“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 […]

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, […]

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, […]