Category Archives: Tudor

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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More Dolls & Thank You

I was feeling rather creative in the first few days of the holidays so decided to carry on making some of the dolls. These actually stand up, which I think is a slight improvement at least…

(The felt I used was made from recycled bottles!)

 

And now I want to say a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who’s viewed my blog. It is so greatly appreciated. I reached 2000 views today and am pretty excited about that! Just so I know, does anyone want more of Thy Kingdom Come posted on here?

Thank you everyone!

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Shakespeare Summaries – Hamlet

Those of you who know me well will know just how much I love Shakespeare, so I thought I’d spend some time talking about his great plays. I think some of the characters in various Shakespeare characters do reflect Elizabethan ideals and nightmares of women, much as many of the Regency Classics do with men. Hamlet is my absolute favourite play, so it’s what I want to start with…

So here is a brief summary of the play:

At the start of the play, we soon find out that King Hamlet of Denmark has recently died and his widow, Queen Gertrude, has married Hamlet’s brother, Claudius, within a month, a marriage which King Hamlet’s son, Prince Hamlet, has deemed incestuous and both Claudius and Gertrude quickly fell from his favour. The play opens with various servants and gentlemen were keeping watch over the Royal Court late at night and noticing a ghost-like figure in the form of the dead King.

Upon hearing from friend, Horatio, of the ghost, Hamlet goes to where the men were keeping guard and the ghost soon reveals itself. Refusing to talk to anyone, the ghost leads Hamlet to a secluded place and the ghost identifies himself as King Hamlet and reveals the truth that he had in fact been poisoned by Claudius. Hamlet decides to seek vengeance with some persuasion from the ghost.

In Act 1, Scene 3 we meet Ophelia (who is being courted by Hamlet) and hear more from her father and brother, Polonius and Laertes respectively. Laertes is leaving for France and Polonius is advising them both on how to behave. Soon after, Ophelia reports some rather worrying behavior from Hamlet, and this is soon confirmed my many acts we see of Hamlet. As Hamlet is still unsure about the accuracy of the ghost’s words, he decides to put on a play for the King and Queen which portrayed his father’s murder so that he could study Claudius’ reaction to determine his guilt. The play goes well with a running commentary from Hamlet and Claudius abruptly rises on the murder scene, which Hamlet takes as proof of his uncle’s guilt.

After the play has ended, Gertrude calls Hamlet to her for an explanation. Polonius eavesdrops on the conversation and cries out for help when he begins to worry that Hamlet will kill Gertrude. Mistaking Polonius for Claudius, Hamlet stabs at him.  He is by no means remorseful when he realises that it was Polonius he killed. The ghost appears again and urges Hamlet to be gentle with his mother, whilst reminding him of his mission to kill Claudius. Gertrude, unable to see or hear the ghost, interprets the conversation as further proof of Hamlet’s madness.

Deciding that Hamlet is a threat, Claudius sends Hamlet on what the Court thinks is a political mission to England. Alone he admits his true intentions of Hamlet’s death. Meanwhile, Ophelia begins to act with increasing insanity, wandering the castle and singing many bawdy songs. She gives out herbs and flowers to those present and then leaves. Laertes returns from France, obviously distraught due to the happenings in Denmark. Claudius persuades him that Hamlet is entirely responsible and proposes a fencing match between the two. Seeking revenge, Laertes plans to poison his sword so that even a scratch could succeed in killing Hamlet. Claudius says he will offer poisoned wine to Hamlet if that fails. Gertrude then enters with the news that Ophelia has drowned.

We next see two ‘clowns’ digging Ophelia’s grave as a coroner ruled that the death was incidental and therefore she deserves Christian burial. However, the gravediggers argue that Ophelia must have committed suicide and that is what is generally believed. Hamlet and Horatio talk with the gravediggers, unaware that they are digging Ophelia’s grave. They unearth of skull, giving the famous quote ‘Alas, poor Yorick; I knew him, Horatio.’, commonly mistaken for ‘Alas, poor Yorick; I knew him well.’ The funeral procession enters the graveyard, lead by Laertes, who, overcome by grief and upset further by the lack of ceremony (due to the suicide possibility), leaps into the grave and curses Hamlet as the cause of her death. Hamlet soon interrupts, declaring his own love and grief for Ophelia. Hamlet and Laertes begin to fight, but are prized apart by Claudius and Gertrude.

Later that day, a courtier invites Hamlet to the fencing match against Laertes, which Hamlet accepts against persuasions from Horatio to decline. The fencing match begins and soon after Gertrude toasts to Hamlet against warnings from Claudius, and drinks the poisoned wine. Hamlet is injured by the poisoned sword, but in  struggle manages to use Laertes’ sword against him. Gertrude falls, announcing that she had been poisoned in her dying breath.

As they die, Laertes and Hamlet reconcile and Hamlet reveals the truth about Claudius. Hamlet then injures Claudius with the poisoned sword then makes him drink some of the wine to make sure he dies. Horatio tries to kill himself by drinking the remainder of the wine but is stopped by Hamlet as Horatio is the only person alive who would know what had happened and could reveal the truth about the deaths and how Claudius had killed King Hamlet. Prince Hamlet names an heir in his final moments, the Prince of Norway, and he arrives shocked at the scene, with Horatio telling him everything that had happened.

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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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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 http://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/ 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.
  • BE HEADED

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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Hatfield House

I’m back from London now but on the way home we stopped by at Hatfield House!

On the site there is the Old Palace, the House itself, a park, farm, a good few shops and an exhibition or two. It’s a bit like a miniature Hampton Court Palace (well worth a visit also!) We just went to the main house and it is truly grand. It’s also home to the Rainbow and Ermine portraits of Elizabeth I as well as a copy of perhaps the most famous of the portraits of Mary, Queen of Scots (I saw another copy of the portrait yesterday at the NPG!).

As for the ‘Old Palace’ this is where Elizabeth I spent the majority of her childhood. She was sent there at three months old, as was tradition for the time, especially as Henry VIII was so paranoid about disease, and left when she ascended the Throne in 1558 when she was twenty-five. The only times I can think of that she wasn’t in Hatfield for the first twenty-five years of her life are the times at Court, Sudley Castle when she was under the wardship of Katherine Parr and Thomas Seymour, the short time she spent at Chestnut and the Tower and various other places she was kept under house-arrest at under Mary I. I suppose we can call the place Elizabeth’s first proper home. Unfortunately, it wasn’t open today because it had been hired for an event.

Also in the House is one of the first editions of the King James Bible, given to Cecil after its first publication. It is generally agreed by many historians that this is the only first-edition of the Bible (which we celebrate the 400th anniversary of this year) still in existence. It’s a worthwhile visit just a couple of miles off the M1.

This year we celebrate the 400th anniversary of the building of the main House for Robert Cecil, who unfortunately dies one year after it’s completion. Cecil is known famously as the spymaster of both Elizabeth I and James I and for his very interesting and unique role in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. ou can read more about Robert Cecil here.. http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/robert_cecil.htm

Here are two of the most famous portraits in the House. They are simply marvellous.

The famous Rainbow Portrait by Nicolas Hillard. This is full of symbolism and there are so many details which you just do not notice until you see the real thing.

The Ermine Portrait. The guides are more than happy to tell you the exact history of this remarkable portrait.

One downside to a visit is the food. If, like me, you are a picky vegetarian/vegan (I love you) there is hardly any nice food. They try to hard with the meat then leave hardly any nice veggie food. Options are limited and it really doesn’t taste good either, so I wasn’t particually impressed with that. But ignoring the food it was a very enjoyable trip.

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