Pretty, Witty Nell

If she were alive today, Nell Gwyn, one of the coolest royal mistresses ever, would be turning 363 years old. Happy birthday, Nell! Nell rose from almost complete obscurity to become a major symbol of the Restoration period, and one of the first actresses to take to the English stage (before her time, women’s roles were played by men). She was probably born in London … Continue reading Pretty, Witty Nell

Top Ten Onscreen Royal Romances

It’s Valentine’s Day, and whether you have plans or expect to stay in, it’s a great opportunity to kick back, pop open some bubbly and a box of chocolates, and indulge in a few good old-fashioned romances. Everyone loves a good love story, and if it comes with tiaras, so much the better, so it’s no wonder royal romances have shown up onscreen in dozens … Continue reading Top Ten Onscreen Royal Romances

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

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!

Coffee Buzz

On this day in 1676, the people of London were finally able to get their caffeine fix when the coffee houses in England were reopened not long after King Charles II inexplicably closed them all on December 29, 1675. Seventeenth century coffee houses weren’t exactly like your neighborhood Starbucks. As well as serving up steaming cups of Joe, they were centers of commerce and political discourse. … Continue reading Coffee Buzz