I'm looking for a word to replace recent when the reference point is not the present.
For example, I want to describe the time/events of the period shortly before the rule of Alfred the Great (what Alfred himself would refer to as "recent history"). A writer at the time could write something like "King Alfred continued a trend set by recent kings and events to establish himself as the dominant ruler in England". If I were to write that today, I would be technically incorrect (although probably understood in this example). What can I replace recent with to make this correct?
The sample sentence I'm looking to put the desired word into is thus
King Alfred continued a trend set by ______ kings and events to establish himself as the dominant ruler in England.
Note that the length of the time periods we're talking about (how short, exactly, is "shortly before") is vague and depends on context, which is absolutely fine, and is not the point of my question.
To clarify further, here's an analogy: the word contemporary can be used to mean "of the present time" (technically, "of the same time", with the present being the explicit or implicit reference point), but it can also be used with different reference points (e.g., "Salieri was contemporary with Mozart"). On the other hand, modern always refers to the present time (this is why I find words like modernism and postmodernism to be nonsense, but I digress).
To phrase the analogy as an SAT question, I'm looking for a word that is to recent what contemporary is to modern.
Earlier comes to mind as a possibility which works with any reference point, but earlier is more generic: it can include periods much further in the past, disconnected from the reference point, while recent describes a period (of indefinite length) leading up to the present.
I realised the original example sounds a bit awkward, so I thought having another, simpler sentence might help:
In 1940, my grandmother was meant to travel to Australia with her parents, but she didn't because she had ______ given birth.