Lost Princes

The Freelance History Writer

Throughout history there are instances where fine young men and women who survived infancy were destined to be king but died before they ascended the throne. As historians, it’s always an intriguing exercise to examine their lives and the consequences of their death. Here are just of sampling of some of these princes who died too soon.

William Aetheling

William Aetheling, born in 1103 in Winchester, was the son of King Henry I of England and Matilda of Scotland. Known as Adelin (meaning Prince), he was the pride and hope of his father for maintaining his dynasty. Henry invested William with the title of Duke of Normandy during his lifetime. William fought capably with his father against the French King Louis VI. When Queen Matilda died in 1118, William replaced her as regent in England.

In November of 1120, William and his retinue were planning to sail from Normandy…

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A Bushsnob in Africa


We arrived at the South Gate Camp in Moremi Game Reserve after re-stocking fuel and food at Maun. At the gate we learnt that our 1999 map was outdated! So we bought an updated one as a new area of the reserve, the Black Pools, Mogogelo area adjacent to the camp, had been opened to the public after our map was printed! This was good news as other known places looked quite far from us.

The campsite followed the same general lines of Nxai Pan with similar anti elephant fields in place. Fortunately the only stinkbugs present were those coming out of our car and unfolded gear that lived rather ephemeral lives, being rapidly consumed by the various birds that were attracted to them; clearly birds without taste!

The area around the camp was drying up but there were still a number of roads that we could not cross so…

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Killer banana

Nature in tooth and claw.

A Bushsnob in Africa

The incident I will narrate took place during our last year’s trip to the Mabuasehube area of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in Botswana. As the observation was being published, I delayed its writing until this took place on 8 July 2018 [1]. For easy access I have also inserted the published document (Hornbill predation) as a PDF file under Pages in this blog.

Let me start by saying that if you find the Southern Yellow-billed Hornbills likeable, you may need to review your stand after you read this piece.

While at Camp No. 2 at Monamodi Pan in October 2017 we were startled by the dryness of the place. Birds from the surrounding area will immediately come to drink in any water that we had around the camp. Common visitors were Southern Grey-headed Sparrows (Passer diffusus) but Cape Sparrows (Passer melanurus), Violet-eared Waxbills (Uraeginthus granatinus)…

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Voyage to California (5) – John Jackson Lewis – January to March, 1851

"Greatest Generation" Life Lessons

(1) John Jackson Lewis, (2) Edith May (Lewis) Rider, (3) Marian Faith (Rider) Irwin, (4) Marian Dunlop (Irwin) Guion, (5) Judith Anne Guion.

The following are transcriptions of John Jackson Lewis’s diary and journal of his voyage to California in 1851. He was going from New York to visit his older brother William in San Jose.



(Feb.)  5th.  Sea rough this morning, enough so to produce sea sickness with some of the passengers, and some sensations of the kind with myself. No land in sight to day, and nothing unusual to note. Sat in the cabin in the evening, and listened to an old captain and some young sailors (our passengers) sailing their voyages over again. They appear to have traveled quite extensively, Valparaiso, Rio Janeiro, Marseille, the Mediterranean, China and other parts being frequently mentioned. I have been much interested in noting the variety of professions…

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