faith in history

The life and loves of Felipe II

If you ask a Spanish person who Felipe II was, they’ll likely tell you he was a great and learned king who rebuilt the Escorial, had major issues with his insane eldest son but managed to do his duty and father a (relatively) healthy heir, Felipe III. In passing, they may mutter something about constant …

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The Silent Man who Founded a Nation

It is an obvious challenge for someone as vocal as myself to approach the historical gentleman known as William the Silent. Given the times he lived in, holding his tongue was probably a wise move – not that it ultimately helped. Still, let us not get to the end before we’ve even touched upon the …

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When a Spanish señorita set an English princely heart aflutter

There are many things one can say about Charles, James I’s second son, the rather uninteresting and sickly spare that was destined to live forever in the shadow of his beloved and admired older brother Henry Fredrick. One could call him lucky, seeing as big brother died in typhoid fever, thereby making Charles the heir. …

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Crusading in Finland – or how to use God as an excuse

Back in the good old days, any Christian king worth his name would at least consider going on a Crusade. For some, it was mostly lip-service. As an example, I seriously doubt Henry II of England had any desire to gallop off to the Holy Land, given just how much he had on his plate …

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From humiliated divorcee to ruling queen

I recently purchased a book about Eleanor of Castile. (I am toying with the idea of writing a novel in which she plays a bit part, together with her larger-than-life hubby, Edward I) I started reading, and after a couple of pages, I felt Ms Inspiration leaning over my shoulder. “Did you know about her?” …

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Foreswearing your faith – the smart thing to do for a 17th century English Catholic

When Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to that church door in Wittenberg, he had no idea what he was unleashing on the world. Or maybe he had, hoping that his actions would cause an incendiary debate and reform in all things religious. Well, he succeeded in creating debate, all right, and when he died …

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