Charles II Hides In Oak Tree To Escape Oliver Cromwell’s Army

Charles II was forced to hide in an oak tree at Boscobel on 6 September 1651, following his disastrous defeat at the Battle of Worcester three days earlier. He was crowned in Scotland and had led a small army across the border to reclaim the English throne which had been lost two years earlier, when…

Lawrence of Arabia: War Hero and Writer

T E Lawrence’s role as a British liaison officer during the Arab Revolt of 1916-1918 was immortalised in the 1962 film, “Lawrence of Arabia”, starring Peter O’Toole. Thomas Edward Lawrence was the second of five illegitimate sons born to Sir Thomas Robert Tighe, an Anglo-Irish landowner, and Sarah Junner. She was employed as his four…

Louis Mountbatten: 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, Viceroy of India

British naval officer Lord Louis Mountbatten accepted the Japanese surrender during World War II. He was the last Viceroy of India, and also mentor to Prince Charles. Mountbatten, known as “Dickie” to family and friends, was born Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas on 25 June 1900 at Frogmore House, Windsor. His parents were Prince Louis…

The Coronation of Elizabeth I: The Virgin Queen

Elizabeth I’s Coronation was a grand spectacle intimately involving her subjects where she combined grandeur with the common touch. It was also a personal success. Mary I died from influenza on 17 November 1558, ending her dream to restore Catholicism to England. Elizabeth faced serious allegations of treason, even death, during her sister’s reign. Elizabeth…

Mary I of England (1553-1558): Bloody Mary

Mary I survived a difficult childhood—separated from her mother, rejected by her father and suffered poor health—to restore Catholicism to England and produce an heir. Mary was born in 1516 at Greenwich Palace, the only surviving child of Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Henry was initially disappointed but he proudly showed off his…

Edward VI (1547-1553): The Boy King

Nine-year-old Edward VI introduced the Reformation, established the English Church, understood international affairs and showed a keen interest in reforming the currency. Henry VIII’s lengthy wait for a male heir ended when Edward was finally born on 12 October 1537 at Hampton Court Palace. However, Henry’s joy was short-lived as his third wife, Jane Seymour,…

The Rough Wooing: Uniting Scotland and England under Tudor rule

Henry VIII negotiated a marriage treaty for his son Edward and Mary Queen of Scots. He pursued an aggressive policy when the Scots rejected the treaty’s terms. The English defeated the Scots at Solway Moss on 24 November 1542 and took 1,200 captive. James V died three weeks later, leaving his week old daughter Mary…

Catherine Parr: Henry VIII’s Sixth Wife

Catherine Parr was a loyal and sympathetic companion who nursed an increasingly irritable Henry VIII in his declining years by creating a domestic family life at court. Henry’s sixth wife was born in 1512, the eldest daughter of Sir Thomas Parr and Maud Green of Kendal. Catherine was married twice before and recently widowed. Catherine…