Category Archives: The Unknown…

Georgiana, Dutchess of Devonshire

Lady Georgiana Spencer was born to Earl and Lady Spencer on June 7 1757. Her family were supporters of the Whig party and she was married on her seventeenth birthday (1774)  to the strongest patron to the Whigs, William Cavendish, Duke of Devonshire.

William was a man of very few words and was only really happy when with his dogs and the Duke is often refered to as ‘the only person not in love with his wife’.  Georgiana was extremely popular amongst the aristocrats as well as political personalities and was often seen as a fashion-icon for many women. She worked as an active political campaigner for the Whigs, using the great attention on her to her advantage. During the general election on 1784, Georgiana was rumoured to have exchanged kisses in favour for votes for a distant cousin, Charles James Fox, whom the Devonshires often campaigned with. In 1782, Georgiana met Lady Elizabeth Foster in Bath, who would become a lifelong confidant and later mistress to the Duke.

However, the marriage wasn’t playing out to be a very happy one. Early on in the marriage, Georgiana suffered a number of miscarriages early on in the marriage and William was very distressed not to have a son and heir. Their first surviving child, Lady Georgiana Dorothy Cavendish (known as ‘Little G’), was born July 12 1783, nine years into the marriage. Soon after, their second child, Lady Harriet Elizabeth (or ‘Harryo’ to the family), was born August 29 1785. At the same time Lady Elizabeth gave birth to a daughter by the Duke. Two years later Elizabeth had a son. The Duke finally got his legitimate male heir on May 21 1790, William George Spencer Cavendish (‘Hart’), Marquis of Hartington. She also brought up the Duke’s illegitimate daughter, Charlotte, who was conceived by a maid.

Georgiana found herself involved in a great scandal when she started an affair with Charles Grey (later Prime Minister) and soon became pregnant with his child. However, Georgiana refused to leave to Duke to live with Grey after the Duke said that if shee left him he would never let her see her children again. Her and Elizabeth went abroad where she gave birth to her illegitimate daughter, Eliza Courtney, who was bought up as Grey’s family.

In the mid-1790s her health rapidly deteriorated. She had an infection in her eye and doctors were worried that she would never regain sight. Leeches were often applied to her eyes. She died March 30 1806, aged 48. Crowds were gathered outside of her residence of Devonshire House though her final weeks.

She was also famous for her debts and love of gambling. She kept the extent of her debts secret for fear of the Duke’s reaction and they were discovered after her death. The debts accumulated to a total of today’s equivalent on around 3.7 million. When the Duke found out, he famously remarked, ‘Is that all?’


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Birth of the Tudors!

On this day, 22nd August (1485), we celebrate the anniversary of the Battle of Bosworth and the birth of the Tudor Dynasty! I know the times to come aren’t great but the world would be just so different without the Tudors and I can’t help but get a little excited!

Also on this day, the death of Charles Brandon in 1545, which isn’t quite as nice…

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The friends of King Henry VIII

Firstly, my apologies for not posting for ages. I’ve been kept very busy…  And just to prove the point, it’s been exactly a month since I worked on Thy Kingdom Come, which I think may be the longest I’ve ever left between writing. I’m hoping to post more frequently over the next few weeks and hopefully pick u where I left off!

Back to Henry VIII now though… We all know about Henry’s women- the legendary six wives, multiple mistresses, two daughters who would cause much fascination later on and two surviving sisters who are attracting more and more attention just to name a few (and that’s not even mentioning his ancestors!)- but how much do we really know about the men who served him company? Today (by this I mean the day I started this post before my laptop started acting very weirdly) marks the anniversary of the execution of Thomas Cromwell in 1540, so I think it’s a good time to start learning…

It is now agreed by most historians that in his early years, Henry was kept int the same household as his sisters, headed by his mother, Elizabeth of York. As the second son, it was expected that Henry would be granted an important clerical position and for the first decade of his life he was educated as such whilst Henry’s elder brother, Arthur, was being prepared for kingship. Henry’s only other brother, Edmund, died just after his first birthday. Henry had four sisters, of whom two lived into adulthood (Margaret and Mary), with one, Elizabeth, dying aged three (when Henry was four) and the other , Katherine, dying at just eight days old. This meant that Henry started life under much female influence, which would perhaps affect some of his choices later on. However, when he was ten years old Arthur died, quickly followed by the birth and death of Katherine and of Elizabeth of York, who fell victim to a post-birth infection and died just a day after Katherine. This completely changed Henry’s life and sent him into the very male-dominated world of the crown.

Henry found much support throughout his reign by many people, the most famous of which are perhaps: Wolsey, More, Cranmer and Cromwell. Here are the basics…

Thomas Wolsey was born in Ipswich around 1475 and was in fact the son of a butcher. He received a good education and went on to study at Magdalen College, Oxford. Wolsey was ordained in 1498. He became chaplain to the archbishop of Canterbury and later chaplain to Henry VII, who employed him on diplomatic missions. He son became known as a highly efficient administrator, both for Church and Crown and quickly established himself in Tudor politics. When Henry VIII came to the throne in 1509, Wolsey’s rapid rise began. Five years into his reign, Wolsey was created Archbishop of York, Cardinal and Lord Chancellor in quick succession. Wolsey’s power and influence was undisputed, with some even calling him ‘the other king’. He controlled almost all of England’s foreign policy and arranged the Field of Cloth of Gold. Perhaps his greatest legacy is the building of Hampton Court Palace, which was given to Henry by Wolsey at the height of his power. He also founded Cardinal College (now Christ Church), Oxford. However, he was also gaining many enemies and was extremely unpopular at Court.  His failure to give Henry his annulment triggered his downfall. He died in Leicester on his journey south to face trial.

Thomas More was born February 1478 in London. His father was a successful lawyer and as a boy More spent much time in the household of the Archbishop of Canterbury. He later studied at Oxford and qualified as a lawyer. In 1517 he entered the King’s service, becoming  Henry’s most trusted civil servant, advisor, friend, interpreter and diplomat. He was knighted in 1521 and in 1523 became speaker of the House of Commons. He was a close friend of Erasmus and wrote ‘The History of Richard III’ and ‘Utopia’. He quickly gained a reputation as a scholar and pious Catholic, defending the papal orthodoxy and writing many pamphlets against heresy, even taking responsibility for the interrogation of heretics. More replaced Wolsey as Lord Chancellor in 1529, at a time when Henry was determined to get his divorce and was coming very close to breaking with the Catholic Church, all of which More strongly disagreed with. When Henry declared himself supreme head, More resigned the chancellorship. He was arrested in 1534 after refusing to swear the oath of succession. He was executed on Tower Hill on July 6 1535.

Thomas Cranmer was born July 2 1489 in Nottinghamshire. Thomas and his younger brother joined the clergy as their father only had enough land for their elder brother to inherit. Cranmer was given a fellowship at Jesus College, Cambridge in 1510, which he lost when he married the daughter of a local tavern-keeper. She died in childbirth and he was re-accepted by the college. He took an active role in the beginnings of the Reformation, presenting the case for the divorce to Rome in 1530 and was made ambassador to Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, in 1532. At one point he was sent to Germany to learn more about Lutheranism. It was then he met Margaret Osiander, a niece of a reformer, who he married. In 1533 he was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury. He declared Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon void and married him to Anne Boleyn four months later. He survived Henry VIII and headed many religious reforms throughout the reign of Edward VI. He supported Lady Jane Grey as Edward’s successor. However, when Mary I was declared Queen, Cranmer was presented with quite a problem. In the Act of Supremacy, Cranmer had argued that monarchs are appointed by God and therefore must be obeyed. But would he stretch as far as his faith? At his heresy trial he recanted his Protestantism and publicly acknowledged his error in accepting it. However, Mary owed Cranmer a strong grudge for his role in the Reformation and how he had personally divorced her parents and decided that he should burn, although it was against Church law. It was planned to be quite an event, with a public reenactment of the recantation before being taken to the stake, intended to humiliate Cranmer further. Instead, Cranmer repudiated the recantation and for the last time expressed his beliefs and declared the Pope as antichrist. On the stake, he put his right hand, which had signed the recantation, into the heart of the fire, saying that it had sinned so should be punished first. It was just one act which would work as propaganda against Mary, giving the basics for her reputation as ‘Bloody Mary’.

Thomas Cromwell was born in London in around 1485. He spent much time in Europe working as a merchant, accountant and soldier, returning to England in 1512 to study Law. In 1520 he became legal secretary to Cardinal Wolsey and became a MP in 1523. He quickly rose to favour under Henry VIII and was made the King’s Chief Minister in 1532. He played a great role in the Reformation, accompanied by Cranmer. He led the dissolution of the monasteries with a great efficiency and was rewarded by Henry VIII when he was created Earl of Essex in 1540, despite being a target for much hatred in England and a key cause of the Pilgrimage of Grace. In 1540, Cromwell triggered his downfall by helping to persuade Henry to marry Anne of Cleves, which was a complete disaster. Henry had an increasingly ill temper and blames Cromwell for the marriage. He was executed July 28 1540, the exact same day Henry married Kateryn Howard.

In conclusion, I think Henry just used men  to get what he wanted. If they failed in doing Henry’s bidding, the chances are they’d be charged with Treason and executed. If they dared to disagree with him, he’d fly into a rage. I certainly wouldn’t want to know him!

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Catharism is a virtually unknown religion with the basic principles of Christianity and dualistic and gnostic properties. It was popular mainly in France throughout the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The growth of the faith ended in massacre…

The Cathari believed in two Gods, rather than the one omnipresent God of Christianity. These two Gods were seen as equal in status. Simply, these two gods are known as good and bad. The ‘bad’ god was seen as creator of the world and was thus known as ‘Rex Mundi’ (God of the world). The Cathari believed that the physical world in which we live is evil and chaotic. The second god was the one they chose to worship. This god was seen as a pure spirit and god of love, peace and order. According to some Cathars, the purpose of man’s life on Earth was to transcend matter, perpetually renouncing anything connected with the principle of power and thereby attaining union with the principle of love. According to others, man’s purpose was to reclaim or redeem matter, spiritualizing and transforming it.

This was a different view to the Catholic Church regarding material creation, on behalf of which Jesus had dies, as being evil and implying that God was a usurper. They denied that Jesus could become incarnate and still be the son of God. To the Cathars, Rome’s luxurious Church seemed the exact manifestation of Rex Mundi’s sovereignty. The the Church, this was dangerous heresy. There was mission to end the movement…

In 1147, Pope Eugene III sent a legate to a Cathar district in an attempt to arrest the Cathars. There was temporary success, but the movement couldn’t be extinguished. When Pope Innocent came in power in 1198, he was determined to succeed in eliminating the Cathari. At first he tried conversation and legates into various Cathar regions. However, many nobles, common people and bishops had begun to support or protect the Cathars and some were beginning to doubt the Catholic Church in Rome or the power Innocent had bestowed upon his legates. In 1204, the Pope suspended powers of some bishops in the regions. Saint Dominic tried to preach to the Cathars, but found only few converters. So began a crusade.

In 1208 the papal legate, Castelnau, met with Count Raymond VI of  Toulouse and after arguing for some time Castelnau excommunicated the Count on charges of heresy. Castelnau was murdered as he returned to Rome. As soon as he heard of the murder, the Pope began to preach a crusade against the Cathars, asking for support of the King of France. The King refused to lead to crusade himself or risk his son, but instead appointed a series of barons, notably Simon de Montford. A formal crusade was called.

When the crusade turned to massacre in 1209 in the city of Beziers, de Montford ordered troops to gauge out the eyes of 100 prisoners and cut off their noses and lips. This only hardened to resolve of the Cathars. Arnaud, an abbot-commander was supposed to have been asked how to tell the Cathars from the Catholics, to which he replied ‘Kill them all, God will recognise His own.’ The doors of the local church were broken down and an estimated 7,000 people were killed. Elsewhere in the town, thousands were killed. prisoners were often blinded or used to target practice. The remainder of the city was burnt. Arnaud wrote to Pope Innocent, “Today your Holiness, twenty thousand heretics were put to the sword, regardless of rank, age, or sex.”

The war ended with the Treaty of Paris in 1229. However, Catharism was not yet extinguished. In the same year, the Inquisition was formed. Operating throughout the rest or the 13th and most of the 14th Century it succeeded in its aims. Cathars refusing to recant were killed. If they chose to recant, they were obliged to wear a yellow cross and to live separately from other Catholics. The Cathars became increasingly scarce until they seem to disappear from existence completely…

You can read more about Catharism here:  &

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Treason Under Henry VIII

I light of the 475th anniversary of the downfall of Anne Boleyn I thought I’d talk about High Treason under King Henry VIII and the Treason Acts passed in his name. When Henry ascended the throne in 1509 High Treason was basically an act against the King which was punishable by death (Hung, drawn and quartered for men unless the sentence was commuted and burning alive for women).

The first major change Henry made was his Act of Supremacy, followed by an Act of Treason to make opposition to it punishable by death in 1534. This made Henry the ‘only supreme head on Earth of the Church in England’  and that he should receive all ‘honours, dignities, preeminences, jurisdictions, privileges, authorities, immunities, profits, and commodities to the said dignity.’ The careful wording of this made sure that Henry was never official named as Supreme Head in the Act, but rather that it is an acknowledged and recognised fact. It was Treason to oppose this. One of Henry’s closest friends and servants, Sir Thomas More was executed under this as he refused to denounce Rome as he was a devout Catholic. This also made it Treason to oppose Elizabeth’s position as Henry’s heir apparent (unless Henry did have a son who would then receive to title of heir apparent).

A slightly less important Act of Treason was made in 1535 which made it Treason to counterfeit the King’s privy seal, signet ring or royal sign manual.

Slightly contradictory to his Act of Supremacy and First Succession Act of 1534  in 1536 Henry passed a second Act of Succession. This barred both Elizabeth and Mary from the succession and declared them both bastards. This also made it Treason to acknowledge Henry’s marriage to either Catherine of Aragon or Anne Boleyn or to deny his marriage to Jane Seymour. The Act also made it Treason to question the death sentence of (Saint) Thomas More. Finally, the Act made it Treason to repeal the Act (which Henry later did!) It’s shocking how changeable this man was!

In the same year was The See of Rome Act. This completely extinguished all power of the Pope in England and made it Treason to think or say otherwise. It was yet another violent attack on the Roman Catholic Church.

If any person or persons…shall, by writing, ciphering, printing, preaching or teaching, deed or act, obstinately or maliciously hold or stand with to extol, set forth, maintain or defend the authority, jurisdiction or power of the bishop of Rome [the Pope] or of his see, heretofore used, claimed or usurped within this realm…or by any pretence obstinately or maliciously invent anything for the extolling, advancement, setting forth, maintenance or defence of the same or any part thereof, or by any pretence obstinately or maliciously attribute any manner of jurisdiction, authority or preeminence to the said see of Rome, or to any bishop of the same see for the time being, within this realm…that then every such person or persons so doing or offending…being thereof lawfully convicted according to the laws of this realm, for every such default and offence shall incur and run into the dangers, penalties, pains and forfeitures ordained and provided by the statute of provision and praemunire made in the sixteenth year of the reign of the noble and valiant prince King Richard II against such as attempt, procure or make provision to the see of Rome or elsewhere for any thing or things to the derogation, or contrary to the prerogative royal or jurisdiction, of the Crown and dignity of this realm.

Next, two Acts of Parliament gave Treason more definite rulings in Ireland and Wales and gave the King authority to try to execute people in Wales and Ireland. I suppose this kept Henry happy as he had the power to kill even more people (over 70,000 is the estimated figure of people executed under Henry or his laws).

The Royal Assent by Commission Act of 1541 made the execution of Catherine Howard happen in the way Henry wanted it. Catherine was to be convicted by a bill of attainder rather than a common court of law. However, Royal Assent could only be granted by the King himself in a ceremony in which Henry would read out the whole bill. But Henry being his awkward self decided that ‘the repetition of so grievous a Story and the recital of so infamous a Crime’ in his presence ‘might reopen a Wound already closing in the Royal Bosom.’ Don’t you just love Henry? After the Act was passed commissioners specially selected could grant the bill of attainder rather than the monarch. This meant that Henry would feel less guilty about executing his wife. The Act also made it Treason for any future Queens or wives of the King’s sons to hide their previous sexual history for any more than twenty days after the marriage or for any third-party to hide any information. This made Catherine’s execution double-legal which I guess was to make Henry feel a little better about executing her.

In the Crown of Ireland Act of 1542 Henry declared himself and his successors as King of Ireland rather than Lord of Ireland.  Lord of Ireland had been used since 1171.

The Third Succession Act was passed in 1543. This restored both Mary and Elizabeth to the line of succession after the Prince Edward and any future legitimate children. This was later reinforced in Henry’s will. Edward VI would later break this in his ‘Devise for the Sucession’ when he made Lady Jane Grey his successor instead of Mary, which of course failed within a few days of Edward’s death.

Henry VIII really was a most changeable man!

Just quickly now a reminder of today’s events. Today is the anniversary of the five men accused of incest/adultery with Anne Boleyn. These were George Boleyn, Francis Western, William Bereton, Henry Norris and Mark Smeaton. They are often the forgotten people in Anne’s downfall and I think it’s only right for us to remember their deaths too.

But on a more positive note, my B-necklace arrived today! Thanks so much to the team at the Anne Boleyn Files for it! And back to the past, yesterday it was happy wedding anniversary to Louis-Auguste (Louis XVI of France) and the Archduchess Maria Antonia of Austria (Marie Antoinette)! Think of how differently history could have gone if Louis and Marie were never wed… It’s an interesting thought methinks!


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Who’s been maligned..?

So you should remember a while ago I asked if you’d be so kind as to write the first thing that came to your mind when you thought of various women of history. I know it’s been longer than I first thought, but I’ve just put it all together and here are the results. They’ve been most interesting to take a look at…

And a HUGE thank you to everyone who participated and thanks so much to Claire at for including the popular stereotypes associated with the women. It was very good to compare!

Marie Antoinette

  • spent ridiculous amounts of money on gambling
  • Didn’t she say something about cake and wasn’t she a nymphomaniac?
  • excesses in spending and frivolousness
  • spent lots and lots of money
  • Young bride, spent lots of money
  • Victim of a sham trial.
  • French queen who wore purple shoes at her execution
  • a queen from years ago
  • Beautiful name
  • money


2. Katherine of Aragon

  • One of henrys wives and had a strong character
  • tragic pregnancy incidents
  • Henry’s ex wife
  • Devout Catholic
  • The boring wife.
  • A woman of faith and with an amazing strength of character.
  • Henry viii’s first wife
  • Henry VIII’s wife. Mother of Mary I
  • Divorced, beheaded, died!!
  • Henry viii


3. Kateryn Howard

  • another one of the wives and was Anne Boleyn’s cousin
  • Henry’s ‘rose without a thorn’
  • Anne Boleyn’s cousin
  • Flirty young girl, who liked fashion and to have fun
  • Tart.
  •  A young woman who had no idea of what she was getting into.
  • Henry’s last wife
  • Giggling and immature one on The Tudors
  • Beautiful
  • pretty

4. Jane Seymour

  • another wife and she was number 3
  • hard working, caring lady
  • Lady who cares / caring
  • Quiet shy lady
  • Either the boring meek and mild one or the woman who trapped Henry and played games.
  • A woman who made the best of the situation and tried to bring Henry stability.
  • Buried besides Henry viii because she gave birth to the heir to the throne
  • Mother of Edward. Died.
  • Good actress
  • Eddie
5. Margaret Beaufort
  • I think she became the countess of Richmond and derby
  • Henry viii’s granny
  • Henry VIII’s gran
  • Henry VIII grandmother?
  • An overbearing woman and the mother-in-law from Hell.
  • A strong woman with an incredibly strong will.
  • the red queen!
  • who’s that?
  • Don’t know
  • not a clue

6. Elizabeth Wydvillie

  • born in 1437 I think
  • the slandered queen
  • I think she was born in 1438
  • Henry VIII mother?
  • Witch, seductress.
  • Wife of Edward IV who tried desperately to protect her family after his death.
  • the white queen!
  • who’s that?
  • Don’t know
  • not a clue

7. Anne Boleyn

  • think she had 6 fingers on one hand
  • had 6 fingers in one hand
  • Was married to Henry VIII
  • Henry VIII second wife who was found guilty of treason, witchcraft, adultery and incest and was sentenced to death
  • Six fingered witch and whore.
  • A misunderstood and maligned queen with strength, courage, wit, magnetism and faith.
  • Henry viii’s second wife and one of your favourite people!
  • Love of Henry’s life and mother of Elizabeth. Clever.
  • feel sorry for her.

8. Elizabeth I

  • she almost died of small pox in 1562
  • died of blood poisoning
  •  Died of poisoning (blood I think)
  • Daughter of Anne Boleyn, one of the great queens on England, ruled for over 50 years
  • Scottish/French cousin, kept imprisoned for many years and then was beheaded
  • Virgin Queen and Gloriana.
  • A woman who put her country first.
  •  greatest monarch ever-the golden age of Britain
  • Very powerful Queen. Proved women can rule.
  • Virtuous
  • red head

9. Lady Jane Grey

  • no idea who she is sorry
  • the nine day queen
  • Haven’t heard of her before
  • The 9 day Queen
  • Tragic victim.
  • Still a tragic victim but one who was prepared to fight for her crown.
  • was supposed to rule after Edward vii and was executed by queen Mary
  • Reigned a few days.
  • Nine day Queen
  • not a clue

10. Mary, Queen of Scots

  • she was crowned in 1543
  • Mary i’s cousin, i think
  • Crowned queen in 1543 I think
  • The foolish one who plotted.
  • A woman who followed her heart and who had a weakness for bad boys!
  • Elizabeth 1′s cousin
  • Queen of Scots that was locked in a Tower. Elizabeth’s rival.
  • Feisty
  • bloody

11. Mary I

  • no idea sorry
  • bloody Mary
  • Bloody Mary
  • Bloody Mary, burned many Protestants at the stake
  • Bloody Mary.
  • A woman who was psychologically damaged but who paved the way for Elizabeth’s reign and was a strong queen.
  • Elizabeth 1′s sister
  • Don’t know
  • Elegant
  • not a clue

12. Anne of Cleves

  • another boring wife of Henry
  • apparently smelly and ugly
  • Another wife of Henry
  • “The Kings Dear Sister” & “Flanders Mare”
  • Flanders Mare.
  • A pragmatist who made the best of her situation
  • henrys wife who he divorced because she was ugly
  • Henry conned into marrying her. Never really liked her.
  • Unlucky
  • divorce

13. Katherine Parr

  • another wife? I think and oh was there 3 Catherine’s??
  • surviving wife of Henry viii
  • Another wife
  • The wife that outlived Henry VIII
  • Old nursemaid.
  • An incredibly intelligent woman and published author who was clever enough to survive a plot against her. A good mother to her stepchildren.
  • another of Henry viii’s wives
  • Outlived Henry
  • Had the worst of Henry
  • survived

14. Elizabeth of York

  • and again no idea
  • no idea :/ sorry
  • haven’t got a clue sorry
  • don’t know
  • The Queen of Hearts.
  • A good woman, queen and mother
  • the white princess
  • Is that our Queen now?
  • Influential
  • not a clue

15. Catherine de’ Medici

  • never heard of her.. sorry
  • Haven’t heard of Catherine ” ”
  • Don’t know sorry
  • don’t know
  • I don’t know much about her I’m afraid. She’s one I’ve never really researched.
  • don’t know but is she related to the posh guy on the cbbc programme leonardo?
  • Never heard of her.
  • Never heard of her?
  • not a clue


Okay, so I don’t feel quite as bad about knowing hardly anything about Catherine de’Medici now! I’ll post some research that I do later on maybe..?

I think here are the main points that I’ve drawn from this little experiment ( and I know the things I’ve picked out aren’t for everyone and I apologize for that!):

  • People do judge on the bad moments people have
  • People pay more attention to bad than good
  • People know Henry’s Wives as just being another wife…
  • The Six Wives are known by their number and what Henry did to them
  • Our opinions are influenced by popular culture! Just because people appear in a way in TV and book portrayals doesn’t meant they really were like that!
  • Some women are, as they were seen at the time, known for being the mere mother or wife of someone
  • Most people seem confused by family trees…
  • People get confused between people with the same name
  • We are still victims of historical propaganda

Now, I suppose it’s only fair if I answer the questions too…

1. Marie Antoinette- Dignified and courageous to the bittersweet end

2. Katherine of Aragon- A woman with a great sense of faith and destiny

3. Kateryn Howard- Heart over head and just needed some love

4. Jane Seymour- So much controversy I’m not sure any more!

5. Margaret Beaufort- A woman who would always fight

6. Elizabeth Wydvillie- The woman who defended her honour only to be slandered

7. Anne Boleyn- Henry’s one true love

8. Elizabeth I- Put her country before all else

9. Lady Jane Grey- If only she wasn’t Royal…

10. Mary, Queen of Scots- Elizabeth’s complete opposite

11. Mary I- A woman who never forgot who she was

12. Anne of Cleves- Found herself with the wrong man

13. Katherine Parr- Wife, mother and Queen of great excellence

14. Elizabeth of York- Mother of a Monarchy

15. Catherine de’ Medici- The person we really should know far more about!

So once again thank you to everyone who participated (And I’m sorry if this is dodgy- it’s late!)

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Turmoil and Tragedy in England and Spain

It struck me this morning of how as we entered the Renaissance a series of tragedies shock the Royal Families of both England and Spain, causing major consequences for both and changing history.

In England we saw the deaths of many of the children of Henry VII and his wife, Elizabeth of York. Princess Elizabeth Tudor (second daughter) died aged three in September 1895; Edmund, Duke of Somerset died in June 1500 aged one; Arthur, Prince of Wales died aged 15 in April 1502; Queen Elizabeth of York died of childbed complications along with her daughter, Katherine in February 1503. What did this mean for the King? He had only one son, Henry (VIII), this left the crown unsteady. If Henry died as suddenly as Arthur had he would have no one to succeed him, ending the Tudor dynasty and clearing a path for the descendants of George, Duke of Clarence or of Edward IV, all of whom had equal claims to the throne. The York alliance was broken with the death of Elizabeth. It was the alliance that kept the claimants of the House of York happy. Now there could be more wars. And without Elizabeth, there could be no more heirs lest he remarry. Finding a suitable bride could take years.

In Spain, the only son of the formidable Ferdinand and Isabella, Juan, Prince of Asturias, died in October 1497 aged nineteen, leaving a pregnant wife, Archduchess Margaret of Austria. She gave birth to a stillborn daughter. In 1498 the eldest daughter and heir presumptive of Ferdinand and Isabella died aged twenty-seven in childbirth. Her son gave hope to Iberia. Heir to Portugal, Castile and Aragon, he carried hopes of uniting the whole of Iberia. He died aged just one in 1500. Due to Salic Law in Aragon, no woman could take the throne. Ferdinand had no male, legitimate children. This was a major cause of the later squabbles between the Hapsburgs and the Trastamarans. The eldest surviving child of Ferdinand and Isabella, Juana (‘the Mad’) was declared mad as Ferdinand and her husband, Philip, bickered over her regency. Spain would later be taken by Juana’s son, the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V and Spain fell under Hapsburg control from then on.

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