1720 – Frederick I of Sweden was elected king after his wife, Ulrika Eleonora abdicated in favor of him. She spent the rest of her life as queen consort of Sweden. Ulrika Eleanora considered her abdication the greatest sacrifice she ever had to make.
1921 – The first-ever Women’s Olympiad commences in Monte Carlo. This was the first international sporting event women ever held.
Born on this day in…
1628 – Sophie Amalie of Brunswick-Lüneburg (d. 1685) was Queen of Denmark and Norway as well as consort to Frederick III. Despite a dire financial situation, Sophie Amalie was the center of the court, living in glory and splendor, and planning all sorts of events.
Trivia: Sophie Amalie was the grandmother of Ulrika Eleanora who is featured is the beginning of the post!
1808 – Maria Malibran (d. 1836) was a Spanish mezzo-soprano who was considered the most outstanding opera singer of her time. Expiring at only 28 years of age, Ms. Malibran was notorious for her tempestuous nature and her short but eventful life.
1820 – Fanny Crosby (d. 1915) was an American mission worker, composer, poet, and lyricist. In the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, Ms. Crosby, who wrote over 8,000 hymns and gospel songs, was a household name. She was blind but that didn’t stop her from composing hymns.
1855 – Olive Schreiner (d. 1920) was a South African authoress, anti-war campaigner, and intellectual. She was known for her book, The Story of an African Farm which revealed the hot button issues of the day. In addition, Ms. Schreiner was an advocate for those who were marginalized by society, including: Afrikaners, Africans, Jews, Indians, etc.
1890 – Agnes Macphail (d. 1954) was a Canadian politician who was elected to the House of Commons in the twentieth century. Ms. Macphail was the first woman to ever be elected to Parliament. In her lifetime she promoted women in politics and was known to have said, “Most women think politics aren’t lady-like. Well, I’m no lady. I’m a human being.”
1912 – Dorothy Height (d. 2010) was an American administrator and educator as well as a civil rights activist and women’s activist. Ms. Height was an advocate specifically for African American women, promoting voter awareness and tackling issues such as illiteracy and unemployment. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004.
Died on this day in…
1381 – Catherine of Vadstena (b. 1332) also known as “Saint Catherine of Sweden” is a recognized Roman Catholic saint. During her life, she was in a Josephite marriage (meaning a complete abstention of sex) with Lord Eggert van Kyren, something her husband readily agreed to. She wrote Consolation of a Soul of which there is only one left in existence. Saint Birgitta of Sweden was her mother and Saint Catherine of Siena was a good friend to her.
1394 – Constance of Castile, Duchess of Lancaster (b. 1354) was a claimant to the throne of Castile and the second wife of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. She married John of Gaunt because he wanted to the king of his own domain. The couple only produced two children, Catherine of Lancaster and John Plantagenet.
1399 – Margaret, Duchess of Norfolk (b. 1320) was the daughter of Thomas of Brotherton and granddaughter of Edward I of England. After the death of her father, she inherited the earldom of Norfolk and the title of Earl Marshal (to date, she is the only woman to ever hold this latter title). In complete defiance of her kinsman, Edward III, she set out to Rome incognito to seek an annulment from her first husband, John Segrave, 4th Baron Segrave. She even went so far as to seek the goodwill of the French king before her journey but when she returned to England, she faced a veritable inquisition.
1603 – Elizabeth I of England (b. 1533), daughter of Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn, was Queen of England from 1558 to 1603. During her lifetime, she was known by the following epithets: “Good Queen Bess”, “the Virgin Queen”, and “Gloriana.” The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser was written to honor and immortalize the virgin queen. Despite being advised to do so, she never married.
1953 – Mary of Teck (b. 1867) Queen Consort of England and wife to George V. To her loved ones, she was known simply as “May” which consequently was the month of her birth. Before she was arranged to marry George V, she was affianced to Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale but he passed away soon thereafter. George was Albert Victor’s brother. Mary died during the reign of her granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II.