According to the great diarist, John Evelyn, Charles II was ‘addicted to women’, and throughout his long reign a great many succumbed to his charms. Clever, urbane and handsome, Charles presided over a hedonistic court, in which licence and licentiousness prevailed. Mistresses is the story of the women who shared Charles’s bed, each of whom wielded […]
Linda Porter, author of Mistresses: Sex and Scandal at the Court of Charles II, writes about Hortense Mancini, the beautiful but unconventional niece of Cardinal Mazarin who became the king’s last mistress. Everyone knows that Charles II was an amorous king. The Restoration court was renowned for glamorous women parading their charms in the latest […]
A dangerous secret lies beneath Whitehall Palace… Brother against brother. Father against son. Friends turned into enemies. No one in England wants a return to the bloody days of the Civil War. But Oliver Cromwell’s son, Richard, has abandoned his exile and slipped back into England. The consequences could be catastrophic. James Marwood, a traitor’s […]
Exactly 350 years ago, on 31 May, 1669, Samuel Pepys stopped writing his diary and our intimate view of life in London in the 17th century was suddenly cut short, writes novelist Deborah Swift. She tells Historia what we’re missing as a result.
“All lines converged on the Dragon Yard case and the Fire Court at Clifford’s Inn.” But in Andrew Taylor’s second book in the James Marwood and Cat Lovett series, set in London just after the Great Fire, those lines tangle and twist fiendishly before coming together, writes Frances Owen. It’s 1667. James Marwood, son of […]
For National Tea Day, Isabel Stilwell investigates the story of Catherine of Braganza, the queen who popularised Britain’s favourite drink. In 1777 a Frenchman came to Portugal as a spy, and to prove his point that the country was utterly under British influence, he wrote: “The Portuguese copy the English to such an extent, that they […]
On May 9, 1671, at a little before 7am on a chilly spring morning, a tall, handsome, middle-aged man calling himself Thomas Ayliffe, and dressed in the severe black gown and square white collar of a humble country parson, presented himself at the door of the Irish Tower in the northeast corner of the Tower of London. He […]
Four of my novels have been set in the seventeenth century, and for all of them I have used Pepys’ Diary as an integral part of my research process. In the process, I became fascinated by the women who appear as vague figures in the background, between the lines, always overshadowed by Pepys’ ebullient presence. […]