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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The ultimate sacrifice – of a man, his honour and his son

Remember my recent post about Fernando IV? I began by describing just how tumultuous the reign of his father was, Sancho IV being plagued by one rebellion after the other. Why? Because very many felt Sancho had usurped the throne, thereby setting aside the rights of his little nephew, Alfonso de la Cerda. I bet …

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Of anachronisms and delighted shivers

Sometimes, it’s something of a pain in the nether parts to be a history nerd. It detracts substantially from your enjoyment of certain movies, it makes you go “hmm, a Jew? In medieval Sweden?” when you peer at a magnificent painting and it makes you sigh and mutter something about idiots who don’t know anything …

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The mysterious death of a summoned king

In early September of 1312, Fernando IV of Castile died alone. Medieval kings were rarely alone. Even when they slept, there tended to be someone close at hand, sleeping on a pallet or standing guard. Not so in the case of our Fernando. Even more suspiciously, Fernando was a young man in his prime. All …

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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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On the cusp of a new year

So here we are, on the eve of a new year. I have a tendency to go a bit blue while contemplating the year that is about to end, mainly because it has just swished by. Tempus fugit, as the old Romans would say. And time does fly, doesn’t it? Somehow, just how fast the …

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Snatching crowns from princes

Today, we’re going to spend some time with two little Swedish boys. They happen to share a couple of things: both of them were named Gustav. Both of them belonged to the Vasa dynasty (in the case of prince number two, he was really surnamed Holstein-Gottorp, but would become known as a Vasa prince). Both …

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The king’s man – new book about Tudor England

If you enjoy well-researched historicals and haven’t discovered Tony Riches yet, you’re in for a treat. I have read his Tudor trilogy and, as a consequence, ended up reassessing Henry VII whom I had always considered a rascally usurper, no more, no less. Tony paints a far more complex character of the man who grasped …

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A last gasp – the death of a British Celt

Sometimes, the dinner discussions in our home veer towards the macabre, which is how we ended up talking about bog bodies – you know, those ancient remains that now and then crop up when someone cuts too deep into a peat moss. Most of these remains are very old, but we were discussing Bockstensmannen, Sweden’s …

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Putting sound to silence

It is here. Correction: THEY are here. Actually, they were here already yesterday, but that is neither here nor there. And no, I am not talking about people from outer space. I am talking about my first three audio books. As of yesterday, A Rip in the Veil, Like Chaff in the Wind and The …

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