On This Day – 17 December 1619: The Birth of Prince Rupert of the Rhine


Prince Rupert by Gerrit van Honthorst

On this day in history, 17 December 1619, Prince Rupert of the Rhine was born to Frederick V and his wife Elizabeth Stuart, known to history as the Winter Queen. He was thus the nephew of King Charles I of England and cousin to King Charles II of England.

Rupert was a noted soldier especially during the English Civil War (1642-1651) and was the epitome of the handsome English Cavalier. Following the fall of Bristol, Rupert surrendered to the forces of Parliament and was banished from England. He went to France where he served in the forces of Louis XIV of France. He also took part in privateering – a Royal pirate, in essence! After the Restoration of the monarchy, Rupert was present at his cousins court and worked as a naval commander during the Dutch wars. He also had a keen interest in science and art.

Prince Rupert, I must admit, was one of my very first historical crushes. Yes, you heard me. He had me even before Cesare Borgia sunk his claws into me. I became particularly interested in the dashing young cavalier when I was studying the battlefield archaeology of the English Civil War at University, and spent many a weekend re-enacting as a Royalist musketeer with the Sealed Knot. Whilst I may have edged away from the Seventeenth Century somewhat, it still holds a very special place in my heart and is a subject that I fully intend on returning to.

Happy birthday, Prince Rupert of the Rhine.


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