Summer Games

After a 12-year hiatus due to the war, the 24th Summer Olympiad opened in London on July 29, 1948. Following the 1936 Berlin games, which were…awkward, to put things mildly, the Olympics were put on hold. A world war does tend to get in the way of international sportsmanship, although games were technically scheduled in 1940 (in Helsinki and Tokyo, which would also have been … Continue reading Summer Games

Royal Wedding Liveblog

5:00 Good morning, Anglophiles! Welcome to the royal wedding liveblog. I’ve got a massive pot of serious English breakfast tea and a buttered crumpet at my elbow and a pair of cavalier king Charles spaniels at my feet. I’ve watched half a dozen crappy TV specials on young royals and the great new royal romance we’re watching unfold. I’m ready for this thing. Let’s get … Continue reading Royal Wedding Liveblog

DIY Royals

I’ll admit to being a little bit of a royal family junkie, so naturally I’ve been following all the tidbits leading up to the much-ballyhooed royal wedding, and entertaining myself with all the absurd bric-a-brac now available for sale. Fine china with someone else’s wedding date on it? Why would you want that? Or a cheap knockoff of the engagement ring? This, however, totally cracked … Continue reading DIY Royals

Heads Will Roll

On February 8, 1587, Mary, former Queen of Scotland, officially wore out her welcome in England. After an almost 20 year imprisonment, she was executed at Fotheringhay Castle after being implicated in the Babington Plot against Queen Elizabeth’s life. She was 44 years old when she died.

Mary’s life has been much romanticized in the four centuries since her death, and while she wasn’t a bad person necessarily, she was a pretty good example of why an inherited monarchy isn’t always such a good idea. She tried, but she was flighty and giddy and very unsuited to her job. Though to be fair, the cards were pretty much stacked against her from the get-go.

Scotland, at the time, was a difficult country full of fractious nobles with too much power and all seeming to lay claim to the throne. It took a firm hand to rule them. Mary was six days old when she inherited the throne. As a child, she was betrothed to the eldest son of Henry II of France, and at the age of five she was sent to France to be raised alongside her fiance, Francois. By the time she returned to Scotland in 1561 (following Francois’s death), she was more French than Scottish; a stranger in her own land. Scotland, at that time, was undergoing some major religious upheaval, with many people turning from Catholicism to Protestantism. Mary was a devout Catholic. Mary tried to appease the Protestants by tolerating the new religion and inviting several Protestants to join her Privy Council. Many of her countrymen, however, still viewed her with suspicion.

Continue reading “Heads Will Roll”