Prince William and Kate Middleton’s Royal Engagement, 16 November 2010

News of the royal engagement between Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton was welcomed by most Australians except by the Republican Movement. A statement from Clarence House said, “His Royal Highness Prince William of Wales and Miss Catherine Middleton are engaged to be married.” “Prince William and Miss Middleton became engaged in October during a…

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…

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…

Anne of Cleves: Henry VIII’s Fourth Wife

Henry VIII married Anne of Cleves to form a new alliance after relations between England, France and the Holy Roman Empire deteriorated. They divorced six months later. Anne was born on 22 September 1515 in Düsseldorf, Cleves. She was the second of four children born to John III ‘the Pacific’, Duke of Cleves, and Maria…

Jane Seymour: Henry VIII’s Third Queen

Henry VIII declared Jane Seymour was the most beloved of all his wives—she provided the desired heir. Jane’s quiet dignity hid a strong will and determination to succeed. Her father, Sir John Seymour, was knighted at the Battle of Blackheath in 1497 by Henry VII. He enjoyed royal favour during the next reign. Her mother,…

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…

Phillipa of Hainault: Queen Consort of Edward III of England

Philippa of Hainault and Edward III brought stability to the monarchy after his father’s disastrous reign. She was interested in education, art and literature. She was often portrayed as “bourgeois”—solid, comfortable and domestic—as her homely features and motherly figure are captured in Master Hennequin of Liège's fine alabaster effigy on her tomb. Her great amiability…

Elizabeth II: Heir-Presumptive

Princess Elizabeth was suddenly thrust into the spotlight as Heir-Presumptive when her father was crowned George VI. However, Elizabeth's life changed after her beloved grandfather died in 1936, as her uncle Edward VIII abdicated the throne less than a year later. Many people, including Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin visited 145 Piccadilly to discuss the Constitutional…

Joanna I, The Mad Queen of Castile

Joanna of Castile was declared unfit to rule by her father but many historians believe she suffered from bipolar disorder or clinical depression. She was born in Toledo, the capital of Castile, on 6 November 1479, the Catholic Monarchs, Isabella and Ferdinand's third child. She inherited her Trastámara ancestors' very fair complexion, blue eyes and…

Arbella Stuart: Royal Cousin and First Lady of the Court

Arbella Stuart suffered from Porphyria and lived during turbulent times. She longed to marry, but she was prevented from doing so. Arbella was too close to the throne. Her grandmothers, Margaret Countess of Lennox and Bess of Hardwick, played matchmaker. Charles Stuart, Earl of Lennox, and Elizabeth Cavendish secretly married in November 1574. Elizabeth I…