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Category: Women in History

  1. Royal Mistresses: Nell Gwyn

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    “Let not poor Nellie starve”.

    This is reported to be one of the last requests that King Charles II made to his brother James shortly before his death. Charles had had multiple mistresses during his life, and Eleanor “Nell” Gwyn was just one of several long-term favourites. But unlike her contemporaries, who had powerful families and connections to protect them after his death, Nell was a commoner who could easily be dropped by her supporters, thus the request that his brother help her after he was gone.

  2. Unlucky Princesses: Margaret, Maid of Norway

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    In 1543 King Henry VIII signed the Treaty of Greenwich, which included the betrothal of the future King Edward VI of England to his cousin, Mary the future Queen of Scots. Such a marriage could potentially have united the two crowns through the birth of one son and heir. Ultimately it failed as Edward died and Mary married the French Dauphin. But it wasn’t the first time such a marriage had been mooted, and it had also ended with an early death. 

  3. Unlucky Princesses: Ingeborg of Denmark

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    A Danish princess by birth and a Queen of France by marriage, Ingeborg of Denmark tends to be forgotten about. The great Royal marriage battle between King and Queen that most people remember, is the one between King Henry VIII of England and his first wife Catherine of Aragon. But Ingeborg's own battle was not only far more protracted, it was ultimately successful. 

  4. Unlucky Princesses: Margaret of Austria

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    Although her early life can classify her as an “Unlucky Princess”, in many ways Margaret of Austria’s life was better than other such royal women. Betrothed and married several times, she was not only eventually allowed to manage her own destiny, but she became ruler of the Netherlands as Regent for her nephew. Through this she joined the ranks of other strong women who managed the region on behalf of their menfolk. 

  5. Unlucky Princesses: Caroline Matilda of Great Britain

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    Caroline Matilda was born into a court in mourning. Her father Frederick, Prince of Wales, had died four months earlier leaving his wife Princess Augusta a widow with nine children. The family had long been estranged from Frederick's father, King George II of England, but the Princes' death led to a cooling of tensions. Although George didn't like Augusta, and didn't like her reluctance to take part in court activities, she was generally left to raise her children as she saw fit.