Podcasts for Royal History Lovers

Via Wikimedia Commons. Empress Joséphine in her coronation regalia painted by François Gérard, 1807-1808.

If you like reading about royal history, then you may enjoy listening to podcasts about royals. There are a number of excellent podcasts I subscribe to that I think you might find of interest.

The Exploress Podcast is incredibly well-researched and a fun way to learn about ancient historical women. The recreations of historical dialogue are entertaining and a must-listen. Though there are many episodes on historic noble women, some of the women featured are commoners. It’s still an entertaining resource and I highly recommend the outstanding four-part series on Cleopatra. Plus, the website has a page devoted to book recommendations. Enjoy!

Noble Blood is a podcast about the footnotes of royal men and women; the stories we don’t learn in school. It’s well-researched and told in a narrative style, as if a good friend is sitting near you and whispering a gossipy tale. The episodes are about tyrannical royals, murdered royals and tragic princesses. Very entertaining. I can’t recommend it enough.

The History Chicks is run by two very good friends who enjoy talking about historical women. They began the podcast ten years ago because they couldn’t find any podcasts devoted entirely to women. Though a good number of royals are featured, they are not the main focus of this podcast. However, it’s worth perusing their catalog since it features many episodes of interest to royal history fans. I recommend their episodes on Gilded Age HeiressesCatherine the Great and Empress Sisi of Austria

The Art of Monarchy is no longer updated, but the past episodes about decorative arts of The Royal Collection are a must-listen for royal history lovers.

Last but not least, if you enjoy royal fashion, then you may enjoy listening to Dressed. The two hosts are experts in fashion and textiles and are a joy to listen to. Their well-researched episodes feature everything from the history of haute couture to Oscars fashion and feature a good amount of interviews with experts.

xoxo, Jane

(This article is also posted at my other blog, The Royal Archivist.)

Introducing The Royal Archivist

Hello, friends! I have some exciting news. You may not be aware, but I’m a serious lover of all things royal jewels and royal history. So I’ve decided that 2021 is the year I do something about it. I launched The Royal Archivist!! It’s where I write about the history of royal jewels and royal women. If you are interested in royal history, do take a look (or tell all of your friends and their friends to stop by). Thank you for the love and support!

xoxo, Jane

PS. I’ll continue to blog about the books I read, since reading and talking about books brings me joy. And I’m still working on my book series. I hope that 2021 is bright and hopeful for all of us.

Pairing books with tea (To Marry an English Lord)

It’s been a while since we’ve had a book and tea pairing so today we are pairing a good cup of tea with one of my all-time favorite books, To Marry an English Lord.

To Marry an English Lord is about the American women who “swapped dollars for titles” by marrying titled British men and moving to the UK. This book was an inspiration for Downton Abbey (Cora is a dollar princess). With meticulous research, Gail MacColl and Carol Mcd. Wallace write in great detail about the women, the men they married and loved (or didn’t love) and the grand houses they lived in. They also give lots and lots of gossipy anecdotes. It’s a fun book that includes plenty of illustrations and a handy directory of the American heiresses. I love a well-researched book about women from history.

When it came time to pair a cup of tea with this book, I had to pick Fortnum’s Albion, a strong black brew. Albion, the ancient name for Britain, makes a perfect pairing. What do you think?

xoxo, Jane

Trinket Tuesday: The Fife Diamond Tiara

I hope everyone is having a wonderful start to the holiday season. It’s my favorite time of year. I love everything about Christmas! The decor, the sparkles, the festivities, the music, the food, the romantic holiday tv movies…I could go on and on.  Speaking of sparkles…

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The Fife Diamond Tiara at Kensington Palace

Today’s trinket is another tiara, the Fife Diamond Tiara made in 1887. It was given to Princess Louise on her wedding day by her husband, the Duke of Fife. Princess Louise was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria.

All husbands should buy their spouses diamond tiaras! {I hope my husband is reading this post.}

Trinket Tuesday is where I share some of the lovely things I discover during my travels, research or around town. All pictures are my own (unless I state otherwise). I hope you enjoy!

Trinket Tuesday: Cut-Steel Jewelry

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London has a fabulous permanent exhibit on jewelry and gemstones.  I especially enjoyed viewing their cut-steel jewelry. I learned that cut-steel jewelry is a unique type of jewelry that glitters without a single gemstone in the settings.

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V&A’s exhibit on cut-steel jewelry. I was especially taken by the beautiful bracelets, seen above.

According to Geoffrey Munn in his fabulous book Tiaras – A History of Splendor, this type of jewelry was popular from the second half of the eighteenth century until 1900. When worn in candlelight (can you imagine a 19th century ball lit by candlelight?), the polished facets of the metal sparkled like diamonds. Munn stressed that cut-steel jewelry was not considered paste and would have been quite valuable in its day.

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Napoleon’s first consort, Josephine, owned cut-steel jewelry. It’s possible that Josephine’s cut-steel tiaras are the same ones worn today by the ladies of the Swedish royal family. This might be because Empress Josephine’s granddaughter and namesake, Josephine of Leuchtenberg (the child of her son Eugène de Beauharnais), married Crown Prince Oskar of Sweden, eventually becoming Queen Josephine of Sweden. Eugène’s sister, Hortense de Beauharnais, did not have any daughters. Presumably the future Queen Josephine inherited her aunt’s jewels.

The Napoleonic Cut-Steel Tiara, worn today by the ladies of the Swedish royal family, might have been one of them.

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Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden wearing her family’s Napoleonic Cut-Steel Tiara.

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A close-up of the Napoleonic Cut-Steel Tiara.

In an interesting twist of history, Crown Prince Oskar of Sweden was the son of Queen Desideria (Désirée Clary), the French-born, ex-fiancée of Napoleon. Napoleon callously ended their engagement to marry Josephine de Beauharnais. Désirée may not have been heartbroken for too long because, via her marriage to Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, she became Queen of Sweden. This, however, is a story for another day.

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Links for your enjoyment: Josefina (Joséphine) of Leuchtenberg, Queen Desideria, the Swedish Royal Family, V&A.

Trinket Tuesday is where I share some of the lovely things I discover during my travels, research or around town. All pictures are my own (unless I state otherwise). I hope you enjoy!

Trinket Tuesday: Necklace and earrings of the Empress Marie-Louise

For today’s trinket we travel back to the Louvre to admire the necklace and earrings of the Empress Marie-Louise.

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This emerald and diamond necklace and matching earrings also included a comb and a tiara, but the tiara is now at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. Sadly, the tiara no longer matches the necklace and earrings because, somewhere along the way, someone swapped out the emeralds for turquoise stones. As for the comb, according to the Louvre, “it was transformed.” I think that means that the comb doesn’t exist in its original state and the emeralds from the comb may be lost to history.

This parure* was a gift from Napoleon to his second wife, Marie-Louise, on the occasion of their marriage in 1810. According to the Louvre, the necklace comprises of 32 emeralds, 874 brilliants, and 264 rose diamonds. The Louvre acquired this set in 2004.

Links for your enjoyment: More details on the Louvre’s website, the tiara, Marie-Louise bio.

*Parure: a set of jewels intended to be worn together.

Trinket Tuesday is where I share some of the lovely things I discover during my travels, research or around town. All pictures are my own (unless I state otherwise). I hope you enjoy!