Good Queen Bess

Happy coronation day, Elizabeth! That’s right: on January 15, 1559, Elizabeth I, last monarch of the House of Tudor, was crowned Queen of England in Westminster Abbey, following her accession on November 17, 1558. After a highly unstable childhood, the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn somehow managed to weather the reign of her devoutly Catholic half-sister, Mary, who was a little too fond … Continue reading Good Queen Bess

Princess Bride

On May 13, 1515, Charles Brandon and Mary Tudor, Queen of France, were officially married at Greenwich Palace, more than two months after marrying in secret in France following the death of Mary’s first husband, the French King Louis XII. Mary, who was extremely close to her elder brother, Henry VIII, was reputed to be one of the most beautiful princesses in Europe. Her marriage … Continue reading Princess Bride

Trivia Thursday: History Buff

This Week’s Question: The man known as ‘the father of English local history and bibliography’ died on this day in 1552. What was his name? Last Week’s Question: What piece of Coronation paraphernalia was stolen (and subsequently returned) in 1950? Answer:  The Stone of Scone was taken from Westminster Abbey on Christmas Eve or Day 1950 by four Scottish students: Ian Hamilton, Gavin Vernon, Kay Matheson, and … Continue reading Trivia Thursday: History Buff

Good Christmas, Bad Christmas

In 1777, in the midst of the American Revolution, General George Washington led his army of about 11,000 men to Valley Forge, PA to camp for the winter. For many of them, it was the worst Christmas ever. Inadequate clothing and supplies, coupled with wet weather, meant the men were underfed, cold, and oftentimes sick. As many as 2,000 men are said to have died … Continue reading Good Christmas, Bad Christmas

Stir-Up Sunday

Happy Stir-Up Sunday! It’s time to officially kick off the holiday season–starting with dessert. Those Christmas puddings need time to mature and develop their flavours (some people actually make them more than a year in advance), so pull out those pudding basins and steamers and let’s get to work! Christmas pudding has its origins in the medieval period and is also traditionally known as plum … Continue reading Stir-Up Sunday

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 Perfect Summer

Our lucky British friends get Downton Abbey back this weekend, while those of us on the wrong side of the pond have to wait until 2012 for season 2. Thanks a lot, PBS! If, like me, you’re looking for something to fill the time, or if you’re curious about what life in the Downton Days was like, Juliet Nicholson’s book The Perfect Summer: England in … Continue reading The Perfect Summer

Liberty!

On July 2, 1776 the second Continental Congress, sweltering away in Philadelphia, adopted the Lee Resolution, also known as the resolution of independence. It declared all the colonies to be independent of the British Empire and was first introduced by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia on June 7. It took weeks to drum up enough support for the measure to pass (we’ll get to that … Continue reading Liberty!

Justice For All

On July 1, 1870 (nearly 100 years after the founding of the country) the United States finally got an official Justice Department. Back in the days of yore, when America was just an infant discovering how awesome its hands and feet were and such, justice lay in the hands of the Attorney General, who was just a part-timer. The role grew along with the country, … Continue reading Justice For All