Tag Archives: Charles II

Monmouth’s Resting Place in the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula

On Monday the 15th of July, I went to Tower Hill where I spoke about the life of James Scott, Duke of Monmouth. I will now include photos and excerpts I used from contemporary sources. It was a beautiful day to remember a beautiful man. It was a very hot and sunny, and I bought two bouquets of… Read on

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The Allure of the Royal Mistress

My article, “The Allure of the Royal Mistress” is now available on The Huffington Post. Below, I have images of the women I mention in the article: 1) Aspasia, mistress of Pericles: 2) Queen Cleopatra of Egypt: 3) Diane de Poitiers: 4) Anne Boleyn: 5) Nell Gwynn: 6) Barbara Palmer (Villiers): 7) Madame de Montespan: 8) Madame de… Read on

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“In Fine Style: The Art of Tudor & Stuart Fashion” Review

I recently went to the amazing “In Fine Style: The Art of Tudor & Stuart Fashion” in the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace. I had just finished tours at Kensington Palace and then took the Number 9 bus (a Routemaster) from Palace Gate to Green Park and then walked across the beautiful Green Park towards Buckingham Palace. I… Read on

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Excerpts from John Dryden’s Poetical Works

The 313th anniversary of the death of the major seventeenth-century Restoration dramatist and first Poet Laureate, John Dryden, occurred recently on the 1st of May (1700). I felt quite bad about neglecting such an event, so here’s my little homage to Dryden’s work: King David, from “Absalom and Achitophel”: In pious times, ere priestcraft did begin, Before polygamy… Read on

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The Birth of Queen Mary II

That beauteous, intelligent, sensitive woman, Mary Stuart, who later became Queen Mary II of England, Scotland, and Ireland, was born on this day 30th of April, 1662.   Her mother was Anne Hyde, a commoner who had become the Duchess of York upon marrying James, Duke of York, younger brother to Charles II. The birth took place at… Read on

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Dashing but Doomed: the Duke of Monmouth

[This is available as a podcast on iTunes] He was unquestionably one of the handsomest of the Stuart men. Tall, dark, and seductive, James Crofts, later James Scott, Duke of Monmouth, was born in Rotterdam, the Dutch Republic, on the 9th of April 1649, to an exiled King Charles II and his mistress Lucy Walter. James had a… Read on

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17th Century Rake – John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester

Code Red – we have a 17th Century Rake Alert!!! John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester, who in his thirty-three years of life was one of the most dissolute, reckless, cocksure members of Charles II’s Merry Gang – a collection of the most lusty, debauched personages at the Restoration court. Born on 1 April, 1647, he was an… Read on

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James I’s Death & Charles I’s Ascension to the Throne

James I of England, VI of Scotland, died on the 27th of March, 1625. He ruled over what is commonly referred to as the Jacobean era, which witnessed a continuance in the flourishing of art and theatre with the likes of William Shakespeare. Sir Walter Raleigh was executed under James I, and the infamous Gunpowder Plot of 1605 occurred during the… Read on

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A Ballad call’d the Hay-Markett Hectors

The following excerpt is attributed to Andrew Marvell: I sing a Woofull Ditty Of a Wound that long will smart-a Given (the more’s the Pitty) In the Realme of Magna Charta: Youth! Youth! thou’dst better be slaine by thy Foes Than live to hang’d for cutting a Nose. Our good King Charles the Second Too flippant of Treasure… Read on

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Anne Hyde – The Commoner Who Became a Duchess

Anne Hyde, daughter of the Earl of Clarendon and Frances Aylesbury, was born on this day 12 March, 1637. Some people think that our current Duchess of Cambridge, the lovely Catherine, is the first commoner to have married an heir to the throne. Au contraire, one of the first ones was this lady, Anne… We must go back… Read on

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Lucy Walter – Charles II’s Welsh Beauty

One of Charles II’s earliest great passions, Lucy Walter, sometimes Lucy Barlow, a Royalist exile of Welsh ancestry who became his bedfellow (possibly his wife) and then the mother of his son, James, the future doomed Duke of Monmouth. Lucy, born around 1630, was considered to be a stunningly beautiful, but quite vapid, woman. The image that has comes… Read on

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Elegant Evelyn

John Evelyn is my favourite diarist of the 17th century. Why? He calmly noted things that happened, what he observed, with none of the high marital drama that Pervy Pepys recounted in his diary. Also, he was far more prolific in his writing than the far more popular Pepys – he travelled extensively for man of his time,… Read on

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Henrietta Wentworth – The Woman Who Stole a Duke’s Heart

I’ve been researching Henrietta Wentworth in more depth since beginning my novella about her relationship with the Duke of Monmouth. I find her fascinating, though some of my peers seem quite happy to brush her off as “dull.” I don’t see that, I see a woman who did what other women could not do – have a truly… Read on

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Lucrezia Borgia, Stuart ancestress?

Lucrezia Borgia is one of those figures in history that we are taught to believe was a really evil person. The name of Borgia alone conjures up a images of poison, ruthless ambition, incest, cruelty, among other unsavoury traits. More than likely, what we’ve learned about her is from anti-Borgia propaganda, and therefore, not to be taken as… Read on

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Stage Beauty

Stage Beauty, is a film from 2004 which starred Claire Danes as the first actress, Margaret Hughes, and Billy Crudup, as Ned Kynaston. The film is based on the play, “Compleat Female Stage Beauty” by Jeffrey Hatcher. Ned Kynaston is a shining star of Restoration-era drama, and his over-feminine portrayal of Desdemona in Shakespeare’s Othello is popular. He relishes his female… Read on

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King Richard III & the 17th Century

The humans remains found a few months ago buried in a car park in Leicester have today been confirmed as being those of King Richard III! Richard III has had a very bad reputation for hundreds of years – often described as being one of the worst monarchs to rule England. His time period is, granted, not my… Read on

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The Lady and the Highwayman

The Lady and the Highwayman, from 1989, starred Hugh Grant as Lord Lucius Vyne, also known as Silver Blade, the Royalist highwayman, and the beautiful Lysette Anthony as Panthea Vyne, the young lady he has promised to protect. Panthea’s story takes place after the English Civil War during the Interregnum in which Oliver Cromwell was Lord Protector. Panthea, beautiful, sweet,… Read on

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Vile Villiers

During the Seventeenth Century the Villiers were one of the most socially ambitious families in England. The following are some of the most notorious of the lot… George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham Ah, the first of the ambitious Villiers. Pretty-boy George was so incredibly beautiful that he immediately came to the attention of King James I. Now,… Read on

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The Fabulous Peter Lely

Famous for the sensual portraits known as “The Windsor Beauties,” Lely was the leading portrait painter of the Restoration. He died on this day 30th November, 1680. Lely, whose birth name was Pieter van der Faes, was born to Dutch parents in Germany, and he trained in art in Haarlem, back in the Dutch Republic. He made portraits… Read on

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The Royal Society

“The Royal Society of London for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge” was founded on this day 28th November, 1660, and was signed into being by Royal Charter under King Charles II. Twelve important men of the day, including Christopher Wren, John Evelyn, Robert Boyle, John Wilkins, Sir Robert Moray, and William, Viscount Brouncker, met at Gresham College and formed… Read on

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William Penn’s Philadelphia

Philadelphia was founded on this day 27 October, 1682 by English Quaker William Penn. Penn had been given the land first by King Charles II and then supported by Charles’s brother, the Catholic King James II of England. William Penn himself had been born on the 14th of October, 1644 in Tower Hill, London, and later baptised at All Hallows-by-the-Tower,… Read on

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“The Wild, The Beautiful, & The Damned” Exhibition

Historic Royal Palaces have put on a brilliant exhibition at Hampton Court Palace of the decadence of the late Stuart court. I had a good chat with curator Brett Dolman about the exhibition and we both agreed that the Late Stuart period has been overlooked by many. He and his team did an excellent job of bringing the… Read on

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