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, […]

“There is written, her fair neck round about”: The legend of Anne Boleyn’s initial necklaces

To say it’s archetypal isn’t actually doing it justice. It’s flat-out impossible to envision Anne Boleyn without her pearl-and-gold “B” necklace – a fact that filmmakers and book cover designers seem to agree with. Although the fashionable Anne was usually a trend-setter, initial jewellery was already extremely popular at the Tudor court. Henry VIII himself […]

Hidden historical heroines (#33: Mary Grey)

Lady Mary Grey (c.1545 – 20 April 1578) was the youngest daughter of Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk, and Frances Brandon, herself the daughter of Charles Brandon – great friend and confidante of Henry VIII – and Mary Tudor, his younger sister. An unfortunate figure, Mary was described by an ambassador as ‘little, crook-backed and very ugly’ – it […]

Hidden historical heroines (#29: Helena von Snakenborg)

Helena von Snakenborg (c.1549 – 10 April 1635) was a Swedish noblewoman who was highly favoured by Elizabeth I. She was taken into Elizabeth’s household and eventually became Marchioness of Northampton by her first marriage, which made her one of the senior peeresses of the realm. Helena was born Elin Ulfsdotter of Fyllingarum, a younger […]

Eltham Palace

As originally hosted here, at The Tudor Cafe. Eltham Palace, in Greenwich, South East London, was the childhood home of Henry VIII, his sisters and younger brother. Sadly, the original medieval house is all but gone, the current building dating from the 1930s. The impressive, timber-roofed Great Hall – built by Edward IV in the […]

Some deep and difficult question

Today in History: 30th April 1536   Today – April 30th – in 1536, Anne knew she was in trouble. Summoning up the fight and the spark that had attracted Henry to her a decade before, Anne went to him carrying their daughter, the infant Princess Elizabeth, who was staying with them during Eastertide. We […]

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, […]

The many faces of Anne Boleyn

At the moment my WIP (or Work-In-Progress for the non acronym-inclined) is a novella featuring historical fiction favourite, Anne Boleyn. I know, I know, you don’t need to tell me – she’s been done to (French swordsman-assisted) death. What more could I possibly add? Still, I feel an overwhelming compulsion to add my little pebble […]

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 […]