Today in History: April 20


The Globe



King Duncan breathes his last breath

In the first performance at the Globe*

Of Shakespeare's Macbeth.



*With the spelling modernized this is how one eyewitness described in his diary Duncan's unfortunate despatch:  "And Macbeth contrived to kill Duncan and through the persuasion of his wife did that night murder the King in his own castle, being his guest; and there were many prodigies seen that night and the day before. And when Macbeth had murdered the king, the blood on his hands could not be washed off by any means, nor from his wives hands, which handed the bloody daggers in hiding them, which by means they became both much amazed and affronted. The murder being known, Duncan's two sons fled, the one to England, the other to Wales, to save themselves. They being fled, they were supposed guilty of the murder of their father, which was nothing so."  But murder will out. Eventually Macbeth meets his match in Macduff. One swift swoop of Macduff's sword and Macbeth's shoulders were lonesome for his head.






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  • Nearly 300 years later, in 1900, Glamis Castle (home of Macbeth) became famous again as the birthplace of Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, eventually HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. When I was small, I used to think that this meant she was Queen Elizabeth I, since her daughter was and is Queen Elizabeth II.

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    I guess consorts don't count. The Brits seem to have all sort of rules, which, strangely, are explained here. Aside from there not being a King Phillip I, there is some question whether there will be Queen Kate or Queen Consort Kate (if we live that long).

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