The first queen consort of England to bear the name of Caroline was the wife of George II. Wilhelmina Charlotte Caroline of Ansbach was always known by her last name and was queen consort from 1727 to 1737.
Thursday, 25 February 2021
Wednesday, 24 February 2021
Tuesday, 23 February 2021
So how should we spell Katherine's name? You can see from that sentence that I'm a 'K' girl when it comes to my favourite queen. Yet, many history books, articles and references use the 'C'. So what is the right way and does it really matter?
Monday, 22 February 2021
Edith Dunkeld isn't exactly the most romantic name a royal bride has ever had but this Scottish princess who said 'I do' in Westminster Abbey in 1100 hadn't turned up for love. She was a practical and rather ambitious young woman who was well aware, as she became that famous church's first royal bride, that her union with Henry, King of England, would do both of their dynasties quite a lot of favours.
Sunday, 21 February 2021
But did she do it? Isabella, Queen of England was widowed on September 21st 1327. But there were no widows weeds for this consort. Isabella had already helped usurp her husband in a coup months before his timely death in Berkeley Castle. But the question that's remained ever since is - did this Queen of England help finish off her husband?
Saturday, 20 February 2021
Friday, 19 February 2021
Thursday, 18 February 2021
Mary I, Queen of England, born February 18th 1516
The little girl born at the Palace of Pleasance in London on this day in 1516 had, quite literally, a whole world at her feet. And yet this same baby princess would grow up into a sad, lonely woman who could not get happiness to stick at her side however hard she tried. Mary, princess of the House of Tudor and descendant of some of Europe's greatest monarchs, would make history by becoming England's first queen regnant. But despite claiming that historic crown - as much through her own determination and charm as through birthright - Mary I, Queen of England is remembered by history as Bloody Mary, as a shadow that had to pass before the brightness of the reign of her half-sister, Elizabeth I. And much of the blame for that can be laid at the feet of the man who celebrated her birth so fervently on this day in 1516, her father - Henry VIII.
Wednesday, 17 February 2021
The House of Windsor came into being on July 17th 1917 when George V issued a royal proclamation changing the name of his family and his house from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha due to growing anti German sentiment in World War One. From that moment onwards, the dynasty was known as Windsor. In the following 103 years, there have been just three consorts but but what a trio they are. Two queens, one prince, three royal stories that take some telling. Welcome to the consorts of the House of Windsor.
Tuesday, 16 February 2021
She's about to get a whole new interpretation of her tumultuous reign so now is perhaps the right time to ask - has history really got Anne Boleyn that wrong? That's a difficult question to address because history presents us with several different Annes. There's the sexy, sultry, super clever seductress who wound one of England's most powerful kings around her little finger and got him to change his known world to make her queen. There's the woman killed by her husband after a show trial, a martyr. There's a clever political adviser who was as integral a part of Henry's council as any man but who got too powerful for her enemies. There's the social climber who bit off more than she could chew. Or how about the over ambitious girl who thought her king loved her so much she could do whatever she wanted - and who got things fatally wrong?
Monday, 15 February 2021
Sunday, 14 February 2021
The Queen is to become a great grandmother again. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have announced they will welcome a new baby this year. Harry and Meghan's child, a little sister or brother for Archie, will be one of three great grandchildren to join Her Majesty's family this year.
It was a grandly named dower house where a Queen of England died. Now it has disappeared into the mists of time. Marlborough Castle, last home of a devoted wife and consort, is now little more than a mound. But at one time it was an important royal possession and part of the story of Marguerite, Queen of England.
Meet Anne Boleyn's latest incarnation. The most talked about Queen that England has ever had continues to fascinate, five centuries after her death. And now Jodie Turner-Smith is glimpsed bringing her to life for the first time.
Christmas 1166 was one to celebrate for one of England's most celebrated queens. Eleanor of Aquitaine was at the height of her powers, one of the most important people in Europe with political influence and cultural kudos that few could match. And as the festive season got under way, she also had a very personal reason to celebrate. For on Christmas Eve 1166, Eleanor gave birth to a son.
Saturday, 13 February 2021
Henrietta Maria, Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland painted by Anthony Van Dyck
On June 13th 1625, a young French princess walked into a church in Kent and emerged as Queen of England. Henrietta Maria arrived in her future kingdom as a pretty, cultured woman who had already been used to commanding a court. She left, 40 years later, as a largely unpopular woman who got little sympathy - even when her husband was executed during the Civil War that tore her adopted country apart in the 1640s. In fact, there were plenty who blamed Henrietta Maria in part for the conduct of her husband in the conflict and who were willing to lay many of the problems of the Royalist faction at her feet. Henrietta Maria is one of just a handful of women to have been wife to one king and mother to two more but in her lifetime she was, for some, a villain and now she is an unpopular queen that history has largely forgotten.
On a cold winter's day, the teenager who had once been Queen of England met a tragic fate within the walls of her former realm's greatest fortress. Catherine Howard, consort to Henry VIII for 15 brief months before her downfall, was executed at the Tower of London on February 13th 1542. Her title of queen had been removed almost three months earlier as she faced allegations of betraying the king through adultery. And on that grey morning, the final part of her story unfolded.
Friday, 12 February 2021
Elizabeth Woodville had been pretty unstoppable until 1466. She had married a king, seen off those who wanted to denounce her marriage as invalid, been crowned queen of England and started to snap up some of the most eligible spouses in town for her siblings. When she gave birth to her first baby with Edward in 1466 everyone expected it be a boy. The queen had had two sons with her first husband and Elizabeth and Edward got whatever Elizabeth and Edward wanted and they wanted a son and heir for the House of York. So the arrival of a little girl was a surprise, as was her name. But the choice of names for the daughters of Edward and Elizabeth is pretty intriguing all round, starting with the first. And their naming decisions perhaps give us more pointers to the politics of the court of the House of York.
Thursday, 11 February 2021
Caroline of Brunswick is a marvellous Queen Consort. On paper, she had nothing going for her at all. But she ended up far more popular than her husband and she's one of the most recognizable of all consorts.
Wednesday, 10 February 2021
On July 17th 1917, George V issued a royal proclamation changing the name of his royal house and family to Windsor. It was the beginning of dynasty that would set records and change the concept of modern monarchy. And it's a house built on and by women. Four women have been born to the monarchs of the House of Windsor, all of them hugely important. This is a piece I first wrote in 1917 for the centenary of the dynasty but I really like it so I am sharing it again. Here are the daughters of those who have worn the Crown in the 104 years and counting of the House of Windsor.
Tuesday, 9 February 2021
It's got quite the claim to being THE Tudor name for Queens. Three of Henry VIII's consorts were called Catherine. They spelled it differently to one another but it's the same name. And there is every chance two of his six wives were only called Catherine because of another of his queens who may well have been given the name because of a scandalous affair that threatened the stability of the monarchy centuries earlier.
Monday, 8 February 2021
The Queen who put her husband's mark on history: did Matilda of Flanders create the Bayeux Tapestry?
England’s first post Conquest queen is surrounded by much myth and legend. And among the most intriguing story about Matilda of Flanders is that she helped create one of the most famous tellings of one of the most seismic moments in English history. So is the Bayeux Tapestry the creation of Queen Matilda?