On TV: Revisting Reign’s first season and the horrors of “historical fanfiction”, ahem

Though I don’t 100% agree with the author’s opinions, I definitely think that you can do so much better in learning (and actually enjoying!) history than “Reign”. I know it was never touted as historically accurate, and the author of this article acknowledges that *cough*fellow commenters please read the article more carefully*cough*, like them, I feel that it’s much better to be generally accurate to avoid disrespecting, defaming, and/or grossly oversimplifying historical events and figures and so even in historical fiction, I feel that the people behind them have a sort-of unspoken obligation to at least try to be accurate as far as they can go and allow for their fiction.

The Blog

Dear CW,

CANCEL REIGN NOW! Okay, seriously. I know it is highly improbable that someone with the power of canceling Reign would come across this article or take advice from me, but hey, it’d be just better if it got canceled and its budget went to a more deserving series. Even though I wouldn’t wrap my head around it too much since it seems like the type that gets canceled early (but we’ll see about that). Anyways, for the uninitiated, Reign is an American television series that focuses on Mary, Queen of Scots’ (Adelaide Kane) early life. And not only it is underwhelming in its very own self-designed guilty pleasure way, it is also plainly historically inaccurate.

This fits with the CW’s problem with adaptations, since it is adapted from HISTORY itself. Historical fiction is by no means always bad, but it’s definitely better if it retains at least a certain amount of factual history. But in true…

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A Formative Childhood? A Comparison of the Reigns of Mary Stuart and Elizabeth Tudor

A well-written, well-researched, and generally balanced article that seems to get more and more fascinating every time I reread it, especially as I get to know the intriguing and much-misunderstood figures of Mary, Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I of England. 🙂

The Creation of Anne Boleyn

Above: queens, cousins, rivals. Mary Stuart, queen consort of France and queen regnant of Scotland (left) and Elizabeth Tudor, queen regnant of England (right). Above: queens, cousins, rivals. Mary Stuart, queen consort of France and queen regnant of Scotland (left) and Elizabeth Tudor, queen regnant of England (right).

Conor Byrne is a history student at the University of Exeter whose research interests include gender, cultural, and social history. His excellent blog focuses on historical issues but also touches upon contemporary political and social events. 

Being a queen regnant in sixteenth-century Europe was no easy task. Prevailing misogynistic notions questioned whether women, as the inferior sex, had the right to rule over their male superiors. John Knox, the vehement Scottish Protestant preacher, opined in his The first blast of the trumpet against the monstrous regiment of women, attacking the rule of female monarchs such as Mary Tudor and Mary of Guise and published in 1558, that female rule was contrary to Biblical law. He bitterly concluded: ‘For their [women’s] sight in ciulie regiment, is but blindnes:…

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The Sisters Tudor: An Evolution in Evaluating Mary I and Elizabeth I

Interesting and well-written article…what do you guys think?

The Creation of Anne Boleyn

Mary and Elizabeth TudorThe following post is from Natalie Sweet, research assistant to Susan Bordo. She is the creator of Semper Eadem: An Elizabeth I Blog, and is currently at work on a book project that focuses on life within Abraham Lincoln’s White House (you can read a sample of that project here). The following is taken from a piece Natalie wrote in 2008, Two Tudor Monarchs: Analyzing Queenship in Early Modern England.

Scholarly literature on the two Tudor queens regnant, Mary I and Elizabeth I, suggests a number of past themes about their reigns. Authors once obsessed over Mary’s “bloody” moniker and Catholic faith, while others analyzed Elizabeth’s Protestant policies and her “Glorianna” status.  In the late twentieth century, however, the development of fields in women’s history and gender analysis signaled new ways in which to conceptualize the two sisters.  Obviously, historians had always recognized the fact that Mary…

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Isabella Stewart Gardner: the Lady, the Legend, the Legacy ~ a guest post by Alexandra G. Kiely

Although not a member of the royalty or nobility as is usually my type when reading about and learning history, I still found this article about the interesting Isabella Stewart Gardner enjoyable and informative. I recommend reading this if you wish to know more about her in a more or less objective manner and having the facts presented well! 🙂

The Freelance History Writer

Alexandra is a twenty-something art historian and researcher with omnivorous interests in arts, culture, and history. She is also a figure skater and a dancer. Read more about her various intellectual pursuits at ascholarlyskater.wordpress.com.

Isabella Stewart Gardner in Venice, 1894 as painted by Anders Zorn Isabella Stewart Gardner in Venice, 1894 as painted by Anders Zorn

Isabella Stewart Gardner. Even among the ranks of art collectors – glamorous and fascinating characters all – that name looms large. A rare, early female art collector, and more importantly a female who founded her own museum, she was a powerful member of late nineteenth-century Boston’s influential upper crust. She was a woman of great curiosity and fierce intellect who travelled the world and made friends with the likes of Henry James, but she was also the subject of sensational news stories in her day and extravagant legends in ours. Her name will forever be associated with the mysterious and still-unsolved 1990 robbery that…

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Formidable Women – Rosalind Franklin (1920 – 1958)

A fascinating post about a woman who has suffered from the Matilda effect in being given due recognition for her efforts, works, and achievements in the field of science but has now thankfully been generally recognized for them — showing that the Matilda effect *can* be overcome if people just work together and try their best to give credit where it is due. But it is still sad that her contributions were not recognized immediately and attributed to male scientists and by the time that people realized their mistakes, it was really quite too late.

Gerhart von Kap-herr

rosalind Franklin

On the days preceding and ending with International Women’s Day, I intended to write about four formidable women from history, to remind people of the recognition they deserved but were often denied. However, I had scheduled a memorial service in the local church for the two women who had been dearest to me for March 8th. Subsequently, preoccupied with remembered loss and sorrow, I was unable to write anything on that very special day.

Now, I am Europe for a month to visit friends and relatives in Austria and Germany, perhaps for the last time. However, I must still tell you, to give her, her due, of my impressions of “The Dark Lady of DNA,” as she was titled by her biographer, Brenda Maddox.

Today, let us remember…

Rosalind Franklin (1920 – 1958)


Rosalind Elsie Franklin was born in London, England in 1920. She was an extremely…

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The Princess and the Eye Patch

Here’s an article about a fascinating Renaissance-era woman who definitely needs more interest from modern viewers! 😀

Columbia Classical Fencing, LLC

Doña Ana de Mendoza y de la Cerda_400Doña Ana de Mendoza, the Princess of Éboli, is a woman full of historic intrigue and mystery. Fascination of her is fueled not only by her legendary beauty, courtly manipulations, and murderous plot, but also the mystery surrounding an alleged fencing accident and her eye patch. She has captivated attention for centuries, been immortalized in opera by Verdi, portrayed in Hollywood by Olivia de Haviland, and is the subject of numerous books and video productions.  So who is Doña Ana de Mendoza and why is she wearing an eye patch?

A Very Brief Biography
Born in 1540 into the powerful house of Mendoza, Doña Ana was the daughter of Diego Hurtado de Mendoza and Catherine de Silva.  Doña Ana endured what appears to be a dysfunctional home life as a child, including the embarrassment of her father’s infamous philandering, something not accepted in 16th Century Spain.  Little is known of…

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Lady Margaret Beaufort, The King’s Mother

I recommend my fellow English royal history aficionados to read this well-written and informative article on another of my favorite historical figures, Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby. 🙂

The Freelance History Writer

Lady Margaret Beaufort at Prayer from the National Portrait Gallery (Image in the public domain) Lady Margaret Beaufort at Prayer from the National Portrait Gallery (Image in the public domain)

Lady Margaret Beaufort was the matriarch of the Tudor dynasty of Kings in England. Her life was greatly influenced by the turning of the Wheel of Fortune. That she managed to survive the vagaries of the War of Roses in England is something at which to be marveled. We have the memories of her confessor, John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester and Margaret gave him permission to share these memories after her death. Fisher saw the emotional Margaret but most people saw the steely, self-controlled Margaret of politics. She had great presence and a forceful personality. She was skilled and effective and could be ruthless.

Margaret was born on May 31, 1443 at Bletso in Bedfordshire. She was the daughter of John, Earl of Somerset. Somerset was a grandson of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster…

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Elizabeth of York, Queen of England

An informative, well-researched, and more or less accurate article on one of my favorite historical figures and English queens, Elizabeth of York.

The Freelance History Writer

Portrait of Elizabeth of York, Queen of England Portrait of Elizabeth of York, Queen of England

Elizabeth of York symbolized the epitome of the perfect medieval queen. She was beautiful, charitable, and beloved by the people. By marrying Henry Tudor, who had taken the throne of England by conquest, the Houses of Lancaster and York were united and the War of the Roses came to an end. And Elizabeth was the mother of an heir who would become King Henry VIII of England and two of her daughters would become queens.

Elizabeth of York was born at the royal palace of Westminster on February 11, 1466. She was the eldest child of Queen Elizabeth Wydeville and King Edward IV of England. While she was still young she received religious instruction, learned manners, embroidery, music, singing, dancing and other necessary things in preparation for her role as a royal wife and mother. When Elizabeth was four years old, her…

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The Dowager Queen and Henry VIII’s Last Will

Very interesting indeed… For those who wish to learn more about Henry VIII’s somewhat enigmatic sixth wife who has been often overshadowed by her predecessors and successors, I recommend this blog post (and the rest of this blog, TBH) as it reveals a whole load of information about Catherine I didn’t really know before!


The Vultures are circling as Henry lies on his death bed. He is surrounded by his son, Edward, as the king prepares him to become the next Tudor king.

In 1544, it was apparent that Queen Katherine Parr had been acquainted with the terms of King Henry VIII’s will for it named Katherine regent for the young Prince Edward if he were to die while in France. The fact that Katherine had been named possible regent in the event of the sudden death of the king makes one wonder what the will of King Henry looked like when he died on 28 January 1547. For three days after the King’s death, the council convened while the outside world was unaware of what had happened. Even Henry’s other children were not told. This extremely disturbed the Lady Mary who at one time had been named Princess and heiress to her father’s…

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