Author Dana Schwartz explores the stories of some of history’s most fascinating royals: the tyrants and the tragic, the murderers and the murdered, and everyone in between. Because when you’re wearing a crown, mistakes often mean blood. New episodes every two weeks, on Tuesdays.
Here's the Latest Episode from Noble Blood – iHeartRadio and Grim & Mild:
Leopold II, King of the Belgians, was a man obsessed with the profits that came with colonization. Using smokescreens of charities and shell corporations, he claimed a private landholding 76x larger than his own nation, and unleashed decades of horror on the land's inhabitants.
King George III's "criminal sister" was sent to marry the King of Denmark when she was a teenager. Her husband wanted very little to do with her, and so her attention wandered over to a charismatic doctor. That doctor slowly gathered power until he became all but an autocrat. But power, and love, are both risky gambles.
In 2001, a woman named Ghislaine de Védrines befriended a charming man named Thierry Tilly. The rest of her close-knit aristocratic family soon became close with him as well. For Noble Blood's one year anniversary, Dana is joined by her research assistant, Hannah Johnston to discuss the mysterious and bizarre brainwashing of the wealthy de Védrines family.
Stories from history are not kind to Queen Ranavalona of the Kingdom of Imerina. They call her bloodthirsty, mad, a "female Caligula." People were killed under her rule—lots of them, and cruelly. But "madness" doesn't tell the whole story. Ranavalona was a canny political leader, protecting her kingdom from the insurrection of imperialism for her entire 33-year reign... at any cost.
The Archduke Rudolf, heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, retreated to his hunting lodge in Mayerling with his teenage lover in 1889 to enact a gristly suicide pact in an event both stranger and more tragic than it appears at first blush.
Katherine Parr was Henry VIII's sixth wife.
Catherine Howard was Henry VIII's fifth wife.
Anne of Cleves was Henry VIII's fourth wife.
Jane Seymour was Henry VIII's third wife.
Anne of Boleyn was Henry VIII's second wife.
Catherine of Aragon was Henry VIII's first wife.
During a post-wedding detour in Denmark, James VI of Scotland learned of the evils of witches, and he brought his anti-witch fervor with him when he returned to Scotland.
In 7th-century China, Wu Zetian went from low-tiered concubine to Empress and then, finally, to Emperor in her own right. Her legacy is murky and strange, and her rise to power is trickled with blood.
Catherine the Great, Russia's most famous Empress, wasn't born in Russia—she was a minor German princess engaged to the future Emperor. But less than a year after her husband ascended to the Russian throne, Catherine overthrew him in a coup with the help of her lover in one of the most extraordinary political maneuvers in history.
She was born Charlotte of Belgium, before fate re-named her Carlota of Mexico. She and her husband were high-minded, idealistic imperialists, ready to forge their destiny on a new continent. But they were woefully unprepared for the reality that awaited them outside their palace walls.
Only days after he was deposed, King Ludwig II of Bavaria died in an apparent suicide. But was it murder? Or was it just the final act of a king who had gone mad with love and with passion, born into the wrong century?
"The Queen's death must be dated from the Diamond Necklace Trial." The nation turned against Queen Marie Antoinette when she became an unwitting pawn in the most ambitious catfish in history.
Bitterly lonely and abandoned by her family, Anna Ivanovna grew to hate love. And when she became the unlikely Empress of Russia she used her power to build an ice palace that was both a spectacle and a torture chamber.
The wedding between Margot of Valois and Henry of Navarre was meant to end religious fighting in France. It didn't.
Lord Byron has become synonymous with the romantic, creative hero. But it may have been Lady Caroline Lamb, his most famous lover, who truly embodied the spirit of the age. Their romance led to blood, tears, fire, and pubic hair. Poets, am I right?
The Marquise de Brinvilliers is a subject of operas and stories, a larger-than-life villainess who murdered her family with poison and almost got away with it. Almost.
In the middle of the night on an otherwise quiet spring evening, Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, was attacked in his bedchamber by an assailant wielding a sword. The Duke survived, and in the chaotic aftermath, the household discovered the Duke's valet, dead by apparent suicide. But as the details of that night emerged, the story became murky. More questions than answers remain now to a murder mystery that will never be solved.
Arbella Stuart was a pawn her entire life—a possible successor to Queen Elizabeth I and a valuable marriage prospect to be dangled before foreign princes. But when Arbella finally decided to take her life into her own hands, she ignited a series of events straight out of a Shakesperean tragedy.
When King George IV died, his obituary in The Times read: “There never was an individual less regretted by his fellow-creatures than this deceased king." But even George IV once fell in love.
The same day Queen Liliuokalani proposed a new constitution for Hawaii that would restore power to the monarchy and grant native Hawaiians the right to vote in elections, a group of white businessmen met at a law office in Honolulu, and hatched a plan that would change the course of nations.
King George V and Tsar Nicholas II were first cousins who looked so much alike that people often jokingly called them twins. When one cousin's crown came under threat, the other had a decision to make.
An Australian man comes to England claiming to be a long-lost heir thought dead in a shipwreck. What happened next sparked a trial lasting 188 days—one of the longest in English history—and a scandal that captivated the Victorian public.
By the time he was 17, Charles II was a prince in exile. When his father, the King of England, was beheaded, the country became a protectorate without a monarch. But Charles was willing to sacrifice whatever (and whoever) it took to win his crown back.
In 1793, the infamous Marie Antoinette was moved to the Conciergerie in Temple Prison. A woman who became synonymous with indulgence spent her final months with almost no personal possessions, separated from her children, awaiting her imminent death.
Your first sneak peek of Noble Blood, a brand new podcast from executive producer Aaron Mahnke and iHeart Podcasts. Join author Dana Schwartz on a narrative tour of history's most fascinating royals: the tyrants and the tragic, the murderers and the murdered, and everyone in between. But be warned: when you’re wearing a crown, mistakes often mean blood. Learn more at NobleBloodTales.com