Hidden historical heroines (#28: Jane Lane)

Jane Lane (c. 1626 – 9 September 1689) was the daughter of a Staffordshire gentleman, a lady who would have led an unremarkable life and been totally lost to history had she not been caught up in the enterprise to smuggle Charles II abroad after he lost the Battle of Worcester. Jane was born around 1626, […]

Hidden historical heroines (#27: Princess Charlotte Augusta)

Princess Charlotte of Wales (7 January 1796 – 6 November 1817) was the only child of George, Prince of Wales (later to become King George IV) and Caroline of Brunswick. Had she outlived her father and her grandfather, King George III, she would have become Queen of the United Kingdom, but she died suddenly following childbirth at the age of 21. […]

Hidden historical heroines (#26: Penelope Rich)

Penelope Rich, aka Penelope Blount, Countess of Devonshire (January 1563 – 7 July 1607) was a prominent English noblewoman during the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I. She was the sister of Elizabeth’s “toyboy favourite”, Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex and scandalised her contemporaries with her extra-marital activities. Penelope Devereux was born in 1563, […]

Hidden historical heroines (#25: Blodeuwedd)

  Blodeuwedd was known to Welsh mythology as the wife to the hero and demi-god Lleu Llaw Gyffes. Lleu’s mother, the goddess Arianrhod, has an immediate dislike for her son, resulting from the embarrassment which his birth caused her (a complicated story for another time!). Refusing to acknowledge him, she placed a tynged – a […]

Hidden historical heroine: (#24: Margaret Drummond(s))

Our first Margaret Drummond (c.1340 – c.1375) was the second wife and queen of David II of Scotland. A member of the Scottish gentry, the young Margaret caught the eye of her king whilst he was married to Joan of the Tower, an English Princess – daughter of Edward II and Isabella of France. David […]

Hidden historical heroines (#23: George Eliot)

Mary Anne (Marian) Evans (22 November 1819 – 22 December 1880) was one of the most prolific writers of the Victorian era; her novel Middlemarch has been lauded as the best novel written ever in the English language. You may recognise her by her pen-name, George Eliot. Marian was born in the Warwickshire countryside in […]

Hidden historical heroines (#22: Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scots)

Margaret Tudor (28 November 1489 – 18 October 1541) was the eldest daughter of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, an elder sister to Henry VIII. In her early teens she became Queen of Scotland; through her first marriage she was the grandmother of Mary, Queen of Scots, and through her second, that of Mary’s second […]

Hidden historical heroines (#21: Æthelflæd, Lady of the Mercians)

  Æthelflæd (868 – 918) was the eldest daughter of the beloved Saxon King Alfred the Great and was chronicled in the historical record as Myrcna hlæfdige, or ‘Lady of the Mercians’.   Born to Alfred, King of Wessex and his queen, Ealhswith of the House of Mercia, Æthelflæd (meaning “noble beauty”) knew only strife […]

Hidden historical heroines (#20: Marie-Louise O’ Murphy)

  Marie-Louise O’ Murphy de Boisfaily (21 October 1737 – 11 December 1814) was the youngest child of an Irish army officer. She was a celebrated French beauty, one of the younger mistresses of Louis XV.  The youngest of seven, Marie-Louise was born to ex-Irish army officer Daniel O’ Murphy and his French wife. Daniel had […]

Hidden historical heroines (#19: Amy Robsart)

  Amy Robsart (7 June 1532 – 8 September 1560) was a Tudor noblewoman, the first wife of Lord Robert Dudley, the controversial favourite of Elizabeth I. Were it not for Amy’s sudden and suspicious death in 1560, it is assumed by some that Elizabeth would have, in time, made her “sweet Robin” her consort.   Amy was born into a […]