Swedish history

Adding a dash or two of ice to history

I have spent the last few days thinking about ice. Partly, this is because it’s been very, very hot—so hot, I wouldn’t have minded a pile of crushed ice to roll around in. And then, of course, there are all the news reports about the disappearing ice—in the Artic, in the Himalayas, in Antarctica. Everywhere, …

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An expensive folly – of an impressive castle and its somewhat less impressive master

Today, I am taking you on a guided tour through the past of one of Sweden’s most imposing surviving baroque castles, Läckö. I’ve had this castle on my bucket list for yonks—being a 17th century enthusiast sort of makes a visit mandatory—and some days ago, I finally made it there, standing for a silent moment …

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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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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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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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Not every Christmas is a good Christmas – a story of treachery, vengeance and death

So, it is Christmas. Well, not quite, we are still some days away, but all the same, the holiday season is upon us. A season of love and peace, of happy family reunions and the joyful sound of children laughing in the snow. Ha! Sometimes, Christmas is much, much grimmer. Like in the year 1317, …

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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 loyal sister – the life of a renaissance princess

In 1568, a little Swedish princess saw the light of the day. I am proud to report she is a namesake of mine and was therefore baptised Anna. There, dear readers, all similarities between me and this princess end, but hey, one must work with what one has, right? Anna was the daughter of Prince …

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From royal sweetheart to Iron Lady

In October of 1611, Karl IX, king of Sweden, died. And no, one should not judge this gentleman by his umm…creative hair-do. Karl was a competent (if rather ruthless) man who used religion as an excuse to wrest the Kingdom of Sweden from his nephew, Sigismund, leaving behind a realm in order, a half-grown son …

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