Marie de Guise 5

Marie de Guise, Corneille de Lyon, c1537. Photo: National Galleries of Scotland. It’s probably no secret that my next novel, The Thistle Queen will be about Marie de Guise, the mother of Mary, Queen of Scots. I actually set out to write about Mary but then found myself pushing the start of the book further […]



A Real Life Sherlock – Guest post by Angela Buckley 4

On the evening of 6 December 1886, Arthur Foster left the Queen’s Theatre, Manchester, with a pocket full of gold and a bejewelled lady on his arm. He hailed a hansom cab and as the couple settled into the carriage, a shadowy figure slipped in beside them. The yellow light of a gas lamp revealed […]

Elizabeth and Philip: a Royal Wedding, 1947 2

Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Baron Studios, 1947. Photo: Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014. When Princess Elizabeth, the eldest daughter of George VI announced her engagement to the extremely handsome Prince Philip of Greece on the 9th of July 1947, the people of Britain were, quite understandably, thrilled. The war had […]

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Grand Duchess Olga 4

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia, with Grand Duchess Olga Nicholaievna, Pasetti, 1896. Photo: Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014. ‘Tsarskoe Selo A day I will remember for ever, during which I suffered a very very great deal. At about 2 o’ clock, dear Mama arrived from Gatchina; she, Ella and I were […]

Peaky Blinders 5

I don’t watch much television (and when I do, it is never live so I’m always a bit behind anyway) so I’m terribly late to the Peaky Blinders party. However, once I’d discovered its existence, I was smitten and then hooked and of course totally amazed that it took me so long to watch it […]


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Anxiety 58

At this very moment, there’s two major events happening that I should be at. One is the third annual Mumsnet Blogfest in London (which I spoke at in 2012), a huge gathering of bloggers who have travelled from all over the country to network, learn and share information and the other is the Jack the […]

Princess Mary Stuart 4

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. […]



The Winter Crown – Elizabeth Chadwick

It is the winter of 1154 and Eleanor, Queen of England, is biding her time. While her husband King Henry II battles for land across the channel, Eleanor fulfils her duty as acting ruler and bearer of royal children. But she wants to be more than this – if only Henry would let her. Instead, […]

Marie Antoinette and the Petit Trianon 2

The Petit Trianon is a sumptuous jewellery box of a house, tucked away in the Versailles park. Designed in 1762 by Ange-Jacques Gabriel and paid for by Louis XV, it was intended as a present for Madame de Pompadour – its elegant lines a perfect setting for her own delicate, exquisite beauty. Sadly, however, Madame […]


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The Marriage of Figaro at the ENO 2

Despite having been dragged up by massive opera buffs, I’d never actually managed to see an actual real life opera. UNTIL NOW. Yes, that’s right, I can strike yet another thing off my frankly dispiriting and dolphin free bucket list. And it was probably the one thing on there that my poor long suffering husband […]

Berlin Part Three 8

Although we’d heard that Sunday brunch is a traditional part of Berliner culture, we decided instead to head out to Friedrichshain for a much anticipated vegan kebab at Vöner. I’d been looking forward to this absolute treat for MONTHS so you can imagine how excited I was as we hopped on to the tram and […]


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Berlin – Part Two

We woke up bright and early on our second morning in Berlin and after some deliberation decided to head off to Museum Island to partake in some CULTURE. After eyeing the queue to get into the Pergamon, we decided instead to visit the rather less busy Neues Museum, which houses the iconic bust of Nefertiti. […]

Sherlock Holmes: The Man Who Never Lived And Will Never Die

As long term readers of this blog will be VERY well aware of, I am a MASSIVE HUGE Sherlock Holmes fan. Always have been and always will be. I can’t remember when I first fell in love with Sherlock but I’m pretty sure that the Ladybird version of The Hound of the Baskervilles was involved. […]

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Berlin – Part One

When it comes to history, there are few cities with such a chequered and fascinating past as Berlin. I’ve wanted to visit for a really long time but had been vaguely put off by friends’ accounts of a grim concrete wilderness and endless building sites as the newly prosperous and unified city pulled itself together. […]

English Heritage Giveaway

Hello hello! I am now back from Berlin and am currently wading through HUNDREDS of photos as I prepare to share our adventures with you all. It was an incredible five days though and I have LOTS to tell you about. In the meantime, however, here’s a chance for one of you to have some […]

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Goodbye to All That

So, here it is. The last day of my thirties. I’ve been completely dreading this, which is, I know, just a trifle VAIN of me but forty just seems like such a HUGE number plus when I was growing up, women in their forties were, well, old and I just don’t feel ready to be […]

Happy Bloody Halloween

Happy Bloody Halloween by madame-guillotine featuring red jewelry Falconwright leather purse, £61 / Topshop red jewelry, £9.38 / What A Mess Scoop Skater Dress › Black Milk Clothing, £53 / JAMILA | Womens Boots | Official Dr Martens Store – UK / Library of Fragrance Gingerbread Eau de Toilette 30ml | Fragrance -… / Applecurrant […]

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Mark Bruce’s Dracula at Bristol Old Vic

Photo: Farrows Creative. Being a bit of a goth, you can imagine how delighted I was to be asked along to the press night for Mark Bruce’s superlative and erotic reimagining of Dracula at the Bristol Old Vic. I usually write reviews within a day or so of the performance but my illness means that […]

Josephine: Desire, Ambition, Napoleon

‘This is the incredible rise and unbelievable fall of a woman whose energy and ambition is often overshadowed by Napoleon’s military might. In this triumphant biography, Kate Williams tells Josephine’s searing story, of sexual obsession, politics and surviving as a woman in a man’s world. Abandoned in Paris by her aristocratic husband, Josephine’s future did […]