Mary, Queen of Scots: What a Difference Two Years Can Make

by Heather R. Darsie Mary, Queen of Scots returned to Scotland on 19 August 1561. She was not quite nineteen years old, and already a widow. Speculation swirled around whom the young Scottish queen with a claim to the English throne would wed. Mary, Queen of Scots in White Mourning after the Queens of France, after Francois Clouet, c. 1560. Via Wikimedia Commons. Mary’s next … Continue reading Mary, Queen of Scots: What a Difference Two Years Can Make

Ibn Battuta and the Roc

by Heather R. Darsie The scholar named Shams al-Din Abu Abdallah Muhammad ibn Abdallah ibn Muhammad ibn Ibrahim Ibn Battuta al-Lawati al-Tanji, or simply Ibn Battuta (meaning son of Battuta), was twenty-one years old when he set off on 13 June 1325 to travel the world. Ibn Battuta left from his birthplace of Tangier, traveling across northern Africa, across the Arab peninsula, through India, and … Continue reading Ibn Battuta and the Roc

Anna of Cleves Breaks the News to Wilhelm

by Heather R. Darsie   On 21 July 1540, Anna of Cleves was no longer allowed to hide the truth from her brother Wilhelm about her marriage’s end. Henry had grown impatient waiting for Anna to write her family. Anna waited as long as she could, hoping that Henry would either directly send a letter to Duke Wilhelm in Cleves, or that one of Henry’s … Continue reading Anna of Cleves Breaks the News to Wilhelm

The White Rose

by Heather R. Darsie The other day I was looking for anything interesting which might have happened during the reign of Henry VIII to mark the first day of summer. I tripped across a note about a “Blanche Rose,” stating, “Receipt from Jacques de Eesbeke, messenger of the King Catholic, for 60 gold florins paid him by Th. Spinelly for two journeys into Metz, in … Continue reading The White Rose

Anna of Cleves Learns her Marriage is Annulled

by Heather R. Darsie On 9 July 1540 while she was at Richmond, Anna was told that her marriage to Henry VIII was unlawful. Her marriage annulled, Anna was no longer Queen Consort of England. “Anna reportedly wailed and screamed when Henry’s representatives came to deliver the news of the annulment. A few days before, Henry covered his tracks by ordering…[for] ‘counsel learned in those … Continue reading Anna of Cleves Learns her Marriage is Annulled

Gloriana’s Rainbow: Elizabeth I and the Rainbow Portrait

by Heather R. Darsie One of the most iconic images of Elizabeth I in full array as Gloriana, the Virgin Empress of the Seas, is the Rainbow Portrait, painted around 1600. Elizabeth turned 67 years old in 1600. She became Queen of England in 1558, and the weight of her responsibilities was surely showing on her face by this point. Elizabeth was a master of … Continue reading Gloriana’s Rainbow: Elizabeth I and the Rainbow Portrait

Tudor Speeches: My New Podcast!

by Heather R. Darsie Greetings, Dear Reader! I am pleased to announce that I launched a podcast over on Patreon called Tudor Speeches!  I hope to post the first podcast this weekend. I will provide historical background for speeches and letters from the Tudor time period. I think hearing a speech or letter can impact the beholder differently than just reading it. Each patron will be … Continue reading Tudor Speeches: My New Podcast!

The Powerful African Songhai Empire during the Reign of Henry VIII of England

by Heather R. Darsie Personal note: This summer I am learning more about African history during the 16th century.  The Songhai Empire existed in Western Africa in the late 15th to early 16th century. With a healthy grasp on trade, the Songhai Empire used cowrie shells and plain gold coins as local currency, and salt as international currency. The Askia Dynasty ruled the Songhai Empire … Continue reading The Powerful African Songhai Empire during the Reign of Henry VIII of England