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…

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…

Margaret Tudor: James IV of Scotland’s Queen

Margaret Tudor led a very turbulent life, causing scandal. She married three times, and, like her brother Henry VIII, had trouble obtaining divorces. She “had the faults of the Tudors without their brains”! Margaret was born on 28 November 1489—“a sturdy, healthy child”—the eldest daughter of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. She was a…

Mary Boleyn: A Short Biography

Mary Boleyn’s life is retold—somewhat inaccurately—in both the novel and the movie, The Other Boleyn Girl. She had numerous affairs including two kings. Not much is known about Mary’s early life. She was born c 1499 at Hever Castle, Kent—the home of Sir Thomas Boleyn and Lady Elizabeth Howard. She was the eldest of three…

Henry Fitzroy Duke of Richmond: Henry VIII’s Illegitimate Son By Elizabeth Blount

Henry VIII regarded the birth of Henry Fitzroy as a sign from God he could hire a healthy living son. Fitzroy was illegitimate but he was also considered as an heir. Henry VIII’s affair with his teenage mistress, Elizabeth Blount, led to the birth of his only acknowledged illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy. Henry took an…

James IV of Scotland (1488-1513): Scotland’s Renaissance King

James IV brought unity, international status and the Renaissance to Scotland but his foreign policies proved his downfall. James encouraged artists, musicians and writers at his court. The first printing press was established in 1507.  His reign was also a time of peace and prosperity. His parliament passed the first compulsory education act in 1496.…

The Magna Carta: England’s First Written Constitution

The Magna Carta was originally intended as a peace treaty between the king and his barons, but it became the cornerstone of liberty in the English-speaking world. English kings became more powerful and influential after 1066, through the Norman system of centralised government and the acquisition of Normandy. King John of England King John was…

Marie Antoinette: Queen Consort of Louis XVI of France

Austrian-born Queen Marie Antoinette was solely blamed for bankrupting France with her extravagance and executed during the French Revolution. Marie Antoinette was born Maria Antonia Josepha Joanna on 2 November 1755 at the Hofburg Palace, Vienna. She was the youngest daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Francis I and Maria Theresa. She was promised in marriage…

Margaret of Anjou: Queen Consort of Henry VI of England

Margaret of Anjou is best remembered as a vengeful and ambitious woman who brought war and misery to England. She also participated in one of the bloodiest civil wars. Margaret of Anjou was born 23 March 1430 at Pont-a-Mousson, Lorraine. She was the second daughter born to René of Anjou and Isabelle of Lorraine. René…

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…