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. […]

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 […]

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, […]