Royal Regalia Rocks – The Crown Jewels

Queen Elizabeth II coronation

No queen would be complete without her royal posse, her glam squad, and most importantly of all – her jewels. Nothing sets the royal woman apart from the mere mortals (and wannabes) more than the rare jewels that she uses to adorn herself. But more than just being some shiny rocks, the regalia, or the […]

International Women’s Day

International Womans Day 2015

Today is the 104th International Women’s Day.  The first ever Women’s Day was held in New York in 1909 and was organised by the Socialist Party of America.  Over the decades, more and more countries have decided to observe the holiday.  In some parts of the world, the holiday is a celebration of women’s economic, political, […]

Tower of London and the Queens

The Queens of the Tower - from joyous coronations to heart-breaking demises

You could not find a more masculine monument in England than the Tower of London.  It’s a medieval fortress built by William the Conquerer shortly after the Norman invasion of 1066.  Over the centuries, it’s been a place of battle, a fortress, a prison, an execution site, but it’s also a royal palace.  And despite […]

Queen Catherine Howard – Silliness Meets the Axe

Catherine Howard played by Emily Blunt in the 2003 TV movie Henry VIII

Catherine Howard was Henry VIII’s fifth wife, and definitely the silliest. She was born around 1523, probably at Lambeth, London.  Her father’s sister, Elizabeth Howard, was Anne Boleyn’s mother.  Therefore Catherine and Anne were first cousins.  Catherine came from an aristocratic pedigree but she grew up rather poor by royal standards.  When Catherine’s mother passed […]

Searching for Anne Boleyn at Hever Castle

courtesy of Hever Castle

Hever Castle is the Most Happy Castle in England.  Or at least its most famous resident, Queen Anne Boleyn, once had a motto which was “The Most Happy.”  It’s a good motto.  What’s so great about Hever Castle is that it’s large enough to be impressive, but small enough to feel intimate.  It’s easy to […]

Meeting Historical Novelist Philippa Gregory

Me and my idol, historian, and best-selling author Philippa Gregory

I’ve been thinking for a while now that when it comes to traveling, a bit like life, we make our own destiny. How do you normally plan your vacations?  By asking friends and family for recommendations? Consulting the internet and tour guides?  It’s normal when you first arrive at any hotel to ask “what’s good […]

Kathleen Kennedy Cavendish, Marchioness of Hartington

Kathleen serving in the Red Cross during WWII

Kathleen Agnes Kennedy or “Kick” as she was called by her close friends and family was born into the prominent Kennedy family in 1920.  Her grandfather “Honey Fitz” was the mayor of Boston.  Her father Joseph P. Kennedy was a business man and politician.  Kathleen was born into a huge family and was especially close to […]

Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire

Georgiana in the missing portrait

Princess Diana had a lot in common with her great-great-great-great aunt Lady Georgiana Spencer.  They were both social activists interested in the plights of those less fortunate.  They were both fashion icons.  And they both had three people in their marriages.   Lady Georgiana was born on 7th June 1757 to Margaret Georgiana Poyntz and […]

Bess of Hardwick

Bess of Hardwick in her thirties

Bess of Hardwick is one of the most underrated women in Elizabethan England.  Have you ever heard of her?  I didn’t think so.  Or if you have, I’m pleased to hear it.  Although Bess was famous for many things, two of her lasting legacies are still visible today, notably Chatsworth House and Hardwick Hall in […]