16th century

Behind every successful man…

We’ve all heard of Martin Luther, right? And no, I am not talking about that inspiring leader and awesome demagogue who spoke that immortal line “I have a dream” – I am rather referring to the man for whom he was named, a German priest born in 1483. That Martin Luther was one of the …

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From sinful princess to pirate – meet Cecilia Vasa

There are princesses and princesses. In a previous post, we have touched upon the frail, ethereal princesses that develop bruises from sleeping on a pea. I’m not so sure there are all that many of those… Neither, I can confidently state, are there all that many princesses like Cecilia, Swedish princess, apple of her father’s …

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Thomas Seymour, husband to the queen – guest post by Judith Arnopp

Today I have the honour of welcoming Judith Arnopp to my blog. She has visited before (see here) and this time she is back with a post about one of the more intriguing men of the Tudor era, the much maligned Thomas Seymour. This gentleman figures prominently in Judith’s latest book, Intractable Heart. For those of …

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From delusions of greatness to insanity – the sad story of James Hepburn

There are some fates that remain forever ingrained in your mind, impossible to forget. One such fate is that of the glamorous Earl of Bothwell, Scottish nobleman, husband to the flamboyant Mary Queen of Scots. It seems to me James Hepburn was larger than life from the moment he entered it, and to have all …

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The jilted suitor

Somewhere in the mid 16th century, an informal little club was formed. The members of this club were all male, all men of the world and of high status – and none of them really wanted to be a member, all of them hoping to have reaped success where the others had failed. Prominent members …

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Christina of Denmark – an exiled princess who never came home

“If I had two heads, I would gladly give him one,” Christina of Denmark is supposed to have quipped, when Henry VIII was proposed as a future bridegroom. This particular young woman had no desire to end up as one of the English king’s discarded wives – especially not as so many of them ended …

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When greed meets gold – of Pizarro and Atahualpa

When Francisco Pizarro set foot in Perú for the first time in 1527, he’d already heard of the gold, as had his companions. “Biru”, people called this faraway kingdom where gold was as common as the cork oaks in Pizarro’s native Extremadura, and over time “Biru” became “Perú”. That first visit was more of a …

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My lady of Stockholm – a fighter in skirts

In November 1520, Lady Kristina Gyllenstierna was dragged before the victorious Danish king and given the choice of dying by burning at the stake or by being buried alive. Needless to say, this 25-year-old woman wasn’t too keen on either of the options. Besides, why should she be condemned to die, when all she had …

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