Women in history

Married, spurned, poisoned – not a life to aspire to

Today, we’ll be spending time with a lady named Blanca. Some of you may groan. After all, medieval history is full of ladies called Blanca or Blanche. Among the more famous is the Blanca of Castile who went on to become Queen Blanche of France and mother to St Louis of France. Hers was a …

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A mystery lady with bad taste in hats

Some months ago, I visited Nationalmuseum in Stockholm. Even those with no Swedish can probably work out that Nationalmuseum means National museum—somewhat of a misnomer, IMO, as a lot of the stuff on display comes from other places than Sweden. That’s what happens when an ambitious up-and-coming military nation sweeps through a broken Europe in …

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A murder unpunished -of having a friend in high places

In 1271 or so, Roger de Mortimer and his wife Joyce de la Zouche welcomes a son to their home. For those who know of my fascination with the Roger Mortimer, the man who ruled England for four years or so and was hanged in 1330, I must hasten to clarify that this namesake belonged …

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W + W – a story of chance and love

We’re in the summer of 1864. Wilhelmina Kempe is presently at a German Spa, Bad Homburg, recovering after her third season. Yup. Her third season. An endless sequence of balls and other social events, of waltzing the night away, and she is still unwed. Not good. She is fast approaching twenty and is therefore the …

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The life and loves of a Spanish señorita – meet Isabel of Castile

In 1355, Pedro I of Castile, a.k.a. Pedro the Cruel (or Just, depending on your take on things) and his long-time mistress, Maria de Padilla, welcomed their third child into the world. Yet another daughter, and I imagine Pedro would have preferred a son to the newborn Isabel that lay at her mother’s breast. Things …

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An Interesting Lady About Other Interesting Ladies

Today, I’ve invited Sharon Bennett Connolly to visit. For those of you who have as yet to make Sharon’s acquaintance, I suggest you pop over ASAP to her blog to read her interesting posts about medieval ladies – or read one of her books. Sharon writes non-fiction and is a fount of knowledge on all …

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Of horses, crusades and premature death – a short medieval life

As part of the research for my latest series, I have had the pleasure of spending some time on the Iberian peninsula in the 13th century. And once there, I seem to have got stuck, intrigued by the constant conflicts between Christians and Moors, Castilians and Aragonese. Strong women, powerful warrior kings – Eleanor of …

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The Sicilian affair – a lesson in 13th century politics

In 1262, a very young princess named Constanza was wed to Pedro of Aragón. He was twenty-three, she was thirteen. He was a proven soldier and leader of men, having spent many of his formative years riding side by side with his father, Jaime I of Aragón, as the latter spearheaded the Reconquista. (The Reconquista …

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A field unploughed – the complicated story of a medieval land dispute

Admit it: one doesn’t really expect medieval ladies to have names like Felicia or Joyce. They sound way too modern, don’t they? And yet today we will spend some time with two ladies with these names. Joyce was the mother of Felicia, but due to events I think we can safely say that there was …

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La Dame Sans Merci – oops, la Dame de Coucy

We tend to believe that medieval rulers had a lot of time for their sons, not so much for their daughters. Leaving aside the fact that medieval kings (and queens) did not exactly sit around and act the doting parents – little princes and princesses were often set up in their own household albeit frequently …

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