Saturday, May 30, 2009

Heroine of the Weekend

To kick off our Tudor Heroines of the Weekend posts, we'll start with one of Henry VIII's troublesome sisters--Mary Tudor Brandon, Duchess of Suffolk, Dowager Queen of France.

Mary was born March 18, 1496, the fifth child of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, and the youngest to survive infancy. She was renowned as one of the most beautiful princesses in Europe, described by the Venetian ambassador as "a Paradise," and she was betrothed in 1507 to Charles of Castile (later Holy Roman Emperor), but the wedding never took place. Instead, a treaty with France was signed in 1514, and Mary was its pawn. At age 18 she married the 53-year-old Louis XII (two of the girls in her train were Mary and Anne Boleyn. Despite 2 previous marriages, Louis had no sons to succeed him, and hoped to produce one on the Tudor beauty--but he died barely 3 months after their marriage (rumored to be done in by the strenuous exertions in the bedchamber). Mary again became a marriage pawn, both for her brother and the new French king.

But Mary had plans of her own. At the time of her marriage to King Louis, she was in love with her brother's handsome, dashing, athletic young friend Charles Brandon. She had made Henry promise her that if she wed the French king now, she could choose her own marriage later--not the he intended to keep this promise, of course. Brandon was sent to fetch her back to England after her period of mourning was over, and she persuaded him to marry secretly on March 3, 1515 before they left France. Henry was outraged, and the Privy Council urged that Brandon be executed, or at least imprisoned (marrying a royal princess without the King's consent was treason). But Mary was his favorite sister, and she managed to cajole him into forgiving her and her new husband. They were officially married at Greenwich on May 13.

Mary seemed content with her handsome husband, and spent most of her time at their home of Westhorpe Hall in Suffolk (she was known as "the French Queen" for the rest of her life). Relations between herself and her brother were not so cordial when she opposed his efforts to end his marriage to Katherine of Aragon.

She died on June 25, 1533 and was first buried at the abbey of Bury St. Edmonds. When the abbey was destroyed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, she was moved to St. Mary's Church--and her husband went on to marry their son's fiancee (and their ward), 14-year-old heiress Catherine Willoughby. Mary had 3 children with Brandon, Henry, 1st Earl of Lincoln; Lady Frances Brandon (the mother of Lady Jane Grey), and Lady Eleanor Brandon.

A few good sources on Mary's life include WC Richardson's Mary Tudor: The White Queen; Maria Perry, The Sisters of Henry VIII: The Tumultuous Lives of Margaret of Scotland and Mary of France; Alison Plowden's Lady Jane Grey and the House of Suffolk.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Hottie Monday, Elizabethan Edition

I've been doing research lately for an Elizabethan theater story for Harlequin, and of course that involves watching lots of movies set in the period! :) Thought I would share some of the work...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Happy Memorial Day

I was just thinking about my grandfather today--Lowell McCabe, who served in World War II. I miss you, Granddad!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Heroine of the Weekend

Last week on Risky Regencies, I wrote about the anniversary of the death of Anne Boleyn, one of my biggest "historical heroines." It seems appropriate to feature her this week, Memorial Day Weekend! And in honor of all the Henry VIII anniversary activities going on in England this year, I'll spend a few weeks featuring Tudor women (there are so many fascinating Tudor women!). next week, Mary Tudor Brandon, Queen of France...

Have a great weekend, everyone! Who are you thinking about this Memorial Day?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

When Photoshop gets outta control

I came across this feature on the formerly Project Rungay blog (which is fabulous blog, BTW, and I visit at least twice a day in hopes they will have all new fashion goodness waiting for me I especially love a Shelli O post!). But along with the good must come the bad, or, even better, the insane. Witness this fashion spread of "Brook Sheilds Cougar" in some Australian magazine.

First of all, Photoshop craziness! Does that even look like her in any way? I totally understand the desire to change one's image, branch out, try new things, go a little cray, but it should be a new thing you are kinda sorta comfortable with and find to be fun. She looks tense and nauseated in almost all these pics. A+ for effort though, especially the ass grabbing pic. (And where can I get those stockings??? And a whip!)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Another Great Exhibit

If I was in Australia I would definitely go to this exhibit! Persuasion: Fashion in the Age of Jane Austen at the National Gallery of Victoria. It looks gorgeous.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Wuthering Heights--???

Is this some kind of a joke?

Ed Westwick to star in Wuthering Heights movie

I mean, yes, I love and adore Gossip Girl, and without Chuck ad Blair that show would be nothing, but --Heathcliff?

OTOH, I bet Gemma Arterton will make a good Cathy, she was terrific in the new Tess of the Durbervilles. And I'm not sure who I would cast as Heathcliff instead. You know I'll go see it. But--Chuck Bass? Hmmm.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Hottie Monday--DWTS Finale Edition

In honor of tonight's Dancing With the Stars finale, a Hottie Monday collection of current/past "stars" and pro dancers. Enjoy!

(Who are you betting on to take the mirror ball trophy tonight? I like all the final 3, and would have no quarrel with any of them winning, but I am sort of cheering for Melissa. That would just be a great ending to her crazy reality show odyssey...)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Heroine of the Weekend

To go along with Hottie Monday (and show that I am not just shallow and giggly!!) I'm starting a Heroine of the Weekend feature to spotlight fascinating women in history. First up: Madame de Pompadour (1721--1764)--royal mistress, but also intellectual, politician, fashionista, and great patron of the arts...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Get Well Soon, Miss Wee!

Hello Kitty hopes you're feeling better very, very soon!

At Word Wenches Today

Today is the last stop on the Diamonds of Welbourne Manor blog tour! Visit Word Wenches for one last chance to win a copy...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bag Crush

I totally love this pink bag from J. Crew! The color, the bow--perfect. Sadly, I read it is sold out. :(

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

18th Century Hats

Because I've been obsessed with hats lately...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Blog Visit Sunday

I'm at the Scandalous Women blog today! Come visit for a chance to win a copy of The Diamonds of Welbourne Manor, or, y'know, just to say hi...

You can also read more about the heroes of Welbourne Manor at eharlequin's "My Favorite Hero" blog. And on May 15, Diane, Deb, and I will be at Word Wenches. Don't miss it!!!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Mother's Day Weekend!

Happy Mother's Day Weekend, to my mom (I'm so lucky to have you for my mother!) and all the moms I know. Eat chocolate, go to the spa, watch movies, do whatever makes you happy....

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Beach Wednesday

It's been gray and rainy and soggy here for what feels like a month! So, here is my fantasy vacation for the day...

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Riskies Tuesday

Over at Risky Regencies today (and at Romance Bandits!)--two chances to win copies of Diamonds of Welbourne Manor!

Friday, May 01, 2009


What I'm reading today... (a very fun travel/food/life account by restaurant reviewer Moira Hodgson)

And I'm at Emily Bryan's blog today, plugging the anthology!