After Mary: Charles Brandon & Katherine Willoughby

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We’ve covered before how Henry VIII’s younger and favorite sister, Princess Mary, married his best friend, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, shortly after the death of her first husband, King Louis XII of France, without her brother’s permission. Henry was livid, but was eventually brought around after levying a hefty fine on the couple. The marriage was cut short by Mary’s premature death in 1533 at the age of 37, and just three months later, Charles married again, this time to his adolescent ward, Katherine Willoughby.

Katherine could very well have faded into oblivion – after all, Charles’s two wives prior to Mary certainly have. Instead, Katherine is a fascinating figure from the Tudor court. Like Mary Howard, Duchess of Richmond, her name was put forth as a possible seventh wife for the Queen, she had strong opinions on the reformation and her longevity positioned her as consistently relevant well into the reign of Elizabeth I.

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Elizabeth & Robin

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Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. It felt appropriate to mark the holiday here with a post on one of the most famous – if debatable – love stories from royal history: Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. Fans of the 1998 film and/or readers of any of dozens of historical novels on the subject may well have a sense for the general trajectory, but while the real story is certainly bittersweet, it is decidedly less neat and tidy.

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Harry & Meghan Take Edinburgh

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Everything about today pales in light of this: Cruachan IV has returned. Long-time readers may well remember this Shetland pony’s foray into the limelight last summer when he entered into a feud with none other than Queen Elizabeth herself, first by trying to eat a bouquet of flowers out of her hands and then by neighing at her a few days later, prompting a sharp retort of, “We know where you are.” I adore Cruachan and am thrilled he’s returned, particularly since he earned an Honorable Mention in last year’s BRF review.

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Victoria S2: I Have Some Socks For You to Darn

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Well, we had no Sir Robert Peel, no children and no Buckingham Palace to fuss over. Instead, Victoria decides a Scottish holiday is in order because she’s always wanted to visit and, well, no one can stop her now. The decision comes on the heels of an assassination attempt, or at the very least a show of one, when a man points an unloaded pistol at the couple as they’re driving  home.

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Queen Victoria’s Father: Edward, Duke of Kent

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Of all of George III’s 15 children, only one managed to produce another sovereign – Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent. Save the last 18 months of his life, very little would give you the idea he had either the motivation or capability of doing so and, indeed, it is perhaps for the best (albeit tragic) that he never had the opportunity to mold the character of his more famous daughter.

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The Marriage of Richard III & Anne Neville

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If you have an opinion on the marriage of Richard III and Anne Neville, then it’s very likely that it fall into one of two extremes: a love match or a ruthless money-grab by Richard. This is mostly due, as we have discussed before, on the controversy that still surrounds Richard, from those who believe he usurped the crown and murdered his nephews to those who believe he has been falsely maligned by history. Richard was a powerful man with royal blood, not to mention one who wielded considerable political power even before he became king – as such, it’s fairly straightforward to track his movements. Less so his motivation.

As for Anne, she disappears with regularity from the historical record despite her high birth and lofty marriages. We know even less of her character, from the level of her ambition to her feelings towards her family, including her husbands. As I noted back in December, she is essentially a blank canvas on to which much has been projected. Her real personality is sadly lost to us.

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Kate’s in Goat (Again) for an Essex Engagement

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The Duchess of Cambridge was in Essex today to officially open a community-based treatment center for Action for Addiction. The facility, which technically opened its doors this past October, offers a self-help recovery program, “Clouds in the Community,” about which Kate learned today via meeting with staff, supporters and patients.

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All That Gossip: Queen Victoria & Lord M

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As we find ourselves in the middle of the second season of Victoria, it seemed as good a time as any to take a look at Queen Victoria’s relationship with her first Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne. The ITV/PBS show has depicted a dynamic in which the young queen was in love with her PM – at one point even proposing marriage. And by all appearances, the affection was mutual, at least on our television screens. The reality was obviously by far different, but this storyline is grounded in a kernel of truth – the relationship between the two always prompted some raised eyebrows.

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