Waddesdon Manor

Part of my new National Trust Travels blog series… My all-girls grammar in Buckinghamshire decided to big itself up even more by naming its six ‘Houses’ after famous manor houses in the county. Five of them are National Trust properties, and so when I got my membership I duly challenged myself to visit them all! (Annoyingly, the […]

The Morgans of Tredegar House

Part of my new National Trust Travels blog series…             In Cardiff for my husband’s birthday, we simply had to carve out an afternoon to visit Tredegar House, a recent acquisition for the National Trust and lauded as one of the “wonders of Wales”. The familial seat of the Morgan family since […]

Newark Park

Part of my new National Trust Travels blog series… My husband and I were thrilled to receive National Trust memberships this past Christmas; we’d been banging on about wanting them for years, but firstly we hadn’t had a car, and then we’d been saving up for our wedding, so it had never been the right time. 2015 […]

Speak when you’re spoken to

A sharp little anecdote from the tenth birthday party of “Prince David”, later Edward VIII. Seated next to his imperious grandfather Edward VII at a state banquet, the boy tried to interrupt the king, who was in the middle of one of his trademark lengthy rants. Irritated by the interruption, Edward roared “I am the […]

“Her person alone was worth a kingdom”: The first wedding dress of Mary, Queen of Scots

“All I can tell you is that I account myself one of the happiest women in the world” – Mary, Queen of Scots to her mother on the morning of her wedding. I haven’t had all that much time for blogging this year, what with trying to finish my second full-length novel for Harper Impulse […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

The bride wore white

It’s often said that Queen Victoria was the first to wear a white wedding dress, and therefore the origin of our modern tradition. Whilst it’s true that brides did wear coloured wedding dresses before 1840, they also continued to wear them long after. Traditionally you just wore your ‘best dress’ – and the colour didn’t […]