Royals and the stars


Royals, just like us mere mortals, have been fascinated by the stars – and what they can tell us about our own lives – throughout history. While many of us check our horoscopes, royals have often hired their very own astrologer to advise them on everything from when they should have their coronation to the future of their heirs. Here are just a few of the weird and wonderful reasons royals have consulted astrologers over the years, from Elizabeth I to Princess Diana…

Elizabeth I

Elizabeth I was famously involved with her official astrologer, magus and spiritual adviser Dr John Dee. She used him to decide the date of her coronation, which led to one of the most glorious reigns in history. She also consulted with him on her famous victory over her long-time rival Spain - the defeat of the Spanish Armanda. Not a bad track record, Dr Dee!

Charles I

Charles I had his own court astrologer, George Wharton – but with rather less success! Wharton was an ardent admirer of the King and wasn’t very good at giving objective astrological advice. So instead, the King turned to famous astrologer William Lilly. Lilly was known for his impeccable accuracy but also worked for the King’s enemies – Oliver Cromwell and the Parliamentarians – during the Civil War. Cromwell used Lilly to predict victories – with remarkable success – and boost morale on the battlefield. 

Yet when Charles I was fleeing Cromwell’s troops, it was William Lilly who was called upon to help find an auspicious escape route. Unfortunately Charles did not heed Lilly’s advice and was caught…might it have changed the course of history if Charles had taken Lilly’s route?

Charles II & James II

Brothers Charles II and James II, just like their father, used astrologers – although perhaps a little more defiantly, as the Enlightenment had begun to lessen the influence of astrology. But apparently in 1678 Charles II instructed Lord Montagu to consult with a Parisian astrologer on his behalf. Unfortunately for Charles, Montagu realised the astrologer was open to bribes and so Montagu manipulated the astrological advice to Charles for his own promotion. Until, in a fit of anger, Montagu’s mistress revealed Montagu’s deceit and the King, furious, expelled him from court. 

Edward VII

Edward VII was the last King to officially consult a royal astrologer. He turned to celebrity fortune-teller and astrologer Cheiro to find an auspicious date for his coronation in 1902. Cheiro proposed 9thAugust – but he did a very simplistic analysis and ignored the more complex transits of the planets that day. Arguably, if he hadn’t, he might have been able to forewarn Edward VII of how short his reign would be – Edward would die just eight years later. 

Elizabeth II

It is rumoured the current Monarch disapproves of astrology but the Queen’s coronation took place on 2ndJune 1953 which, thanks to a Sun-Jupiter conjunction, is an extremely auspicious date. And indeed the Queen has had a long and happy reign – maybe someone somewhere asked a few questions…

Although the Windsors have largely avoided astrology, this hasn’t stopped astrologers making some pretty good predictions. In 1930, the year of Princess Margaret’s birth, celebrated astrologer R.H. Naylor predicted that events of tremendous importance would happen in her seventh year. Extraordinarily, this turned out to be the very year her uncle Edward VIII abdicated – meaning Margaret’s father George VI would become King. 

Princess Diana

Princess Diana consulted several astrologers, but was most loyal to celebrity astrologer Debbie Frank. She enjoyed pouring over the birth charts of both Prince William and Prince Harry. Apparently there is an aspect in Prince Harry’s chart that links him strongly to America. At the time, delighted, Princess Diana assumed this meant he would go to Harvard - but of course, it might now be seen as an uncanny prediction as to his future wife, Meghan Markle. Debbie Frank had foreseen a strong eclipse in Princess Diana’s chart on the weekend of her death. As eclipses are meant to represent great change she had interpreted this as a great change for the good, tragically this wasn’t to be.

Tobsha Learner’s new historical thriller The Magick of Master Lilly is out now, published by Little, Brown Book Group, and priced at £8.99 in paperback and £7.99 in e-book. For more information visit