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

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!

Happy 506th Birthday, Anna of Cleves!

by Heather R. Darsie, J.D. On this day of 28 June in 1515, a little baby girl was born in the Holy Roman Empire whose life would be dramatically shaped by international politics. The baby was christened, “Anna,” after her paternal aunt. “Anna” was a family name on her maternal side, as well. Anna of Cleves’ great-grandmother through Maria of Juelich-Berg was Anna of Saxony. … Continue reading Happy 506th Birthday, Anna of Cleves!

Happy 505th Birthday, Anna of Cleves!

by Heather R. Darsie On this day of 28 June in 1515, a little baby girl was born in the Holy Roman Empire whose life would be dramatically shaped by international politics. The baby was christened, “Anna,” after her paternal aunt. “Anna” was a family name on her maternal side, as well. Anna of Cleves’ great-grandmother through Maria of Juelich-Berg was Anna of Saxony. Anna … Continue reading Happy 505th Birthday, Anna of Cleves!

How to Train Your Hawk: A 15th Century English Prioress’ Guide

by Heather R. Darsie This weekend when I was researching for my new book, anticipated in Summer 2021, I stumbled across a curious book from the 15th century. It is called, Book of Hawking, Hunting, and Heraldry. The book was printed in 1496 at Westminster by Wykyn de Worde, who also published an account of Anne Boleyn’s coronation. Even more interesting were the hand-written notes at the … Continue reading How to Train Your Hawk: A 15th Century English Prioress’ Guide

The Curious Case of a Misidentified Portrait of Anne Boleyn

by Heather R. Darsie On 13 April 1929, the Supreme Court of New York heard the curious case of Hahn v. Duveen, in which an art collector  named Mrs. Andree Hahn sued an art dealer named Sir Joseph Duveen for slander. At the heart of the issue was an alleged original painting which Ms. Hahn stated depicted Anne Boleyn and was painted by none other … Continue reading The Curious Case of a Misidentified Portrait of Anne Boleyn

The Scythian Lamb, or the Delectable Lamb-Vegetable of Tartary

by Heather R. Darsie In the Middle Ages, rumour spread that there was a mythological zoophyte known as the Scythian Lamb or the Borametz. Herodotus, from the fifth century BCE and Theophrastus of the third century BCE wrote of the Scythian Lamb, bolstering credibility that such a thing existed. An additional source for the rumour was found in a Jewish text from 436 called, Talmud … Continue reading The Scythian Lamb, or the Delectable Lamb-Vegetable of Tartary

The Poetry of Anne Boleyn: Sir Thomas Wyatt’s Sorrow

by Heather R. Darsie After Anne Boleyn’s startling arrest on 2 May 1536, several other men accused of being her accomplices in treasonous adultery were arrested. Sir Thomas Wyatt himself was arrested, but later released without charges. While he was in the Tower, it is traditionally thought that Wyatt wrote the following poem: Believed to be a late 16th century copy of a portrait of … Continue reading The Poetry of Anne Boleyn: Sir Thomas Wyatt’s Sorrow