Winter in Bohemia

Posted on by Frank Brinkley

One of the most stunning paintings on display at Hampton Court Palace is the Embarkation at Margate of the Elector Palatine and Princess Elizabeth by Adam Willaerts (1623). It depicts a resplendent crowd of courtiers bidding farewell in 1613 to James VI and I’s daughter Elizabeth and her new husband, Frederick V, Elector Palatine, as […]

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Queen

Posted on by Frank Brinkley

Throughout history, the royal family has used spies to gather intelligence. During the 20th century, the intelligence services grew and their relationship with the monarchy became close. The royal family and the intelligence services have much in common. Both are small and secretive, and both are frequently the subjects of conspiracy theories. In their new […]

The King Who Lost America

Posted on by Frank Brinkley

If George III is Britain’s most misunderstood monarch, he is also one of the best known, thanks to Alan Bennett’s play The Madness of George III, which served as the basis for Nicholas Hytner’s much better film adaptation (titled The Madness of King George, allegedly to reassure any Americans fearing they might have missed two prequels). A smash hit with

The Sport of Kings

Posted on by Frank Brinkley

Charles II, one of our most popular kings, was a fascinating but deeply flawed and unreliable ruler, heading what was seen in his own lifetime as a dissolute and immoral court. Charming as Charles undoubtedly was, the enduring sobriquet coined for him by Lord Rochester, ‘the Merry Monarch’, was hardly accurate, although elsewhere in his […]

Born to Marry

Posted on by Frank Brinkley

The House of Habsburg has a plausible claim to having been the most successful ruling dynasty in world history. For a thousand years, from the dynasty’s emergence as feudal warlords in northern Switzerland in the 10th century to their ousting as emperors of Austria in the early 20th, they reigned at one time or another in most European countries (including, briefly, England and Ireland), and over colonial possessions that reached across the globe, from Peru to the Philippines (the one nation that still bears the name of a Habsburg king). Their legacy is tenacious. Throughout Europe, it lingers in the placement of borders, in patterns of confessional belief, in styles of architecture, even in ideas of national and supranational

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RLF - March