Sometimes the stories behind our much-loved Christmas carols are quite disheartening, involving as they do national and international strife and religious rivalry that was both bloody and filled with hatred. Yet every year we sing the resultant carols with joy. The reactions of the human race are sometimes contradictory. To say the least! I am… Continue reading My reaction to Lucy Worsley’s Christmas Carol Odyssey….
Rather than Shakespeare, this one is from a 1960s film: (Carry On) Don’t Lose Your Head. Most people are probably familiar with the early scene in which Sir Rodney ffing, who is the Black Fingernail, interrupts le Duc de Pommes Frites’ execution, overseen by Camembert, to try to sell him life insurance. Pommes Frites escapes… Continue reading A film scene rewritten
Lucy Worsley, having covered the Wars of the Roses, the “Glorious Revolution” and Britain in India, has returned with a further series. This time, the episodes earlier this year having been about the Reformation, the Armada and Queen Anne, she covers the eighteenth to twentieth centuries, reversing the contemporaneous “spin” on the French Revolution, the… Continue reading Royal History’s Biggest Fibs
Kingfinding (or consortfinding) is back, this time in France. The lady in question, however, was from Navarre and became queen to Richard I. Although he wasn’t in England much during his reign, due to his crusading activities, she did accompany him part of the way on occasion. Here is a Guardian article, located by Robert… Continue reading Berengaria of Navarre
(Saint) Margaret of Wessex, great-granddaughter of Ethelred Unraed, granddaughter of Edmund Ironside and great-niece of (St.) Edward the Confessor, died just three days after her husband, Malcolm III was killed at Alnwick in 1093. She, as eventual heiress to the House of Wessex, was the ancestor of every subsequent Scottish monarch except Donald Bain, Malcolm’s… Continue reading Seeking another Scottish consort
Well, even grisly notions can make me laugh….! It could have been her, of course, or him.
Historical reconstruction showing the moat below the walls of Paris (left), the Bastille and the Porte Saint-Antoine (right) in 1420 We all know about the storming of the Bastille on 14th July, 1789, resulting in the continued annual celebration of the occasion throughout France. But the Bastille was a medieval fortress, and we, the English,… Continue reading When the English ruled the Bastille….!
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07l6bd0 I would highly recommend this documentary by Janina Ramirez, whose book on the subject will soon be available . She showed how Julian, who was female by the way, was born during the fourteenth century. She may well have had a husband and children but lost both to the Black Death before becoming an… Continue reading Julian of Norwich
Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, cannot be called unlucky. The story of his revolt against Richard III, ending in Salisbury at the start of November 1483 is so well known that even Shakespeare has the right end of this particular stick. However, his family suffered fates that they didn’t always deserve so obviously: 1)… Continue reading Quite an unfortunate family