Every so often in the UK, with it being a monarchy, there comes the madness of a royal wedding and the increasingly insane media circus around it. Think Meghan Markle, Kate Middleton and Diana Spencer, and you get the idea. However, this is nothing new. Back in 1791, the bridegroom was Frederick, Duke of York - second and favourite son of King George III. The bride was Princess Frederica Charlotte, daughter of the King of Prussia. The media in Britain, longing for one of
It’s a beautiful day here, and a perfect one to go somewhere just as beautiful, famous for its great romance. Behold the splendour of Hever Castle, childhood home of Anne Boleyn. A smitten Henry VIII came to stay here, or sometimes stayed a few miles away at a hunting lodge to protect Anne’s reputation while being close to the woman he adored. In the end, knowing he could not have her unless he offered marriage, he divorced his wife and made Anne queen! Love conquers all!
Who says that love at first sight doesn't exist? And who says that historical tales of aristocrats falling madly in love forever are unrealistic? Behold the true story of Charles Lennox, Earl of March. Lord March was the heir of the Duke of Richmond, an illegitimate son of King Charles II. In 1719, with March having racked up large debts, Richmond arranged a marriage between his son and Sarah Cadogan, daughter of a wealthy Irish peer. So far, so standard for Georgian aris
When reading historical novels, it is all too easy to point the finger at the wilder heroines and declare, “She would NEVER have done that!” After all, surely all girls pre-1900 were terribly well-behaved and didn’t dare step outside convention? Surely the idea that they ran around or slept with men before they were married was preposterous, let alone for girls higher up the social scale? Surely this is just a case of writers imagining what they need? Well…no. It isn’t. A
On top of the Empire State Building. On an obscure beach in Kiribati. In the gardens of a palace you will never be allowed into. You know how it works - the Valentine's Day lists of Most Romantic Places that you can't afford (unless you actually live in Kiribati). Smug! Annoying! Totally unrealistic! Also, Valentine’s Day is just one day. The chance of having the big romantic kiss on 14th February is small, as well as too restrictive. No! It’s time to capture the momen
When reading historical fiction, it isn’t uncommon to have a man marrying someone ‘beneath him’ – witness Mr Darcy, who for all Elizabeth’s claims that they are both gentlemen’s children, knows that her family is “decidedly beneath my own”. However, Darcy had the man’s unquestioned right to choose. It was far less common to see a woman marry ‘beneath her’, but the Georgian period provides two fascinating examples with two very different outcomes. The Bad – Mary, Countess of
When the celebrated Georgette Heyer discussed her heroes, she was clear that she deliberately put them into two categories, effectively alpha and beta. Beta heroes - Gilly, Freddy Standen or Gervase Frant - are generally easy-going, quietly-spoken types, usually humorous and sometimes shy. Their alpha cousins, on the other hand, are far more dominant. Authoritative, powerful and demanding, the alpha men of Heyer are unmistakable, yet they always retain humanity. The Marqui
It isn't a truth universally acknowledged, perhaps, but it still is one: while the redheaded heroine is always in vogue, romance novels have a distinct lack of heroes the same. There are Titian girls, auburn girls, and tempestuous flamingly red-haired girls, yet want a ginger leading man, you'll be looking hard. I have come across a couple. There was a great Mills & Boon I read with a heroine called Kitty Anderson, where the hero was a lovely, laidback Rufus who kept making