28 July 1540: The Execution Speech of Thomas Cromwell

An execution at Tower Hill, circa 1550s ‘A true Christian confession of the L. Crumwel at his death.’ July 28 marked a dramatic day at Tower Hill. The most powerful man in England was to die due to forces entirely outside of his control. Cromwell had selected the perfect queen in Anna of Cleves, a beautiful, well-connected duchess, whose brother Duke Wilhelm of Jülich-Cleves-Berg, and … Continue reading 28 July 1540: The Execution Speech of Thomas Cromwell

BOOK REVIEW: The Beauty and the Terror by Catherine Fletcher

The period between 1492–resonant for a number of reasons–and 1571, when the Ottoman navy was defeated in the Battle of Lepanto, embraces what we know as the Renaissance, one of the most dynamic and creatively explosive epochs in world history. Here is the period that gave rise to so many great artists and figures, and which by its connection to its classical heritage enabled a … Continue reading BOOK REVIEW: The Beauty and the Terror by Catherine Fletcher

HISTORICAL BOOK REVIEW SERIES: ‘The House of Grey’ by Melita Thomas

The Grey family was one of medieval England’s most important dynasties. They were were on intimate terms with the monarchs and interwoven with royalty by marriage. They served the kings of England as sheriffs, barons and military leaders. In Henry IV’s reign the rivalry between Owain Glyndwr and Lord Grey of Rhuthun was behind the Welsh bid to throw off English dominance. His successor Edmund … Continue reading HISTORICAL BOOK REVIEW SERIES: ‘The House of Grey’ by Melita Thomas

HISTORICAL BOOK REVIEW SERIES: ‘Stephen and Matilda’s Civil War: Cousins of Anarchy’ by Matthew Lewis

The Anarchy was the first civil war in post-Conquest England, enduring throughout the reign of King Stephen between 1135 and 1154. It ultimately brought about the end of the Norman dynasty and the birth of the mighty Plantagenet kings. When Henry I died having lost his only legitimate son in a shipwreck, he had caused all of his barons to swear to recognize his daughter … Continue reading HISTORICAL BOOK REVIEW SERIES: ‘Stephen and Matilda’s Civil War: Cousins of Anarchy’ by Matthew Lewis

HISTORICAL BOOK REVIEW SERIES: “Louis XIV: The Real King of Versailles” by Josephine Wilkinson

Louis XIV’s story has all the ingredients of a Dumas classic: legendary beginnings, beguiling women, court intrigue, a mysterious prisoner in an iron mask, lavish court entertainments, the scandal of a mistress who was immersed in the dark arts, and a central character who is handsome and romantic, but with a frighteningly dark side to his character. Louis believed himself to be semidivine. His self-identification … Continue reading HISTORICAL BOOK REVIEW SERIES: “Louis XIV: The Real King of Versailles” by Josephine Wilkinson