Isabella and Joanna of Castile: The Fight for the Throne

Isabella, mother of Katharine of Aragon and one of the Catholic Monarchs, did not easily come to the throne of Castile. Isabella’s older half-brother ruled as Henry IV, known as the Impotent, of Castile. Whether Henry IV was truly impotent became an issue for his daughter and Isabella’s niece, Joanna of Castile. Joanna was Henry IV’s heir until a rebellious faction at court wanted to … Continue reading Isabella and Joanna of Castile: The Fight for the Throne

Elizabeth I’s Coronation: A Perspective

by Heather R. Darsie On Sunday 15 January 1559, Elizabeth Tudor became Elizabeth I, Queen of England, Ireland, and France, Defender of the Faith. Elizabeth had just turned 25 years old that past September. She picked that date under the advice of the court astrologer, John Dee, By the time of her coronation, Elizabeth had outlived her mother, father, legitimate and confirmed illegitimate half-siblings, her … Continue reading Elizabeth I’s Coronation: A Perspective

When Henry Met Anna: The German Account

by Heather R. Darsie On 1 January 1540, Henry VIII surprised his new bride, Anna of Cleves. For centuries, it was believed that Henry VIII found Anna of Cleves ugly at worst and was not attracted to her at best. The main sources for this rumor were depositions specifically created for the annulment of their marriage. The depositions were taken in June and July 1540, … Continue reading When Henry Met Anna: The German Account

Two Battles, Two Queens, Two Speeches: Mary I and Elizabeth I

by Heather R. Darsie Mary and Elizabeth, the two Tudor queens regnant, each faced serious military campaigns against them. In Mary’s case, Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger started an uprising which threatened Mary’s reign. There is debate amongst historians as to the cause of the uprising, however at least Mary believed it was due in part to her impending marriage with Philip II of Spain. … Continue reading Two Battles, Two Queens, Two Speeches: Mary I and Elizabeth I

Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II of England

by Heather R. Darsie Eleanor Ramnulfid of Aquitaine, born circa 1122, was a pretty, wealthy teenager when she married her first husband. No confirmed likenesses of Eleanor exist, and it is not known what she looked like other than that Eleanor was a beauty with gorgeous eyes. Eleanor’s father died when she was young, leaving her the vast, rich territory of Aquitaine in southern France. She was … Continue reading Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II of England

Is Today Really Anna of Cleves’ Birthday?

by Heather R. Darsie Tradition has held for the last couple hundred years or so that Anna of Cleves, fourth wife to Henry VIII of England, was born 22 September 1515. No proof has ever been put forward to support that date. However,  primary source exists which shows Anna’s date of birth as 28 June 1515, making her exactly twenty-four years younger than Henry VIII. … Continue reading Is Today Really Anna of Cleves’ Birthday?

Anne Boleyn: The Difference of 1,100 Days

By Heather R. Darsie On 15 May 1536, Anne Boleyn was put on trial for her alleged crimes against Henry VIII. Three years earlier, a roughly five-months pregnant Anne and her husband Henry were learning that things were leaning in favor of their marriage. Henry and Anne secretly wed around 14 November 1532 in Dover, then officially secretly wed (confusing, I know) in January 1533 … Continue reading Anne Boleyn: The Difference of 1,100 Days

Jeanne d’Albret

by Heather R. Darsie Please note that this article first appeared here. Jeanne d’Albret was born on 16 November 1528 to Marguerite d’Angoulême and Henri II of Navarre at the Parisian Saint Germain-en-Laye palace. Henri was Marguerite’s second husband. Marguerite had two children with Henri, but only Jeanne survived. Jeanne was the niece of the French king, Francois I, who dearly loved his elder sister Marguerite. … Continue reading Jeanne d’Albret

Juana of Castile and Her Madness

by Heather R. Darsie Juana la Loca, or Joanna the Mad, was the elder sister of Catherine of Aragon and sister-in-law to Henry VIII of England. Juana was born on 6 November 1479, a daughter of the formidable Isabella of Castile and Isabella’s husband Ferdinand of Aragon. Juana was known during her lifetime as Juana of Castile.  Juana married Philip von Habsburg, known as the … Continue reading Juana of Castile and Her Madness