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 Kingdom of Wurttemberg for almost fifty years. He is an ancestor of former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Wilhelm married three times but he only loved one wife and his long term mistresses who he never discarded.
Prince Albert Victor was the son of the future King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. Indolent and easily distracted by pleasure, 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 she was a sought after royal bride. She married the future King Leopold III of Belgium in 1926. Referred to as the "Snow Princess" and "Snow Queen" her life was cut tragically short on 29th August 1935. Learn more here.
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 is arguably the most iconic religious building in Britain and every coronation since 1066 has been held there. It has been the scene of 17 royal weddings and is the final resting place of 30 monarchs and thousands of great names. Its life story is fascinating.
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 927A.D. with no break in the bloodline. Who follows Charles III in the line of succession and in which order? Find out why all royals in the queue to rule had to be Protestants and when this changed.
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 born in 1936 and began life as a working royal in the late 1950s. She is known as a steadfast and dutiful princess, and she has the trust of her 1st cousin Queen Elizabeth II. Life hasn’t always been easy, though.
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 50000 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.
Princess Cecilia of Sweden, Grand Duchess of Oldenburg was the 3rd wife of August I, Grand Duke of Oldenburg (in modern day Germany). In her short life she witnessed political and personal upheaval, was a keen patron of the arts and she composed the music for Oldenburg's adopted anthem.
Daisy, Princess of Pless was a fabulously wealthy British-born society beauty. She married into the Prussian House of Hochberg and had 3 sons. Daisy was an Englishwoman in Germany during World War 1. How did she survive?
"Vlad the Impaler" was born in Transylvania. As Vlad III Dracula he ruled the Principality of Wallachia and waged war against the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II and rivals to his rule. 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 11th May 1812, he was assassinated by John Bellingham in the lobby of the House of Commons.
Kat Ashley (nee Champernowne) was employed as the future Queen Elizabeth I's governess in 1537. As Elizabeth grew older the two women became friends and allies in the Tudor world of intrigues and power struggles. Kat guarded and guided her royal friend well.
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 Manor, later Woodstock Palace in Oxfordshire, England was a royal hunting lodge, a hideaway for a mistress, the birthplace of princes and a jail for Elizabeth Tudor before she became Queen Elizabeth I. Today Blenheim Palace's grounds cover its location.
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. Flora was a lady-in-waiting to Victoria's mother the Duchess of Kent. When Flora's abdomen swelled accusations flew around court about her being pregnant. Victoria soon regretted vilifying Flora.
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.
Long before we could email, text or tweet our news to family and friends there was post, snail mail. During the British reforms of the 1830s, the postal system was revolutionised. The first prepaid adhesive stamp in the world was invented: The Penny Black. Did you know that it was quickly abandoned?
French-born Henrietta Maria was the daughter, sister, mother and wife of kings. In 1625 she was married to the autocratic Charles I in England. She was a Catholic in a Protestant country which made her unpopular. She had to overcome opposition to finally secure Charles' attention and confidence.
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 who made himself king with Benito Mussolini's backing. He rose from relatively lowly roots to the highest position in the land and yet with one word from Mussolini the dream ended.
How did Julius Caesar, the great Roman leader, manage to get himself kidnapped by pirates in the Aegean Sea? 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" but 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 thirty 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 he 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 that came after him. He was the ultimate showman and salesman.
Actor Yul Brunner famously played the king of Siam in the stage musical and film "The King and I" but was the real monk turned king Mongkut/Rama IV of Siam (Thailand) accurately portrayed in governess Anna Leonowens' memoirs which inspired the stage and screen versions of him?
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 was a sky god, the sky father, who was regarded as the king of all the gods. Apart from having a planet named after him, what else is there to know about Jupiter, also known as 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 8 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 transit of Venus in front of the sun and to measure the size of the solar system.
St. Petersburg in Russia was established in 1703 by Tsar Peter the Great. The result included 370 bridges, new streets, squares and palaces that enlivened the banks of the River Neva. The human cost was staggering. Peter's dream was the poor Russians' and Swedes' nightmare.
Learning how to read body language offers a useful life skill. What someone says or doesn't say can be betrayed by their actions. What's their posture? Facial expression? How can you tell when a partner has a secret? Is the perfect job candidate really ideal? Nonverbal communication offers clues.
Elizabeth II's Big Platinum Jubilee Weekend is 2nd-5th June 2022. Her reign is a record breaking 70 years long, Find out what's happening where and when as the nation and commonwealth thank the queen for 70 years of service. God Save the Queen!
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? Here's her compelling story.
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 Obsessive Compulsive Disorder for over ten years. If you have O.C.D. you're not mad and you're not alone. I've learned that I have to accommodate it in my life. It's a passenger on the journey, like it or not. My writing equates with inner peace.
Today, we have soap operas, but back in the Georgian era, people were treated to live events and gossip caused by a dysfunctional family at loggerheads. Royal bride Augusta must have been thrilled to join the royal family.
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 gargantuan wall exist but these are impressive and reveal insights into centuries of English history.
Robert “Rabbie” Burns has long been considered as the national poet (bard) of Scotland. From his works including "Tam O' Shanter" and "Old Lang Syne" to his colourful love life, Robert Burns, "The Ploughman's Poet," is a character that history could 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 November 1922, he married a 34-year-old widow who happily 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 who Henry VIII rejected so that he could make Catherine Howard his fifth wife and queen. But contrary to the rumors, Anne wasn't ugly. She was by far the luckiest of the six wives of Henry VIII. Here's why.
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 age ten. Arguably his most notable moment was during the Peasant's Revolt of 1381, but his broken promises, favorites at court, and his inflated self-worth cost him all that he coveted. How did he die? We'll never know for certain.
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.
In the U.K. eligible double vaccinated people are not coming forward in the numbers expected to receive their Covid booster shot ahead of winter pressure on the National Health Service. This could spell disaster.
You may not realize it, but we use Anglo-Saxon words every day when we speak and write English. The English language developed under the influence of German and Danish invaders and contains a dash of Celtic and a cornucopia of Latin words. Here's what you need to know.
King Louis XIV of France's court was at the centre of a scandal involving poison, witchcraft and murder during the late 17th century. L'affaire des poisons changed Louis "the Sun King" forever.
Halych and Volhynia (in Latin Galicia and Lodomeria) was a Rurik dynasty duchy that became a kingdom in Eastern Europe before it was annexed by the Austrian Empire. After World War One, it ceased to exist. Find out why and learn about its people in this article.
Now, it could just be me, perhaps I nodded off and woke up in a parallel universe but this red tape, paperwork, medicine related situation seems totally nutty to me!
The bizarre Battle of the Soup Kettle was fought on the 8th of October, 1784, between the mighty, Holy-Roman-Empire-backed Austrian Netherlands and the independent and far smaller Dutch Republic. The Dutch won after firing one shot.
In Britain, Guy Fawkes Night is on the 5th of November each year. Today, it would be considered a significant terrorist plot and an attack on democracy. But we forget this fact in the glare of the fireworks and bonfires with “guys” as we eat burgers and baked potatoes in the autumn chill.
Stories about King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table have existed for centuries. But are they based in fact, or is Arthurian legend the result of several creative minds throughout history?
Marie Antoinette, Queen of France was born Maria Antonia in Austria. She was married to the future King Louis XVI for political reasons. Love was irrelevant. Very quickly, if not before her arrival, her nationality and her personality made her an enemy in her adopted country.
Helena of Waldeck and Pyrmont married Queen Victoria's youngest son Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany in 1882. His longed-for freedom was cut short. As a young widow Helena carved out a positive, proactive and charitable role for herself that helped thousands of people in her adopted country.
Napoleon Bonaparte remains an icon of European history. The Battle of Waterloo was his most shattering defeat. Or was it? Heard about the rabbits?
Princess Marie Louise was the last surviving granddaughter of Queen Victoria and her story features triumph over adversity. Through marriage and war, she became known as the “princess of nowhere.”
Caligula was a colourful character. Was he insane? Was he cruel? Was he the victim of bad press? He may have been the Roman Emperor for just four years, but those years were full of horror, death, extravagance and spectacular alleged sins.
German Prince Louis of Battenberg's British navy career was enviable but his promotions were controversial. He married his cousin Pss. Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine in 1884; one of his grandchildren was Prince Philip (1921-2021). When the First World War began it brought seismic changes for Louis.
The British Poet Laureate is chosen by the monarch and they create poetry for symbolic moments. From battles to Covid, royal birthdays to funerals, their muse must be ready. Here's a little bit about the history and current role of this position.
We love royal weddings. This article is about the 31st May 1906 royal wedding in Madrid. King Alfonso XIII of Spain married H.R.H. Victoria Eugenie (Ena) of Battenberg, Queen Victoria's granddaughter. The fairytale turned into a nightmare as an anarchist's bomb hit the Calle Mayor.
Aethelstan (894-939) was the son of Edward the Elder, King of the Anglo-Saxons. When he was thirty years old he claimed his place in history as the first-ever king of all England after defeating the Vikings in York. Aethelstan, King of the English laid the foundations for today's UK.
Sir Thomas Bloodworth was the Mayor of London when the Great Fire of London destroyed 75% of the city between 2nd-5th September 1666. His early response to news of the fire left a lot to be desired.
The delectable Cornish pasty has a long history. Did you know that there are rules which must be obeyed to ensure that a pasty bearing the description of Cornish is worthy of the name?
How many children decide that they want to be a princess when they grow up? It's not all tiaras and floaty dresses. The life of Louise, the youngest daughter of King George II and Queen Caroline of Britain, was not as charmed as you might imagine. Her husband was not a man she would have chosen.
The Spanish Armada of 1588 is a well-known part of British history. The English Armada of 1589 has rarely been spoken of or written about in Britain thanks to the wily Elizabeth I. In Spain, it's still common knowledge.
Princess Mary, the only daughter of King George V and Queen Mary, is often left in the shadow of her brothers, but she was a trailblazer. From the Princess Mary Christmas Gift Boxes to seeking higher education for women, we owe her gratitude for inspiring later generations.
Arrogant Lord Henry Darnley married his cousin Mary, Queen of Scots on 29th July 1565. He murdered a courtier and was slain before his 2nd wedding anniversary. His family relationships with Mary, Queen Elizabeth I of England, and James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell brought no safety.
The much-loved children's book The Tiger Who Came To Tea by Judith Kerr has been accused of perpetuating gender stereotypes and inequalities which could lead to abuse and rape, say campaigners. This is my take on the argument.
The Irish regalia was stolen from Dublin Castle in mid-1907. The star, badge and collars of the Order of St. Patrick, known as the Irish crown jewels, have never been recovered. The theft remains a tantalising mystery. Whodunnit?
The British Honours System can look confusing. Here's some clarification about the M.B.E, O.B.E. and C.B.E.
Welshman Owain Glyndŵr led a rebellion against English rule that turned him into a national hero. After his death, he gained mythic status.
In the early 20th century, portrait artist Philip de László (1869–1937) produced works of the elite in society and numerous European royal figures. Despite his connections, he faced his darkest hours during the First World War.
Princess Victoria of Wales was Edward VII and Queen Alexandra's second daughter. Her life was marked by an air of sacrifice. Not all princesses get a fairytale ending.
Madame de Pompadour was born Mlle. Jeanne Antoinette Poisson in Paris in 1721. How did a young girl from the Paris suburbs become King Louis XV of France's mistress and remain a friend to him until she died?
Margaret, Maid of Norway, had a short and tragic life. Born in Norway, she was proclaimed Queen of Scotland at age three. Great plans were made for her by her great uncle Edward I of England, but they never came to pass. She died aged seven.
Ernest, Duke of Cumberland, King of Hanover was cast as a villain by the Georgian people. He was controversial, unlikeable and prone to finding himself in the middle of a scandal. His reputation remains dire.
The larger-than-life King Edward VII was named Albert Edward by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. He decided he could not rule as an Albert when his time to reign came because of his father.
Edward III of England's eldest son, Edward of Woodstock (aka "the Black Prince"), was the first Prince of Wales not to ascend the throne and the first-ever duke in England. He was a celebrated soldier and cast as a villain for his brutality.
Jane Austen wrote exceptional novels that still make readers laugh and sigh at the rich cast of characters and situations that she created. Who was Jane? When did she write her classic novels? This mini biography gives you a bitesize introduction to the delightful Miss Austen.
Prince John of Wales was King George V and Queen Mary's youngest son but he has been lost in the annals of royal history. Why?
Being royal has its challenges and when you are head of "the firm," as the British monarchy is known, this includes disloyal subjects taking potshots at your royal self. Queen Victoria managed to cheat death eight times at the hands of would-be assassins.
A lot has been written about Charles I in the English Civil Wars, but his son and heir, the future King Charles II, had an adventurous youth fighting for his father with the Royalists. Charles could not save Charles I from his fate of execution, but he tried.
The athletic King Henry VIII loved to joust and had suffered injuries before the 24th January 1536. His jousting accident that day changed him forever.
Together Even When Apart and Familiarity were inspired by my grandparents Henry and Ivy who were amazing people. The Thorn and The Empty House happily fell out of my imagination.
Edward II of England and Isabella of France were married but there was no happily ever after. What led Isabella to stage a coup and overthrow her king-husband, and why was she branded a she-wolf?
Queen Victoria is well known but the story of her father Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn is less familiar to people. He was a military man, devoted to his long term mistress but compelled to do his dynastic duty.
Long before Scotland, Wales, England and Ireland had the same king or queen, these kingdoms had their own rulers. Scotland, then named Alba, had David as their king between 1124 and 1153. He led an interesting and exacting life. The "Davidian Revolution" changed his land forever.
Colonel Thomas Blood was a charming rogue. He is remembered for his failed attempt to steal the crown jewels from the Tower of London in May 1671. Events amused Stuart king Charles II so much that Blood was rewarded for his escapade.
Hans Holbein came from an artistic Bavarian family and is best remembered as Henry VIII and his ever-changing family's portrait painter. As "King's Painter" he gave us the images of Henry and his contemporaries that define them to this day. But how did he find himself at the Tudor court?
Do you know the history of Charles I? Charles I was the king that lost his head and his throne. What did he do to finally enrage people so much that civil war was declared and why does no king or queen ever go into the House of Commons in London's parliament?
In 1772, George III discovered that one of his brothers had married without his consent. He created the Royal Marriages Act to stop unions that could damage the monarchy. Days later another of his brothers made a confession. Not all of George's descendants have abided by the rules of the act.
The members of the British royal family hold multiple aristocratic, honorary, and military titles. Take the highest-ranking aristocrat: the Duke. Is a royal duke any different from a non-royal one? Who is a royal duke and who won't be in the future?
For over nine centuries the royal ceremony of Swan Upping has been held along a stretch of the River Thames. Its purpose today is different to its origins but Swan Upping attracts a crowd each July.
Buckingham Palace in London is one of the most iconic buildings in the world. It immediately conjures up images of grandeur, continuity and heritage. Its history is as interesting as its royal residents.
On the 15th of June 1215, King John of England placed his royal seal on the Magna Carta. The power balance in the land had slowly shifted between 1066, William the Conqueror's new reign, and Angevin King John's era (1199-1216). English barons secured liberties that changed history.
Anne Neville was born in June 1456 at Warwick Castle in Warwickshire. She had a short life that featured family dramas, civil war, two marriages and a wealth of personal loss. She witnessed and participated in several pivotal moments in history, yet she is often overlooked.
George I from the House of Hanover earned hatred from his son, George (II), at an early age. His drastic and hurtful actions toward his wife Sophia Dorothea of Celle shattered the family and created animosity. “Hanoverians, like pigs trample their young.” Anon. And their wives.
George III suffered from mental health issues from 1765 onward. His most well-known bout occurred in 1788. Porphyria has long been the preferred diagnosis, but studies have revealed that there was another likely cause of his suffering. Read on to learn what it is.
The Imperial State Crown is the most frequently used British royal crown. It’s also the most often repaired item in the crown jewels. There have been several versions across the centuries and its eye-catching jewels have mesmerizing histories of their own.
Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-1587) is best remembered for her rivalry with her cousin Queen Elizabeth I of England, her marriages, and her execution at Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire on the 8th February 1587. Did you know that Mary became queen at six days old? Read on for the full story.
Two times queen Eleanor of Aquitaine was one of the most powerful and unusually well educated women in 12th century Europe. She proved herself equal to and often better at ruling than her husbands, the Kings Louis VII of France and Henry II of England.
Before he became the Uncle of Europe Edward VII was well known as a playboy prince of Wales. In 1870 he was embroiled in the sensational Mordaunt divorce case. It was the first time that a Prince of Wales had appeared in a public court. The scandal severely rocked the monarchy's popularity.
Most royals are popular. Not George IV. He was Britain's most despised king. A royal with gigantic appetites, he offered few positive characteristics or legacies to remember him by.