16th century

His empress, his love – of Isabel, matriarch to the Spanish Hapsburgs

Early in March of 1526, Isabel of Portugal finally got her dream prince. At last! The groom, Holy Roman Emperor Carlos I (or Charles V, depending on who you’re asking) had originally been less than interested in the match with his first cousin, and for years Isabel had waited for the man to come to […]

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Evil deeds and their grisly consequences – of crime and punishment

During the past summer, I did something I’ve been planning to do for years: I visited Kalmar Castle, which is one of the older castles in Sweden. Initially built in the 13th century, it reached its full glory as a Renaissance Palace in the 16th century, but nothing really lasts for ever does it? The

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When Isabella of Austria became Elisabeth of Denmark – the story of a young queen

In Sweden, Kristian II of Denmark has the not-so-flattering epithet ”the tyrant”. After all, it was because of his duplicity that the streets of Stockholm ran red with blood one cold November night in 1520 as one after another of the Swedish nobles who’d fought against Danish dominion were summarily executed. In Denmark, obviously, he

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From royal prince to mendicant friar – the story of Jakob of Dacia

In one of my recent posts, I wrote about Hans II of Denmark and his wife, Kristina. Not a marital union that ended all that happily—not after Hans became so infatuated with the fair Edle he forgot that key word discretion, thereby humiliating his loyal wife before the entire court. Well, so thought the queen

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Ms Ironbeard, King Hans and the failure of a royal marriage

Sometimes, I start out by researching one person and end up fascinated by another. In this particular case, I wanted to know more about Hans II, King of Denmark and Norway (“And Sweden!” he adds, but as he was only king here for like three years, I see that as more of a parenthesis) This

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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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State of Treason – welcoming Paul Walker and his spying protagonist

Today, I am hosting a stop on the book tour for State of Treason by Paul Walker. It is a somewhat unusual book tour in that the promoted format is the audio version. Audio books is a relatively new thing for me–but I realise I am WAY behind the times here. I am also rather

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Rise, wash, convert – 25 of July 1593 was an unusual day in the life of Henri IV

I am presently taking part in the Historical Writer’s Forum Blog Hop. This year’s theme is “Momentuous events”, and as history is choc-full of momentuous events, it wasn’t exactly easy to whittle things down. But when restricting myself to momentuous events in July, today’s subject leapt out and grabbed me by the throat. Well, figuratively

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Princess, wife, prisoner and would-be hostage

Renaissance princesses usually had one purpose in life: to wed as arranged by their male family members and, preferably, present their husbands with an heir or two. It didn’t really matter how powerful or rich your dynasty was—a woman was an asset to create new alliances, full stop. Naturally, little princesses were fully aware of

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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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