Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St Patrick's Day

Happy Saint Patrick's Day to everyone.

Both my parents were  born in Ireland -  and on my mother's side I’m descended from a man called Chevalier Charles Wogan whose story is something of a delight for any romantic novelist – here is a brief summary:

"The Chevalier" (Knight) Charles Wogan was born in Rathcoffey. Is it possible that his heroic actions on the night of April 29th 1719 have given rise to the romantic fairy-tale tradition that for every fair princess shut up in a castle tower there comes a knight in shining armour ready to set her free so that she can marry the handsome prince of her dreams?

Wogan was a staunch supporter of the Stuarts. He initiated the alliance which led to the marriage of James Edward Francis Stuart (the Old Pretender), son of Charles II, to Clementina Sobieski, daughter of John Sobieski, King of Poland. She was apprehended, however, on her way to marry the Prince in Bologna. She was held captive in Innsbruck in the Tyrol. Wogan arranged false passports with the Austrian Ambassador and along with a small group feigning to be a Count, Countess, the Countess’ brother (Wogan) and her maidservant, managed to gain access to the princess. Following a quick exchange of clothing between the princess and the maidservant, the party escaped in high winds and blinding snow through the Alpine passes into Austria.

The marriage to James took place and from it Charles Edward (the Young Pretender) was born in Rome in 1720. Wogan’s reputation for daring and enterprise spread throughout all Europe.

It’s rumored that in fact Charles Wogan and Clementina fell in love on their journey but that his loyalty to his king meant that he didn’t press his own claim for marriage. It’s also rumored that as a result of this, the Chevalier and his family are entitled to wear their hats in the presence of the king and to a pension of £10 a year. Unfortunately, like most of these things in English law, this was only passed down through the male side – which has now died out - and I come from the female line.

But this story has been in my mind a lot lately and I keep thinking that seeing as there's really nothing really new in romance plots, it could make a good romance story for Presents.

What do you think?




Mary Preston said...

...and to you!!

The whole seems to be Irish today!!

Eli Yanti said...

Happy St Patrick to everyone who celebrate this event :)

Maria Perry Mohan said...

I'm late with my commenting these days Kate - I hope you had a happy St. Patrick's Day. Yes, a chevalier is a knight. It usually means a papal knight as far as I know. You should write that story, I think.

Unknown said...

Oh my goodness Kate. I had no idea this terrible and bizarre case had been brought against you. Just read through the details and I suppose all we can hope is that this will be used as a precedent to stop the courts ever wasting their time on such nonsense.

You spent a lot of time doing an amazing critique for me years ago. It changed the course of my writing. I only hope you and others won't be completely put off your wonderful generousity.


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