life, becoming a practical recluse there.

It is said that she longed for death only. Today she would probably have recieved treatment for severe depression, but in those times she would have been shunned as ‘different’ or ‘difficult’.

She gave much money to charities during her seclusion, but could not be drawn from her place of hiding to join society and live as she would be expected to as a Princess.

She died there eventually in 1757 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

Jumping forward a couple of centuries to 1897, we can celebrate the birth of another baby girl, named Tatiana.

She was born to Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his wife Alexandra.

She was the second daughter of the family, and was very close to her older sister, Olga.  Together they nursed injured soldiers during World War I.

She was rumoured to be in love with, and he with her, Prince Alexander of Serbia.  Marriage negotiations had begin but were interrupted by war.  They did keep in touch until her death, when Alexander was said to be heartbroken.

The whole royal family was arrested by Bolsheviks in 1917 and removed to a house in Siberia, then later to a house in Ekaterinberg.

It would be there that their lives would end, early on the morning of 17 July 1918.

Gathered in a small room, soldiers shot the entire family, wiping out the Romanov family.

Tatiana would later be elected as a saint by the Russian Orthodox Church, for her good works to the soldiers during the war.

Leaping forward to 1921, we see the birth of a baby boy, in Corfu, named Phillip.

He was born to Prince Andrew of Greece and Princess Alice.  As the only son, he was effectively in line for the Greek throne, though he would never get the chance to sit on it.

Soon after his birth, a civil war overthrew King Constantine and his family were forced to flee for their safety.

They settled in France, where Phillip started his education.  He moved to London as a young boy to live with his grandmother Victoria Mountbatten.  He attended a school nearby for a while then was removed to Gordonstoun School in Scotland.

After school he joined the Royal Navy, where he would serve during the second World War.

His uncle Lord Mountbatten would arrange a meeting between Phillip and his cousin Princess Elizabeth just before the war.  This blossomed into a deep friendship and they corresponded often when Phillip was at sea.

Eventually, after the war had ended, the friendship turned into love and Phillip married his beloved Elizabeth in 1947.

Their marriage has proven strong and endures to this day.

Earlier this year, Phillip announced his semi retirement from public life.  At the age of 96, you can hardly blame him !!!!

Just one year later, a baby girl was born in Minnesota, USA.  She was called Frances Ethel Gumm.

You may not recognise this name, most people would not.  It was in the mid 30’s when performing alongside her sisters in Vaudeville theatre, that she would change her name to a more recognisable one, Judy Garland.

She was contracted to MGM, and in 1939 came the role that we all remember her for, Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.

It was for this film that she would be awarded her only Academy Award.

She went on to star in many other films, though she was often said to have been a slave to her depression.

Her death in 1969 was listed as accidental, but is commonly thought to have been suicide, overdosing on prescribed barbiturates.

Lastly, we jump forward another year to 1923, where we find another baby boy being born in Czechoslovakia, named Ian Robert Maxwell.

He would grow up during a difficult time on the continent, his family having to escape from the Nazis when he was a teenager.  After the war, he began a publishing business, Pergamon Press, which emerged as a leader in the business within a short time.

After a few years as a British MP, Maxwell bought more publishing companies, including the Mirror Group.  He lived a wild life from the profits of his companies and was well known among the social elite.

His death is probably the most remembered thing about him, though.

He was cruising in his yacht near the Canary Islands, his crew retired around 4am, when Maxwell was still drinking, alone, on the deck.

Later that day, he was found to no longer be on board.  A search was mounted and his body was found in the ocean nearby later that day.

It was thought that he had fallen overboard while drunk and had drowned, though many conspiracy theories have abounded since then.

After his death, his companies finances were found to have been in a lot of trouble.  It was discovered that he had been embezzeling money from his companies pension funds for many years, and his corporation was forced to apply for bankruptcy the following year.

Being born on the 10th june does not mean you will automatically become notable, but it has produced a few famous names.

Oh and it is also the day that Alexander the Great of Greece died in 323 BC, but that is an ending not a beginning, so we will leave that for another day………………..

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