English History and the Monarchy in particular, has always held a wonderful and enduring fascination for me. In my mind, I wove fantasies about who these Kings and Queens really were as people, how they felt, how they thought in their private world, for we only see the public images. Growing up in the Royal family was one of privilege, Royalty was supreme and fascinating, they led a wonderful life, something ordinary people could only dream about, not even aspire to.
I was born in the reign of George V and Queen Mary, The Windsors. It was a difficult period for the country between the two World Wars.
In my teens, I loved reading historical novels and one of my favourite authors was Anya Seton. In my early 20’s her new book was published which was to become my favourite book of all time, it was called Katherine, the true love story of Katherine Swynford and John of Gaunt. Kathryn was the daughter of a Knight and John the third son of Edward III. It is this book which became my inspiration to explore astrologically. This period when Plantagenets ruled in the 14th century, has never ceased to absorb and interest me, particularly so when I traced the family tree of our Queen Elizabeth II and found that she is descended from the Beauforts, the children of John and Katherine.
I began to study Astrology in the late 1970s and eventually gained a Diploma with the Mayo School of Astrology. This opened up a whole new exciting world of knowledge and insight into the personality and character traits of a person. So besides calculating birth charts for my immediate family I also became obsessed with unearthing the personality traits of our English Monarchs.
Dates & Times
This is where the first stumbling blocks came from. Firstly, in medieval England, dates of birth and death were often so general as to discard them as inaccurate, and also some dates were changed to coincide with the nearest Saints Day. Secondly, the calendar was very different until 1782 when the Gregorian calendar was introduced. The Julian calendar preceded this. It was originally introduced by Julius Caesar in 45 BC. This way of reckoning is now known as the Old Style. It set up a common year consisting of 365 days, while every 4th year was to contain an extra day. It was replaced by Pope Gregory because it was too inaccurate. It did not properly reflect the actual time it takes the Earth to orbit once around the Sun, known as a Tropical Year.
Timing is so important, and researching history for dates can be a problem dealing with these two calendars, particularly so as Astrology is based on TIME, the time cycles of the planets as they travel around the Sun. These are precise.
Dates: Under the Julian calendar the year number did not necessarily change on Jan 1. In fact the year number changed on different dates depending on the country and the year.
In England and the USA the year number changed on March 25.
With the Gregorian calendar, the year changed on January 1 in all countries and in all years.
This led to confusion since countries using the Julian calendar could have a different year number from those using the Gregorian.
To avoid the confusion dates in the Julian calendar between January 1 and the date the year number changed were sometimes written as the years separated by a slash, the 1st year was the year in the Julian calendar.
Britain and her colonies, including the USA, did not switch to Gregorian until 1752 when Wednesday 2nd September in the Julian calendar dawned as Thursday the 14th in the Gregorian
So account has to be taken that dates given BEFORE 1782 do not match with the exact dates of our current calendar.
The difference between the two calendars in the 15th century is 9 days so for example, the Battle of Bosworth while fought on 22nd August 1485, would have actually been 31st August in our contemporary calendar. So for these reasons I have given 2 charts, Julian Old Style, Gregorian New Style.
Richard 111 was born 2nd October 1452 OS and 11th October 1452 NS
In this book, I have divided periods of British History into sections, from the Plantagenets to the Windsors, 900 years. In looking at these periods from an astrological point of view, the planetary movements over time, the major conjunctions of the outer planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto and how these have shaped the social structures of lives and communities. Interesting to try to understand how the Monarchs of their time were able to rule and manage the realm, for they had to prove their rulership which led at times to warfare, pillage and mayhem.
As now, religion, power and politics played a large part in this drama of Royal life.