Sunday, April 14, 2024

Happy Birthday...Two Literary Giants and a Queen

Happy 460th birthday, “Bard of Avon,” William Shakespeare:

Born: April 1564, actual birthdate unknown, baptized on April 26, 1564
Birthplace: Stratford-upon-Avon
Died: April 23, 1616 (St. Georges Day), Stratford-upon-Avon (52 years old)

Little is known about Shakespeare’s early life, although it is thought that his father John was a

successful merchant, and the family was well-off financially. By the time William was in his teens, John’s businesses began to suffer, and at some point, William left school.

At the age of 18, he married twenty-six-year-old Anne Hathaway. The couple had three children: Susanna and twins Hamnet and Judith. Some scholars believe that William worked as a schoolteacher to support the family. Tragically, Hamnet died when he was eleven.

By 1592, Shakespeare was in London, and his career as a writer on the rise. Two years later he became a founding member of The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, an acting troupe, in which he became the regular dramatist. He remained with the company for the rest of his career, penning an average of two plays a year for almost twenty years. Macbeth, The Tempest, and A Midsummer-night’s Dream are perhaps his most famous.

Happy 254th birthday to Poet Laureate William Wordsworth:

Born: April 7, 1770
Birthplace: Cockermouth, Cumberland in the Lake District of England
Died: April 23, 1850 (St. Georges Day), Rydal, West Morland, England

Pixabay/Mabel Amber

The second of five children, William was very close to his only sister Dorothy who was born in 1771. His father was an attorney and took great stock in education, especially reading, and he tasked his children with memorizing large portions of poetry and prose. William began writing poetry as a youngster. Before finishing college, he took a walking tour of Europe, a trip that exposed him to nature and the common man, both major themes in his later work.

William’s career didn’t take off until he met fellow poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and together they would launch the Romantic Age in English literature with their publication Lyrical Ballads. One of his most famous poems “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,” was inspired by a garden of daffodils he saw when visiting his sister.

He began his semi-autographical The Prelude in 1798 at the age of twenty-eight and worked on it during his entire life. Written in blank verse of nearly eight thousand words, the poem was never titled by Wordsworth, and published after his death by his wife Mary.

He became Poet Laureate in 1843, but passed away only seven years later from pleurisy.

Happy 98th birthday to Queen Elizabeth II:

Born: April 21, 1926
Birthplace: Mayfair, London, England
Died: September 8, 2022, Balmoral Castle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland (96 years old)


Ruling for more than seventy years, and the longest-serving monarch in British history, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was twenty-five years old and the mother of two small children when she ascended the throne. Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953 was the first to be televised and broadcast internationally.

The queen was known worldwide for her devotion to duty and public service. Before becoming queen, she had said, “There is none of my father’s subjects from the oldest to the youngest whom I do not wish to greet.” She fulfilled that desire by traveling extensively during her reign, visiting every region of the UK.

During her reign, Queen Elizabeth was served by fifteen British prime ministers (beginning with Winston Churchill) as well as other prime ministers from her realms. She welcomed over 110 presidents and prime ministers to the UK on official visits. She also served as the Royal Patron or President to over 500 charities, professional bodies, and public service organizations.

On September 8, 2022, Queen Elizabeth II passed away after a short period of ill health. More than 33,000 people filed past her coffin at St. Giles’ Cathedral on September 12 where it lay for twenty-four hours guarded by the Royal Company of Archers. After being flown to London, the coffin was taken by military procession to Westminster Hall on September 13 where the queen lay in state for four days. Another quarter million people filed past, and more than a million people lined the streets the day of her state funeral, September 19, 2022. A private ceremony with family was held at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, then she was interred next to her husband Philip in the King George VI Memorial Chapel.

I hope you enjoyed your trip to the United Kingdom for our birthday celebrations!

Johnnie Alexander
writes award-winning stories in multiple genres. A fan of classic movies, stacks of books, and road trips, she shares a life of quiet adventure with Griff, her happy-go-lucky collie, and Rugby, her raccoon-treeing papillon. Visit her at

Photos: Each photo is in the public domain and/or credited as noted and modified using GIMP.



  1. Thanks for posting today. I enjoy these birthday posts!

  2. “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” is a favorite of mine. Of course, I love daffodils.