elegance of history blog: History geek, avid reader and art lover. Here you will find random bits of history, book reviews and musings on art, literature, manners, life, music and anything else that interests me.
Prince Louis Stanislas Xavier, Count of Provence, always coveted the crown. Yet, no one thought he would really become king. Born on 17 November 1755 in Versailles, he was the third surviving on of the Dauphin Louis and his wife Maria Josepha of Saxony and far too removed from the crown for him to seriously
The Temple had been, as its name imported, the fortress and palace of the Knights Templars, and, having been erected by them in the palmy days of their wealth and magnificence, contained spacious apartments, and extensive gardens protected from intrusion by a lofty wall, which surrounded the whole. It was not, unfit for, nor unaccustomed
All Things Georgian remembers Edward Dando, an infamous oyster eater. To quote: He was also known by the appellation of the ‘celebrated oyster eater.’ For Dando, although not a thief (by his own reckoning) did not see why he should not have plenty of everything, even though he had no money to pay for it,
22 June 1536 was a black day for the Lady Mary, the only surviving child of Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. She finally submitted to her father’s request to accept him as the Supreme Head of the Church in England, and, even worse for the young girl, the invalidity of her
Over at Military History Now, author Shannon Selin talks about Napoleon’s love for reading and his favourite books. To quote: According to his classmate (and later secretary) Louis Bourrienne, Napoleon read avidly from an early age. Whenever they had free time at the military school at Brienne: [Napoleon] would run to the library, where he
One of the most famous female pirates of all time, Mary Read was born in 1691 in England, the illegitimate daughter of a captain’s widow. She had a legitimate brother from her mother’s marriage. When he died, worried about how to make ends meet, her mother dressed Mary as a boy so the family could
The Austrian Emperor Joseph II, Marie Antoinette’s brother, received a lot of petitions and requests for favours. But he only granted them when he thought the men (or women) were worth them. Here are two examples to favours he refused to two mothers and their sons: Madam, I do not think that it is amongst
In late 1591, Elizabeth Knollys, a descendant of the Boleyns, and her husband, professional soldier Sir Thomas Leighton, welcomed a daughter into the world and their family. They named her Anne, and gave her an education befitting her status. The girl was taught sewing, housekeeping, and all the skills needed to manage a Tudor household.
When, in April 1776, English author Fanny Burney met Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire, at the park, she wasn’t too impressed. Here’s what she wrote to Samuel Crisp: Mr. Burney, Hetty and I took a walk in the Park on Sunday morning, where, among others, we saw the young and handsome Duchess of Devonshire, walking
Eric Ives once famously commented that everything we know about Mary Boleyn “could be written on the back of a postcard with room to spare”. So, basically, we know nothing. Only a few random facts historians have been painstakingly trying, for centuries, to stitch together. One of these facts is Mary’s relationship with King Francis