Category Archives: British Royalty

1322 – Robert the Bruce Defeats England’s Edward II at the Battle of Byland Moor

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Made famous in the movie Braveheart, Robert the Bruce would become King Robert I of Scotland (he was crowned in 1306, but the Scottish War for Independence would last nearly twenty more years).  He defeated English forces in Battle before, but his chances of victory increased when King Edward I died and was succeeded by his son Edward of Caernarfon, who was more occupied with unrest between the nobles of his own court and the murder of his favorite and possible lover Piers Gaveston.  Edward II was not a warrior king as his father had been and when he invaded Scotland in late 1322, but Bruce’s tactics of trickery left the English starving in a famine and when the king and his wife Queen Isabella took refuge at Byland Abbey in North Yorkshire, Bruce’s troops attacked and forced the royal couple to flee back to England.  The Scots had won their freedom.

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Posted by on October 14, 2017 in British Royalty


1537 – Edward VI of England is Born

Painting of Prince Edward as a baby, depicted with regal splendour and a kingly gesture. He is dressed in red and gold, and a hat with ostrich plume. His face has delicate features, chubby cheeks and a fringe of red-gold hair.

Edward was born to great fanfare and relief at Hampton Court Palace as the only legitimate son of Henry VIII, though his mother, Henry’s third wife Jane Seymour, died of complication from the birth and labor, which lasted for three days.  The prince was brought up by stepmothers and the women of his father’s household, and though he was only nine years old when he came to the throne of England and Ireland, he was highly intelligent and talented, and is described as a rather aloof young man, though he was also generous and kind like his mother, whom he was said to resemble right down to the color of his blond hair.

When in 1553 Edward grew devastatingly ill with what many believe to be tuberculosis (similar to his illegitimate half-brother Henry Fitzroy who died of the disease in 1536), he knew that he had to take drastic steps for his succession; while his oldest sister Mary was supposed to inherit the crown next, she was a devout Catholic and Edward had worked to secure Protestantism as the official religion of his country and feared that she would undo all he and his father had accomplished with the Reformation, and Elizabeth’s true legitimacy was still questioned due to charges of adultery and high treason that led to the execution of her mother Anne Boleyn.  In a bold move, he declared in his will that his successor would be his cousin Lady Jane Grey, daughter of the Duchess of Suffolk and granddaughter to Henry VIII’s sister.  When Edward finally did die at the age of just fifteen, it sparked a small civil war between Jane’s family (she was married to the son of the ambitious Duke of Northumberland who wanted a puppet to control on the throne) and Mary, who was the rightful heir.  In the End, Jane ruled for just nine short days before being imprisoned in the Tower of London where she was later executed along with her husband and father-in-law and Mary was declared Queen of England in her own right.

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Posted by on October 12, 2017 in British Royalty, The Tudors


Documentary Sunday – Elizabeth’s Pirates

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Posted by on October 1, 2017 in Documentary Sunday, The Tudors


1515 – Anna von Kleve (Anne of Cleves) is Born

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As daughter to the German Duke of Cleves, Anne (whose birth name was Anna of the La Marck family) was a prospective bride for King Henry VIII after the death of his third and favorite wife Jane Seymour.  Anne and her sister Amalia were both painted by the English court painter Hans Holbein and in 1539, Henry chose Anne as his new queen, but it was not to be a perfect match.  From the moment they met, Henry was put off by her, not only because of her lack of an education, but because upon their meeting, she tried to brush off the disguised king, perhaps not knowing who he was.  Nevertheless, the two were married in early January 1540 and they would divorce the same year.

Henry used the excuse of her being unattractive (which was far from the truth as many sources of the time praise her looks, especially her long blond hair) for not consummating his marriage, which he mentioned to his top adviser Thomas Cromwell; “I liked her not before, and I like her much worse now.”  He complained of her sagging breasts and unpleasant odors from her breath and body, even remarking how he believed she was not a virgin.  After several grueling months, an annulment was issued in July and the unhappy couple mutually ended their marriage.  Cromwell, whom had arranged the marriage, was arrested soon after for treason and eventually executed at the Tower of London.

Anne, however, thrived after her divorce.  She became good friends with Henry and was often referred to as the King’s Sister; the two played cards often and she was a frequent guest at court.  Despite not being the oldest of Henry’s six wives, she managed to live the longest, well into the reign of Henry’s eldest daughter Mary I, whose coronation she participated in.  On 16 July 1557, she died at the age of forty-two and became the only one of Henry’s wives to be buried in Westminster Abbey.

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Posted by on September 22, 2017 in British Royalty, The Tudors


Documentary Sunday – Overnight at Hever Castle

Over time, it gets difficult to maintain a series like Documentary Sunday and post a new interesting video every week.  I usually schedule my posts to automatically update every week, but even that gets hard to do when you can’t find anything to post or when life gets in the way.  That being said, I’m going to start posting shorter videos until further notice as summer classes begin at college for me.  This is one such.

On Friday, May 19, it was the anniversary of Anne Boleyn’s execution and historian Hayley Nolan, who does the History Review podcast, posted a video where she stayed the night in the late queen’s childhood home at Hever Castle in Kent, about thirty miles away from London.  Anne lived here during her early childhood until she was sent to school in the Netherlands and from there traveled to the court of France.  When she returned to England as an adult, she stayed here again, brushing off love letters from a smitten Henry VIII, who at the time was still married to his first wife, Catherine of Aragon.  Nolan got the opportunity to spend the night at Hever and shared her experience on her website, facebook and twitter.  I thought I would share it with you all as well.


Documentary Sunday – The Great History Quiz; The Tudors

In gameshow format, six leading scientists and historians will put their knowledge of the Tudors to the test, and you can follow along!  I certainly am very happy to have discovered this and had a great time playing along, and hope you all do as well.


Documentary Sunday – A Night at Hampton Court