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British RoyalsFeaturesHistory

The Week in Royal History: a scandalous mystery still up for debate

By Workshop of Hans Holbein the Younger 1497/8 (German)Details of artist on Google Art Project - eAHC0d0WiemXSA at Google Cultural Institute maximum zoom level, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

The royal story of 2020 has had plenty of drama so far but as the debate surrounding the Duke and Duchess of Sussex simmers down, ever so slightly, figures from the regal past are adding their own touch of turbulence to the news. Some of the most dramatic stories in Britain’s royal past have hit the headlines again in the days just gone as a tragic queen and a misunderstood king grab the spotlight. Here’s the week, in royal history.

A new insight into a royal mystery?

Did they or didn’t they? Henry VIII didn’t know while many of the greatest thinkers, politicians and statespeople of Europe couldn’t prove their own theories on this one either way. But now a new exhibition will put the spotlight on what happened when this powerhouse of a royal married her first husband as clothing from Catherine’s first time as a new bride go on show.

Soon after Catherine wed Henry’s older brother, Arthur, in 1501, the young couple retired to Ludlow in Shropshire for their honeymoon. Catherine, who was widowed just six months later, always claimed they had never consummated their marriage despite Arthur telling his friends they had. Years later, when Henry VIII wanted to put her aside to wed Anne Boleyn, he claimed the marriage had been consummated but years of debate got him nowhere. Their Ludlow honeymoon became the subject of great debate. Now the town’s museum is putting on show one of Catherine’s garments as part of its exhibition ‘Strong Women of Ludlow: From Castle to Street’ which runs until March.

Living in the Past

Maybe it’s the arrival of the new year, maybe it’s a desire to do something to shake the January blues, but the housing market has seen several regal appearances in the past weeks as properties with a royal past go up for sale.

A Grade I listed home, incorporating some of the remains of the Tudors’ beloved Richmond Palace, is up for sale in London (see all the historic details in our piece on Royal Central here).

Meanwhile, a 10 bedroom residence at Devizes Castle, once the property of England’s queens consort, is being marketed. Devizes first came under royal control in the 11th century and until the 1800s, the castle always belonged to the wife of the ruling monarch. Now estate agents, Savills, are advertising a ‘rare opportunity’ to set up home at this historic site.

A Shining Memento

This week sees the 200th anniversary of the death of King George III. To mark the event, the Royal Mint has issued a new £5 coin commemorating his royal legacy.

It was designed by Dominique Evans and focuses on the king’s interests and achievements. On one side of the coin is a portrait of George III surrounded by images representing his achievements. Dominique Evans said ”I felt it important to add symbolism reflecting the life of a king, a man who was dedicated to discovery and progress. From science to agriculture and industry, George III left a legacy….we benefit from today”.

The coin is available to buy on the Royal Mint’s website.

About author

Lydia Starbuck is Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton, a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. June has been a reporter, producer and editor, picking up several awards over the years. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.