Little Bits of History

March 17

Posted in History by patriciahysell on March 17, 2017

1337: Edward, the Black Prince, is made Duke of Cornwall. Edward was born in June 1330 at Woodstock Palace in Oxfordshire to King Edward III and Philippa of Hainault. He was the first of nine children and the first to be made a Duke – in all of England. He was only two when he was made an Earl and nearly seven on this day when the first duchy was created for him. He became Prince of Wales shortly before turning 13. He served as symbolic regent three times while his father was away on campaigns. Edward married his cousin Jane when he was 31, which raised some eyebrows, not because they were cousins, but because Jane had been married secretly, then wed to another while her first husband was away at war. Her first husband returned, her second marriage was annulled, she had five children before becoming a widow, and then she married the future King of England.

Edward had four sons by various other women before he married Jane and the two had two more sons together. Their sons were born in France where Edward and Jane were the Prince and Princess of Aquitaine. While in Spain, fight to restore Don Pedro the Cruel to the Castilian throne, he contracted an illness which plagued him until his death ten years later. Since he predeceased his father, his son was next in line for the throne. His eldest son, Edward, had died at the age of five and Richard was next in line, a duty he assumed at the age of ten.

Today’s Duke of Cornwall is Prince Charles. The position is traditionally held by the eldest son of the reigning British monarch. It is one of the two remaining duchies in England, the other being the Ducky of Lancaster. The Duke inherits possession of the duchy and the title of Duke of Cornwall at birth, or when his parent assumes the throne. He is not, however, permitted to sell assets for personal benefit and also has limited rights and income when still a minor. If the King/Queen of England has no male children, the rights and responsibilities return to The Crown and there would be no current Duke.

The Duchy lands cover 135,000 acres, mostly in Devon with other holdings in Cornwall, Herefordshire, Somerset, and the Isles of Scilly. There is an associated investment portfolio which was valued at £763 million in 2013 and showed an annual profit of £19 million. The Duchy of Lancaster is the private estate of the British monarch so today, belongs to Queen Elizabeth II. This is a smaller holding of about 45,550 acres and along with a portfolio is worth about £472 million. The annual income is £16 million. The Prince and the Queen voluntarily pay income tax on earning, minus expenses, from their holdings.

Something as curious as the monarchy won’t survive unless you take account of people’s attitudes. After all, if people don’t want it, they won’t have it.

Do you seriously expect me to be the first Prince of Wales in history not to have a mistress?

Perhaps it has been too uncomfortable for those with vested interests to acknowledge, but we have spent the best part of the past century enthusiastically testing the world to utter destruction; not looking closely enough at the long-term impact our actions will have.

I sometimes wonder if two thirds of the globe is covered in red carpet. – all from Prince Charles


Windsor Wedding

Posted in History by patriciahysell on April 9, 2013
The happy couple

The happy couple

April 9, 2005: Charles Windsor marries his second wife. The 56-year-old divorced his first wife in 1996. The couple had two sons before the marriage dissolved. Immediately upon his divorce, Charles took up a more public relationship with his long-standing mistress. The new couple – ex-husband and mistress – finally moved in together in 2003, six years after the death of Charles’s first wife. The Prince of Wales finally married Camilla Parker Bowles on this date.

The couple announced wedding plans on February 10, 2005 with the wedding set for April 8, 2005 at Windsor Castle. The marriage was to be performed in a civil service with a religious prayer ceremony to follow. The couple was granted permission to marry by the Queen, Prince Consort, and a whole raft of officials as decreed by the Royal Marriage Act of 1772. Prince Charles gave Ms Parker Bowles a family heirloom ring that had belonged to both his mother and grandmother as her engagement ring.

There are many rules regulating royal marriages in England. The venue was changed to outside Windsor Castle so a civil service could be used. The date was postponed 24 hours so Prince Charles could attend the funeral of Pope John Paul II as the Queen’s representative. This also gave many dignitaries the opportunity to attend both the funeral and the wedding. The wedding took place at 12:30 PM at the Guildhall in Windsor. The groom’s parents did not attend the wedding but were present at the prayer service at St. George’s Chapel, officiated by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Prince William, Charles’s son, and Tom Parker Bowles, Camilla’s son, were the witnesses for the wedding. The wedding rings were crafted from Welsh gold from the Clogau St. David’s mine in Bontddu, as is tradition. Camilla, as consort to the Prince of Wales, could be called the Princess of Wales. But that would confuse her with Princess Diana and so she chooses to use the title “Duchess of Cornwall” (“Duchess of Rothesay” in Scotland). The couple honeymooned at Birkhall, the Prince’s country home in Scotland.

“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.” – Mignon McLaughlin

“Love one another and you will be happy. It’s as simple and as difficult as that.” – Michael Leunig

“When the one man loves the one woman and the one woman loves the one man, the very angels desert heaven and come and sit in that house and sing for joy.” – The Brahma Sutras

“A happy marriage is a long conversation that always seems too short.” – Andre Maurois

This article first appeared at in 2010. Editor’s update: Prince Charles is now 64 years of age and remains heir apparent to the British throne. He is the longest serving heir apparent in British history. He is a champion of many humanitarian and social issues and in that spirit he founded The Prince’s Trust in 1976. He is a proponent of organic farming and other environmental concerns including climate change. He advocated for the place of architecture in society and the preservation of historic buildings. He has written a book on the latter topic, A Vision of Britain. He is also the author of six other books on topics of interest to the Prince. His most recent book was published in 2007 and the subject is organic gardening. He has also written and presented two documentary films and narrated and presented two more.

Also on this day: Water, Water Everywhere – In 1829 the dike in Gdansk fails.
States United – In 1865, the US Civil War came to an end.
World Class Singer – In 1939, Marian Anderson gave a concert from the Lincoln Memorial.

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