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…

Lady Jane Grey (1553): The Nine Days Queen

Lady Jane Grey is best known as history as the Nine Days Queen. She survived an unhappy childhood only to become a pawn in a conspiracy to usurp the throne. Jane was born in 1537 at her family’s estate, Bradgate Manor, in Leicestershire. She was the eldest of three sisters born to Henry Grey, Marquess…

Katherine Howard: Rose Without A Thorn

Henry VIII thought his fifth wife, Katherine Howard, was perfect. Katherine Howard was a woman with a past when she came to court in 1539, as a maid-of-honour. Katherine’s uncle, the Duke of Norfolk, used his influence to find a place for her in anticipation of the King’s marriage to Anne of Cleves. Henry was…

The Great Fire of London: The Dreadful Judgement

The Great Fire of London destroyed most of the medieval city within days. Some believed it was God’s judgement upon a sinful city, including Charles II’s debauched court. London was gripped by drought lasting from November 1665 to September 1666 – a cold dry winter followed by a prolonged hot summer. The water cisterns’ levels…

The Overbury Murder: Lust, adultery, corruption and witchcraft at James I’s Court

Sir Thomas Overbury's murder caused a major scandal during James I's reign. It damaged the monarchy and James' court was condemned as evil and corrupt. Robert Carr became the King’s favourite after he broke his leg in a jousting tournament on 24 March 1607. James fancied young handsome men. He rose rapidly—knighted later that year…

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…