Queen Fabiola of the Belgians was a Spanish aristocrat. She worked as a nurse and volunteered in Madrid. She wrote a children's book before marrying Baudouin, King of the Belgians in December 1960. She remains the only royal to inspire an amusement park attraction. It's at Efteling, the Netherlands.
Prince Josias of Waldeck and Pyrmont had royal relations across Europe. He became a Nazi in 1929, and he rose to the highest rank in the SS. He oversaw activities at Buchenwald Concentration Camp. He was tried as a war criminal and sentenced to life imprisonment. Amazingly, he didn't serve it.
Theodore Hook was a composer, playboy, writer and joker. The Berners Street Hoax was staged by him in London in November 1810. He bet Samuel Beazley that he could make any address the most talked about within a week. He did, much to the horror of Mrs.Tottingham (Tottenham) of 54 Berners Street.
The Great Gold Robbery of 15th May 1855 took place on a train travelling between London and Folkstone in south east England. It was a successful heist for Edward Agar, James Burgess, William Pierce and William Tester. Months later a separate crime was solved. It led the police to the gold robbers.
Ernst August III, Duke of Brunswick, was the last ruling Duke of Brunswick in the German Empire. A descendant of King George III of Britain and the son-in-law of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Ernst August abdicated when the First World War was lost. His British titles were suspended, but he tried to use them.
King George I's mother, Sophia Dorothea, Electress of Hanover, was the greatest queen Britain never had. She was named Queen Anne's successor in 1701, but a twist of fate in 1714 meant that she didn't reign. Beautiful, enlightened and Herrenhausen Castle's creator, she wasn't always the best mother.
4000 years ago the Olmecs, Mayans and Aztecs enjoyed a hot drinking chocolate unlike ours. They believed that it was a magical gift from the gods. Chocolhaa or xocolatl arrived on European shores in the 16th century and in the U.S.A. in the 1600s. Solid smooth chocolate came much later.
Giuseppe Garibaldi played a vital role in the unification of Italy in 1861. Garibaldi's strengths of patriotism, leadership, bravery and his guerilla warfare skills earned him his place in history. He was praised and feared by kings and Abraham Lincoln almost convinced him to fight in the Civil War.
On 30th October 1938 Orson Welles directed and starred in a radio version of The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells. The result of this pre-Halloween performance was hysteria, anger and ultimately worldwide stardom for the 23 year old Welles.
Prince Edward, Duke of Kent was born in 1935 and he is the oldest surviving grandchild of George V and Queen Mary. He is the longest serving duke in history and he and his wife Katherine have the longest marriage in the current British royal family. She's also the oldest British royal.
King Felipe IV of Spain and his wives Elisabeth of France and Maria Anna of Austria struggled to have healthy and long-lived children to take the Spanish throne. Was bad luck, intermarriage between Habsburg relations, or Felipe's plethora of mistresses to blame?
Dom Perignon has gone down in history as the inventor of champagne but was he the first to produce a sparkling wine? Find out here.
Prince Joachim of Prussia was Kaiser Wilhelm II's youngest son. He fought for Germany during the First World War and he was considered as a possible ruler of Ireland and Georgia in 1916 and 1917 respectively. He died aged 29 but not because of what his brother called "a fit of excessive dementia."
Austrian stage actress Katherina Schratt was the confidante of Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria for over 30 years. Their relationship, said to have been platonic, was encouraged by his wife Empress Elisabeth (Sisi). Katherina was called the "uncrowned Empress of Austria" and she died aged 86 in 1940.
November 1932, the Wheatbelt, Western Australia. The crops are being decimated by emus. The Minister of Defence sends in the military to deal with the large feathered "pest" population. Never underestimate an emu as an opponent, as the Royal Australian Artillery found out to their embarrassment.
Saltford Manor House in Saltford, southwest England holds the accolade of being the oldest continuously inhabited property in Britain. Built during the Norman era (circa 1160s) by William Fitz Robert, 2nd Earl of Gloucester, 13th-century artwork found in the house may be the oldest in the land.
In 1531 King Henry VIII ordered the execution of Richard Roose, a cook working for John Fisher, the Bishop of Rochester. An incident of poisoning killed two people. Fisher was an enemy of Henry's. Did he or his love Anne Boleyn arrange the poisoning? Henry hastily changed the law to boil Roose. Why?
In 1882 Milan Obrenovic I was proclaimed the first king of Serbia. The 1800s Obrenovics and their rivals the Karadordevics fought to rule. Unhappily married Milan was King Alexander I's father—he was the last Obrenovic. Milan's spending, policies and pro-Austrian outlook led to his abdication.
In 60/61 A.D. Ancient Briton & Iceni tribe queen Boudicca led a rebellion against Roman oppression. She burned Roman Colchester, London and St. Albans and she slaughtered the 9th Legion before Roman Governor of Britain Gaius Suetonius Paulinus and Boudicca met at the Battle of Watling Street.
King Charles II and his French mistress Louise de Kerouaille had a son Charles Lennox in 1672. In 1675 the "merrie monarch" made his son the 1st Duke of Richmond, 1st Duke of Lennox. The cricket-loving duke owned Goodwood House, Sussex, Richmond House, London and Richmond Castle, North Yorkshire.
Pope Gregory IX believed that cats were evil. Felines were either in league with the devil or the devil himself in a fur coat. The pope had Europe's cats exterminated. There were unexpected consequences for humans: The bubonic plague, superstitions about cats being unlucky and witch hunts.
Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor was powerful in 1500s Europe. His faith puzzled his subjects. He was a humanist, he was the leader of the traditionally Catholic Holy Roman Empire and he toyed with Lutheranism. Unlike the Tudors and his Habsburg relations, he was known for his religious tolerance.
Who invented ice cream and where did it originate? When did a genius achieve frozen food history? Ice cream has a much longer history than you might think and it's not from Italy as many people assume. How did people make and store ice cream before freezers and electricity? Read on to find out.
The iconic Tower of London has two chapels known as royal peculiars. Queens Anne Boleyn, Katherine Howard and Jane Grey are at rest in the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula close to their execution site. The private Royal Chapel of St. John the Evangelist is in William the Conqueror's White Tower.
Paul Ilyinsky was the mayor of Palm Beach, Florida, for 3 terms in the 1990s. He was of Romanov descent. His father was Grand Duke Dmitri, involved in Rasputin's murder. Paul had several European royal cousins, including King Charles III. He's the only Romanov in history to hold public office.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy, is iconic. It wasn't meant to lean. Construction began in 1173. By the time work was completed in 1372, the increasing lean had baffled countless builders, architects and engineers. Its lean was 5.1m in 1918. Now 850 years old, what's next for the Pisan tower?
John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, has a place in popular history as the inventor of the sandwich in 1762. The earl popularised putting two slices of bread with a filling, meat or cheese, but sandwiches (without the name) have been eaten since at least 1 BC, and bread was the base for "trenchers."
Robert the Bruce, Robert I, King of Scots' status as a legendary Scottish hero was cemented after a great victory over the English at the Battle of Bannockburn in June 1314. Against the odds, Scotland finally gained its longed-for independence. Robert the Bruce is an ancestor of King Charles III.
King Charles VI of France (1368-1422) suffered from glass delusion, a psychiatric disorder that led him to believe that he was made of glass and that he might shatter if touched. His case was not unique. Glass delusion peaked among Europe's nobility during the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance.
British financier William Jennens died in 1798. Relations fought over his vast fortune. The heir was named by the Court of Chancery that year, so why did Jennens vs. Jennens continue for 117 years? The legal spectacle inspired Charles Dickens's Bleak House Jarndyce vs. Jarndyce case.
Mt. Tambora erupted in 1815. The volcano's sulphur, ash and debris became trapped in the stratosphere. In 1816 there wasn't a summer in the northern hemisphere. Sunlight was obscured, temperatures fell. The U.S.A. had snow in June, Ireland had 8 weeks of continual rain. Crops failed, livestock died.
Alsace-Lorraine passed from French to German rule often during its history. From its earliest days under Emperor Charlemagne to the German Imperial Territory established after the Franco-Prussian War 1870/1 and two world wars, Alsace-Lorraine was a political French-German "pass-the-parcel."
The Western Schism: Two, later three, Roman Catholic bishops declared that they were the true elected pope at the same time. How and why did this multi-pope situation occur, and what was the resolution that allowed the Roman Catholic church to move forward after 40 years? Read on to learn more.
King Harthacnut of England and Denmark was the son of King Cnut—Canute the Great. He ruled Denmark for more years than England because his half-brother Harold Harefoot seized his throne. King Harthacnut was as unpopular in England as Cnut had been successful. He died drunk and young at a wedding.
Galician noblewoman Inês de Castro was the mistress of Infante Pedro of Portugal. She was murdered in 1355 on his father, King Afonzo IV's orders. It triggered a revolution. As King Pedro I, he had Inês body exhumed, and the "corpse queen" or "skeleton queen" had a splendid and gruesome coronation.
Archduke Johann Salvator of Austria renounced his royal life in 1889. He married a dancer, purchased a captaincy and a ship he named the Santa Margareta, and they set sail for South America. The following year they drowned. Or did they? Were Johann Salvator and Alexander Hugo Kohler the same man?
Brave dog Sergeant Stubby was a World War One hero. The terrier played a vital role in the Allied war effort. He served with the 102nd Infantry Regiment, U.S. Army. He remains the only dog promoted to sergeant through combat, and he was the most decorated canine of WW1. His story is fascinating.
Bold Regency courtesan Harriette Wilson captivated royal, aristocratic and political men. They flocked around her and pleaded to be introduced. When she reached the end of her career, she wrote her memoirs and blackmailed her past conquests. A suitable payment from them preserved their anonymity.
What is Trooping the Colour? It's the British monarch's birthday parade, but it's not always held around their real birthday. One regiment troops its colour, the regimental flag.
Queen Mary's brother, Prince Francis of Teck, was expelled from Wellington College, gambled, and kept mistresses. When Frank died, his family learned what he'd done with the precious Cambridge emeralds.
Seven-time U.C.I. World Cycling Champion Beryl Burton O.B.E. was a phenomenal cyclist from northern England. She set records in road races and individual pursuit events. She was Britain's Best All Rounder for 25 consecutive years. A proud and driven amateur, Beryl never competed as a professional.
Duke Francesco V of the Duchy of Modena and Reggio (N.W. Italy) was from the House of Este, like the Hanoverian rulers. He was the Stuart pretender to Queen Victoria's British throne. He fled Modena and Reggio twice during rebellions. When Italy unified in 1861, his duchy was lost forever.
Victorian murderer Christiana Edmunds became known as the "Chocolate Cream Killer". The unrequited lover poisoned chocolates with strychnine and gave them to physician Dr. Charles Beard's wife Emily, later killing a four-year-old boy.
Diane de Poitiers was King Henri II of France's mistress for 25 years. She outshone Henri's wife Catherine de Medici. Diane was viewed as the real queen, she possessed the French crown jewels and she owned property that Catherine wanted. Catherine's uncompromising revenge was delivered in July 1559.
The Tudor rose, also known as the Union rose, was created by King Henry VII in 1485 as a heraldic emblem, a sign of hope and peace after the lengthy Wars of the Roses.
Maud Watson was a vicar's daughter from Middlesex, England. Maud and her sister Lilian competed in early British and Irish women's tennis tournaments. In 1884, Maud beat Lilian in 3 sets to become the first ever Wimbledon Ladies' Singles Champion. Her prize was a silver flower basket.
Dorothy Levitt was Britain's first female racing driver. On land and sea, she won races and trials. Dorothy enjoyed a sensational motorsports career, became a celebrity and defied male critics. She taught royal females to drive and advocated for women getting behind the wheel.
England's King Richard III and Anne Neville's only son and heir was Edward of Middleham, Prince of Wales. King Richard was slain during the Wars of the Roses at the Battle of Bosworth Field, Leicestershire, in August 1485. England's new king was King Henry VII. What happened to Edward of Middleham?
Arthur, Prince of Wales, was born in 1486. His parents Tudor Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, hoped that their eldest son would herald a new, glorious Arthurian age. He married Catherine of Aragon in 1501, but he died five months later. Catherine married her former brother-in-law Henry VIII in 1509.
Augustus the Strong, King of Poland, Grand Duke of Lithuania, Elector of Saxony, was remarkable for his physical strength, his many mistresses and illegitimate children. Pleasure-seeking, unhappily married, deposed and reinstated, a patron of the arts and science, he resisted Russian interference.
Robert Dudley was Elizabeth I's favourite. Arrogant and ambitious, Robert failed to make the queen his bride despite the possible murder of his wife.
"Baby," Princess Beatrice was the youngest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Just four years old when Albert died, Beatrice was to be a companion and secretary to her demanding mother. After over six months of angry silence in 1884, Victoria allowed Beatrice to marry.
Napoleon Bonaparte's son was named Napoleon Bonaparte. He ruled twice—disputed—as Napoleon II. He ruled for two days, aged three, and between 22nd June and 7th July, aged four years old. He was feared by European leaders who asked: Like father, like son? Would Napoleon II dominate Europe one day?
The first kaiser/emperor of the German Empire was the House of Hohenzollern's Wilhelm I. He became the King of Prussia in 1861. In 1871, after the Franco/Prussian War, he and Minister-President Otto von Bismarck established the German Empire that Wilhelm's grandson, Kaiser Wilhelm II shattered.
The German Saxon duchies were also known as the Ernestine and Albertine duchies. They were ruled over by the House of Wettin until 1918. Notable members: Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Queen Adelaide of Britain (Saxe-Meiningen) and Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, King of the Belgians.
Clarence House, just off The Mall in London, has been home to several British royal family members since its construction in the 1820s. For over 20 years, King Charles III and Queen Camilla have used it as a city base. The monarchs still live at Clarence House instead of royal HQ Buckingham Palace.
The London Beer Flood created a 15-foot high, 320,000-gallon tidal wave of London Porter Ale that caused eight deaths and mass inebriation.
Karl, 3rd Prince of Leiningen, was Queen Victoria's half-brother. Theirs was a fraught relationship; the rift was healed by his support of her coronation.
Sayako Kuroda, formerly Princess Nori of Japan, was born into the Imperial family in 1969. Since her 2005 marriage, she has been a private citizen.
Irishmen William Burke and William Hare murdered at least 16 victims in Scotland in 1828. Each corpse was sold to Dr. Robert Knox at Edinburgh University for dissection. Burke was hanged in front of 25,000 people in January 1829, but Hare was freed, no charges, no trial.
William Fortnum established a luxury grocery store in 1707. Today Fortnum & Mason and its decadent hampers and mouthwatering afternoon teas are world-famous.
Who is the Stuart heir to the British throne? If history had not played out as it did and either of the Jacobite rebellions in 1715 or 1745 had been successful, who would be the Stuart dynasty king or queen of Britain today? For Jacobites there was a King Charles III of Britain in the 18th century.
Notorious dancer, courtesan and king's mistress Lola Montez was born Marie Gilbert in Ireland. She was expelled from several cities after performing her titillating Spider Dance.
King Alexander I of Greece has the distinction of being the only monarch in history to be killed by a monkey. He left behind a controversial and pregnant widow, Aspasia Manos.
Who is the most titled royal in the world today? The record holder is a princess in her 20s. She has 43 titles, and you probably haven't heard of her. The previous record holder was the extremely wealthy Cayetana Fitz-James, 18th Duchess of Alba; she had 57 titles and almost as many names.
In September 1066, Viking Harald Hardrada (aka King Harald III Sigurdsson of Norway) invaded England to seize the throne from Anglo-Saxon Harold II (Harold Godwinson). The Battle of Stamford Bridge in Yorkshire was decisive. The Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066 gave England a new ruler.
Barrogill Castle, or the Castle of Mey, in Caithness, Scotland, was purchased by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, in 1952. It has a long history, and today, the royal castle delights thousands of visitors with its extensive gardens.
Barbara Villiers was the voluptuous hedonistic royalist who captured King Charles II's affections, much to the humiliation of her husband Roger Palmer. Roger clung to the belief that Barbara's first child was his as speculation swirled that the king or the Earl of Chesterfield might claim paternity.
Gaston, Duke of Orleans was the black sheep of the French royal family, and he was exiled several times by both Louis XIII and Louis XIV.
The Grand Ducal Palace started its long history as a town hall. It is the official residence of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg's royal family, although they don't live there.
Edmund, 1st Earl of Lancaster, Earl of Leicester and Derby, was the second son of King Henry III of England from the House of Plantagenet. Known as Edmund Crouchback he was a formidable military leader and he annexed Wales for Edward I. Edmund is often forgotten in English history, which is a shame.
The middle-class Victorian women who eagerly sought Mrs. Beeton's cookery and household management advice believed that the magazine and book writer was a mature woman with decades of experience. This was a clever marketing trick. Who was the real Mrs. Isabella Beeton?
Who was Dick Whittington and were he and his beloved cat of folklore real?
Fort Belvedere was the Windsor home of King Edward VIII. He spent his "happiest days" there as Prince of Wales. Built in the 1750s and owned by the crown, it has seen several royal and private residents.
When and where were the hottest and coldest temperatures ever recorded on Earth? Could you cope with plus 50 or minus 90 degrees Celsius? If not, then you'd be wise to stay away from the extreme hot and cold spots.
King Frederik IV of Denmark and Norway married twice legally and twice bigamously. His Majesty was almost three times a bigamist. The church officials did not forbid him from committing bigamy or polygamy, although they recommended that he didn't.
Catherine de Valois was the daughter of France's King Charles VI and a sister of Charles VII. She married King Henry V of England and was the mother of Henry VI. Her relationship with Welshman Owen Tudor gave history the Tudor dynasty.
Mary Ann Cotton was a Victorian serial killer who used arsenic to earn herself the nickname "Black Widow." She was fond of murdering her spouses and children and collecting life insurance payouts. She was branded "a monster in human shape," and of her 13 children, only a son and daughter survived.
King Umberto II of Italy was the only son of King Victor Emmanuel III from the House of Savoy. The king endorsed a fascist regime under Benito Mussolini. Umberto's story is fascinating. He reigned for just 34 days in 1946 before a referendum ended the monarchy and a republic was established.
We have the Romans to thank for the names of each month and day in our calendar. The Romans used the lunar cycle, yet thousands of years later, we have an idea of time and date.
Princess Feodora of Leiningen shared a mother with Britain's Queen Victoria. The two were close, and they were powerful women in their spheres. Feodora was widowed the year before Victoria, and she often proved herself to be a great support to her half-sister.
Pious Roman Catholic Catherine of Braganza was chosen as a bride for Britain's Protestant King Charles II. Whatever Catherine expected life as a wife and queen consort to be like, she had a rude awakening that included ridicule, a scheming royal mistress and a husband who ignored her.
The only official general strike held in Britain occurred 3rd-12th May 1926. The Mining Federation and Trade Union Congress "General Strike" lasted for nine days, and it pitted workers against employers and the government led by Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin. What caused it, and was it a success?
Grace O'Malley was no demure Irish maiden. She was a ruthless 16th century pirate and Clan O'Maille's chief, twice married and a mother of four. She dispatched her enemies without mercy and yet she won the favour of Queen Elizabeth I and the emnity of Tudor statesman Sir Richard Bingham.
The Celtic Kingdom of Dumnonia existed in southwest England between the 4th and 8th centuries when the Anglo-Saxons seized most of the land from the Dumnonii tribe.
French-born Desiree Clary was the first fiancée of Napoleon Bonaparte. She unexpectedly became Desideria, Queen Consort of Sweden and Norway, when her husband was elected as ruler. She hated Sweden and lived in Paris for several years before finally taking up her royal role.
The 1890 Tranby Croft affair or royal baccarat scandal caused a sensation in Victorian England. A country house gathering of titled affluent friends, including the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), turned sour when accusations of cheating were made against Lt. Col. Sir William Gordon-Cumming.
Frenchman and criminal Eugene Vidocq is considered to be the first private detective in history and the first person to open a detective agency. He is also credited with pioneering ballistics and C.S.I. techniques. His life before he turned away from crime was fascinating.
King Alfred the Great was the remarkable ruler of Wessex who never expected to be king. Learn how he secured peace with the Vikings and unified the Anglo-Saxons.
Winter (literal and emotional) can be dark and forbidding but don't give up. Hope is a strong weapon and I hope that you enjoy this short poem.
Princess Charlotte of Wales was the only child of George, Prince of Wales, and Caroline of Brunswick. She met an untimely end in childbirth at age 21.
Queen Salote Topou III ruled Tonga between 1918 and 1965. Her reign was the longest of any Tongan monarch. She was a wonderfully warm character who won hearts at Elizabeth II's 1953 coronation by getting rained on without one word of complaint. She even had a song written about her visit to London.
Hanoverian Amalie von Wallmoden was the chief mistress of King George II of Britain and Ireland for twenty five years. Her grandmother and great aunt had already been mistresses to men in the House of Hanover. She bore George a son in 1736.
Mary Queen of Scots married the eldest son of Henri II of France and Catherine de Medici when they were teenagers. His reign was short, his health was poor and death came at the age of sixteen. He's often eclipsed by Mary's other husbands Darnley and Bothwell, but he deserves to be remembered.
If you ever meet the Duke and Duchess of Wherever, you'll need to know the ancient etiquette involved. Should you call a duchess by her name or by a title? How do you address the children of a duke and duchess? Find out here.
Laurence Shirley, 4th Earl Ferrers, murdered his chief steward, John Johnson, in 1760. He stood trial at the ancient Westminster Hall in London, and his peers, including the future King George III, found him guilty. Executed at Tyburn, Ferrers was the last British peer hanged in English history.
Vivacious, witty and mischievous royal mistress Nell Gwyn rose from poverty and child prostitution to become a popular actress, singer and dancer. King Charles II and the public were enchanted. She and Charles had two sons, and their bloodline continues to this day.
Imagine a devastating volcanic eruption that has an explosion audible 5000km away. Envisage ash and steam fired 80km upwards and an eerie cloying darkness. Thousands of people died, and 70% of Krakatoa Island was decimated. Welcome to Krakatoa, Indonesia, on 27th August 1883.
Zizi Lambrino married Prince Carol II of Romania in 1918. Why didn't Zizi become Romania's queen when her prince became king? And what happened to their son Mircea "Carol" Lambrino?
There are many English words of Greek origin that you use every day. Over 150,000 English words have their roots in the popular Koine Greek dialect.
Hungarian serial killer Elizabeth Bathory was from a prominent family. Her uncle, Stephen Bathory, was the King of Poland. Between 1590 and 1610, Elizabeth turned to vampirism and abducted, tortured and murdered hundreds of girls without a flicker of remorse. Why? To maintain her youth and beauty.
British surgeon Robert Liston was credited as the "fastest surgeon in the west end" (of London), but his speed left some of his patients with injuries they didn't expect. How did he carry out an operation in under three minutes that resulted in a 300% mortality rate? Find out here.
Between Henry VIII and Queen Victoria's reigns, St. James's Palace was the site of the monarch's official court and a royal home. The palace still plays an enormous role in royal business.
Prince Alexander of Battenberg was a 19th century German prince elected to rule over a newly independent Bulgaria in 1879 but was overthrown seven years later.
Wilfred the Hairy, Guifré el Pilòs in Catalan, was far more than an amusing name in medieval history. He was a renowned knight who fought for French kings and against the Moors in Spain. He established Catalonia by uniting his numerous counties, including Barcelona. Did he also slay a dragon?
Where did the dunce's cap come from and why was it popular in schools for centuries? Step forward Scottish born Franciscan theologian, philosopher and metaphysicist Blessed John Dun Scotus. He believed that conical hats enhanced learning. What happened to give the cap a negative association?
King Wilhelm I of Wurttemberg "Fritz" ruled over the German Kingdom of Wurttemberg for almost fifty years. He's an ancestor of former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Wilhelm married three times, he kept mistresses. His father Friedrich had him arrested for trying to escape his destiny.
Prince Albert Victor, the scandalous prince nicknamed “Collars and Cuffs,” is best remembered for the Cleveland Street Scandal and the possibility that he was Jack the Ripper.
Queen Astrid of Belgium was born in Sweden and was a sought-after royal bride. Referred to as the "Snow Queen," her life was cut tragically short on 29 August 1935.
What are the rules when someone meets a British royal? The working royals carry out hundreds of royal visits each year and they know exactly how people should behave. If you ever find yourself in the company of a royal figure here are 5 tips that will help.
Westminster Abbey in London has hosted every monarch's coronation since 1066. It has been the scene of 17 royal weddings, and it's the final resting place of thousands.
Simon Frazer, 11th Lord Lovat, holds the distinction of being the last person to be beheaded in Britain. He lost his head on 9th April 1747, chuckling at the sight of a collapsed spectator stand that had just killed nine people. From this, the saying "laugh your head off" was born.
The British royal family has ruled over England since 927 A.D. with no break in the bloodline. Who follows Charles III in the British line of succession, and in which order?
Harry, Please Go To Sleep is a children's rhyme. It's a bedtime battle of wills between little Harry and his wise and sleepy brain cell Brainy. Who will win the battle?
Prince Christopher of Greece and Denmark was born in 1888. He was the youngest son of King George I. His amiability, intellect and availability led three European countries to approach him about becoming their king. He refused each offer.
From sibling rivalry to tyranny, a suspicious death to a lack of peace in death, William II Rufus’ story is remarkable. Yet, this son of William the Conqueror, 1st Norman king of England, is too often forgotten.
Beatrix Potter's Tale of Peter Rabbit is a staple of childhood reading. As much as she was an accomplished author/illustrator Beatrix Potter's unceasing fascinations with natural science, farming, breeding and conservation left lasting legacies.
Princess Alexandra was a trusted first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II during the latter's life and much of her own life has been spent doing work for the Crown.
I love words and here's a new discovery. It's 35 of your finest letters long and its meaning is truly ironic. I had to write a poem. I love them too!
Princess Maud of Wales was King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra's youngest daughter. She married Prince Carl of Denmark. Carl was chosen as the new king of Norway in 1905. As King Haakon VII and Queen Maud their success came from the realisation that they needed to become as Norwegian as possible.
Enjoy this poem about books and their power to enthrall. They offer the reader friendship whatever their mood or life stage.
Lady Godiva was an 11th century gentlewoman who was married to the powerful Earl of Mercia. To persuade him to lower taxes she rode naked on horseback through a busy marketplace. Her legend led to another character in folklore: "Peeping Tom".
The story of Sawney (Alexander) Bean has been used to scare generation after generation. Today, Sawney Bean is still regarded as Scotland’s most famous cannibal. Did he exist or is he an urban legend?
Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex, was Queen Victoria's favourite uncle. He married illegally twice according to the Royal Marriages Act 1772. He was liberal in his outlook and more academic than his siblings. Augustus' library of over 50,000 books at Kensington Palace was his great legacy.
The pursuit of beauty is an age-old preoccupation with humans. The Elizabethans used ingredients in cosmetics that they didn't realise harmed and killed them. Poisons included white lead, mercury and belladonna, staples in their makeup kit.
Ivan the Terrible was the Grand Prince of Moscow and the 1st Tsar of All Rus (Russia). He hated the boyars, the Russian nobility. Ivan tortured and murdered thousands of people during a campaign called the Oprichnina, and he killed his eldest son. Did he have any good qualities?
How well do you know the British royal family's palaces and homes? Can you tell Balmoral from Sandringham and Kensington Palace? Give this quiz a try. Confirm what you know already or learn some new information. Enjoy.
During her short life, Princess Cecilia of Sweden, Grand Duchess of Oldenburg, witnessed political and personal upheaval.
Daisy, Princess of Pless, was a wealthy British-born society beauty. She married into the Prussian House of Hochberg and was an Englishwoman in Germany during WWI.
Vlad the Impaler was born in Transylvania. He was a barbaric medieval warrior who inspired Bram Stoker's 1897 novel "Dracula".
The Commonwealth of Nations evolved from the British Empire, but its member states do not need ties to it or to have HM Queen Elizabeth II as their monarch. What does the Commonwealth of Nations do? Find out more about it here.
British Prime Minister Spencer Perceval was the son of the 2nd Earl Egmont, and he enjoyed notable careers in law and politics before he took the top job in 1809. On 11 May 1812, he was assassinated by John Bellingham in the lobby of the House of Commons.
Kat Ashley was employed as the future Queen Elizabeth I's governess in 1537. The two women became allies in the Tudor world of intrigues and power struggles.
Lambert Simnel was crowned King Edward VI in Dublin in May 1487 after claiming to be the English Edward Plantagenet, Earl of Warwick. Lambert had been training to pretend that he was one of the lost Princes in the Tower. Who was he, and what did King Henry VII do with this challenger to his throne?
Woodstock Palace in Oxfordshire, England, was a royal hunting lodge, hideaway for a mistress, birthplace of princes and jail for Elizabeth Tudor (Queen Elizabeth I).
Crown Prince Wilhelm of the German Empire and Kingdom of Prussia was the successor to a withdrawn throne after his father Kaiser Wilhelm II drew nations into the First World War. In 1918, "Kaiser Bill" found himself on the losing side and exiled. What was the heir to the throne's life like?
"Have fun on purpose" was a tip I was given to offset the negative news stream. It's great for your mental health because you need to escape from the real world and you can't be positive and negative at the same time.
Dancer and actress Adele Astaire was Fred Astaire's fun-loving and naturally talented sister. Did you know that after Adele broke up their partnership, she married Sir Charles Cavendish, the brother of the 10th Duke of Devonshire? She was formally called Lady Charles Cavendish and lived in Ireland.
Sir Winston Churchill had five children with his wife Clementine (Clemmie). His second daughter, Sarah, became an actress and achieved success on both sides of the Atlantic. Her personal life was less joyful, and after three marriages and a battle with alcoholism, she finally found peace of mind.
Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha's childhood was marked by the unnecessary loss of his mother in 1824 when he was just 5 years old. In a spectacular display of double standards by his father Ernst, mama was banished for having an affair and banned from having a relationship with her children.
The Lady Flora Hastings scandal exposed Queen Victoria's personal prejudices and her poor judgement.
Four poems about life and time. Is time a friend, a foe or neutral? Is the pain of today set to mark your tomorrow or can it lead to a better day?
Charlemagne's reign changed the face of Europe forever. For decades, this warrior king fought to suppress the Saxons and other threats. He spread Christianity to the masses and created much of what we term Western Europe. He was the Roman Emperor for 14 years from 800 A.D.
In 1838, Grace Darling etched her name into the pages of British and global history with an act of heroism and selflessness that saved 9 seafarers’ lives. Her name is still synonymous with heroic deeds today.
The House of Windsor has ruled in Britain since the First World War. But how well do you know your Anne's from your Edward's and your Elizabeth's from your George's? Try this quiz to find out.
The first prepaid adhesive stamp in the world was the Penny Black. Did you know that it was quickly abandoned? Read on for answers.
French-born Henrietta Maria was the daughter, sister, mother and wife of kings. In 1625, she became the Protestant King Charles's wife, herself a Catholic.
This poem was inspired by a real lady who lost her husband, her only love, after a long marriage. She struggled to find her purpose and light for many months and then joy returned slowly but surely. When a new love arrived she was ready to welcome it.
This is a light-hearted look at some of life's important lessons and realisations that helped me to become the person I am today...or not!
Friday the 13th is considered unlucky, but why? The superstitious Victorians added the bad luck of Friday to the misfortune of 13 and the 13th to seal its fate as a shudder-inducing date on the calendar in Western cultures.
Are you a pessimist or an optimist? When we look at the state of the world it's easy to feel negative but positivity has to win in the end. (Fingers crossed).
Albania's King Zog I was a Charlie Chaplin-loving, ruthless dictator. He rose from relatively lowly roots to the highest position in the land. Yet, with one word from Benito Mussolini, the dream ended.
How did Julius Caesar, the great Roman leader, manage to get himself captured by pirates? Find out how he infuriated his Cilician kidnappers and told them to increase the ransom.
Taking a moment to reflect and replenish the soul is vital to our health, mental and physical. This poem titled The Bridge looks at that moment.
An amusing tale about how plans can go awry thanks to family. Take a marriage proposal as an example. (Inspired by real events.)
Prey, Bar Cruiser and Tornado speak about scenarios and characters that people can encounter in life. In the face of adversity we find out who we are.
Lady Jane Grey became known in history as the tragic Nine Days' Queen. Why did she think of herself as the rightful queen of England when Henry VIII's daughter, Mary, was waiting in the wings?
Charles II is renowned for his legion of ladies. Despite mistresses including Nell Gwyn and Barbara, Duchess of Cleveland and myriad illegitimate children—several named Charles or Charlotte—this merry monarch didn't captivate his cousin, the beautiful Frances Stuart. It was a shock to his ego.
Roman Emperor Nero lived for just 30 years, but these were tumultuous. He became notorious for his tyrannical behaviour, including the torture and execution of Christians, the burning of Rome and his extravagance. Nero constructed his own downfall.
The Scottish prince who became King Charles I of Britain had an elder brother who died in 1612. It's tempting to wonder whether Henry Frederick would have been a better king than Charles who lost his head and his throne.
The planet and many of its people are facing danger and yet humanity seems to be stuck in a loop, repeating its worst episodes. Please be inspired and not depressed by this poem.
World War I brought an end to the Habsburg dynasty's centuries-long rule over Austria-Hungary and Bohemia. Emperor Karl I never abdicated, but his people and parliament deserted him and forced him into exile.
King Henry V is best known as the victorious monarch of the 1415 Battle of Agincourt in France. He had a short life but cast a long shadow through his achievements.
That special moment when Cupid and his arrow pay you a visit and the world makes sense.
Harry Houdini was born Erik Weisz in Bucharest in 1874. He set a high benchmark for every escapologist who came after him. He was the ultimate showman and salesman.
Actor Yul Brynner famously played King Mongkut of Siam in the stage musical and film "The King and I," but was the real king accurately portrayed?
Mental health, mental illness. We all have to take care of our brains and wellbeing to thrive but how often do we consciously do this? Written from experience, Be is a reminder that we weren't created to be accessible 24-7 and that me-time is not a luxury item. Bonus poem: Anxiety.
Queen Christina of Sweden was eccentric and unique. Proclaimed queen as a child, she stunned Europe when she quit as ruler aged 27. Exile from Sweden didn't stop her from trying to reclaim power or from using her royal prerogative to murder her advisor.
Any writer will tell you that it's hard work, long hours and some days you may want to do anything but write. Don't let anyone tell you that writing is not a real job. It is and it's one to enjoy too. Don't let the dream stealers win!
Everyone copes in their own way with attacks on human decency and we should help each other, shouldn't we, not backbite and cast aspersions? Media, try to lead the way, please.
Princess Alexandra of Denmark rose from relative obscurity as a minor royal to become the Princess of Wales and later Britain's queen consort. How did she find herself married to a wayward prince despite Queen Victoria's preference for German daughters-in-law?
In Roman mythology, Jupiter is the sky god, sky father, and king of the gods. Apart from having a planet named after him, what else is there to know about Jupiter, a.k.a. Luppiter and Jove?
The crown jewels kept in London are world-famous, but did you know that Scotland has its own set of regalia normally referred to as the Honours of Scotland? These are some of the oldest crown jewels in the UK, and their story is one of survival against the odds.
Alfonso XIII of Spain was intelligent, spirited and loved to sport a uniform, but he reigned during a time of political, military and civil unrest. Thirteen was indeed an unlucky number for this monarch. He had no part to play in General Franco's Spain.
There's so much fantastic advice and quotes from authors out there for writers to test theories, adopt habits and make positive progress. (We'll ignore the less beneficial advice for the good of our sanity.) Below are 10 excellent quotes from writers that have helped me during my writing career.
Henry VIII is probably the best known of England's Tudor monarchs. From his wives to his unforgiving nature and break with Rome, he left a lot for historians to work with. Here are eight interesting facts about the king who changed England forever.
The Transit of Venus in 1769 was of interest to the entire world. Captain James Cook was sent to the South Pacific by King George III to chart the astronomical event.
St. Petersburg in Russia, established in 1703 by Tsar Peter the Great, included 370 bridges, streets, squares and palaces that enlivened the banks of the River Neva.
The ability to read body language is a useful life skill. What someone says or doesn't say can be betrayed by their actions. Nonverbal communication offers clues.
John Wilkes was an 18th-century radical politician and journalist, a rake and a rascal. He was part of the establishment but he audaciously challenged it. Issue 45 of his newspaper the North Briton secured his place as a public hero but his enemies in high places were determined to silence him.
In the late 1880s, American-born Florence Maybrick faced trial in Liverpool, England, for the murder of her husband James. Was she guilty or innocent of poisoning him with arsenic?
To know what a British royal has been doing and where they've travelled to on the monarch's behalf it's best to check the official Court Circular. Created in 1803, it gives people an accurate idea of the royal family members' workloads.
The British national anthem arrived in 1745 under dramatic circumstances: The Jacobite Rebellion of 1745, in which Bonnie Prince Charlie from the Stuart dynasty tried to overthrow King George II from the House of Hanover. It was a patriotic song for George.
In 2022, the focus on Andrew, the third son of Queen Elizabeth II, will be immense as he aims to clear his name. History repeats. 212 years ago, Frederick, Duke of York, found himself accused of illegal activities and was at the centre of a scandal that the world had not seen before.
This writer has had OCD for over 10 years. If you have this condition, you're not mad and you're not alone.
During the Georgian era, the British people were treated to the spectacle of a dysfunctional royal family. The years 1736 and 1737 brought seismic shifts in the House of Hanover. Births, deaths, marriages, feuds, a nightmare mother-in-law and unbelievable accusations.
Do you need answers to a few of life's little morning mysteries? Why do we wake up every morning instead of sleeping until noon? Is it Murphy's Law or science that makes your toast land buttery side down? Is there a scientific reason why that first cup of coffee tastes amazing? Read on...
Emmeline Pankhurst fought for women to have the right to vote in Britain. She was the leader of the suffragettes. Her fight took forty years, indignities, arrests, hunger strikes and the brilliant flame of determination to succeed. She changed women's lives forever.
Why was Hadrian's Wall constructed in the 120s A.D. in Roman Britannia? Today, only sections of the wall exist, impressing and revealing insights into English history.
Robert "Rabbie" Burns is considered the national poet (bard) of Scotland. From his works, such as "Tam o' Shanter" and "Old Lang Syne", to his colourful love life, Burns is a character Scotland can never forget.
Long before Henry VIII's wife Anne Boleyn was branded a witch there was another royal wife who was found guilty of using witchcraft. Eleanor Cobham became the Duchess of Gloucester in controversial circumstances but did she really try to claim the English throne from Henry VI?
When was the last invasion of Britain? The Norman Conquest of 1066? The Glorious Revolution of 1688? These were the last two successful invasions but there was another one in 1797. The little-known Battle of Fishguard provided an amusing note for British history lovers and embarrassment for France.
Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany's wife of 40 years died in 1921. In 1922, he married a 34-year-old widow who campaigned for her husband's restoration and an end to their exile. She also courted the Nazis. Who was Hermine Reuss of Greiz?
"Mad" King Ludwig II of Bavaria's passions were art, music and architecture. He was popular with his people but not his politicians. In June 1886, the king was removed from power, declared insane and died suddenly. Was it regicide or suicide that ended Ludwig's reign?
The South Sea Bubble caused a gigantic scandal. It was a financial disaster with the British government and King George I at its head. They aimed to reduce the national debt with a cunning plan. Instead hysteria made rich folk poor and increased the debt significantly. A lose-lose situation.
Anne of Cleves has gone down in history as the ugly royal wife whom Henry VIII rejected. Anne wasn't ugly; she was the luckiest of the six wives of Henry VIII.
The Order of the Garter is the most prestigious chivalric honour in Britain. A gift bestowed by the monarch, it has a long fascinating history, a limited number of members, "Honi soit qui mal y pense" as a motto, luxurious robes and impressive medals.
King Richard II ascended the throne at 10. His broken promises, favorites at court and his inflated self-worth eventually cost him the crown.
Mulled wine is perfect for winter and Christmas celebrations. It has a longer and more interesting history than you might realise.
George III tried to set a fine example for his children. His daughters felt smothered in the royal "Nunnery," His seven surviving sons opted to run amok. Two married illegally and six fathered illegitimate offspring as they enjoyed freedom outside the palace walls.