Great post on Richard the Lionheart’s heart.

A Writer's Retreat

It is the year of Richards. First we learned that it is indeed King Richard III’s skeleton found beneath a car park in Leicester, and now Richard the Lionheart’s embalmed heart has been analyzed, the report now available in the journal Nature (nature dot com). Here’s the abstract:

During the Middle Ages, the partition of the cadaver of the elite members was a current practice, with highly technical treatment given to symbolic organs such as the heart. Considered mostly from a theoretical point of view, this notion of dilaceratio corporis has never been biologically explored. To assess the exact kind of embalming reserved to the heart, we performed a full biomedical analysis of the mummified heart of the English King Richard I (1199 A.D.). Here we show among other aspects, that the organ has been embalmed using substances inspired by Biblical texts and practical necessities of desiccation. We found that…

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This book has been on my “To Read” list for some time now. However, I stumbled across this brilliant review which meant I had to move Queen’s Gambit a bit higher on that list.

For winter nights - A bookish blog

Publisher: Michael Joseph
Pages: 480
Year: 2013, Pb 2014
Buy: Hardback, Kindle, Paperback
Source: Review copy

Queen's Gambit by Elizabeth FremantleReview
Katherine Parr had the distinction of outliving her husband Henry VIII. This remarkable – and most definitely not guaranteed at the time – fact means that she is among historical fiction’s more neglected Tudor wives. Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard and even Katherine of Aragon are difficult to compete with. This is a pity for at least two reasons: firstly, I was named after Katherine (or Katharine) Parr so I’m unashamedly biased and, secondly, she was a remarkable woman in her own right. Not only did she manage to outfox and outlive a man who almost certainly wanted to cut her head off at least once, Katherine also had an intellectual and religious curiosity that made her stand out in those days, among women and among reformers…

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