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19th of June

Saints Gervasius and Protasius, martyrs, 1st century. St Die or Deodatus, Bishop of Nevers and Abbot of Jointures, 679 or 680. St Boniface, Archbishop of Magdeburg, Apostle of Russia and martyr, 1009. St Juliano Falconieri, virgin, 1340.

Born. – James VI. of Scotland, I. of Great Britain, 1566, Edinburgh Castle; Blaise Pascal, French religious writer, 1623, Clermont, in Auvergne; Philip van Limborch, Arminian theologian, 1633, Amsterdam
Died. – St Romuald, 1027, Ancona; Nicolas Lemery, one of the fathers of true chemistry, 1715, Paris; John Brown, D.D., Scotch Dissenting divine, author of the Self-Interpreting Bible, &c., 1787, Haddington.


King James – so learned, yet so childish; so grotesque, yet so arbitrary; so sagacious, yet so weak – ‘the wisest fool in Christendom,’ as Henry IV. termed him – does not personally occupy a high place in the national regards; but by the accident of birth and the current of events he was certainly a personage of vast importance to these islands. To him, probably, it is owing that there is such a thing as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland among the states of Europe. 

This sovereign, the son of Henry Lord Darnley and Mary Queen of Scots, was born on the 19th of June 1566, in a small room in the ancient palace within Edinburgh Castle. We know how it was – namely, for security – that the queen selected Edinburgh Castle for her expected accouchement; but it is impossible to imagine by what principle of selection she chose that this event should take place in a room not above eight feet square. There, however, is the room still shewn, to the wonder of everybody who sees it. The young prince was ushered into the world between nine and ten in the morning, and Sir James Melville instantly mounted horse to convey the news of the birth of an heir-apparent of Scotland, and heir-presumptive of England, to Queen Elizabeth. Darnley came at two in the afternoon to see his royal spouse and his child. ‘My lord,’ said Mary, ‘God has given us a son.’ Partially uncovering the infant’s face, she added a protest that it was his, and no other man’s son.’ Then, turning to an English gentleman present, she said, ‘This is the son who I hope shall first unite the two kingdoms of Scotland and England.’ Sir William Stanley said, ‘Why, madam, shall he succeed before your majesty and his father?’ ‘Alas!’ answered Mary, ‘his father has broken to me;’ alluding to his joining the murderous conspiracy against Rizzio. ‘Sweet madam,’ said Darnley, ‘is this the promise you made that you would forget and forgive all?’ ‘I have forgiven all,’ said the queen, ‘but will never forget. What if Fawdonside’s pistol had shot? [She had felt the cold steel on her bosom.] What would have become of him and me both?’ ‘Madam,’ said Darnley, ‘these things are past.’ ‘Then,’ said the queen, ‘let them go.’1

A curious circumstance, recalling one of the superstitions of the age, is related in connexion with Queen Mary’s accouchement. The Countess of Athole, who was believed to possess magical gifts, lay in within the castle at the same time as the queen. One Andrew Lundie informed John Knox that, having occasion to be in Edinburgh on business at that time, he went up to the castle to inquire for Lady Reres, the queen’s wet-nurse, and found her labouring under a very awkward kind of illness, which she explained as Lady Athole’s labour pains thrown upon her by enchantment. She said, ‘she was never so troubled with no bairn that ever she bare.’2

The infant king – for he was crowned at thirteen months old – spent his early years in Stirling Castle, under the care of the Countess of Marr, ‘as to his mouth,’ and that of George Buchanan, as to his education. The descendants of the Countess possessed till a recent period, and perhaps still do so, the heavy wooden cradle in which the first British monarch was rocked. A figure of it is presented [above].

1  This interesting conversation is reported in Lord Herries’s Memoirs
2  Bannatyne’s Memorials, p. 228.

On this Day in Other Sources.

King Alexander, on St. John [the] Baptist’s day this year [19th of June, 1221], in the city of York, with great solemnity marries the Lady Joan, sister to Henry, King of England, and brought her home [on] the 4th of August, to Roxburgh. 

– Historical Works, pp.38-57.

This year of King Robert’s coronation was very unfortunate to him; for in 3 months he was several times overthrown by the lieutenants of King Edward [I.] of England: [firstly,] at Methven, by Aymer de Valence, Earl of Pembroke, Governor of Scotland for King Edward of England, the 19th day of June [1306]

– Historical Works, pp.88-104.

It was early in the summer of 1306 when he set out, but it was March. 1307, before he arrived at Carlisle. Pembroke meanwhile had marched rapidly to Scotland with his army and posted himself strongly at Perth. Bruce approached too near with his little band and was attacked and defeated at Methven on June 19th, 1306. It is said that on this occasion Bruce had challenged Pembroke, that Pembroke had replied that he would fight him on the morrow, and that the Scots, trusting to this promise, undid their armour and were preparing for rest when Pembroke suddenly attacked and routed them. 

– A History of Scotland, Chapter II. 

“In the wars which harassed Scotland, during the minority of David II., the castle of Loch-Leven was held in the patriotic interest by Allen de Vipont, against the troops of Edward III., who acted in behalf of Edward Baliol. John de Strivilin blockaded it, erected a fortress in the churchyard of Kinross, which occupies the point of a neighbouring promontory; and, at the lower end of the lake, where the water of Leven issues out of it, it is said, that he raised a strong and lofty bulwark, by means of which he hoped to lay the castle under water, and constrain Vipont to surrender. The water continued to rise daily, and the besiegers thought themselves certain of success, when, the English general and most of his troops having left the camp to celebrate the festival of St. Margaret at Dunfermline, the besieged, seizing the favourable opportunity, (June 19, 1335,) after much labour and perseverance, broke through the barrier, when the water rushed out with such impetuosity, as to overwhelm the English encamped on that side.”

– Gazetteer of Scotland, Leven (Loch), pp.258-260.

The King, to please his nobility that wished him well, sends the Earl of Moray and David [Beaton], Abbot of Arbroath, (lately made a Cardinal by Pope Paul III., and Bishop of [Mirepoix] by the French King,) his ambassadors to suit for him the marriage of the Lady Mary, Duchess Dowager of Longueville, daughter to Claude of Lorraine, Duke of Guise, a very beautiful lady. This suit of the Scottish ambassadors pleased the French King and the [lady’s] parents exceedingly. The King hearing how all things went, sends over the Lord [Robert] Maxwell and [William Cunningham] the Master of Glencairn to conclude it, with the other ambassadors that were there before; the [said] marriage was solemnised by proxy, with great pomp, at Paris. She ships, and lands at Crail, in Fife, [on] the 19th day of June [1538], this same year; from whence she went to St. Andrews, where the King meets her, and there accomplishes the marriage. 

– Historical Works, pp.238-275.

On the ground floor at the south-east corner of the Grand Parade there still exists, unchanged and singularly irregular in form, the room wherein, at ten o’clock on the morning of the 19th of June, 1566, was born James VI., in whose person the rival crowns of Mary and Elizabeth were to be united. A stone tablet over the arch of the old doorway, with a monogram of H and M and the date, commemorates this event, unquestionably the greatest in the history of Britain. The royal arms of Scotland figure on one of the walls, and an ornamental design surmounts the rude stone fireplace, while four lines in barbarous doggerel record the birth. The most extravagant joy pervaded the entire city. Public thanksgiving was offered up in St. Giles’s, and Sir James Melville started on the spur with the news to the English court, and rode with such speed that he reached London in four days, and spoiled the mirth of the envious Elizabeth for one night at least with the happy news. 

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.32-47.

The Queen, perceiving, at length, about the middle of June, that the time of her delivery approached, invited her principal nobles to Edinburgh, being still afraid of Morton’s approach. She made her will; thrice written; one copy, she had sent to France, the other she kept herself, and the third she left with those, to whom she committed the chief charge, for the time: And, on the day, preceding her delivery, she wrote to her good cousin Elizabeth, a letter, which was to be conveyed, by Sir James Melvill; she also wrote to Drury, the governor of Berwick, desiring him to supply Melvill with passports, and to have post horses in readiness. After all these preparations, the Queen was, safely, delivered of a male child, on the 19th of June [1566], between nine and ten, in the forenoon. This event was received, throughout Scotland, with great joy, and thanksgiving, except by Murray, and his faction. On this occasion, the assembly of the church sent a deputation, to testify their gladness; and withal to desire, that the prince might be baptized, according to the common form of the reformed church. This deputation was graciously received; but without complying with the request, she presented her infant to those deputies, which prevented the mortification of a refusal.  

It was the Lady Boyne, who, by the Queen’s order, informed Sir James Melvill of the happy event of the Queen’s safe delivery of a son; and commanded him to repair, as soon as might be, to Elizabeth’s court, with the information. He arrived, the first night, at Berwick, and on the fourth day, thereafter, at London. Randolph, as his presence, at Berwick, much less, at Edinburgh, was not necessary, on so happy an issue, to so many speculations, immediately, followed him. Melvill first saw his brother Robert, the Queen’s envoy, at Elizabeth’s court, who gave notice to Cecil of this unlooked for event, with a request, that he should keep the secret till Sir James’s arrival, at court. Elizabeth was then, at Greenwich; and Melvill arrived there, in the evening; as ill luck would have it, ‘her Majesty was in great mirth, dancing after supper: But, as soon as Secretary Cecil whispered in her ear, the news of the prince’s birth, all her mirth was laid aside, for that night: All present marvelling, whence proceeded such a change; for the Queen did sit down, putting her hand, under her cheek; bursting out to some of her ladies, that the Queen of Scots was mother of a fair son. The next morning,’ continues Melvill, ‘was appointed, for my audience, at what time, my brother, and I, went to Greenwich, and were told how sorrowful her Majesty was, at my news; but, that she had been advised to shew a cheerful countenance; which,’ adds Melvill, ‘she did, in her best apparel; saying that the joyful news of the Queen, her sister’s delivery, of a son, which I had sent her, by Secretary Cecil, had recovered her out of a heavy sickness, which she had layen under, for fifteen days: Therefore, she welcomed me, with a merry volt; and thanked me, for the diligence, that I had used, in hastening to give her that welcome intelligence, but sad disappointment. All this she said, before I had delivered unto her my letters of credence. Then, I requested her majesty to be a gossip to the Queen, to which she gladly condescended. Your Majesty, said I, will now have a fair occasion, to see the Queen, whereof I have often heard your Majesty express so great a desire: Whereat, she smiled; saying that she wished her estate, and affairs, might permit her; in the mean time she promised, to send both honourable lords, and ladies, to supply her room.’ Thus far Sir James Melvill, who, as [Robert] Keith remarks, tells the whole tale; of the happy delivery of the Scotish Queen, after so many perils; of the disappointment of Murray, after such expectations; of the surprise, and dissatisfaction, of the envy, and chagrin, of Elizabeth, after what had been written by Randolph, and inculcated by Cecil. 

– Life of Mary, pp.127-136.

The 19th day of June [1566], this same year, Queen Mary was brought to bed, in Edinburgh castle, of a son, who was christened in the chapel royal of Stirling, this same year, by the name of Charles James; his [godfathers] were Charles IX., the French King, and [Emmanuel Philibert], Duke of Savoy; his [godmother] was Elizabeth, Queen of England. Immediately after he was christened, the Lyon King of Arms proclaimed him, James, by the grace of God, Lord of Renfrew and the Isles, Earl of Carrick, Duke of Rothesay, and Prince of Scotland. 

– Historical Works, pp.275-340.

[Mary, Queen of Scots,] seemed, however, to be reconciled to her husband; and not long after, her son, who afterwards became James VI., was born (June 19, 1566). 


June 19. – A prince, who subsequently became James VI., was born to the queen in Edinburgh Castle, within that small irregularly shaped room, of about eight feet each way, which is still to be seen in the angle of the old palace. 

– Domestic Annals, pp.30-34.

On the 19th of June, [1566,] in the Castle of Edinburgh, Mary gave birth to a son, who afterwards became James VI. of Scotland and I. of England. After this, Mary’s hatred of her husband continued to increase, and Bothwell rose higher than ever in her favour. 

– A History of Scotland, Chapter XIV. 

You have carried on enquiries, with regard to my conduct, within my own kingdom, in the unfairest manner, for the odious purposes of calumniation, and detraction; and you have published libels against me, which you have sent into France, with the base design of depriving me of my friends, by representing me, as a person unworthy of their protection, or kindness. Thus might Mary have remonstrated to those commissioners, who came, to tempt, and betray, rather than to discuss, and settle, any point: What they charged her with; and what she answered, may be seen, in Camden, Strype, and the public papers that have been printed; and she sent both the charges, and answers, to the French ambassador, on the 19th of June 1572. 

– Life of Mary, pp.251-260.

On the 19th of June [1617], the king formally visited the Castle of Edinburgh, in order to celebrate his fifty-first birthday on the natal spot. Andrew Kerr, a boy of nine years of age, welcomed him at the gate in ‘ane Hebrew speech.’ On the 26th, ‘there was a timber house erected on the back of the Great Kirk of Edinburgh [south side], which was decored with tapestry, where the town prepared a banquet for the king and the nobility. The day following, sundry knights and gentlemen of good note were banqueted in the same house and made burgesses. They danced about the cross with sound of trumpets and other instruments; throwed glasses of wine from the cross upon the people standing about, and ended with the king’s scoll [health].’ – Cal

– Domestic Annals, pp.177-227.

The June 19, 1886, edition celebrates Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. Headline for this section reads,


The top picture is captioned,


The article reads,


It was not until 1848 that her Majesty and the Prince Consort fixed their Highland House at Balmoral Castle, on the Dee, of which she has given us an agreeable account in the two volume “Leaves from the Journal of our Life,” published in 1868, and “More Leaves,” in 1883. The earlier visits of the Royal pair to Scotland were in 1842, 1844, and 1847, narratives of which are to be found in the first volume mentioned. On the first occasion, in 1842, they went by sea in the Royal George yacht, escorted by a naval squadron, landed in the Firth of Forth, and were the guests of the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch at Dalkeith Palace, seeing Edinburgh, of course; whence they travelled to Perthshire, and were received by Lord Breadalbane at Taymouth Castle, “in princely style, not to be equalled for grandeur and poetic effect; it seemed as if a great chieftain, in olden feudal times, were receiving his Sovereign.” The Queen used to read Sir Walter Scott’s poetry and the Waverley Novels to Prince Albert, and they were captivated by the romantic aspect of Highland scenery, costume, and manners, as preserved in the show-places of that country. His Royal Highness was pleased also with Highland sport among the stags and roe-deer, the grouse, and the capercailzie. They visited Lord and Lady Willoughby at Drummond Castle, and returned by sea after a fortnight spent in Scotland…” 

Miscellaneous Collected Pictures.

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