“The Virgin Queen”, by Leanda de Lisle

March 10, 2017 in Guest Writers, QAB Author Highlight, Queens of World History by Beth von Staats

Editor’s Note: Queenanneboleyn.com is very excited to learn that Leanda de Lisle is completing the “finishing touches” on her new biography White King, The Untold Story of Charles I. This highly anticipated and comprehensive look at England’s tragic Stuart King and his family will release in the United Kingdom on August 31, 2017, by Random House. An American release by Penguin Books is anticipated in January 2018.

If you are seeking an outstanding introduction to the Tudor Dynasty of English History, look no further than Tudor: The Family Story. Do enjoy a short excerpt from Leanda highlighting the origin of Queen Elizabeth Tudor’s sobriquet as “The Virgin Queen”.

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The Phoenix Portrait, Nicholas Hilliard

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The Virgin Queen

by Leanda de Lisle

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Was it better for a Queen who could not marry never to have felt love? In verse Elizabeth begged, ‘let me live with some more sweet content/Or die and so forget what love e’er meant’. Her father, Henry VIII, had feared it would be hard to find a King consort for a Tudor Queen, ‘with whom the whole realm could and would be contented’ as’, and so it had proved. The anxieties she had expressed to the emissary of Mary, Queen of Scots in 1561, that she could not marry without triggering unrest, had deepened following Mary’s disastrous marriages. Elizabeth continued to look publicly for a husband to fulfill national expectations and surely hoped it was not impossible that she might find someone suitable, but in their absence, she had settled for a kind of celibate marriage with Robert Dudley. It was a kind of ‘sweet content’.

People always rushed to see Elizabeth and Dudley together. The antiquarian John Stowe recalled witnessing them meeting once in 1566. Dudley had entered London with a train of seven hundred lords, knights, and gentlemen accompanied by the Queen’s footmen, as well as his own. They had marched from Temple Bar, through the City, across London Bridge into Southwark while the Queen came, ‘secretly.. [across the water] taking a wherry with one pair of oars for her and two other ladies’. When she had landed Elizabeth got into a blue coach and as Dudley and his army reached her on the highway, she came out and greeted him with kisses, before she mounted a horse and they rode on together to Greenwich palace. Later Stowe had watched Dudley return to London in advance of the Queen, the night sky lighting his way with the strange glow of the northern lights.

Nine years later, in 1575, Robert Dudley had prepared a magnificent eighteen days of entertainment for Elizabeth’s visit at his seat at Kenilworth castle in Warwickshire. When the great day came Elizabeth had enjoyed a feast in a specially built pavilion before Dudley rode with her to his castle, the flickering flames of the candles from the windows reflected in the lake and glittering like a vision from a fairy tale. Over the following two and half weeks there had been masques, pageants, and dramas, with the subject of marriage a constant theme. But Elizabeth would turn forty-five in 1578, suitors had come and gone for two decades, and the pretence that she would ever marry was coming to an end.

One last serious discussion of a match was underway with Elizabeth courted by the twenty-four-year old brother of the French King Henri III, the Duke of Anjou. The old friendship with Spain had soured over their religious differences and the piracy of Spanish gold. Elizabeth needed France as a friend, but to England’s beleaguered Catholics the marriage proposal also represented the desperate hope of an end to the increasingly vicious persecution to which they were being subjected. English Catholics reasoned that Elizabeth’s fears about their loyalty would be greatly reduced if she were married to a Catholic, but their hopes for the Anjou marriage were matched by Protestant opposition. These divisions over the Anjou match were to be played out during the royal progress into East Anglia that summer.

As usual a book was drawn up of the proposed route of the progress, which the Queen would then agree, and she picked the clothes she was to wear. Elizabeth’s face now had the square jawline of middle age and her aquiline nose dropped a little at the tip, giving it a hooked appearance. But what she had lost in youth she made up for in the increasing magnificence of her dress. The Spanish style cone shaped skirts of the 1560s had given way in the 1570s to much fuller skirts, thickly embroidered fabrics, and still more elaborate ruffs. Elizabeth did not always remember all the clothes, ruffs and jewels, she needed for each stop of her progress. She once overheard a carter, who was being sent back on a third trip to the Royal Warbrobe, slap his thigh, complaining, ‘Now I see that the Queen is a woman..as well as my wife’. More her Tudors predecessor Elizabeth had a sense of humour, and asking loudly from her window, “What a villain is this?’, she then sent him three coins ‘to stop his mouth’.

The progress of that summer arrived in Norwich on Saturday 16 August 1578 where, amongst the composers of the coming entertainments was a poet called Thomas Churchyard. A principle theme of his shows was to be the virtues of chastity – his patrons were against the Anjou match. He had been rehearsing his shows in Norwich for weeks but he was uncertain when and where his performances could go ahead and the weather was unsettled. When that Monday proved dry Churchyard was determined to seize any opportunity that might arise to put on his opening pageant.

Sometime before supper the Queen was spotted standing at a window with her ladies. As Churchyard’s players swung into action Elizabeth saw an extraordinary coach appear in the gardens beneath her. It was covered with painted birds, naked sprites and had a tower decked with glass jewels and topped with a plume of white feathers. As the coach rattled by a boy dressed as Mercury jumped off, made a leap or two and delivered a speech. The subject was God’s desire to, ‘Find out false hearts, and make of subjects true/ Plant perfect peace, and root up all debate.’ Elizabeth looked pleased (as well she might, tired as she was of debate about who she should marry) – but his show was not over yet.

The next day a friend gave Churchyard advance notice of the path the Queen was taking to dinner. They set up quickly in a field where a crowd was gathering. Churchyard had a whole morality play organised, in which the forces of Cupid, Wantoness and Riot were ranged up against Chastity and her lieutenants, Modesty, Temperance and Shamefastness. When Elizabeth arrived it unfolded before her, in praise of the celibate life. She acknowledged Churchyard’s efforts politely with ‘gracious words’, unaware as yet of the true significance of what she had just witnessed.

The famous phrase, the ‘Virgin Queen’ was coined in the parting pageant on Saturday, but Churchyard’s show in the open field was the first to celebrate Elizabeth as such. The sobriquet associated Elizabeth with the cult of the Virgin Mary and when the Anjou match eventually came to nothing like the others before it, a new iconography was born, with classical as well as Christian associations. A favourite theme in the pictures of Elizabeth that Courtiers commissioned was the classical story of the Vestal Virgin who proved her chastity by carrying water in a sieve from the river Tiber to the temple of Vesta. At least eight pictures survive depicting Elizabeth holding a sieve from the period 1579-83. In several of her portraits icons of empire were included, with the abandonment of the Anjou marriage linked to an aggressive foreign policy in which England would found a Protestant empire. But although these are the images of the great Queen we still remember, behind the icon stood an isolated figure.

Elizabeth is supposed to have written the verses of yearning ‘to live in some more sweet content’ when Anjou left England. But the pain and passion it describes surely found their true inspiration in the man she had truly loved: Robert Dudley.

I grieve and dare not show my discontent,
I love and yet am forced to seem to hate,
I do, yet dare not say I ever meant,
I seem stark mute but inwardly do prate.
I am and not, I freeze and yet am burned,
Since from myself another self I turned.

My care is like my shadow in the sun,
Follows me flying, flies when I pursue it,
Stands and lies by me, doth what I have done.
His too familiar care doth make me rue it.
No means I find to rid him from my breast,
Till by the end of things it be supprest.

Some gentler passion slide into my mind,
For I am soft and made of melting snow;
Or be more cruel, love, and so be kind.
Let me or float or sink, be high or low.
Or let me live with some more sweet content,
Or die and so forget what love ere meant.1

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Queen Elizabeth I; Selected Works (2004) edited Steven W May p 12

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Leanda de Lisle

Leanda de Lisle is a renowned journalist and historian who writes articles and book reviews for BBC History Magazine, History Today, the Literary Review, the New Criterion and the Spectator, as well as several national newspapers in the United Kingdom.  Leanda’s first non-fiction book, After Elizabeth: The Death of Elizabeth & the Coming of King James, made a huge impression, a runner-up for the Saltire Society’s First Book of the Year award. Leanda’s book, Tudor; The Family Story (1437-1603), was a top ten bestseller in the United Kingdom and released in the United States, re-titled Tudor: Passion, Manipulation, Murder – The Story of England’s Most Notorious Royal Family for an America audiences. Leanda’s newest highly anticipated biography, White King, The Untold Story of Charles I, will release August 31, 2017.

Fittingly, Leanda lives near Bosworth Battlefield, Bosworth, England. For more information, visit Leanda’s website at LEANDA DE LISLE.

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TO PURCHASE AN OUSTANDING HISTORY BOOK BY LEANDA DE LISLE,

CLICK THE LINK BELOW!

BOOKS BY LEANDA DE LISLE

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“Anne of Cleves — Henry VIII’s Luckiest Wife?”, by Roland Hui

March 5, 2017 in Guest Writers, News, Queens of World History by Beth von Staats

By Roland Hui

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Anne of Cleves – Henry VIII’s Luckiest Wife?

By Roland Hui

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Of Henry VIII’s six wives, Anne of Cleves has the distinction of not only outliving him, but also his other Queens. That she also emerged unscathed from her marriage (unlike the unfortunate Anne Boleyn and Katheryn Howard) and ended up a wealthy divorcee, has many describe her as Henry’s luckiest wife.

But did Anne of Cleves see herself that way? Although there were reports of her being joyous and spending her time as a free woman in endless rounds of recreations and shopping sprees for new clothes, there were indications that her behaviour was a façade. In truth, Anne’s divorce from the King was crushing to her. So much so that, when the opportunity arose, she even wanted him to take her back.

Misconceptions about Anne begin with her early life in Germany. The daughter of Duke John III of Cleves, she was brought up by her mother the formidable Mary of Julich-Berg-Ravensberg, a lady who ‘very straightly looketh to her children’. Of her siblings, Anne – a girl of ‘very lowly and gentle conditions’ – was particularly close to her mother. The Duchess, it was said, was ‘very loath to suffer her to depart from her.’ This implied a meekness in Anne, perhaps even a reluctance to ever leave the comfort of home and family to marry.

However, when the King of England sought her hand as his fourth wife in 1539, Anne appeared to have regarded the marriage with eager anticipation. Unlike the lovely Christina of Denmark, whom Henry VIII’s fancy had alighted upon previously, Anne had apparently no fear of marrying a man whom Christina thought was another Bluebeard. From what she had heard of Henry’s three late Queens, the first ‘was poisoned, the second was innocently put to death, and the third lost through lack of keeping in her childbed’. There were no reports that Anne shared such worries. On her journey to England to be made a married woman, her only concern was to make herself an agreeable companion to her future husband.

At a stopover at Calais, Anne was made aware that her fiancé was especially fond of gambling. Seeking out one of the King’s officials, the Admiral William Fitzwilliam, she had him teach her one of Henry’s favourite card games. Later, she even invited Fitzwilliam and his fellow Englishmen to her table to sup in order to learn more about her new country and its people. When Fitzwilliam declined out of modesty, she insisted he sit with her.

Anne’s enthusiasm was even more evident when she would not even let foul weather hinder her way to the King. When a snowstorm threatened to delay her at Canterbury, it was Anne who insisted that she and all her party set out for Rochester nonetheless. She was ‘so desirous to make haste to the King’s Grace’, the Duke of Suffolk remarked, ‘that Her Grace forced for no other.’ So much for the shy and withdrawn young woman many historians have made Anne out to be.

Despite Anne’s zeal, the meeting with Henry VIII at Rochester was a disaster. For reasons that remain mysterious to us, he took an instant dislike to her. However, the papers were signed, and the couple were duly wed on January 6, 1540. Although Henry was unfailingly polite to Anne, he shunned her bed, claiming impotence (he was still a most virile man, Henry insisted, but just not with his wife). Not only that, in private he complained about her supposed ugliness, and he even grumbled that she was probably not the virgin she claimed to be owing to her unattractive figure.

On the other hand, as her ladies would later claim, Anne was definitely still ‘a maid’; she was clueless as to what sex really was. According to them, the Queen stated that by just lying next to the King, she could become pregnant without intercourse! As this story only later came about during Henry VIII’s efforts to annul his union with Anne, it can be dismissed as an outright fabrication. A lie to confirm that the royal marriage was never consummated, making it easier for the King to get rid of her. Such a tall tale made Anne look pathetically naive and, even today, some historians give it credit. But we need not believe it. It is inconceivable that Anne, a woman who was determined to be a success as Queen of England, would have been so dense as to what was expected of her in the royal bedchamber. Also, Anne’s English was still too limited to allow her to converse with ease with her English ladies, much less on a subject so intimate.

Anne’s disappointment with her marriage (the King rarely, if ever, slept with her), led her to seek out Thomas Cromwell, the King’s chief minister, who had arranged their match. However, Cromwell put her off repeatedly as he thought himself incapable of dealing with such private matters. Frustrated, she began to wax ‘stubborn and wilful’ with her husband, as the King himself would complain. This was a woman who would not sit still and be silent when her happiness was at stake.

‘The pretended marriage’ as even Anne herself would later call it, came to an end in July when it was told to her that the King had doubts about its validity (Anne was formerly betrothed – and actually still was – to another man Francis of Lorrain, according to English lawyers). As many historians would tell it, as well as Hollywood with ‘The Private Life of Henry VIII’ (1933) and television with’ The Six Wives of Henry VIII’ (1970), Anne was very eager and willing to be free of the notorious Henry. But nothing was farther from the truth. According to Karl Harst, the German envoy, his mistress was devastated. ‘She does weep and bitterly cry,’ he wrote her family, ‘in such a manner as would move a stone heart to pity.’

Ultimately, Anne had no choice but to give in.  In return, she accepted a handsome settlement and was even adopted as the King’s ‘sister.’ Anne was reported to be most content, and when the King married his fifth wife Katheryn Howard, Anne bore her no grudge. However, when Katheryn fell, Anne saw it not as a tragedy, but as an opportunity – a second chance for herself. Would the King take her back? But when her German representatives put out feelers at the English Court, they received an unequivocal ‘no’. Anne was further embittered when her ex-husband took a new wife, Katharine Parr. Although she was never heard to say an unkind word about anyone, Anne was heard to complain how the new Queen was less beautiful than herself.

Far from being the ugly and dim lady many historians and popular culture have made her out to be, Anne of Cleves was far from that. She was reasonably attractive (just take a look at Hans Holbein’s portraits of her) and her efforts to be a success in England show Anne to be a woman of courage, determination, and initiative. By no fault of hers, her husband was entirely unattracted to her and, being King, he was allowed to have his way in the end. Perhaps it was in death that Anne of Cleves was vindicated. Of all of Henry VIII’s wives, she alone was laid to rest in the grandeur of Westminster Abbey, the great burial place of the Kings and Queens of England.

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Roland Hui

 

Roland Hui received his degree in Art History from Concordia University in Canada. After completing his studies, he went on to work in Interpretive Media for California State Parks, The U.S. Forest Service, and The National Park Service.

Roland has written for Renaissance Magazine and for Tudor Life Magazine. He blogs about 16th-century English art and personalities at Tudor Faces at: tudorfaces.blogspot.com.

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New Release!

 

Ten remarkable women!
One remarkable era!

In the Tudor period, 1485–1603, a host of fascinating women sat on the English throne. The dramatic events of their lives are told in The Turbulent Crown: The Story of the Tudor Queens of England.

The Turbulent Crown begins with the story of Elizabeth of York, who survived conspiracy, and dishonour to become the first Tudor Queen, bringing peace and order to England after years of civil war. From there, the reader is taken through the parade of Henry VIII’s six wives – two of whom, Anne Boleyn and Katheryn Howard, would lose their heads against a backdrop of intrigue and scandal.

The Turbulent Crown continues with the tragedy of Lady Jane Grey, the teenager who ruled for nine days until overthrown by her cousin Mary Tudor. But Mary’s reign, which began in triumph, ended in disaster, leading to the emergence of her sister, Elizabeth I, as the greatest of her family and of England’s monarchs.

To Purchase The Turbulent Crown,

CLICK THE LINK BELOW!

The Turbulent Crown: The Story of the Tudor Queens of England

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IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT!!!!

Roland Hue and MadeGlobal Publishing are graciously offering a complimentary copy of The Turbulent Crown: The Story of the Tudor Queens of England to one lucky QAB member or browser. If you are interested in being included in a drawing for a chance of winning this wonderful book, send the administrator a message via the website’s contact form. To complete the contact form, click here –> CONTACT US! We will draw a random winner on March 11, 2017. Good Luck!!!

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“The Tudor Child”, by Amy Licence

January 25, 2017 in Guest Writers, Queen Anne Boleyn Youth Blog by Beth von Staats

Prince Edward Tudor (later King Edward VI) Artist: Hans Holbein the Younger

Prince Edward Tudor (later King Edward VI)
Artist: Hans Holbein the Younger

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THE TUDOR CHILD

by Amy Licence

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It’s something of a myth that the Tudors treated their children like small adults. Although some portraits show them dressed similarly, these were moments captured of children dressed up for the occasion. Society did recognise that there was a process of development involved; a rite of passage with different stages. Once the child had survived the dangerous years of infancy, learning to walk, read, write and care for themselves a little, they progressed into a different world.

richard3Seven was a critical age, especially for young aristocratic boys. Until then, they were under the care of the Lady Governess, overseeing the nursery, where they were dressed and shared similar experiences to their sisters. From their seventh birthday onwards, though, a boy’s masculinity was asserted, their clothing changed and they entered male company more frequently. Often the household of noble boys was rearranged, to give new positions of authority to trusted men, whose job was to serve and mentor their charge. Poorer children were often expected to work at this age: recent archaeological excavations show the effects of hard labour on the bones of children this young. Their formal education would begin, with the appointment of tutors, and their involvement in sports like archery and hunting would have been stepped up.

henryvii

The next crucial stage was around twelve, when girls could be considered of marriageable age, rising to fourteen for boys. Some aristocratic matches were arranged well before this, in the children’s infancy, after which they might be brought up in the household of their betrothed. Royalty were united young: Richard of York was married at the age of four in 1478 to a five-year-old heiress, Anne de Mowbray. Sometimes these matches did not work out but often, the pair were considered capable of consummating the union by their mid-teens, such as with Prince Arthur and Catherine of Aragon in 1501. The onset of puberty was also considered to pose certain dangers to health, with girls suffering from “green sickness,” or anaemia, and commencing their menstruation. Early childbearing was avoided where possible, for the potential risks, with the consummation of marriages being delayed. However, this was not always the case and Margaret Beaufort’s experience of bearing Henry VII at the age of thirteen or fourteen either damaged her physically, or led her to avoid childbirth completely in later years. Writers on health, like Sir Thomas Elyot, identified fourteen as a cut-off point, offering different dietary advice to those younger than this, from the “adult” advice intended for men who had reached that age.

Fourteen was also the traditional age for apprenticeships and service to begin. Boys and girls could be bound to a master and learn a trade for the next seven years, being sent away from home and working long hours, sometimes for little food or recompense. They had to follow strict rules of conduct or face dismissal and punishment. The bands of unruly apprentices that caused havoc on London streets must have been exploiting their only outlet of freedom; small wonder these groups of repressed adolescents frequently turned to violence and mischief on feast days. The May Day riots of 1517 saw a few thousand young men causing mayhem in the streets under the excuse of xenophobia; many were captured but later pardoned by Catherine of Aragon.

henry viiiEducation was uneven across Tudor society. The wealthiest could afford their own private tutors. Henry VIII was taught by some of the leading thinkers of his day, such as poets Bernard Andre and John Skelton. Grammar schools did exist, particularly established under Edward VI, to instruct the sons of the middle classes in the basics, such as the one Shakespeare attended in Stratford-upon-Avon but there was no universal curriculum. Discipline was again harsh, classes large and experiences determined by the interest and character of the school master. Girls learned at home, from their mothers, who prepared them for their future lives as wives and mothers. A medieval poem “How the Goodwife taught her daughter” focuses on desirable behaviour and morals, such as modesty, charity and religion. Even Princess Mary was raised with these expectations, although she was then the heir to the throne. Other manuals, such as the fifteenth century “Babees’ Book” and the poem “Urbanitantis”, focused on table manners and a child’s interactions with others; they were to speak sensibly when spoken to and otherwise remain silent. As the sixteenth century progressed, more noble women were taught to read, to enable them to run their own households. The survival of letters, diaries, poems and recipe books show how this skill was becoming increasingly valued. Later, when religious changes meant that people were encouraged to read the Bible themselves in English, more impetus existed for the teaching of literacy. The most prominent women set the example; Elizabeth I, Jane Grey and the daughters of Thomas More all received impressive educations and by the end of Elizabeth’s reign, many more women were reading, writing and composing: the “Blue-stocking” had already been born.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amy Licence

Amy Licence

Amy Licence is an historian of women’s lives in the medieval and early modern period, from Queens to commoners. Her particular interest lies in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century, in gender relations, Queenship and identity, rites of passage, pilgrimage, female orthodoxy and rebellion, superstition, magic, fertility and childbirth. She is also interested in Modernism, specifically Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group, Picasso and Post-Impressionism.

Amy has written for The Guardian, The TLS, The New Statesman, BBC History, The English Review, The Huffington Post, The London Magazine and other places. She has been interviewed regularly for BBC radio, including Woman’s Hour, and made her TV debut in “The Real White Queen and her Rivals” documentary, for BBC2, in 2013. She also writes literary fiction and has been shortlisted twice for the Asham Award.

Her website can be found at AMY LICENCE

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BOOK DESCRIPTION FOR All About Henry VIII

booktouramy

MadeGlobal’s “All About” series is the perfect choice for anyone who wants to know more about the key characters of history. The books are colourfully illustrated throughout, have a simple narrative to explain the key points in the character’s life and more detailed sections for the more-able reader or teacher. The book also contains a section of thought-provoking questions which can be used to further discussions about history.

Henry VIII is probably the most famous Tudor. He was a handsome, athletic young man; he never expected to become king and so was determined to enjoy his reign. Henry had six wives but could hate as passionately as he loved. He even had two wives executed. Henry surrounded himself with extraordinary men, including Cardinal Wolsey and Thomas Cromwell, and, during his reign, he changed religion forever in England. His son and daughters went on to be famous monarchs too.

Why did Henry have so many wives? Why was his reign so important?

Read the facts about Henry VIII in this book and make up your own mind.

Paperback: 42 pages

Age Range: 7 years and up

Publisher: MadeGlobal Publishing

Language: English

ISBN-10: 8494593749

ISBN-13: 978-8494593741

Amazon UK: All About Henry VIII 

Amazon USA: All About Henry VIII

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WIN

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT!!!!

Amy Licence and MadeGlobal Publishing are graciously offering a complimentary copy of All About Henry VIII to one lucky QAB member or browser. If you are interested in being included in a drawing for a chance of winning this wonderful book, send the administrator a message via the website’s contact form. To complete the contact form, click here –> CONTACT US! We will draw a random winner on January 30, 2017. Good Luck!!!

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“Dialogue with Katherine of Aragon”, by Wendy J. Dunn

November 29, 2016 in Guest Writers, News by Beth von Staats

by Wendy J. Dunn

"Mary Magdalene" Artist: Michael Sittow (circa 1469-1525) The teenager in this portrait is believed to be Catalina de Aragon, youngest daughter of Isabella de Castilla and Ferdinand de Aragon.

“Mary Magdalene”
Artist: Michael Sittow (circa 1469-1525)
The teenager in this portrait is believed to be Catalina de Aragon, youngest daughter of Isabella de Castilla and Ferdinand de Aragon.

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Dialogue with Katherine of Aragon

Wendy J. Dunn

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Wendy: Katherine of Aragon, is it true, Your Majesty, that you thought the fates against you from the time you left your mother’s kingdom?

Katherine of Aragon:  That is so. After kneeling for my parents’ blessings, I journeyed long weeks to Santiago de Compostela; there, my father’s ships awaited my arrival. Almost as soon as we set sail, a great, boisterous storm-tossed and tumbled us in swelling seas, forcing all the ships back to my homeland. I feared then God was against my match with Prince Arthur. But what could I do? My life’s course had already been fixed. Indeed, from the time I was a young child, I knew England was my destiny. I had been betrothed to Arthur Tudor before I was three-years-old. I, like my four sisters, had an important role to play for our parents’ two kingdoms.

Wendy:  Queen Katherine, you were your mother’s youngest child?

Katherine of Aragon: Si – born whilst my noble and prudent mother campaigned against the Moors. Only when my mother felt the pangs of childbirth fall upon her did she ride away from her Holy War. I must regard myself as fortunate to ever see life – my mother, while with her army, lost my sister Maria’s twin only two years before my birth.

Praise God, my wise mother prepared me well for queenship. She found the best tutors in the land to educate her daughters, as well as her only son, but she also taught my sisters and I how to be good wives. Humbly I say my embroidery is better than most women’s, and it was my greatest pleasure to make my husband’s shirts.

Wendy: Tell me of your arrival in England…

Katherine of Aragon: The journey took much longer than expected, but I arrived on England’s shores just before my sixteenth birthday. Henry VII, my father-in-law, and Arthur, the kind, intelligent boy I called husband for such a brief time, met me in Hampshire, at the Bishop’s palace in Dangerfield. The King shocked my ladies by going against all Castilian custom: he insisted on lifting my mantle to see my face. I believe he was well content with what he saw. Arthur told me later of his happiness when he saw my sweet face for the first time. In my youth, all said I was pretty. My mother told me I possessed the gray eyes and ‘rose’ complexion of my English grandmother – she who was also called Katherine. Although short of stature, I was well shaped and graceful as a girl. But my greatest beauty then was my hair. I remember dear Arthur told me it shone like red/gold autumn leaves, wind-tossed in the light of a setting sun. Like his brother Henry, Arthur, too, had a gift with words. Being then virgin, my long hair flowed loose and free.

Wendy: Queen Katherine, tell me about you and Arthur…

Queen Katherine: God’s truth, what is there to tell? We only had a brief time together before the English sweat struck us down, and almost killed us both. Our marriage was never a true one. We slept together only a few nights, and he was a boy, young for his years, and I a maid. As God is my witness, nothing happened between us. Even my own father wrote in 1503, ‘It is well known that the princess is still a virgin.’ Even so, when he arranged my betrothal to Arthur’s brother Henry, my father requested of the Pope a dispensation making the matter of my virginity unimportant. The Pope provided that dispensation and by doing so safeguarded my later marriage to my Henry.

Seven bitter years I lived in England after Arthur’s death. My mother’s death in 1504 lessened my importance in the Tudor King’s eyes, and he treated me shabbily. I had no money for my servants, let alone myself. I spent so much of my time in prayer, and despair. Those times taught me to keep faith with God, and I came close to taking the veil. But God had other plans for me, for Henry VII died, and I married my king. I did my duty by him lovingly, and gave him children, although it pleased God to call most of them from the earthly world. But my husband had no cause to rend his kingdom apart for a son. Our daughter Mary was all the heir he needed.

Wendy: My queen, with great regret, I think it is time to bring this interview to an end. . I thank you for answering my questions.

I look forward to scribing more of your story Falling Pomegranate Seeds: All Manner of Things, the sequel of The Duty of Daughters

Queen Katherine: I will always answer your questions, Lady Wendy. If you are willing to listen, I am willing to speak. And I vow to you I will speak the truth.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Wendy J. Dunn

Wendy J. Dunn

Wendy J. Dunn has been obsessed by Anne Boleyn and Tudor History since she was ten-years-old. She is the author of three historical novels: Dear Heart, How Like You This?, the winner of the 2003 Glyph Fiction Award and 2004 runner-up in the Eric Hoffer Award for Commercial Fiction, The Light in the Labyrinth, her first young adult novel, and Falling Pomegranate Seeds: The Duty of Daughters.

While she continues to have a very close and spooky relationship with Sir Thomas Wyatt, the elder, serendipity of life now leaves her no longer wondering if she has been channelling Anne Boleyn and Sir Tom for years in her writing, but considering the possibility of ancestral memory. Her own family tree reveals the intriguing fact that her ancestors – possibly over three generations – had purchased land from both the Boleyn and Wyatt families to build up their own holdings. It seems very likely Wendy’s ancestors knew the Wyatts and Boleyns personally.

Wendy gained her Doctorate of Philosophy (Writing) from Swinburne University in 2014, and is the Co-Editor in Chief of Backstory and Other Terrain, Swinburne University two new peer-reviewed writing journals.

Social Media:

Website: Wendy J. Dunn, Award-Winning Author

Facebook: Wendy J. Dunn

Twitter: @wendyjdunn

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Recent Release!

Recent Release!

Book Description:

Falling Pomegranate Seeds: The Duty of Daughters

Book 1 in the Katherine of Aragon Story

Do?a Beatriz Galindo.

Respected scholar.

Tutor to royalty.

Friend and advisor to Queen Isabel of Castile.

Beatriz is an uneasy witness to the Holy War of Queen Isabel and her husband, Ferdinand, King of Aragon. A Holy War seeing the Moors pushed out of territories ruled by them for centuries.

The road for women is a hard one. Beatriz must tutor the queen’s youngest child, Catalina, and equip her for a very different future life. She must teach her how to survive exile, an existence outside the protection of her mother. She must prepare Catalina to be England’s queen.

A tale of mothers and daughters, power, intrigue, death, love, and redemption. In the end, Falling Pomegranate Seeds sings a song of friendship and life.

—————-

“Wendy J. Dunn is an exceptional voice for Tudor fiction and has a deep understanding of the era. Her words ring true and touch the heart, plunging the reader into a fascinating, dangerous and emotionally touching new world.” ~ Barbara Gaskell Denvil

“Dunn deftly weaves a heartrending story about the bonds between mothers and daughters, sisters and friends. Each character is beautifully crafted with a compassionate touch to draw the reader into every raw emotion, from triumph to tragedy.” ~ Adrienne Dillard, Author of Cor Rotto

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TO PURCHASE FALLING POMEGRANATE SEEDS,

CLICK ONE OF THE LINKS BELOW!!

Falling Pomegranate Seeds: The Duty of Daughters: Volume 1 (Katherine of Aragon Story) — AMAZON United Kingdom

Falling Pomegranate Seeds: The Duty of Daughters (Katherine of Aragon Story) Volume 1 — AMAZON United States

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WIN

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT!!!!

Wendy J. Dunn and MadeGlobal Publishing are graciously offering a complimentary copy of Falling Pomegranate Seeds, The Duty of Daughters to one lucky QAB member or browser. If you are interested in being included in a drawing for a chance of winning this wonderful book, send the administrator a message via the website’s contact form. To complete the contact form, click here –> CONTACT US! We will draw a random winner on December 4, 2016. Good Luck!!!

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“The English Monarchy and Interesting Deaths”, by Claire Ridgway

November 21, 2016 in Guest Writers, News by Claire Ridgway

illustrated_kings_and_queens_front

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The English Monarchy and Interesting Deaths

Claire Ridgway

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Thank you to Beth and the QAB community for hosting me today on Day 1 of my virtual book tour for Illustrated Kings and Queens of England. I’m so excited to be here!

“A King should die standing,” are said to be the final words of King Louis XVIII of France in 1824, a man who tried to carry on with his royal duties right up to the end even though he was suffering from extensive gangrene. When I was researching the lives of the English monarchy for Illustrated Kings and Queens of England, I found it interesting to read about the deaths of these monarchs. Some had died fighting for their crown, others had been murdered, some had been executed, and others had died as a result of nasty accidents, and still others had died peacefully in their beds – they were the lucky ones!

Today, I’m going to share with you some of the interesting fates of our English monarchs.

Death on the Battlefield

In an age of chivalry, everyone wanted to be a warrior king. Henry VIII certainly wanted to excel on the battlefield like Henry V and Edward I, but for some monarchs, the battlefield brought their lives and reign to a violent end.

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King Harold II

King Harold II

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In 1066, following his victory at the Battle of Stamford Bridge against his brother, Tostig, Earl of Northumbria, and Harald Hardrada of Norway, King Harold II of England (born c.1022) went to battle against William, Duke of Normandy, and his invading forces. The two armies met at Senlac Hill, near Hastings, on 14 October 1066, in a battle known as the Battle of Hastings. This time, fate was not on Harold’s side, and he was defeated and killed. An image on the famous Bayeux Tapestry has led to the story that Harold was killed by an arrow in the eye, but it is not known whether the man depicted is actually Harold.

Another king who was killed in battle by an invading force was King Richard III (born 1452). On 22 August 1485, Richard and his forces met the army of Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, near Market Bosworth in Leicestershire at the Battle of Bosworth. Henry Tudor had returned from exile in Brittany to claim the English crown. Richard was killed during the battle, and Henry was crowned King Henry VII later that day when Richard’s crown was recovered from the battlefield.

On 6 April 1199, King Richard I (born 1157) died from gangrene in a wound sustained from a crossbow bolt to the shoulder, while laying siege to the castle of Châlus, the home of Viscount Aimar V of Limoges who had risen in rebellion. And the famous warrior king, Henry V (1387-1422), died as a result of his warring, succumbing to camp fever (typhus) following the capture of Mieux in summer 1422.

Murder

Then there are the monarchs who were the victims of foul play, or whose deaths are shrouded in mystery. According to the chronicles, King Edmund I (born 921) was attacked and murdered by a robber named Leofa on 26 May 946 while he was attending mass at Pucklechurch, Gloucestershire. In 878, King Edward the Martyr (born c. 962) was murdered at Corfe, while on his way to visit his younger half-brother, Aethelred, at Corfe Castle. It is not known exactly what happened, but theories include that he was murdered by a supporter of Aethelred, that his murder was plotted by Aethelred, that he was murdered by Aelfhere, ealdorman of Mercia, and that his stepmother, Aelfthryth, plotted his death.

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King Edward V

King Edward V

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Kings whose deaths are shrouded in mystery include Harthacnut (born c.1018) who most believe died from a stroke or heart attack but the Morkinskinna, a 13th century Old Norse saga, claims that he was poisoned after drinking from a horn meant for Magnus I of Norway, who was visiting his court. Then there’s King Edward V who has gone down in history as one of the Princes in the Tower, along with his brother Prince Richard. The boys disappeared in the reign of Richard III, and their fate is unknown, although there are many theories. And then, of course, there’s Edward II (born 1284) who died at Berkeley Castle on 21 September 1327. It is not known how he died, but many believe him to have been murdered. According to one chronicle, he was killed by the insertion of a red-hot poker in his nether regions, but this is now thought to be nothing more than propaganda. His death remains a mystery. The fate of Richard II (born 1367) is also unknown. He died on 14 February 1400 while he was imprisoned at Pontefract Castle, but it is unclear whether his death was murder. It’s the same with Henry VI (born 1421) who died while imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1471. Although it was claimed that he died of melancholy, following his son’s death, it is now believed that he was stabbed to death on the orders of Edward IV.

Executions

Two English monarchs met their end on the scaffold, being beheaded for high treason. Lady Jane Grey, who has gone down in history as “The Nine Day Queen”, was executed on 12 February 1554 following her alleged usurpation of the throne and her father’s involvement in Wyatt’s Rebellion. Charles I (born 1600) was executed on 30 January 1649 following the defeat of the royalists by the Parliamentarians and his refusal to accept the idea of a constitutional monarchy.

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King William II

King William II

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Accidents

Anyone would think that it’s unlucky to be a “King William” seeing as Kings William I, II and III all died as the result of an accident. William I (born c. 1028) died following a fall from his horse while riding into battle at Mantes, William II (born c. 1056) was accidentally shot with an arrow by one of his own men while hunting in the New Forest, and William III (born 1650) died of pneumonia, following a fall from his horse caused by it stumbling into a molehill. Nasty!

Awful illnesses

If regicide, warfare or accidents didn’t finish you off, then illness did, with some illnesses being worse than others. King Eadred (born c. 923) died in 955 after suffering from digestive problems and problems swallowing food, Henry I (born c. 1068) died in 1135 after eating a dish of lampreys, and King John (born 1167) died in 1216 after eating a meal of peaches and ale.

It is not clear what killed Edward VI (born 1537), the boy-king and son of Henry VIII. He’d suffered from measles and smallpox, but theories regarding his death in July 1553 include tuberculosis, bronchopneumonia and non-classic cystic fibrosis.

Queen Mary II (born 1662) died of smallpox in 1694. Poor George II (born 1683) died in 1760 on his close stool after his heart ruptured due to an aortic aneurysm, and George III (born 1738) was plagued with mental problems, possibly as a result of porphyria, and died in January 1820 after falling into a coma. Perhaps that was the most peaceful of these royal deaths.

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MEET GRAPHIC DESIGNER VERITY RIDGWAY!

Verity Ridgway (Photo Credit: Christian Rdgway)

Verity Ridgway
(Photo Credit: Christian Ridgway)

 

Queenanneboleyn.com had the pleasure of interviewing Verity Ridgway, talented graphic designer and writer, back in November 2014. Verity colorized several of the illustrations in Illustrated Kings and Queens of England. To enjoy our delightful conversation with Verity, click here —>>> QAB INTERVIEW: AUTHOR AND GRAPHIC DESIGNER VERITY RIDGWAY.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR!!

Claire Ridgway

Claire Ridgway

Claire Ridgway is the author of best-selling books including:

Claire was also involved in the English translation and editing of Edmond Bapst’s 19th-century French biography of George Boleyn and Henry Howard, now available as TWO GENTLEMAN POETS AT THE COURT OF HENRY VIII.

Claire worked in education and freelance writing before creating The Anne Boleyn Files history website and becoming a full-time history researcher, blogger, and author. The Anne Boleyn Files is known for its historical accuracy and Claire’s mission to get to the truth behind Anne Boleyn’s story. Her writing is easy-to-read and conversational, and readers often comment on how reading Claire’s books is like having a coffee with her and chatting about history.

Claire loves connecting with Tudor history fans and helping authors and aspiring authors.

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illustrated_kings_and_queens_tour

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT!!!!

Claire Ridgway and MadeGlobal Publishing are graciously offering a complimentary copy of Illustrated Kings and Queens of England to one lucky QAB member or browser. If you are interested in being included in a drawing for a chance of winning this wonderful book, send the administrator a message via the website’s contact form. To complete the contact form, click here –> CONTACT US! We will draw a random winner on November 25, 2016. Good Luck!!!

“Summer of Discontent”, by Derek Wilson

November 8, 2016 in Guest Writers by Beth von Staats

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Robert Kett ‘holding court’ on Mousehold Heath

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Summer of Discontent
Derek Wilson

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‘Woe to the land whose king is a child and whose princes feast in the morning.’
There must have been many preachers throughout England in 1549 who took those words from Ecclesiastes as their sermon text. England’s king was a child, Edward VI, and the land was in a dire state, seething with social discord, religious conflict and incipient rebellion. The man effectively ruling England as regent was Edward Seymour, duke of Somerset, the king’s uncle. Oral history reminded people of a time, sixty-six years earlier, when another minor – also named Edward – had been titular head, until brusquely elbowed aside by his uncle, Richard III. Foreboding, fear and resentment were felt at all levels of society, from the squabbling rivals on the royal Council to the yeomen and peasants who looked in vain to the government for the redress of their very real grievances. Matters came to a head in the middle months of 1549 – The Summer of Discontent. This is the factual background to The Devil’s Chalice, the latest in my series of Thomas Treviot crime novels.

The backstory: In January 1547 the old tyrant, Henry VIII, died, leaving the throne to his nine-year-old son, Edward VI. That throne rested on uneasy foundations. The Reformation which Henry had begun had sundered England into violently opposed religious camps. There were radicals who wanted to push Reformation further and conservatives who wanted a return to the ‘good old (Catholic) days’. There were also social reformers who called themselves ‘commonwealth men’. They opposed many of the new landlords who had acquired land ‘secularised’ by the Dissolution of the Monasteries and who, it was claimed, were riding roughshod over the traditional rights of the common people. King Henry had left power in the hands of a moderately reformist body of councillors. However, in the back rooms of Whitehall where secret deals were done, it was agreed that the boy king’s uncle, Edward Seymour, should assume the role of Protector while acting in concert with his colleagues. But Seymour gradually took more power into his own hands, consulted the Council less and less and ruled by decree in his nephew’s name. The Protector was determined to push ahead with further social and religious reforms. There can be no doubt that he was impelled by a genuine evangelical idealism, Somerset appointed royal commissions to purify churches of ‘superstitious’ images and to enquire into such agrarian grievances as enclosure of common land.

All this might not have had disastrous consequences had not groups of disgruntled people across much of southern and eastern England taken the law into their own hands. Following the lead of government policy, as they thought, bands of iconoclasts smashed church windows and tore down rood screens. Other malcontents uprooted the hedges and fences built by ‘grasping’ landowners. Unwilling to meet force with force, Somerset issued pardons to offenders and promised new ‘commonwealth’ legislation. This only encouraged further lawlessness. Then, to add to the unrest, a rebellion broke out in the South-West where militant conservatives protested about the government’s religious policy and particularly the attempt to force an English Prayer Book on a region where Cornish was the main language. On 2 July, 2,000 rebels laid siege to Exeter. The Summer of Discontent had begun.

8 July: A commotion at Wymondham, Norfolk, involving the breaking of hedges turns into a movement when Robert Kett, a landowner of moderate means, accepts the leadership of the rebels. He sets off, with a steadily-growing band of followers, for Norwich, the second largest city in England.

9 July: Lord Russell, sent to quell the western rebellion halts at Honiton, waiting for reinforcements.

11 July: Kett sets up camp on Mousehold Heath, outside Norwich, and within days he has 16,000 followers there.

12 July: News reaches London of fresh outbreaks in several counties. The city is placed under martial law. Meanwhile, the Protector, secluded with the king at Hampton Court, issues orders, sometimes contradictory, offering pardons, promising to listen to complaints, dispatching troops, ordering examples to be made of ringleaders. He refuses to summon Council meetings. He is facing, not only rebels, but landowners complaining of his ‘soft’ reaction and councillors resentful of being ignored.

21-22 July: Kett occupies Norwich. He sets up his own court, issuing orders, sitting in judgement on offenders and commandeering provisions. He sends to the government an ultimatum of twenty-nine demands, insisting that they are in line with the Protector’s policy, and directed only against landowners who are enemies of king and commonwealth. Somerset produces no plan of action. Though, himself an accomplished general, he does not dare to forsake the safety of Hampton Court. His security depends on his ‘possession’ of the king’s person.

28 July: The Protector dispatches a force of 1,300 mercenaries and local levies under the command of the woefully inexperienced William Parr, Marquess of Northampton to ‘negotiate’ a peaceful outcome in Norwich. Kett had withdrawn his men to Mousehold Heath but broken down parts of the wall and was poised to retake the city at a moment’s notice.

1 August: A totally incompetent effort by Northampton provokes Kett’s men to make a night assault on Norwich and drive the royal troops out ignominiously. One eye-witness reports.

Lamentable and miserable was the state of the City at this time when nothing was seen or heard but lamentation and weeping … the clashing of weapons, the flames of the burning, the ruin and fall of houses, and many other fearful things which … struck with incredible sorrow the hearts and ears of all that heard it.

2 August: Somerset instructs the Bishop of London to preach at St. Paul’s that ‘those who resist temporal authority resist God’s ordinance, and are utterly damned. The rebels deserve death as traitors and receive eternal damnation with Lucifer’. For most members of the political class, such condemnation from Somerset is too little, too late.At Honiton, Lord Russell’s reinforcements arrive, at last. With 5,000 men he sets off towards Exeter.

At Honiton, Lord Russell’s reinforcements arrive, at last. With 5,000 men he sets off towards Exeter.

3 August: In London, there is widespread fear that Kett will march on the capital. The guard on the city gates is doubled and gibbets set up as a warning to disaffected citizens. Several Council members leave the royal court and meet at Westminster as a ‘rival’ government.

4-6 August: Russell confronts the rebels at Fenny Bridges, Clyst Heath and Clyst St. Mary. Thousands perish, including 900 prisoners butchered by Russell. The king’s enemies are pursued over a wide area and hanged in places as far away as Minehead and Bath. Russell enters Exeter and unleashes gruesome vengeance. Observers used to warfare are appalled at the violence of this campaign.

7 August: Somerset reluctantly authorises John Dudley, Earl of Warwick (seen by many as a potential rival of the Protector) to go to the relief of Norwich.

17 August: Some of the western rebels rally but are finally defeated at Sampford Courtenay. The Prayer Book Rebellion has cost 5,500 lives.

24 August: Warwick, assembling his forces in a businesslike way, is at Wymondham with 10,000 levies drawn from a wide area and waiting for another thousand German mercenaries. He sends a message to Kett demanding surrender.

27 August: After two days of stand-off, the German landsknechts arrive. Warwick takes possession of Norwich and cuts Kett’s supply lines, forcing him to do battle at nearby Dussindale. The result is a massacre in which some 3,500 peasants are slain.

7 September: Dudley returns as a public hero to London. He camps his mercenaries outside the city. He and other councillors now know that the current regime cannot be allowed to continue. The next few weeks are occupied by a number of behind-closed-doors meetings. Meanwhile, pamphlets circulate and sermons are preached pro and anti the Protector. Somerset, feeling increasingly isolated and insecure tries in vain to have all armed levies stood down.

5 October: Panicking now, the Protector sends a flurry of messages to local officials ordering them to come to Hampton Court with as many armed men as possible, ‘to defend the king and the lord protector, against whom a most dangerous conspiracy has been attempted’.

6 October: Being accused of treason galvanises the ‘Lords of the Council’ into action. Astonished Londoners see them processing through the City ‘weaponed and had their servants likewise weaponed, attending upon them in new liveries’. Somerset responds by ordering the Lieutenant of the Tower, Sir John Markham, to hold it against the ‘rebels’ but Markham hands the fortress to the councillors.

7 October: Somerset flees by night with the king to Windsor, calling on all loyal Englishmen to come to his aid.

9 October: London’s Common Council decide in favour of the councillors.

Now the two principal royal strongholds are in rival hands. Messages from London and Windsor fly all over the country to gain the support of the great magnates for one side or the other. For a couple of days, England teeters on the brink of all-out civil war. Will it be the Wars of the Roses all over again? But no-one wants an escalation of the summer’s violence and peace negotiations begin.

13 October: Somerset submits at a full council meeting held at Windsor.

14 October: The Protectorate is over and the ex-holder of that office is taken to the Tower.

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The rebellions failed and, for that reason, they tend not to receive much attention from historians. But we should not readily disregard what was a national crisis of major proportions. Perhaps this is one of those instances when fiction can help our understanding by using imagination to vividly convey past events. I hope so and I commend to you my novel, The Devil’s Chalice, set during the chaotic Summer of Discontent.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Derek Wilson

Derek Wilson

Derek Wilson has been writing historical fiction and non-fiction since the mid 1970s and is the author of 70+ books, as well as work for radio and television and innumerable newspaper and magazine articles. After graduating from Cambridge in History and Theology, he spent some years teaching and travelling abroad before settling to a freelance writing career. He specializes in the Reformation but his large output includes studies of the Rothschild family, the Plantagenets, Peter the Great, Charlemagne and the history of circumnavigation. He lives in Devon and is the patriarch of a family of three children and six grandchildren. His most recent release is The Devil’s Chalice, published by MadeGlobal.

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New Release!

New Release!

The third book in the acclaimed series of Thomas Treviot Tudor crime thrillers – Based on REAL TUDOR CRIME RECORDS.

The Real Crime: In the steaming summer of 1549 two men languish in the Tower of London. William West is accused of attempted murder. Robert Allen is under investigation for dabbling in the Black Arts. Meanwhile, England is in the grip of rebellions against the boy king, Edward VI. The connections between these facts remains a mystery.

Our Story: London goldsmith, Thomas Treviot, is sent by his patron, Archbishop Cranmer, to discover discreetly what connections West has with leading figures at court. But Thomas has problems of his own: his teenage son has gone off to Norwich to join rebels led by Robert Kett. Trying to find his son and please Cranmer, he is plunged into dangers from peasant mobs, London gangsters and political chicanery, not to mention an enemy wielding occult power…

To Purchase The Devil’s Chalice,

Click The Link Below!

THE DEVIL’S CHALICE

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WIN

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT!!!!

Derek Wilson and MadeGlobal Publishing are graciously offering a complimentary copy of The Devil’s Chalice to one lucky QAB member or browser. If you are interested in being included in a drawing for a chance of winning this wonderful book, send the administrator a message via the website’s contact form. To complete the contact form, click here –> CONTACT US! We will draw a random winner on November 11, 2016. Good Luck!!!

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“Edward VI and Thomas Cranmer”, by Kyra Kramer

November 6, 2016 in Guest Writers by Beth von Staats

cranmeredwardmeme

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Edward VI and Thomas Cranmer

by Kyra Kramer

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Thomas Cranmer was not only the Archbishop of Canterbury, he was possibly the most influential figure in King Edward VI’s brief life. Cranmer was the young king’s godfather, and the man who taught the boy king to be a staunch — even hard-line — Protestant. Cranmer was also one of the few men the Edward would continue to trust as he grew older. Where most other men sought some form of fiduciary reward or position of power from the king, Cranmer served Edward without the need or apparent desire for more personal gain. Cranmer and Edward give every indication that they were united in a sincere, disinterested quest to spread the reformist gospel throughout England.

Thomas Cranmer

Thomas Cranmer

The pinnacle of their joint efforts was the 1552 edition of the Book of Common Prayer.  Although Thomas Cranmer was the author of the work and should receive all the credit for the haunting lyrical style of the writing, the book would have died aborning without the support and defense of his protege and sovereign. As I explain in my book, King Edward VI in a Nutshell:

The new Book of Common Prayer caused an uproar among the Catholic and less-Protestant subjects of Edward’s realm, who thought it was blasphemously Reformist. Among the hardened Reformists, it wasn’t quite Protestant enough. If the definition of a good compromise is indeed a situation in which no one is really happy, the 1552 Prayer prayer Book was a very good compromise. Edward, however, was king and he was determined that his godfather Cranmer’s liturgical compositions would become the bedrock of the Anglican service. In turn, Cranmer could not have been prouder of the young king, who he regarded as a veritable model of a Christian monarch.

Cranmer saw Edward as nothing less than the “English Josiah”, a child monarch in the mold of the Biblical king who devoted his reign to compelling his Hebrew subjects to worship Yahweh as the sole God of Israel. It was, for the devout and devoted Cranmer, the highest praise he could give the young king.

Edward VI

Edward VI

Thomas Cranmer was also one of the few people who had enough integrity to disagree with the king when there were ethical conundrums. For example, Cranmer was deeply concerned about Edward naming Lady Jane Grey his heir, even though he had to have known allowing the ultra-Catholic Mary Tudor to have the throne would have undone all the religious reform he and Edward had fought for. Nonetheless, Cranmer was genuinely troubled by conscience. He had promised to obey Henry VIII’s will and Mary was next in line by the terms of that document. Was it legal or ethical to set the old king’s will aside? First, the privy council talked to Cranmer and assured him that “the king was fully entitled to override his father’s settlement” (Ives, 2012:130). Not quite easy in his mind, the Archbishop of Canterbury wanted to talk to his godson about it personally. The king, who had less than three weeks to live, met with Cranmer and promised him face- to- face that “the judges and his learned council said, that the act of entailing the crown, made by his father, could not be prejudicial to him, but that he, being in possession of the crown, might make his will thereof” (Ives, 2012:131). Still uncertain, Cranmer begged the king to be allowed to talk to the judges and the attorney general, just to make sure. The king consented, and when Cranmer spoke with them they all confirmed “that he might lawfully subscribe to the king’s will by the laws of the realm” (Ives, 2012:131).

Thomas Cranmer

Thomas Cranmer

Sadly, Cranmer’s loyalty and honesty were rewarded with a horrific death after Edward VI passed away on 6 July 1553. Mary Tudor and her allies quickly usurped the throne from Queen Jane Grey and in spite of their promises of “tolerance” for Protestantism, soon made it clear that a return to Catholicism was in the offing. Thomas Cranmer, an elderly man and venerable scholar who was 67 years old, was burned alive at the stake at Mary’s insistence on 21 March 1556. From her perspective, she was riding her country of veritable sump of heresy. From the perspective of history, she slaughtered one of the best writers and theologians England has ever produced.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Kyra Kramer

Kyra Kramer

 

Editor’s note: Kyra’s biography is provided by her website, Krya Cornelius Kramer and is provided to us in her own words.

Kyra Cornelius Kramer is an author and freelance medical anthropologist. She holds BS degrees in both biology and anthropology from the University of Kentucky, as well as a MA in medical anthropology from Southern Methodist University. She  and her beloved husband live in Bloomington, Indiana, USA with their three young daughters.

Kyra is diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. Kyra is high-functioning, meaning that most of the time Kyra can pass for “quirky” with a dash of “gauche”. As a function of being an “Aspy”, she has a deep and abiding love for facts, which she stuffs into her writings like chestnuts in a Christmas goose. Seriously, you will knee-deep in facts by the time you are three paragraphs into her work. Moreover, she has a sardonic sense of humor that flavors her writings, no matter how academic they are in nature. Her editors appreciate this, but the review board usually makes her take any humor out before publishing in a peer-reviewed journal. Kyra hopes that the academic reviewers were at least amused before they crossed the sentence out with heavy red pencil marks. She suspects not.

Editor’s note: For more information about the remarkable accomplishments of Kyra Cornelius Kramer, do visit her website linked above.

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New Release!!!

New Release!!!

To Purchase Edward VI in a Nutshell,

CLICK THE LINK BELOW!! 

Edward VI in a Nutshell

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“The Lives of Ordinary Tudor Women” by Elizabeth Norton

October 14, 2016 in Guest Writers, News by Beth von Staats

Sketch of a 16th-Century English Woman with Children Artist: Hans Holbein the Younger

Sketch of a 16th-Century English Woman with Children
Artist: Hans Holbein the Younger

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The Lives of Ordinary Tudor Women

by Elizabeth Norton

The Tudor age is often seen as an age of queens, with the six wives of Henry VIII and reigns of Mary and Elizabeth coming to characterise their respective periods. However, the vast majority of women ranked far below royalty. They were far below the nobility even, with their links to court and claims of kinship with the ruling dynasty. Seldom told, their stories can be just as dynamic as those of their social betters.

The early lives of most Tudor women were roughly similar, regardless of rank. All babies were swaddled at birth and all were baptised. They were weaned in the same way, with their mother or nurse carefully chewing food for their toothless mouths. There were toys, too, to suit all parental purses. Even the most destitute children could fashion a plaything from animal bones, scraps of cloth or wood, while children of all social levels played games and mimicked their elders in their play.

Margaret More Roper, daughter of Sir Thomas More, was an example of an intelligent, highly educated Tudor Era woman. Artist: Section of 1593 Copy of Holbein Original

Margaret More Roper, daughter of Sir Thomas More, was an example of an intelligent, highly educated Tudor Era woman.
Artist: Section of 1593 Copy of Holbein Original

With female education becoming fashionable, a surprisingly high number of Tudor girls were able to attend school. It was not, of course, thought necessary to teach them Latin and Greek, or other subjects taught to boys at the new Grammar schools since (as one contemporary educationalist put it) ‘naturally the male is more worthy’. Nonetheless, a little reading, writing and accountancy could not hurt a girl and a great many were sent to local free schools to learn alongside their male peers. Even the very poorest families in Norwich in the 1560s sent their daughters to school, although older girls – from about the age of nine – were pulled out of their lessons to help support the family with spinning and other work.

Childhood for Tudor children ended in the early teens when almost everyone, from the highest and lowest, left home for the first time. While aristocratic and gentle girls could expect to be sent to serve a social superior, for poorer girls this usually meant a term of domestic service. Contracts were verbal and of one year’s duration, with neither the employer nor the employee permitted to end them early. The master would undertake to pay a wage, as well as provide board and lodging, while the servant performed domestic, farm or business tasks.

Occasionally girls were actually formally apprenticed, although in much smaller numbers than boys. In Tudor Bristol, many girls were apprenticed to learn housewifery, although there are examples of girls being apprenticed to male pinmakers or mercers. Women, too, could take over a family business when their husband died, or in some places start up their own business as a ‘femme sole’. Then, they could take their own apprentices, securing their admission to the prestigious livery companies which would not admit even the most successful women traders.

Woodcut of Tudor Era Woman Spinning Wool

Woodcut of Tudor Era Woman Spinning Wool

For most girls, service was brought to an end by marriage. At all social levels it was expected that there should be some love or, at least, a liking between the young couple, with poorer women usually more free to choose than their social superiors. Men were also advised to choose carefully, with contemporaries advising them to meet with their prospective mother-in-law to observe her behaviour, in the expectation that her daughter would follow her conduct. Men were cautioned to seek out meek and demure wives, skilled in sewing, spinning, knitting and keeping bashfully out of the way when strangers came to call. There was less guidance for women, although they were advised to avoid the ‘crocodile tears’ of young men. A woman’s reputation, once lost, could never be repaired and they must ensure that they were safely promised before they consented to consummate their relationships.

In the absence of reliable contraception, most wives soon became mothers, with women expected to do the bulk of the child rearing. At the same time wives were expected to have a good knowledge of cookery and household medicine making, as well as the skills to assist their husband in his business. Given the fact that women lived longer than men on average (in the Tudor period and now), most women could expect to be widowed at least once. Subsequent marriages were not uncommon, although sexual intercourse after the menopause was frowned on by the church – there was, after all, no prospect of a child.

A Rare Tudor Era Portrait of an Aged Elizabeth, Regina Artist: Unknown

A Rare Tudor Era Portrait of an Aged Elizabeth, Regina
Artist: Unknown

Much is made of Elizabeth I’s concerns over her ageing and fading appearance, with sources claiming that mirrors were removed at court to stop the queen seeing herself as she truly was. However, old age was immeasurably harder for the queen’s poorer subjects. With no prospect of retirement, the elderly were usually forced to work until they were physically incapable. At the same time, aged women were viewed with suspicion. The author of the wildly popular Women’s Secrets, for one, believed that all women were toxic and that they could poison babies with one glance.

It was only a small step from this position to view the elderly as potential witches, with such unfortunate women always vulnerable to allegations of witchcraft. Poor Alice Samuel had only to visit her neighbour in Warboys in Huntingdonshire in 1589 to find herself accused of bewitching the household’s daughters. When one girl pointed to her and said ‘Grandmother, look where the old witch sits’, the die was cast. Poor Alice Samuel was later hanged for this supposed crime. Wealthier women were less vulnerable to accusations of witchcraft, but they did occur. Old age must have seemed a poor reward for surviving all the dangers of Tudor life.

Tudor women lived lives as varied as those of Tudor men, with social status and wealth particularly important in defining their daily activities. The idea that life could be divided into seven ages was a popular one in Tudor England, but very few women made it to their seventh age. Infancy, childbirth, accident and disease carried off most women long before they reached old age. It is perhaps no surprise therefore that, when questioned, many of the poor women of Norwich in the 1560s exaggerated their age, claiming to have reached the age of 100. They probably hoped for a place in one of the town’s charitable institutions – comfortable places to see out their final years.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Elizabeth Norton

Elizabeth Norton

Elizabeth Norton is a British historian that researches and writes primarily of the women contributing to English medieval history. With MA degrees in Archaeology and Anthropology from the University of Cambridge and a MA degree in European Archaeology from Oxford, Elizabeth certainly is multi-talented and highly gifted. Elizabeth completed her doctoral research at King’s College, London where she researched the Blount family of Shropshire. Elizabeth also researched and released a non-fiction book focusing on the remarkable life of Elfrida, England’s first crowned queen, further broadening her expertise of England’s most remarkable female historical figures. For more information, visit Elizabeth’s website at ELIZABETH NORTON.

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New Release!!

New Release!!

 

To Purchase an Outstanding History Book by Elizabeth Norton,

CLICK THE LINK BELOW!!

Books by Elizabeth Norton

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Book Extract: THE LIVES OF TUDOR WOMEN, by Elizabeth Norton

October 6, 2016 in Guest Writers by Beth von Staats

by Elizabeth Norton

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New Release!!

New Release!!

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Editor’s Note: Today is a very exciting day for the English history of women’s studies!! Two major historical works are releasing that explore the lives late 15th through 17th-century women researched and composed by eminent historians Elizabeth Norton and Sarah Gristwood. Over the next few weeks, Queenanneboleyn.com will be highlighting through author interviews, guest articles, book reviews and extracts both The Lives of Tudor Women, by Elizabeth Norton and Game of Queens: The Women Who Made 16th-Century Europe, by Sarah Gristwood. Pull up a chair as together with these two fine historians we explore the “Gaps in English History”, the extraordinarily lives of powerful, as well as common women. Let’s start with an extract from Elizabeth’s new release, which explores the life of one of my favorite Tudor Era historical figures, Elizabeth Barton, Holy Maid of Kent.

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Of Servants and Masters

BOOK EXTRACT: The Lives of Tudor Women

In late 1524, or early 1525, Elizabeth Barton, a young girl from Aldington in Kent, walked over to the house of Thomas Cobb, a gentleman of the parish. Verbally, they agreed their terms, and within a few days she had moved into the servants’ quarters of his house, high in the attic. She was nineteen years old, but she probably had several terms of service behind her already – stretching back to the beginning of her adolescence. It was the way for most of her peers.

She had received little in the way of education; indeed, one contemporary considered her to be ‘a poor wench without learning’. She knew no Latin, although she could probably read and write, and may have attended a village school until she entered service.

Service was far from unusual for both boys and girls of her class: the vast majority of them spent a period of time as agricultural or household servants. In Tudor Salisbury, for example, in the parish list of 1533 one-third of women and half of men were in service. The parents of adolescents usually assisted in finding a suitable first placement from among families in the local area or from connections further afield. A verbal agreement was then made, tying the teenager into work for one year’s service, in return for a wage.

With that agreement, the adolescent was ready to leave home, packing up their belongings and walking over to the house of their new master or mistress. This period of service was looked on as a transitional stage, in the same way that most girls’ social betters were sent to serve in the households of the nobility. Agricultural servants were young and unmarried – it was not a career, and cases of married women staying in service were rare. While they learned skills and saved for their future, they were also looking to marry and start their own households. And with so many young people entering service, it was also possible for them to gain useful social connections that would benefit them later in life. Young Elizabeth Cooper from Norwich, for example, became lifelong friends with Thomas Sutton, who served in the same household. He would serve as a Sheriff of Norwich in the 1550s and show Elizabeth some favour when she found herself in trouble with the law.

Since service was more of a life-stage than either a career or an indicator of social class, it is unsurprising that the dividing line between the servant and the served in houses such as Thomas Cobb’s was not always strictly drawn. Indeed, it was expected that Cobb – and other masters – would stand in loco parentis. They were obliged to maintain their servant for the term of his or her service, regardless of whether there was enough work or whether the servant was fit to do it. Conversely, servants were not free to leave their employment early, and the courts regularly ordered those who absconded back unless they could prove that they had been mistreated.

Runaway servants might have hoped that they could quietly melt away by securing a better offer elsewhere; and it is true that new employers were often less than rigorous in their checks when employing new servants. Mawdlin Gawen, a young servant from Oxfordshire, found this to be the case in 1575, after running away, with her lover, from service in Teddington. In London, they claimed to a prospective employer, Mr Fluett, that they hailed from Collyweston. Evidently suspicious, Fluett questioned them on the distance of Collyweston from Stamford; but took them into his employment even when they failed to answer. The pair would have been constantly aware that their former master might seek them out.

In 1520, John Smith, a servant of a London draper named Thomas Howell, ran away, after which Howell and his wife expended great efforts and sums in chasing him. Mistress Howell ordered men to ride after him – following his trail for over four weeks all the way to Plymouth. When Smith was finally located, he refused to return until forced to by the court. It cost his master more than £6 to secure his return to unwilling service – a sum that Howell intended that Smith should reimburse. Howell was not considered a bad master, as suggested by the fact that one of his maidservants stayed in his household for at least five years and another for six. They were paid 13s and £1 4s a year respectively, which was considered a good wage, and they each received a new gown every year.

More common than absconding, for dissatisfied servants, was simply moving on at the end of their term, and many maidservants often passed through the service of a number of employers. There would usually be plenty of choice, for even quite lowly households could employ servants. For example, one William Blunte, of Richmond in Surrey, worked as a labourer yet was known to have kept an eleven-year-old girl as his servant in 1559.

By far the majority of servants – including Elizabeth Barton – worked on farms. Her master, Thomas Cobb, was a prominent man, charged as bailiff and steward with running the Archbishop of Canterbury’s substantial estates in the parish. As the archbishop’s most senior manorial officer, Cobb held considerable sway in the local community, his daily life centred on both church and the farm.

Life in rural Aldington was dominated by the grand archiepiscopal palace, sitting close beside the parish church. It loomed large over the little town that nestled close to the winding road taking travellers to and from the ancient port of Hythe. The palace – with its five kitchens, nine barns, six stables and many other agricultural buildings, all set within more than a thousand acres of farmland – dwarfed the other buildings in the settlement. The townspeople proudly displayed their ambitions in the great new church steeple, which was slowly rising, stone by stone as donations and bequests trickled in. It was a project that would never be completed, though it was already the tallest local structure in 1525.

Elizabeth Barton was too young to remember the great Erasmus’s brief tenure as Rector of Aldington, which had begun in 1511; but she was certainly familiar with the new priest, Richard Masters, who had arrived in 1514 and would remain for well over fifty years. He was a scholarly, conservative man, who spent most of his time with his head bent over his enormous library of 113 books, stowed carefully in his chamber in the parsonage.

Farming life was a busy, hard life, but, as contemporaries asserted (based on the Book of Job), ‘a man is ordained and born to do labour, as a bird is ordained to fly’. The year was an annual cycle, with ploughing and sowing to be done, alongside animal husbandry. The main crops were always peas and beans, corn, barley and oats, while horses, cattle, sheep and pigs were usually kept on mixed farms.

Women, either wives or servants, were expected to play an active part in farm life, and this would have been no less true for Elizabeth Barton. They had their own specific and vital jobs to do; not for nothing did the old saying maintain that ‘seldom doth the husband thrive, without the leave of his wife’. On waking, the women of the house were enjoined to first say their prayers, before sweeping and tidying. It was then time to milk the cows, feed the calves, and wake up the children of the family before preparing breakfast.

Women carried corn and malt to the mill, as well as attending to brewing and baking, and making butter and cheese. They fed the pigs and dealt with the poultry. It was also the wife’s job, assisted by the female servants, to prepare a kitchen garden in March, sowing the seeds and herbs that would ‘be good for the pot and to eat’. They would need to plant flax and hemp, too, which they would later spin into cloth for towels, sheets, shirts and smocks, while they also prepared the sheep’s wool for clothes and blankets. For servants such as Elizabeth, there was at least variety within the yearly cycle of hard toil. In towns, servants’ work could be even more varied, where a good position could see girls involved in their employer’s trade, either through work in the shop or in manufacture.

Thomas Cobb was by all accounts a diligent master, aware of his contractual obligations and prepared to fulfil them. At Easter 1525, which can only have been weeks, at most, after Elizabeth Barton was hired, she fell dangerously ill – ‘touched with a great infirmity in her body’. Sometimes her throat would swell so much that she writhed in agony, struggling for breath as ‘though she had suffered the pangs of death itself’. There was considerable fear that the swelling ‘was like to stop her breath’. At other times she was quieter, but still very sick, her illness coming in fits and starts. As her sickness progressed, she was carried out of the servants’ attic and down to a room that she shared with one of Cobb’s young children. The baby, which slept in a cradle close to her was also dangerously ill, so it was thought the pair could be nursed together.

Elizabeth was still very ill in November 1525. During all this time her master had been paying for her food and care, in spite of the fact that she could carry out none of her duties. He must surely have been intending to end her employment when her year’s term was set to conclude, at the start of 1526. That was soon set to change.

__________________________

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Elizabeth Norton

Elizabeth Norton

Elizabeth Norton is a British historian that researches and writes primarily of the women contributing to English medieval history. With MA degrees in Archaeology and Anthropology from the University of Cambridge and a MA degree in European Archaeology from Oxford, Elizabeth certainly is multi-talented and highly gifted. Elizabeth completed her doctoral research at King’s College, London where she researched the Blount family of Shropshire. Elizabeth also researched and released a non-fiction book focusing on the remarkable life of Elfrida, England’s first crowned queen, further broadening her expertise of England’s most remarkable female historical figures. For more information, visit Elizabeth’s website at ELIZABETH NORTON.

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norton

To Purchase an Outstanding History Book by Elizabeth Norton,

CLICK THE LINK BELOW!!

Books by Elizabeth Norton

__________________________

A KING IN WAITING: Building Prince Arthur’s Power in the Welsh Marshes, by Sean Cunningham

July 21, 2016 in Guest Writers by Beth von Staats

Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales (1500) Artist Unknown

Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales (1500)
Artist Unknown

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A King in Waiting: Building Prince Arthur’s Power in the Welsh Marches

Sean Cunningham

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When Arthur, Prince of Wales first arrived in the border region of England and Wales in the spring of 1493 he was at the head of an intimidating group of Henry VII’s insiders and loyalists. The visitors are visible in the historical record as the bench of justices for the quarter sessions held at Hereford Castle, but their purpose in the marches at that time was much broader. They were there to transplant Arthur into his new homeland and to emphasise to the people of the region just what was expected from them in terms of loyalty and obedience.

Jasper Tudor, Stained Glass at Cardiff Castle, Cardiff, Wales

Jasper Tudor, Stained Glass at Cardiff Castle, Cardiff, Wales

The company was headed by the king’s uncle and life-long mentor, Jasper Tudor, duke of Bedford and included the prince’s godfather the earl of Arundel, the half-brother of the queen, Thomas, marquis of Dorset, the king’s chamberlain, Sir William Stanley, and the Chief Justice Sir William Hussey, along with many other lords, knights and lawyers from the core of Henry VII’s court – a very powerful set of men for a provincial sessions of the peace.

This mission into the marches sent the strongest message that the Tudor crown was a visible presence in the region and would be active in maintaining the power of the prince. The communities along the march between Hereford, Leominster, Ludlow and Shrewsbury would have to play their part enthusiastically. They would have a key role in Arthur’s practical training; and the obvious incentive for their diligence was a share in royal patronage when, in future, the prince became King Arthur.

Many of the men who accompanied Arthur in 1493 were royal councillors and so would already have known King Henry’s long-term plans for his son’s education. Arthur was to follow the same path that Edward IV’s heir, Prince Edward, had taken in the decade after 1473. Arthur would be based at Ludlow Castle in southern Shropshire. The jurisdiction of the Council of the Marches of Wales had already been revived in his name. Plans were underway to grant to the prince the lands and rights of the earldom of March – one of the chief props of the aristocratic power of Edward IV and his father before 1461.

King Henry VII

King Henry VII

This region was one of the few areas of the country that King Henry knew personally from the time before he was king. He had been a ward of William Herbert, earl of Pembroke, at Raglan Castle in the 1460s and then lived for eighteen months with Herbert’s widow, Anne Devereux, at Weobley near Leominster after 1469. That local knowledge perhaps allowed Henry to prepare the ground for his son’s move from Farnham in 1493. The king could adapt the institutions of power for his son relatively easily. He faced a more complex task before he could be sure that Arthur was prepared personally for his future role.

Arthur was aged only six in 1493. This move to Ludlow was the early stage in establishing his status as a semi-independent lord. King Henry would ensure that Arthur learned everything that a king-in-waiting needed to know. Some of that came from a mixture of schoolroom education in languages and history, with training in the kingly arts of rhetoric, debate, and personal interaction. His tutor, Bernard André was experienced enough and trusted to meet King Henry’s demands in this area. Arthur’s skills would also be developed in ways that all politically active landowners were expected to master. Those included managing estates and tenants, learning the law and the extent of the jurisdictions linked to his titles, and how to be a leader in time of war. The prince’s counsellors and household officials were given those responsibilities.

A)Bernard André’s fee as Arthur’s schoolmaster, January 1497. Warrant, TNA E 404/80

A) Bernard André’s fee as Arthur’s schoolmaster, January 1497. Warrant, TNA E 404/80

What might have been harder to address were the complexities of court life that fed off proximity to the departments of state at Westminster, the commercial centre of London, and state occasions like the sessions of parliament. The decision to complete Arthur’s upbringing on the Welsh Marches therefore represented an initial prioritisation of self-reliance and the skills of lordship over mastery of the complexity of the court and the mechanics that kept national government working. What was important to the king, it seems, was to ensure that his son learned to understand how people behaved within the service relationships that members of the ruling elites had with the crown. Other responsibilities could be delegated or developed later. Significantly, the self-contained region under the rule of the Council of the Marches supplied experienced councillors and servants who could act as a safety net for any mistakes or misjudgements Arthur made as he developed.

Perkin Warbeck Artist Unknown

Perkin Warbeck
Artist Unknown

The little snapshot of activity in spring 1493 tells us a great deal about how Henry VII felt he had to demonstrate his own authority. At that time, Perkin Warbeck’s conspiracy was gaining traction among former supporters of the Yorkist kings. Later records suggest that Sir William Stanley and his colleague in charge of the ‘downstairs’ part of the royal household, John, Lord Fitzwalter, had already committed themselves to Warbeck, whom they believed to be the queen’s brother, Richard, duke of York – one of the Princes in the Tower.

Arthur’s brother, Henry, who was the duke of York, was not yet eighteen months old. In terms of the Tudor dynasty’s strength-in-depth, therefore, things were still a little precarious for Henry VII. Granting the power of the earl of March at that time to Arthur and his steward, Sir Richard Croft (another local man experienced in the methods of the royal household), was probably a deliberate attempt to dominate the regional links to the House of York and to begin the process of binding them to the reigning Tudor royal family.

Henry VII‘s advisers already knew that the region could be volatile. Ever since Arthur’s birth in 1486 there had been an expectation that, at some point during his childhood, he would take up residency at Ludlow and Tickenhill Place in Bewdley. The king’s reliance on many Yorkist innovations and practices made it likely that he would see the value in duplicating elements of Edward V’s education in the marches (but be mindful of how it had ended abruptly in April 1483).  From the spring of 1487 there had been some jostling for influence along the march between Richard Croft and Sir William Stanley. Stanley’s main ally on the spot was Sir Thomas Cornewall. He and Croft flexed their strength for control of the town of Leominster. Against the background of the invasion and rebellion that forced the king to fight the battle of Stoke in June 1487, each man made accusations against the other of treason, rioting, appropriating of the king’s authority and the retaining of bands of unsavoury men from the lands of the Principality of Wales.

Prince Arthur's Chambers at Ludlow Castle

Prince Arthur’s Chambers at Ludlow Castle

Once Arthur took up residency, the struggle for dominance – of which this dispute was a long-running symptom – became more intense. It spilled over into the higher levels of the Council of the Marches. The king’s relatives and allies from further afield, like Jasper Tudor, Sir Richard Pole and Sir Rhys ap Thomas, were drawn into struggles across the region in efforts to restrain those engaged in violence. Since Henry VII had decided not to place Arthur under the care of a single senior noble (as Earl Rivers had dominated Prince Edward’s household by 1483), it was far more likely that there would be some tensions over status between the councillors of the Marches and the men of the prince’s household. There was overlap between the two institutions as regional gentry manoeuvred to become associated with the prince’s service, but prominent roles were limited. There was political skill involved in displacing rivals while staying on the right side of the law in demonstrating loyalty and versatility.

The marcher families could see the resources devoted to building up Arthur’s household and the related growth of his influence in the territory between Gloucestershire and Cheshire during the second half of the 1490s. The longer the Tudor king survived the more assertive and secure his kingship would become. Sir William Stanley’s condemnation on the grounds that if Perkin Warbeck truly was Prince Richard then he could not, in conscience, stand against him, must have been a strong lesson for others less sure of their ability to influence events. Men were increasingly less willing to risk the influence and associations they had built up by dabbling in treason. That was the trump card that the king held. Their decision-making was encouraged by a tangle of pledges and sureties that ensnared many in bonds to guarantee the good behaviour of a few.

Coat of Arms of the Tudor Princes of Wales

Coat of Arms of the Tudor Princes of Wales

The king surrounded Arthur with family members and experienced friends linked to his mother, like Bishop William Smith of Lichfield, president of the Council of the Marches, and Sir Richard Pole, who was Arthur’s household chamberlain. Their role at Arthur’s side became more important when Jasper Tudor and William Stanley died in 1495.  That period marked the height of Warbeck’s threat. But by then, Arthur’s independent status was becoming a source of strength for Henry VII’s national power, rather than a potential risk to its continuation. Suspicions over the loyalty of the Stanley family were counterbalanced by a stronger role given to George Talbot, 4th earl of Shrewsbury in the background of Arthur’s lordship. Shrewsbury’s relative by marriage, Sir Henry Vernon, was Arthur’s personal governor. He was in a prime position to manage who had access to the prince and who was able to influence his development.

The role of the king’s friends expanded further. Arthur’s vast estates and interests were overseen by loyal stewards like Rhys ap Thomas and Richard Pole. As a result, they were able to deliver thousands of Welsh light cavalry into the king’s armies when required. They mustered the same quantity of archers and billmen as the most powerful noblemen for the armies assembled against Scotland in 1497 (most of whom went on to fight at the battle of Blackheath). Arthur was kept secure in his own country by these troops. Collectively, they formed one of the military powerhouses of the regime. So even by the time he was aged eleven, Prince Arthur’s personal power was literally a force to be reckoned with. Henry’s risk in educating his heir away from his siblings and his family seemed to be paying off by the end of the 1490s.

Tinkinhill Manor, Bewdley

Tinkinhill Manor, Bewdley

It is frustrating that the detailed journal books of the prince’s household spending do not appear to have survived (they are certainly not yet identified in any archive or library). These records would reveal so much about Arthur’s daily life at Ludlow and Tickenhill right up to and beyond his wedding in November 1501. Evidence of meals, furnishings, visitors, pastimes, events and celebrations would allow us to reach behind the closed doors of his houses and into his private chambers and personal life.

The glimpses we do have suggest that the prince carried the weight of his father’s expectations with dignity, resilience and skill. These sources imply that his life was one of constant learning and preparation, but that surely hides a true picture of a powerful young prince enjoying all the benefits of the most privileged upbringing. Unlike his brother, Prince Henry, whose progression from teenage prince to domineering king is well-documented, Arthur’s death before he was sixteen freezes his legacy on the cusp of adulthood. Yet even in that brief life, we can see something of the devotion he attracted and the type of king he might have become.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sean Cunningham

Sean Cunningham

Sean Cunningham, Ph.D., author of the newly released Prince Arthur: The Tudor King Who Never Was, is a prolific researcher of late English Medieval and early Tudor History. Already highly respected for his previous works, Henry VII and Richard III, a Royal Enigma, Dr. Cunningham the Head of Medieval Records within the Advice and Medieval Records Department of The (British) National Archives. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and co-convenor of the Late Medieval Seminar at London University’s Institute of Historical Research.

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NEW RELEASE!!!

NEW RELEASE!!!

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PRINCE ARTHUR, THE TUDOR KING WHO NEVER WAS

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