Royal adventures In Carlisle Castle

Edward & Margaret-4

This summer Carlisle Castle has hosted a different royal couple each weekend – and on the 8/9th of August it was our turn :-)We were hired by History’s Maid to provide interpretation as Edward I and Margaret of France.

The period was familiar to us, though not in great details, so it was an excellent opportunity to do some more research and learn more about the social and military aspect of the late 13th and early 14th  century- as well as study the lives of the two monarchs in more detail. Here Lucas had a more complex task – at the date we chose to base our visit to Carlisle ( 1307, the second Scottish Campaign) Edward was at the end of a long, rich life – so a lot to learn about!  As Margaret was 40 years younger, I had a much simpler task…

It was a very interesting research – and it was great to be able to pass it on to the visitors as well – most of them arrived knowing that Edward, or Longshanks as he was called, is the king who had Mel Gibson, sorry, William Wallace, 🙂 killed – hopefully they left with a bit more knowledge!

As far as the costume bits were concerned, we didn’t have a lot of time to prepare, as the booking came in when I was already booked with commissions till  October, but  managed to free 2 days  for working on our kit.

Lucas already had his fur lined mantle, hose and chemise  he uses for earlier periods – but he needed a tunic and a surcoat.  As it was hot at the time, we opted for linen in rich midnight blue for the tunic – decorated with bands of gold metallic silk, and a silk for surcoat – with metallic braid used for decoration.

Hair was a bit of an issue – we needed a graying blonde…  A wig was bought at a local shop – I trimmed it, styled it and it did the job!

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original wig

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styling – just before steaming it

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result!

A crown was borrowed from the English Heritage staff , the sword came from Black Knight Historical, and the bling from Gemmeus – and voila, we have a king!

Ed and Marj-39

and the king in question on his lunch break 🙂

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As far as Margaret attire goes, I already had a cloak, chemise, shoes and a dress in wool – but there was just enough time to make a surcoat and a silk dress, and an alternative headgear.

There are very few images of Margaret, so I based the cut on the Codex Manesse garments – and recreated the headdress from  one of the statues of her.  Margaret wasn’t crowned – but she still wore a crown, and her seal shows her doing just that! – for the  original images for both Edward and Margaret, as well as clothing of the era, there is a modes board on pinterest

The hair was interesting –  the image shows curls, and probably coiled plaits which were jut becoming fashionable at the time – so it was a hairpieces  time for me!

I plaited my own hair, attached plaited extensions, coiled and securely pinned, and then pinned my own meager plaits around them

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2 sets of plaits, work in progress…

then I added clip on curls – and pinned them around too.

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The barbette and veils were next – and a crown on top. Or the alternative look,  based on the original image, a linen headdress with a frill and a veil on top of it…

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a medieval selfie

and the other look –

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and the whole picture

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The  weekend passed quickly – we were at the gate doing the meet and greet, and priming the visitors for the royal audience when they could ask  us questions. The audiences were  inside the castle and  they were great fun – lots of questions, followed by some more in depth discussions as there were a few history teachers visiting too – fascinating!  The kids learnt about what a person their age could expect in the royal service, what skills and arts they would have been taught and what duties they would have had. Adults inquired about the manners, armour, tactics, food, clothing, day to day life of a royal and their retinue. Battles tactics were discussed, pilgrimages and wars were talked about, languages and marital strives were elaborated on –   lots of interesting questions.

The days finished with a Walk with Longshanks – a stroll on the battlements, talking about the castle, the defence mechanisms and the area around. We even had a chance to practice our French as there were quite a few visitors from Canada, France and Belgium 🙂

 

And at the end of the day we were given leave to take some photos  –

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It was a bit windy…. 🙂

 

On the second day we took photos of Gemmeus jewellery and I changed the hair for a wig, to get thea ‘ Codex Manesse’ look 🙂

Ed and Marj-16 Ed and Marj-18

 

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silk dress with a stylised bridal belt from Gemmeus

In short – the whole event was both enjoyable and educative – the best kind, well worth the long drive there:-) – many thanks to all who made it possible  – greatly appreciated:-)

and the credits

History’s Maid

Carlisle Castle

Black Knight Historical

 Gemmeus

 Prior Attire

Pitcheresque photography

 

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