Two kings and two princesses were born on 25 April, commemorated as Anzac Day in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Saint Louis IX of France, born 1214

Louis IX of France, considered to be a true life image - Early 14th century statue from the church of Mainneville, Eure, France.
Louis IX of France, considered to be a true life image – Early 14th-century statue from the church of Mainneville, Eure, France.

Louis IX married Margaret of Provence in 1234, who was the older sister of Henry III’s Queen-Consort, Eleanor.

He also participated in the Seventh Crusade, after a near-death experience, although his mother, Blanche of Castile preferred Louis stay home and focus on ruling his kingdom.

Blanche of Castile’s death led to civil unrest and political upheavals during his his six-year absence.

However, Louis’ campaign in Cairo was unsuccessful, as he underestimated the landscape, including the number of branches leading in to the Nile. He was captured after his defeat at Manourah in February 1250. He was captured by Saracen forces after a huge ransom was paid and surrender the port of Damietta.

However, that did not deter Louis IX in participating in the Eighth Crusade, and brought his three sons.  Louis IX died in Tunis in 1270.

Pope Boniface VIII canonised Louis IX in 1297, the only French monarch to be declared a saint, as he was regarded as a great role model of a good Christian monarch.

Edward II of England, born 1284

Edward II was born at Carnarvon Castle in Wales. His father, Edward I, created Edward as the first English Prince of Wales in 1301.

He became King in 1307 but Edward proved to be incompetent, especially after his disastrous Coronation the following year.

Edward II shown receiving the English crown in a contemporary illustration
Edward II receiving the English crown in a contemporary illustration

Edward married Isabella, the daughter of Philip IV of France, and had four children, including the future Edward III.

He further antagonised his queen and nobles by granting positions and estates to his personal favourites, Piers Gaveston and the Hugh Le Despensers, father and son.

The Scots, led by Robert the Bruce, defeated Edward’s army in 1314 at Bannockburn.

Isabella returned to France, taking her eldest son, and began an affair with Roger Mortimer. They invaded England in 1326, capturing and killing the hated Despensers. Edward II was also taken prisoner, deposed, and his eldest son proclaimed as Edward III.

Edward II was allegedly murdered in Berkeley Castle, but his death announced eight months later on 21 September 1327.

Princess Alice, Grand Duchess of Hesse and By Rhine, born 1843

Princess Alice, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s third daughter, was born at Buckingham Palace.

Her engagement to Prince Louis of Hesse was announced in 1861, just before her father died later that year from typhoid fever, causing gloom on what should have been a joyous occasion.

Princess Alice married Prince Louis in a private ceremony at Osborne House in 1862, in what could be described as the saddest royal wedding. The Royal Family were still in mourning, so Princess Alice was required to wear black before and after the ceremony. However, Princess Alice wore a white gown with a veil made of Honiton lace.

Princess Alice in 1861, by Franz Xaver Winterhalter
Princess Alice in 1861, by Franz Xaver Winterhalter

They had seven children, including Victoria, Elisabeth, Ernest, Irene and Alix.

Alice died on 18 December 1878 from diphtheria whilst nursing her children and husband.

Princess Mary, Countess of Harewood, born 1897

George V and Queen Mary’s only daughter Princess Mary, the Princess Royal, was born at York Cottage on the Sandringham Estate.

Princess Mary helped with the war effort during World War I including gifts to soldiers and sailors at Christmas in 1914.

She married Viscount Lascelles, the Earl of Harewood’s eldest son, in 1922, with Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (later Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother) as one of the bridesmaids.

Princess Mary, The Princess Royal, in 1926
Princess Mary, The Princess Royal, in 1926

Princess Mary also became the Countess of Harewood, when her father-in-law died in 1929, and Princess Royal in 1932 when her aunt, Princess Louise, Duchess of Fife, passed away.

She died in 1967, aged 67, after suffering a heart attack in 1965. Princess Mary had lived through the reigns of six monarchs: her great-grandmother Queen Victoria (1837-1901), her grandfather Edward VII (1901-1910), her father George V (1910-1935), her brothers Edward VIII (1936) and George VI (1936-1952) and her niece Elizabeth II (1952-present). Her brother, Prince Henry, became Australia’s Governor-General from 1945-1947.

Also read More Royal Birthdays on 25 April (ANZAC Day)

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