Eleanor the Crusader

My next book – due for release in October, all being well – is about Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. They were one of Europe’s most fabulous power couples, ruling lands that spread from the North Sea to the Mediterranean. Eleanor was nine years Henry’s senior. When they married in 1152, he was a… Continue reading Eleanor the Crusader

THE THREE HUNDRED YEARS WAR – Part 1: the Devil’s brood

Preface I conceived this article as a defence of King Henry V against the accusation that he was a war criminal. It became apparent, however, that my research was drawing me away from Henry’s campaigns towards a broader study of the origin and causes of the Hundred Years War. Soon, I was reading material going… Continue reading THE THREE HUNDRED YEARS WAR – Part 1: the Devil’s brood

The Death of Robert, Earl of Gloucester

In writing Stephen and Matilda: Cousins of Anarchy, I was keen to apply the same narrow-eyed pursuit of solid facts that I hope comes across in my books on the Wars of the Roses. More than being about battles and, well, anarchy, I wanted to discover the real personalities behind the stories, the people who… Continue reading The Death of Robert, Earl of Gloucester

The Maligned Queen in the Car Park

Added to the list of monarchs and notables found or potentially to be found beneath car parks, tennis courts, and other such mundane places must be the Queen of Henry III, Eleanor of Provence. Buried in Amesbury Priory after her body was kept in ‘storage’ by the nuns for two months while her son, Edward… Continue reading The Maligned Queen in the Car Park

Just what is Richard III’s DNA telling us….?

The following link arrived in my box this morning.https://figshare.com/…/Richard_III_The_Livingstons_…/4764886 I quote: “18.03.2017, 07:26 by John Smith “A skeleton excavated at the presumed site of the Grey Friars friary in Leicester in 2012 is almost certainly that of the English king, Richard III (1452 -1485), and mtDNA (which is passed from mother to child) extracted from… Continue reading Just what is Richard III’s DNA telling us….?

MISTRESS OF THE MAZE—Rosamund Clifford, Lover of King Henry II

Jane Shore is one of the most famous royal mistresses and certainly the prime one of the 15th century. Arguably, however, the most famous royal mistress in medieval English history  is the enigmatic Rosamund de Clifford, known as ‘Fair Rosamund’ or ‘Rose of the World.’ Like Jane, Rosamund seemed to have received a generally benign… Continue reading MISTRESS OF THE MAZE—Rosamund Clifford, Lover of King Henry II

Empress Matilda-Should She Be Listed as an English Monarch?

One of the most fascinating (and bloody) periods of English history is The Anarchy, when Empress Matilda, daughter of Henry I (he who might well be found sometime soon in the ruins of Reading Abbey) fought her cousin Stephen of Blois (thought to be in Faversham Abbey) for the English throne. Battles raged across the… Continue reading Empress Matilda-Should She Be Listed as an English Monarch?

ARTHUR AND ELEANOR-TRAGIC SIBLINGS

A tragic but  often overlooked  story of a prince and princess and a wicked uncle is that of Arthur and Eleanor of Brittany. (Two later boys who may or may not have  been killed seem to elicit much  more sympathy, probably at least in part due to  a certain  play and some maudlin Victorian art!)… Continue reading ARTHUR AND ELEANOR-TRAGIC SIBLINGS

Broom Sweeps Clean

The name Plantagenet came from Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou, who was reputed to wear a sprig of the yellow ‘planta genista’ (also known as the Broom plant) in his hat. However, the Encyclopedia Britannica has speculated that the Plantagenet name ‘more likely’ arose because Geoffrey supposedly planted broom to improve his hunting covers. He… Continue reading Broom Sweeps Clean