“Fraught with Hazard” — The Heroic Saga of Shipwrecked Armada Survivors in Ireland

Fraught with Hazard by Paul Altrocchi and his late mother Julia Cooley Altrocchi is a wonderful novel based on the true personal account of Francisco Cuellar of the Spanish Armada, who managed to survive after the English victory in 1588 and his ship rounded Scotland only to be wrecked on the rocky coast of Ireland. Following his many escapes from deadly peril, Captain Cuellar found his way to the Low Countries and, from his lodgings at Antwerp, wrote down the details of his adventures in a letter to Philip II of Spain – an amazing document that was discovered in Madrid in 1885, where it was published in Spanish.  An English translation followed in 1897, fully describing the tragedy of the Armada through Cuellar’s eyes.

In 1962 Ms. Altrocchi completed the version of her novelization but couldn’t get it published.  Paul Altrocchi inherited the manuscript and, after a fifty-year delay, he spent three years meticulously editing the work, changing the beginning and end, adding new chapters, cutting out others, and blending the writing styles of the two authors.  Alexander Waugh recently described Fraught With Hazard as “historical writing at its brightest, liveliest and very best.”

Paul’s version of this stunning and little-known factual saga is 255 pages long and you will find it difficult to put down.  The basic story and incidents remain true to the original chronicle of 1589.  “Through his bravery, resilience and ultimate deliverance,” the Altrocchis write, “Captain Cuellar deserves to take his place among the dragon-slayers and magnificent wanderers of history.”

Fraught With Hazard is available through Amazon.com Books.  I’ll read it all over again, but, please, Hollywood, make the movie!

DNA Confirms President Harding’s Love Child — Reprinting a Blog Post about DNA and Prince Tudor

president's daughter

Nan Britton, mistress of the 29th president, with daughter Elizabeth Ann Britton (1931)

Nan Britton, mistress of the 29th president, with daughter Elizabeth Ann Britton (1931)

In light of the big news about DNA confirming that President Harding was the father of a “love child,” reported first by the New York Times this morning, I am reprinting a blog entry posted here more than five years ago.

DNA TESTING – BRING IT ON (April 17, 2010)

I hereby put forth my public appeal for DNA testing to determine once and for all whether a “Prince Tudor” existed during the reign of Elizabeth Tudor, the First Elizabeth (1533-1603) of England.  Was Henry Wriothesley Earl of Southampton her son and heir to the throne?

Henry Wriothesley 3rd Earl of Southampton – In the Tower of London (1601-1603) – Was he the future Henry IX of England?

We now have Charles Beauclerk’s magnificent book Shakespeare’s Lost Kingdom, which further explores the idea that Edward de Vere Earl of Oxford was the son of Princess Elizabeth and Thomas Seymour, born in 1548, and that Henry Wriothesley Earl of Southampton was born in 1574 of mother-son incest, i.e., that Oxford and Elizabeth were his parents.  Paul Streitz writes of this “double Prince Tudor theory” in his book Oxford: Son of Queen Elizabeth I , and Beauclerk delivers a magnificent portrait of Edward de Vere’s identity crisis as it relates to his deeply divided life and authorship of the Shakespeare works.

My book The Monument demonstrates how Oxford wrote the Sonnets as a record of the truth for posterity that Southampton (the “fair youth”) was his son by the Queen and deserved to succeed her as King Henry IX of England.  (I don’t rule out the theory that Oxford himself was the Queen’s son, but do not use it to interpret the Sonnets; after all, I have enough on my plate!)

So bring it on — DNA testing for all this.  Is it possible to test the Southampton PT theory, i.e., to determine whether he was the son of Elizabeth?  Can DNA testing rule it out?

Anyone who might have answers is welcome to use the “comments” option below.  I’ll post your contributions here in the main blog section, if warranted.

Oh — Roland Emmerich’s movie Anonymous, starring Vanessa Redgrave as the Queen and due out next year, reportedly will contain that “double” PT theory as part of its story line, so the call for DNA testing may become much louder.  I hereby register my fervent support for such testing.

By the way, I’m halfway through reading James Shapiro’s book Contested Will, making fun of all us anti-Stratfordians.  I’ll wait to comment until I’m done reading, except to say that the book has nothing to do with genuine interest in the English renaissance that created “Shakespeare” — the great surge of literature and drama that occurred in Elizabeth’s reign during the 1560’s, 1570’s and 1580’s before the first [miraculous] appearance of the “Shakespeare” name in 1593.

It seems to me that those who applaud Shapiro’s attempts at mockery have no real interest in learning such genuine history leading to Shakespeare — real history that includes the Earl of Oxford as a central figure of this renaissance, a poet-dramatist and patron of writers and actors who was vitally connected to each of Shakespeare’s contemporary sources.  If you’re really interested in Shakespeare the man and artist, you have to study Oxford’s life and work, regardless of whether you accept that he himself was the great author.

Oh – I should mention that Shapiro quotes me inaccurately.  He quotes me as saying the works of Shakespeare are nonfiction dressed as fiction.  No, I said that about the Sonnets, not about all the other works.  The Sonnets are different.  They’re personal.  In the Sonnets the author uses the personal pronoun “I” to speak in his own voice, tell his own story.   And we Oxfordians do NOT believe that the works are “autobiographical,” but, rather, that Oxford drew upon many sources including aspects of his own life — in other words, they are works of the imagination based on life itself.  There’s a big difference between that and strict autobiography; and Shapiro, by stating that we think the works are autobiographical,  is setting up a straw man to knock down.

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