Noble Blood

Noble Blood

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.

Episodes

May 11, 2021 38 min

In American history books, King George III is painted as the despotic villain keeping us from our independence. That he was "mad," then, makes perfect sense. But in reality, his madness was a sad coda to a long reign, a tragic untreated illness that left him completely alone.

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The Chevalier d'Éon was a diplomat, spy, traitor, and international celebrity. She's also sometimes regarded as one of the most prominent transgender figures in European history.

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April 13, 2021 24 min

Catherine the Great's son, Paul I, idolized his deceased father Peter III and resented his powerful mother. Unfortunately for him, when he finally became Tsar, he would learn that wielding power isn't as easy as it looks.

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March 30, 2021 32 min

At the end of the 19th century, a man in San Francisco declared himself the Emperor of the United States. Was he mad? Possibly. But he also became a beloved fixture of a city, a unifying symbol, and a monarchical mascot. This is the story of Emperor Norton I.

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March 16, 2021 33 min

The daughter of a Jewish heiress and Polish count went on to become one of the most infamous secret agents in British history. The story of Krystyna Skarbek reads like part-spy novel and part-political thriller.

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Thanks to the popularity of the television series The Crown, a new generation has become captivated by Princess Diana—her life and her tragedy. She remains an enigmatic figure, undeniably captivating, for both her vulnerability and her power. To better understand her life, and her legacy, Dana speaks with Sarah Marshall and Michael Hobbes of the podcast 'You're Wrong About.'

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February 16, 2021 32 min

Her first lover was found dead in a river. Her second husband was strangled in his bed. Perhaps it's no surprise that in popular culture, Lucrezia Borgia has become a femme fatale, a black widow murderess who stepped over husbands in order to achieve her own ends. But the real Lucrezia is a figure far more complex and tragic than the stereotypes might lead you to believe. [Support Noble Blood on Patreon here: https://www.patreo...

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February 2, 2021 31 min

Queen Njinga ruled the united kingdoms of Ndongo and Matamba while facing off against the constant threat of Portuguese colonization. All it took was the cunning to know who to trust and when. [Support Noble Blood on Patreon here: https://www.patreon.com/noblebloodtales. Noble Blood merch is available here: https://store.dftba.com/collections/noble-blood]

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January 19, 2021 30 min

In the winter of 1891, a group of 15 Prussian visited a hunting lodge in the woods for what was supposed to be an ice-skating party. Instead, it became an orgy. And then the anonymous letters began arriving. [Support Noble Blood on Patreon here: https://www.patreon.com/noblebloodtales. Noble Blood merch is available here: https://store.dftba.com/collections/noble-blood]

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January 5, 2021 29 min

Depending on which stories you read, Juana of Castile is either a woman who went mad after the death of her husband, or a maligned figure who was manipulated by the men in her life so they could rule Spain in her place. Her life is a perfect example of the stories we like to tell about women who go mad. [Support Noble Blood via our Patreon here: https://www.patreon.com/noblebloodtales. Noble Blood merch is available here: https://s...

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December 22, 2020 26 min

The Duke and Duchess de Praslin were originally a love match. But two decades—and a beautiful, young governess—led to growing tensions and resentment. When the Duchess was found murdered in her bedchamber, the police had no choice but to arrest her powerful husband. (Unrelated: Noble Blood merch is here! https://store.dftba.com/collections/noble-blood)

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December 8, 2020 31 min

The great love of King Edward II's life was a man named Piers Gaveston. As one contemporary wrote, “I do not remember to have heard that one man so loved another... and our king was incapable of moderate favor." But favoritism has its price. And love would cost both men their lives. Unrelated: Noble Blood merch is here!!!! https://store.dftba.com/collections/noble-blood

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November 24, 2020 37 min

One of the most enduring stories about the founding of the United States of America is that before George Washington accepted the position as President, he declined the position as King. But "enduring" doesn't necessarily mean true.

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November 10, 2020 30 min

While feverish and riding on a hot day, King Charles VI had a fit of madness, and murdered one of his own men. For the rest of his reign, he would be plagued by periods of insanity during which he often couldn't remember his own name. And without a clear regent, greedy factions attempting to rule in his place led to chaos for France. 

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October 27, 2020 29 min

On April 3, 1817, a strange woman in a turban and ruffled black dress appeared in a small village to the north of Bristol. She would claim to be a Princess from a distant island, and for a summer, she would dazzle and charm an entire town of Englishmen and women all too ready to enjoy a spectacle of the "exotic."

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October 13, 2020 30 min

Georg Friedrich, the great-great-grandson of Kaiser Wilhelm II is embroiled in a legal battle with Germany, attempting to reclaim millions of euros worth of property that was taken from his family during the Soviet occupation of Germany. But the law that allows property reclamation has one major caveat: property is forfeited if your ancestors significantly contributed to the rise of the Nazi party. So exactly how significant was th...

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September 29, 2020 30 min

Yang Guifei is considered one of the four great beauties of China. But her role as imperial consort would have deadly consequences and spell the end of the Tang Dynasty.

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In 945, Olga's husband, Igor I, was murdered by a subjugated tribe. Olga then became the de-facto ruler of Kievan-Rus, and she would let the Drevlians who killed her husband know that mercy was not one of her strong suits.

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September 1, 2020 37 min

Tycho Brahe was the heir to several lines of Danish nobility. Rather than spend his life as a bureaucrat, he devoted himself to astronomy and collected the data that would lead to a new era of discovery. He also had no nose, a pet elk, a dwarf, and a mysterious death. Just your typical scientist stuff.

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August 18, 2020 26 min

In the words of Omar Little, "When you come at the king, you best not miss." A possible bungled assassination attempt on the King of Portugal in 1758 gave his prime minister the excuse he needed to unleash a bloody reign of terror on the nation's nobles.

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