Happy Birthday Spanish Bride

Today is Spanish Bride’s birthday.

Love you darling…this is one song I used to send you with my letters when you were at University.

And a song about your name…

For those who don’t know the origin of her handle ‘Spanish Bride’ it comes from a book about Juana Smith, the wife of Major Harry Smith in the Peninsular Wars, called The Spanish Bride by Georgette Heyer. My father in law was reading the book at time she was born and liked the name.

Juana María de los Dolores de León Smith, Lady Smith (27 March 1798 – 12 October 1872) was the wife of General Sir Harry Smith, Governor of the Cape Colony.

Born into an old Spanish noble family, she was a descendant of Juan Ponce de León.

In 1812, at the age of fourteen, she found herself orphaned and only with a sister, when her home town Badajoz was besieged for the fourth time during the Peninsular War. After the siege ended in a successful but very bloody storming by the British andPortuguese forces, the sisters sought protection from the plundering and pillaging soldiers by some British officers they found camping outside the city walls. One of them was Brigade-Major Harry Smith, of the elite 95th Rifles scout regiment, whom she married a few days later.

Instead of letting herself be sent home to her husband’s family, she chose to accompany him with the army. She remained with him throughout the rest of the war, accompanying the baggage train, sleeping in the open on the field of battle, riding freely among the troops, and sharing all the privations of campaigning. Her beauty, courage, sound judgment and amiable character endeared her to the officers, including the Duke of Wellington, who spoke of her familiarly as Juanita; and she was idolized by the soldiers.

With the exception of his stint in the British-American War of 1812 she accompanied her husband in all his deployments, most notably in two postings in South Africa, where Sir Harry (he had been knighted in the meantime) served as Governor of Cape Colony and High Commissioner.

Juana Smith was given a pension of £500 by Parliament on 5 December 1848 in recognition of her husband’s services to the country.

Known as Lady Smith in her later years, Juana Smith is commemorated directly in the name of Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa and Ladismith, Western Cape, South-Africa, as well as indirectly in the name of Ladysmith, British Columbia, Canada.

Happy birthday darling.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.