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 […]

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 […]

Lanhydrock House

The almost 900 acre Lanhydrock estate originally belonged to an Augustinian priory, but after Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 1530s the estate passed into private hands. In 1620 a wealthy Jacobean merchant – Sir Richard Robartes – purchased the land and began to build what would become his family’s seat, the beautiful […]

The haunting of the Headland Hotel

The Headland Hotel opened its doors in June 1900. It had been envisioned and designed to be the finest hotel in South West England, and as its first patrons swept across the natural headland to the imposing red-brick building, they were certainly in agreement – in fact, King Edward VII and his Queen, Alexandra stayed […]

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 […]