charles II

Minette promo

My poor little mother was on the run from Parliament’s forces when I was born. Sickly, exhausted, frantic about the fate of her husband and other children and massively pregnant, she was forced to seek refuge in the west country city of Exeter and gave birth to me there in a rickety little house close to the centre of town. Mam was so thin and unwell that she fully expected to die in childbirth and in her despair and anxiety even wrote a will and instructions for her burial in Exeter Cathedral. She was also worried sick about the coming […]


Princess Mary Stuart

One of my all time favourite characters (she was a bit of a scene stealer in my novel Minette, about her younger sister, Henrietta), Princess Mary Henrietta Stuart was born on the fourth of November 1631 in St James’ Palace, London, the eldest daughter of Charles I and his tiny, exquisite French wife Henrietta Maria. Doting parents anyway (although Henrietta Maria could be something of a termagant), the royal couple absolutely adored their bright and pretty eldest girl, who was given the title Princess Royal in 1642, setting a precedent that endures to this day. Princess Mary of England, Van […]


Windsor Castle

When I posted the other day about my forthcoming fortieth birthday (eek!), many of you expressed astonishment that I had ‘visit Windsor Castle’ on my Things To Do Before I Turn Forty List. Which is fair enough – after all, I am a history blogger and have been resident in the UK for my entire life so far so how come I’ve never managed to visit? The thing is that I HAD actually been to Windsor Castle before. Well, sort of. I spent a lovely afternoon in the private bit of the estate, near Frogmore House, there a couple of […]


The Libertine

John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester, Huysmans, Private Collection. Photo: my own. Today marks the 384th birthday of one of my most favourite British kings, Charles II and what more fitting way could there be to commemorate it than with a review of the play The Libertine, which I saw last night at Bristol’s iconic Old Vic theatre and which focusses on the fall from grace of Charles’ most infamous and charismatic courtier, John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester. Like a lot of impressionable goth adolescent girls, I developed quite a hefty crush on Milord Rochester back in the day […]