I’ve had a fascination with the Jack the Ripper mystery for years. Well, unsolved mysteries generally which started with the disappearance of the Princes in the Tower, and the death of Amy Robsart. But the Jack the Ripper mystery is a lot gorier and more disturbing.
This book discusses the five canonical victims in detail, especially the locations connected with each murder and how they relate to London as it is now. There are lots of helpful maps plotting London as it was in 1888 over the street layout today. The sad thing is that many of the streets and locations have now been lost, many in the last decade or two with building works. I went on a Jack the Ripper tour in Whitechapel last year with a friend and it’s amazing how little actually remains, so those locations that do remain are more significant in a way.
Richard Charles Cobb discusses each of the canonical murders, but also discusses the other Whitechapel murders not always considered to be his work (there were 11 in total in the files). It was really interesting to read some of the newspaper articles, the alleged writing of the Ripper, and police reports and memorandum – words spoken or written at the time. Cobb doesn’t really go into suspects, so I think that might be what I’ll look for in my next book on the Jack the Ripper mystery. I want to know more.
Be aware if you buy this book that there are images of the dead women; including the wounds inflicted on the last canonical victim, which are just horrifying. Some authors I know choose not to show the images in their books or put them in a spread in the middle so you can just jump past them, but these images are set into the text so just a trigger warning, though I imagine if you’re reading a book on Jack the Ripper you might be aware of the images!
Like many others across Great Britain, the Commonwealth, and the world, I was glued to my television after the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was announced on Thursday 8th September 2022. An earlier statement made by Buckingham Palace said that “Following further evaluation this morning, The Queen’s doctors are concerned for Her Majesty’s health and have recommended she remain under medical supervision. The Queen remains comfortable and at Balmoral”.
Just hours later it was confirmed that Her Majesty had died aged 96 and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, had become King Charles III. A statement by Charles III on the death of his mother read as follows:
The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty the Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family.We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by the knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which the Queen was so widely held.
When it was announced that Queen Elizabeth II had died, I was in tears. I didn’t expect to feel it so strongly, but I really did, and I’ve since watched Charles III’s first televised address, the Accession Council and Proclamation, and the Queen’s coffin leaving Balmoral. All of these made me cry, just in thoughts of how much the Queen has done for the country and the commonwealth, and the dedicated service of both her and the new King.
It has also been lovely to see the new Prince and Princess of Wales, William and Catherine, formerly known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, doing a walkabout in Windsor alongside Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Perhaps the reconciliation of William and Harry will be something good to come from this, although of course we don’t know exactly what happened between them and cannot presume anything.
The legacy of Elizabeth I is one of duty, dedication, and love. She loved her country, and was a loving and devoted mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother from all accounts. Prince William has said in his statement about his grandmother’s death that:
I thank her for the kindness she showed my family and me. And I thank her on behalf of my generation for providing an example of service and dignity in public life that was from a different age, but always relevant to us all.My grandmother famously said that grief was the price we pay for love. All of the sadness we will feel in the coming weeks will be testament to the love we felt for our extraordinary Queen.I will honour her memory by supporting my father, The King, in every way I can.
If you want to leave a condolence or a memory of the Queen for the Royal Family you can do so here and click ‘Book of Condolence’ on the right-hand side:
The value of the monarchy is undiminished even after so many years. I think this is demonstrated by the huge outpouring of grief and memories that have come out since Queen Elizabeth II died on Thursday. People have been remembering her kindness, love, duty, and devotion across her 70-year reign. The death of the Queen has brought people together in a way only seen over these state occasions like the Platinum Jubilee back in June 2022, or the wedding of William and Catherine in April 2011.
The value of this can’t be underestimated, even for those who don’t believe we should still have a monarchy. There are no other events that bring people across the UK and Commonwealth together quite as much.
Of course, there are always those who will be against the monarchy and cannot see its value, but I don’t see that. I see far more value in having the monarchy than in it not being there. Without it, there wouldn’t be the constancy of a figurehead of the country even when the prime minister keeps changing. Queen Elizabeth I was a constant through her fifteen prime ministers, from Winston Churchill to Liz Truss. Elizabeth II’s funeral will be the first state funeral since that of Winston Churchill in 1965.
I for one believe in the importance of coming together as a country to mourn our Queen who has devoted her life to her country, although there have been ups and downs, the monarchy has weathered the storms, and come out stronger for it. I look forward to seeing where Charles III, followed by Prince William and then his son, Prince George, will take the monarchy, adapting to the modern world while keeping the traditions that date back hundreds of years.
Statements taken from Instagram @theroyalfamily and @princeandprincessofwales
Having read Heather Morris’s other books in this trilogy: ‘The Tattooist of Auschwitz’ and ‘Cilka’s Journey’, I couldn’t wait to read this final one in the series. I listened to it on audiobook from the library as I need to wait for it to come out in paperback as I have the others in paperback before I can buy it myself and I couldn’t wait that long!
As the title suggests, this is the story of three Jewish sisters who end up in Auschwitz-Birkenau during World War Two. Cibi, Magda, and Livia promised their father before he died that they would always be together and look after each other and it is this promise that runs throughout the book as the trio are separated at several points for various reasons but are always determined to reunite when they can. The story runs from the invasion of Slovakia by the Nazis to the settlement of Palestine as a home for the Jewish people, and into the modern day for the epilogue.
It’s a beautiful story of sisters determined to beat the odds and protect each other, and fight for the others of their faith to make sure that their children and grandchildren have a better life. But it is also about talking about experiences. No matter how bad the experiences we have in our lives they become a part of us and form who we are. We can’t shut them out. For me, that was the biggest thing to take away from this story. Although most of us probably cannot imagine what it was like to be in a concentration camp under the Nazis, and there are very few survivors left now, we all have our challenges, though the sisters faced more than most. They found their happy endings and their experiences have been shared, allowing us to work towards making sure the Holocaust never happens again.
This trilogy has been haunting and beautiful to read with tales of horror and hardship, but also of hope and love. A fitting end which sees the story through to the creation of Palestine and the journeys of the early Jews who travelled there after the Second World War.
After Northern Rising of 1569 against Elizabeth I of England, Pope Pius V issued the Regnans in Excelsis bull in 1570 which excommunicated Elizabeth I, absolved her subjects of their loyalty to her, and encouraged her overthrow. This would provide Catholic Englishmen with the support they needed to act more brazenly against their Protestant Queen in the future, with the Ridolfi Plot in 1571, the Throckmorton Plot in 1583 and the Babington Plot in 1586.
Pope Pius V had been Pope since 1566 and had been born as Antonio Ghislieri in 1504 in the Duchy of Milan in Italy. He played a large role in the Council of Trent which embodied the counter-Reformation and aimed to clamp down on Protestant heresies across Europe. His excommunication of Elizabeth I can be seen in this vein, as Elizabeth was considered to be one of the greatest heretics, the daughter of Anne Boleyn who was believed to have pushed Henry VIII to Break with Rome.
Pope Pius V was canonised in 1712 by Pope Clement XI for his efforts on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church in the face of the Protestant heresies sweeping Europe in the sixteenth century.
Richard McBrien – Lives of the Popes (1998)
John O’Malley – A History of the Popes: From Peter to the Present (2009)
John O’Malley – Trent: What Happened at the Council? (2013)
Charles Phillips – An Illustrated History of the Popes (2017)
Although we shouldn’t look at the 16th century through 21st century eyes, people today still seem to be able to connect with Anne Boleyn because many of her decisions, emotions and feelings we can still sympathise and empathise with today. Many of things that she went through still happen today, though on a much smaller and less deadly scale. The idea that she shaped her own destiny is not one we often associate with Medieval and Early Modern women; the idea still prevails that women were at the mercy of their men folk – their fathers, brothers or husbands. Anne Boleyn demonstrates that not all women fell into that mould, some stepped out and made their own futures. Continue reading “In Memory of Anne Boleyn”→
Elizabeth Woodville died on 8 June 1492 at Bermondsey Abbey aged 55, where she had been rusticated on the orders of her son-in-law, Henry VII. She was suspected of having been involved in the plotting of Lambert Simnel in 1487 to seize the throne in the name of the Earl of Warwick and was sent to Bermondsey. It seems unlikely that she would work to topple her daughter and grandson, but it seems equally unlikely that she would willing retire from public life, from what we know of her.
Elizabeth was buried with her husband, Edward IV, in St George’s Chapel at Windsor on 12 June 1492 where her daughters, excepting Elizabeth and Cecily, attended her funeral. She specified a simple ceremony in her will, though some thought this not fitting for a Queen of England.
David Baldwin, Elizabeth Woodville (2002)
J.L. Laynesmith, The Last Medieval Queens (2004)
Amy Licence, Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville: a True Romance (2016)
Queen Elizabeth and Robert Dudley were childhood playmates and also have in common the experience of being accused of treason and locked in the tower. How does Dudley use this shared history to influence Elizabeth? Is he successful?
I think Dudley was quite manipulative in a way. He used what he knew was Elizabeth’s weakness to get close to her, and make her almost dependent on him. He tried to ingratiate with her when she was vulnerable and alone. I think there were so few people who had things in common with Elizabeth that she was automatically drawn to someone who shared one of the most important experiences of her life and that shaped her into the monarch she was. I think there was also an element that no one really treated Elizabeth as a normal person apart from Dudley – everyone else saw her either as a bastard or a queen. I think he is successful at first, but that, as Elizabeth settles more into her role, she realizes how dangerous it could be and changes her approach to him, at least in public.
What is your opinion of Amy? She says about Dudley, “In his heart I know that he is still the young man that I fell in love with who wanted nothing more than some good pasture land to breed beautiful horses” (105). Has Amy completely misjudged her husband, particularly how ambitious a man he is?
I think that Dudley knew that he could never have that life, even if he wanted it, and I think that when he and Amy married he wasn’t so attached to Elizabeth. His father was on his way up, but not yet at the height of his power. He must have known that his future was at court. I think that Amy was blinded by her love for him, and assumed that he and she wanted the same kind of life. It was inevitable with who his father was that Dudley was destined for a life at court rather than in the country, and I don’t think that he really wanted any other kind of life. I don’t think Amy really understood Dudley, or his love for the court, because she had never been there, and I think it was difficult to understand the allure without having experienced it yourself. Continue reading “Discussion Questions – ‘The Virgin’s Lover’ by Philippa Gregory”→
Discuss the marriage of Robert Dudley and Amy Robsart. They married very young; both were only seventeen. Was their marriage doomed from the start? What, if anything, coujld they have done to save their marriage? Though our modern-day concept of domestic abuse did not exist in Tudor times, do you think Robert Dudley, as depicted in this novel, was an abusive husband? If you were a marriage counsellor and this couple were seated on your couch, what would you tell them?
I think that Robert and Amy’s marriage was doomed from the start because Robert’s love wasn’t love at all, but lust, whereas Amy’s was real. They were too young to really understand what they wanted and what it would mean in the long term. Amy was bound to get hurt as Robert’s ambition took control over his feelings. I think what would have been needed to save the marriage was a lack of ambition or an acceptance that marriages were generally not love matches, though the second was less likely. I think Robert Dudley was abusive towards Amy Robsart in an emotional way, not really physically. He pushed her aside and made it quite clear that he preferred someone else. I’d say that they needed to communicate more and come clear about their feelings and wants and needs, Amy in particular. I would also tell them that marriage should be for life and that even if you discover that you aren’t as well connected as you should be that there is always a way around it and that they shouldn’t give up too easily, as Robert does in this novel.