...making decisions on the basis of what seems best instead of following some single doctrine or style.
Me in a nutshell!!!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Made some changes...

I have made some serious changes to my blog. I have included my favorite books, my favorite DVDs, upcoming releases,all of which link to Blogging is all new to me, it's been fun catching on.
Now if I can figure out how to customize the layout better, I will be a happy camper. I will be working on it. I haven't been adding any historical royal triva since I have been updating, but will very soon. I hope you all like the changes made. Some good reading and viewing recommendations.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

hosted by:
~Grab your current read
~Open to a random page
~Share with us two "teaser" sentences from that page somewhere in the middle
~Make sure to share the title and author of the book


Today's Teaser:

From: The Virgin Queen's Daughter a novel by: Ella March Chase

I am just about done with The Kings Fool and looking forward to reading this newly released novel. It looks very interesting. Some new thought in Tudor History.

In her sweepoing historical debut, Ella March Chase explores a thrilling possiblity: that the Tudor bloodline did not end with the Virgin Queen...

I am always looking for a fresh voice with a different perspective in history. I am hoping this book will fill the bill.

My teasers:

"Malcontents who would believe their lot would be bettered with a different ruler vie for power, not caring what ruin they leave the country in when they are through."

"It is the only way to keep the wolves away from the royal ewes, to curb rampant ambition"

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Royal Entertainment Review...

Monarchy with David Starkey Vol.1 - I just started this series, and I am really enjoying it. Volume 1 covers the early kings, post Roman Empire in Britain through the establishment of the House of Tudor. This is a 1,000 years of history to cover in only 160 minutes. It is a very fast paced, yet a very informative look at Medieval English history. Dr. David Starkey is one of England's most renowned historians, he has written several books on British history. He knows his stuff, that's for sure. I really don't know when the man comes up for breath during his narration.

He covers: All the important players from Ethelred, Alfred the Great, Norman Invasion, The Plantagents to the Tudors. This is a historical documentary with actors~don't expect anything like Showtime's Tudors. Overall the series has been very informative, sometimes confusing, but for the most part entertaining. I am going to keep watching it and look forward to Volume 2.

One complaint I have is that Dr. Starkey concentrates mainly on the male regents and gives very little information on their queens. Eleanore of Aquitaine is barley mentioned. He does give some information re: Isabella queen to Edward II and Elizabeth Woodville, queen to Edward IV.
He had such a vast amount of information to cover in such a short amount of time that it is forgivable to leave out the ladies, but I do hope he will do a documentary just on the Queens of England.

I give this **** 4 stars out of 5

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Teaser Tuesday...

Teaser Tuesday hosted by:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share with us two "teaser" sentences from that page somewhere in the middle
  • Make sure to share the title and author of the book


Today's Teaser: King's Fool A Nortorious King, His Six Wives, and the One Man Who Knew All Their Secrets~Margaret Campbell Barnes

I am loving this book. This subject never gets old to me, and I always love to read a different perspective. This is written in first person by the King's fool Will Somers about his life in Henry's court with Henry and his six wives. Originally published in 1959 , now reprinted with a beautiful new cover in 2009.

" I let the pups slide down my body and, standing there motionless in the warm morning sunlight, it was as if an arrow loosed by some unseen archer had pierced my heart."

"Men turned and stared, mouths agape, and all that was decent in most of us momentarily envied him from the safe distance of our contemptible subservience to easy living."

Friday, April 17, 2009

Giveaway! The Wise Woman

I am currently going through my books. While doing so, I have discovered, that I have so many, I need to do a purging. So over the next few months I am going to be doing a Giveaway from time to time on this blog. Some of these books I am very fond of and would like to share with others, and some are brand new that I have never gotten around to reading. All the books I will be giving away will be by well known authors, recommended to me and if not brand new, in excellent condition. Contest rules at bottom of post. Best of Luck!

~The Wise Woman: by Phillippa Gregory ~
Alys, a 16th century Wise Woman in Henry VIII England
Is she a witch? For you to find out!
Brand new copy~never read.
Contest Rules:
1. Leave me a comment on this post with your email address. No email~no entry
2. Another entry if you post about this contest on your blog. Please leave me a link for verification.
3. Another entry if you become a follower or subscribe to this blog.
4. Sorry, due to shipping costs I can only ship within US or Canada. No international entrys please. I will ship book overnight mail so no P.O. boxes please.
Contest entry deadline: midnight May 1, 2009
Good Luck!

Origins of Medieval Knighthood...

To coincide with our HFBRT The Scarlet Lion by Elizabeth Chadwick event I have decided to do my creative post on Medieval Knighthood.

William Marshall being The Greatest Knight and my 27th great grandfather sparked a keen interest in me to explore the origins of Knighthood in the Middle Ages further.

Through my research I have learned that knight is a "gentleman soldier". Knighthood in the Middle Ages found it's genesis with the Emperor Charlemagne, King of Franks in the 8th century. It was during the Crusades in the 11th century that knights began to gain their notoriety. A well known and often legendary order of knighthood during this time was The Knights Templar; a holy order of knights which William Marshall always had an affinity towards and joined the order with instructions to the Templar's regarding his burial while on his death bed.

Basically a medieval knight was a warrior, from a middle to upper class family who was considered a protector and servant of the realm. They really held no political office, knighthood was granted by the sovereign to a selected person for some merit of achievement.

In the medieval era only the sons of a knight were eligible for knighthood. These young men who were singled out were sent off to a castle as pages, and then later squires for other knights. Around the age of 20 they would be admitted to their rank and expected to obey the code of chivalry at all times, no failure was accepted.

It would be rare, if not impossible during the middle ages for a poor man to become a knight. The heavy armor worn and weapons used by the soldier was very heavy and very expensive. The soldier needed family support to purchase his armor, and horse(s), it was not provided by the state, thus William's uncle was his sponsor and later through ransoms gained in battle or tournaments William supported himself. A knight rode into battle on horseback he was not a foot soldier.

In battle a knight would carry his colors on his horse, armor, or on a banner. This was an identification similar to dog tags used in today's military. His colors also indicated he was a knight, and if captured by the enemy was afforded military courtesy. Beginning in about the 12th century knights carried their color banners to tournaments for identification in the games.

These colors were actually the beginning elements of a family's coat of arms, which became very popular from the 12th century to present day.

Once a knight they were expected to obey the code chivalry at all times. Their social status was permanently controlled, and their lives were always under watchful eyes.

Below are the Ten Commandments of the Code of Chivalry:

1. Thou shalt believe all that the Church teaches, and shalt observe all its directions.
2. Thou shalt defend the Church.
3. Thou shalt respect all weaknesses, and shalt constitute thyself the defender of them.
4. Thou shalt love the country in the which thou wast born.
5. Thou shalt not recoil before thine enemy.
6. Thou shalt make war against the Infidel without cessation, and without mercy.
7. Thou shalt perform scrupulously thy feudal duties, if they be not contrary to the laws of God.
8. Thou shalt never lie, and shall remain faithful to thy pledged word.
9. Thou shalt be generous, and give largess to everyone.
10.Thou shalt be everywhere and always the champion of the Right and the Good against Injustice and Evil.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this HFBRT event it's been my favorite so far. I hope you all will pick-up a copy of both The Greatest Knight and The Scarlet Lion by Elizabeth Chadwick. I cannot recommend these two books enough. You will be in for a treat.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Scottish Treasure...

What is the definition of Treasure? ~Something considered especially precious or valuable.

Susan Boyle is Scotland's new valuable possession, one that should be considered especially precious. She's a treasure, one that has attracted phenomenal, international attention since her April 11 debut audition on Britain's Got Talent.

What makes her such a treasure? To me it is her ability to get past the obvious mockery of her peers and completely touch the inner most sanctum of your soul with her inner beauty, that just flows out of her through her extraordinary talent.

To me she just personifies beauty at it's best; her gracious manners, her virtue, bravery, talent and calibre of her character. Every interview I see with her, she impresses me more.

She has just gobsmacked us all! From this American fan, Susan, I wish you good luck and say to you Well Done!!!!

Susan's audition video link:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What's in a surname? Today's Royal Trivia...

You've heard of the Tudors, Plantagenet's, and Windsors, but what about the Saxe-Coburg and Gothas? Have you ever wondered about the origin of the House of Windsor which is the official surname of the current Royal Family?

Interestingly enough the current Royals assigned the name of Windsor for themselves. Originally their surname was Saxe-Coburg and Gothas. Queen Victoria married Prince Albert Saxe-Coburg and Gothas the son of Duke Ernst I of Germany, this union gave her children and descendants the surname Saxe-Coburg and Gothas. The Royals used this surname until the regin of George V, Queen Victoria's grandson.

During the reign of George V, Britain was embroiled in World War I and there was much anti-Germanic feelings in Britain at the time. The local people did not look fondly on the Royal family being of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gothas with it's Germanic roots. It all came to a head when in March 1917 a German bomber called the Gotha G.IV crossed the English Channel and began bombing London directly. The British citizens were highly offended that the bomber had part of the Royal Family's surname. George V became determined to remove all German royal titles to his family and change the surname to an Anglican name. By a Royal Proclamation, King George changed the Royal Family surname from Saxe-Coburg and Gothas to Windsor.

The name of Windsor has always been associated with royalty and it seemed to fit just fine and satisfy the offended feelings of the British citizens. Thus today the Royal Family is of the House of Windsor, and the family members that are not so royal use the surname of Windsor.

Hope you enjoyed today's trivia. I always love comments. If there is any piece of Royal trivia you would like to have more information on please let me know.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Today's Royal Trivia...

The Hanoverians (Hannoveraner)

Six British monarchs, including Queen Victoria and the infamous King George III during the American Revolution, were members of the German House of Hanover:

George I (ruled 1714-1727)
George II (ruled 1727-1760)
George III (ruled 1760-1820)
George IV (ruled 1820-1830)
William IV (ruled 1830-1837)
Victoria (ruled 1837-1901)

Before becoming the first British king of the Hanoverian line in 1714, George I (who spoke more German than English) had been the Duke of Brunswick-Lüneberg (der Herzog von Braunschweig-Lüneberg). The first three royal Georges in the House of Hannover (also known as the House of Brunswick, Hanover Line) were also electors and dukes of Brunswick-Lüneberg. Between 1814 and 1837 the British monarch was also the king of Hanover, then a kingdom in what is now Germany.

Why the Hanoverian Kings in the first place? The Stuart royal line descending from James I died out with Anne the daughter of James II not leaving any heirs. The act of succession then reverted back to the next available heir which was Sophia of Hanover who was the daughter of Frederick V, Elector Palatine, of the House of Wittelsbach, the "Winter King" of Bohemia and Elizabeth Stuart daughter of James I. Sophia would have been the next monarch had she not died a few weeks prior to Anne's death. Upon Anne's death the line of succession went to Sophia's son George I the great grandson of James I.

Today's Book Recommendation

Legacy: by Susan Kay ***** (five stars)


I read this book when it first came out in paper back in 1987. I was taking care of my mother after her surgery and found the book on the turn style at the Pharmacy. The back cover looked interesting, but I had no idea then that I would not be able to put this book down.

Elizabeth has never been my most favorite monarch, but after reading this book I came away with a whole new admiration for her.

I cannot recommend this book enough. For readers, it's a complete treasure.

The only problem is that it is out of print and you need to go on Ebay to buy it. I have passed my copy around and all who have read this have loved it and found a copy of their own.

This book is worth the search and don't let it out of your library. It' s a keeper to be re-read many times!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

April 9, 2009

John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster

My featured Ancestor of the week is John "of Gaunt" 1st Duke of Lancaster/Prince of England (6 March 1340 - 3 February 1399).

I descend from this fascinating man through my 9Th great grandmother Elizabeth Brooke, the wife of Sir Thomas Wyatt.

John was the third son of Edward III the Plantagenet King of England and Philippa of Hainault. His name "Gaunt" came from the fact that he was born in Ghent, in today's Belgium. The English pronunciation is Gaunt.

John married his 1st wife Blanche of Lancaster, daughter of Henry of Grosmont in 1359. John's father-in-law died in 1361 leaving John half of his lands and the title Earl of Lancaster. Though Blanche was Henry's daughter all of the inheritance went to the husband. This tidy bequeath made John the greatest landowner in north of England. John's father Edward III, King of England made John the Duke of Lancaster 13 November 1362, leaving John well established, owning thirty castles and estates across England and France.

Poor Blanche died of the Plague in 1369 while John was at sea, leaving eight children, one who would become Henry IV King of England after the death of Richard II. Thus begins the House of Lancaster, which will bring on the War of the Roses. The House of Lancaster being represented by the red rose.

John remarried Constance of Castile, daughter of King Peter of Castile in 1371. Their daughter would become Queen of Castile by marrying Henry III of Castile. Constance died in 1394.

After the death of his 2nd wife, John was able to marry his long time mistress Katerine De Rot Swynford the widow of Sir Hugh Swynford. Katherine and John had five children together prior to their marriage in 1396 which were known as the Beauforts. These children were legitimised by King Richard II and the Church, but excluded from inheriting the throne. From Katherine and John's granddaughter Margaret Beufort later came King Henry VII who would nevertheless claim the throne at the battle of Bosworth.

From Henry the IV until present day all Kings and Queens of England descend from John of Gaunt. You can see the royal genealogy on .

My mother's family descends from the John and Katherine through their only daughter
Joan De Beaufort who married Ralph De Neville.

John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster Coat of Arms

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