According to later writer Dudo of Saint-Quentin, in this year the king of the Franks, Charles the Simple, grants land around the city of Rouen to Rollo, or Rolf, leader of the Vikings who have settled the region: the duchy of Normandy is founded. In return Rollo undertakes to protect the area and to receive baptism, taking the Christian name Robert.
Emma, sister of Duke Richard II of Normandy, marries Æthelred (‘the Unready’), king of England. Their son, the future Edward the Confessor, flees to Normandy 14 years later when England is conquered by King Cnut, and remains there for the next quarter of a century. This dynastic link is later used as one of the justifications for the Norman conquest.
A group of Norman pilgrims en route to Jerusalem are ‘invited’ to help liberate southern Italy from Byzantine (Greek) control. Norman knights have already been operating as mercenaries here since the turn of the first millennium, selling their military services to rival Lombard, Greek and Muslim rulers.
Having ruled Normandy for eight years, Duke Robert I falls ill on his return from
a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and dies at Nicaea. By prior agreement, Robert is succeeded by his illegitimate son William, the future Conqueror of England, then aged just seven or eight. A decade of violence follows as Norman nobles fight each other for control of the young duke and his duchy.
Duke William visits England. His rule in Normandy now established, and newly married to Matilda of Flanders, William crosses the Channel to speak with his second cousin, King Edward the Confessor of England. The subject of their conference is unknown, but later chroniclers assert that at this time Edward promises William the English succession.
Pope Nicholas II invests the Norman Robert Guiscard with the dukedoms of Apulia, Calabria and Sicily. The popes had opposed the ambitions of the Normans in Italy, but defeat in battle at Civitate in southern Italy in 1053 had caused them to reconsider. In 1060 Robert and his brother Roger embark on the conquest of Sicily, and Roger subsequently rules the island as its great count.
Edward the Confessor dies on 5 January, and the throne is immediately taken by his brother-in-law Harold Godwinson, the most powerful earl in England, with strong popular backing. Harold defeats his Norwegian namesake at Stamford Bridge in September. But on 14 October William’s Norman forces defeat Harold’s army at Hastings. William is crowned as England’s king on Christmas Day.
The initial years of William’s reign in England are marked by almost constant English rebellion, matched by violent Norman repression. In autumn 1069 a fresh English revolt is triggered by a Danish invasion. William responds by laying waste to the country north of the Humber, destroying crops and cattle in a campaign that becomes known as the Harrying of the North, leading to widespread famine and death.
Worried by the threat of Danish invasion, at Christmas 1085 William decides to survey his kingdom – partly to assess its wealth, and partly to settle arguments about landownership created by 20 years of conquest. The results, later redacted and compiled as Domesday Book, are probably brought to him in August 1086 at Old Sarum (near Salisbury), where all landowners swear an oath to him.
William retaliates against a French invasion of Normandy. While attacking Mantes he is taken ill or injured – possibly damaging his intestines on the pommel of his saddle – and retires to Rouen, where he dies on 9 September. Taken to Caen for burial, his body proves too fat for its stone sarcophagus, and bursts when monks try to force it in. His eldest surviving son, Robert Curthose, becomes duke of Normandy, while England passes to his second son, William Rufus.
Following a call to arms by Pope Urban II in 1095, many Normans set out towards the Holy Land on the First Crusade, determined to recover Jerusalem. Among them are Robert Curthose, who mortgages Normandy to his younger brother, William Rufus, and William the Conqueror’s notorious half-brother, Bishop Odo of Bayeux. Odo dies en route and is buried in Palermo, but Robert goes on to win victories in Palestine and is present when Jerusalem falls.
Having succeeded his father in 1087 and defeated Robert Curthose’s attempts to unseat him, the rule of William II (‘Rufus’, depicted below) seems secure. But on 2 August 1100, while hunting in the New Forest with some of his barons, William is struck by a stray arrow and killed. His body is carted to Winchester for burial, and the English throne passes to his younger brother, Henry, who is crowned in Westminster Abbey just three days later.
Roger I of Sicily dies. By the end of his long rule, Count Roger has gained control over the whole of Sicily – the central Muslim town of Enna submitted in 1087, and the last emirs in the southeast surrendered in 1091. He is briefly succeeded by his eldest son, Simon, but the new count dies in 1105 and is succeeded by his younger brother, Roger II.
On 25 November Henry I sets out across the Channel from Normandy to England. One of the vessels in his fleet, the White Ship, strikes a rock soon after its departure, with the loss of all but one of its passengers. One of the drowned is the king’s only legitimate son, William Ætheling. Henry responds by fixing the succession on his daughter, Matilda, and marrying her to Geoffrey Plantagenet, count of Anjou.
Roger II is crowned king of Sicily, having pushed for royal status in order to assert his authority over the barons of southern Italy. A disputed papal succession in 1130 has provided an opportunity and, in return for support against a papal rival, Pope Anacletus II confers the kingship on Roger in September. He is crowned in Palermo Cathedral on Christmas Day.
Henry I dies in Normandy on 1 December, reportedly after ignoring doctor’s orders and eating his favourite dish - lampreys. His body is shipped back to England for burial at the abbey he founded in Reading. Many of his barons reject the rule of his daughter, Matilda, instead backing his nephew, Stephen, who is crowned as England’s new king on 22 December.
King Stephen, the last Norman king of England, dies. His death ends the vicious civil war between him and his cousin Matilda that lasted for most of his reign. As a result of the Treaty of Wallingford, which Stephen was pressured to sign in 1153, he is succeeded by Matilda’s son Henry of Anjou, who takes the throne as Henry II.
King William II of Sicily begins the construction of the great church at Monreale (‘Mount Royal’), nine miles from his capital at Palermo. The building is a fusion of Byzantine, Latin and Muslim architectural styles, and is decorated throughout with gold mosaics, including the earliest depiction of Thomas Becket, martyred in 1170.
Norman rule on Sicily ends. Tancred of Lecce, son of Roger III, Duke of Apulia, seizes the throne on William’s death in 1189; on his death in 1194 he is succeeded by his young son, William III. Eight months later, Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI, husband of Roger II’s daughter Constance, invades Sicily and is crowned in Palermo on Christmas Day. The following day, Constance gives birth to their son, the future Frederick II.
King John loses Normandy to the French. The youngest son of Henry II, John had succeeded to England, Normandy, Anjou and Aquitaine after the death of his elder brother, Richard the Lionheart, in 1199. But in just five years he lost almost all of his continental lands to his rival King Philip Augustus of France – the end of England’s link with Normandy.
The last imperial costume ball of Russia: 1903, Winter Palace (Click to enlarge and see names)
The 1903 Ball in the Winter Palace (Russian: Костюмированный бал 1903 года) was a luxurious ball during the reign of the emperor Nicholas II of Russia. It was held in the Winter Palace, Saint Petersburg, in two stages, on February 11 and 13. All the visitors were in bejeweled 17th-century style costumes, made from designs by the artist Sergey Solomko, in collaboration with historical experts.
Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovitch recalled the occasion as “the last spectacular ball in the history of the empire … [but] a new and hostile Russia glared through the large windows of the palace … while we danced, the workers were striking and the clouds in the Far East were hanging dangerously low.”
The entire Imperial family, the Tsar as Alexei I, the Tsaritsa as Maria Miloslavskaya, all dressed in rich 17th-century attire, posed in the Hermitage’s theatre, many wearing priceless original items brought specially from the Kremlin, for what was to be their final photograph together.
Sometimes I want to write a Regency Era Lieutenant Duckling fic. The kind where Snow and David raise Emma, but they’re a duke and duchess, and Emma’s not a princess. And Killian’s got Liam, and a Mother (who we all love.) And Money. His mother is a lady, but and very good friends with Snow and David, and Killian and Emma grow up as the best of friends. With the kind of friendship where one day they have to be lectured about inappropriateness and even then it doesn’t change the fact that they sneak into each other’s bedrooms at night, because they can’t sleep without talking each other to sleep.
The only problem is, Snow and David are the kindest people you could meet, and while they may have started out as a rich duke and duchess, they aren’t exactly that way anymore and are hoping that Emma will fall in love with a rich man, as they want nothing more than for her to be happy, AND secure in the future.
And while Liam has the title and lots of money, younger brothers need to earn their way in the world, so off to sea goes Killian, breaking Emma’s heart in the process. The younger boy has chosen the sea because he can see what no one else will say… David and Snow and Lady Jones are all hoping that Liam and Emma will make a match of it. He can’t watch as his older brother gets his best friend and his heart’s desire all in one.
But Liam knows what his brother has never uttered, and could never do that to him. Emma is sent off to London for the Season, to meet a husband. Liam comes down with the fever and dies. Emma reruns home, heartbroken than she can’t mourn the loss of the man she only ever considered a brother with her best friend and secret love. And that he’s out there in the world, and doesn’t even know. She’s angry with herself for even thinking that Liam’s death solves all of their problems, because the only man she’s ever wanted is Killian, if only he would come home. She would let him mourn, and maybe, just maybe he could see her as more than the little girl he’s always known.
A year passes, and Emma’s sent to london time and time again to stay with friends, meet new people, and each time it’s a disaster. August, a liar. Neal, evil. Walsh, a freak. Every time she returns home, more and more depressed, thinking only of Killian, dreaming of his return.
Killian returns home full of despair, sure he will be coming home to see his brother and his wife, Emma. He’s sure that two years would have brought their marriage, and potentially even a child. He’s not prepared for his mother’s depression over losing her oldest son forever, and her youngest son’s long absence. She greats him and tells him of his brother’s death, and he collapses. Finally, he asks how Emma is handling it. And that’s the first time his mother has even cracked a small smile. “She misses your brother of course, but she misses you more than you can understand. I’ll have someone sent to Misthaven to tell her you’re home.” “Misthaven, why doesn’t she live here, Mother?” And that’s when he realizes Liam never married Emma. He runs to Misthaven and receives the best comfort a man could ever hope for. They confess their love.
When they marry, the two families could only be happier if the empty place at the table was occupied. But otherwise, they have everything they want.
Author’s note: Why two updates in a row? Because my muse wanted to start to get to the good stuff. She’s a very impatient muse. We’re working on PWW next, I swear. Hopefully, I will be forgiven. ;) Enjoy!
She should have known it wouldn’t be
that easy. Emma woke up earlier than was her wont, sending word to
the kitchens that she planned on taking breakfast in her room. She
ordered enough for two, hoping that finally, finally
she and Killian could take certain…steps to move their relationship
forward. She’d dreamt about him again, her longing for him twisting
the events of the passage into something much more…intimate.
Her body ached for
him, to know what he would feel like, taste like if she kissed him.
She’d never been kissed, not the way she’d once caught her parents
when she was young. There was an innocent peck with one of the stable
boys when she was four or five, but she decided long go that it
didn’t count. She knew who she wanted that first kiss to be with; she
only hoped he felt the same.
A feeling of dread
settled in her stomach as she waited for breakfast. She dressed
carefully, wearing one of her favorite gowns, a soft sky blue. She
chose it because he had praised the blue gown she wore when they
arrived in Arendelle. However, as she arranged her hair, she couldn’t
help but wonder. Did he want to kiss her? She had thought so the day
before, in the passage. Time and lack of sleep had to be playing
tricks on her, she decided. Nothing could have happened in the night
to change his mind. He’d agreed to breakfast. She had to believe in