Every throne has a bloodied history to be told in Dana Schwartz’s captivating historical true crime podcast ‘Noble Blood’

True Crime May 6, 2022
Noble Blood podcast art
Listen to ‘Noble Blood’

In our eyes, there’s nothing better than historical true crime. Mix the mythos of past kings and queens with the blood that will always follow the crown, and you’re bound to have a juicy story. Then throw Dana Schwartz and her beautiful storytelling into the mix, and we’re total goners.

Her podcast, “Noble Blood,” is exploring the most fascinating, complex, and sometimes the not-so-complex-and-just-plain-evil figures in history. From the tyrannical to the tormented, the murdered to the murderers, and all of the variations of those four things, “Noble Blood” is proving that fact is always stranger than fiction.

This iHeartPodcasts and Grim & Mild production has been releasing episodes bi-weekly since 2019. There are over 70 episodes to choose from, ranging from the tragic tyrants you know like Marie Antoinette to the lesser-known royals who suffered equally bloody fates. Episodes are typically just 30 minutes long, although recent episodes have been longer.

In this podcast, you’ll find beheadings, stabbings, coup d’états, poisonings, ghosts, witches, an ice castle befitted with a torture chamber, and all of Henry VIII’s wives. You’ll find queens, kings, dukes, and duchesses gone mad and those who never wanted the crown in the first place, only to suffer because of it.

Much of “Noble Blood” is actually myth-busting the mythologized figures whose stories have been told and twisted for centuries. From Rasputin‘s and his mystical powers to his legendary death to the mystery of the ghost princes of the Tower of London, Schwartz is setting these stories straight.

Hear about the tragic life of Empress Sisi, a woman who never desired the position she was in and was assassinated by a stab wound through her heart. Hear about a Russian noblewoman named Darya Saltykova who is suspected of having murdered hundreds of her serfs. Speaking of serial killers, you cannot miss “Noble Blood’s” episode about the Blood Countess Elizabeth Báthory, one of the deadliest serial killers in history who bathed in the blood of young women and girls and is said to be Bram Stoker’s inspiration for Dracula.

While this podcast has certainly covered its fair share of European monarchy (since European monarchs were truly mad from all the inbreeding and cruel tyrannical traditions they passed to their children), “Noble Blood” has expanded its reach across the world. Hear about the brilliant Queen Njinga who ruled the united kingdoms of Ndongo and Matamba and was always three steps ahead of her enemies, even while under constant threat of Portugese colonizers.

Hear the tragic story of Yang Guifei, imperial consort to Emperor Xuanzong of Tang, who would eventually have her strangled to death while his dynasty came to an end. Or, hear Schwartz tackle every enduring story you’ve heard about the United State’s first leader, George Washington, including the cherry tree of his youth, the truth behind his not-so-wooden teeth, and the idea that he declined the position of King.

Schwartz looks at the lives of these people through both a modern lens and the lens of their times. She takes both perspectives into account while telling these stories, since basically every story involves underage marriages, sexual assault, and other heinous crimes that weren’t considered crimes centuries ago.

She is polished but nuanced in her narration, offering complex portraits of complex people through her understanding of nobility. She acknowledges the falsehoods that have become deeply engrained in society’s understandings of these people, but doesn’t omit them so we can have a full understanding of how these rulers were viewed from below.

It’s not fully necessary to listen to this podcast in chronological order, since the podcast itself follows no real royal bloodline and instead jumps across kingdoms and time periods, but Schwartz does sometimes reference past episodes and rulers. Every episode is meticulously researched, beautifully written, and Dana’s passion for her subjects is obvious in her captivating narration. Even if you aren’t someone who is fascinated by royalty, “Noble Blood” is sure to change your mind.

Every royal throne has a bloodied history, and this podcast is here to tell it. If you haven’t been listening to “Noble Blood” before this, now is the time to start. Our only complaint is that episodes aren’t released every single week.

Listen to ‘Noble Blood’

New shows we love...

Join Our Newsletter

The best podcasts to listen to next, delivered right to your inbox every week.

By clicking Submit, you acknowledge you have read and agree to our Website and Digital Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.