Christmas in Exile

Better exiled than beheaded, I guess. On December 23, 1688, James II of England finally got the hint that he was no longer welcome and fled to Paris. James, a Catholic, was never a particularly popular king, but the people were prepared to tolerate him so long as his Protestant daughters remained his sole heirs. When his wife, Mary of Modena, unexpectedly gave birth to … Continue reading Christmas in Exile

The Royal Mistress

On October 9, 1709, Barbara Palmer, Duchess of Cleveland, one of the most famous royal mistresses of all time, died at the age of 68, after having lived one hell of a life. Barbara was born in London on November 27, 1640. She was the only child of William Villiers, 2nd Viscount Grandison, who died in the English Civil War shortly before his daughter’s third … Continue reading The Royal Mistress

We Didn’t Start the Fire

All it takes is a small spark to start a great conflagration, and on September 2, 1666, a small spark from a bakery engulfed the city of London, nearly destroying it over the course of three chaotic days. London in the 1660s was not exactly up to fire code: it was crowded, most of the buildings were made of wood, and streets were poorly planned … Continue reading We Didn’t Start the Fire

Monmouth’s Rebellion

On July 15, 1685, Monmouth’s Rebellion ended when James Scott, Duke of Monmouth and illegitimate son of Charles II, was executed in London for attempting to depose his uncle, James II, and seize the throne for himself. Monmouth was Charles’s eldest child and was born in Rotterdam in April 1649 while Charles was exiled during the Protectorate. He was handed over to William Crofts, 1st … Continue reading Monmouth’s Rebellion

Best Birthday Ever!

Most people dread hitting their 30th birthdays, but Charles II was delighted. Probably because he got a really awesome gift: the English throne. On May 29, 1660, Charles was reinstated to the throne his father was yanked off of, and with that monarchy returned to England and remains there to this day. After being forced to flee England in his teens during the Civil War, … Continue reading Best Birthday Ever!

The Glorious Revolution

On February 13, 1689, Mary Stuart and her husband, William of Orange, got an impressive early Valentine’s Day gift: the English throne. The two were declared co-rulers of the country following the Glorious Revolution, which unseated Mary’s father, James II. James’s relatively short reign ended when William of Orange invaded England at the request of the Immortal Seven (the earls of Danby, Shrewsbury, and Devonshire; Viscount … Continue reading The Glorious Revolution

James II

On February 6, 1685, James II ascended the throne on the death of his elder brother, Charles II. James would be the last Catholic ruler off England; his religion, along with his pro-French politics and desire to be an absolute monarch resulted in him being kicked off the throne and replaced with his oldest daughter, Mary, and her husband, William of Orange. James’s religion and … Continue reading James II