Friday, December 14, 2012

Friday Funny: Henry Meme

I love memes. I spend waaaay too much time laughing at them on pinterest and other sites. Here's one I ran across today which I thought you, my dear Tudor fans, would like! Enjoy, and happy Friday!

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn: Clothing, Courtship, and Consequences

I love historical fashion. I love the Tudors. And, I love a good podcast. When these three things are combined into one, how can a girl not squeal a little?

I spent a good 45 or so minutes today enjoying this fascinating podcast from the National Archives on Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, and how their fashion choices reflected the political climate at the Tudor court. It is well worth a listen!

Here's the link.
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Friday, November 30, 2012

Henry VIII: The Rock Star

I feel like this could have happened...

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Henry VIII Goes to the Dungeon, Archers on the Mary Rose, an Estate Survey, and a Castle Perservation Effort

I want to get back into the habit of doing a weekly news round up. Here are a few highlights from the past week or so that I found particularly interesting:

Brian Blessed Plays Henry VIII in a new production at The London Dungeon! This video goes into detail about how Blessed prepared for the role, and how Henry VIII is being incorporated into London's scariest attraction.

Bones from the Mary Rose have been identified as those of elite archers! How do historians and scientists know this? Why, from RSI (Repetitive Strain Injuries). Read more about it here.


A survey of one of Kent's largest Tudor estates is now available online. Rarely seen by the public, this survey shows some of the inner workings of the estate. It was also used in inheritance claims all the way to the early 17th century. Read more about it here.

Read the actual survey here.


Sandsfoot Castle, one of Henry VIII's coastal defense building projects, fell into disrepair in the 17th century. Now, it has finally undergoing preservation measures and being opened to the public! Read more here.

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Sunday, September 16, 2012

They Flee From Me - Thomas Wyatt

They flee from me that sometime did me seek
With naked foot, stalking in my chamber.
I have seen them gentle, tame, and meek,
That now are wild and do not remember
That sometime they put themself in danger
To take bread at my hand; and now they range,
Busily seeking with a continual change.

Thanked be fortune it hath been otherwise
Twenty times better; but once in special,
In thin array after a pleasant guise,
When her loose gown from her shoulders did fall,
And she me caught in her arms long and small;
Therewithall sweetly did me kiss
And softly said, “Dear heart, how like you this?”

It was no dream: I lay broad waking.
But all is turned thorough my gentleness
Into a strange fashion of forsaking;
And I have leave to go of her goodness,
And she also, to use newfangleness.
But since that I so kindly am served
I would fain know what she hath deserved.
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Friday, August 31, 2012

Elizabeth I: The Bachelorette

I don't know if anyone has stummbled upon the site Hark! A Vagrant, but I love it! There are a ton of comics there, all poking fun at history. I thought I would share one of my favorites for this week's Friday Funny:

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tudor Tart: Princess Margaret Stewart

No known portrait of Margaret exists. However,
here is one of her great granddaughter, Lady Agnes
Douglas, looking ever the saucy wench.
I haven't written a Tudor Tart in a while, so I thought I would post one today on Princess Margaret Stewart.

Margaret was the daughter of James II of Scotland, and youngest sister to James III of Scotland. It is said that she was James' favorite sister, and "a Princess of great beauty, but of a reputation that was more than loose."

According to contemporary sources, Margaret was "charged with too much familiarity with her own brother." It was known that she was James' favorite sister, but whether the implied relationship is true or not, it is fact that she was "familiar" with Lord William Crichton. Crichton was a powerful noble at court, and enemy of James III. It was speculated that Crichton seduced Margret to get back at James for sleeping with his wife. The two carried on their love affair long enough for Margaret to bear at least one illegitimate child, a daughter named Margaret Crichton.

The story doesn't end there. Lord Crichton's "disagreements" with the King caused him to take an extended vacation in England. Luckily for him, his wife died while he was in exile. According to one source, Margaret pined for him so, that the King recalled Crichton to Scotland under the condition that he marry her.

Though Crichton did (according to Sir Walter Scott) return and marry Margaret, the issues between he and the King were unresolved. James III was a very unpopular King, and was eventually overthrown. He died in battle in 1488. Margaret remained out of the political upheavals of her brother's reign upon her marriage, living out her days at her husband's country residence.

What think ye? Was Margaret a silly girl, easily swayed into a revengeful love affair, or a genuine lover who put her heart before her family?

Note: Some of the scandalous information about Margaret comes from Sir Walter Scott, a late 18th/early 19th century novelist and poet. Thus, it must be taken with a grain of salt.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

On This Day in Tudor History: Death of Charles Brandon

Alright, I know The Tudors gets a lot of grumbles for its historical inaccuracies, but I don't think anyone can deny that they get a little choked up during this scene. Brandon, throughout the show (and history) was one of the only people Henry didn't lose or get rid of. Very touching! (I couldn't find the entire scene in its own video, so there is some Katherine of Aragon thrown in there, too).

Do you think the death of his close friend made Henry think about his own mortality?

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Well...Henry Did It!

Empson, Henry VII, and Dudley
 As I mentioned on Facebook, I've recently started a new job! I am finally getting my professional career as a librarian started. After getting a Masters and working an assistant library job, I am very happy to have finally landed a real librarian position!

However, the first day of my job, my new boss informed me that my assistant might need to go...but it was my job to decide! Great way to start your first day on a new job, firing someone!

But then I thought...well Henry VIII did it, in his very Henry way.

Back in 1509, the new young king decided that he would be better off with new ministers. His father, Henry VII, was not the most popular King by the end of his reign. His ministers, even less popular! Of course, when Henry VIII, a young 18 year old, ascended the throne, he inherited his father's ministers. They probably thought they had a shoe-in for running the country for so young a king. Henry's grandmother, Margaret Beaufort, had a similar idea. She claimed she would serve as regent as Henry was "too young" to rule on his own (though luckily for him she died before that could really happen).

Young Henry VII
One of Henry VIII's first decrees as King was to order that his father's two most hated and powerful ministers, Sir Richard Empson and Edmund Dudley, to be quickly rounded up at taken to the Tower, only two days after his coronation! They were charged with high treason and executed. Henry VIII then gave money to the people, reportedly extorted by the two unfortunate ministers. The people were happy, and, more importantly, Henry was happy.

The moral of this story? Henry started a new job with a little "spring cleaning." Well...if Henry did it, should I? Hum...I don't know. I'm tempted to think that Henry VIII isn't the best role model. His motto was pretty much, "Stand in my way, I make you a head shorter."

In case any of you are fearful I am turning into Henry VIII, do not be. After careful consideration, I have talked with the assistant and he seems to have straightened out. Thus far, he will not face the executioner's axe. However, like all those at Henry's court, the shadow of the block is a constant companion. Hopefully my assistant doesn't feel that way. I fancy myself a bit nicer than Henry...for now ;)
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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

"Anne Boleyn" Giveaway Winner!

Sorry I'm a day late posting the winner! But, I won't keep you waiting any longer!

The winner is...

Cheryl E.

Congrats, Cheryl! Please e-mail within a week at everythingtudor "at" yahoo "dot" com to claim your prize.

To the rest of you, thank you so much for entering! I am posting another giveaway tomorrow at the Tudor Book Blog! Be sure to check back and enter to win! I have at least one giveaway a month, so do not dispare if you haven't won. There are plenty more opportunities!
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Saturday, August 4, 2012

August Giveaway: Anne Boleyn by Norah Lofts

This month, I am hosting TWO giveaways! The first is going to be held here at the Tudor Tattler, and feature a copy of Anne Boleyn by Norah Lofts. Amberley Publishing has kindly offer a brand new copy for one lucky winner!

First, a little about the book:
Ever since she first appeared in the Tudor court, Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second queen, has been a mystery and a source of controversy. Even her birth is shrouded in obscurity; both year and place are the subject of debate. Was she beautiful, as those who fell under her spell believed, or was she a rather plain girl blessed with striking eyes and a wealth of black hair?
More mysterious still is the nature of her role in one of the most turbulent times in British history. Henry, who wrote her impassioned love letters and composed songs in her praise, honoured her as no woman was ever honoured before, and finally defied the Pope in order to marry her. Her enemies at the time believed she owed her success to witchcraft, and indeed she bore two ‘devil’s marks’. But was she, in fact, only a hapless pawn, subject to the passions of a notoriously mercurial autocrat? Why was her fall from favour so sudden and complete? Henry’s love changed to a hatred so vicious that he conspired with his chief minister to have her accused of adultery with five men – one her own brother. Four of them went to the block protesting her innocence – and their own.
About the Author: Norah Lofts was one of the best-known and best-loved of all historical novelists and many of her books remain in print today. Anne Boleyn is one of her rare - yet highly successful - forays into non-fiction and displays her trademark application of authentic period detail to a gripping narrative. Her fictionalised account of Anne Boleyn's life, The Concubine, was a huge bestseller in the UK and US. Lofts wrote more than fifty books.

Read more about this new release at Amberley Publishing's webpage.

Now, there are several ways to enter:
1) Leave a comment here with your name. This will enter you one time.
2) Like The Tudor Tattler on Facebook. This will enter you a second time. If you have already liked on FB, mention that in your comment.
3) Follow The Tudor Tattler on Twitter. This will enter you another time. If you are already a follower, mention that in your comment.
4) Follower The Tudor Tattler on Blogger. This will enter you another time. If you are already a follower, mention that in your comment.
That gives you a chance to get your name in the hat up to four times! The giveaway starts today, and ends on Sunday, August 12th. The winner will be announced on Monday, August 13th. The second giveaway (a copy of David Loades' Mary Rose) will open on August 13th as well.
Good luck!
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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What If...You Found a Secret Tudor Room?

Let's picture it. You are walking through Hampton Court Palace. You feel a slight draft and look to your left. There is a small crack of light peeping through the wall. You go to investigate. You find, behind the old paneling, a secret door...

In the room you find an old wooden floor, covered in dust, obviously not walked on for many years. There are old trunks, tapestries, and pieces of furniture. They all look very old...possibly even Tudor. You open a chest and find...

What? What one item from Tudor England would you like to find in that box?
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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Birth of a Prince

On June 28, 1491, a new prince was born to King Henry VII of England, and his Queen, Elizabeth of York.

To celebrate, be sure to check out this great Youtube video on Henry's birth and early life. It is the first episode of the Mind of a Tyrant series by David Starkey, and focuses on Henry's birth, as well as his upbringing as Prince.

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Saturday, June 23, 2012

"The Secret Keeper" Drink Charm Giveaway Winner!

Firstly, a huge congratulations to Sandra Byrd for her new novel! Secondly, a huge thank you for offering the prize: a set of Henry VIII and his Six Wives drink charms!

Now, the winner for the drink charms is...

Sarah Joy

Congrats, Sarah! Please e-mail me at everythingtudor(at)yahoo(dot)com within two weeks to claim your prize.

To all other contestants, thank you for entering! Please check back soon for another fabulous giveaway!
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Thursday, June 21, 2012

And the Winner Is...

I'd like to give a huge thank you to author Susan Higginbotham for answering my questions, as well as offer a copy of her new novel as a prize! Another big thanks goes to everyone who entered! Please keep in mind that I have at least one giveaway a month, so be sure to check back in if you aren't this month's winner.

Now, without further ado, the winner is...

Tea Bird

Congratulations! Please contact me at everythingtudor(at)yahoo(dot)com within two weeks to claim your prize! 
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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Secret Keeper Giveaway and Review

To celebrate her wonderful new release, author Sandra Byrd has graciously offered a giveaway to coincide with my review! The prize? Charming Henry VIII and his Six Wives Drink Charms!

Though I normally post these on The Tudor Book Blog, I'm going to post my review here for this giveaway. It will also appear under "My Reviews" on The Tudor Book Blog.

Review for The Secret Keeper by Sandra Byrd


Juliana St. John, who gracefully narrates the story, is a young woman who harbors dark secrets, one of which is her ability to see glimpses of the future. This “gift” is a terrifying burden to her, as she constantly worries that it will be found out and she will be accused of witchcraft. Her own mother disowns her after one of her visions comes true. However, a lucky happenstance meeting with the dashing Thomas Seymour, sends Juliana to the court of Henry VIII to serve as maid of honor to Katherine Parr.

Unlike her own mother, Katherine Parr treats Juliana as a daughter, fulfilling that longing for maternal love within Juliana’s soul. As their relationship grows, Juliana becomes the Queen’s “Secret Keeper,” one of the few Parr can trust in the tumultuous and treacherous world of the Tudor Court. Throughout the novel, Juliana’s visions offer interesting insight into the workings of the court, as well as into her own past...


Katherine Parr
Though the novel follows the a fairly predictable plot, Byrd has a way of plotting it out so it doesn’t seem so predictable. Adding the element of Juliana’s gift was a brilliant and unique stroke one doesn’t usually see in the world of Tudor literature. Also, placing this novel at the end of Henry VIII’s reign and afterwards, rather than during the “Great Matter” was a breath of fresh air. Certainly, novels have been written about Katherine Parr, however Byrd's offers a unique twist by throwing Juliana's gift into the mix...especially in conjunction with Parr's near arrest and possible execution.

There are a wide range of characters in this novel. I feel that Byrd did an excellent job of characterizing them, especially the historical ones. I really liked how Byrd portrayed Katherine Parr. She is a beautiful woman, inside and out, always eager to help others. 

The men in the novel are also well portrayed. Henry VIII is an imposing character, much like he was in To Die For. Though he has aged since the first novel, Henry is not some invalid who has no power...he is a terrifying presence who can, on a whim, destroy everything Juliana holds dear. Thomas Seymour is dashing and charming as ever. However, he isn't the only man Juliana meets. Not surprisingly, she also has a relationship with a handsome young man who is seeking a knighthood. This lovely distraction adds a bit of romance to an otherwise suspenseful novel. 

Juliana, however, was harder to relate with. I admit, by the end of the novel I really liked her, but it took some time for me to connect with her.

Overall, I give this novel 5 Tudor Roses!

The only criticism I had (and this is just me personally) is that it took me longer to connect with Juliana than it did Meg Wyatt in Byrd’s first novel, To Die For. However, I think I enjoyed this novel better. I love the supernatural element to it that I haven’t often found in other Tudor novels I’ve read.

I highly recommend this novel to those old and new to Tudor fiction. It is a good read that one is easily sucked into.

A huge thank you to Sandra Byrd for providing me with a copy of her wonderful novel, and the prize for this giveaway!


Now, for the Giveaway! There are two things you must do to enter:

1) Do one of the following:
  • Sign up for Sandra Byrd's Newsletter here (which also enters you to win a kindle!)
  • Friend Sandra Byrd on Facebook 
  • Follow Sandra Byrd on Twitter
2) Leave a comment here to let me know which one you have done and you will be entered to win this giveaway!

You have until Midnight on June 22nd to enter. The winner will be randomly selected and announced on June 23rd. Good luck!
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Winner of the Fall of Anne Boleyn Giveaway!

Firstly, I would like to thank Claire for her wonderful article on Anne's love life! I really enjoyed it, as I think many of you did too!

Secondly, a big thank you to all those who entered and participated in the great discussions on Anne!

Now, for the winner of the Anne Boleyn shirt! Drum roll.....


Congrats Kathy! I will send your contact info to Claire who will get you your prize. Thanks again to all who entered.

Be sure to jump over to the Tudor Book Blog today to enter a giveaway for Her Highness the Traitor, and here at the Tudor Tattler for a giveaway for The Secret Keeper!

Wow, June is the month for giveaways!
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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Guest Post and Giveaway: Claire Ridgway Discusses Anne Boleyn's Love Life

To celebrate her new book release, The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Count Down, Claire from The Anne Boleyn Files has kindly written a guest post for us to enjoy today. She has also provided a quarter length Anne Boleyn shirt for giveaway! More on that in a minute. First, I'm happy to welcome Claire!

Anne Boleyn's Love-life

In May 1536, while Anne Boleyn was imprisoned in the Tower awaiting her death, her husband, King Henry VIII, was heard to comment that he thought that “upwards of 100 gentlemen have had criminal connexion with her”, i.e. that Anne had slept with over one hundred men.
We can put this comment down to bluster, to Henry defending his actions and the treatment of Anne, and even Chapuys was sceptical, commenting that “You never saw a prince or husband show or wear his horns more patiently and lightly than this one does. I leave you to guess the cause of it.” Obviously Henry was not showing any signs of distress at his wife making a mockery of their marriage! However, Anne has been called many names, in the sixteenth century and today, which relate to her sexuality and her love life:
  • The scandal of christendom
  • Goggle-eyed whore
  • The concubine
  • The putain
  • Harlot
  • The English Mare
  • The Royal Mule
  • A home-wrecker

These are names used by her enemies, men such as Nicholas Sander, who also wrote of her having an extra finger, a wen and a projecting tooth; and of course Eustace Chapuys, who just couldn't bring himself to call the woman he viewed as a usurper by name. These men had an agenda, a need to discredit Anne, plus Sander may well have been confusing Anne and her sister, Mary, who Francis I allegedly nicknamed his “English Mare”.
But had Anne done anything to earn herself these nicknames? Had she, as one book claims, before she met Henry VIII, “wandered down love's winding path....[and] learned its twists and turns during her youth spent at the courts of the Low Countries and France”? Let's examine the love-life of this fascinating Queen...

Sinning with the Family Chaplain and Butler?

According to the afore-mentioned Nicholas Sander, writing in 1585 when he was in exile to escape persecution in Elizabeth I's reign, Anne was actually banished to France by her father at the age of fifteen because she had “sinned first with her father's butler, and then with his chaplain”. I think we can take this claim with a very hefty pinch of salt when we know that Anne was sent to Margaret of Austria's court at the age of 12 to finish her education and then, a year later, to France to serve Mary Tudor, Queen of France. She was already in France at the age of fifteen and Sander is the only one to make this claim.

Corrupted by the French Court 

Alison Weir questions Anne Boleyn's virtue in her recent biography of Mary Boleyn, writing that she had “risked becoming the subject of scandal at the French court”. Weir uses two pieces of evidence to back this up:
  1. Francis I, King of France, confiding in Rodolfo Pio, Bishop of Faenza: “Francis also spoke three days ago of the new queen of England, how little virtuously she has always lived and now lives, and how she and her brother and adherents suspect the duke of Norfolk of wishing to make his son King, and marry him to the King's legitimate daughter, though they are near relations.”
  2. Eustace Chapuys, imperial ambassador, reporting that Henry VIII had confided in him that Anne had been “corrupted” during her time in France.
What Chapuys actually reported was that after Anne's fall Henry did not want to marry Madeleine of Valois, Francis I's daughter, because “he had had too much experience of French bringing up and manners”. Not quite the same as saying that Anne Boleyn had been corrupted.

There is no evidence to back up Francis I's claim that Anne had lived “little virtuously” and we don't even know that Francis really said it. Surely someone would have warned Henry VIII, before their marriage, if Anne Boleyn had been corrupted in France, scandal would certainly have been attached to her name. Chapuys, one of Anne's main enemies, does not repeat any gossip about her time in France or her alleged sexual experience. Seeing as Anne served the virtuous Queen Claude in France, I suspect that Anne kept her virtue. Anne would have known that her future marriage prospects rested on her keeping her virginity and her reputation.

First Love – Henry Percy

Anne Boleyn returned to England in late 1521, after being recalled to marry James Butler, one of her Irish relations, and to serve Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII's first wife. According to Cardinal Wolsey's gentleman-usher, George Cavendish, it was in 1523, while Anne was serving Catherine, that she met Henry Percy, the son and heir of the Earl of Northumberland, who was a member of Wolsey's household. They fell in love and were apparently intending to marry when Wolsey and the King put a stop to their relationship.

Cavendish claims that the King ordered Wolsey to stop the marriage because of his “secret affection” for Anne, but there is no other evidence that the King was attracted to Anne at this time. It is thought that he was involved with her sister, Mary, in 1523, and the marriage was more likely to have been stopped due to Wolsey's plans for Anne to marry Butler. Anne and Percy were separated and Percy was quickly married off to Mary Talbot. It was not a happy marriage.

Thomas Wyatt - The Lover Confesseth Him in Love

In Hilary Mantel's recent novel, Bring Up the Bodies, Henry VIII suspects his wife of having had a sexual relationship with Thomas Wyatt the Elder, poet and courtier, but is there any truth to this claim?
Thomas Wyatt grew up at Allington Castle, around twenty miles from Hever Castle, the Boleyn family home, and he and Anne were a similar age. However, Anne was abroad for her teenage years so they probably did not meet until Anne began serving Catherine of Aragon in the 1520s. Wyatt was a married man, albeit unhappily married, and his love for Anne is recorded by his grandson, George Wyatt, in his memoir of Anne Boleyn. George records that when Wyatt first saw Anne at court, he was “surprised by the sight thereof”, and he also records a story about Wyatt and King Henry VIII arguing over Anne. In this story, Wyatt manages to snatch a jewel from Anne and keeps it as a trophy. Later, when he is playing playing bowls with the King and arguing over a shot, the King points to the wood, showing a finger on which is he is wearing Anne's ring, and declares “Wyatt, I tell thee it is mine”. Wyatt, seeing the ring, replies “If it may like your majesty to give me leave to measure it, I hope it will be mine”, and then takes Anne's jewel, which was hanging around his neck, and begins to measure the cast with its ribbon. An angry Henry VIII stomped off in search of Anne for an explanation.

Of course, we don't know the truth of this story, but it could well have been handed down the family. However, it does not mean that Anne and Wyatt had had a relationship. Wyatt's poem, “Whoso List to Hunt” tells of a man hunting a hind, with little chance of success, and then being forced to withdraw from the hunt because of another hunter. Wyatt may have been referring to his unrequited love for Anne and his forced withdrawal of his suit because of Henry VIII's interest in her:

“There is written, her fair neck round about:
Noli me tangere, for Caesar's I am”

Anne belonged to another, a more important man than Wyatt.

The Spanish Chronicle tells an interesting story. In it, Wyatt visits Anne at Hever Castle and begins kissing her and touching her breast. All of a sudden, the couple are disturbed by a stamping noise from upstairs, the stamping of a jealous and impatient lover whose liaison with Anne had been interrupted by Wyatt's arrival! This story just cannot be take seriously, it is pure tabloid journalism and simply an attempt to blacken Anne's name. No other source backs it up.

Henry VIII – For Caesar's I Am

Nobody knows exactly when Anne caught Henry VIII's eye, but Henry rode out to the Shrovetide joust of 1526 motto with the motto “Declare je nos” (Declare I dare not) embroidered on his costume below a picture of a man's heart engulfed in flames. He was declaring his love and passion for a new flame and it is likely that she was Anne Boleyn. 

What we do know is that Henry bombarded Anne with love letters between spring 1527 and autumn 1528, because we still have them, and that the couple agreed to marry in the summer of 1527. 

Following Anne's acceptance of his proposal, Henry VIII decided, in August 1527, to ask the Pope for a dispensation to marry Anne. He had no idea at that time that he'd have to wait so long to marry Anne, but he didn't give up and the couple were married in a secret ceremony on 25th January 1533.

Their relationship sounds pretty sordid. He was a married man, she was his wife's lady-in-waiting, and they actually married before his annulment had come through, but Henry was intent on replacing Catherine and having a fertile wife who would give him an heir to the throne. Anne was his chance.

Her Frail and Carnal Appetites

In 1533, Anne Boleyn was accused of committing adultery and incest, and of conspiring with her lovers to kill the King. The Middlesex and Kent indictments accused Anne of “following daily her frail and carnal appetites” and procuring Sir Henry Norris, Sir Francis Weston, Sir William Brereton, Mark Smeaton and her own brother, George Boleyn, to “violate” her by “sweet words, kisses, touches and otherwise”. In a letter to the King's ambassadors in France, Thomas Cromwell referred to Anne's “abominable” deeds and her “incontinent living”. He painted her as the Queen of debauchery, a woman whose sexual appetite knew no ends.

We know now that the dates of Anne's alleged crimes just do not make sense and the majority of historians believe that Anne and the five men were framed. There is no evidence that Anne was unfaithful to the King, it was simply a plot to get rid of her once and for all.


When I read through these stories of Anne's alleged lovers it makes me think of the tabloid magazines you see advertised on TV, the ones giving the latest salacious gossip about celebrities – who's sleeping with who, who's having an affair, who's having whose baby etc. We take these stories with a pinch of salt because we generally find out later that they have no basis. Well, the propaganda machinery was in full swing in Tudor times too and Chapuys was a great one for repeating gossip and then correcting himself later. And don't get me started on The Spanish Chronicle which has Thomas Cromwell interrogating Catherine Howard when he was actually dead at that time!

Anne Boleyn was and is a fascinating lady, but her love-life was far from salacious. OK, she got involved with a married man but that's the most salacious it gets. Married man: yes, 100+ lovers: not likely! She wasn't an angel, but she was far from a whore.

Notes and Sources

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 5 Part 2: 1536-1538, note 54
Rise and Growth of the Anglican Schism (1585), Nicholas Sander
Publisher's blurb for Anne Boleyn: Young Queen to Be, Josephine Wilkinson
Mary Boleyn: The Great and Infamous Whore, Alison Weir
The Life of Cardinal Wolsey, George Cavendish
The Life of Queen Anne Boleigne, George Wyatt
Chronicle of King Henry VIII. of England: Being a Contemporary Record of Some of the Principal Events of the Reigns of Henry VIII and Edward VI (The Spanish Chronicle)
Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 10: January-June 1536: 873 and 876. 
Bring Up the Bodies, Hilary Mantel

Now for the Giveaway!

The prize, as mentioned before, is a quarter-length shirt with an image of Anne Boleyn. For the guys, Claire has offer an alternative if a man wins! 

To enter, leave a comment here with your name. If you have any thoughts about any of the "lovers" mentioned above, be sure to include them! 

You can enter until Tues. June 12th at midnight. The winner will be randomly drawn and announced on June 13th. Be sure to check back in then!
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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Fashion or Flop? Lady Arbella Stuart

Here we see Lady Arbella in a virginal white. Her simple dress is accented with black jewels upon the sleeves and down the center front of the dress. It is finished off with thick strands of pearls. What think ye? Is it perhaps too white (and virginal), rivaling the Virgin Queen herself? Pin It

Friday, May 11, 2012

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Role Reversal: Henry VIII and the Duke of Buckingham

I read an article today about the Top Ten Best Henry VIII's in film/television. Not surprisingly, Jonathan Rhys Meyers made the list. I can't help it. I love The Tudors. JRM certainly plays the role of Henry role well. He has the abs, the charm, and certainly the attitude to play Henry, but does he have the look? Now, I'm not talking about the 300 pound Henry VIII of the 1540's, rather the young stud that romped around court in the early 1500's. Let's be honest. No, not really.

But there is another character on the show who does. He had the look of Henry: the red hair, the height, and, probably, the abs. Who is the character? Why none other than the Duke of Buckingham, one of Henry's many rivals in Season 1.

Let's take a look at what Henry really looked like. According to the Venetian Ambassador,

"His Majesty is the handsomest potentate I ever set eyes on; above the usual height, with an extremely fine calf to his leg, his complexion very fair and bright, with auburn hair combed straight and short, in the French fashion, his throat being rather long and thick.  He was born on the 28th of June, 1491, so he will enter his twenty-fifth year the month after next.  He speaks French, English, and Latin, and a little Italian, plays well on the lute and harpsichord, sings from book at sight, draws the bow with greater strength  than any man in England, and jousts marvelously.  Believe me, he is in every respect a most accomplished Prince; and I, who have now seen all the sovereigns in Christendom, and last of all these two of France and England in such great state, might well rest content..." 
According to this description, plus others not mentioned here, Henry looked little like JRM. He looked more like Steve Waddington (aka the Duke of Buckingham).

What think ye? Would you have rather seen the roles reversed? How do you think each would have done?
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Friday, May 4, 2012

Friday Funny - How to Solve Problems Like Henry VIII

I've decided to transform "Photo Friday" into "Friday Funny!" Though I love posting lovely pictures from Tudor England, I feel that Friday is a day to let loose and enjoy something silly! I will probably revamp photo Friday for another day in the week.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

All the King's Men: Henry Courtenay, 1st Marquis of Exeter

Edward Courtenay

Henry Courtenay was that son of William Courtenay, Earl of Devon and Princess Catherine of York, sister of Queen Elizabeth of York. Thus, Henry Courtenay was Henry VIII's 1st Cousin. Despite "being family," William Courtenay and Edward Courtenay (Henry's grandfather) were thrown in the Tower as traitors in 1504. Evidence that they supported the main Yorkist claimant over Henry VII didn't help their case. Lucky for them, Henry VII died without ordering their executions.

Life at Court

With the rise of Henry VIII to the throne in 1509, the sun seemed to shine a little brighter on the Courtenays. They were released from the Tower and their Earldom restored. Henry was allowed to inherit his father's title in 1511 upon William's death.

Henry Courtenay from
the Order of the Garter
Procession, 1535.
Being young and family, Henry instantly became a member of the King's inner circle; one of his "men." His favor grew as he excelled in both military efforts and hunting. In 1520, Courtenay was made a member of the King's Privy Council. In 1521, he was made a Knight of the Garter, one of the greatest honors in the land (Perhaps this was a little foreboding as he replaced the executed Duke of Buckingham). In 1525, at the height of his power, he was made Marquis of Exeter.

In the late 1520's, it is not surprising that he sided with the King and aided in the downfall of Cardinal Wolsey. Wolsey's fall made Courtenay second in power to the King. He also sided with the King on the "Great Matter," despite the fact that Katherine of Aragon cited him as one of her "friends." He sat as commissioner at the divorce hearings. When it was Anne Boleyn's turn to fall, Courtenay again played a big part, serving as commissioner at her trial.


Despite aiding the King in getting rid of his first wife, Courtenay's wife remained in correspondence with Catherine. She was a Catholic and did not attempt to hide it. It did not help matters that Courtenay was not a friend of Cromwell. From primary evidence, he seems to have disapproved of the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

Thomas Cromwell
Like his grandfather and father, evidence was found that Courtenay was in correspondence with a Yorkist Claimant to the Throne, this time Cardinal Reginald Pole. To make matters worse, a small movement in Cornwall demanded that Henry VIII, who at this point had no male heir, take Courtenay as his heir apparent.

In 1538, Courtenay, along with his wife and son, were thrown into the Tower. He was put on trial for the so-called "Exeter Conspiracy." By the time he was tried, the "evidence" had been construed to claim Courtenay was attempting to insight rebellion and take the throne for himself. In reality, it was most likely another ingenious plot by Cromwell. Like with Anne Boleyn and her "lovers," Cromwell was able to rid himself of his enemies (more like men who held power and were close to the King), such as Courtenay and Nicholas Carew. 

Courtenay was found guilty and executed on Jan. 9, 1539. Also like Anne Boleyn, he was beheaded with a sword. His son wasn't released from prison until 1553 by Queen Mary I.

Considering Henry Courtenay's position within the Government and Royal Family it is surprising that little is really written about him. I suppose he is overshadowed by Wolsey, Cromwell and other men who formed the King's inner circle. Though Cromwell's masterful art of riding himself of his enemies is best displayed with Anne Boleyn, Courtenay proves another good example.

Henry Courtenay, Marquis of Exeter
Henry VIII: King and Court, Alison Weir

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Friday, April 27, 2012

Photo Friday: Loseley Park

Loseley Park, a Tudor manor completed in 1568. 

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Death for Beauty?

Today I was reading about the powerful Diane de Poitiers, favorite mistress of Henry II of France, and enemy of Catherine de Medici (but then again, who wasn't?). Diane was known for her stunning beauty and youthful looks. But did you know that she was 20 years older than her lover?

But how did she rise to such power, and have the ability to hold the attentions of a King so much younger than herself? Diane served several of King Francois I's Queens, and became a member of the King's inner circle. In 1525, Francois was captured by Charles V's troops. His ransom? A trade for his two sons, Henri and Francois. Upon leaving France for captivity in Spain, Henri was apparently kissed goodbye by the lovely Diane. In 1530, the two boys were finally returned to France. It is thought that Diane was appointed by Francois I to teach his son Henri courtly manners, as his education had greatly suffered during his captivity. In 1533, Henri married Catherine de Medici. However, around 1538 he took on a mistress; Diane.

Despite Catherine's great jealousy of Diane, the mistress tried to help. Henri wasn't very interested in his new bride, and much preferred spending his time with Diane. However, she insisted he pay proper respect (and time) to his wife. However, Catherine remained jealous. It is hard not to blame her for her jealousy. Diane was Queen in all but name. She oversaw the King's childrens' education, held the crown jewels, and, obviously, the King's great love and affection.

The love triangle continued until Henri's death in 1559. Catherine finally got her revenge by banishing Diane from the King's bedside, despite his pleading for her. Once he died, Diane was banished from court, though she lived in comfort on her estates for the rest of her life. Even upon her death at 66, spectators remarked on her strikingly youthful appearance.

Her secret? Drinking gold.

However, I don't recommend this remedy. Though she looked stunning until her death in 1566, her excessive gold consumption seems to have killed her. In 2009, her bones were identified and found to be extremely fragile and containing large amounts of gold. It does not make sense that her bones would be so fragile, as she lived an extremely healthy lifestyle (which probably contributed greatly to her youthful appearance, despite her love for gold drink). She was an avid hunter and, uncommon for a woman of her time, went for daily runs, swims, and baths. She also stuck to a strict diet, not indulging in the fine foods of court. This added up to keep her youthful appearance throughout her life. It was commented that, though 20 years older than the King, they looked the same age.

So why drink gold, if one is so healthy? Alchemy was all the rage in the Medieval and Renaissance world. Often times, alchemists would also serve as apothecaries. Henry VIII himself dappled in it, creating elixirs to rid his favorites (and himself) of ill humors. Gold was (and still is) considered the most valuable of metals. It was also, for the Kings of France, a symbolic link to the Sun. Thus, it is no surprise that the King's mistress, who would have had the very best of everything, would drink gold. It is highly likely that the King himself partook of gold elixirs. However, Diane seems to have taken it to the next level.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Author Post and Giveaway

There is an author guest post by Robert Parry on his novel the Virgin and the Crab as well as a giveaway at The Tudor Book Blog! Be sure to check it out!
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Monday, April 23, 2012

Artifact Monday: Mary, Queen of Scots Embroidery

 This panel, depicting an elephant, is among several done by Mary, Queen of Scots and her attendants during her captivity in England. This panel dates from about 1570. It is currently held and the V&A.

Read more about it here.
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Friday, April 20, 2012

Photo Friday: Fulham Palace

The former home of the Bishop of London, Fulham Palace is now a museum with an extensive Botanical Garden. The site dates back to the Middle Ages, and housed the Bishop of London until 1975.

Look closely; the brickwork is lovely!
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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Fashion or Flop? Elizabeth Brydges

Here we see Lady Elizabeth wearing an elegant black gown, covered in a silver damask pattern. Her dress is topped with a large lace ruff and accented with gold trim and jewelry. She couldn't decide which broach to wear, so wore three in her hair, one of her ruff, and three on her dress.

What think ye? An overkill flop or true fashion?
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Monday, April 16, 2012

Katherine of Aragon?

This portrait, mistakenly identified as Catherine Parr, is now said to be Katherine of Aragon. compared to other portraits of her, there are many similarities. What do you think of it compared to this well known portrait of Katherine?

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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Fashion or Flop? King James VI and I

It wouldn't be Stuart Week without deciding if King James was a trend setter or flopper. Here we see James in a simple white doublet and hoses, accented with black and silver trousers. He wears a large chain of estate, set off with gold and black jewels. He finishes his ensemble with a black, gold, and silver cloak and delicate black shoes, accented with silver and pearls. What think ye? Fashion or Flop?


How does he compare to his predecessor?
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Friday, April 6, 2012

Pocahontas: Indian Princess, English Lady

Pocahontas around 1616.
She is attired in English Garb.
Pocahontas has captured the minds of people from her initial "discovery" in the New World. She has been portrayed as a beautiful Indian Princess, in love with a captured English soldier, and later persuaded into marrying a different English gentlemen and living her days in England, far from her people and home.

But how true is this?

Pocahontas was originally named Matoaka, and was daughter to the powerful Chief of the Powhatans, Wahunsenachawh. She was born around 1595 and lived in Virginia.

The most famous story relating to her is that she rescued John Smith. Smith was an English sailor and soldier. He lead the Virginia Colony (including Jamestown) between 1608 and 1609.

In 1607, Smith was captured by the Powhatans and brought to Werowoconoco, the capital of the Powhatan tribe. There, he claimed to have been brought before the chief and nearly executed, but that "at the minute of my execution, [Pocahontas] hazarded the beating out of her own brains to save mine; and not only that, but so prevailed with her father, that I was safely conducted to Jamestown."
John Smith
This story has been debated for centuries. Many believe that Smith made the whole thing up. In his original account of his capture, he does not mention this event nor Pocahontas. Rather, he described the incident several years later when writing to Queen Anne. In the 19th Century, new stories were written showing a romantic link between Smith and Pocahontas. However, Smith never made such claims, nor did any appear in writings of the time.

What is true about the story is that Pocahontas did befriend Smith and helped save the Jamestown settlement. It was said that "every once in four or five days, Pocahontas with her attendants much provision that saved many of their lives that else for all this had starved with hunger."

In 1613, Pocahontas was captured by the settlers and held for ransom. By this time, Smith has left for England due to an injury. The Indians were told he was dead. War between the tribe and settlers had been going on for several years as the Indians felt their land was being encroached on. For a year, Pocahontas lived with the settlers. When she was finally allowed to return to her people, she refused and stayed with the English.

Pocahontas in "The New World."
During her captivity, Pocahontas met a tobacco farmer named John Rolfe. Rolfe was recently widowed, having lost his wife and child on the journey to Virginia. It is apparent that he deeply loved Pocahontas, though had scruples about marrying "a heathen." In a letter he claimed he was "motivated not by the unbridled desire of carnal affection...[but] namely Pocahontas, to whom my hearty and best thoughts are..." Pocahontas converted to Christianity and changed her name to Rebecca.

Portrait thought to be
of Pocahontas and her son.
The couple married in 1616 and lived in Henricus for two years. They had one child, a son named Thomas Rolfe, in 1615. The marriage brought peace for a time between the warring Settlers and Indians.

In 1616 the family traveled to England. Smith learned of their arrival and asked the Wueen to welcome Pocahontas as a royal visitor. The couple were invited to a masque the Banqueting Hall at Whitehall. She was warmly welcomed, though due to James I's unimposing nature, did not realize she had met the King until later.

In 1617, the couple attempted to return to Virginia. However, Pocahontas died of unknown causes and was buried near Gravesend, Kent in England.

The Pocahontas Archive
Women's History in Virginia - Pocahontas 
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Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Ladies of Robert Cecil

Robert Cecil
Robert Cecil is probably best known for smoothly paving the way for James to take the throne of England after Elizabeth's death. He is usually portrayed as a cold and unctuous hunchback, who cares only for his own advancement, often at the expense of others. One contemporary source described him as,
"A slight, crooked, hump-backed young gentleman, dwarfish in stature, but with a face not irregular in feature, and thoughtful and subtle in expression, with reddish hair, a thin tawny beard, and lear, pathetic greenish-colored eyes, with a mind and manners already trained to courts and cabinets, and with a disposition almost ingenuous..."
However, I have a bit of gossip for you today which might paint a new picture of Cecil for you. How about one of him as the lover?

Shocking, I know. However, there is strong evidence that Cecil had at least two affairs with notable ladies at the Tudor and Stuart court.

The first is Katherine Knyvet, Countess of Suffolk. Katherine was known at court for her great beauty. She was also known to be a bit of a trollop. Her string of affairs were said to have included Robert Cecil. Her husband, Sir Thomas Howard, Earl of Suffolk, seems to have turned a blind eye to the affairs, though she used his influence to gain favors for her lovers. Katherine bore twelve children, all of whom her husband claimed as his. No one may ever know if they all were or not.

Katherine Knyvet
Katherine was marred by small pox in 1619, yet she continued to hold great influence at court. Her husband served as the King's Treasurer until 1619 when he and Katherine were tried for misconduct, including accepting bribes. They were found guilty (with Katherine taking the majority of the blame) and banished from court.

As stated before, there is little evidence to support an affair with Robert Cecil. However, considering she was one of the most notorious women of James' court, and Robert one of the most despised, it is no surprise the two were linked.

Lady Audrey (sometimes referred to as Ethelred) Walsingham, was wife of Thomas Walsingham and Mistress of the Robes to Queen Anne of Denmark. She was a close friend of the Cecils, which sparked rumors that she and Robert had an affair. In 1608, William Cecil (Robert's son) and Katherine Howard (Katherine Knycert's daughter) were married in Audrey's lodgings.  She was well liked, with the continuation of Marlowe's Hero and Leander by George Chapman being dedicated to her.

Unfortunately, there is little evidence that Robert Cecil had affairs with these two women. However, they had some sort of relationship, enough so to incite rumors. With the description above, I wouldn't be surprised if he did have affairs. He was certainly an intelligent and charming man, which would have certainly made him attractive, even if he had a slight physical deformity. If affairs did take place, I would like to know how he became entangled with two so very different women as Katherine and Audrey. 
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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Fashion or Flop? Lady Morton

Here we see Ann Wortley, Lady Morton wearing a burnt orange silk gown. It is accented with orange lace embroidery, and white lace cuffs and frill. The Lady's hair and accent frill and jewels are very reminiscent of the late Queen Elizabeth. Her dress is scandalously short, revealing a wee bit of her delicate slipper.

What think ye? Did the Jacobeans continue in fashion, or flop?

*Note: This is one of two "Fashion or Flops?" this week. I am also posting about Jacobean fashion later this week! Stay tuned.
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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tudor Tart: Frances Carr, Countess of Somerset

Frances Carr was daughter of Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Suffolk and Catherine Knyvett. In 1604, she was married to Robert Devereux, 3rd Earl of Essex and son of Elizabeth I's ill-fated favorite. She was 15, her husband 14. The two were separated immediately after their marriage so it could not be consummated. This was a common practice when the couple were deemed too young (I find it interesting that they were too young to consummate, but not too young to marry). The marriage was, thus, doomed from the start. When the two were allowed to consummate, Devereux found he could not. By this time, his little wife had already found another she liked better. Robert Carr, 1st earl of Somerset was the favorite of the new King. He and Frances had fallen madly in love and wanted to marry. Because Devereux was unable to perform, Frances claimed impotency and demanded a divorce.

Why couldn't he perform? Rumors abounded that Frances was slipping him herbs that prevented it. Others stated that he was "bewitched." During the divorce proceedings, it was seriously debated whether he should be sent to Poland to be "unwitched!" Regardless, Carr had the ear of the King. James intervened and the divorce went through.

In the mean time, Carr's closest friend, Thomas Overbury, was loudly protesting the match. He claimed that his friend could do better. He saw Frances as immodest and loose of morals. However, Frances had a few tricks up her sleeve. During the divorce proceedings, the King had Overbury imprisoned in the Tower. The charge? He refused to take a post as ambassador to Russia. He felt his friend needed his support in England. The truth? Carr wanted to marry Frances, and really just wanted his friend to be silent. With her powerful connections, Frances had the Lord Lieutenant of the Tower replaced with one of her supporters.

Curiously, Overbury died in the Tower. The divorce was finalized soon after.

Rumors abounded that Frances had had Overbury poisoned. Despite this, Carr and Frances married in Dec. of 1613. The two were soon arrested on suspicion of murder. Carr proclaimed his innocence. Frances, however, admitted a small part in the crime. She was convicted of murder, but spared execution. Why was the King so lenient? Some think he had a part in the murder, too. He apparently resented Overbury, with one witness saying that James "hath long had a desire to remove him from about [Carr], as thinking it a dishonour to him that the world should have an opinion that [Carr] ruled him and Overbury ruled [Carr]." Both Carr and She were pardoned and finally released from the Tower in 1622. They lived happily together.  

With the evidence in, what think ye? Was Frances an innocent woman, whose only crime was to be stuck in a loveless marriage, easily becoming a scapegoat for a jealous King's will? Or was she a loose woman, who would stop at nothing, including murder, to get what she wanted?

Fraser, Antoina. The Weaker Vessel.
Lindley, David. The Trials of Frances Howard
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Monday, April 2, 2012

Stuart Week Updates

Hi guys! I'm currently on a much needed vacation until Wednesday. I am having some technical difficulties getting some posts up. Today I am only posting the Artifact Monday and tomorrow the Tudor Tart. However, I will be making up the rest of the posts (and adding a few extras such as a Fashion or Flop) Wednesday thru Sunday! Thanks for your patience and understanding!

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Artifact Monday: Embroidered Jacket of Margaret Laton

This beautifully embroidered jacket once belonged to Margaret Laton. Though it is a stunning example of Jacobean workmanship, it was actually considered casual wear. It, and a portrait of Margaret wearing it, are both preserved at the V&A.

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