April 28, 2021 | Veronica Litt

Yesterday's News is a podcast with one goal: To make history fun. Why? Because it turns out that anyone who made history was probably a bit of a hot mess. Join Dancy and Veronica as they kick off their first season on the most fascinating queens in history. With episodes on gender-bending rebels, power-hungry femme fatales, and so much more, Yesterday's News is guaranteed to introduce you to your new favorite queen.

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Yesterday's News Podcast

Listen to every episode on the playlist below or scroll down for individual episodes and descriptions. Enjoy!

Historical True Crime Episode 11: The Borgias

The Borgia family can be summed up with a few choice words: treachery, hedonism, scandal, and oh right, a bulk supply of murder. For those who don’t know, the Borgias were one of the most powerful families in Renaissance Italy, and they didn’t gain their social clout from playing nice. From incestuous relationships to poison plots, the members of House Borgia made Game of Thrones look like child’s play.

Watch your back! On the season finale of “Historical True Crime,” we’re discussing the Sopranos of the 16th century: The scandalous, murderous Borgia family.

Historical True Crime Episode 10: The Princes in the Tower

King Richard III lives on in our cultural imagination as one of England’s most nefarious villains, particularly for the suspected murder of his two young nephews while they were confined to the infamous Tower of London in the summer of 1483.

No one knew what happened for certain, even in 1675, when workers found the remains of two children buried underneath a staircase in the Tower.

Many people assume that these were the long lost princes—but as we'll discuss, there's much more to the story including a scandalous royal marriage, another major suspect, and some wild conspiracy theories.

Historical True Crime Episode 9: The Heist That Doomed Marie Antoinette

The Affair of the Diamond Necklace was the eighteenth century's most notorious heist—and for good reason. It's a dramatic story of lust, theft, betrayal, and ultimately, the fall of the freaking Queen of France.

The players in this con included Marie Antoinette, King Louis XVI, a sly con-woman named Jeanne de la Motte, her gigolo-forger boyfriend, and the dumbest cardinal of all time. Mix them all together, add an absurdly expensive piece of jewelry, and you have yourself the scandal of the 18th century.

Historical True Crime Episode 8: The Bullet-Proof Baroness of New Orleans

The humid, cobbled streets of New Orleans’ French Quarter have their fair share of shadowy stories, but none are as notorious as that of Micaela Almonester, the beautiful Baroness de Pontalba. This Creole blueblood’s life was filled with decadent balls, palatial estates…and one infamous crime.

Plug in your headphones and learn all about New Orleans' "Bullet-proof Baroness" but take care: It doesn’t get more Southern Gothic than this.

Historical True Crime Episode 7: The Mayerling Incident

On January 30, 1889, tucked away in the Mayerling hunting lodge near Vienna, one of history’s darkest stories unfolded. That morning, servants discovered the lifeless bodies of Crown Prince Rudolf and his 17-year-old mistress Baroness Mary Vetsera. The shocking vignette threw the royal house into instant chaos and left a pervading mystery.

What led up to that dark day at Mayerling and exactly what happened inside that hunting lodge? Join Dancy and Veronica as they dive into Austria's most infamous crime and dissect the famous "Mayerling Incident."

Historical True Crime Episode 6: What Happened To The Roanoke Colony?

On a misty August day in 1590, John White disembarked from a perilous voyage across the Atlantic ocean. White and his crew had come to America to check on a settlement, but as they approached the Roanoke colony, they realized that something was very wrong: the people of Roanoke had disappeared without a trace.

On this episode of "Yesterday's News," Dancy and Veronica explore one of America's most famous vanishing acts: the mystery of "The Lost Colony."

Historical True Crime Episode 5: The Sex Scandal That Rocked Regency England

In 1820, England talked about one thing and one thing only: The spectacular breakdown of the marriage between King George IV and his wife Caroline of Brunswick. The royal couple had never been happy, but their misery and hatred only hit its apex when George took his own wife to court and demanded a divorce.

The reason? According to George, Caroline was a sexual pervert and an unfit queen. The resulting trial became the sex scandal of the century. And then, when the verdict was read, the nation's jaws collectively dropped.

Historical True Crime Episode 4: Who Was Jack The Ripper?

Who was history's most infamous serial killer? In this episode—the second of our two-part series on Jack the Ripper—we go full armchair detective and try to identify Victorian England's most dangerous criminal.

We discuss the Ripper's psychology, overview prominent suspects, and conclude by stumping for the man that each of us think committed the Whitechapel murders. Was Jack an insane barber? A member of Britain's royal family? A deranged con artist? Or someone else entirely? We discuss all these options and more on this week's episode of "Yesterday's News."

Historical True Crime Episode 3: Jack The Ripper's Five Canonical Victims

In 1888, Jack the Ripper haunted London's Whitechapel District. He preyed on the vulnerable, killing at least five innocent women—and then, just as suddenly as he emerged, he disappeared.

In this episode—the first in our two-part series on Jack the Ripper—we're switching gears. Instead of talking about Jack, we're talking about his five canonical victims. Who were these women and what were their lives like? Answering these questions means getting an entirely new perspective on the most infamous serial killer in history.

Historical True Crime Episode 2: King Tut's Curse

"Death shall come on swift wings to him who disturbs the peace of the king." These are the words that greeted Sir Howard Carter and his expedition when they entered King Tutankhamun's tomb in 1922. But did they listen? Of course not.

And then they started dropping like flies...

This week, we're investigating the legend of King Tut's curse. Is this thing legit, total BS, or somewhere in between? And uh, why was a British guy helping himself to Egyptian artifacts in the first place? Listen and find out.

Historical True Crime Episode 1: The Execution of the Romanovs

For centuries, the Romanovs were one of the most powerful families in the world, yet they will forever be remembered for their brutal downfall. During Tsar Nicholas II's disastrous reign, Russia began to resent their reigning dynasty. It all came to a head in 1918 when Nicholas, his wife Alexandra, and all five of their children were executed by Bolshevik soldiers.

What led to the Romanovs' horrific fate? Did Princess Anastasia really survive? What role did the infamous "Mad Monk" Rasputin play? We explore all this and more in the premiere of our second season on "Historical True Crime."

Queens Episode 12: Victoria, "The Widow of Windsor"

Everyone has heard of Queen Victoria, but very few people know about her 1) Weird AF childhood 2) Super-size court scandals and 3) Super-secret later-life romance. To this day, we think of her as prim and proper, but nothing could be further from the truth—and that applies to both her surprising personal life and her disturbing political agenda.

As we’ll discuss, Queen Victoria supported horrific policies to build up the British Empire. This isn’t an easy topic to tackle, but it’s an essential part of Victoria’s legacy.

So join us for our “Queens” season finale as we explore the complicated life of Queen Victoria, the famous Widow of Windsor.

Queens Episode 11: Isabella, The She-Wolf of France

Isabella, the “She-Wolf” of France was the most notorious woman of the medieval ages. Known for her beauty, intelligence, and ability to shmooze her way in or out of any situation, she was most famous for a truly beautiful feat: Dethroning her own cheating husband *chef’s kiss*

So join us as we celebrate the ultimate good girl gone bad and tell you all about Isabella, the femme fatale who fought her way to the English crown.

Queens Episode 10: Wanrong, China's Tragic Empress Consort

Based on our past episodes, it’s safe to say that queens tended to have some pretty, shall we say, turbulent love lives—but Empress Wanrong took one look at those gong show marriages and was like, “Hold my beer.” This poor woman was part of the world’s most dysfunctional royal throuple, complete with a cruel man-child of a husband and competitive sister-wife.

And as though that wasn’t enough drama, Wanrong also had to deal with endless national crises. Eventually, it all culminated in one of the saddest and most disturbing demises in history.

Queens Episode 9: Hatshepsut, The Defiant Woman Pharaoh of Egypt

Hatshepsut went from being a royal consort to leading Egypt as one of very few woman pharaohs—and she didn’t rise to the top by being meek or subservient. She worked to cement her power, dressing as a man, building A LOT of glamorous statues of herself, and of course, proving she could have just as many spicy affairs and royal scandals as any man in power.

But for a long time, we didn’t even know she existed. In fact, her nephew straight-up tried to erase her from history. Why? Listen up and we’ll tell you all you need to know about Hatshepsut, the gender-bending pharaoh of Egypt.

Queens Episode 8: Empress Elisabeth, Austria's Infamous Queen

If Empress Elisabeth was alive today, she’d probably make headlines for A) Being a dang Olympic athlete B) Seducing noted hotties of all genders and C) Dunking on anyone who got in her way.

But because Sisi (as she was called) had to deal with Victorian social mores, she didn’t exactly have the freedom to do that stuff. Instead, she settled on 1) Horseback riding so hard she nearly died 2) Marrying the Emperor of Austria and 3) Becoming a bit of a “Mommie Dearest” figure which REALLY messed up her kids.

Was she a saint? No. But Sisi was a complicated woman with a fascinating life, so prepare to meet your new problematic fave.

Queens Episode 7: Nzinga, The Warrior Queen of Matamba and Ndongo

The African warrior queen Nzinga called herself “King” and led her armies with a sword around her neck. She also shaded Portuguese colonizers and kept a harem of men. She was an absolute force—and it’s high time that people know her story.

Join us as we track Nzinga’s tumultuous reign, explain why she’s the OG Black Widow, and insult Nzinga’s tool of a brother at every chance we get.

Queens Episode 6: Joanna, The "Mad Queen of Castile"

Castile’s “Mad Queen” Joanna was whip-smart, exquisitely beautiful, and, as her nickname would suggest, hopelessly insane. Juana la Loca white-knuckled her way through a deranged childhood, then nabbed a hot hubby—only to realize that her new beau was the Worst Husband Ever (we wish we were exaggerating—this guy sucked BIG TIME).

So, when Joanna’s evil spouse kicked the bucket, you’d think everything got better for our girl. Instead, that’s when she earned her infamous nickname.

Queens Episode 5: Catherine the Great, Russia's Rebel Empress

When it comes to rebellious queens, it's hard to beat Catherine the Great. This woman chucked her own himbo husband off the Russian throne, entertained an unending parade of hunky lovers, and might just hold this season's record for most batshit court scandals.

In this episode, we get to know the one, the only Catherine the Great. Was she, as people said, "a warmonger with an unnatural sexual appetite"? Why did she hate her own kid so much? And, most importantly, did she really die of...well, if you know, you know?

Queens Episode 4: Mary Queen of Scots, History's Most Dramatic Monarch

Mary Queen of Scots is like if a period drama cross bred with a Fast and Furious movie. The action JUST. DOESN’T. STOP. This girl’s life was wall to wall drama, with special appearances from: Treacherous cousins! Toxic hunks! Suspiciously convenient deaths! Blue pee! And so much more.

Honestly, trying to summarize her gong show life in this episode description is impossible, so suffice it to say that Mary was a messy betch who loved drama—and paid the ultimate price...

Queens Episode 3: Christina, The Gender-Bending "Girl King" of Sweden

Troublemaker, heartbreaker, undertaker, rule-breaker: no matter how you slice it, Queen Christina was one of history's greatest rebels. She began her reign when she was just a kid—but then, after romancing hot ballerinas and going hard on those textbooks like a veritable Renaissance Hermione, she abruptly peaced out of palace life.

With freedom in hand, she went from grumpy nerd to bisexual party girl and eventually hit her apex as a gender-bending, freedom-defending, counter-culture icon. TL;DR: WE LOVE CHRISTINA.

Queens Episode 2: Anne Boleyn, The Doomed English Queen

Seductress. Schemer. Poisoner. These words—and far worse—have been used to describe Anne Boleyn. But did she deserve them? In the second episode of our season on queens, we dive into the dramatic life of Anne Boleyn, the woman who was so stupid-hot that the King of England invented a brand-new religion just to get some action.

PS: fair warning, we hate Henry so be prepared for us to drag him for 99% of this ep. Sorry not sorry!

Queens Episode 1: Wu Zetian, The Only Empress Of China

In the very first (!) episode of Yesterday's News, Dancy and Veronica discuss the complicated legacy of Wu Zetian. Spoiler alert: There's waaaaay more to this lady than a bad reputation.

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