I write historical romance, so Valentine's Day
has to have special meaning to me...After all
for me, “It’s All About Romance.”
Want to know what I found?
Many people will be exchanging objects declaring
love and devotion, but it's probably not as new
as you might think.
I find research often leads to some startling facts.
For example, I recently had occasion to check some
facts about Charles, Duke of Orleans. In 1415, he
was stuck in the tower of London following the
battle of Agincourt. Even then February 14th was
recognized as a special feast day for a Saint
Valentine, who was supposedly martyred for
performing outlawed marriages for young Roman
soldiers in the 3rd century. So, on that day and
separated from his beloved wife, Charles sent her
a “valentine” message telling her of his undying love.
It is now in a British museum and recognized as
the first official valentine.
The idea must have spread because Henry V hired
someone to send a “valentine” message of his love
to Catherine of Valois. By the 18th century all
over England, people of all classes were exchanging
little loving remembrances of the day. The settlers
brought the idea with them when they came to
the American continent and in the early 1700’s
people on this side of the Atlantic were exchanging
In the middle of the 1800’s the first printed
valentine card appeared, made from bits of lace
and ribbons. The idea spread and sending a special
note or card to someone you loved was no longer
as expensive, because the cost of postage decreased
Today, the United States, United Kingdom, Mexico,
Australia and Canada all celebrate Valentine’s Day.
So if you think all those cards, candy and flowers
are a modern tradition, think again. It all
started with the Duke of Orleans, way back in 1415.
Happy Valentine's Day
"Heartsong" a medieval romance
and nominated for "Novel of the Year"
is available now from Champagne Books