The [Secretive] Death of Henry VIII

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Henry VIII died on January 28, 1547, some 37 years after he ascended the throne at just 17. It would be another three days before England was made aware. From within the halls of his court at Westminster, Henry’s death remained a closely guarded secret even as food was dutifully carried in to his private chambers at meal times with all expected fanfare.

Henry’s death ushered in the reign of his nine-year-old son, Edward VI, whose age necessitated a minority government the strength of which was premised on the loyalty of Tudor courtiers – the same men who had spent over a decade working for a king who increasingly resembled a tyrant.

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Henry IV’s First Wife, Mary de Bohun

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Mary de Bohun was the wife of one king and the mother of another, but she never knew it. Her premature death in her mid-20s meant she missed the usurpation of 1399 that brought the House of Lancaster to the throne, but even so her short life was a notable one, which illustrated well the trials and tribulations of young heiresses in the 14th century.

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The Early Years of Henry II & Eleanor of Aquitaine

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Eleanor of Aquitaine stands as one of the most recognizable names from the Middle Ages. For those who know a bit about her, her status as an heiress in her own right might come to mind, as might her rather shocking divorce from the king of France. In fact, the period of time that truly solidified Eleanor’s reputation for the better came much later in life, after the death of her husband, Henry II, and while her son, Richard I, sat on the throne. Her efficient administration and tireless survey of his estates, combined with her famous beauty and colorful past, helped cement her status as a woman worth knowing. Yet, a significant chunk of time in-between, the period of her second marriage and when she was in fact the queen of England, was altogether quieter in its early years.

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Monaco & the House of Grimaldi

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I came very close to covering the recent wedding of Prince Christian of Hanover last weekend, but ended up skipping it. Then, lo and behold, we have more news coming out of the extended Monegasque Royal Family once more so here we go, let’s wrap it all up into a quick post.

First, the news: Charlotte Casiraghi announced her engagement to her boyfriend, Dimitri Rassam. Charlotte is 31 and has been dating Dimitri, 36, for a little over a year. Dimitri is a French film producer whose mother is Carole Bouquet, a well-known actress.

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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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Harry & Meghan Make a Surprise Trip to Belfast

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Such a surprise, in fact, that it caught me on a workday when I couldn’t dash off a quick post before, during or after this unannounced trip until now. So, here we are, I’ve pushed the historical post I had planned for today until tomorrow and now we can focus on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s visit to Belfast.

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The Loss of Blanche of England

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Blanche, her husband and her husband’s second wife

Henry IV’s daughters are completely overshadowed by their brothers and that’s mostly fair, for the Lancastrian men played a much more important role in shaping England’s trajectory. We have, however, covered Henry’s youngest daughter, Philippa, and the important role that she played in Scandinavia as the queen consort of Sweden, Norway and Denmark. Today, we’re going to focus on the elder of the two, Blanche, who, like her brother, Thomas, also happened to be her father’s favorite.

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Kate Carries Out Her Last Engagements With William Before Maternity Leave

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Kensington Palace confirmed that today’s engagements mark the last for the Duchess of Cambridge before she begins maternity leave. While there are a few occasions over the next few months at which we’re certain to see her, it’s entirely likely that she won’t resume a full time schedule until September. As for what that means for us here, well, it’ll give us more time for history and I have a feeling following Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will keep us plenty busy through the spring and summer.

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Kate Convenes Children’s Mental Health Symposium

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Today, the Duchess of Cambridge convened a symposium on the necessity of early intervention in addressing children’s mental health issues, which featured experts and representatives from a number of the charitable organizations she patronizes. But before we get to that, let’s take note of a comment that the Duke of Cambridge made yesterday while knighting Ringo Starr (go figure).

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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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