FeaturesHistory

Royal Wet-Nurses

With the approach of the birth of a new royal baby in Britain, I would like to explore the history of royal wet-nurses. They are no longer a necessity, given the shift in modern attitudes, but why were they once thought necessary? In historical terms, a wet-nurse would have been engaged for a royal baby and taken on as part of an official appointment. The wet-nurse might expect a pension or some…
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FeaturesHistory

Cheneygates: Where an English King died

The Jerusalem Chamber at Westminster Abbey is part of what is the oldest surviving medieval house in London. Its history is significant, but the room itself little seen, because it is not open to the general public. It is part of what is known as Cheneygates, the ancient house of the Abbots of Westminster, being built by Nicholas Litlyngton, who was Abbot from 1362-86 and whose initials feature in…
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FeaturesHistory

The first royal wedding at Windsor

Windsor’s first royal wedding took place in the twelfth century. What do we know about this wedding and why exactly did it take place at Windsor Castle? It was the second marriage of the third Norman King, Henry I (r. 1100-35). His thirty-five-year reign was one without…
FeaturesHistory

Cats and royalty

Alongside the well-established royal love of dogs, cats are far less recorded as preferred pets, unlike their canine counterparts. They have, however, been no less loved by those that did own them. So revered were cats (“mau”) as sacred animals in Ancient Egypt that they were often mummified. Feline depictions of Egyptian deities date back as far as 3100 BC; the goddess Bastet often took this…
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History

Royal Childbirth and the Tudors

The experience of royal childbirth in the Tudor period was perilous at best, the attitude towards it both anxious and obsessive, most especially because the weight of its outcome would concern the matter of the succession. This is a crucial case in point that royal sex was…
FeaturesHistoryInsightPalaces & Buildings

Bentley Priory: Where a British Queen died

The Grade II* listed mansion of Bentley Priory in Stanmore, in the London Borough of Harrow, is best known for the vital role it played during the Battle of Britain when the building formed the setting for Headquarters Fighter Command. The Priory remained an RAF base until 2008, when the offices finally moved to RAF Northolt, after which plans began to transform the Priory into a Museum, a project…
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