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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Today in History

Today two key events in Elizabeth's life took place, though at the time she may or may not have known of their significance. The first event, which took place in 1566 was the birth of King James I (of England and VI of Scotland). James was born at Edinburgh Castle in Scotland; he was the only son of Mary, Queen of Scots, and her second husband, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. After Mary was forced to abdicate the Scottish throne, James became King. In 1601, with the increasing worry of who would succeed the aging Queen Elizabeth, some of her councilors began a secret correspondence with James, to ensure a smooth succession. Elizabeth died on March 24, 1603, and James was proclaimed King later that day. He died in 1625.

The second event was the death of Francis, Duke of Anjou in 1584. Francis is perhaps best known in history as being one of the many suitors to Elizabeth. During the courtship he was 24 and she was 46, but in spite of their ages they grew very close. Elizabeth, as was often her custom to give her "favorites" nicknames, she called Francis her "frog". This was because of a frog-shaped earring he had given her. How very French! After a humiliating military defeat in Antwerp in 1583, Elizabeth formally cut all possible courtship. Francis soon became ill and in 1584 died.

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