Queen Mary Tudor, Was She Out for Revenge? (Thomas Cranmer: Martyred 21 March 1556)

March 21, 2017 in Queens of World History, The Tudor Thomases by Beth von Staats

by Beth von Staats

Queen Mary Tudor — Was She Out for Revenge?

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Editor’s Note: This article includes an excerpt from Thomas Cranmer in a Nutshell, by Beth von Staats (MadeGlobal Publishing).

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Thomas Cranmer, England’s first Protestant Archbishop of Canterbury, has a tainted and complicated legacy. One of world history’s most morally and emotionally conflicted historical figures, Cranmer’s professional life, combined with his wholehearted belief in the scriptural truth of the royal supremacy, left him continuously weighing his religious beliefs, moral centre, family values, and conscience with those of the monarchs he steadfastly served, King Henry VIII, King Edward VI and Queen Jane Dudley – and most tragically for Cranmer and those who loved him, also those of the monarch he ardently betrayed, Queen Mary Tudor.

When discussing Thomas Cranmer’s 21 March 1556 tragic martyrdom, sadly commemorated by the Church of England and the Worldwide Anglican Communion today, people often ask for my thoughts of Queen Mary Tudor. Did she orchestrate Cranmer’s downfall, imprisonment, and martyrdom due to her steadfast Roman Catholic belief system? Did she hate Cranmer? Was she out for revenge?

Queen Mary Tudor

Most people assume the answers to these questions to be, “yes, yes, and yes”. After all, Queen Mary Tudor was a devout Roman Catholic. In contrast, Thomas Cranmer believed the Pope to be the antichrist. Queen Mary Tudor believed her mother, Queen Catherine of Aragon, to have been the anointed Queen Consort of England from her marriage to King Henry VIII to the day she died. Thomas Cranmer instead declared Queen Catherine of Aragon’s marriage to the king to be “null and void from the start”, a decision that for all intents and purposes bastardized Mary. In short, at the time of Queen Mary Tudor’s ascension to the throne, beyond King Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell, both dead and gone, there was one man left alive thought responsible for Queen Mary’s tragic childhood — her separation from her mother, her loss of her father’s affection, her loss of royal status and succession rights, her life at times at risk of execution. That man was Thomas Cranmer.

Given all we know of Queen Mary Tudor’s life before her ascension, if we are to look solely at her actions taken against Thomas Cranmer in isolation, setting aside the hundreds of others martyred by burning during her reign, would we really find her choice all that surprising? Would we even question it? I hazard to think we would not — but, I also believe it is important to point out in fairness to Queen Mary Tudor’s legacy — and also Thomas Cranmer’s — that there was far more behind Cranmer’s martyrdom than the simple desire by the reigning monarch to exact hate-filled revenge. The fact of the matter is this. Once it became clear that King Edward VI would die without an heir, Thomas Cranmer and Mary Tudor literally fought one another for survival — and through extension, the survival of Protestantism and Roman Catholicism in England. In a valiant struggle of one against the other, Mary Tudor knowingly won the battle. Thomas Cranmer unknowingly won the war.

As all Tudor History enthusiasts know, when it became clear that King Edward VI would not survive to adulthood, the realm faced a huge succession crisis. History teaches us that the young king’s solution from that established by his father King Henry VIII was to change the succession to one more acceptable to his staunch Protestant beliefs. In his own hand, King Edward VI drafted “My devise of the succession”. In doing so, King Edward VI passed over both of his sisters Mary and Elizabeth Tudor and, like his father, his Scottish relatives, and settled upon the progeny of his paternal aunt, Mary, Queen of France and Duchess of Suffolk.

King Edward VI

Although Thomas Cranmer testified at his heresy hearing in 1555 that he was allowed no private access to King Edward VI during the final months of his reign to hear first-hand in a confidential forum what the king’s wishes actually were, he accepted them just the same. After all, King Edward VI’s commands were in original form in his own hand and further articulated to Cranmer in a group forum. Thus, steadfastly loyal to the two kings he served, Thomas Cranmer not only signed the bond of allegiance supporting the devise, he signed it FIRST — “unfeignedly and without dissimulation” — in an oversized signature, “T. CANT.”

King Edward VI’s death on 6 July 1553 came more swiftly than most anticipated. This created two major complications that would come back to haunt Thomas Cranmer. First, King Edward VI’s “My devise of the succession” had not yet passed through Parliament. Far more ominous, Mary Tudor, with advance warning of her brother’s impending doom, was able to flee. Without securing the person of the Lady Mary, Cranmer and John Dudley — who for the previous two years were at odds with one another — needed to immediately ally and work together. They did just that.

The first order of business was to crown a queen. The original heir to the throne Lady Frances Grey by prearrangement renounced her claim. Thus, the first intended regnant Queen of England would be Lady Jane Dudley (nee: Grey), who had married the Duke of Northumberland’s son Guildford just six weeks previously. The proclamation of Jane Dudley as Queen of England went smoothly, spreading throughout the realm. As was customary, she was initially housed at the Tower of London. Unfortunately for Cranmer, however, within two days of the king’s death, Mary Tudor was safe in East Anglia.

A wave of popular support for the Mary Tudor enabled her to safely venture on to Framlingham Castle in Suffolk. Wisely avoiding any debate of the religion question, Mary Tudor pressed her claim to the throne as the rightful heir as King Henry VIII’s eldest daughter. The strategy worked, and support for her ground-swelled. John Dudley’s hastily formed London forces, partially armed with men, armour, weapons and horses provided by Thomas Cranmer, intended to cut the Mary off from the Midlands. Unnerved by the resistance he was encountering, Dudley retreated to Cambridge, proclaiming for Mary Tudor as Queen of England himself. Cranmer stood alone.

John Dudley

While Dudley led his expeditionary forces, Thomas Cranmer composed a letter on 11 July in which he formally rejected Mary Tudor’s claim to the throne. Cranmer wrote that the divorce of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon “was necessary to be had both by the everlasting laws of God, and also by the ecclesiastical laws, and by the most part of the noble and learned universities of Christendom…”  Then, Cranmer’s name again led a list of Privy Councillors ordering sheriffs throughout the kingdom to pull together forces to retrieve the “bastard Mary”, because she was “plotting to bring papists, Spaniards and other strangers into the realm at the great peril and danger of the utter subversion of God’s holy word.” While Mary Tudor pointedly focused on her succession rights, Cranmer attempted desperately to bring religion back into the discussion.

One week into the reign of Queen Jane, news of revolts throughout the realm reached London, resulting in several Privy Councillors slipping away to join Mary Tudor’s cause. In contrast, Thomas Cranmer dug his heels in, again leading a now shortened list of signatures in a desperate attempt to secure the support of Sir Richard Rich and his influence in Essex on Queen Jane’s behalf. By then the cause was hopeless, his words wasted on Tudor History’s most notorious “flip-flopper”. Most Councillors signing the letter slipped away the same day, proclaiming Mary Tudor Queen of England.

Although resistance to her cause continued through the entire month of July in Cranmer’s home diocese of Cambridgeshire and also the Fens, Mary Tudor, accompanied by her younger sister Elizabeth, rode into London triumphant. The daughter of Queen Catherine of Aragon, granddaughter of Queen Isabella of Castile, was Queen of England. Thomas Cranmer instead was a traitor, the last man left not to proclaim for her.

Treason charges lodged against Thomas Cranmer were inevitable. With thirty suits of Cranmer’s armour found abandoned by the Duke of Northumberland’s troops and his bold signature leading several damning documents, his arrest was a fait-accompli. The Dudleys and Bishop Nicholas Ridley already in the Tower of London by the end of July, Cranmer walked free until mid- September. Evidently, Queen Mary was cautious not to show her religious cards too soon, also treading lightly with evangelical protesters.

Thomas Cranmer

With the luxury of time this afforded, Thomas Cranmer could have easily escaped to Europe as many other Protestants had, such as Peter Martyr, Francis Walsingham and Katherine Willoughby. Instead, Cranmer stayed in England, residing in plain sight in his private estates, carrying out his typical duties. Was Cranmer making arrangements to protect his wife and two children? Was he intent through duty and loyalty to preside over the funeral of his godson King Edward VI? Historians have yet to solve the mystery, but his decision to remain in England certainly had tragic consequences.

Commanded by Queen Mary Tudor to call together Convocation and appear at the Court of Richmond, Thomas Cranmer complied. Fearful of placing his contemporaries and friends in danger, he refused to speak with them publicly, most notably Sir William Cecil. As others around him, such as Secretary Cheke and Lord Russell were questioned and arrested, he refrained from his typical habit of writing letters of support on their behalf. From the point Queen Mary Tudor took power, she refused to see or speak with Cranmer, this quite obvious at functions where both were in attendance. In short, knowing his arrest and condemnation were forthcoming, Cranmer went about the business of preparing himself for the inevitable, careful to do so in a way that no one else was dragged alongside.

By August, Queen Mary Tudor no longer showed tolerance for open evangelical services. Rather than banning them altogether, she cleverly opened the possibility of the Eucharist mass being worshiped in all parishes instead. The tide swiftly turned, Eucharist masses swiftly overwhelming those clergies still willing to preach evangelical services. Cranmer was shocked by the Roman Catholic conversions of the imprisoned John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, and Sir John Gates, Marquess of Northampton. A wonderful turnabout in Queen Mary’s favour, the lay leadership neutralized and religious tides turning her way, she took the opportunity to purge the Protestant clergy. Though careful not to involve others, Thomas Cranmer was still not of a mind to capitulate. Civil disobedience for him still reigned.

His arrest imminent, commissioners working on behalf of Queen Mary delivered to the archbishop a list of questions he was compelled to answer, along with a command to prepare a complete listing of his possessions. While Thomas Cranmer went along with the commissioners’ directives, he concurrently refused to bend to the Marian regime’s religious policies. Cranmer sent a letter to a friend condemning a Eucharist mass celebrated at his own Canterbury Cathedral, along with a draft of a proclamation condemning the celebration of mass as “devil devising”, further denying all rumours that he would ever celebrate any Eucharist mass before the Queen of England. Somehow this draft proclamation was promulgated. Thomas Cranmer was frustrated, to say the least. His intention was to edit the draft into a public manifesto that “a la Martin Luther” would be affixed to every church door in London with his official seal. Obviously, the ruling regime considered his action sedation, Cranmer proudly admitting to it himself when finally questioned and subsequently arrested after an appearance at Star Chamber.

Thomas Cranmer

In spite of Thomas Cranmer’s steadfast support of and scriptural belief in the royal supremacy, he engaged in active high treason. Although his signature on King Edward VI’s “Devise of the succession” was boldly signed while Edward was still king, it was never approved by Parliamentary decree. Once the king died, Cranmer engaged in overt activities to prevent Queen Mary’s succession, thirty suits of armour at the very least provided to John Dudley’s troops, documents written and signed ordering additional troops from all local sheriffs, and composition of written declarations of her illegitimacy and of heresy. Once Queen Mary Tudor ascended to the throne, Thomas Cranmer failed to proclaim her, engaged in activities in opposition to her religious agenda, and publicly shamed her belief in Roman Catholicism. Thus, after being paraded through the city of London in disgrace, Thomas Cranmer was found guilty of high treason on 13 November 1553 at the same trial that also condemned England’s shortest-reigning monarch Jane (Grey) Dudley, her husband Guildford and others.

Though Lady Jane Dudley and Guildford Dudley bravely faced inevitable beheadings, Queen Mary Tudor’s plans for Thomas Cranmer took a far different path. The first Protestant Archbishop of Canterbury would be charged and convicted of heresy, like many “heretics” before him — some condemned by him — burned at the stake. From Queen Mary Tudor’s 16th-century mindset, heresy was the greater crime, Cranmer’s burning death a needed step towards England’s return to Roman Catholicism, and with it, the ultimate salvation of her subjects.

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A Video Tribute to Archbishop Thomas Cranmer by Mercy Rivera

Mercy owns none of the contents.

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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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“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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“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.

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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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“Lágrimas Negras: La Plegaria de Mary Tudor, Reina de Inglaterra”, por Mercy Rivera

February 18, 2017 in Hall of Crowns (Mercy Rivera), Historical Fiction, Queens of World History, Spanish Language Diary Entries by Mercy Rivera

por Mercy Rivera

Maria_Tudor1

Reina Maria Tudor

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Video producido por Mercy Rivera (piratesse4)

 Mercy no posee nada del contenido.

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LágrimasNegras

Fui una vez la perla de este reino, la luz de los ojos del Rey mi padre, y la vida entera de la reina, mi madre. Heredera de sangre noble, de casta fuerte, con ancestros de linaje impecable, y legado precioso, mas aún, a pesar de todo eso, no soy amada por mi reino, ni por mi marido ni por los que me rodean. Yo, la nieta de Isabel y Fernando de Castilla, hija de la noble Catalina de Aragón, hija del león, Enrique VIII, estoy reducida a menos que nada, con una corona que me pesa, que me duele, que me da un inmenso poder pero al mismo tiempo me condena a una soledad extrema. ¿De que me sirve cargarla en mi cabeza si no me puede dar el amor de mi súbditos y de mi rey, de que me sirve si no me puede dar herederos, de que me sirve si solo inspira el miedo de los que pasan por delante de mi? ¿Para esto me esforcé tanto durante mi niñez, para esto es que me mantuve en pie ante todas las amarguras que viví?

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Me miro en el espejo, y no me reconozco. He perdido la lozanía de la juventud, más por causa de las penas que por el paso de los años, me he convertido en una mujer de piedra, fría e indomable. Le he dado mi alma, mi corazón y todo mi ser a Inglaterra como siempre fue mi deber, no me arrepiento, porque he vengado a mi madre, y a mí misma por las injurias del pasado. Desde el momento en que fui unjida y coronada, le devolví el honor a mi casta, recuperé lo que siempre fue mío por derecho, eliminé a mis enemigos y a los enemigos de la Santa Fe Católica, uno por uno cayeron ante las llamas del fuego puro de la justicia de Dios, misma que por mi mano recibieron, poco a poco he destruído la herejía que vino con La Bolena y su estirpe, Inglaterra es una vez más una con Dios y el Santo Padre. He cumplido con un deber sagrado, y aún así, no soy amada. El reino entero murmura, la gente me llama “Maria Sangrienta”, me temen y me odian, no se atreven a decirme de frente lo que gritan a mis espaldas. Soy la Reina, María Primera de Inglaterra, regente sin duda alguna, y no soy amada. Hablan de mi a escondidas. Susurran sobre como la reina envejece y aún no se escucha el llanto del heredero al trono de Inglaterra. ¡Dios, como me torturan, lo peor es que son palabras ciertas, es una verdad que me hiere profundamente! ¿Acaso estoy maldita, acaso Dios me castiga negándome lo que más he querido tener en el mundo? Un hijo, un hijo al cual amar, un hijo que limpie mi alma de tantas amarguras, de tantos pesares y que borre para siempre de mí, ese pasado que tanto me envenena. Un hijo me daría la paz que perdí hace muchos años, me devolvería la alegría de vivir, hasta la misma juventud perdida. Un hijo que sería mi legado más grande, un hijo que continuaría con lo que ya he iniciado. Un hijo, una bendición, una criatura a la que amaría y entregaría todo, sin importar su género, pues jamás cometería el cruel error de mi padre, de rechazar a una hija por el deseo de un heredero varón, yo no cometería nunca esa crueldad con quien sería sangre de mi sangre, carne de mi carne.

Pero estoy vacía, y me niego a creer que no hay oportunidad, ya tuve esa dulce sensación dentro de mí una vez, y fue como si algún maleficio le hubiera hecho desaparecer. Dios sabe cuanto le anhelaba, como pude sentir que florecía la vida misma en mi vientre, no fue engaño, yo se que estaba dentro de mí. Pero por voluntad divina o maligna, no pudo ser, perdí a ese pequeño ser que el amor creó dentro de mis entrañas y mi corazón, sin dolor físico, pero si en mi alma, que nunca pudo entender el por qué de tan cruel burla de este destino mío que se empeña en condenarme a la soledad.

Destino maldito! Destino que cambió mi vida en mis años de niña cuando permitió que Ana Bolena descargara su veneno en mi vida, arrebatándome todo, a mi padre, a mi madre, mi rango y todo lo que yo amaba. Cruel destino que me puso por delante madrastras que poco hicieron por mí, por miedo a enfurecer al tirano de mi padre, al que aveces perdono, y al que aveces odio con todo el corazón, cada vez que pienso en las lágrimas de mi amada madre, y en las mías, Como sufrí en aquellos días, lejos de quien me dio el ser y de todo lo que dulcemente me rodeaba, de la protección que el rango de princesa me otorgaba, como recuerdo el terror de pensar que al día siguiente vería ante mí la sentencia de mi muerte, por la mano de esa perra de Bolena, que me convirtió en bastarda bajo el embrujo que la hizo reina sobre la desgracia de mi madre. Y es por eso que no puedo amar sin dudas a mi hermana como lo manda la ley de Dios, no solo por ser el fruto de la unión que me separó de todo lo que una vez fue enteramente mío, también, porque siempre me sentí menos que ella, si esa es la verdad aunque me pese. Posee una belleza que opaca a la que yo una vez tuve, heredó lo mejor de su madre, tiene ese encanto hechizante que atrae a las masas, los embruja con solo una sonrisa, ¡es por eso que ella no debe ser mi sucesora, no lo puedo permitir! Isabel será lo que una vez fue su madre, una reina hereje, apartará al reino de la obediencia al Santo Padre, de el dulce consuelo de la Madre de Cristo, reinstalará el mal que yo ya he erradicado y no lo puedo permitir! Y aún con todo lo que ya se, no la puedo odiar, no la puedo matar, por sus venas corre la misma sangre que por las mías, admito que recuerdo con cariño los momentos que pasamos juntas cuando la soledad y el desprecio eran nuestra única compañía. Mas como creer ahora en sus palabras de afecto, si estoy segura que su corazón anhela tener sobre su cabeza la corona que yo poseo, estoy segura que su alma es tan ambiciosa como la de su estirpe materna, ella en los huesos también es una Bolena. Isabel, mi hermana y mi rival, mi ruina, y al mismo tiempo la salvación de este reino.

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Isabel, tan joven aún, en cambio yo, a mi me han consumido las penas de tal manera, que los años se pueden considerar inocentes, ante el deterioro tan evidente en mi apariencia. Isabel, la envidio y le temo, la quiero y la desprecio, nos unen y nos separan tantas cosas. Me pregunto, ¿ como ha podido superar los martirios de su soledad, como ha logrado mantenerse fresca y bella a pesar de los miedos que la torturan, por qué a ella le ha bendecido la vida con belleza espléndida a pesar de sus penas, mientras que a mí me ha emparejado con la misma decadencia? No tengo respuestas que me conforten, que me hagan comprender y conformarme, y es por eso que ese amor que le tuve cuando era una niña, denigrada a bastarda como yo, sin madre y sin rango, se ha desvanecido, la rivalidad ha tomado el lugar de ese sentimiento que una vez fue dulce, pero que ya no es más que solo amargura.

Lejos están de mi aquellos recuerdos que dulcemente me consolaban, todo cambió desde los días en que mis padres se mostraban amor a puertas abiertas, tanto que les vi besarse, romper protocolos para brindarse sonrisas, mi padre el Rey, que corría a recibirme en sus brazos y me llamaba “La Perla de su Mundo”. Y mi madre, la hermosa Reina Catalina de Aragón, que guiaba con ternura mis pasos, la que con fervor curaba mis fiebres y me cantaba nanas en la madrugada cuando las pesadillas me aterraban. Dios sabe cuanto extraño su dulce voz, sus consejos, y aquellos regaños, que inspiraban admiración y respeto, pero miedo, eso jamás. Mis padres fueron Reyes, mas yo nunca los vi de esa manera, fueron mis padres, y con ellos fui feliz. Por eso siempre prometía a mi madre que el día que fuera Reina de Inglaterra, haría honores a mi Casta de Castilla y Aragón, haría que la Rosa Tudor marcara por siempre la Corona. Pero Ana Bolena me arrebató todo, y no importa si dicen que mi padre tuvo mil amantes, y un bastardo al que puso por encima de mí, aún con todo aquello yo era la luz de sus ojos, yo lo se. Fue ella y la llegada de Isabel, quienes sellaron mi destino para mal, y todo lo que fui, todo lo que amé, ya nunca más fue mío, y aquella promesa que mil veces le hice a mi madre, ahora mismo se tambalea, se encuentra en peligro de perecer sin ser realmente cumplida.

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Isabel, siento que tristememente en un tiempo no tendré muchas fuerzas para enfrentarte, a veces quisiera olvidar todo, y tenerte conmigo, verte como la hermana que siempre quise a mi lado, más no puedo, ya sea por envidia, por miedo, por desprecio u orgullo, debo mantenerte lejos. Yo se, que los ojos de mi esposo el Rey se han deleitado con tus encantos, los mismos que heredaste de tu madre, bien que eres cuña de su mismo árbol. ¡Me duele y me indigna! Pero en el fondo quisiera ser como tú. Te veo tan llena de vida, mientras que yo me consumo como una llama en medio de la tormenta, sonríes con dulzura, y yo ya no puedo, eres delicada, como lo fui yo en mis años felices, eres ciertamente hija de nuestro padre, hija del león, igual que yo, pero más fuerte, has sobrevivido tus penas sin marchitarte, y es por eso que, aunque me cueste admitirlo, siento que en este reino no habrá reina más amada y recordada que tú. Pues ya no puedo seguir posponiendo lo inevitable, mis fuerzas no son las mismas, y siento que lo que llevo en mi vientre, no es el dulce latir de un hijo, aunque lo deseo con todas mis fuerzas, cada día que pasa me doy cuenta que lo que crece dentro de mi me absorbe la vida, se alimenta de mi de manera ponzoñosa, más no con la dulzura con la que un a criatura de Dios lo hace dentro del vientre materno. Permita Dios y me equivoque, pero si estas dudas se tornan ciertas, tendré que heredarte todo Isabel, pasar mi corona sobre tu cabeza, y al irme de este mundo ver una vez más la perversa sonrisa de tu madre, regocijada en tu triunfo sobre mí.

Lágrimas negras he llorado, lágrimas que encierran rabia, rencor, soledad, amargura y miedo. Lágrimas negras que comencé a derramar desde el día en que me separaron de mi madre, desde el momento en el que el Rey mi padre me lanzó a la sombras para llevar a la luz a su amante en todo su esplendor, mientras que su verdadera reina, se consumía en le verguenza y en la pena de su abandono. Lágrimas negras derramé cuando me degradaron a sirvienta, siguiendo los pasos de mi hermana recién nacida y bajando la cabeza ante aquellos que siempre debieron inclinarse ante mí. Lágrimas negras he llorado sin consuelo, a solas, con el único apoyo de mis recuerdos felices, de aquella niñez que fue cortada tan temprano. Siempre escuché de mis damas decir: que las lágrimas de una princesa, siempre deben ser de alegría, pues el alma de una princesa, siempre debe brillar de felicidad, como el oro con el que fue labrada su corona al nacer. Fácil forjar palabras bellas para alagar a una princesa cuando la gloria le favorece, más cuando ésta cae en desgracia, nadie forja palabras de igual belleza para consolar, y hacer que esas lágrimas negras, tan llenas de agonía, dejen de brotar.

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Lágrimas negras han secado mi alma, se han llevado la juventud de mi rostro, lavaron con su frialdad mi alegría de vivir, ya nunca pude ser de nuevo aquella joven de gran altivez, de presencia cálida que a todos agradaba. Lágrimas negras, lloré cuando al ver mi reflejo en los ojos de mi padre el rey, ya no veía el amor de un padre, si no la rigidez del tirano que solo buscaba mi obediencia y complacencia absoluta, en su mirada fría pude ver mi propio temor, pues me di cuenta que si me mantenía firme en mis convicciones, era claro que no se tocaría el corazón para ordenar mi muerte. A partir de ese momento mi alma se fue marchitando, y así mis sueños e ilusiones igual fueron pereciendo. Pasaba el tiempo y para mí no habia esperanzas, solo la muerte de mi hermano me devolvió lo que siempre debió ser mío en primer lugar, El Trono de Inglaterra.

La dulce victoria de mi llegada al trono fue cálida, yo tenía tanto por hacer, por primera vez me sentí segura, recompensada por tantos años de rechazo y amargura. Pero de nada sirvió, porque la soledad no me abandona, y tampoco la mala fortuna. En las noches siguen brotando lágrimas negras, caen por mi rostro tan frías como el invierno mas duro, porque no hay alegría a pesar de mis logros, no hay amor a pesar de mi deseo, no, no hay amor, pues no lo veo en los ojos de el hombre al que amo, en el que había puesto todas mis esperanzas de felicidad. Me mira con desprecio, y aveces creo que hasta con asco, y no le culpo, ya no soy hermosa, al menos no como una vez lo fuí, pero le amo, ¿acaso no es eso suficiente? No, creo que no lo es, tanto que mi madre amó a mi padre, y aún así fue abandonada. ¿Por qué, Por qué para una reina es tan dificil ser amada por lo que es, por quien es, es que acaso las reinas de Inglaterra tienen prohibido el placer de amar y ser correspondidas, con la misma libertad y pureza que ese sentimiento divino profesa.

Cruel destino el mío que solo ha hecho brotar de mis ojos lágrimas negras. Tan corta fue la dicha en mi vida, y tan larga mi pena. ¿Será que mi estirpe está maldita, a causa de pecados pasados, será este el precio a pagar? Dios sabe que mis actos fueron hechos con el fin de traer a Inglaterra de vuelta a la luz, a la Fe única y verdadera. No me arrepiento de nada, pues lo hice actuando con mi consciencia, hice lo que juré en silencio mi madre y a mí misma. Pero quizás sea mi negativa a perdonar, lo que realmente me esté envenenando por dentro. Puede que esa sea la raíz de todos mis males, pues Dios mismo ha ordenado en Su palabra perdonar, aún a nuestros más fuertes enemigos. Bien pues, tomando en cuenta que dentro de mí, siento un nuevo ardor de vida, elevo al cielo una plegaria, abro mi corazón al perdón, pues si es el precio a pagar por una esperanza de felicidad, de ser amada por mi pueblo como su reina, estoy dispuesta a tragame mi orgullo, y dar el perdón a quienes más daño me hicieron en esta vida.

De rodillas, suplico a Dios y a la dulce Virgen María que escuchen mi clamor, es mi deseo, dejar mi odio atrás, que me den la fuerza que necesito para tragarme mi orgullo, y perdonar a mi padre, a esa mujer, Ana Bolena, que con su lujuria y ambición destruyó mi vida, pido por el alma de ambos, para que reciban el perdón.Te perdono, padre mío, por darme el cruel látigo de tu desprecio después de tantos años de veneración y amor, jamás podrás imaginar el dolor tan inmenso que me hiciste padecer, y si está tu alma finalmente en el cielo, no lo se, aún me siento muy herida como para anhelar que así sea, aunque mi corazón te perdone en mi memoria están ardiendo aún los recuerdos de esos días negros, que tanto marcaron mi existencia. Y ella, Ana Bolena, espero que Dios le haya perdonado todo el mal que causó, tanto a mí como a tantos hombres buenos que sirvieron al Rey con fervor y lealtad. Mi confesor una vez me dijo que ella con la pérdida de su cabeza ya había pagado todas sus maldades, tal vez sea la verdad, y sea hora de olvidarla y dejar de pensar en ella con tanto odio. Pido también por el alma de mi madre, a la que nunca olvido, la que vive en mi corazón y en mis recuerdos, que esté en paz y me ayude desde el cielo a hallar la mía propia. Y más que todo, pido que esto que siento latiendo dentro de mí, sea la esperanza de este reino, y mi redención, mi recompensa a tantos años de miedo y sufrimientos. Que me equivoque en mis malos pensamientos, que sea vida y no desventura o enfermedad lo que dentro de mi viente siento crecer, que sea un heredero, creo merecer esa bendición, ¿verdad?

Deus, animam meam: dimittite me ut plangeret prohibere nigrum lacrimis. In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti, Amen.

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English Translation:

Black Tears:  The Prayer of Mary Tudor, Queen of England

I once was the pearl of this kingdom, the light of the eyes of the King my father, and the whole life of the queen, my mother. Heir of noble blood, strong caste, with ancestry of impeccable lineage, and precious legacy, but still, in spite of all that, I am not loved by my kingdom, neither by my husband nor by those around me. I, the granddaughter of Isabel and Ferdinand of Castile, daughter of the noble Catherine of Aragon, daughter of the lion, Henry The VIII, I am reduced to nothing, with a crown that is too heavy for me to carry, it hurts me, a crown that gives me an immense power But at the same time condemns me to extreme solitude. What good is it to have it on my head if it can not give me the love of my subjects and my husband, what good is it to me if it can not give me heirs, what good is it if it inspires only the fear of those who cross my path? It is for this that I worked so hard in my early years, it is for this that I kept myself together during all my years of suffering?

I look in the mirror, and I do not recognize myself. I have lost the freshness of youth, more because of the pain than for nature of years, I have become a woman of stone, cold and indomitable. I have given my soul, my heart and my whole being to England as it was always my duty, I do not regret it, because I have avenged my mother, and myself for the insults of the past. From the moment I was anointed and crowned, I returned the honor to my caste, recovered what was always mine by right, I eliminated my enemies and the enemies of the Holy Catholic Faith, one by one fell before the flames of pure fire Of the justice of God, which by my hand they have received, I have gradually destroyed the heresy that came with The Boleyns, its lineage and all their allies, England is once again one with God and the Holy Father. I have fulfilled a sacred duty, and yet, I am not loved. The whole kingdom murmurs, people call me “Bloody Mary”, they fear me and they hate me, they do not dare to tell me on my face what they shout behind my back. I am the Queen, Mary First of England, regent without doubt, and I am not loved. They talk about me on the sly. They whisper about how the queen grows old and the cry of the heir to the throne of England is not yet heard. They torture me, the worst thing is that their words are true, it is a truth that deeply hurts me! Am I cursed?, perhaps God punishes me by denying me what I have wanted most in the world. A son, a son to love, a son who cleans my soul from so many sorrows, from that past that poisons me so much. A son would give me the peace I lost many years ago, would give me back the joy of living, even the lost youth. A son who would be my greatest legacy, a son who would continue with what I have already begun. A son, a blessing, a creature I will love and give everything, regardless of gender, for I would never commit the cruel error of my father, to reject a daughter for the will of a male heir, I would never commit that cruelty with who would be blood of my blood, flesh of my flesh.

But I am empty, and I refuse to believe that there is no chance, I already had that sweet sensation inside me once, and it was as if some curse had made it disappear. God knows how much I longed for a child, how I felt that life itself flourished in my womb, it was not deception, I knew it was inside me. But by divine will or dark evil, could not be, I lost that little being that love created inside my heart without physical pain, why so cruel mockery of This destiny of mine that insists on condemning me to solitude?

Damn destiny! Destiny that changed my life in my childhood when allowed Anne Boleyn to discharge her poison in my life, snatching everything, my father, my mother, my rank and everything I loved. Cruel destiny that put me before stepmothers who did little for me, for fear of infuriating the tyrant of my father, whom I sometimes forgive, and whom I sometimes hate with all my heart, whenever I think of the tears of my beloved mother , And in mine, As I suffered in those days, far from who gave me life and everything that sweetly surrounded me, the protection that the rank of princess granted me, as I remember the terror of thinking that the next day I would see Before me the sentence of my death, by the hand of that bitch of Boleyn, who made me a bastard under the spell that made her reign over my mother’s misfortune. And that is why I can not love my sister as God’s law commands, not only because she is the fruit of the union that separated me from everything that was once entirely mine. Also because I always felt less Than her, that is a fact I can not deny.

She has a beauty that overshadows the one I once had, she inherited the best of her mother, Elizabeth has that enchanting charm that attracts the masses, she bewitches them with just a smile, that is why she should not be my successor, no I can not allow it! Elizabeth will be what her mother once was, a heretic queen, she will remove this kingdom from obedience to the Holy Father, from the sweet consolation of the Mother of Christ, she will reinstall the evil that I have eradicated and I can not allow it! And even with all that I already know, I can not hate her, I can not kill her, her blood is also my blood, I admit that I remember with affection the moments we spent together when loneliness and contempt were our only company. But as I now believe in her words of affection, I am also sure that her heart yearns to have on her head the crown that I possess, I am certain that her soul is as ambitious as that of her maternal race, she in the bones is also a Boleyn . Elizabeth, my sister and my rival, my ruin, and at the same time the salvation of this kingdom.

Elizabeth, so young, yet I have been so consumed with such pains that the years can be considered innocent, in the face of the deterioration so evident in my appearance. Isabel, I envy her and I fear her, I love her, the sorrows unite us and separate us from so many things. I wonder, how she has overcome the martyrdoms of her solitude, how she has managed to keep herself fresh and beautiful despite the fears that torture her, why she has blessed her life with splendid beauty despite her sorrows, and I am in decay? I have no answers that comfort me, that makes me understand and conform, We both were denigrated, called bastards and we both lost all we loved and cared for, and yet, I was the most devastated by bitterness.

Far away are those memories that sweetly comforted me, everything changed from the days when my parents showed their love openly, many times I saw them kissing, breaking protocols to give themselves smiles, my father the King, who ran to receive me in his Arms and called me “The Pearl of his World”. And my mother, the beautiful Queen Catherine of Aragon, who tenderly guided my steps, who fervently cured my fevers and sang me nanas at dawn when the nightmares terrified me. God knows how much I miss her sweet voice, her advice, and those scoldings, which inspired admiration and respect, never fear. My parents were Kings, but I never saw them that way, they were my parents, and with them I was happy. That is why I always promised my mother that on the day that I was Queen of England, I would honor my Caste of Castile and Aragon, I would lead the Tudor Rose to mark forever the Crown. But Anne Boleyn took everything from me, and it does not matter if they say that my father had a thousand lovers, and a bastard whom he put above me, even with all that I was the light of his eyes, I know. It was her and the arrival of Elizabeth, who sealed my destiny, and everything I was, everything I loved, was never mine anymore, and that promise that I made to my mother a thousand times, is now tottering, Is in danger of perishing without actually being fulfilled.

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Elizabeth, I feel that sadly in a while I will not have much strength to face you, sometimes I want to forget everything, and to have you with me, to see you as the sister I always loved at my side, but I can not, either out of envy, out of fear, out of contempt Or pride, I must keep you away. I know that the eyes of my husband the King have delighted in your charms, the same ones you inherited from your mother, well, you are wedge of her own tree. It hurts and makes me angry! But deep down I would like to be like you. I see you so full of life, while I consume like a flame in the midst of the storm, you smile sweetly, and I can not, you are delicate, as I was in my happy years, you are certainly the daughter of our father, Daughter of the lion, just like me, but stronger, you have survived your sorrows without waning, and that is why, although I admit it, I feel that in this kingdom there will be no queen more loved and remembered than you. For I can no longer postpone the inevitable, my strength is not the same, and I feel that what I carry in my womb, is not the sweet touch of a child, although I want it with all my strength, every day that passes I realize That what grows within me absorbs my life, it feeds on me in a poisonous way, but not with the sweetness with which a creature of God does it within the womb. I pray God that I am wrong, but if these doubts become true, I will have to inherit all to Elizabeth, pass my crown on her head, and when I leave this world I will see once again the wicked smile of her mother, rejoicing in the triumph of her daughter over me .

Black tears I cried, tears that contain anger, rancor, loneliness, bitterness and fear. Black tears that I began to spill from the day they separated me from my mother, from the moment the King my father cast me into the shadows to bring to light his mistress in all her splendor, while his true queen , Was consumed in the shame and the pain of his abandonment. Black tears I shed when I was degraded to a servant, following in the footsteps of my newborn sister and lowering my head to those who always had to bow before me. Black tears I cried without consolation, alone, with the only support of my happy memories, of that childhood that was cut so early. I always heard of my ladies saying that the tears of a princess must always be of joy, for the soul of a princess must always shine with happiness, like the gold with which her crown was wrought at birth. It is easy to forge beautiful words to swell a princess when glory favors her, but when she falls in disgrace, no one forges words of equal beauty to comfort, and make those black tears, so full of agony, cease to spring.

Black tears have dried my soul, they have taken away the youth of my face, washed with coldness my joy of living, and I will never again be that young woman of great pride, with a warm presence that pleased everyone. Black tears, I cried when seeing my reflection in the eyes of my father the king, I no longer saw the love of a father, but the rigidity of the tyrant who only sought my obedience and absolute complacency, in his cold gaze I could see my own Fear, for I realized that if I held firm in my convictions, it was clear that he would not touch his heart to order my death. From that moment my soul wilted, and so my dreams and illusions alike were perishing. Time passed and for me there was no hope, only the death of my brother gave back to me what must have always been mine in the first place, The Throne of England.

The sweet victory of my arrival to the throne was warm, I had so much to do, for the first time I felt safe, rewarded by so many years of rejection and bitterness. But it did no good, because loneliness does not abandon me, nor does bad luck. In the nights, black tears continue to come, they fall on my face as cold as the hardest winter, because there is no joy despite my achievements, there is no love despite my desire, no, there is no love, for I do not see it in the Eyes of the man I love, in whom I had put all my hopes of happiness. He looks at me with contempt, and sometimes I think that even with disgust, and I do not blame him, I’m not beautiful anymore, at least not as I once was, but I love him, is not that enough? No, I do not think so, so much so that my mother loved my father, and yet she was abandoned. Why, why is it that for a queen it is so difficult to be loved for what she is, for who she is, is it that the queens of England are forbidden the pleasure of loving and being reciprocated with the same freedom and purity as that divine feeling Professes.

Cruel destiny of mine that only made black tears come out of my eyes. So brief was happiness in my life, and so long my grief. Shall my race be cursed, because of past sins, is this the price to pay? God knows that my actions were done in order to bring England back to the light, to the only true Faith. I do not regret anything, because I did it by acting with my conscience, I did what I swore in silence, for my mother and myself. But maybe it’s my refusal to forgive, which is really poisoning me inside. That may be the root of all my evils, for God himself has commanded in His word to forgive even our strongest enemies. Well, taking into account that within me, I feel a new ardor of life, I raise a prayer to heaven, I open my heart to forgiveness, for if it is the price to pay for a hope of happiness, to be loved by my people as His queen, I am ready to swallow my pride, and give the forgiveness to those who have done the most harm in my life.

On my knees, I beg God and the sweet Virgin Mary to listen to my prayer, it is my desire, to leave my hatred behind, to develop the strength I need to swallow my pride, and to forgive my father, that woman, Anne Boleyn, Who with her lust and ambition destroyed my life, I ask for the soul of both, so that they may receive forgiveness. I forgive you, my father, for giving me the cruel whip of your rejection after so many years of veneration and love, you can never imagine the Pain that you made me suffer, and if your soul is finally in heaven, I do not know, I still feel very hurt to yearn for it to be so, although my heart forgives you, in my memory are still burning the memories of those dark days, that marked so much my existence. And she, Anne Boleyn, I hope that God has forgiven all the evil she caused, both me and so many good men who served the King with fervor and loyalty. My confessor once told me that with the loss of her head she had already paid for all her evil action, perhaps it is the truth, and it is time to forget and stop thinking about her with so much hatred. I also ask for the soul of my mother, whom I never forget, who lives in my heart and in my memories, who is at peace and help me from heaven to find my own. And above all, I ask that what I feel beating within me, may be the hope of this kingdom, and my redemption, my reward for so many years of fear and suffering. I hope that I am wrong in my bad thoughts, that is life and not misfortune or disease what I feel growing, that he is an heir, I think I deserve that blessing, right?

Deus, animam meam: dimittite me ut plangeret prohibere nigrum lacrimis. In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti, Amen

“…Till Death Us Depart” — Cranmer’s Dearly Beloved, Joan and Margarete

February 14, 2017 in The Tudor Thomases by Beth von Staats

by Beth von Staats

Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, by Gerlach Flicke

Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, by Gerlach Flicke

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I take thee to my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us depart.
– Archbishop Thomas Cranmer – Book of Common Prayer (1549) –
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Although Thomas Cranmer is often considered by historians to be a cautious reformer, his marriage liturgy composed for the Church of England in the Book of Common Prayer introduced a very radical and innovative concept. Beyond the traditional rationals of avoidance of sin and procreation, marriage became for the first time by definition an enjoyable partnership between a man and woman who vowed to “love and cherish” one another.

In our modern era, the thought that God brings people together as kindred spirits and soul mates is embedded in our very societal norms and cultural identity, but in Cranmer’s world, his theological stance was revolutionary. Just how did he form his scriptural interpretation of marriage? Many would propose his study of the First Epistle of the Corinthians may have influenced Cranmer’s thoughts, but more likely his scriptural studies were personified in his love for two women, a love so profound that he took enormous personal and professional risks uncharacteristic to his highly cautious personality.

Thomas Cranmer certainly was not a priest who kept a mistress as many of his time did. No, this was a man who instead threw to the wayside his vows of clerical celibacy, a practice he came to believe to be a pagan invention, and instead vowed to the women he loved “to love and to cherish, till death us depart”, not literally in those words, but certainly in spirit and practice.

Thomas Cranmer’s first tragic marriage is a mere footnote to history, a short relationship with a woman named Joan. Cranmer rarely spoke about the marriage, and then only to those he most trusted. The memories were understandably too painful.

In 1515, Cranmer was conferred a Masters Degree in Divinity at Jesus College, Cambridge and was elected to a highly sought fellowship. At some point between 1515 and 1519, Cranmer met and married Joan, and in so doing was stripped of his fellowship, along with all affiliation with Jesus College. With no home of his own, Cranmer turned to a family member in Cambridge, a female proprietor of an inn called The Dolphin. There his wife lived, while he worked as a common reader and resided at Buckingham College.

Cranmer’s trusted secretary Ralph Morice reported that the marriage ended tragically within a year. Joan, surname unknown but reported to be either Black or Brown at Cranmer’s heresy hearings in 1555, died in child bed, along with their baby. This unfortunately all too common 16th-century event changed the course of history, altering the course of the impending English Reformation.

Soon after his wife’s and child’s deaths, Cranmer was readmitted to Jesus College. He subsequently was ordained a priest in 1520. As the years past, Roman Catholic detractors and later Roman Catholic recusants commonly scorned Cranmer’s wives to discredit him.

Regarding his first marriage, Cranmer was proclaimed to be an ostler (a caretaker of horses), while the elusive Joan was labeled, “black Joan of the Dolphin”. Detractors armed with little detail of the heart-wrenching short marriage painted “black Joan” as a sinful whore, obviously pregnant before marriage.

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What the heart loves, the will chooses and the mind justifies.
— Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury —
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Andreas Osiander, German Lutheran Theologian

Andreas Osiander, German Lutheran Theologian

In July 1532, Thomas Cranmer, then an ordained priest, Archdeacon of Taunton and England’s Ambassador to the Holy Roman Emperor, King Charles V of Spain, married once again. While following King Charles throughout Europe, he visited the independent city of Nuremberg, then increasingly Lutheran in both its governance and religious teaching.

At the time Cranmer arrived in Nuremberg, his theological beliefs very closely aligned with King Henry VIII. Besides a strong belief in the Royal Supremacy, Cranmer was highly humanist in his thinking, heavily influenced by Desiderius Erasmus. Thomas Cranmer’s two visits to Nuremberg, however, unleashed a watershed change in Cranmer’s religious beliefs, which were heavily influenced by a friendship he developed with Lutheran priest and theologian, Andreas Osiander.

Beyond the religious discussions Cranmer and Osiander enjoyed, which influenced both men’s theological development, Andreas Osiander, as well as other Lutheran priests in Nuremberg, was happily married with children. He introduced Cranmer to his niece, Margarete (surname unknown) over dinner.

Soon after, Cranmer did the absolutely unthinkable for a priest working directly in service for the King of England. He ignored his vows of clerical celibacy and married yet again, a Lutheran woman at that. The risks were incalculable. What was the man thinking? Perhaps Cranmer decided it was God’s will. If so, he was right. Though the marriage endured years of secrecy and long separation, Thomas Cranmer and his wife begot children and lived openly and by all appearances lovingly upon the ascension of King Edward VI.

Now secretly married, Archdeacon Thomas Cranmer continued his services to King Henry VIII through his Ambassadorship to the Holy Roman Emperor, following King Charles through his travels. Given the Holy Roman Empire’s ongoing war with the Ottoman Empire, Cranmer’s job was a dangerous one indeed. He eloquently updated King Henry VIII, often in cipher, of the horrors he witnessed.

Unknown to Cranmer at the time, William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury, died August 22, 1532. The death, though not unexpected, provided King Henry VIII, Thomas Cromwell, and the Boleyns with an outstanding opportunity to hand select a new Archbishop like minded to resolving the “King’s Great Matter”.

Who was their man? Certainly not Bishop Stephen Gardiner, who though highly qualified, recently enraged the King through his defiance over Church liberties. Instead, at the urging of the future Queen of England, King Henry VIII appointed the Boleyn family patroned Archdeacon Cranmer, a move that stunned everyone but those who proposed it. After all, Thomas Cranmer’s title of Archdeacon was largely honorary. He never administered a single parish, let alone a diocese.

In October 1532, Cranmer was shocked to learn of his appointment while on assignment in Italy. Commanded to return home immediately to prepare for his consecration as Archbishop of Canterbury, he was left to sort out what steps were needed to safeguard the secrecy of his marriage and more importantly, the safety of his wife.

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Those that God hath joined together let no man put asunder.
Book of Common Prayer (1549), translated from the Book of Matthew
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Thomas Cranmer's wife depicted hidden in a crate. Julia Wakeham, The Tudors, Showtime

Thomas Cranmer’s wife depicted hidden in a crate.
Julia Wakeham, The Tudors, Showtime

Exactly when Margarete Cranmer stepped on English soil is not known, but all indications are that she arrived after her husband’s return. Where did she live? A closely guarded secret successfully kept, her location was and still is unknown. Margarete certainly was not either at Lambeth Palace, where a German woman’s presence would elicit curiosity — nor as humorously and commonly believed, hidden in a large wooden box.

In December 1543, Thomas Cranmer endured the personal tragedy of his palace at Canterbury being destroyed by fire. One of his brothers-in-law and several of his faithful servants were killed.

Saved from the fire was a precious box owned by the Archbishop, the contents within unknown. This, in turn, evolved into a story commonly enjoyed and told repeatedly by Roman Catholics during the reigns of Queens Mary and Elizabeth Tudor. Margarete was hiding in that box. Well, of course, she was!

Shortly after Thomas Cranmer’s martyrdom, detractors published a widely distributed and humorous story weaving a plot where during the reign of King Henry VIII, Cranmer traveled throughout England with his wife, carefully hidden in a large crate with breathing holes. Later versions of the story portray Cranmer anxiously praying for the safe retrieval of a precious wooden crate during the Canterbury Palace fire, the box, of course, containing “this pretty nobsey”. Unfortunately, this is our only hint of Margarete Cranmer’s appearance.

In reality, a complete silence enveloped Margarete Cranmer during her stay in England throughout the 1530’s. For all intents and purposes, she was invisible. For the politically naive Thomas Cranmer, this was an outstanding accomplishment. In fact, the feat was “astonishing”, claims historian Diarmaid MacCulloch. With conservative detractors seeking any way possible to upend him for good, Cranmer’s ability to keep his wife and later also his daughter safe speaks to his steadfast commitment to his family and his remarkable resourcefulness.

Unfortunately, even with Thomas Cranmer’s great caution, by 1539 it became too dangerous for his wife Margarete and their young daughter Margaret to remain in England. The passage of the Act of Six Articles through Parliament, which included a mandate of strict adherence to clerical celibacy, imposed all married clergy put away their wives. The risk to his family now untenable, he arranged for their exile in Europe. Thus, Thomas Cranmer was separated from his family for the remaining eight long years of King Henry VIII’s reign.

Cranmer for EHFW

Upon the death of King Henry VIII, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer became theologically liberated to craft a Church of England in line with his increasingly Protestant religious beliefs. His first two decisions clearly forecast the sweeping reforms to come. Cranmer began growing a beard, commonly known to be a casting away of Roman Catholicism and papal authority. Far more importantly, he brought his family home.

For the first time since marrying 15 years earlier, Thomas and Margarete Cranmer lived openly as man and wife. An utter astonishment to all those but the very few entrusted through the years, their long kept secret was finally revealed. Unfortunately, they enjoyed a mere five years of family life together before the untimely and premature death of King Edward VI. Soon after, Archbishop Cranmer was arrested by Queen Mary Tudor. His fate sealed, Cranmer’s separation from Margarete and his two children, the youngest less than five years old, was permanent.

Thomas Cranmer’s arrest, imprisonment and eventual execution a foregone conclusion, some sources propose that with the help of friends in the London printing community, Margarete Cranmer and her daughter escaped the wrath of Queen Mary Tudor and again lived in exile in Europe. Whether reports Margarete fled England are accurate, the London printing community was forefront in her sheltering and protection.

Cranmer’s young son, Thomas, was entrusted to the care of his brother, Edmund Cranmer. They too fled with 100% certainty to the Continent. Without the support of his family, and then later colleagues Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley, the Archbishop completely broke down, signing the recantations so damaging to his legacy.

Eventually, after Thomas Cranmer’s magnificent final speech and ultimate martyrdom at age 66, the much younger Margarete remarried his close friend and favored publisher, Edward Whitchurch while still in Europe. Upon the ascension of Queen Elizabeth Tudor, the couple settled down with her daughter of Thomas Cranmer in Surrey.

Widowed once more, Margarete married yet again, this time to Bartholomew Scott. Some historical sources claim that Scott married Margarete solely for her money, so she reportedly left him, seeking refuge with Thomas Cranmer’s close friend Reyner Wolfe, yet another London printer who hailed originally from the Netherlands, and his wife.

Margarete Scott, widow of Thomas Cranmer, England’s first Protestant Archbishop of Canterbury, died on a date lost to history during the 1570’s. Unfortunately for us all, her legacy to the nation is unknown but to her family, those who knew her and God.

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SOURCES:

Author Unidentified, Thomas Cranmer (1489 – 1556), Luminarium: Anthology of English Literature

Author Unidentified, Thomas Cranmer (Archbishop of Canterbury), tudorplace.com.

Foxe, John, “The Life, State, and Story of the Reverend Pastor and Prelate, Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury”, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

MacCulloch, Diarmaid, Thomas Cranmer, A Life, Yale University Press, 1996.

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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

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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

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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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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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Majesty, Honor, and Tradition: The Monarch’s Royal Christmas Message

December 22, 2016 in Queens of World History, The Tudor Thomases by Beth von Staats

by Beth von Staats

Queen Elizabeth II delivering her first Christmas Message Broadcast, 1952

Queen Elizabeth II delivering her first Royal Christmas Message, 1952

“At my Coronation next June, I shall dedicate myself anew to your service…. You will be keeping it as a holiday; but I want to ask you all, whatever your religion may be, to pray for me on that day – to pray that God may give me wisdom and strength to carry out the solemn promises I shall be making, and that I may faithfully serve Him and you, all the days of my life.”
~~~~~
— Queen Elizabeth II, Christmas Day, 1952 —
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Technology is a remarkable thing. Prior to the advent of the wireless radio, the vast majority of the subjects of the kings and queens of first England and Wales, then Great Britain, and ultimately the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth nations never heard directly from their monarchs. Although common people could guess through portraiture and know from photography what their monarchs looked like, unless they had the great fortune to attend an event where the monarch spoke or gained an audience, hearing their king or queen speak directly to them was virtually impossible.

There are few people alive in the United Kingdom today who remember a Christmas Day without hearing their monarch speak directly to them. Now a time-honored tradition, the monarch’s Royal Christmas Message, first delivered by radio, then also television, and now additionally by streaming on the internet, is as ingrained into the British national consciousness as Christmas Eve church services, Father Christmas, choral singing, Ebenezer Scrooge, mistletoe, the Yule log, Christmas crackers, and the delightful, albeit laboriously prepared, flaming Christmas pudding.

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King George V delivering his first Christmas Message Broadcast, 1932

King George V delivering his first Royal Christmas Message, 1932

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In 1932, with the growing popularity of the wireless radio, Sir John Reith, a brilliant founding father of the British Broadcasting Company, pitched a novel idea to the Royal Family. Would King George V be willing to speak directly to his people via the wireless radio on Christmas Day as a prologue to inaugurate the Empire Christmas Service?

Initially, King George was hesitant. Nothing short of His Majesty touring the British Broadcasting Company personally convinced him of the brilliance of the idea. Ultimately, after much deliberation, the king agreed. With this simple leap of faith into the modern era, the vast majority of King George V’s subjects listened to the voice of their monarch for the first time in history, hearing firsthand the king marvel at the technology that brought him to them on Christmas Day. Leaving nothing to chance, the words spoken from the king were not of his composition, but instead those of renowned poet and author Rudyard Kipling.

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KING GEORGE V CHRISTMAS BROADCAST OF 1932

Video Credit: Roman Styran (You Tube)

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With an estimated 20 million subjects around the globe witness to the event, King George V’s first Royal Christmas Message had an enormous impact on the British people. Beyond a far more pronounced feeling of closeness to the monarchy, the use of the wireless radio as a means to speak to the realm created a unifying force of patriotism through shared values, hardships, sacrifices, challenges and the ultimate success and victory possible, despite all odds, created by a unified sense of purpose. Though unknown to him at the time, King George V set the precedent and ultimate stage for his son, King George VI, as well as the British government, to galvanize an entire nation to fight for their survival together as one people during the dark days of World War II.

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King George VI delivering his first Christmas Message Broadcast, 1939

King George VI delivering his first Christmas Message Broadcast, 1939

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Although the monarch’s Royal Christmas Message was becoming increasing popular, it did not become an annual event until Christmas Day 1939. Overcoming through exhaustive speech therapy a life-long pronounced stammer, King George VI spoke to his people in the midst of the onset of the horrors of World War II. With conviction and valor, King George VI reassured his people by forthrightly telling them, “A new year is at hand. We cannot tell what it will bring. If it brings peace, how thankful we shall all be. If it brings us continued struggle, we shall remain undaunted.”

Although King George VI was a constitutional monarch with only the power to advise, his ability to reassure his people through his committed example of true courage and shared sacrifice as communicated through the print media and wireless radio profoundly impacted morale and confidence among the realm that victory was not only possible but inevitable. Consequently, the Royal Christmas Message broadcasts that King George VI conscientiously prepared and then persevering and haltingly articulated during World War II hold a pronounced importance in the history of the nation.

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Queen Elizabeth II delivering her Christmas Message Broadcast, 2015

Queen Elizabeth II delivering her Christmas Message Broadcast, 2015

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Upon her ascension to the throne in 1952, Queen Elizabeth II delivered via radio transmission a memorable inaugural Royal Christmas Message, asking her subjects for their prayers on her behalf. Five years into her reign, Her Majesty then entered a new age of communication by delivering the first televised Royal Christmas Message, broadening and personalizing further still the reach of the monarchy to the people. For the first time in history, common people caught a glimpse of the Royal Family’s homes decked for the holidays, further humanizing the monarchy in the eyes of the subjects of the realm. By 1960, to insure all people throughout the Commonwealth nations could view the Queen’s Royal Christmas Message, her holiday broadcasts became prerecorded, further increasing the monarch’s ability to reach her intended audience.

Unlike her grandfather King George V, Queen Elizabeth does not rely on others to craft her words and message. Each year, Her Majesty selects a meaningful theme often driven by current events and builds her speech around it. For example, in 1966, the Queen focused her message towards women, telling those listening at home and abroad, “In the modern world the opportunities for women to give something of value to the human family are greater than ever, because, through their own efforts, they are now beginning to play their full part in public life.” With the advent of the ability to prerecord her broadcasts, Her Majesty also is able to highlight visually events of the year, along with her thoughts and opinions about their impact.

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Queen Elizabeth II delivering her Christmas Message Broadcast, 1997

Queen Elizabeth II delivering her Royal Christmas Message, 1997

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Although the Royal Christmas Messages of Queen Elizabeth II rarely hold the historical impact of her beloved father during the war years, her annual conversation with her people sometimes does rise to importance in establishing the monarchy as continually viable. This took on a critical priority in the Queen’s 1997 Christmas broadcast, the first Her Majesty delivered after the tragic death of Diana, Princess of Wales. Her Majesty’s affection from her people at its lowest in her reign, Queen Elizabeth’s Royal Christmas Message of 1997 provided essential reassurance of her humanity, compassion, and love for her family.

Now an annual cherished tradition for over 80 years, the monarch’s Royal Christmas Message broadcasts continue to hold an essential role in binding and unifying the United Kingdom and Commonwealth nations, not only in reinforcing the pride and patriotism of the realm’s subjects but also in insuring the continued popularity and vibrancy of their constitutional monarchy.

Happy Christmas! Long live the Queen!

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A CHRISTMAS MESSAGE FOR US ALL

christmas-mistletoe

“I believe that the Christian message, in the words of a familiar blessing, remains profoundly important to us all:

‘Go forth into the world in peace,

be of good courage,

hold fast that which is good,

render to no man evil for evil,

strengthen the faint-hearted,

Support the weak,

help the afflicted,

honour all men.’

It is a simple message of compassion… and yet as powerful as ever today, two thousand years after Christ’s birth.

I hope this day will be as special for you as it is for me. May I wish you all a very Happy Christmas.”

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— Queen Elizabeth II, Christmas Day, 2000 —

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RESOURCES

Author Unidentified, A History of Christmas Broadcasts, The Official Website of the British Monarchy.

Logie, Phyllis, Looking at the History of the Queen’s Christmas Day Speech, Humanities: Every Topic, Every Angle, 360.
Proctor, Charlie, A History of Christmas Broadcasts, Royal Central.

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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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BBC One’s “Six Wives with Lucy Worsley” and the Positive Influence of “Popular History”…

December 9, 2016 in The Tudor Thomases by Beth von Staats

by Beth von Staats

Lucy Worsley Photo Credit: British Broadcasting Company

Lucy Worsley
Photo Credit: British Broadcasting Company

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Who in heaven’s name is Joel Golby? As an American whose news and editorial obsessions include CNN, PBS television, and The New York Times, I had not a clue — well not until today when a dear friend sent along a link to Golby’s scathing and mean-spirited “review” of BBC One’s Six Wives with Lucy Worsley.

Who is this guy? According to The Guardian, he “writes about general stuff for VICE and the Guardian Guide”. My quick google adventure of Joel Golby’s “general stuff” sent me on a whirlwind of articles about a variety of fun topics. Do you want to learn about weekly London “rental opportunities”? Who is the best dog ever? “Hysterical” newspaper front pages? How about “pricks” that dress like clowns or a man “bitten on the dick” twice by a spider? If so, Joel Golby is your man. His “general stuff” is really — and I mean really really — great stuff. Who knew?

I need to say I am “scratching my head” at this mess, though. With a resume as stellar as Joel Golby’s, along with his obvious love of history, how could he get things so wrong? Is Lucy Worsley really “very slowly and carefully polishing a turd, that turd being the subject of history“? Is Six Wives with Lucy Worsley as Golby describes, “Game Of Thrones without any of the good bits”? Has TV popular history “pecked the carcass clean”?

Heavens no. Within British and American cultures where history education is marginalized, historian David Starkey correctly teaches us, “There is evidence of an extraordinary evacuation of basic historical knowledge.” Let’s take a peek at some “average Americans” answering a few basic history questions to prove David Starkey’s point.

Video Credit: Mark Dice

Case closed. Step in Lucy Worsley.

BBC One’s Six Wives with Lucy Worsley, truth be told, is a delightfully engaging introduction to the six wives of King Henry VIII. As a wonderful example of the “Popular History” television genre, Six Wives throws a wide net, drawing viewership among ordinary people by emphasizing the personalities and real-life experiences of the historical figures highlighted. This is accomplished by period costumed acting vignettes combined with Lucy Wolsey’s enthusiastic, engaging, informative, vividly detailed and colorful documentation style.

Let’s face facts. Lucy Worsley has the “right stuff” for History TV. Not only is she intellectually brilliant, but she is just “too darn cute”. In Six Wives, Lucy time-travels dressed as a common maiden eavesdropping on King Henry’s court. That may seem silly, but guess what? The historical events she “witnesses” are spot-on accurate from contemporary accounts, with a surprising amount of common misconceptions dispelled. Making history not only accurate but fun draws in new history lovers and leaves viewers interested in learning more. That’s the point of it.

If you are an avid Tudorphile, you will likely learn nothing new from Six Wives with Lucy Worsley. Watch it just the same — with a youngster, family member or friend that you want to introduce to your love for “all things Tudor”. They’ll catch the bug, trust me.

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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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Flash Fiction: “Lord, Grant Me Peace…” (Tribute to THE HOLLOW CROWN: THE WARS OF THE ROSES)

December 4, 2016 in Beth von Staats (REVELATION), Wars of the Roses by Beth von Staats

By Beth von Staats

Tom Sturridge as Henry VI in THE HOLLOW CROWN: THE WARS OF THE ROSES Photo Credit: British Broadcasting Company

Tom Sturridge as Henry VI in THE HOLLOW CROWN: THE WARS OF THE ROSES
Photo Credit: British Broadcasting Company

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Video Credit: Great Performances, PBS 

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In celebration of next Sunday’s release of The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses in the United States (PBS at 9:00 PM on December 11, 2016), enjoy some flash fiction from the point of view of King Henry VI, Episode One’s protagonist and reigning monarch.

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King Henry V

King Henry V

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“Of France and England, did this king succeed;
Whose state so many had the managing.
That they lost France and made his England bleed.”

~~~~ William Shakespeare, Henry V ~~~~

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My father, King Henry, fifth of his name, near conqueror of all of France, commander of the sea, warrior, diplomat, statesman, and ruler of a united nation, was the grandest king among all the kings of Christendom. While he reigned, there was peace within the realm. While he reigned, England was the jewel in the crown of Europe. While he reigned, crops were plentiful. The treasury grew abundantly. The arts flourished. While he reigned, the Lords were obedient, loyal to him above all. I heard all the stories. They were pounded into my head since a babe. “This would never happen while he reigned,” I hear them whisper. No, of course not, my father was God personified on earth.

Respite, I need thee respite. My Clarendon hunting lodge, though more humble than a palace, more humble than a castle, always soothed my soul. Quiet, peaceful, free of the stresses of the boulders laying hard and heavy upon my shoulders, Clarendon cleared my mind, relieved the weight of all the world that threatens to always smother me. God, so why not now? Why not now? All I seek is peace before I head on to Dorset. All I seek is quiet before I deal with the Lord’s most recent grievances. All I seek is escape from the failures of my life, escape from the shame of defeat, escape from the factions and infighting among the Lords and my subjects, some loyal to me, most not. Margaret, my beloved queen, bless her please God I pray. She in truth is the rightful King of England. She in truth is the strength upon the throne.  I am merely a scholar, a devout man of worship, a gentle man of the quill, a patron of the arts. God, you know me, all of me, the good and the bad. Why am I not a monk? Why am I not of your clergy, a servant of His Holy Father?  Worship is my calling, my greatest desire. Oh yes, this just can’t be. I am the only son of King Henry, fifth of his name.

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King Henry VI

King Henry VI

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They say the war with France has gone near 100 years now — near 100 years, battles fought, battles lost, battles won. Near 100 years, English kings maintained a stronghold, never French upon our shores. Near 100 years, we fought with glory, the war all but won when God called him home. Heir apparent to the thrown of France, he married the daughter of King Charles, inched his way across his land of fortune. The grand warrior king, he nearly won it all. God, is his seed really in me, Henry, fifth of his name? A quandary, yes a right quandary I dare say. I think not. I know not. I must be a bastard child unbeknownst, a changling. A failure of a king I am, losing all the monarchs of England gained through sweat and tears of their subjects these near 100 years, only Calais hanging on. The fool of Christendom, I rule not. The fool of Christendom, I lead not. The fool of Christendom, I heal the divides of my ever battling Lords and subjects not. I am but a pygmy king, a pretender.

As I sit by the hearth, wine full in my goblet, I watch the flames roar. Satan, there he is in the fire, urging me on. “Die, you bastard pretender, die. That’s what you want. Do it!”

I know Satan’s trickery. Yes, death comes easy to a man like me, good to no one. The seed is within her. The deed is done. Why stay now? “Die, you bastard pretender. Your realm is best without you.”

My mind spins with Satan’s words, his urging tempting me to do the deed. I am best gone. I am best invisible. The grandest sin is to follow Satan’s call. I shall go to hell. I shall rage in the fire, licking at my feet for all eternity. “Be gone, Satan, I command you!”

I am a Godly man, a pious man. Thou shalt not kill, even me. I take a long drink from the goblet, the wine warming the edge off my thoughts. I close my eyes, and rest my weary mind. Quiet and peaceful at last, the boulders lift, floating off me. My humors align, my soul is at rest. I think through scripture. It be surely a sin to kill the body, but is it sinful to kill the soul? Is it a sin to still be living, but dead? Gone, but still here?  No, I think not. I begin to pray in earnest, my mind and all within me intent on shutting down.

“Lord, grant me peace and release my soul. Lord, grant me peace and release my soul. Lord, grant me peace release my soul. Lord, grant me peace and release my soul. Lord, grant me peace…”

~~~~~ Fade To Black ~~~~~

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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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