Fact of the day: 1st October

On this day in 1553 the coronation of Queen Mary I of England took place.

Mary I (18 February 1516 – 17 November 1558) was Queen of England and Ireland from July 1553 until her death. Her executions of Protestants caused her opponents to give her the sobriquet “Bloody Mary”. images

She was the only child of Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon who survived to adulthood. Her younger half-brother Edward VI (son of Henry and Jane Seymour) succeeded their father in 1547. When Edward became mortally ill in 1553, he attempted to remove Mary from the line of succession because of religious differences.

On his death their first cousin once removed, Lady Jane Grey, was initially proclaimed queen. Mary assembled a force in East Anglia and successfully deposed Jane, who was ultimately beheaded. In 1554, Mary married Philip of Spain, becoming queen consort of Habsburg Spain on his accession in 1556.

As the fourth crowned monarch of the Tudor dynasty, Mary is remembered for her restoration of Roman Catholicism after the short-lived Protestant reign of her half-brother. During her five-year reign, she had over 280 religious dissenters burned at the stake in the Marian persecutions. Her re-establishment of Roman Catholicism was reversed after her death in 1558 by her younger half-sister and successor Elizabeth I, daughter of Henry and Anne Boleyn.

Wake Me Up When September Ends…

So today is the last day of September and, I don;t know about you, but it’s been a bit of a weird month for me.

I started my new job. Which is awesome. If anything, it’s better then I remember it being last year. I don’t know if it’s me who’s different or if I just didn’t really appreciate it so much last year, but it feels even better.  images (1)

There’s a quote from How I Met Your Mother (I can’t remember the exact quote or the season, though it will more than likely be Ted who said it) that says you have to be honest about what you want and put it out there into the universe. And if you do that, eventually, one day it might be yours.

Well I’m incapable of being patient and waiting for to get what I want. Not only that, what I want changes on my mood.

Recently though, I did get what I want and it’s pretty good :D I’ve forgot what it’s like to be this happy.

Now whenever one person is happy, there is always another person unhappy by their happiness. Once upon a time, that would have bothered me. But not anymore. Life is pretty short and, there is so much more to do and look forward to. So why waste your time being unhappy because someone else is happy?

It was my birthday last week. Normally, I’m not one for birthdays. I don’t like getting older and, I don’t like to get my hopes up, just for it to collapse around me. Having said that, this year’s birthday was pretty damn good!

SAM_0320And on Sunday, I got to meet Stephen Fry! It was amazing! I went to see him at Sheffield City Hall with my best friend and he was signing his new book afterwards. Fortunately, Olivia and me managed to get out of the venue quickly enough to get into the queue to get our books signed :D

He could only meet three hundred people and we were two of them. He was just so lovely. And, to be honest, I still can’t believe I’ve met him.

Anyway that is my September. I hope you’ve all had a pretty awesome one too. Here’s to October!


Fact of the day: 30th September

On this day in 1399 Henry IV was proclaimed King of England.

Henry’s first major problem as monarch was what to do with the deposed Richard. After an early assassination plot (the Epiphany Rising) was foiled in January 1400, Richard died in prison, probably of starvation. He was thirty-three years old.

Though Henry is often suspected of having his predecessor murdered, there is no substantial evidence to prove that claim. Some chroniclers claimed that the despondent Richard had starved himself, which would not have been out of place with what is known of Richard’s character. download (14)

Henry spent much of his reign defending himself against plots, rebellions and assassination attempts.

The king’s success in putting down these rebellions was due partly to the military ability of his eldest son, Henry of Monmouth, who later became king (though the son managed to seize much effective power from his father in 1410).

“The old fable of a living Richard was revived”, notes one account, “and emissaries from Scotland traversed the villages of England, in the last year of Henry’s reign, declaring that Richard was residing at the Scottish Court, awaiting only a signal from his friends to repair to London and recover his throne.”

A suitable-looking impostor was found and King Richard’s old groom circulated word in the city that his master was alive in Scotland. “Southwark was incited to insurrection” by Sir Elias Lyvet (Levett) and his associate Thomas Clark, who promised Scottish aid in carrying out the insurrection. Ultimately, the rebellion came to naught. The knight Lyvet was released and his follower thrown into the Tower.

Fact of the day: 29th September

On this day in 1833 Ferdinand VII of Spain (b. 1784) died.

Ferdinand VII (Spanish: Fernando VII de Borbón; 14 October 1784 – 29 September 1833) was twice King of Spain: in 1808 and again from 1813 to his death.

He was known to his supporters as “the Desired” (el Deseado) and to his detractors as the “Felon King” (el Rey Felón).

After being overthrown by Napoleon in 1808 he linked his monarchy to counter-revolution and reactionary policies that produced a deep rift in Spain between his forces on the right and liberals on the left. download (13)

He re-established the absolutist monarchy and rejected the liberal constitution of 1812. He suppressed the liberal press 1814-33 and jailed many of its editors and writers. Spain plunged into civil war on his death. His reputation among historians is very low. Historian Stanley Payne says:

“He proved in many ways the basest king in Spanish history. Cowardly, selfish, grasping, suspicious, and vengeful, [he] seemed almost incapable of any perception of the commonweal. He thought only in terms of his power and security and was unmoved by the enormous sacrifices of Spanish people to retain their independence and preserve his throne.”

Fact of the day: 28th September

On this day in 1066 William the Bastard (as he was known at the time) invaded England beginning the Norman conquest of England.

In the 1050s and early 1060s William became a contender for the throne of England, then held by his childless first cousin once removed Edward the Confessor.

There were other potential claimants, including the powerful English earl Harold Godwinson, who was named the next king by Edward on the latter’s deathbed in January 1066. William argued that Edward had previously promised the throne to him, and that Harold had sworn to support William’s claim.

William built a large fleet and invaded England in September 1066, decisively defeating and killing Harold at the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066. After further military efforts William was crowned king on Christmas Day 1066, in London. download (12)

He made arrangements for the governance of England in early 1067 before returning to Normandy. Several unsuccessful rebellions followed, but by 1075 William’s hold on England was mostly secure, allowing him to spend the majority of the rest of his reign on the continent.

William’s final years were marked by difficulties in his continental domains, troubles with his eldest son, and threatened invasions of England by the Danes. In 1086 William ordered the compilation of the Domesday Book, a survey listing all the landholders in England along with their holdings.

William died in September 1087 while leading a campaign in northern France, and was buried in Caen. His reign in England was marked by the construction of castles, the settling of new Norman nobility on the land, and change in the composition of the English clergy.

He did not try to integrate his various domains into one empire, but instead continued to administer each part separately. William’s lands were divided after his death: Normandy went to his eldest son, Robert, and his second surviving son, William, received England.

Fact of the day: 27th September

On this day in 1601 Louis XIII of France (d. 1643) was born.

Louis XIII (27 September 1601 – 14 May 1643) was a monarch of the House of Bourbon who ruled as King of France from 1610 to 1643 and King of Navarre (as Louis II) from 1610 to 1620, when the crown of Navarre was merged to the French crown.

Louis succeeded his father Henry IV as king of France and Navarre a few months before his ninth birthday. His mother, Marie de’ Medici, acted as regent during Louis’s minority.

Mismanagement of the kingdom and ceaseless political intrigues by Marie de’ Medici and her Italian favourites led the young king to take power in 1617 by exiling his mother and executing her followers, including Concino Concini, the most influential Italian at the French court. download (11)

Louis XIII, taciturn and suspicious, relied heavily on his chief minister Cardinal Richelieu to govern the kingdom of France.

King and cardinal are remembered for the establishment of the Académie française and for putting an end to the revolt of the French nobility.

The reign of Louis “the Just” was also marked by the struggles against Huguenots and Habsburg Spain.

France’s greatest victory in the conflicts against the Habsburg Empire during the period 1635-59 came at the Battle of Rocroi (1643), five days after Louis’s death from apparent complications of intestinal tuberculosis.

This battle marked the end of Spain’s military ascendancy in Europe and foreshadowed French dominance in Europe under Louis XIV, his son and successor.

Fact of the day: 26th September

On this day in 1087 William II was crowned King of England.

William II (Old Norman: Williame II; c. 1056 – 2 August 1100), the third son of William I of England, was King of England from 1087 until 1100, with powers over Normandy, and influence in Scotland.

He was less successful in extending control into Wales. William is commonly known as William Rufus or William the Red, perhaps because of his red-faced appearance.

He was a figure of complex temperament: capable of both bellicosity and flamboyance. He did not marry, nor did he produce any offspring, legitimate or otherwise. download (10)

He died after being struck by an arrow while hunting, under circumstances that remain murky. Circumstantial evidence in the behaviour of those around him raises strong but unproven suspicions of murder. His younger brother Henry hurriedly succeeded him as king.

Barlow says he was “A rumbustious, devil-may-care soldier, without natural dignity or social graces, with no cultivated tastes and little show of conventional religious piety or morality—indeed, according to his critics, addicted to every kind of vice, particularly lust and especially sodomy.”

On the other hand he was a wise ruler and victorious general. Barlow finds that, “His chivalrous virtues and achievements were all too obvious. He had maintained good order and satisfactory justice in England and restored good peace to Normandy.

He had extended Anglo-Norman rule in Wales, brought Scotland firmly under his lordship, recovered Maine, and kept up the pressure on the Vexin.”