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  1. Technically known to history as “Juana of Castile” (a name that would later be taken by one of her nieces), Juana la Beltraneja's more well-known name comes from the questions that surrounded her birth. Her mother Joan of Portugal was a Queen Consort of Castile as the second wife of King Enrique IV of Castile. Enrique had had his first marriage dissolved after thirteen years on the basis that it had never been consummated due to impotence (caused by a curse). 

  2. If you consider that in the medieval period, the eldest son was the main heir to his father's estate, then you can't help but feel very sorry for poor Robert Curthose. As the eldest son of William, Duke of Normandy and Matilda of Flanders, he was already due to inherit Normandy in the future. In 1066 his father became King of England, and the teenage Robert would have been able to think of himself as the future King Robert I of England. 

  3. On 27 November 1252 the Regent of the French throne died. Not an uncle or brother or other male relative of King Louis IX but his mother, Blanche of Castile. With her son on Crusade she had proved to be an able regent, but this surprised no one. It wasn't the first time Blanche had been required to take care of France for her son, and she came from a line of highly capable women. 

  4. On 13 September 1944, four women were executed at Dachau Concentration Camp. All four of them; Yolande Beekman, Elaine Plewman, Madeleine Damerment, and Noor-un-nisa Inayat Khan, were agents from Special Operations Executive. A Dutch prisoner at the camp reported that Noor in particular had been singled out and beaten badly before being shot. It was a sorry end for a short life that had started out with wealth and privilege, whose course had been significantly changed by the outbreak of the second world war. 

  5. When Philippa of Lancaster died on 19 July 1415, her adopted country of Portugal was plunged in to mourning. Philippa was a popular consort, known for her charity, benevolance, and for being a good influence on a court that had been viewed as being corrupt in the past. But her legacy would live on for multiple generations through her children, grandchildren, and even one particular great-granddaughter… 

  6. On 10 January 1918, a nurse named Ada Woodley died at Littlebury in Essex. She's not a famous woman in history, but when me and my fiancé stumbled on her grave two years ago while visiting this beautiful old village, I decided to research her. It's rare to find a war memorial grave in a local cemetery, and I'd certainly never seen one dedicated to a woman before. But researching Ada's story reminded me that women who worked hard for their country during the war weren't really treated with the same amount of respect as their male counterparts. 

  7. Happy New Year everyone! Thank you to everyone who supported The Creative Historian this past year, from purchasing from the shop to commenting on blog posts, retweeting on Twitter, sharing on Facebook and pinning on Pinterest!

    You may have noticed that in December I ran a little advent calendar series of blog posts. The theme of the calendar was churches, namely churches that I've visited (either alone or with my other half) over the past few years. If you've missed some posts, then you can find the master list below. 

  8. I'll admit, this may be a little short because I'm writing it on the evening of Christmas Eve, unlike a lot of my earlier posts, which were drafted in November. It's also a little short because today is Christmas Day, and I doubt there are many of you who are reading it (if you are then thank you!)

    Today's church is St Paul Beyond the Walls in Rome. It was founded during the reign of Emperor Constantine I, who believed that the site was where St Paul had been buried after his martyrdom. It's outside of the city centre (we ended up having quite a long walk to get to it) and as a result, isn't a consideration for many tourists. But this church is really beautiful, and well worth a trip out from the usual Roman sites.