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From Tudor to Stuart: When James I Arrived in England

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It is never easy to follow a popular monarch, even more so when the reign was a lengthy one. Such was the case when James I succeeded Elizabeth I in 1603, for Elizabeth’s brand of queenship was one marked by instinctually understanding the mood and needs of her people. Indeed, nationalism was a byword for her reign. Not only did Elizabeth oversee a period of immense growth and prestige, but she did it while defining herself as first and foremost an English native. She is hardly the only monarch in British history to do so, but she is certainly one of the most successful.

James, on the other hand, had no similar hands of cards to deal. Male, foreign and decidedly less sophisticated, on the face of it, he couldn’t have been more different from his Tudor cousin. Yet, there are some notable similarities between the two – both came from rather infamous parents and both, based on birth and legal hurdles, had little business sitting on the English throne at first glance.

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The Most Successful Mistress: Katherine Swynford, Duchess of Lancaster

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It’s about time we got to Katherine Swynford given the number of times I’ve referenced her and the Beauforts in other posts. I deem her the most successful royal mistress for three reasons: 1) the longevity of her relationship with John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, 2) the fact that said relationship ended in marriage and 3) all monarchs since Henry VII have been descended from her. That’s a pretty good career for a woman who was certainly never queen and, quite frankly, had little business being a duchess in the opinion of many.

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The Upbringing of Katherine of Aragon & Her Siblings

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At some point I realized that despite having written at least five posts on Anne Boleyn, I’ve written maybe two that were solely dedicated to Katherine of Aragon. Despite her coming up on a regular basis when we cover Tudor history and having posted about all of her successors, I’ve neglected the OG of Henry VIII’s wives and we’re definitely going to rectify that over the next few weeks and months. Today, admittedly, we will still not cover Katherine as queen, but that’s because I’d like to start at the beginning and Katherine had an eventful and significant childhood in Spain as the daughter of the rather famous Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile.

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William & Kate Visit Cyprus

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spent the day in Cyprus yesterday on behalf of the Royal Air Force. The couple met with service members deployed there, following up on the holiday party they hosted at Kensington Palace for their family members on Tuesday.

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The Queen Hosts the 2018 Diplomatic Reception at BP

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It’s that time of year again – the Queen hosted the annual diplomatic reception at Buckingham Palace, and so we are gifted white tie and tiaras. This is to be expected – what’s not is that the Palace let in photographers and so we have been gifted great images from the evening.

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William & Kate Host Christmas Party For RAF Families

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…at Kensington Palace at least. Candy, toys, Santa and even fake snow were gathered for the families of deployed Royal Air Force service members from Coningsby and Marham . Today was essentially part one of a two-day showing that will take the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Cyprus tomorrow as the day’s festivities were specifically for the families of service members stationed there.

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William & Kate Visit Leicester

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge carried out two engagements in Leicester today – one to honor the victims from a recent local helicopter crash and the second to Leicester University. It also marked the couple’s first public appearance since last weekend’s news that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would be decamping from Kensington Palace to Frogmore amidst rumors of familial tension.

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Maria Fitzherbert, George IV’s Catholic Wife

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Before George IV married Caroline of Brunswick and embarked on one of the most disastrous and humiliating royal matches in British history, he took another wife, one of his own choosing. The problem was that she was Catholic, and not of the Stuart variety, but rather a nice Englishwoman who was only noble adjacent. Neither her social position nor her financial situation made her a viable contender for a royal marriage, and the prince who fell in love with her was none other than the heir to the throne.

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Did Henry IV Repent?

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I think it’s safe to say that March became the month of Henry IV here. After covering the usurpation of 1399 and its implications in the Wars of the Roses compared to Edward III’s 1376 entail, today we’re going to skip forward to 1413, the year Henry IV died. The moment was captured most famously by William Shakespeare when young Prince Hal picks up his father’s crown before he’s dead, but the real King’s illness in his last years, his increasing isolation and hibernation and his tumultuous relationships with his sons – particularly the future Henry V – has long led to speculation that Henry grew to regret his actions against Richard II.

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A Household Divided

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I’ve stopped and started writing this post a few times over the past month, with a lovely combination of my schedule and actual news coming out of London wrinkling my focus. What started out as a closer look at the Oceania tour was to become a look at the Duchess of Sussex’s first six months within the BRF…which was then to cover projections that the Cambridges and Sussexes would divide their household in 2019.

And now: the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will leave Kensington Palace next year for Frogmore Cottage (not to be confused with Frogmore House) at Windsor.

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The Almost Queen: Sophia of the Palatinate

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And so we turn now to one of my faves, Sophia of the Palatinate, a woman who, had she lived only a few weeks longer, would have succeeded Queen Anne on the throne. It is because of her that the House of Hanover was founded and she’s the line’s true matriarch, making her a direct ancestor to the current queen and the rest of today’s Royal Family.

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The Glorious Revolution

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In March 1688, Queen Mary Beatrice was six months pregnant, raising the possibility that she would produce a Catholic son and heir for her husband, James II. By then, James had sat on the throne for a little over three years, his Catholicism barely tolerated by the majority of his government and the English people on the grounds that his heir was his Protestant daughter, Mary, who was married to the equally Protestant Prince William of Orange.

Worried about what the birth of a prince would mean politically, three Englishmen – Arthur Herbert and William and Edward Russell – traveled to The Hague and proposed to William of Orange that he “invade” England and “rescue” the country from the threat of papacy. On June 10, the Queen delivered a healthy son and on June 30, Herbert again arrived in Holland, this time with the Earls of Devonshire, Danby and Shrewsbury, Richard Lumley, Edward Russell, Henry Sidney and Dr Compton, Bishop of London, to request that William “save” them.

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