A Hanoverian menage-a-trois

This is the beautiful Sarah Fairbrother, servant’s daughter turned ballet dancer turned prince’s wife. The delicate, talented Sarah was considered one of the beauties of her generation and already had two illegitimate children by two different men by the time she caught the eye of Prince George, the Duke of Cambridge. A grandson of George […]

Advertisement

What If..? (#04: Lady Jane Grey had kept the throne)

Part of a new series on revisionist history, speculating on tiny changes in British history that could cause a ‘butterfly effect’. In June 1553, the boy-king Edward lay dying. Unable to legitimise his Protestant half-sister Elizabeth without doing the same to his Catholic one, Mary, Edward subverted the will of his late father, Henry VIII, […]

Three queens in mourning

This iconic image shows three Queens of England together, united in grief at the funeral of their son, husband and father – George VI – who had died at the young age of 56 only nine days earlier, February 6th 1952. The stammering King-Emperor had reigned for fifteen years and had grown to be popular; […]

The Jersey Lily

Today is the birthday of Lillie Langtry (or to give her her true name, Emilie Charlotte Le Breton), a music hall star who charmed her way into the beds of earls and princes. A Jersey girl, Lillie was introduced to London society by her Irish landowner husband, Edward Langtry. She soon became a star, famed […]

The original Queen of Hearts

The deck of cards was probably introduced to England in the late 14th century, immediately rivalling the popularity of old games of chance like dice. Whilst playing cards were absolutely nothing new – the ancient Egyptians used to play them – the standardised ‘suits’ of hearts, diamonds, spades and clubs that we’d recognise today was adopted […]

Hidden historical heroines (#36: Eormenburg)

Saint Eormenburg (late 7th century) is a mythohistorical figure from Kentish royal legend, a granddaughter of the great Kentish king Eadbald (616-640). She is also known as “Domne Eafe”, which is probably a vernacular corruption of the Latin Domina (Lady) Æbbe. Eormenburg’s two brothers – Æthelberht and Æthelred – were fostered by their elder cousin, […]

“Tiny scrap of humanity”: The love match of Richard II

On a miserable January day in 1382 the boy-king Richard II took to wife the daughter of the late Holy Roman Emperor, sister to the King of Bohemia, a young girl named Anne. Anne was a girl of modest beauty and no fortune, Richard’s court and subjects were openly hostile to the match. The Westminster […]

“The curse of the nation”: Lady Castlemaine, the beautiful bitch

Barbara Palmer, née Villiers, Countess of Castlemaine, is one of the most famous and enduring royal mistresses of all time. Barbara was born into a rather lowly family, but overcame those social limitations by growing up into an absolute stunner. Tall and voluptuous, Barbara positively oozed sexuality and swiftly made a very opportune marriage indeed. […]

Lizzie Woodville has got everybody Googling…

Every time I check my website’s dashboard stats, I’m more and more surprised by the number of The White Queen/Elizabeth Woodville searches that have directed web-users to this website, specifically my constantly trafficked (and in some cases, plagiarised, naughty naughty…) post on the real White Queen. In the interests of being helpful, I thought I would […]

I will persevere

Here’s a picture of my handmade polymer clay “chibi” Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn; I bought them to sit serenely on my desk, inspiring me as I finish Perseverance, my novella that traces their ‘love story’. I think Chibi Henry and Anne will perhaps get a little impatient with me, as a change in professional circumstances […]