Anne of Celje, Second Queen of Wladyslaw II Jagiello of Poland

by Heather R. Darsie, JD Anne of Celje did not have an enjoyable life. True, it was likely better than her lower-class peers, but Anne’s life seemed to be an after thought. She was born in 1386 as the only child of Count William of Celje and Anna of Poland. Anna of Poland’s nephew was Jadwiga of Poland‘s father. Anna was the youngest child of … Continue reading Anne of Celje, Second Queen of Wladyslaw II Jagiello of Poland

Lady Jadwiga of Poland: King and Saint

by Heather R. Darsie, JD Jadwiga was born to King Louis I of Hungary and Poland, known as Louis the Great, and his wife Elizabeth of Bosnia sometime in 1373 or 1374. Elizabeth married King Louis in the Hungarian city of Buda in 1353. Elizabeth was Louis’s second wife. His first wife, Margaret of Bohemia, was a mere seven years old when she married sixteen-year-old … Continue reading Lady Jadwiga of Poland: King and Saint

Mary of Burgundy: The Basics

by Heather R. Darsie, JD Marie de Valois, Hereditary Duchess of Burgundy, was born on 13 February 1457. She was born at Coudenburg Palace in Brussels, which existed since at least the 12th century. Known commonly as Mary of Burgundy, her parents were Charles Martin, known as the Bold, and Isabelle of Bourbon. Isabelle was Charles’ second wife. He was wed to his first wife, Catherine of … Continue reading Mary of Burgundy: The Basics

1519: A Tudor Year in Review

by Heather R. Darsie The year 1519 was a year of massive changes, important births, and important deaths in Western Europe. Some of these impacted Henry VIII’s reign, whilst others did not come meaningfully into play until the reigns of Henry’s daughters. Henry VIII turned 28 years old in 1519, and was still young-minded. Births and Deaths Maximilian I von Habsburg, Holy Roman Emperor, died … Continue reading 1519: A Tudor Year in Review

What’s in a Name: Latin Titles

by Heather R. Darsie How important is it to understand Latin when sorting a monarch’s status in Medieval and Early Modern portraiture? A monarch’s title indicates over what he or she rules. There is a long history of the use of Latin to specify over who and what a monarch rules. Looking back into the Ancient period, when civic identity was paramount, the only things … Continue reading What’s in a Name: Latin Titles

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?

The Increasing Horrors of War in 16th Century Western Europe

by Heather R. Darsie The 16th century saw rapid changes in military capabilities. The medieval knight and a knight’s form of armor and fighting reached peak efficiency by around 1450. After 1450, advances in military science made armor more and more vulnerable. The advent of pike attacks and guns made armor almost ineffective, and the flat walls of many fortifications made excellent targets for canon … Continue reading The Increasing Horrors of War in 16th Century Western Europe

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

Death of a Matriarch: Eleonore Helena of Portugal

by Heather R. Darsie On 3 September 1467, Empress Eleonore Helena passed away. Born on 18 September 1434 as Eleonore d’Aviz of Portugal, she was not quite thirty-three years old when she died. Eleonore was one of nine children, the sixth born overall, and one of five daughters. Two brothers and two sisters survived to adulthood along with Eleonore. Eleonore was the eldest surviving daughter, … Continue reading Death of a Matriarch: Eleonore Helena of Portugal