Historical People

When Poppa met Rollo – Cathie Dunne gives us an insight into 9th century politics

Some weeks ago, I had the great pleasure of reading Cathie Dunne’s book about Poppa of Bayeux and her hubby Hrolfr, a.k.a. Rollo (To us Swedes, he is Gånge-Rolf, so named because he was so big and strong no horse could carry him, hence he had to walk. Gånge means walker) Anyway: I realised I …

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What is in a name? A desire to rebel?

One of the huge benefits of writing historical fiction is all the tangential little research excursions. In my upcoming release, Her Castilian Heart, I needed a location for dire deeds. I knew roughly what I wanted—an abandoned, ruined castle—but in 1289, not all that many medieval castles were abandoned or ruined as they were still …

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Adding a dash or two of ice to history

I have spent the last few days thinking about ice. Partly, this is because it’s been very, very hot—so hot, I wouldn’t have minded a pile of crushed ice to roll around in. And then, of course, there are all the news reports about the disappearing ice—in the Artic, in the Himalayas, in Antarctica. Everywhere, …

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An expensive folly – of an impressive castle and its somewhat less impressive master

Today, I am taking you on a guided tour through the past of one of Sweden’s most imposing surviving baroque castles, Läckö. I’ve had this castle on my bucket list for yonks—being a 17th century enthusiast sort of makes a visit mandatory—and some days ago, I finally made it there, standing for a silent moment …

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The matter of an infected Scottish marriage and its consequences

I wrote this post several years ago, but it remains a favourite of mine, mainly because the idea of mary Queen of Scots and John Knox working together as marriage counsellors is so…wow? Impossible? So, I give you Mary and John and their efforts to save a failing marriage! These days, we tend to have …

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Forget-me-not – or a flowery take on an usurpation

Ask anyone what flower they associate with the House of Lancaster, and chances are they’ll answer a rose. And yes,  during the War of the Roses, Lancaster had a red rose as a badge. Their fierce opponents, the House of York, sported a white rose. And by now all of those who know your history …

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A softer approach – or when Edward I did his peace dove act

Edward I of England is one of those historical characters that tend to inspire a lot of ambivalence. This man, who chose to have “Hammer of the Scots” inscribed on his tomb was many things: dutiful son, loving husband, harsh conqueror, efficient ruler, capable warrior, devout Crusader, ruthless when he felt wronged—and once upon a …

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The three brothers – the story of a Portuguese princess and how she was blamed for the sins of her sons

In 1214, Berengaria of Portugal married Valdemar II, king of Denmark. How on earth would a medieval Portuguese princess and a Danish king meet, you might ask, but there was an indirect connection as Valdemar’s sister, Ingeborg, was unfortunate enough to marry Berengaria’s French cousin, Philippe Augustus. This is why Berengaria was in Paris, and …

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A Portuguese princess in the Castilian court – or how an exiled wife put horns on her hubby

Some time ago, I wrote about the misfortunes of Blanca of Navarra, a young woman who was to be betrayed by almost everyone who should have her back—including her hubby, Enrique IV of Castile. Now, as those of you who read about Blanca may remember, Enrique had their marriage annulled after 13 years, citing non-consummation …

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The fine art of compensation – or how a medieval king decided to go a-conquering for new land!

Today, dear peeps, we’re going to be spending some quality time with Jaime I of Aragon. He snorts at my use of the Spanish version of his name, which is Jaume in Catalan – and Jaume was a major advocate of Catalan. (Although in his native occitan, his name was Jacme, but let’s not confuse …

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