Here lies our Sovereign Lord the King

Having recently finished Marci Jefferson’s Girl on the Golden Coin about the Restoration Court’s superstar, Frances Stuart, I’ve had the charming, irrepressible Charles II on my mind. Charles is of course famous for his mistresses and his excesses – he certainly earned the moniker “The Merry Monarch”, particularly coming as he did after the stringent […]

“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. […]

Hidden historical heroines (#35: Sophia Dorothea of Celle)

Sophia Dorothea of Brunswick and Luneburg (15 September 1666 – 13 November 1726) was Queen of England as the wife of George I, however never set foot in that kingdom as her husband had her imprisoned for over half of her life. Doomed by the tension and mutual hatred of her arranged political marriage, she […]

What If..? (#03: the Monmouth Rebellion had succeeded)

Part of a new series on revisionist history, speculating on tiny changes in British history that could cause a ‘butterfly effect’.   James Scott, the first Duke of Monmouth was the eldest – and probably favourite – of Charles II’s twelve bastard children. His notorious and adored father come again, a court favourite and a […]

Legs fit for a King

Most remember Charles II as the randiest Stuart King, flaunting his many, many mistresses and dozen or so bastard children. Charles experienced the sensual delights of the still-famous actress Nell Gwyn, the astonishingly beautiful but hedonistic Barbara Palmer, the French spy Louise de Kérouaille, and many more. But his brother and heir, the unfortunately-Catholic James II, […]

Bacon and the chicken

Pond Square lies in Highgate, North London. The body of water that gave the area its name is long gone, filled in in 1864, but the square is now famous for a much more unusual reason – London’s weirdest ghost. Sir Francis Bacon was an Elizabethan/Jacobean ‘courtier’, one with many hats, as he dabbled in […]

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 (#06: Arbella Stuart)

  Lady Arbella Stuart (1575 – 25 September 1615) was an Elizabethan and Jacobean noblewoman, considered by many of her contemporaries to be the rightful heir to Elizabeth I.   Arbella was the only child of Charles Stuart, 1st Earl of Lennox, (of the third creation), and Elizabeth Cavendish. Her father’s mother was the daughter […]