History

Entitled, haughty and determined- of a Prussian Iron Lady in the Swedish Court

In 1720, Fredrick William I of Prussia and his wife welcomed a baby girl to the world. She was the tenth (but not the last) child of their union, and as she was a girl, rather than the much desired male spare, I dare  say Fredrick William did not exactly do cartwheels of joy. Still: …

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Not all treasure glimmers – of copper coins and rebel farmers

Hubby has a thing about The Curse of Oak Island. For those of you who don’t know what Oak Island is, it’s a TV series that has run for multiple seasons while two brothers dig their way across this little island in search of Templar treasure—treasure they believe the Templars carried off in secret after …

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“Allons enfants…” – in which M.K. Tod tells us of the bloody destruction of Paris

Think Paris. Think violent revolutions, streets running with blood, radicals screaming for a new order while holding red banners aloft, and many of you will go, “oh, yes: Les Miserables.” Which, of course, is correct. As is “That’s right, the French Revolution.” But for Paris there was not just one bloody upheaval—not even two. Paris …

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Queen for a day – of brides and princesses

Hands up all of those who, as kids, wanted to play the princess. *stands up and scans the room* Huh: not that many hands. Hands up those who, as kids, wanted to play the dashing hero. *repeats scan* Wow: many, many more, and quite a few are ladies… The above is supposed to symbolise the …

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The bride wore white for the first time ever. Meet a15th century trendsetter

Quite some time ago, I wrote about Margareta of Denmark, a rather impressive woman who ended up as the de facto ruler of Sweden, Denmark and Norway. When Margareta died in 1412, her adopted son Erik of Pommerania took over the reins of government, and I suspect this thirty-year-old man was more than thrilled to be …

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Glory and Gore Galore – the fascinating 17th century & an upcoming blog event

As far back as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by history. A lot of time during my childhood was spent (rather futilely) attempting to find a way to travel back in time, to eras where heroism was rife, where honour and integrity were taken for granted. Yes, yes, a very romanticised view on our …

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Mr Anonymous – the life of a medieval hero

Sometimes, my brain snags on the little things. Like when I am reading up on the Aragonese Crusade—an attempt by French king Philip III to claim Aragon for his younger son—and end up stuck on the fact that one of the protagonists in that ancient medieval mess is a nameless man. Obviously, our hero wasn’t …

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Dying for his king – or how a would-be Parliamentarian ended up a dead Royalist

There is a picture in the National Portrait Gallery that I have always been particularly fond of. Originally, I was drawn to it more because of the formal garden in the background than the sitters in the foreground (this was when I was thinking BIG when it came to garden design), but every time I’ve …

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The mouse that squeaked – or the story of a VERY short siege

There’s something about sieges, isn’t there? An encircled fortress—or city—and it is all one long waiting game as the cat outside wonders just how long the mouse will stay in its hole before lack of food and water forces it to venture beyond the safety of its walled haven. Mind you, I don’t think the …

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Spelling it out in Viking times – a post about runes

Today, I’ve invited Christina Courtenay over to share some information on runes, the Viking way of writing. Up here in Sweden, we have a number of runestones standing like silent sentinels over those that came long before us. These days, we consider them precious remnants of our past, some generations ago, they were viewed with …

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