Royal sibling rivalry: Henry VIII, Richard III and other monarchs whose fate was determined by their brothers and sisters

Through history, the role of the second or third royal sibling has not always been easy. Here, historian Sarah Gristwood explores 10 of the most famous – and dysfunctional – royal sibling relationships…

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A portrait of three of the children of Henry VII: Prince Henry; Arthur Prince of Wales and Princess Margaret.
(Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Grimsby Imp – a 12th century church that houses a dark creature

Grimsby Minster is an imposing church in an otherwise quiet fishing town. However, a 700-year-old legend states that it was once tormented by an imp that was sent by the Devil himself. 

The tale connects the Grimsby Imp to the Lincoln Imp, and claims that both were sent by the devil to wreak havoc. As the story goes, the imps were so good at their job that God sent an angel to deal with them. The angel warned the imps, commanding them to repent or else.

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Grimsby Imp by Coolcrab (Atlas Obscura User)

St Magnus the Martyr

St Magnus church stands at the head of the old London Bridge in the City of London. St Magnus was built to the south of Thames Street to serve the growing population of the bridgehead area and was certainly in existence by 1128-33.

It was Sir Christopher Wren’s most expensive parish church and the first to be visited by all those crossing into the City.

The church is dedicated to St Magnus the Martyr, earl of Orkney, who died on 16 April 1118. He was executed on the island of Egilsay having been captured during a power struggle with his cousin, a political rival. Magnus had a reputation for piety and gentleness and was canonised in 1135.

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Waldseemüller’s 1507 World Map

This groundbreaking 16th-century map is known as “America’s birth certificate.” 

The Library of Congress’ Thomas Jefferson Building houses the largest collection of maps in the world. Their Geography & Map Division manages over 5.5 million maps, 80,000 atlases (including a significant collection of Ptolemy atlases), 500 globes, reference materials, raised relief models, and a huge digital library.

One of the most notable items is the only surviving copy of Martin Waldseemüller’s world map from 1507. It is the first map to depict the Western Hemisphere as a distinct continent, surrounded by water and not connected to Asia.

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Waldseemüller’s 1507 World Map Library of Congress

Medieval excommunication: eternal damnation or no big deal?

In Christian-dominated medieval Europe, what did it mean to be excommunicated? How much of an earth-shattering punishment was it, and what can excommunications tell us about the attitudes of people in the Middle Ages? In this episode, Dr Felicity Hill of the University of St Andrews explains all to David Musgrove.

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Jan Hus (right) at the Council of Constance, where he was excommunicated and declared a heretic.