An Air Force brat, Mageela landed in New York City and wanted to leave the same day she arrived. Yet, with her stubbornness, she learned to like the place and the libraries were the main reason. Learning to read at four-years-old, she decided to be an author and an actress. Good thing, she stuck with writing as her debut Highland Romance novel, THE MARRIAGE ALLIANCE, is due to be release by Secret Cravings in 2013.
So we are a month and a some days into 2020. Everyone seems to have been complaining about how long January seemed to be. So far, I haven’t posted any Historical Costume or Couples posts. In truth, I have been lazy and reevaluating my life.
You may have noticed, if you have been following my blog, that I have changed the look of it. This year I am all about no frills. I want clean and simple. But don’t worry, I’m researching my Historical Couples post about Elizabeth of York and her husband, Henry Tudor, or Henry VII, King of England. I had planned to do another couple but I’m searching for information for them and haven’t found much. Nevertheless, my search continues.
Also, I have decided on the topic of my new Historical Costume post. I just need to write it up. But as I confessed in the beginning, I have been lazy. No more, I have too much I want to accomplish and feel that I have a plan–finally.
So, keep an eye out for the posts and if you are not following my blog, please do so now and if you wish to tell anyone else about my post, please do.
On April 24 1567, Mary departed Linlithgow Castle for Edinburgh. Her retinue was small, consisting of a powerful men. Near the royal burgh, she came upon a scene that has been disputed through the ages.
Bothwell awaited her with a small army and with their swords drawn. When the queen drew closer, Bothwell took hold of her bridle. He told her some story about danger from insurrection in Edinburgh and was escorting her to Dunbar Castle along with the 5th Earl of Huntly, Sir Maitland and others of her party. The men were ready to defend her from Bothwell but the Queen stopped them.
Some say that she planned this abducation where others believe otherwise. Whatever is true does not matter but Mary went with Bothwell. The group rode through the night to formidable stronghold in Scotland.
Arriving at Dunbar Castle at midnight, she was separated from the others and the gates were locked. Yet, she sent a letter to the Governor of Dunbar to await rescue but no one came. Bothwell would marry Mary and this was his way to get her agreement. The Queen was against the marriage, denying the earl repeatedly. The man think he had an upper hand he produced the Ainslie’s Tavern Bond. (A bond signed by the Scottish Lords supporting the marriage). Still, Mary refused.
Since he couldn’t win her agreement one way, Bothwell tried another. He “…raped her, laying her open to dishonor and the risk of an illicit pregnancy, with the consequent loss of her reputation.” Melville, who was at Dunbar that night, professed as well as, “the Queen could not but marry him, seeing he had ravished her and lain with her against her will.”
Mary agreed to marry him “as soon as he was free.” Bothwell was still marry to Lady Jean Gordon, sister to the 5th Earl of Huntly–one of his captives that night. I believe that Mary agreed because he was a wedded man and believed that his marriage wouldn’t be dissolved.
There are others who claim her rape accusations are lies. Much hasn’t changed since the sixteenth century, right? Many at the time had their own story of events that took place at Dunbar and seem to be based upon whether the people support Mary, Queen of Scots or Lord James Stewart, her half-brother and Earl of Moray and leader of Confederate Lords. These events would come to be used against her with the Casket Letters and her trial in England.
But in Edinburgh, Lady Bothwell put forth her petition for divorce on the basis of adultery. Not for what occured at Dunbar but his affair with a maid that Lady Bothwell had caught him with months before this.
Mary was still at Dunbar where she sent letters to Elizabeth seeking her help. Elizabeth told her to punish all those invovled in Darnley’s death that including Bothwell and many other lords. But Mary’s reputation in Scotland, England and Europe.
On May 3, 1567, Bothwell’s divorce was granted and he also put his suit for an annulment. Two days later, Bothwell confident of the coming annulment, he left Dunbar with the Queen and an armed force. Meanwhile, the Confederate Lords were uniting against Bothwell. They were raising troops and gathering support.
On 10 May, Mary pardoned the men who assisted Bothwell in her abduction then on the 12th, she appeared at Edinburgh Tolbooth and “…declared that she was marrying Bothwell of her own free will and that in this marriage she foresaw much peace of the realm.”
On the morning of the 15th of May, Mary, Queen of Scots married Lord James Hamilton, the Earl of Bothwell, the newly created Duke of Orkney and Lord of Shetland, in a Protestant ceremony. A “solemn wedding breakfast” followed. The event was a quiet one. Not just in the sense of music and dancing and other joyous activities, people who did attend literally did not speak. When the event ended, Mary cried as she did during the breakfast. This queen was broken.
That night a placard was hung at Holyrood gates. It read “wantons marry in the month of May.” The morning after, Mary “cried aloud, then sought for a knife to stab herself or (as she cried) else I will drown myself.”
The marriage didn’t begin happily and worsened. Bothwell’s true demeanor was reveal. According to Allison Weir’s Mary, Queen of Scots and the Murder of Lord Darnley , “he revealed himself as a Jekyll and Hyde chracter, sometimes dour, forbidding and even indifferent, sometimes embarrassingly over-familiar and given to using coarse and even obscene langauge in her presence. He dictated who might, and who might not have access to, and speech with, her and insisted on being present.” But in public Bothwell showed reverence to her.
Politically, the government was shattered. The Privy Council had thinned out. Mary never granted Bothwell title of King but that didn’t stop him from behaving as one. The Roman Catholic rose was wilted and all were scandalized by the marriage. Her Guise family deserted her. Nobles fled court. There were no more festivities. And Bothwell forbade Mary from visiting her son in Stirling. Meanwhile Mary’s health hadn’t improved. She suffered from fainting spells.
The Confederate Lords planned to capture Mary and Bothwell. Catching wind of this plot, Bothwell decided to move to thick, strong walls of Edinburgh Castle. But the Governor of the Castle refused them entry. It is said, “who who holds Edinburgh Castle, holds Scotland.”
Mary had lost Scotland.
So the couple headed to Borthwick Castle where Mary summoned her levies to meet at Auirshead Abbey on June 12. This summons wasn’t obeyed and those who did arrive possessed no will to fight. Also at this time, Mary discovered she was pregnant. Now,”…she had no choice but to fight or fall with Bothwell.”
That June, the Confederate Lords appeared at the fortfied walls of Borthwick Castle. The lords screamed up to the walls for Bothwell come out. Mary appeared at the castle walls and informed them of Bothwell’s absence. He had departed days before their arrival. The lords asked her to return to Edinburgh with them and help them punish Darnley’s murderer. She refused. The lords insulted her but withdrew since they had no artillery to attack the castle.
At the midnight hour, Mary escaped from Borthwick castle before the Lords returned with an army and artillery. Dressed in men’s clothing, she met up with Bothwell’s servants who escorted her to her third husband who together journeyed to Dunbar. Having left her belonging behind, the Queen of Scotland had to borrow clothes from a countrywoman. Allison Weir writes that she donned, ” a red petticoat that barely covered her knees, sleeves tied with bow, a velvet hat and a muffler.”
In the daylight hours, both sides summoned men to their banners. Bothwell had the loyalty of the Borders but not many join Mary’s side. The Confederate Lords had 4000 men. The Queen departed from Dunbar with her 600 horses and 3 cannons and met up with her husband and his 1,600 men. Mary was a woman ready to fight. On her way, the people didn’t join her side and she was dismayed by this. Mary and her husband rode to Seton Castle and spent their last night together.
On June 15, the two armies lined up at Carberry Hill, seven miles east of Edinburgh. “The Queen’s forces were drawn up on the hillside beneath pennants bearing the Lion Rampant of Scotland and the Saltire of St. Andrew. The Lords were positioned at the foot of the hill, under an emotive white banner portraying the infant James praying before his father’s murdered corpse, and bearing the legend, ‘Judge and avenge my cause, O Lord.'”
The day was spent parleying and sadly, all that talk had come to nothing. Mary wept and Bothwell bellowed and challenged the lords in single combat. One lord was found but Mary turned down that idea.
Mary asked the terms of surrender. If the Queen placed herself in the Lords’ care then they would allow Bothwell to leave and go where he wished until Parliament ruled upon his case. Bothwell wished for Mary to retreat to Dunbar and to raise another army. Mary replied with, “she owed a duty to the late King her husband, a duty which she would not neglect.” She owed Darnley justice and that she would find his killers and have them prosecuted and punished.
Bothwell was guilty in this act. He certainly played a part but to what extent I cannot nor can history determine. So, Bothwell let his wife go. The reason Bothwell wasn’t arrested that day is tied with politics and the other lords guilt in Darnley’s murder.
So, dressed in the red petticoat too short for her and the velvet hat, she surrendered to the cries of “Burn the whore!” She was pushed and shoved by the ranks then returned to Edinburgh.
Bothwell escaped to Denmark, where he was arrested. Mary meanwhile, was locked away at Loch Leven, miscarried her twins, and signed away her throne. She escaped and raised another army but lost that battle and escaped to England.
On April 14, 1578, the 4th Earl of Bothwell died imprisoned in Dragsholm Castle. Less than a decade later on February 8, 1587 at Fotheringhay Castle by her cousin Elizabeth.
Her son James VI of Scotland became King James I of England. In the end, Scotland won England.
The Scottish lords should have been pleased. They never liked him and for them, Lord Darnley’s death benefitted them greatly.
His death was the beginning of the end of their Catholic queen. According to Mary, Queen of Scots, and the Murder of Lord Darnley, “Parliament held in December 1567, when Mary had reached twenty-five and, had she not by then been deposed, would have legally been able to revoke grants made during her minority.”
What did that mean to the Scottish Lords?
Mary granted the Earldoms of Moray, Morton and Angus during her minority to men of Protestant faith, including the Earldom of Moray to her bastard brother, Lord James Stewart, and she could revoke them.
What does this have to do with historical couples? Now once again, Mary’s hand and very reign was in danger in a way that had not been since the Rough Wooing of her childhood.
Now every action, word or look Mary made was judged and used against her. And she made some bad choices. There are two reasons for her actions: First, grief (not the best time to be thinking clearly) and second, she believed Darnley’s death was a plot to kill her. Nevertheless, Mary entered mourning. Black hung in her apartments.
She didn’t remain at Holyrood for long. She took Prince James (who had remained with her since his birth) and went to the safety of Edinburgh Castle to be locked away for the forty days of mourning–the same she had done for her first husband.
Enter husband number three, the Earl of Bothwell. James Hepburn, the fourth Earl of Bothwell was described as “glorious (vainglorious), rash, and hazardous young man.” He stood about five feet six inches, which was described as middle stature and well below Mary and Lord Darnley’s height. Another member at court described him as “an ape” and “of greatly bodily strength and beauty, although vicious and isolate in his habits.” He had a swarthy complexion and a nose that appears to have been broken.
His power base resided in East Lothian and the Borders. He didn’t like the English and given his region along the borders, such a feeling was understandable. He was not just an Earl, he was the Lord High Admiral of Scotland, a heredity position. As much as many Scottish lords and English hated the man, they knew he was not stupid.
During this time, he was married to Jean Gordon, the daughter of the dead fourth Earl of Huntly, and sister to the new fifth Earl of Huntly.
Lord Bothwell took control of the government.
On the 12 February 1566, Darnley’s embalmed body was laid in state and three days later, he was buried. The next day, the council concerned for Mary’s health persuade her to give up her mourning since it affected her health adversely. Since October 1566, Mary had been ill. The queen agreed never knowing that this was another mark that would be used against her later in life. So, she traveled to Seton Castle.
On the 16th of February, the placards began to appeared on the Tollbooth’s door in Edinburgh. The first accused Bothwell of Darnley’s murder. Two nights later, another appeared, this one accusing Mary’s foreign servants.
Mary briefly returned to Edinburgh only to leave again, this time Bothwell was included in her train. During this time, Queen Elizabeth and mother-in-law Catherine de Medici, dowager Queen of France, advised her in letters to seize the murders. Both understood the danger especially Elizabeth as she had faced fierce talk about Lord Dudley’s wife’s death and her invovlement.
Mary placed the investigation in the hands of her Councillors (though most didn’t want the murder to be solved) as well as issuing a proclamation offering a worthy reward to anyone who identified the murderers and she summoned Parliament to debate the next steps in inquiry.
Lord Lennox (Darnley’s father and a Scottish Lord) placed her in a difficult position by asking her to arrest members of her council and her servants on evidence that was more hearsay than fact, which was illegal. Yet, she couldn’t refused.
The next day, another placard was nailed to Tollbooth. This one was “where was these letters written in Roman hand, very great, M.R., with a sword in her hand near the same letters; then an L.B. (for Lord Bothwell?) with a mallet near them.” This started linking the queen to the accused murderers of her husband and started shifting the well-favored opinion of their queen. More placards appeared and continued but the most infamous one was that truly damned her reputation was the mermaid one.
According to Weir, “It depicted a bare-breasted and crowned mermaid–a mermaid then being a symbol for a siren or prostitute–holding a whip above a hare surrounded by swords; the mermaid was undoubtedly meant to be the Queen, while the hare was Bothwell’s heraldic device. The mermaid was protecting the hare with a whip, but none dared approach it anyway because of the threatening swords.”
Still Mary didn’t turn from Bothwell not even banishing him from her side at the very least. She talked of living in France. She was becoming more stressed. It appears that her fears of her coming death and mixed with her grief, she was spiraling and her mental health was very disturbed. She decided that the Prince would be safer at Stirling.
Factions were splitting. Meanwhile, the Countess of Bothwell recovered from her illness. In a letter, Lady Bothwell wrote that she had been poisoned and many believed it to be so. She sought out a divorce and with her brother’s support, she issued the first procuratory– a document authorizing legal action. She filed on the grounds of adultery.
Not all was against Mary, accusations flowed in Scotland, France, and even England against the Earl of Moray. Still, Mary’s health was failing and soon came Bothwell’s trial.
On April 12, 1567, Bothwell’s trial began. In the dawn hours of that day, Queen Elizabeth’s messenger arrived with a letter for Mary, telling her to postpone Bothwell’s trial. The messenger was told that Mary was not to be disturbed at that early an hour. But when he returned Bothwell’s men promised to give it to her. It seems she never received it.
At noon, the trial began and seven hours later, Bothwell was free. Two days later, Parliament met and by April 19, it closed. That night Bothwell hosted a supper for the lords at a tavern most historians agree was named Ainslie’s Tavern in Edinburgh.
Once food had been consumed along with wine, Bothwell whipped out a bond and asked for them to sign it. The bond was for their agreement that the Earl of Bothwell become husband number three.
Present at this supper were both Catholic and Protestant lords. The original no longer survives but there were suppose to be 28 or 29 signatures but some lords were not known to have signed but their names are rumored to be included.
After this night, Mary’s ruin had began and as history shows would not be halted.
This portrait of Madame de Senonnes is my second favorite work of art. It is also painted by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (who painted our previous historical fashion post).
Before our sitter was Madame de Senonnes, this lady was Marie-Genevieve-Marguerite Marcoz. Marie was born to a wealthy family and in 1802, she married a merchant draper named Jean Marcoz. In 1803, the couple moved to the eternal city, Rome and had a daughter that same year.
But the marriage was an unhappy one and by 1809, the couple separated. During this time, Marie mixed in artistic circles and she met Alexandre de la Motte-Barace, Viscount of Senonne. They married in 1815 and returned to France.
In France, the Bourbon Restoration had occurred first in 1814 when Napoleon was defeated in Russia and the Peninsular War. Even though in June 1815, Napoleon had escaped from Elba and again, raised an army. He was defeated at Waterloo and exiled to the island of St. Helena where Louis XVIII of France once again claimed the French throne.
This time period was experiencing a Romantic movement as well as a Neoclassical one. Both influences are very much on display in this portrait. The Grecian style dress silhouette and hairstyles were fashionable until the mid-1820s. But the romantic movement that was at its height and can be seen in the gown’s details.
Before we deconstruct her gown, let’s determine what she has underneath it all. Beneath her gown, she would be wearing garments that every woman would have don. First she would have put on her chemise. That garment would have be constructed of linen or cotton. Then she would have had put on stays. This undergarment would have been stiffened to support her breast. And she would have slipped on her stockings (not seen in the portrait). These could have been of silk or wool and held up by a garter.
The Romantic movement looked to the past especially the middle ages and the renaissance. Madame de Senonnes is wearing an afternoon dress. This is determined by the lower neckline with long sleeves and made of silk or fancier fabric than a morning dress would have been made of.
Madame de Senonnes’ dress is made of red or maroon velvet. It has long sleeves with attached dove blue silk slashes to simulate the historical Renaissance fashion of the sixteenth century. In 1815, the fashion was for heavier fabrics than a couple of years before. The silhouette of the garment would have had a flatter front and would be fuller in back of skirts (that cannot be seen in portrait). Another style choice of the romantic movement is the white lace cuff that imitates the ruffs of the sixteenth century. Her neckline is square and constructed of fine white sheer fabric and finished with a three tier lace neck ruff. Her high-waisted gown has a matching dove blue silk or satin sash.
Madame de Senonnes accents her gown with her accessories. She has donned numerous gold necklaces with charms that include a cross and another that resembles a hourglass. She has a brooch of jade and perhaps ruby pinned just below the sash. She is wearing stacked jeweled rings on four fingers while the middle finger of the right hand has one ring. Clutched In her hand is a white handkerchief. On her ears, she is wearing ruby earring that might be silver or white gold. And tucked in her twisted up hair is a hair comb made of gold and red jewels most likely rubies. These accessories reflect an afternoon style through in a portrait the sitter would wear their best garments and jewels.
Another accessory that I just love is her shawl that drapes behind her and wraps around her to the left of her. It’s is made of ivory cashmere with a wide embroidered edge. The designs reminds me of something found in an illuminated manuscript from medieval times or a design from India or another foreign country whose styles centers on a natural design. The embriodery is of a red, blue and mustardy-yellow floral print and accented with scrolls.
Madame de Senonnes died in 1828. This is what remains of her.
Now in the Royal Castle, Mary gathered her loyal supporters. Days laters, those men invovled in Rizzio’s death fled. By now, Mary’s army numbered 8000 men, she rode at the head of army into Edinburgh. She regained control of her realm. She pardoned some conspirators who were not directly involved with Rizzio’s murder. Her plan was simple, drive a wedge between these group of men.
Darnley signed a declaration that he was not a part of the murder. This fit Mary’s needs because she couldn’t have doubts about her unborn child’s legitimacy. In April of 1566, the Earl of Moray (Lord James Stewart, bastard half-brother to Mary and Protestant) arrived at Edinburgh Castle, where Mary was residing.
She gave Moray permission to stay at the imposing castle to keep a close watch on him. She knew that Moray held the support of Protestant lords as well as England and had to play it this way to keep support for her. This time Mary wouldn’t trust her half-brother but she knew that she needed him. The Protestants of Scotland looked to him as their leader. And Scottish lords had no problem rebelling against or killing their monarch. They had done so before.
Before the Scottish court, Mary gave the appearance of marital happiness but Darnley had been shut out from her graces and the seat of power. On 19 June 1566, Mary gave birth to James, the Duke of Rothesay (future James VI of Scotland and James I of England). Scotland had an heir to the throne and they rejoiced. Mary soared to great heights.
Darnley, though, was leading “a very disorderly life. Every night, he left the castle and went out vagabonding and drinking heavily with his young male friends in the streets of Edinburgh. He would return at all hours of the night, so that the castle gates had to be unlocked for him, which left Mary feeling ‘there was no safety, either for herself or her son.'”
Mary decided to keep James with her. She was fearful her enemies make steal him away and rule in his name. (Spoiler: That would happen) It didn’t help Mary that Darnley was still plotting to become king. The man was far from Mary’s good graces. He knew nothing of the Queen’s actions, daily life and certainly knew nothing of her affection. Mary seeking someone she could trust, she was turning more and more to the Earl of Bothwell.
Sadly for Mary, the men in her life sucked. And Darnley’s intrigue wasn’t the only on occurring. Moray and Bothwell, both had their own separate plans that would lead to death and the loss of the Scottish crown.
In October 1566, Mary gathered her Border lords for a justice eyre (a circuit court to hear legal cases). Darnley requested to accompany her and he was refused. Not pleased, Darnley starts to throw what I call hissy fits. One fit was his threat to sail away from Scotland. Mary could not allow such a thing. That posed a threat to her, her son and realm.
In the lowlands, during the eyre, Lord Bothwell had been attacked and injured. On 15 October, Mary learned on this and rode from Jedburgh to Hermitage Castle (The Earl of Bothwell’s, James Hepburn, holding) then rode back to Jedburgh. A sixty mile round trip that would be come to bite her in the ass.
The rest of 1566, Mary was ill and rested at Craigmillar Castle. During her recovery, Darnley appears again only to disappear to Mary’s relief. Her husband was a necessary nuisance. Her lords were trying to find a way to divorce her from her wastrel of a husband. He was a danger to her yet she couldn’t risk the standing of her son–a divorce would have James declared illegitmate. Yet, Mary knew that her husband wanted her dead. Her death would lead to a regency and Darnley wanted to be appointed Regent. Scotland had had a regency since 1393 and Mary, Queen of Scots (Scotland would have another under Mary’s son).
But many wanted Darnley dead too.
In 1567, (According to testimony made in 1573) a bond was drawn up to kill Darnley. No record exists and no one saw this written bond. But that didn’t stop the English and Cecil and Walingsham from using this testimony)
At the end of 1566, Darnley became ill with pox, syphillis as the Diurnal of Occurents’ stated. The sixteenth century cure wasn’t an easy one. It was mercury baths. He was at his father’s stronghold near Glasgow. That wasn’t necessary a good thing for Mary.
In the beginning in 1567, Mary had proof of two conspiracies: Lords against Darnely with plans to kill him and Darnley against Mary. With no other choice, Mary rode to Glasgow to confront her husband and bring him to Edinburgh to watch him.
Now the queen had her husband and Bothwell had recovered from his injuries and journeyed to the royal burgh. The plan was to lodge Darnely in Craigmillar. But he feared being locked up and killed so he went to Kirk o’ Field. Later many would say that Mary had set up the house in order to kill him. But that choice was Darnley’s.
The house “lay to the south of Edinburgh, on a hill overlooking the Cowgate; it stood just inside the city wall and three-quarters of a mile from Holyrood Palace, in a semi-rural location, ‘environed with pleasant gardens, and removed from the noise of the people.'”
Mary saw that her husband had all the luxuries the husband of the queen could want or need. As he recovered, the queen “visited her husband daily.” According to Alison Weir’s book, Mary, Queen of Scots and the Murder of Lord Darnley, she spent two nights at Kirk o’ Field, sleeping in the bedroom below his. They sat up late, sometimes until midnight, talking, playing cards or listening to music, and ‘many nobles’ came with the Queen to divert the convalescent.
Though, Mary might have shown kindess to her husband, she didn’t trust him and continued to learn of all his undermined plans against her.
On 9 February 1567, the last day of Sunday before the beginning of Lent, the queen had a full schedule. She had a wedding of her favorite servants, attended a banquet and around 7, she rode to Kirk o’ Field in the company of Lords Bothwell, Argyll and Huntly. They spent the time playing dice and chatting. The group including the Queen were dressed for the wedding masque that they would be attending later that night.
At midnight, Mary and the lords departed. This night has many stories depending on who you believe and when the story is told. Whatever you believe, Mary returned to Holyrood, attended the masque and took part in the bedding ceremony of the newlyweds then returned to her apartments.
There she held a meeting with the Captain of her Guards and Bothwell. The captain left Bothwell and the queen alone where they talked in private for some time then Bothwell left and Mary went to bed. Another act that would be used against Mary.
Shortly before 2 a.m. Mary was woken by an explosion. She thought it might be cannon fire and sent messengers to learn what was happening. They returned with the news of an explosion of Kirk o’ Field and the belief that Darnley was dead.
Lord Bothwell was the Sheriff of Edinburgh and the duty to investigate fell to him. His servant had to wake him. He sent his men then returned to bed.
Bodies of servants were discovered in the rubble remains of the house but Darnley had not been find. “At last, at 5 a.m., three hours after the explosion, someone thought to look in the south garden and orchard, beyond Flodden Wall, and it was there that they found the bodies of the twenty-year-old king and his valet.” Both men were dressed in short nightshirts and neither body had a mark on their flesh. “Darnley was stretched out on his back, under a pear tree, with one hand draped modestly over his genitals.”
Near the bodies was a chair, rope, and a dagger. The clothing weren’t burned, scorched or black from powder.
Mary learned of the news. She fell into deep grief and stayed in her chamber all day. Weir writes, “There is no doubt that Darnley’s murder left Mary grief-stricken, emotionally shattered and fearful for her own safety. For several months afterwards, she seems not to have functioned normally, and her judgment, never very good at the best of times, utterly failed her.”
This was the beginning in the end for her as Scotland’s queen and her life.
It’s Monday so I have a little treat for you. The Chieftain’s Secret, my Highlander novella is here for your pleasure. Niall and Ermina’s story has been called “a throughly entertaining read.” And one reviewer stated, “I recommend this book most definitely.” So stop by Amazon and get your copy.
On a windswept Scottish Isle…
Many objects wash up on the shores of the rugged Isle of Mull. The Laird of Lochbuie never expected a pregnant wife to be included in that. Honorable Niall MacLean was wed to his childhood love when she died in childbirth. Now a widower, he struggles to get beyond his grief. Then a dear friend, Ermina Bruce pleaded for his help. His protective instinct came alive and he handfasted with Ermina to save her from an unsuitable marriage and one drunken night has led to forever after and a repeat of his past heartbreak.
The bonds of friendship…
Noble Ermina Bruce has loved Niall MacLean since he first fostered in her uncle’s home. But he loved another so she settled for the deep bonds of friendship. When her family arranged a marriage she didn’t want she knew Niall could save her from that miserable fate.
One night of passion…
That one night in Niall’s arms led to her pregnancy. Ermina has not told Niall of their secret baby. But his reaction isn’t her greatest fear. Her fear is even greater than the brave laird’s wrath. Every woman in her family has died in childbirth and all know the same fate awaits her. Once again, Ermina knows Niall is the only one who can save her. And if he fails, her last days shall be with the man she has loved since childhood.
I love fashion. In case, you didn’t know, I studied fashion design. I can make a dress out of a scrap of fabric. So, it’s natural that I blend the things I am passionate about fashion, history and writing.
This is a new feature of my blog that focuses on historical costume or historical fashion (depending on what term you wish to use).
For this blog, I chose to focus on my favorite portrait. The portrait of Josephine Eleonore Marie Pauline De Galard De Brassac De Bearn, Princess de Broglie painted by Ingres in 1853. This work of art is located in the Metropolitan Museum of Art–the MET– in New York City. If you get to see it in person, you will be hypnotized and enchanted by both the skill of the artist, Ingres and by the sitter herself, Princess de Broglie.
Before I get into the costume, let me tell you the Princess’ story. Josephine was known for her beauty. Look at the portrait, you can also see that she appears shy. The princess was known to be profoundly shy. Though, her exterior form is striking (possessed the fashionable figure of that time with her sloping shoulders), there was more to this woman. She was deeply religious and highly intelligent. During her life, she published three volumes of essays on religious history.
Josephine was married to Albert de Broglie on 18 June 1845. She was the mother of five sons. Born in 1825, she would not live to an old age. She contracted tuberculosis and was died in 1860 at 35 years old. Her husband lived into 1901 and heartbroken, he never remarried.
Her portrait was completed when she was 28 years old. Her beauty and personality were captured in oil in the most beautiful garment I have ever seen. So, let’s get to what she’s wearing.
Princess De Broglie is wearing a blue satin evening gown embellished with a lace bertha and dangling blue satin ribbons. Lace trims the ruched ribboned neckline and sleeves and down the center front of the bodice is a row of matching blue satin ribbons.
The princess is dressed for an evening probably to attend a ball. The dress follows the fashion of the early 1850s France. This French time period is called the Second Empire. Fashion was having a Rococo Revival. The details of this style was a short-waisted bodice and dome-shaped skirt as well as the bow detail and the lace on the neckline and sleeves that mimic 18th century fashion.
What is she wearing beneath the gown? In order of dressing, she has donned a chemise, cotton or linen, tucked into pantalettes and a corset over that. The support garments would be additional petticoats.
Now for the finishing details, her hairstyle. Her thick, black hair is parted down the middle and pushed back and pinned and finished with pearl-laced maribou feathers attached to matching blue ribbons pinned on both sides of her head.
Her accessories include a white or ivory cashmere shawl finished with a border of gold embroidery. She has a matching gold and white or ivory face and white silk gloves. I believe just on the edge of the chair is a velvet black cloak she would have donned before heading out. These items are located on the chair.
The accessories she has on her person are gold and pearl strand earrings. She has a simple gold necklace with a gold pendant. On her wrists are two braclets. On the left arms is a pearl braclet that loops around her wrist five times and is clasped with a metal detail–most likely gold. And on her right wrist is a gold and ruby bracket.
Are you as hypnotized by this portrait as I am? What do you love about it?
Mary’s second marriage held all of Europe enthralled. Many European countries had a political interest in the man Mary would walk down the aisle with. No country more than England and its queen, Elizabeth I and her most trusted advisor, Sir William Cecil.
Elizabeth even offered her favorite, Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester. But Mary refused her cousin’s rumored lover. But Mary did marry an Englishman. The Englishman that Elizabeth and Cecil didn’t want her to bind herself to.
Her second husband was Henry Stuart known as Lord Darnley, his courtesy title from his Scottish father, the Earl of Lennox. Now this is a crazy intersecting blood line.
So here we go: Lord Darnley’s mother was Lady Margaret Douglas. Her mother was Margaret Tudor who was Henry VIII sister. Mother Margaret (let’s call her to distinguish her from her daughter) had married the King of Scotland James IV (Mary, Queen of Scots grandfather) who died. Mother Margaret then married the Earl of Angus, Margaret’s father. Lady Margaret Douglas had a claim to the English throne as the granddaughter of Henry VII and as niece of Henry VIII. Both Margarets ended up in England and Henry VIII’s court because of some very crazy Scottish in-fighting (too long and soap opera-esque to explain here).
Now Lord Darnley’s father was the Scottish lord, Matthew Stuart, the 4th Earl of Lennox. His estates were located near Glasgow. He fled Scotland in 1534 then married Margaret Douglas.
Both mother and father had grand plans for their son and that plan was to wear a crown and the Scottish crown would do nicely.
Lord Darnley was the second of eight children (the eldest had died). He was born in December of 1545 or 1546. He was reared a Roman Catholic but would follow any religion if it gained him what he wanted.
Darnley was considered handsome even being described as “most handsome”. He stood between 6’1 to 6’3 so he was taller than Mary’s 5’10 to 5’11. He had a slim, strong and athletic physique that was desirable. He had fair, close-cropped curly hair. Darnley was the perfect courtier. He played instruments like the lute, played games and danced. Yet, this boy had his faults. He was spoiled, immature, and a drunk.
In 1565, Darnley was presented to Mary at Wemyss Castle then they parted ways. But they were soon reunited. Darnley charmed all the Scottish lords whose support he needed to marry Mary. He attended church with Lord James Stewart, a Protestant, as well as Mary. As stated before, anything to get the crown.
During this time, Mary’s talks with Elizabeth to be named as her heir fell apart. This was Darnley’s chance to gain Mary’s hand and Mary’s chance to get back at Elizabeth.
In April of that year, Darnley fell ill and Mary rushed to his side and cared for him herself. After that, Mary lavished him with gifts. She decided to wed Lord Henry Darnley. She believed herself in love but it was most certainly infatuation. As an English subject, he was required to gain Elizabeth’s consent. She did not give it but that didn’t stop the marriage from occurring.
Lord James Stewart, now Earl of Moray, was against this union and refused to sign a document in support of the marriage. This is the start when Lord James turned against his half-sister. Yet, the wedding date was set for July 29, 1565. The day before, Mary proclaimed Darnley King of Scots.
In August, Lord James and some other lords rebelled. It is called The Chaseabout Raid. This rebellion got its name because both sides just rode about, chasing (in Mary’s case) and fleeing (Lord James’ case). It ended because Lord James fled to England.
As Mary was at the height of her reign, her marriage was at its lowest. Darnley was a drunk. He spent his time carousing in taverns and brothels. Worse, the so-called King believed the hype (when he was king in name only). Meanwhile, Mary began spending time with Rizzio, her Italian secretary. Naturally this sparked talk of an affair between the queen and the upstart who came to Mary’s court as a musician and rose to secretary and close confidant of the queen.
People have said that she was foolish to do this but Henry VIII liked to appoint “lower classes” to high positions because they would know where their lives hung. After all Cromwell and Worsley were sons of a blacksmith and a butcher.
Now, this royal couple lived very separate lives. During this time, a conspiracy began with Darnley being played by the lords. It is believed that this started so the rebel lords could return to Scotland. The Earl of Ruthven played a part along with the Earl of Morton, the Earl of Lennox and other Scottish nobles along with Sir William Cecil. It was decided that Rizzio had to die and the now pregnant queen must be detained until her child was born and Darnley given the Crown Matrimonal (which would have made him King of Scotland).
The plan to murder Rizzio happened as Darnley wished. In March 1566, the pregnant Mary hosted a few close courtiers for supper in her closet (a small room). During the night, Darnley made an appearance, playing the charming husband, when Lord Ruthven burst in, demanding Rizzio be handed over to him. Rizzio cowered behind the queen.
The other conspirators rushed in to the small room that could hold a dozen and was now crammed with at least thirty people. The men grabbed at Rizzio. Mary was thrown into Darnley’s arms and he was told to take his wife away. Darnley pulled Mary from the closet into the large space and Rizzio chased after her. Just then the men attacked, stabbing Rizzio. He cried out and clutched at the queen’s skirts as they stabbed him. Darnley bent back his fingers and the assassins dragged Rizzio away.
If you visit Holyrood Palace in Scotland, there is a plaque that states that this is the spot Rizzio died. People claim that they can see the blood stain on the wooden floorboards but those board had been replaced. Rizzio laid died in the queen’s rooms and Darnley’s dagger was demanded. His dagger was “embedded in Rizzio’s side to proclaim the King’s invovlement in the deed.”
The queen proclaimed that these lords planned to kill her and her unborn child. According to Alison Weir in Mary, Queen of Scots and the Murder of Lord Darnley, “that Fawdonside (a member of the conspiracy) had held a loaded pistol to her womb and would have killed her had not his gun refused to give fire.”
She could be right because “one of Ruthven’s followers…told James I (Of England and James VI of Scotland and son of Mary and Henry) that he had saved his life and that of his mother.”
That night, the queen was locked in her rooms with “Dowager Countess of Huntly and a few female servants with eighty Douglas men standing guard outside the palace gates and her bedchamber door, preventing her from communciating with the rest of her household.”
The next day, Darnley went to the queen in terror and begging her forgiveness. He swore that Rizzio’s murder was not his plan.
Mary replied, “Sire, within the last 24 hours you have done me such a wrong that neither the recollection of our early friendship nor all the hope you can give me of the future can ever make me forget it. I think you may never be able to undo what you have done. You say you are sorry, and this gives me some comfort. Yet I cannot but think that you are driven to it rather by necessity than led by any sentiment of true and sincere affection.”
She demanded Darnley reveal all and he did. He told of the plan to imprison her in Stirling Castle until she died. Mary can up with a plan.
Together, the royal couple escaped through the back stairs and through the wine cellar. They had to make their way through the cemetery and there two men waited with four horses. Mary heavily pregnant mounted her horse and rode away to Seton Castle then onto Dunbar Castle. After five hours in the saddle, Mary arrived safely.
When it comes to telling a story, POV (Point of View) plays a major part in order to “Tell the story right” as John Travolta says in the movie, Basic.
There are three POVs:
First Person: Basically is I. I saw the cow jump over the moon.
Second person: This is You. This POV isn’t used much. You are dancing between beams of moonlight.
Third Person: Is She/He
In Third Person, you have Third person Omniscient and Third Person Limited. In Omniscient, the narrator sees all like God and Third Person Limited only sees himself but both POVs use He/ She.
Lachlan lingered in the courtyard. He refused to step inside. No doubt, he could find a widow to warm the night with. He just had to stay away from the Great Hall and Rowen. Damn, she was so beautiful sitting upon her horse. She was so near to him. He could have snatched her up and run away. He couldn’t go near her. He kicked at a rock. Why did MacLean have to permit the marriage here? –From Highland Scandal
But this post isn’t about this. This is about my POV preference and it isn’t what you think.
As a Romance Author, I write in third person limited. But my favorite POV is first person POV. Some people say that it is a hard POV to tackle. For me though, I love it. You must have heard about Method acting where the actor transforms into his character. When I’m writing, I do Method Writing. I take on my character. Ever action my character takes is one that I have weighed based on backstory, character development, goals, and conflicts.
When I’m writing, I am escaping just as much as I hope my readers are too. Another reason I prefer firstperson is I don’t feel separate from my characters. Readers (even I) can feel that in the writing. I suppose the reason I like it some much is because I have a lot of practice writing in that POV. Since I first started writing back when I was a little girl, I always wrote in first-person.
So, do you have a preference in both reading and writing?
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We all know that books influence our lives. They can be the self-help books that help with various parts of our life or how-to books that can help with anything that troubles us. Those For Dummies books have certainly helped me.
But what about other books that’s purpose is to teach you, entertain you or anything else; do they have an influence in everyday life? The answer would be yes.
Throughout my life (am I sure I’m not the only one who feels this way) books have taught me life lessons, helped me see the world around me in a new way, opened my mind to something I never knew or just let me know that I wasn’t alone.
One book I remember is still with me these years later and that book is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I was just a schoolgirl who had to read the Betty Smith’s novel for school. I remember looking at the cover and thinking this book has nothing to do with me. Oh no, another book for school that I do not want to be bothered with. I rather read something else like the Sweet Valley Series I loved.
After I read the first sentence I saw a piece of me in the father and mother. John and the mother (whatever her name was) were employed to clean schools. When in the empty schools, they would play out their dreams–dreams that saw them through the hard times, dreams that would never come true but dreams that were needed in their life to get through it.
My teachers always accused me of daydreaming and I was. I was weaving stories of a place where I far away from my everyday life, far from my desk and that school. My teachers made me feel like those daydreams were wrong. That me having dreams were wrong. They told me repeatedly that my dreams of writing were stupid and would never happen.
But that book told me differently and taught me that I wasn’t going to live my life without doing everything I could to make my dreams real. That I was worthy of a dream and worthy to make it come true. As we all do.
So every day, when I write that book influences me. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn changed me. I still have the book with its aged, urine-colored pages, dusty smell, and binding that cracks if I dare lift the ugly 80s cover. So I take it out every so often, stroke the cover and place it back so nothing happens to it.
There are many more books that influence me every day, books that have made me who I am and that list is too many to list. And every person has those books that have molded them into the person they are, so what book is it for you?
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