The Borgias: History’s Infamous Family

The Borgias were the most infamous family of the Renaissance best remembered for their climb to power, murder and corruption within the Papacy. Calixtus III The first was Lord Alfonso de Borja who was born in 1378. He was Alfonso V of Aragon's private secretary, remained in royal service for forty-two years, before he was…

Joan of Arc: The Maid of Orleans

Angelic voices instructed Joan of Arc to free the French from English rule and crown the Dauphin as Charles VII at Rheims. Joan of Arc was approximately born on 6 January 1412 to farmer Jacques d’Arc and his wife Isabelle Romée in Domrémy, a village located between Neufchateau and Vaucouleurs in Lorraine, which remained loyal…

The Diamond Necklace Affair

Marie Antoinette was innocent but her reputation was destroyed when she was implicated in a scandal leading to France's disillusionment with the monarchy. Court jewellers, Charles Böhmer and Paul Bassange, were commissioned by Louis XV in 1772 to create the most opulent diamond necklace as a special gift for his mistress, Madame du Barry. It…

Eleanor Hibbert: Best Known as Jean Plaidy, Victoria Holt and Philippa Carr

Eleanor Hibbert wrote 183 books, including three children’s novels, under several pseudonyms during her fifty-year career. Over 14 million copies were sold worldwide. Hibbert was born Eleanor Alice Burford on 1 September 1906 in Kensington, London. Her father Joseph was an “odd jobs” man with no steady profession but he passed on his avid love…

George II of Great Britain (1727-1760)

George II was the last British monarch to lead troops into battle, whilst many great social and political changes occurred during his reign. He was born Georg August on 30 October 1683 at Herrenhausen Palace, Hanover, the eldest of two children born to Crown Prince Georg of Hanover and Sophia Dorothea of Celle. His sister…

James Francis Edward Stuart: The Old Pretender

The Old Pretender was a pessimist living in exile whose attempt to claim the English, Scottish and Irish thrones failed in The Fifteen Jacobite rising. James Francis Edward was born 10 June 1688 amidst the warming-pan scandal. He fled with his mother, Mary Beatrice of Modena, to France when William of Orange’s invasion led to…

The Glorious Revolution

The foundations for Britain's constitutional monarchy were laid when James II was forced to abdicate in favour of William III and Mary II. The origins of the Glorious Revolution, also known as the War of the English Succession or the Bloodless Revolution, began with the conflicts during Charles I’s reign which led to the Civil…

The Birth of James Francis Edward Stuart

The Old Pretender was born amidst controversy as the Warming-pan Baby, and survived against all odds. James II had produced two daughters, Mary and Anne, from his first marriage to Anne Hyde. They became increasingly important when their uncle Charles II failed to produce a legitimate heir. Anne died in 1671 but she had supported…