“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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A Godfather’s Solemn Charge — The Coronation of King Edward VI

February 20, 2017 in News, The Tudor Thomases by Beth von Staats

By Beth von Staats

Edward VI granting the Royal Charter to Bridewell Hospital, 1553.

Edward VI granting the Royal Charter to Bridewell Hospital, 1553.

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Today marks the anniversary of the Coronation of Edward, Sixth of his name, King of England, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, and of the Church of England and also of Ireland, on earth the supreme head. That is a very heavy load for a nine-year-old child, but with King Henry VIII dead, the weight of the crown — a smaller jeweled variation crafted for the occasion — fell to a brilliant and precocious boy, supported first by Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset and Lord Protector and later John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland and Lord President of the Council, along with an assortment of Privy Councillors jockeying for power and influence. The degree to which King Edward VI contributed to the management of his realm increased as he aged towards his majority, its depth a common debate among historians. One thing is certain, however. This genius intellect King, politically mentored by Somerset and far more pronouncedly by Northumberland, was not most influenced by either man — or even his father. Instead, King Edward’s moral center, religious faith, and understanding of his responsibilities of kingship were embedded through the mentoring and profound influence of his godfather, Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury.

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

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

Although many of us today outside the Roman Catholic Church view selection as godparent as an honorary title afforded to cherished family members and close friends upon the christening of a new baby, in the 16th-century, religion was serious business. The selection of godparents was an important undertaking, especially for a reigning monarch. After all, religious tenant and church doctrine prescribed the role of godparentship as a solemn charge. First, godparents professed the faith of an infant at baptism. Thereafter, godparents were to show a living example of faith, providing spiritual guardianship for the child throughout their lives. The most serious responsibility of godparents was to make sure that the baptized infant was thereafter given proper instruction in the faith, particularly when the parents neglected this duty or are otherwise were unable to do so. If the parents died or became unable to teach their child the faith, it was the responsibility of the godparent to ensure that the child learned and loved the faith.

Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, by Gerlach Flicke

Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, by Gerlach Flicke

With this all in mind, King Henry VIII carefully considered just whom he would trust with the solemn charge of godparentship of his long prayed for heir to the throne. His choices — Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk; Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk; Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury; and the Lady Mary Tudor — were striking for their diverging religious beliefs. This stated, despite any varying opinions of church theology, at the time King Edward VI was born, these were the people King Henry VIII most trusted with his heir’s religious mentorship. Also godfather of the Lady Elizabeth Tudor, Henry VIII’s trust in ‘mine chaplain’ Thomas Cranmer was especially profound and was proven to be well grounded. As Archbishop of Canterbury, religious theologian, and scholar, Thomas Cranmer took on his solemn charge of godparentship seriously indeed, especially in preparing Edward Tudor first as Prince and ultimately as “King …, Defender of the Faith, and of the Church of England and… on earth the supreme head.”

Latimer preaches before Edward VI at St Paul's Cross.

Latimer preaches before Edward VI at St Paul’s Cross.

In World History’s most magnificent public display of the devotion and duty of a godparent towards his godchild, the coronation of King Edward VI on 20 February 1547 would set the tone of a truly Protestant England, and it did not disappoint. The ceremony shortened to avoid the “tedious length of the same which should wear and be hurtsome peradventure to the King’s majesty, being yet of tender age” and also to eliminate all trappings of previous Roman Catholic coronations, as Archbishop of Canterbury, and more profoundly as the King’s dutiful godfather, Thomas Cranmer counseled the child as to his role as monarch of England:

Most dread and royal sovereign; the promises your highness hath made here, at your coronation, to forsake the devil and all his works, are not to be taken in the bishop of Rome’s sense; when you commit anything distasteful to that see, to hit your majesty in the teeth, as pope Paul the third, late bishop of Rome, sent to your royal father, saying, ‘Didst thou not promise, at our permission of thy coronation, to forsake the devil and all his works, and dost thou run to heresy? For the breach of this thy promise, knowest thou not, that it is in our power to dispose of thy sword and sceptre to whom we please?’ We, your majesty’s clergy, do humbly conceive, that this promise reacheth not at your highness’s sword, spiritual or temporal, or in the least at your highness swaying the sceptre of this your dominion, as you and your predecessors have had them from God. Neither could your ancestors lawfully resign up their crowns to the bishop of Rome or his legates, according to their ancient oaths then taken upon that ceremony.

Cranmer for EHFW

The bishops of Canterbury, for the most part, have crowned your predecessors, and anointed them kings of this land; yet it was not in their power to receive or reject them; neither did it give them authority to prescribe them conditions to take or leave their crowns, although the bishops of Rome would encroach upon your predecessors, by their act and oil, that in the end, they might possess those bishops with an interest to dispose of their crowns at their pleasure. But the wiser sort will look to their claws and clip them.

The solemn rites of coronation have their ends and utility; yet neither direct force or necessity: they are good admonitions to put kings in mind of their duty to God, but no increasement of their dignity; for they are God’s anointed; not in respect of the oil which the bishop useth, but in consideration of their power, which is ordained; of the sword, which is authorized; of their persons, which are elected of God, and endued with the gifts of his Spirit, for the better ruling and guiding of his people.

The oil, if added, is but a ceremony: if it be wanting, that king is yet a perfect monarch notwithstanding, and God’s anointed, as well as if he was inoiled. Now for the person or bishop that doth anoint a king, it is proper to be done by the chiefest. But if they cannot, or will not, any bishop may perform this ceremony.

To condition with monarchs upon these ceremonies, the bishop of Rome (or other bishops owning his supremacy) hath no authority; but he may faithfully declare what God requires at the hands of kings and rulers, that is, religion and virtue. Therefore, not from the bishop of Rome, but as a messenger from my Saviour Jesus Christ, I shall most humbly admonish your royal majesty, what things your highness is to perform.

Your majesty is God’s vicegerent, and Christ’s vicar within your own dominions, and to see, with your predecessor Josiah, God truly worshiped, and idolatry destroyed; the tyranny of the bishops of Rome banished from your subjects, and images removed. These acts are signs of a second Josiah, who reformed the church of God in his days. You are to reward virtue, to revenge sin, to justify the innocent, to relieve the poor, to procure peace, to repress violence, and to execute justice throughout your realms. For precedents on those kings who performed not these things, the old law shows how the Lord revenged his quarrel; and on those kings who fulfilled these things, he poured forth his blessings in abundance. For example, it is written of Josiah, in the book of the Kings, thus: ‘Like unto him there was no king, that turned to the Lord with all his heart, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him.’ This was to that prince a perpetual fame of dignity, to remain to the end of days.

Being bound by my function to lay these things before your royal highness; the one, as a reward if you fulfil; the other, as a judgment from God if you neglect them; yet I openly declare, before the living God, and before these nobles of the land, that I have no commission to denounce your majesty deprived, if your highness miss in part, or in whole, of these performances: much less to draw up indentures between God and your majesty; or to say you forfeit your crown, with a clause for the bishop of Rome, as have been done by your majesty’s predecessors, king John and his son Henry of this land. The Almighty God of his mercy let the light of his countenance shine upon your majesty, grant you a prosperous and happy reign, defend you, and save you; and let your subjects say, Amen.

God Save the King.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Beth von Staats

Beth von Staats

Beth von Staats is a history writer of both fiction and non-fiction short works. A life-long history enthusiast, Beth holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, in Sociology from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. She is the owner and administrator of Queen Anne Boleyn Historical Writers website, QueenAnneBoleyn.com.

Beth’s interest in British History grew through the profound influence of her Welsh grandparents, both of whom desired she learn of her family cultural heritage. Her most pronounced interest lies with the men and women who drove the course of events and/or who were most poignantly impacted by the English Henrician and Protestant Reformations, as well as the Tudor Dynasty of English and Welsh History in general.

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"Thomas Cranmer In a Nutshell" Final Blog Stop

Thomas Cranmer -mini-bio

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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.

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“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!!!

Review of the “Je Anne Boleyn” series by Sandra Vasoli

October 23, 2016 in News, QAB Book Reviews, The Anne Boleyn Society by James Peacock

by James Peacock

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VasoliBooks

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The story of Anne Boleyn has admittedly been “done to death” when it comes historical fiction. There are a ton of books out of there featuring Anne in some way or another. I must admit that before I read Struck with the Dart of Love: Je Anne Boleyn, Book One, there was a part of me that was apprehensive. Not long after I started reading the novel, however, I learned my apprehensions were needless.

Both Je Anne Boleyn novels are told from the viewpoint of Anne Boleyn. For me, Sandra Vasoli truly “gets” Anne. She understands the different sides of Anne’s personality: her charm, her intelligence, her wit, her courage, her passion, her ambition — even her jealousy and insecurities. Sandy doesn’t fall into the trap that so many fictional authors do by presenting Anne Boleyn as a “perfect saint”, instead crafting Anne’s true humanity.

The plot begins when Henry VIII first notices Anne (Vol I) and ends with her journey to the scaffold (Vol II). Henry is portrayed a lot more sympathetically than I have read in many other accountings, his relationship with Anne one of equal partners. I personally like how Sandy uniquely portrayed Anne and Henry’s relationship, as most authors portray one or the other as ruling the roost. In many ways, the similarities between Henry and Anne can be viewed as both a strength of their relationship, as well as it’s undoing. All too often, the easy (and in my opinion “lazy”) story is that their relationship cooled after Elizabeth’s birth. This is not the case here! Of course, there are occasional rows throughout (as we know there were), but this is presented as them being a typical married couple.

The story touches upon Anne’s education at the court of Margaret of Austria, her service to Queen Claude of France, and her relationship and admiration for one of the finest figures of the French Renaissance and one of the large players in the Reformation, Marguerite of Navarre.

A wonderful side to Anne’s personality is shown, one that those who have studied her life (such as myself) know about, but all too often gets ignored — namely Anne’s compassion and her charity! This is something that gets a strong focus throughout the books. We see Anne’s devotion to religion, as well as her support of William Tyndale, a man considered a heretic for his challenging of the Roman Catholic Church. Anne  is always portrayed in a caring capacity, such as the kindness she displayed towards one of her servants dying of the sweating sickness epidemic (Vol I). We also gain a glimpse of “the family orientated” Anne. Upset at the rumored whispers that surround her sister Mary, Anne enjoyed a sweet relationship with her mother, as well as a close relationship with her brother — a rapport that was ultimately twisted against them.

That doesn’t mean that the difficult relationship between Anne and her stepdaughter Mary is washed over at all, nor her eventual banishment from court of her sister Mary for marrying a man below her rank. Anne’s pleasure in the downfall of Cardinal Wolsey is also highlighted. We also see many times where Anne tries to guard her tongue and control her temper.

Another special point of both novels is the descriptions throughout of the various locations, such as the palaces, castles, abbeys, and manor homes that Anne and Henry visited. This brings the story to life and will make you feel you are in the story visualising these places. The mention of the “Bayne Tower” at Hampton Court Palace and the bath and sophisticated water system Henry had placed there are a real treat for readers and very informative. Sadly these rooms no longer survive, but you can see the outer building which is now a cafe.

Other highlights include the 1532 trip to Calais and subsequent secret wedding, the coronation, the devotion that Anne has towards her daughter (which admittedly we already know), the personal tragedy of 1534, the 1535 Reformation progress, and of course the tragic end, which shows the great courage that Anne Boleyn possessed.

Sandy clearly understands perfectly the trials and tribulations Anne endured, envisioning her views of how Anne must have felt. As I said previously, Sandy Vasoli truly “gets” Anne Boleyn 100%, presenting her – in what is my own opinion – in the best way Anne has ever been presented in any historical drama, whether that be in movies, television, and other fictional books — even my all time favorite Anne of the Thousand Days. I cannot begin to describe how many times I felt myself going “YES” inside my head while I read it, as I believed parts were just so “spot on”.

These books present Anne as she was: intelligent, charismatic, witty, religious, charitable, passionate, while also occasionally temperamental, hot-headed and sharp-tongued. If you love historical fiction, you will love these as they are easy to read and digest, are beautifully written. You will learn many interesting things about Anne Boleyn, as it is incredibly factual as well.

I long for the day when the Je Anne Boleyn books get turned into a television series or movie.

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ABOUT JAMES PEACOCK

James Peacock

James Peacock

James Peacock is 29 years old and lives in a suburb in Greater London. Originally training and working in Youth and Community, in 2013 he decided to follow in his lifelong passion for history with a particular interest in Anne Boleyn. He currently works at a historical site heavily associated with Anne Boleyn. (See the picture… hint, hint.) In 2014, he set up ‘The Anne Boleyn Society’ which exists to promote and bring awareness to the role that Anne Boleyn contributed to England’s history and her role in the reformation. The Anne Boleyn Society can be found on Facebook, Twitter (@Society_Anne) and Instagram (@society_anne). James also writes articles for queenanneboleyn.com. Visit his blog here at QAB. CLICK HERE!

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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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The Martyrdom of Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex

July 28, 2016 in News, The Tudor Thomases by Beth von Staats

by Beth von Staats

after Hans Holbein the Younger, line engraving, possibly 18th century © National Portrait Gallery, London

after Hans Holbein the Younger, line engraving, possibly 18th century
© National Portrait Gallery, London

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“Most gracious Prince, I cry for mercy, mercy, mercy!”

– Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex –

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Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex, is a study in contrasts. Bearer of a complicated legacy, Cromwell is often demonized for his role in the falls and ultimate executions of Elizabeth Barton, Saint John Fisher, Saint Thomas More, Queen Anne Boleyn, Henry Pole, Henry Courtenay and several others. Vilified for his leadership and efficiency in orchestrating the Dissolution of the Monasteries, Thomas Cromwell with his king’s support and approval ended a way of life going back centuries.

In stark contrast, Thomas Cromwell is also heralded as the architect of the Henrican Reformation. A self-made man who rose from dire poverty, Cromwell brought the English language Bible to England and Wales, stabilized the English economy, patronized the arts, advocated for the poor and down-trodden, and as a “man of laws” changed the very face of Parliament, introducing the notion that governmental laws could and should be established and approved through representation of the people.

It is no surprise then that historian Edward Hall noted, “Many lamented, but more rejoiced,” when Thomas Cromwell was arrested on 10 June 1540.

John Foxe by Martin Droeshout line engraving, 1620s-1630s © National Portrait Gallery, London

John Foxe
by Martin Droeshout
line engraving, 1620s-1630s
© National Portrait Gallery, London

Painted by his detractors as a traitor and “secret sacramentarian”, a sinful heretic who not only denied Roman Catholic transubstantiation but also the Lutheran sacramental union, Thomas Cromwell died via a botched beheading from an inexperienced executioner on Tower Hill, his severed head speared onto a spike placed in exhibition on London Bridge.

Though most view Thomas Cromwell as either a “hero of the common man” or “evil incarnate”, 476 years ago today, 28 July 1540, Cromwell died as neither. Instead, as much as most people rarely consider the possibility, this complex intellectual genius who changed the face of England died a religious martyr for his faith. Martyrist John Foxe honored him alongside other heralded Protestant martyrs in his famous, albeit heavily biased historical accountings — and justifiably so. As Foxe proclaimed in his Book of Martyrs:

In this worthy and noble person, besides divers other eminent virtues, three things especially are to be considered, to wit, flourishing authority, excelling wisdom, and fervent zeal to Christ and to his gospel. First, as touching his fervent zeal in setting forward the sincerity of Christian faith, sufficient is to be seen before by the injunctions, proclamations, and articles… that more cannot almost be wished in a nobleman, and scarce the like hath been seen in any.

How could this be? Thomas Cromwell, a religious martyr?

Foxe’s assessment of Cromwell’s “fervent zeal to Christ and to his gospel” is not overstated. As early as 1524, Cromwell showed plainly his desire to reform the Church in England through his association with merchants such as Thomas Somer, a stock fishmonger who was a known smuggler of evangelical heretical books, including Tyndale’s New Testament.

By 1530, Thomas Cromwell’s faith demonstrated decisively a commitment to fostering of “the new learning” within the realm. Within a year, he was smuggling and organizing the translation and printing of Lutheran works, most notably The Apology of the Augsburg Confession by Philipp Melanchthon. With Sir Thomas More and John Stokesley, Bishop of London, actively chasing heretics, burning six evangelical smugglers at the stake, Thomas Cromwell certainly took dangerous risks to foster his reformist religious agenda – all activities known, and likely far more unknown, accomplished with great secrecy before his service to or any protection from King Henry VIII.

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“My prayer is that God give me no longer life than I shall be glad to use my office in edification and not in destruction.”

– Thomas Cromwell

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To all living in 16th century Tudor England, there was only one true religion, all those disbelieving heretics. The problem became disagreement on what exactly the true religion was. 16th-century religion was serious business. Unfortunately for the subjects of the realm, just what religion one was to adhere to changed with the theological whims of the reigning monarchs and was particularly confusing during the reign of King Henry VIII. Overstep the mark of the king’s ever-changing religious philosophies, and a person would quickly become the victim of judicial murder.

after Unknown artist line engraving, possibly late 18th century © National Portrait Gallery, London

after Unknown artist
line engraving, possibly late 18th century
© National Portrait Gallery, London

As loyal as Thomas Cromwell was to Henry VIII through his ten years of faithful service, eventually he crossed the religious line of the king over an issue the monarch actually never wavered upon. The truth of the matter was that though a sinner by his own admission, Thomas Cromwell, like other evangelicals and Lutherans, believed heart and soul in justification by faith alone. Once King Henry VIII understood what this all meant upon digesting a rousing sermon by Cromwell’s rival Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, at St. Paul’s Cross on the first day of Lent 1540, Thomas Cromwell’s days were numbered.

King Henry VIII, though hateful of the papacy, still held close many Roman Catholic tenants, particularly the notion that abundant good works combined with faith were needed for salvation. This disagreement in religious belief ultimately became a sticking point in the King Henry VIII’s relationship with his most faithful servant, enabling the king to ultimately order Cromwell’s execution after his detractors, most notably Stephen Gardiner and other high ranking conservative clergy, along with Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, orchestrated Cromwell’s arrest and imprisonment upon certainly false charges.

Perhaps most convincing of Thomas Cromwell’s “fervent zeal to Christ and to his gospel” was his speech to those witness to his execution. Though many people, particularly historical fiction writers and arm-chair historians, mistakenly assume Cromwell recanted his Lutheran beliefs by proclaiming, “I die in the Catholic faith, not doubting in any article of my faith…” during his final speech, he, like Martin Luther, Thomas Cranmer, Philipp Melanchthon and other Lutherans and evangelicals, used the term “Catholic” to mean the “Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church”. To this day, Lutherans and Anglicans are Catholics. What they are not are papists or “Roman” Catholics, neither term used by Cromwell.

Instead of the recantation many assumed was offered, Thomas Cromwell professed clearly and pointedly to those in witness, to his family, to his king, and to his God his steadfast belief that his salvation could only be justified through his faith and his faith alone. He prayed at the block,

I see and acknowledge that there is in myself no hope of salvation, but all my confidence, hope and trust is in thy most merciful goodness. I have no merits or good works with I may allege before thee… Of sins and evil works, alas, I see a great heap… but through thy mercy, I trust to be in the number of them to whom thou wilt not impute their sins; but will take and accept me for righteous and just…

With Thomas Cromwell’s staunch Lutheran beliefs intact, like Cardinal John Fisher, Sir Thomas More, John Frith, John Lambert, the Carthusian Monks, Father John Forest, and his blessed William Tyndale before him, Thomas Cromwell died a religious martyr to his faith. Though often forgotten, ignored or dispelled, that truth remains undaunted.

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Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury by Pieter Stevens van Gunst line engraving, published 1707 © National Portrait Gallery, London

Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury
by Pieter Stevens van Gunst
line engraving, published 1707
© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Surviving Partial Letter Composed by

Thomas Cranmer to King Henry VIII

14 June 1540

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…….. I heard yesterday in your Grace’s Council, that he [Crumwell] is a traitor, yet who cannot be sorrowful and amazed that he should be a traitor against your Majesty, he that was so advanced by your Majesty; he whose surety was only by your Majesty; he who loved your Majesty, as I ever thought, no less than God; he who studied always to set forwards whatsoever was your Majesty’s will and pleasure; he that cared for no man’s displeasure to serve your Majesty; he that was such a servant in my judgmentt, in wisdom, diligence, faithfulness, and experience, as no prince in this realm ever had; he that was so vigilant to preserve your Majesty from all treasons, that few could be so secretly conceived, but he detected the same in the beginning? If the noble princes of memory, King John, Henry the Second, and Richard II had had such a counsellor about them, I suppose that they should never have been so traitorously abandoned, and overthrown as those good princes were:

…….. I loved him as my friend, for so I took him to be; but I chiefly loved him for the love which I thought I saw him bear ever towards your Grace, singularly above all other. But now, if he be a traitor, I am sorry that ever I loved him or trusted him, and I am very glad that his treason is discovered in time; but yet again I am very sorrowful; for who shall your Grace trust hereafter, if you might not trust him? Alas! I bewail and lament your Grace’s chance herein, I wot not whom your Grace may trust. But I pray God continually night and day, to send such a counsellor in his place whom your Grace may trust, and who for all his qualities can and will serve your Grace like to him, and that will have so much solicitude and care to preserve your Grace from all dangers as I ever thought he had…….. [14 June 1540.]

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Sir Thomas Wyatt By J. Thurston, engraved by W.H. Worthinton after a drawing by Hans Holbein the younger in the Buckingham Library from Charles Cowden Clarke, The Poetic Works of Sir Thomas Wyatt

Sir Thomas Wyatt
By J. Thurston, engraved by W.H. Worthinton after
a drawing by Hans Holbein the younger in the
Buckingham Library from Charles Cowden Clarke,
The Poetic Works of Sir Thomas Wyatt

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Sir Thomas Wyatt’s Poem Heralding

the Execution of Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex

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THE pillar perish’d is whereto I leant,

The strongest stay of my unquiet mind;

The like of it no man again can find,

From east to west still seeking though he went,

To mine unhap, for hap away hath rent

Of all my joy the very bark and rind,

And I, alas, by chance am thus assign’ d

Daily to mourn, till death do it relent.

But since that thus it is by destiny,

What can I more but have a woeful heart;

My pen in plaint, my voice in careful cry,

My mind in woe, my body full of smart;

And I myself, myself always to hate,

Till dreadful death do ease my doleful state.

– Sir Thomas Wyatt

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Coat of Arms Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex

Coat of Arms
Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex

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SOURCES:


Cranmer, Thomas, Archbishop, Letter of Thomas Cranmer to King Henry VIII, Regarding Thomas Cromwell, Luminarium: Anthology of English Literature.

Foxe, John, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, 195. Thomas Cromwell.

Loades, David, Thomas Cromwell, Servant to Henry VIII, Amberley Publishing, Gloucestershire, 2013.

Schofield, John, The Rise and Fall of Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s Most Faithful Servant, The History Press, Gloucestershire, 2008.

Wyatt, Thomas, THE pillar perished is whereto I leant, Luminarium: Renaissance Literature.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Beth vo

Beth von Staats

Beth von Staats is a history writer of both fiction and non-fiction short works. A life-long history enthusiast, Beth holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, in Sociology from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. She is the owner and administrator of Queen Anne Boleyn Historical Writers website, QueenAnneBoleyn.com.

Beth’s interest in British History grew through the profound influence of her Welsh grandparents, both of whom desired she learn of her family cultural heritage. Her most pronounced interest lies with the men and women who drove the course of events and/or who were most poignantly impacted by the English Henrician and Protestant Reformations, as well as the Tudor Dynasty of English and Welsh History in general.

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"Thomas Cranmer In a Nutshell" Final Blog Stop

Thomas Cranmer -mini-bio

TO PURCHASE THOMAS CRANMER IN A NUTSHELL

CLICK THE LINK BELOW!

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THOMAS CRANMER IN A NUTSHELL

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ANNE BOLEYN DAY 2016: “Anne Boleyn, America’s Anointed Queen of Anglophenia”

May 19, 2016 in 2016: Anne Boleyn Day, News by Beth von Staats

ANNEBOLEYNDAY

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Queenanneboleyn.com is sharing with you today the events of ANNE BOLEYN DAY 2016 as they unfold. In my video, I discuss why American’s are obsessed with Queen Anne Boleyn.

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VIDEO CREDIT: MadeGlobal Publishing

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Beth vo

Beth von Staats

Beth von Staats is a history writer of both fiction and non-fiction short works. A life-long history enthusiast, Beth holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, in Sociology from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. She is the owner and administrator of Queen Anne Boleyn Historical Writers website, QueenAnneBoleyn.com.

Beth’s interest in British History grew through the profound influence of her Welsh grandparents, both of whom desired she learn of her family cultural heritage. Her most pronounced interest lies with the men and women who drove the course of events and/or who were most poignantly impacted by the English Henrician and Protestant Reformations, as well as the Tudor Dynasty of English and Welsh History in general.

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ANNE BOLEYN DAY 2016: Auction of Queen Anne Boleyn Art by Gary Ransom

May 19, 2016 in 2016: Anne Boleyn Day, News by Beth von Staats

ANNEBOLEYNDAY

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Queenanneboleyn.com will be sharing with you today the events of ANNE BOLEYN DAY 2016 as they unfold. MadeGlobal Publishing is hosting this fantastic Art Auction of “Anne Boleyn in Pointillism” by the talented Gary Ransom. Bidding opens right now and is open for three days. All proceeds benefit the Mary Rose Trust and ROPE, patronage and charity in the spirit of England’s tragic queen.

Click here to place you bid. —-> ANNE BOLEYN ART AUCTION BIDDING! Good Luck!

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VIDEO CREDIT: MadeGlobal Publishing

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ANNE BOLEYN DAY 2016: Sarah Bryson Discusses Anne Boleyn and Mary Boleyn Carey Stafford

May 19, 2016 in 2016: Anne Boleyn Day, News by Beth von Staats

ANNEBOLEYNDAY

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Queenanneboleyn.com is sharing with you today the events of ANNE BOLEYN DAY 2016 as they unfold. In this excellent video, Sarah Bryson discusses the relationship between Queen Anne Boleyn and her sister, the Lady Mary Boleyn Carey Stafford.

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VIDEO CREDIT: MadeGlobal Publishing

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sarah Bryson

Sarah Bryson

Sarah Bryson is a researcher, writer, and educator who has a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education with Honours. She currently works with children with disabilities. She is passionate about Tudor history and has a deep interest in Mary Boleyn,Charles Brandon, the reign of Henry VIII and the people of his court. Visiting England in 2009 furthered her passion and when she returned home she started a website, queentohistory.com, and a Facebook page about Tudor history. Sarah lives in Australia, enjoys reading, writing, and Tudor costume enactment, and wishes to return to England one day.

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