Category Archives: History

George Boleyn: Tudor Poet, Courtier & Diplomat by Clare Cherry and Claire Ridgway

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The reader could be forgiven for assuming there is not enough left of George Boleyn to fill a book. After all his sister, the enigmatic Queen Anne Boleyn, has been the subject of centuries of debate, intense scrutiny and research. Even their eldest sister Mary, who left a single letter behind, is the subject of not one, but two biographies. The reader would also be forgiven for wondering what two historical researchers with a passion for Tudor history, one a first-time author, could offer us in regards to a man who lived in the shadow of his sisters for almost five centuries. What George Boleyn: Tudor Poet, Courtier & Diplomat offers us is not only an academic and exhaustive study of the life of George Boleyn, but a fascinating insight into the life of a courtier in the court of the notorious King Henry VIII.

The Third Plantagenet – George Duke of Clarence by John Ashdown-Hill

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Ενα παιδάκι είχε πέσει, λέει [το παραμύθι], σ’ένα πηγάδι κι είχε βρήκε μιάν πεντάμορφη πολιτεία – βαθιά περιβóλια, θυμούμαι, μέλι, ρυζóγαλο, παιχνιδάκια …

[The story] says that a little boy fell into a well, and there he found a wonderland – a city with great surrounding walls and, as I recall, honey, rice pudding, toys …

(N. Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek (trans. J. Ashdown-Hill) 7th ed. (Athens: 1973, pp.212–13)

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There is something very poignant about the image of a little boy falling into a well and finding his heart’s desires, something that reminded John Ashdown-Hill of a young boy’s ambitions, but also his eventual tragic demise.

Hilary Mantel’s Royal Women

henrysqueensI’ve been watching with interest the storm of controversy regarding author Hilary Mantel which started late last night here, and is still flooding my Facebook news-feed. The Daily Mail published this article  with selected quotes from a piece by Hilary Mantel entitled Royal Bodies, in which she calls Kate Middleton a “plastic princess”.

As is to be expected, people are rushing to Mantel’s defense saying the article quoted her out of context, as of course it has. The Daily Mail does make a rather vague reference to Mantel’s original article half-way through or so;

Sister Queens Katherine of Aragon and Juana Queen of Castile by Julia Fox

Katherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s first bride, has become an icon: the betrayed wife, the revered Queen, the devoted mother, a woman callously cast aside by a selfish husband besotted by his strumpet of a mistress. Her sister, Juana of Castile, wife of Philip of Burgundy and mother of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, the most powerful man in Renaissance Europe, is still more of a legend. She is ‘Juana the Mad’, the wife so passionately in love with her husband that she could not bear to be parted from him even by death, keeping his coffin by her side for year upon year. They were Sister Queens – the accomplished daughters of Ferdinand and Isabella, the founders of a unified Spain.

Anne Boleyn by Norah Lofts – There Be Witches Here…

The Norah Lofts Anne Boleyn book was not even of my to-read pile. I found it when I went hunting through some boxes for a small pile of Tudor books I knew I had somewhere.  I opened it to show Craig some of the colour plates, of which there are many. That is easily the best feature of the book, it contains several of Holbein’s portraits and a few Tudor artifacts thrown in here and there.

I decided to read the first page and this caught my eye