Thursday, August 25, 2011
So good to be back! I trust you all had a wonderful long hot summer. For me, there were many changes as the past became the past and a whole new present and future presented themselves. Lovely.
It came to my attention that the head of Henri IV was discovered late in 2010.
King Henri IV when his head was still attached. Quite the dashing character, n'est-ce pas?
Also quite the interesting character. Henri IV was King of Navarre before becoming King of France. He was raised protestant and joined the Huguenot forces during the French Wars of Religion.
On August 18, 1572, he married Margaret of Valois, daughter of Henri II and Catherine de' Medici. Six days later, the Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre began in Paris where thousands of Protestant wedding goers were killed.
You can read more about about Catherine de' Medici, Henri II and his lovely mistress Diane de Poitier, in my blog The Ghost of the White Queen - Chateau de Chenonceau.
You can learn more about the French Wars of Religion, Henri IV and Margaret de Valois by watching the exquisite film La Reine Margot.
Despite the religious conflicts that continued to ravage France, King Henri IV reigned for two decades and was called "Henri the great" and "the good king Henri." He regularized state finance, promoted agriculture, undertook public works and encouraged education. He also built new highways, bridges and canals, the most famous being the Pont Neuf and Palces des Vosges in Paris.
There were some who were not keen on his religious tolerance and, after numerous attempts upon his life, King Henri IV was murdered in 1610 by a militant Catholic named Francois Ravaillac.
Henri IV was embalmed and buried at the Basilica of Saint-Denis. During the French Revolution, his royal grave as well as others were mutilated and mixed together in a mass grave.
King Henri IV's head surfaced and was sold at a Paris auction in the early 1900's. For a hundred years, it moved discreetly from one private collection to another until last year year when it was discovered in a tax collector's attic.
The skull bears distinctive knife cuts and a pierced ear. Its preservation is excellent with soft tissue and organs well conserved. Scientists and Historians examined the head for nine months before pronouncing it to be, indeed, the cranium of Henri IV, King of France and Navarre.
The head now belongs to a royal descendant and has been reinterred at the Basilica of Saint-Denis.
Requiescat in pace.
Gros bisous des ttes intéressant et a bientôt.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
My 18 year old nephew plays the bagpipes. This summer, he is participating World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow, Scotland with 40,000 Spectators, 8,000 Pipers & Drummers, 16 Nations and 1 World Champion. Pretty cool. So, that is why I am in Glasgow.
Mon fils, moi, ma fille et mon nephew!
A band, warming up.
Loved this guy!!
Bien sur, the first thing I noticed was that Glasgow has a spectacular cemetery just behind Saint Mungo's Cathedral. A Victorian place to bury the dead modeled after Paris' Père-Lachaise Cemetery which is where the likes of Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, Moliere etc., etc. are buried. (Blog coming soon!)
Glasgow Necropolis entry.
The planning of this cemetery began in 1831. Alexander Thomson, John bryce and David Hamilton designed the architecture and some of the tombs.
It was peaceful, beautiful and graceful. As it is the World Pipe Band Championships, bagpipe music is playing all over the city day and night. How hauntingly poignant it was to have this music accompanying our visit!
A Celtic Cross; one of many.
James Stevens Curl described the Glasgow Necropolis as "literally a city of the dead". There are catacombs, massive and ornate mausoleums and family tombs.
A view of Saint Mungo (patron saint of Glasgow) Cathedral from the cemetery.
Hands down my favorite tomb: actor-manager John Henry Alexander of the Theater Royal. The tomb has a stage and proscenium arch with flanking figures of Tragedy and Comedy. (Oops, except it looks as though someone ran away with Tragedy.)
Bon, drinking good whiskey, eating good food, but mostly listening to incredible bagpipe music.
Gros bisous de cornemuse et a bientôt!!