When One Prince is Not Enough: Andorra

Among the dwarf states of Europe, the Principality of Andorra is the largest. Until quite recently, it was an absolute monarchy. It was governed not by one, but two princes, and both are not citizens of Andorra. They don't even live in Andorra. To make the case even more curious, it is not a hereditary monarchy.

The White Sex Slaves of 1874

Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was married to Princess Charlotte of the United Kingdom. Charlotte would have been Queen instead of Victoria, had she not died in child-bed. His time spent in England might explain the German Prince's predilection for all things British. Once he was crowned King of the Belgians, Leopold ran a £800 a month account with a London madam to supply him with medically certified virgins. 

Easter Eggs, Taxes, and Tithes

These days, Easter eggs are painted by children and adults alike in a variety of colors and with an array of symbols and pictures. Painting eggs as a custom has been documented to reach back over several thousand years. The colors and symbols used in painting eggs held special meanings and were often part of rituals. Those meanings changed and adapted over time depending on which culture and which religion people belonged to that were painting eggs. 

The President's Slaves

At a time when the first Afro-American President resides at the White House, Annette Gordon-Reed’s The Hemingses Of Monticello: An American Family published by Norton is a timely reminder. Presidents of the United States of America used to own slaves. This book covers the story of the 'second' family of a historic president residing in pomp at Monticello. 

Assassinate Hitler: Maurice Bavaud

On November 9th, 2008, it was 70 years since Maurice Bavaud tried to assassinate Adolf Hitler in Munich. After prolonged torture, he was murdered by the Nazis on May 14th, 1941, after ‘legal’ proceedings followed by a sentence to death on the guillotine. He was officially rehabilitated by Germany in 1956. 

How Money Came to Dominate Our Lives

Niall Ferguson’s The Ascent of Money was published by Allen Lane. A Harvard historian shows the star economists how economics work today and how they worked in the past. His conclusions from comparing the two are at the same time obvious and disturbing. 

Colorful Claims on FC Barcelona

FC Barcelona is one of the best known football or soccer clubs in the world and probably the best to boot. One of the questions coming up every now and then is: How did it come by the colors blue and red on its dress? There are many claims to fame, and none of them gives a satisfactory answer. 

King Solomon Turning Copper Into Gold

As archaeologists dug deeper in the modern kingdom of Jordan, more light was shed on the historical times of King Solomon and the historic kingdom of Israel. By proving a mine found 40 years ago to date back to the 10th century B.C., they theorized that they had constituted a probable contribution to Solomon’s filled treasuries. 

Queens Consort of England

Lisa Hilton wrote Queens Consort, published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson. The medieval lives of England’s Queens are presented in a well researched book. As a bonus, it’s a darn good read as well. The book dispels any notions of powerless damsels in distress and reveals the female power-brokers behind the throne.

The Prince, The Princess, And The Perfect Murder

If you think that wanting to marry serial divorcee Wallis Simpson was the only blunder of King Edward VIII, then here is a book to make you think again. It is also a book for all conspiracy theorists, because this conspiracy is well enough documented to hold water. It was a conspiracy to keep the promiscuous and rather stupid Crown Prince of the United Kingdom David Prince of Wales out of a sordid murder trial. The price that had to be paid was the freedom of a murderess and princess. The Prince, The Princess, And The Perfect Murder by Andrew Rose is published by Coronet.