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

July 21, 2016 in Guest Writers by Beth von Staats

Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales (1500) Artist Unknown

Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales (1500)
Artist Unknown


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

Sean Cunningham


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

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

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

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

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

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

King Henry VII

King Henry VII

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

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

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

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

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

Perkin Warbeck Artist Unknown

Perkin Warbeck
Artist Unknown

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

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

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

Prince Arthur's Chambers at Ludlow Castle

Prince Arthur’s Chambers at Ludlow Castle

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

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

Coat of Arms of the Tudor Princes of Wales

Coat of Arms of the Tudor Princes of Wales

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

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

Tinkinhill Manor, Bewdley

Tinkinhill Manor, Bewdley

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

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



Sean Cunningham

Sean Cunningham

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








“Recantations” — In Memory of Saint Thomas More, Executed July 6, 1535

July 6, 2016 in Beth von Staats (REVELATION), The Tudor Thomases, Tudor Y Writer's Group by Beth von Staats

by Beth von Staats

st-thomas-more-rubens-12x14-2052212 (1)


Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.

— Book of John 20:27, King James Bible —


“I die the King’s good servant, but God’s first.”

Over twenty years ago, Sir Thomas More spoke those words for all to hear just before the executioner swung the ax, just before his head rolled from his shoulders onto the straw, just before his self-serving martyrdom. For months beyond a year holed up in The Tower, he stoically embraced his fate, faithfully hung to his God, stubbornly held firm in his convictions, and refused to see the truth, no matter how hard dearest Cromwell, Audley and I tried to convince him, no matter how much his wife and children begged he compromise his self-righteous scruples. In scripture, there is no Pope. There is no purgatory. There are no idols, relics, or indulgences. Mary is the mother of Jesus, not a saint interceding on behalf of all who pray to her. It’s really that simple. What is not written in God’s word is not truth. Why could More not see the obvious? Was he blind? Was he daft? Was he of Satan?

And why after 20 years does More’s sorry fate still weigh my conscience down like a stone?

“More was not satisfied to be Lord Chancellor, Your Grace. His heresy burnings were not enough to fill his soul. More yearned for a higher calling than service to the realm and His Majesty. He yearned to be a martyred saint. He yearned for pilgrims to travel long journeys to touch his hair shirt and gaze upon his pickled head, disgusting as that be.”

Dearest Cromwell, I hear him ringing through my mind as if he were sitting in this dank horrid cell right alongside me. The Earl always found a way to rationalize quandaries, bless his soul. All we asked, all His Majesty wanted, all that was required to save his very life was for Sir Thomas More to take the oath, say the words out loud publicly, and do what he wanted in private. More could worship his Latin Mass, give confession, fondle his rosary, collect his idols, venerate his relics, wear his hair shirt, and whip his back bloody to his heart’s content.

“Just take the damn oath, and then do what you will.”

“No, and I will speak nothing of it.”

Again, again, again, the Earl pleaded for this simple sign of obedience to the King. Again, again, again, the same reply. My God in heaven, the Pope is the antichrist. To this day, I am still dumbfounded. The man was brilliant, scholarly, eloquent. So why was he such a fool?

After hours of mulling over my fate, I look down at the parchment. My couched recantations, written to baffle His Eminence and the Queen without sully to my conscience, baffled them not. Cardinal Pole then took a quill to parchment and wrote out another, and then an another and yet another, one that clearly says to all in the far more eloquent words of the papal whore, “The last twenty years of my life were heresy. The liturgy of the Church of England is heresy. The lyrical Evensong at Friday service is heresy. The Collects said in worship all through the year are heresy. The Book of Common Prayer is heresy. Holy Communion as a commemoration to the Lord’s Last Supper is heresy. I recant. I recant it all. The Eucharist correctly turns wine to Christ’s blood, turns bread to Christ’s body. The holy church in England and its clergy are led by His Holy Father, the Bishop of Rome. Unless you purchase an indulgence, your mother will remain rotting to the bones in purgatory. There I said it. Now, you know my truth.”

Thomas Cranmer, Parish Church of St. George

Thomas Cranmer, Parish Church of St. George

If I want to live another day, die in my own bed, not burn pitifully as my beloved friends Ridley and Latimer, I must copy this in myne own hand, and sign my name to it. And, no, this is not the same challenge More faced. More was never forced to endure a trial for treason, found guilty, and yet a second trial for heresy, found guilty again. More did not have to debate at Oxford, over and over, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year with papist religious scholars wearing him down, chiding his every word. More did not have to watch his friends burn at the stake, poor Ridley lingering for hours due to a poor man’s misguided attempt to help. More did not have the entire Church of England and its future laying squarely on his shoulders. No, it is not the same challenge More faced. No, it is not.

If I say it enough, I might believe it.

I confess Sir Thomas More’s writings so authored while he himself imprisoned give me strength. A Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation is just brilliant in all truth. Though they believed pushing More down my throat would wear me down, instead, his writings give me hope, nourish my soul. As More so correctly alluded through his story telling, persecution for one’s faith is a hazardous quandary indeed. It brings upon us at the same time both the lure and comfort rewarded for recantation — and the dread of torture and a painful death if we remain steadfast and true.

I look at the parchment yet again. No, I will not copy it in myne own hand. No, I will not sign it.

More conceded, and I agree, that it is not acceptable to escape persecution by compromising some of God’s truths, while keeping true to the rest. His err laid in not knowing what God’s truths truly are, by placing his faith and belief as defined by a papal authority instead of God’s word in scripture.

I look to the flickering candle, the only light in this stench laid cell and hold the parchment near. I will burn this parchment, and then I will burn. God, give me strength.

The cell door slams open, bashing the stone wall like a death knell.

“The recantation, is it ready Dr. Cranmer?!”

I startle upright. Damn, it be the Spaniard friar, Juan de Valligarcia, bellowing at me yet again. I look to the man wearily and hold out the parchment. He snatches it from me.

“No, I refuse to write it.”

This friar, I swear he is paid handsomely just to torment my soul. He saunters to the front of me and glares me down — evil incarnate, I do swear.

“I have word from Her Majesty. She desires I give you a message and one last chance to comply. Do you wish to hear it?”

I remain silent, mulling over how best to respond. The dirty dog drums his fingers impatiently on the table.

“Am I commanded to hear it? If not, I choose you leave with her words unsaid.”

“Yes, you are so commanded!”

“Carry on then.”

“As you so professed these many years, a monarch is supreme and heads the clergy is this realm. His Majesty King Henry chose to delegate to you and the heretic Emissary of Satan, Cromwell, while Her Majesty chooses to delegate to His Holy Father,” the friar scowls. He then holds out a parchment, its wax seal of the Queen made evident for myne benefit.

“Dr. Cranmer, as your monarch I command that you recant in writing as so drafted by the Archbishop of Canterbury and sign your name in full. I further command that you attend Latin Mass and recant publicly through a sermon approved in advance by His Eminence. From this day forward, you will attend Mass, celebrate the Eucharist, and worship the Roman Catholic faith with all humility.”

That bastard friar begins pacing to and fro. I say nothing. What be there to add to that?

“Will you abide Her Majesty’s command? If not, I need not remind that you will burn, mayhaps hanging in a giblet liken you and the concubine’s butcher did unto poor Friar Forest. The poor man be roasted hours on end like a chicken on a spit.”

Forest? He dares speak of the devil Forest?

I be in a rage now. “Forest’s burning fulfilled God’s prophecy! Saint Derfel burned with the forest as foretold from one to the next for many a moon — a suitable punishment for the evil Franciscan. He was both a sin-filled heretic and heinous treasoner of the King’s Majesty!”

I grab hold tight onto the table. Myne humors be in a twist, near to spew. The damn Spaniard steps up right close to me and leans into myne beard, so close his putrid rank breath near makes me faint.

“Cranmer, you are a hopeless, spineless, wretched, evil little man. God forgive you.”

My gout raging in my legs, I steady myself by the table, push him back and stand strong. What there be to lose? I am already a dead man. “No, I will not abide the damn command. Leave me to rot and be gone. You can light the fags another day.”

“But Dr. Cranmer, Her Majesty is supremely your head as you define by scripture, eh? Are you not by your own interpretation of God’s Holy Word sinning through your treason?”

The man, he is of Satan and chides me mockingly, finding my greatest weakness yet again. This very issue, this very dilemma, has me confused and conflicted once more. This pitiful servant of the antichrist is right, but in my heart to recant is a larger sin, an unforgivable sin.

“I said, NO, I will not abide by the damn command.”

Unsteady of feet, I sit back down.

“Dr. Cranmer, Her Majesty in her great benevolence wishes to extend this offer. Queen Mary, Regina remains steadfast in her vision to route this realm of all heresy, and will burn it all wherever it lays. Her Majesty desires to reassure you that should you recant, your Lutheran whore and bastard children will sleep safe. If not, they will burn as the heretics they are  — before you, as Ridley and Latimer did.”

Did myne heart just stop? Frozen in fear, I look at the Spanish friar, my blood frozen cold, just like that. Satan speaks through him as sure as Christ died for his sins. Mary, Regina — no one could be this evil, no one, especially a woman. De Villagarcia is trying to trick me. He must be. Margarete, my children, they fled to Nuremburg. Edmund promised me.

Aye, but Satan reached Tyndale. Why not them? My mind, it be cloudy, worn thin. I can’t concentrate. Think, Thomas – think. Would she really command my Margarete burned? Thomas and Marge? Would she really kill them before myne very eyes? Or is this man baffling me? Are they safe on the Continent or did Pole’s spies find them?

I gaze just beyond the Spaniard, and dearest Bishops Latimer and Ridley stand before me, burning pitifully, screaming in agony. Yes, the friar speaks truth. The Queen of England, Satan’s mistress, seeks revenge. This is hopeless. Either way I go, I be damned.

Broken, yes, after two long years, I am finally broken. I am sorry, Sir Thomas More. For this tribulation, there is no comfort. To route out this tribulation, I am willing to burn in hell so they don’t burn. Am I selfish? Or is that God’s will? Your writing, your gentle and humble wisdom, they tell me not.

I hold out my trembling hand, and the Spaniard hands back the parchment. My voice quivering, I say in complete surrender, “Come back in the ‘morrow. It shall be done.”

The friar sits down on the table before him, and holds out a fresh quill.

“Now, Dr. Cranmer, or Her Majesty’s offer is not guaranteed.”

I swallow hard, tears welling. O Lord forgive me.  I take the quill in my hand, and though shaking,  dip the quill in ink and seal my fate.

—– fade to black —–


Given the overwhelming breadth of the magnificent life of Saint Thomas More, many people do not realize that he was an outstanding poet. In memory of Saint Thomas More, his poem, “The Words of Fortune to the People”:
Lady Fortune and her Wheel. Boccaccio De Casibus Virorum Illustrium

Lady Fortune and her Wheel.
Boccaccio De Casibus Virorum Illustrium

The words of Fortune to the people.
~~ Master Thomas More — 1504 ~~

.Mine high estate, power, and authority
If ye ne know, ensearch and ye shall spy1
That riches, worship, wealth, and dignity
Joy, rest, and peace, and all things finally
That any pleasure or profit may come by
To man his comfort, aid, and sustenance,
Is all at my devise and ordinance.

.Without my favour there is nothing won,
Many a matter have I brought at last
To good conclude that fondly was begun,2
And many a purpose, bounden sure and fast
With wise provision, I have overcast.
Without good hap there may no wit suffice,3
Better ’tis to be fortunate than wise!
.And therefore have there some men been ere this
My deadly foes, and written many a book
To my dispraise.   And other cause there n’is4
But for me list not friendly on them look.5
Thus like the fox they fare, that once forsook
The pleasant grapes, and ‘gan for to defy them
Because he lept and yet could not come by them.6
.But let them write, their labour is in vain;
For well ye wot, mirth, honour, and riches7
Much better is than penury and pain.
The needy wretch that ling’reth in distress
Without my help, is ever comfortless,
A very burden, odious and loath
To all the world, and eke to himself both.8
.But he that by my favour may ascend
To mighty pow’r and excellent degree,
A commonweal to govern and defend,
O! in how bless’d condition standeth he,
Himself in honour and felicity,
And over that, may farther and encrease
A region whole in joyful rest and peace.
.Now in this point there is no more to say,
Each man hath of himself the governance;
Let every wight then follow his own way.9
And he that out of poverty and mischance
List for to live, and will himself enhance
In wealth and riches, come-forth and wait on me;
And he that will be a beggar, let him be.


Saint Thomas More “Prayer Card” of the Roman Catholic Faith



Book Give-Away!!! “War of the Roses: Bloodline”, by Conn Iggulden

July 4, 2016 in QAB Author Highlight by Beth von Staats

war of the roses bloodline




Conn Iggulden and G.P. Putnam’s Sons are graciously offering a complimentary copy of War of the Roses: Bloodline 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 July 10, 2016. Good Luck!!!


Watch for Queenanneboley.com’s upcoming review!

Video Credit: Penguin Books UK

Quick Take: In Winter 1461, Richard, Duke of York, is dead – his ambitions in ruins, his head spiked on the walls of the city. King Henry VI is still held prisoner. His Lancastrian queen, Margaret of Anjou, rides south with an army of victorious northerners, accompanied by painted warriors from the Scottish Highlands. With the death of York, Margaret and her army seem unstoppable. Yet in killing the father, Margaret has unleashed the sons. Edward of March, now duke of York, proclaims himself England’s rightful king. Factions form and tear apart as snow falls. Through blood and treason, through broken men and vengeful women, brother shall confront brother, king shall face king. Two men can always claim a crown—but only one can keep it.


Conn Iggulden

Conn Iggulden

Born in 1971 to an English father and Irish mother, Conn Iggulden is a British historical fiction author. He studied English at the University of London and later taught English for seven years, becoming head of the English department at St. Gregory’s RC High School. He eventually left teaching to write his first novel, The Gates of Rome. 

Conn Iggulden’s first five-part series of novels, entitled Emperor,  focuses on the remarkable life of Julius Caesar, from childhood to death. Conn Iggulden’s next series of novels, the Conqueror series, is based on the lives of Mongol warlords Genghis, Ogedai and Kublai Kahn.

The Wars of the Roses is the extraordinary novel series spanning the thirty-year-long civil war when two families, the Yorks and the Lancasters, ripped England apart during one of the most bloody and brutal periods of British history. Releasing in the United Kingdom in 2013, Wars of the Roses Stormbird  was Conn Iggulden’s first novel focusing on British history. War of the Roses Margaret of Anjou followed in 2014 and War of the Roses Bloodline in 2015.

Due to popular demand, War of the Roses Bloodline is set to release once more through G.P. Putnam’s Sons on July 19th, 2016.

To order your hard bound novel or Kindle version, click the link below!

Wars of the Roses: Bloodline 


Tudor Martyr of Archbishop, King and Saint: John Frith

July 4, 2016 in The Tudor Thomases by Beth von Staats

by Beth von Staats

John Frith going to his martyrdom, July 4, 1533 (Credit: Universal Images Group)

John Frith going to his martyrdom, July 4, 1533
(Credit: Universal Images Group)


Merciful God, who hast made all men, and hatest nothing that thou has made, nor wouldest the death of a sinner, but rather that he should be converted and live; have mercy upon all Jews, Turks, Infidels and heretics, and take from them all ignorance, hardness of heart, and contempt of thy word: and so fetch them home, blessed Lord, to thy flock, that they may be saved among the remnant of the true Isrealites, and be made one fold under one shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord…

— Thomas Cranmer, The Book of Common Prayer, 1549 —


In 16th century Tudor Era England and Wales, religion was serious business. Unfortunately for the subjects of the realm, just what religion one was to adhere to changed with the theological whims of the reigning monarchs and was particularly confusing during the reign of King Henry VIII. Overstep the mark of the King’s ever changing religious philosophies, and a person would very quickly become the victim of judicial murder.

During the course of King Henry VIII’s reign, hundreds and perhaps thousands of people were executed for belief in their chosen faiths. Roman Catholics with one notable exception, Blessed John Forest, were executed for treason, while Evangelicals most commonly were executed for heresy.

Were convicted Roman Catholics actually traitors or convicted Evangelicals really heretics? Well that all depended on the King’s religious beliefs at any given point of his 37 year reign. What was treason or heresy today changed tomorrow.

Whether Saint Thomas More was Lord Chancellor or Thomas Cranmer was Archbishop was irrelevant. Revered by many as great martyrs themselves, people were executed for their religious beliefs at the hands of both men — those convicted of heresy typically burned at the stake, those convicted of treason, commonly hanged, drawn and quartered. Convicted women were burned at the stake to prevent the disrobing necessary of the “traitor’s death” or were simply hanged to death or decapitated.

Saint Thomas More (Holbein)

When we think of Saint Thomas More, his religious beliefs are straight forward, and thus his life choices and the rationale for his decisions are easily grasped and understood. A staunch Roman Catholic his entire life, there is no gray in any decision he made.

To More, Roman Catholicism was the one and only true religion. Those who did not accept the true religion and papal authority were heretics. It was that simple.

Thomas Cranmer’s religious beliefs, on the other hand, are far more complex in sorting out, because this was a man whose religious theology evolved over time. While a young Cambridge don, he was a humanist Roman Catholic with similar beliefs to Thomas More.

Incrementally over time, however, Thomas Cranmer’s theology became increasingly Evangelical and ultimately Protestant. Thus, while Cranmer was Archbishop, people were convicted of heresy and burned at the stake for exercising the very same beliefs Cranmer would later embrace himself.

Though Saint Thomas More and Archbishop Thomas Cranmer were steadfast rivals, disagreeing vehemently regarding the sanctity of marriage, the justification of papal authority, King Henry’s break with Rome, and the King’s ultimate Supremacy over the Church of England, the two men came together with their beloved King to defend the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and in so doing, hold joint responsibility with Henry VIII for the tragic martyrdom of Evangelical Reformer John Frith.

The story of John Frith began long before Thomas More was appointed Lord Chancellor and later Thomas Cranmer consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury. Educated at Eton College and later Cambridge University, John Frith was ordained a priest in 1525.

While still a student at Cambridge, Frith began meeting with Thomas Bilney, a graduate student at Trinity Hall. Bilney organized a group of scholars that met at the White Horse Inn to study scripture and theology through the reading of the Greek New Testament.

It is believed that John Frith first met William Tyndale in these group meetings. Tyndale greatly influenced Frith’s theological beliefs that became decidedly Evangelical in leaning.

Upon ordination, John Frith was recruited to became a junior canon at Thomas Wolsey’s new Cardinal College in Oxford. While at Oxford, he was arrested with nine other men hiding in a cellar that stored fish for possessing books considered “heretical” by the university. In close confinement in unsanitary conditions for six months, four of the men died.

John Frith survived the torment and was eventually released. He wisely fled to Europe, joining William Tyndale in Antwerp, Belgium in 1528. There, Frith assisted Tyndale in his scripture translations into English and subsequent publications.

While in Antwerp, John Frith translated the Latin work of the Scottish Evangelical martyr Patrick Hamilton. Patrick’s Places became the first explanation of Reformation Doctrine published in the English language.

Soon after, Frith translated an assortment of other religious articles, including A Pistle to the Christian Reader: The Revelation of the Anti-Christ and An Antithesis Between Christ and the Pope. These historic works originally penned by an unknown author were the first anti-papal works printed in the English language.

Thomas Cromwell (Artist: Hans Holbein the Younger)

Thomas Cromwell
(Artist: Hans Holbein the Younger)

While completing these translations, both William Tyndale and John Frith secretly met with English merchant Stephen Vaughan, agent and suspected smuggler and spy to Thomas Cromwell. Authorized by King Henry VIII, Cromwell through Vaughan offered both Tyndale and Frith safe haven back in England. Suspecting a trap, neither man accepted the offer.

Unknown to both, some historians conjecture that Stephen Vaughan smuggled Evangelical and Lutheran works to Thomas Cromwell, both men highly Evangelical themselves. Cromwell’s admiration of Tyndale in particular is well documented. Whether this was actually a missed opportunity for both Tyndale and Frith is lost to history.

Instead, Frith stayed in Antwerp, married and entered with Tyndale into a spirited debate with Saint Thomas More, Saint John Fisher and John Rastell. His original work, Disputation of Purgatory Divided Into Three Books, disputed the existence of purgatory to each Roman Catholic scholar in turn.

Although neither More or Fisher were swayed, Rastell was so persuaded that he was won over to the Evangelical cause. Ironically, Rastell was More’s brother-in-law. More’s opinions of the conversion can be easily imagined.

In 1532, John Frith decided to return to England, while William Tyndale remained in Europe. Irrespective of their individual decisions, both men eventually perished for practice of their faith. Upon returning home, Frith was quickly arrested in Reading, mistaken for a vagabond. He was released with the assistance and persuasion of school master Leonard Cox, who was impressed with his obvious scholarship. From there, Frith traveled secretly from place to place, preaching the gospel.

Learning John Frith was in England, Saint Thomas More issued a warrant for Frith’s arrest, offering a large reward for his apprehension. On the run, Frith was ultimately arrested by More’s agents and local authorities while attempting to board a ship bound to Antwerp.

Imprisoned in the Tower of London, Frith was charged by Saint Thomas More in his role as Lord Chancellor with heresy. Against his mentor Tyndale’s advice and all reasonable caution, Frith began writing comprehensively of his views of purgatory and more alarmingly his denial of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

Concurrent with Frith’s substantiated Evangelical writings becoming increasingly pronounced and obvious, Saint Thomas More resigned his Lord Chancellorship upon the clergy’s ultimate submission to King Henry VIII’s authority. Soon thereafter, Archbishop William Warham died.

It is within this context and timeline that Thomas Audley was appointed Lord Chancellor. Soon thereafter Thomas Cranmer was consecrated Archbishop, leaving both men to inherit the unenviable task of dealing with John Frith’s controversial theology, most pointedly Cranmer.

Although secretly married himself and becoming increasingly Reformist in theology, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer in 1533 agreed with Saint Thomas More, King Henry VIII, Pope Clement V and Martin Luther of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Consequently, John Frith was summonsed to Cranmer’s palaces at Lambeth and Croydon for several intense interrogations about his “sacramentarian” Eucharist theology.

Thomas Cranmer attempted repeatedly to counsel John Frith to alter his Eucharist theology to those of the King to no avail. Per Cranmer in frustration, Frith “… looketh every day to go unto the fire.” 

Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury (Gerlach Flicke)

Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury (Gerlach Flicke)

Interestingly, Thomas Cranmer never labeled any Evangelical a heretic openly, but his opinion regarding John Frith’s religious interpretations was clearly documented in a letter to his friend Nicholas Hawkins.

“His said opinion is of such nature, that he thought it not necessary to be believed as an article of our faith, that there is a very corporal presence of Christ within the host and sacrament of the altar, and holdeth of this point… And surely I myself sent for him three or four times to persuade him to leave that to his imagination; but for all that we could do therein, he would not apply to any counsel.”

With Cranmer unable to convert John Frith’s views, the law of England inevitably proceeded in due course through the offices of the new Lord Chancellor Thomas Audley. On July 4, 1533, by command of King Henry VIII, John Frith was burned at the stake for heresy.

In 1535, Saint Thomas More refused to take the Oath of Supremacy in accordance with his religious beliefs. As a Roman Catholic, he was charged and convicted of treason, then executed. Though not charged with heresy or burned at the stake, he is a martyr to his faith, as were many Roman Catholics executed during the reigns of King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I.

Already in agreement with John Frith’s views of the non-existence of purgatory, thirteen years after Frith burned at the stake, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer’s views of the Eucharist took a dramatic shift. Now Protestant in his beliefs, Cranmer’s views of the Eucharist ultimately mirrored those of the man he, King Henry VIII and Saint Thomas More together martyred.

King Henry VIII dead and no longer an impediment, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer’s sweeping Protestant reforms during the reign of King Edward VI personified the beliefs John Frith embodied. The premature death of the young king, however, resulted in a return of a Roman Catholic monarch.

In 1556, at the command of Queen Mary I, like John Frith before him, Thomas Cranmer was burned at the stake for heresy, a martyr to the Protestant beliefs he ironically and ultimately shared with the man he once steadfastly attempted to convert.

Today, Thomas Cranmer and John Frith, once greatly divided in theological beliefs, together are considered among England’s most cherished Protestant Martyrs.



Ashdown, A.G., Roman Catholic and Protestant Martyrs Contrasted.

Author Unidentified, A Puritan’s Mind, John Frith.

Graves, Dan, John Frith Burned for Beliefs, Christianity.com.

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

Samworth, Dr. Herbert, John Firth: Forging the English Reformation, Grace Solar Foundation, Inc.



Beth vo

Beth von Staats

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

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


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“Black Joan of the Dolphin” (Experimental Fiction — Deep Total 1st Person)

July 2, 2016 in Hampton Y Court, Historical Fiction, The Tudor Thomases by Beth von Staats

Artwork by Susan Santiago

Artwork by Susan Santiago


“In the midst of life we are in death, earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust, in sure and certain hope of the Resurrection.”

~~~ Thomas Cranmer, The Book of Common Prayer


Joan Cranmer: For weeks now, I languish in this pitiful chamber. The walls, I do swear, they are closing me in. The window wide ajar, no air comes of it. My back aching, my belly bulging, my legs swollen, my lungs pushed small, the summer heat stifling, my nightgown glued to me with sweat, no comfort eases me. Bored, I yearn for company, yearn for Thomas, yearn for his lessons. I am desperate to learn to read, learn the scriptures, learn all the Greek scholars, learn of Erasmus, Aristotle, all the things rummaging in his mind — anything, just anything to pass the time. Day by day, the room gets smaller, the air staler, the bed harder, the candles dimmer… closing me in, closing me in, closing me in tight. Wide awake, unable to settle myself, distracted by his snoring, again I can’t sleep. All I want to do is sleep, Lord. I beg for respite. Can’t You just grant me that? I try to rise from bed to at least catch a breeze by the window, but it’s no use. For the last fortnight, Thomas has helped me in and out of our bed, and up from my favorite soft chair. God, please, I beg you. Bring this babe to us soon.

I look at my husband, and I’m angry. He did this to me. Yes, he calls himself a religious scholar, but he did this to me. What kind of man does this to a woman? Thomas, that’s who. How dare he sleep while I am so pitiful? Look at him, so peaceful, deep in dreams of God knows what, snoring like a sleeping sow. How dare he? How dare he? I look again, and guilt suddenly consumes me. Thomas is a good man, a gentle man. My God he is beautiful, just beautiful. I fill with love for him, this Godly man who will never be a priest. No longer the clergy’s, no longer the pilgrims’, no longer even God’s, he is mine, and I need not share him.  I nudge his shoulder. “Thomas?” I nudge him a little harder, and yet once again. “Thomas?!” Heavens is the man deaf?  ”THOMAS?!!…  THOMAS?!!”

Thomas Cranmer: Startled, stunned, I awaken, sit up straight, groggy, a tad dazed. Oh my… oh my… I shake the sleep out of my head. It must be time. ”Joan, shall I rush for the midwife?” My wife, she has been with child since the birth of Eve from Adam’s rib. It must be time.

Joan Cranmer: Men are daft. Soothingly, as I see his panic, I say simply. “No, not yet. Just help me out of bed, love.”

Thomas Cranmer: Joan woke me from the dead to help her out of bed? Even the birds sleep soundly. Why can’t she? “Yes, Joan. Of course, dear woman.” I rise, stagger to her side of things, and help her to sit up, move her body gently over the side, and raise her gently upward. Oh my, as my wife stands, I look to her belly. It’s huge and dropped low, so low I believe the babe will drop from it right now, on to the straw, just like that. Now what is that sound? What? I look down, my eyes wide as the moon is full. The ocean’s currents lay on the floor before me.

Joan Cranmer: “Thomas, I think I just passed the babe’s water.” I look to him and smile. “Do rise the midwife. I think it’s time.”


Thomas Cranmer: All was planned since I was a babe in the cradle. As the second son, there would be no inherited title. As the second son, there would be no worldly goods passed from one generation to the next. As the second son, there would be no advantageously arranged marriage. So, as the second son, I would enter the clergy. Ordained from the womb, I knew my role in life. I accepted it. I welcomed it. I cherished it. I embraced it. At Cambridge twelve terms, I finally mastered it, finally was awarded a fellowship, finally grown in my knowledge and studies to begin doctoral work. Once completed, my family’s hopes, prayers and expectations — and my destiny — would be fulfilled, ordination into the priesthood. I was on my way. I could taste it. I could smell it. As I read the scriptures, Erasmus and Aristotle, I could see. I could touch it. Why am I here with all these rowdy men and barmaids at the Dolphin Inn then? Why do I nervously sit at a back table with the owner drinking stale ale? And why am I a lowly ostler shoveling horse dung, you ask? Well, my world changed on the flip of a crown. On cool autumn day I met her, the exquisitely blonde Joan Black — and now, here through the day and night, then day and now night again, I sit in stunned silence, frozen in fear.

Henry Black: A rowdy night, the revelers carry on, ale pouring freely, the barmaids entertaining the menfolk.  The singing, the merriment, the noise bounce off the large wooden ceiling beams, and bounce back along the long wooden tables, ring stained from reveler’s past. New straw Thomas needs toss upon the flooring, I note as I pick off a few pesky fleas.  Farthings fill the coffers, though, so ’tis a good night for mine taxes and tithes.  I look to poor Thomas, and he worries so. In truth, so do I. My wife long dead from child bed, this is taking too long, much too long. Lord God, I pray, don’t take my daughter, too.

“Thomas? Thomas? Have some more ale, lad. It will take the edge off.”

I motion over the men’s favorite wench, and as she pours the ale, her breasts spill before us.  I force a wide smile and nod. “Thomas, all will be fine lad. ‘Tis a first babe, so long we wait.”

I pause, and he looks at me, nods politely and says nothing, drinking the ale down in one long swig. There be thoughts, though, filling that head of his. There always be. That lad always be thinking, always be reading, always be writing on his books, all over the pages yet. I told Thomas once, “Don’t be doing that. How can you sell the thing once done?” He looked at me odd-like and said, “I never sell my books. They are part of me, like an arm, like a leg, like my heart, like my soul.” For a smart young man, he sure be daft.

“Thomas, pray tell me what is on your mind, lad? Let it out before it spills out your ears, before it spills out and asunder like Pandora’s Box.”

Thomas Cranmer: Should I tell him? There are no priests to confess to, and this man is gentle spirited and forgiving, so maybe so. I swallow hard. “When I became a father, I thought it would be to celebrate the Eucharist, hear confessions, counsel the downtrodden, christen infants, marry lovers and bury the dead. I misunderstood God’s will all these many years. He wants me to marry a wife, father children, raise them well. How could I not know? I am unprepared. I studied not for this.”

Henry Black: I laugh. “There be many Godly men who are not priests, Thomas. Look no farther than our glorious king. His Majesty is godly, a husband, and now a father. God will soon give us an heir by the Spanish queen, and a new king will carry on his glorious reign. What say you?” Smiling I chide before he can answer, “You be smart, but God needs to show you His will, as you are stubborn like the goats in the barn — and He did.”

Thomas Cranmer: I smile. This man humors me so. “All I know is scriptures. The church welcomes not a married man.”

Henry Black: I see now. The lad worries of livelihood. Reassuring I reply, “You tutor the school boys, and I will tutor you, Thomas. Look around lad. Once God calls me, all this be yours and Joan’s. I willed it.”

Thomas Cranmer: Christendom just lifted from my shoulders. “Thank you, good man.” We smile and rise our goblets in toast.

Oh my God in heaven, a crashing shriek cuts through the loud reveling and festivities, cuts straight to my very core. A woman’s voice cries out pathetically, “Noooooooooooooooo, nooooooooooo God!”

No man can stop me, though several try. I run up to the stairs, and head straight to our chambers. Oh Lord, the women are crying. I try to open the door, and it’s bolted, locked tight. I start banging on in, again, again. “Let me in! Damn it, let me in!” I begin slamming the side of my body against the door to try and force it, beginning to crack the threshold. As I try once again, knowing success is one jarring jolt away, Joan’s father and three other men, God knows who, I care not, hold me back.

He says gently, “Not yet, Thomas. Not yet.”

I look to him, tears streaming, both of us. I say meekly, “No baby cries, but women do.”

I drop down to the floor, huddled, waiting, Joan’s father beside me, helpless. God, please don’t foresake us, not now.

As I sit quietly, waiting… waiting… waiting, hoping, praying, my mind is filled with her, my whole body and soul consumed by her. “Yes, Lord, I fell fast. I fell hard. I’m in deep. Joan’s blonde hair flows long and glistens in the sunlight. Her blue, then green, then blue and green as one eyes look deep, straight through to my soul. Her lilting voice, accented from the south, soothes the demons within me. Her soft skin brushed up against me arouses every sense in my being, every feeling deep within. Yes, Lord, it’s helpless. It’s hopeless. She owns me. Your will? She must be. My will? She is. Yes, I confess as virgin as Christ’s mother, we learned together, exploring each other, molding one to the other, fading in to each other. Where Joan ends and I begin, I do not know. God, You did bless us before the parish priest did, my seed growing and the babe quickening within Joan’s belly as we said our vows. I am released from my fellowship. My doctoral studies are terminated. I’m disgraced by my family. Please, the penance is paid. It matters not, really. I will tend the inn’s horses, shovel their stable muck, tutor the town’s school boys, and die without a farthing to be with her. God please, I am happy to shovel the muck. I need crowns not. I need Cambridge not. I need ordination not. I need indulgences not. I just need her, nothing else, nothing ever.”

The door opens. I look up inquisitively. I venture, “My Joan?” Tears falling, the midwife shakes her head. Joan’s father, his voice cracking, asks, “The babe?” Her head looks to the floor, the answer clear. My heart stops beating. I can’t breathe. Joan’s father helps me rise, and we enter. I want to see, pray to see, afraid to see what I know in my heart now is God’s will. I look with dread and yet wonder. My Joan, my beloved agape, she lays peacefully as if sleeping, in her arms a babe, so tiny. It’s quiet, so quiet it’s deafening, only the sound of the women’s tears, my tears, my internal rage, my swirling thoughts of joining them in leaving this world, filling the room. I look on not knowing what to do. I want to jump into bed with them, hold them, love them. Is that proper? Would God frown? I do not know. At Cambridge, they never taught me. The scriptures, they do not say.

“Thomas…. Thomas,” I hear the midwife call me. “Sit down here, good man.”

I sit in a chair close beside the bed. I watch as she carefully picks up the baby, swaddled in a blanket Joan lovingly sewn.

“A girl Thomas. Look, she is pretty.”

Trembling, I ask the unthinkable. “Can I hold her? Please? I just want to hold her.”

She hands me the babe, my daughter, and I cradle her gently. I open the blanket, and she looks so perfect. She can’t be dead. I poke her gently once, and yes she is. I gaze up and see them leaving, the women, the midwife, and Joan’s father, who with graceful nobility nods and quietly closes the chamber door. Here with my family, with my thoughts, with my tears, with my God, I am but alone.

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

Someday we’ll all be gone;
But lullabies go on and on;
They never die;
That’s how you and I will be.
~~~ Billy Joel ~~~


Meet Susan Santiago and see her beautiful art. She is amazing. The Art of Susan Santiago

Note: Very little is known of Thomas Cranmer’s two marriages, particularly his first. All that is known is that Cranmer married a woman named Joan, surname stated at his heresy trial to be either Black or Brown, between 1515 and 1519. Ralph Morice, Cranmer’s devoted secretary and biographer, details that they were married “within one year” and that Joan died, along with their baby, in child bed. Due to an association undefined with the Dolphin Inn, and the short length of marriage, Roman Catholic detractors labeled Cranmer “an ostler” (a person who takes care of horses stabled at an inn), and scornfully referred to his wife as “Black Joan of the Dolphin”, inferring she was pregnant before marriage.

Henry VIII’s Letters to Anne Boleyn, by Sandi Vasoli

June 20, 2016 in Guest Writers, Queens of World History by Beth von Staats

by Sandi Vasoli

'The Banquet of Henry VIII in York Place' , 1832 Artist: James Stephanoff

‘The Banquet of Henry VIII in York Place’ , 1832
Artist: James Stephanoff


Video Credit: CBS News — 60 Minutes, posted by GreenGriot


There came to me suddenly in the night the most afflicting news that could have arrived…

— Henry VIII —


What a heart-wrenching statement!

One can almost picture a royal page, gripping a lantern which pierced the darkness of deepest night, knocking tentatively at the door of the King’s chambers. Tense with anxiety, the servant delivers the dreaded message to Henry VIII, who had just been roused from sleep by the chamberlain at the Palace of Tyttenhanger, where Henry and his Queen, Katherine of Aragon, were in temporary residence in a desperate attempt to evade the dreaded sweating sickness, then rampant in London.

It is the first line of the letter Henry hastily wrote – that very night – to his love, Anne Boleyn. The month was June in the year 1528 …

As is well known, there exists a cache of letters: 17 to be exact, which Henry penned to Anne over the course of several years. These letters, remarkably, are housed in the Biblioteca Apostolica, the Vatican Library, in Rome. It is a mystery in the story of Henry and Anne, and one subject to great speculation, as to how the letters made their way into the collection of papers, manuscripts, and documents owned by the Pope, and which, today, are kept under careful guard.

In September of 2012, as part of my research, while writing the fictional memoir Je Anne Boleyn, I was granted the great privilege of access to the Manuscripts Room in the Papal Library with a rare opportunity to study the love letters Henry composed. As I progressed through the various levels of security in the fascinating and intimidating realm of the Library, it became increasingly evident how greatly these letters are treasured and protected within the thick, ancient walls. I was the object of polite, but keen scrutiny by the gentlemen in the Office of the Secretariat, and by the Scriptores, the Assistants, and the Vice Assistants in Manuscritti – the Manuscript reading room. Once seated in the whitewashed room, the barrel-vaulted ceiling soaring overhead, statues peering down from alcoves carved into the walls, I waited while the decision was made by the Director as to whether I would be granted an audience with the documents which expressed the depths of the heart of Henry VIII.

At last, I was summoned to be seated in the first row of study tables, directly in front of the administrators, and a Scriptore approached me and handed me a smallish book, quite unremarkable in its appearance. It was about 7 by 5 inches, and covered in a pale green fabric. There was no decorative element to it at all; in fact, it appeared almost as would a homemade keepsake book, the pages within bulging a bit. No gloves were required to be worn, yet I knew that this was something I would touch minimally, and only with the greatest of care as I examined it.

I opened the cover, my heart literally pounding in my chest.  I was met by the sight of the first letter: on thin, yellowed, subtly lined parchment which had been affixed to a larger page at some point since its acquisition by the Church of Rome – there was his handwriting! and his opening words were “Ma Maestres et Amye…”  my Mistress and Friend…

I was overcome with the awareness that I was inches from something so personal, so intimate – a message written by the hand of Henry VIII intended only for the eyes of Anne Boleyn. And 485 years later, there sat I, scrutinizing the same scratches of the pen, the same words crossed out, the same smudges made by his very hand, as did Anne. It was an experience like no other I have ever had.

Very quickly, one could identify the unique markers of Henry’s handwriting. The strong, bold strokes, the decorative letter ‘q’, the broad slash  ‘/’ which indicated the end of a sentence. I smiled to myself as I observed that he had a very difficult time maintaining the straightness of his lines of writing. In almost every letter, by the 4th or 5th line, there was a decided slant upwards, and by the end of the page, the words crowded themselves toward the upper right corner.

Also fascinating was the difference he used in ink color and the thickness of the pen nibs.  Each variation created a quite distinct feeling for that particular letter. In my view, it became very apparent which letter was written first in this series (though it is evident by his own statement that Henry had written other letters to Anne, but perhaps none of such a personal nature).   The early letters were  formal in their composition, their execution, and their penmanship. This would make sense, based upon the fact that Anne had not yet determined her position with regard to Henry’s feelings for her. He courted her with beautiful writing!

Henry’s frustration with Anne’s absence and her reluctance to commit to him appeared clearly in the letter which was pasted fourth within the Vatican’s book (they are not placed in a particular sequence in time, nor are any of the letters dated). Written with unusually large, bold strokes, well-spaced and purposefully transcribed, Henry states that he is in great agony, not knowing how to interpret her recent letters (they are not known to be in existence – if only we had them today!). It is not difficult to imagine Henry, reading and re-reading Anne’s letters, analyzing very word, seeking to know if she would promise to be his. When he could not determine it, he wrote her what is well-nigh to a command, but only one of the most romantic nature, telling her that it is “absolutely necessary for me to obtain this answer, having been above a whole year stricken avec du dart d’amours” – with the dart of love.   My interpretation of the events documented early in their romance leads me to believe this letter was written in the late autumn of 1526.

In response to this ‘command of the heart’, Anne capitulates – its own element in their love story also very touching – and her reply causes Henry to compose a beautiful missive: the letter in which he first inscribes the famous heart. This reply represents the most careful, most beautiful penmanship in the collection. The first letter of the first word, ‘D’ is created almost as an illumination: dark and dramatic, with a flourish intended to set the tone. That first line is exactly inscribed thusly:  «  De l’estrene si bel que rien plus (notant le toute) je vous en marcy tres cordialement… » ; meaning ‘For a present so beautiful that nothing could be more so (considering the whole of it), I thank you most cordially…’  This letter finishes with a decoration he added to the close: his initials, thoroughly embellished, enclosing the very tiny words “aultre” and “ne cherse” (‘Henry seeks no other’ than AB), and in the middle of all, a long, carefully drawn heart with AB at its core. The whole was clearly intended to present a special visual message, and it is one that cannot be mistaken.

As I turned the leaves of this book, fingers barely making contact with the edges, I literally drew in my breath in shock at the sight of the letter on the tenth page.  Splattered with droplets of ink, smudged from his large hand smearing the extraneous drops, and its look in such great contrast to the other entries, I was stunned to see the pained letter Henry wrote in the middle of that night in June 1528 when he learned his love had fallen ill of the sweat.  Composed in French, it was plainly written in a state of panic. The quill had been jabbed into the inkwell with every few strokes of the pen. This was apparent because the application of the ink to the page was dark, with a fine surrounding spray as the nib caught at the parchment in haste. It was amazing to see, at close range through my magnifying glass, the marks of his hand as it tracked to the right along the page, smearing what had been spattered in his haste. His message, as the pen attacked the page, is emotional and almost pathetic in its poignancy. He states that he would willingly bear the illness in her place, and bemoans the fact that they are apart at such a terrible time. He is distraught because his primary physician was unavailable, saying that “to obtain one of my chief joys on earth – that is the care of my mistress“, he will instead immediately send William Butts, his second physician in command. He then beseeches her to do as the doctor advises. He closes by telling her that he hopes to see her again, which will be a greater comfort than all the precious jewels in the world.  He tells her that he is, and forever will be, her loyal and most assured servant. He then encloses his initials around hers, which he again encases in a heart, drawn with an unsteady hand.

As I sat looking at the whole of this letter, so plainly the work of a man completely and totally in love, I will admit it brought tears to my eyes.  The depth of his feeling for her was eminently visible.  Reviewing the pattern of the letters, with this particular one representing a decisive moment in their relationship, my view of their love story was reshaped forever. I have no doubt that Anne was the love of Henry’s life, and I felt very privileged to have been able to gain such an insight.

This, and the following letters in the collection, which grow ever more familiar in their tone and their appearance, as did the couple in their affiliation, record one of the most fascinating love stories of all time. One wonders how they were delivered, and by whom, to the Pope, then to be preserved in his library of documents.

When viewing the letters, placed together in a volume which was clearly created once they arrived in Rome, it is apparent with just a little deduction, that they were stolen in a group. Thinking about this just a bit further, it becomes plain that Anne must have kept them together…and to me this indicates that she treasured them.  If so, then how were they taken from her?  It’s doubtful that she left them lying about casually; instead they were likely put away with her most personal possessions.  One can imagine easily that she kep them in a locked cask or chest, along with her best jewelry – gifts from Henry. So… who might have been able to gain access to the entire group of letters?  We know that the hiring and use of spies was rampant in the courts of England and Europe in the 16th century. Those individuals who were against Anne, and her burgeoning relationship with Henry would have wanted to prove that his desire for a divorce was not sparked by remorse over an unlawful marriage, but instead by besotted love for Anne. Who even knew about the letters… and who had access to her privy bedchamber which is likely where she kept them? None of these answers have been recorded for posterity, but I believe firmly that Anne had a spy in her midst who was performing the service of a chambermaid. Likely she had hired a lady’s maid upon the recommendation of someone she previously trusted, who then planted a spy to observe Anne’s habits and snoop into her belongings. I believe it was that maid who took the letters, and, for a fee, passed them on to one of Katharine’s faction of supporters, who sent them post haste to Rome.

The confiscation and delivery of the cache of letters into the hands of Pope Clement VII has been a serendipitous gift to the following generations, since they have been preserved as documentation of this historic love story.

To imagine how we might interpret Anne’s view of the letters, her responses to them, and her reaction to their theft from her personal belongings, read the fictional memoir, Struck With the Dart of Love : Je Anne Boleyn, available on Amazon in paperback and e-reader,  and visit my website www.sandravasoli.com.


And now Sandi discusses one of Anne Boleyn’s letters… or is it?

VIDEO CREDIT: MadeGlobal Publishing



Sandy Vasoli

Sandi Vasoli

Sandra Vasoli, author of Anne Boleyn’s Letter from the Tower; Struck with the Dart of Love: Je Anne Boleyn, Book One; and Truth Endures, Je Anne Boleyn, Book Two earned a Bachelor’s degree in English and biology from Villanova University before embarking on a thirty-five-year career in human resources for a large international company.

Having written essays, stories, and articles all her life, Vasoli was prompted by her overwhelming fascination with the Tudor dynasty to try her hand at writing both historical fiction and non-fiction. While researching what would eventually become her Je Anne Boleyn series, Vasoli was granted unprecedented access to the Papal Library. There she was able to read the original love letters from Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn—an event that contributed greatly to her research and writing.

Vasoli currently lives in Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania, with her husband and two greyhounds.








May 20, 2016 in Hall of Crowns (Mercy Rivera), Historical Fiction, The Final Days of Queen Anne Boleyn by Mercy Rivera

Mercy Alicea Rivera Mercy Rivera


Queen Anne Boleyn Historical Writers is thrilled to introduce to you historical fiction short story and non-fiction article writer Mercy Rivera.

Mercy Rivera is a founding member of Queenanneboleyn.com and is highly respected as the website’s Queen Anne Boleyn reenactor. A native of Puerto Rico, Mercy also writes Spanish language articles and stories for the website. A woman of many talents, Mercy is a video hobbyist. The videos included with Mercy’s short story Chronicles of a Restless Soul are of her creation.


Chronicles of a Restless Soul


I am trapped in time, trapped in silence, memories, in pain, sadness and agony. I am trapped within the walls of this Tower, below the sky, in the traces of the path of the story of my life.  I see life coming and going every single day…. Sometimes I make myself felt, and sometimes I just act like a cold whisper that makes them remember that one day I was real.

I have been a silent witness of the changes of time… eras came and left, and everything is different– but life is the same. Everyone wishes the same things. I hear them when they speak. Some of them praise me and admire me… others… judge me like the ones who sent me to my death. But in this era I must say… I have more supporters than when I was a living Queen. Oh! And how much they admire my precious Elizabeth. That makes me feel so proud and assures me that my life and my fate were not in vain.

But my favorite time is when the night comes… when all the noises, the rush of the living and the interruptions of the… extreme modern era that is now, goes quiet.  Is at night when I come out freely. Sometimes I get too bored and make fun of others…I scared the guards a little, but I never go too far… like some legends that I heard from visitors.  When you are… like I am now, you are free to go wherever you want; and you can also see those who once shared a life and a death with you.

I do not spend too much time wandering in the Tower. This cold and dark place that I hate with all my being, but that is also part of me… This was my last home.  I was blessed with power and glory here… and also judge, abandoned and unjustly condemned.  I leave the tower every night, and I fly away towards my home…the place where I grew up, where I was happy, where once I heard poems and was captivated by my King… my darling and cruel Henry.  Oh Hever… you have changed but not too much….the essence of my existence is still present in all the corners.  My home, too many memories…. At least I am still here to remember.  Sometimes I see my brother around…. But his soul is too damaged. He just looks at me and then he fades away. In more than four hundred years since… that happened, I have not been able to speak to my dear George. For some reason he refuses to be with me in death… he remembers his pain more than the fact that we were inseparable in life. 

And over there…my beautiful gardens….they are taking good care of them, even when I see changes is still precious.   I find my sister Mary here sometimes… She talks to me. She pardoned my pride and cruelty towards her back when I was Queen and arrogant.  My poor sister… And my mother, the gracious and proud Countess of Wiltshire and Ormond, also haunts this place…is hard to see her, because every time we see each other, all is sadness, mixed with smiles. She just looks at me. Even in death we can touch each other. I can feel her maternal caresses. Then she says “I am so sorry” and like my brother… she fades away in an extreme level of sorrow.  Alas, I never see my father here… but I can hear him… He cries out loud. He is in pain.  I know that very well. He betrayed his own blood and that will never let him rest. My poor father….

 Then I start to have memories of the days that marked the beginning of my end; and when that happens.  I think… why my fate changed?  I was in love with another man, a simple man that would never treat me with cruelty or betray my love, but then…I was forced to capture a King and I lost the way… I lost myself.

 I remember that masked ball… when I met the King. He was Honesty and I Perseverance, symbolic indeed.  At first… I did not care for him.  I had a duty.  I had to obey my father and my uncle’s wishes, but then….when I looked in to his eyes….he captured me. Maybe that is why all worked so well at the beginning. True love was finally the base of the game, and one day, I was his Queen. I bore him a daughter…. And I lost two children. The last sealed my fate.

Sometimes I spent days and nights wandering here in Hampton Court… Oh Hampton court, so many stories… Henry haunts here…. He really liked this place. I only found him here once. I can not remember the time. I do not follow the count, but it was a long time ago. He usually hides from me, but I can always feel him when he is around.  It was a stormy night when I found him in the Gallery, alone. He felt my presence and he turned around; he said “Anne, Anne, why are you here?

And I answered; you should know… since you ordered my death. 

He looked at me for a long time, and he finally said the words I wanted to hear since that horrible day; he said:   Anne, forgive me. I destroyed all that I loved and cared of in my days — my greed, my obsession for a male heir… my madness, my fears, turned me in to a monster. I sent you to a death you did not deserved. I killed you, but you must know that even when I hid it. I never forgot about you. That is why I kept Elizabeth away for a long time… Every time I looked at her… I was seeing you; and that was a torture to my conscience!  But you won Anne. The son I had with Jane was not the monarch I dreamt; but our daughter… she was greater than me, greater than my forefathers! She was the True Tudor Rose!  Anne, oh Anne, I am a tormented soul. I am doomed to be trapped in the ruins of my deeds and I deserve it.  If only I could turn back time… and be more human and less king, more a man and less a tyrant…forgive me, forgive me. 

He stood there, waiting for my answer, but I could not speak. I just walk slowly towards him, and I touched his face with my cold and pale hand, and I saw our lives in flashes of light. I saw the best moments of our fairy tale romance, and then I smiled, and finally found the words for him: “Your Majesty… even when you caused me pain, agony, fear, deception and sorrow, I can not hate you. In the times when you used to love me, you made me the most happy; you gave me all, you made me your queen, and you also helped me with the blessing of motherhood. Elizabeth was part of you and me, the glory of our existence, and the fruit of the love we once shared. I can not forget the suffering you caused me. You condemned me even when you knew in your heart that I was innocent. For that… I can not give you a full pardon. But I do not hate you, because I loved you… and because the glorious memory of Elizabeth will always remind me of it.  Tell me my lord… Do you remember the passion we shared?  I do — our love was like no other… our passion was never seeing in the open like we showed it. Can you remember that? 

When I asked him that his expression changed. He smiled and I swear that I saw the shine of tears in his eyes. We looked at each other for the longest time. We were remembering the passion that made both of us immortal in the annals of history.  He says to me: “We were to powerful to be man and wife. We competed all the time. You wanted to be on top of me, to be higher than me and I could not allow that! But I admit that I always longed for the passion you gave me, and when I see you know, with the beauty that charmed me… I feel the pain of being dead.

After a moment, I said to him: “Not only my cruel and undeserved death will torture you forever, the passion, the lust and the intense love I gave you, will always live in your mind, eternally. I marked you as well as you marked me, your majesty.

Immediately I saw in his eyes that familiar anger that he always showed to me when he felt defeated, when he wanted to be stronger than me at any cost. With a frowned face, he disappeared in a cold and furious phantom breeze.  Since then, I can only feel him, but I can not see him.  Henry… my love and my damnation, the seed of this purgatory.

The night is long and I continue with my travel around the ruins and places where I once lived, smiled, cried and despaired.  And in the gallery… near the old main chamber, I find her one more time… It is strange… I have not seen her over a century and tonight. She once again dares to appear before me, the woman who carried the seal of my death behind her innocent face… Jane Seymour.  Like in the first time I saw her after… her unexpected passing, she carries a candle and her face is adorned with the grey glitter of sadness. Here we are again, face to face, but of course… in extremely different circumstances.  I finally speak to her translucent image: “Jane… this night must be somehow special, since I see thee and just one moment ago I was meditating about his Majesty”. 

She was staring at me, with tearful eyes, and finally she answered: “Have you seen my son?  I am trying to find him but I can not”.  She is indeed lost in her own misery. Her punishment was harder than mine. It is true that I lost two babies, but at least I had the joy of spent time with my Elizabeth. I was blessed with the chance to be a mother… even when that chance was minimum.

I do not know how to answer to her.  Suddenly her expression changed… she now seems to recognize me:  “Anne, Anne Boleyn; we are both trapped between the dead and the living. I did to you, what you did to Queen Catherine of Aragon. We moved the world and we acted with cruelty for the love and power of the same man. We lost our purity, our sense of humanity and care for others. I was overjoyed when you die…I must admit that sometimes… My conscience tortured me.  I assumed the same happened to you in your time.  But I ask you now… in mercy, please forgive me so I can escape this limbo and reached the soul of my son. 

The bitterness of my days are still with me. It is true that I was a huge contribution in the sadness and misery of Queen Catherine of Aragon, but I did not sent her to a brutal and unmerciful execution. Catherine died abandoned, and so did I — but she had the consolation of prayers. She will always be remembered as a sacred monarch, while I… Some say that I desired Catherine of Aragon’s death, that I even poisoned her but that is a lie. When I was desperate, paranoid and lost in the wild seas of wine and lonely nights, I said things than later I regretted. Knowing myself, if somehow I meant those threats in my days for sure I would have put them in action, but I never did.

Finally, I speak to the waiting spirit of Queen Jane Seymour: Alas Jane, I can not give you that. I carry a lot of pain with me… you are true when you said that I was the cause of Queen Catherine of Aragon’s misery, but you caused me greater pain. Because of you I lost my last chance to survive as queen and human being. I lost my boy because of you and because of Henry too.  You said you rejoiced in my death, and then you want my forgiveness. Why should I be merciful with you, when you were never merciful with me? 

Jane bows her head, and then looks at me again: “I am sorry that I caused you pain… but I guess, it will be impossible to forgive when we are not able to pardon ourselves.  My son died young… while your daughter reigned long and supreme. I envy you so much for that, even in death. I gave him the son he wanted…. You did not, but I failed because he was weak and he died, while you will always be remembered eternally as the woman who gave birth to the greatest monarch England ever had.  You see? I think I do not deserve your pardon after all.  Jane disappears.Nnow I pity her… She is envious of me, and she can not even find the soul of her son. At least I do not have that burden upon me anymore.

I continue with my nightly routine in Hampton Court. The night is walking towards its end, but I still have time to enjoy my freedom.  Suddenly… I hear the heavenly sound of a violin. It must be him, my dear friend Mark Smeaton! Oh; Mark, you are here…and you are playing the violin for me.  I feel touched by the sweet notes he is playing, and then, my joy arises more when he appears before me, near the entrance of what it once were Henry’s main bedchamber.

I walk towards him with a smile, and he smiles back while he continues to play Como poden per sas culpas. This one brings so many memories back to me… especially of my younger days, when my passion for Henry burnt more than the wildest fire.  Mark… my poor Mark, he died for my cause… and innocent soul dragged to darkness thanks to the cruelty of the almighty and  unjust Henry VIII, and my failure to give him what he wanted.  I smile with sadness towards my dear friend Mark… he did not deserve that bloody and cold death.

Suddenly, he stops playing, and comes closer to me:  My glorious queen and friend, please do not be sad for me, because as long as you decide to wander here… I will be around to please you with my music.  My death was my own. Torture can turn a man in to a coward in the blink of an eye. I paid for that… but now I am here… to make your burden less hard to bear. 

With that, he starts to play the violin again. I smile and nod to him, then I look to my left, and there I see a gentleman that I will always remember with sorrow, Sir Henry Norris. In my days of despair I was disrespectful and unfair with him, but fear was the detonator for that — but I can see no hard feelings in his presence.  He is there, looking peacefully at me, with the same admiration and that flirty essence that somehow condemned him in the end. He bows with elegance before me, and disappears. I turn my gaze to Mark again, and he continues to play the violin with greatness and a very subliminal essence.

But suddenly he stops playing, and disappears. I feel a tense aura, a coldness that is no natural not even for us.  When I turn around, I see three of my old enemies… together.  Cardinal Wolsey, Sir Thomas More and Thomas Cromwell.  I have no reason to fear them or hate them anymore. There is nothing we can do to re-do our lives or make all different, but when I look at them, I see they do not feel the same.

In an instant, Cromwell leaves his place beside Wolsey and appears right in front of me. Then he says: “I see you still here Madame;  it seems all of us will continue to see each other eternally… until judgment day.

I smile to him and then reply:  Judgment day? I have been judged already my lord Cromwell, but when the Lord comes back to pass His own judgment to the living and us, the dead; I will be calmed, since I died innocent, and with so little guilt.

Cromwell smiles, I know he has more to say: “Little guilt you said, Majesty. If I well remember you caused the downfall of that poor man over there. You and all your Boleyn kin, and of course, the Howards.  I see your uncle around here from time to time, and his son; the poor boy; even in death both are difficult to bear.  And then… I still remember how you treated me, on your days of queen. 

I am ready to answer him: Is true I helped in the downfall of Wolsey… but he was not a saint. He had his deeds but yes, I and my kin as you well said, we took advantage of that. Sir Thomas More hated me, and I guess I returned him the same feeling. I am well aware that he died because of me; for sure after his death Henry began to hate me. And I remind you that my attacks against you were well based.  I was right because you were misleading our reformation, and you supported the King’s liaison with Jane Seymour. And worst, you built an abominable plot against me. You sent me to the scaffold when you knew I was innocent. You damned your soul only to please the King. And how it ended?  With your death…even more bloody than mine, you suffered… for sure you felt an immense amount of pain, and endless agony. You tried to reach beyond heaven… and your fall was terrible. Now… anything else you wish to tell me, my lord Cromwell?

Cromwell looks at me with rage in his eyes, but I can also see pain and devastation in his presence. He disappears. Then I look at the ghostly presence of Cardinal Wolsey. He is just there, in silence, but I can see the hate in his eyes towards me. He walks away, and fades in the distance. Finally, Sir Thomas More turns his back and disappears.  I am alone again, so I decide to continue with my journey.

I walk near the King’s private Chapel, when I hear the sound of a young girl sobbing. I look towards the gallery and then I see her… poor Catherine Howard. my poor little cousin, who shared my fate.  She looks at me, and then she comes running like a desperate soul in need. She is finally before me, her expression of panic touches my heart: “Please, I need to see the King, he has to listen to me. Please let me see him. I beg you!  I must see him — don’t you understand? As soon as I see him everything will be all right!

I feel pity for her… She is not entirely a lost soul; she is an echo of an extreme sorrow, pain and desperation. I look at her with tenderness: “My poor child, and sweet cousin, there is no need for you to be in despair. All is over. You do not need to see the King and beg for forgiveness; is over”. 

She looks at me with tears in her eyes. They are like little drops of ice: “How can you say that?! Is not over! I know I can make him understand. He loves me. He will forgive me!  I need to speak to him!

It is useless. She is lost in her agony and the fear she suffered. It make me feel sad when I see her like that. She walks through me and starts to hit the Chapel doors and screams Henry’s name and begs for mercy.  Tired of not having a response, she disappears in front of the Chapel doors.  Poor Katherine Howard…. It was not her fault either. Like me she was a moth drawn to the flame… and burnt.

The cold of the night is fading away….that means the dawn is near — and now I am here, contemplating the resting place of my beloved daughter, Elizabeth.  I am so proud of her, fiercely proud. She was so clever… The Queen who is still remembered in this era. As The Virgin Queen, her reign was a golden age. She was strong, just, kind, candid, fair. She was the best of Henry and me. But alas, love was not kind with her…She never married, even when she loved with all her being… like I did once.  Suddenly, I hear the laughter of a child, a playful breeze walks beside me and then… I see her…  Elizabeth, she looks like the last time I see her, my beautiful baby girl. She decided to appear before me, just like in the last time I held her in my arms. I smile as I see her. I can not believe it!

As ghosts we can do as we wish… and she wants to be my baby girl again.  I walk towards her. I pick her up and I hold her again. She looks so beautiful and sweet:  “My sweet and beloved Elizabeth, I loved you since I saw you for the first time… I loved you then and I love you now with the same force that nature brings in motherhood. You did great in life. You honored your name, your blood and your destiny.  Your father is also very proud of you. My beautiful virgin Queen; my Elizabeth. 

She looks at me with bright eyes, is in her eyes where she is showing me all the events of her life… the story of her, who filled my life with joy, my last triumph in this life was her.  And then she smiles, oh how much I missed that sweet smile.  I hold her, is wonderful how God can continue blessing the souls of those who are still trapped in the walls of the past, like me… like so many others. And then, I hear footsteps. I do not dare to look back, since I can recognize who it is.  Then, I hear her voice:

“You can hold her with pride, Ana Bolena. You proved in the end that you were better than me, in capturing the heart of Henry; and your daughter… was your redemption. Since I have to admit, that you die innocent. 

Still holding Elizabeth, I slowly turn around, and I see her, Queen Catherine of Aragon. She is there, and I can not see hate in her eyes.  I respectfully make a little curtsey to her, and to my surprise, she nods and then does the same. “My poor Mary died young… your Elizabeth had a long and prosperous life… She was right and was wise when she decided to never marry. She was he own ruler, her own keeper.  She was stronger than us.  I am now ready to answer:  “Madame, I admit I was arrogant in my days… but I never turned my threats into actions against you or against your daughter. Alas, I know I caused you pain and misery, and I tried to reach your daughter’s heart but… her mind was poisoned against me, even when I know, that she was… correct in feeling hate towards me. I destroyed her parent’s marriage. 

She smiles to me, and peacefully replies:  “My marriage was dead before you entered in our lives. I just… did not want to admit it.  I loved Henry with a force stronger than myself, stronger than the world itself and that… that made me blind.  Also my Spanish Pride made me stubborn enough to fight for what was mine.  My pride… my love for Henry, my worthless fight for my place as Queen, that also destroyed Mary. If I could turn back time, I would probably do all different. I shall have let him go to you… probably Mary would had suffered less.  

She is touching my heart with her words. I look at Elizabeth, she looks so peaceful in my arms:  “I am sorry, your majesty; for all the pain my presence caused in your lifetime”. 

She once again smiles:  “I pardoned you and Henry a long time ago… that is why I am not trapped as you are, as many of those I knew are.  I come down and up again…because I still want to find my daughter, but she is not here… She is not within this walls, or in the ruins of our times. She is trapped elsewhere, in a darker place.  Her bitterness, her sad and damaged soul twisted her mind, and she lost the way I taught her. Mi preciosa Mary. I lost her, forever. 

With that, she walks away, and disappears in the distance.  I look at the window on my left, and I can see the first rays of the sun between the dark clouds of the dying night. It is time to go back to the walls, to the ruins, to hide from the presence of the living. I look at my darling daughter once more:  “Time to sleep, my baby girl, go to rest, mama will do the same…go to the angels my sweet Elizabeth. I will guard your dreams, eternally. She smiles, and slowly disappears from my arms, like a soft cold breeze. Now I feel so empty, but I know I will see her again… since we belong here…this is our home, the memories keep us alive, and as long as we are remembered, we will never die.

ANNE BOLEYN DAY 2016: Closing Remarks From Tim Ridgway — THANK YOU EVERYONE!!

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



Queenanneboleyn.com shared with you today the events of ANNE BOLEYN DAY 2016 as they unfolded. This event, co-hosted across QAB, MadeGlobal Publishing, and The Anne Boleyn Files was the brainchild of Tim Ridgway. His exhaustive work ethic, calm and gentle spirit, and passion to support the authors of MadeGlobal Publishing is highly respected and humbly appreciated by us all.

Thank you one and all for joining Made Global Publishing, The Anne Boleyn Files, Queenanneboleyn.com, and all of MadeGlobal’s fantastic authors and esteemed guests! Many Blessings to you all.


VIDEO CREDIT: MadeGlobal Publishing



Tim Ridgway

Tim Ridgway

Tim Ridgway is the main editor here at MadeGlobal.com, and he is also tightly involved with cover design and promotion for the authors and books we publish.

Because of his experience in publishing, Tim and Claire reached out to the top self-published authors to get their thoughts, tips and experiences about success in the new publishing world. The results were put together in an amazing book which is jointly written by Tim Ridgway and Claire Ridgway.

When you contact MadeGlobal.com, chances are that you’ll be speaking with Tim…


ANNE BOLEYN DAY 2016: Jane Parker, Lady Rochford — Adrienne Dillard

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



Queenanneboleyn.com is sharing with you today the events of ANNE BOLEYN DAY 2016 as they unfold. In this great video, author Adrienne Dillard dispels myths associated with the wife of George Boleyn — Jane Parker, Lady Rochford. You maybe be surprised by what Adrienne has to say about this historically maligned woman.


VIDEO CREDIT: MadeGlobal Publishing



Adrienne Dillard

Adrienne Dillard

Adrienne Dillard, author of “Cor Rotto: A Novel of Catherine Carey” and “Catherine Carey in a Nutshell” is a graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies with emphasis in History from Montana State University-Northern.

Adrienne has been an eager student of history for most of her life and has completed in-depth research on the American Revolutionary War time period in American History and the history and sinking of the Titanic. Her senior university capstone paper was on the discrepancies in passenger lists on the ill-fated liner and Adrienne was able to work with Philip Hind of Encyclopedia Titanica for much of her research on that subject.

“Cor Rotto: A Novel of Catherine Carey” is her first published novel.


ANNE BOLEYN DAY 2016: A Reading From “The First Horseman” and Anne’s Execution – Derek Wilson

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



Queenanneboleyn.com is sharing with you today the events of ANNE BOLEYN DAY 2016 as they unfold. Prolific historical writer Derek Wilson teaches us about Queen Anne Boleyn’s execution and also delights with a reading from his novel The First Horseman. Enjoy!


VIDEO CREDIT: MadeGlobal Publishing



Derek Wilson

Derek Wilson

Derek Wilson is a self-described highly prolific historian of  “fact, faith, fiction and fantasy”. A graduate from Cambridge in 1961, Derek spent several years travelling and teaching in Africa before becoming a full-time writer and broadcaster in 1971.Derek’s body of work of both fiction and non-fiction work is exhaustive, and we strongly urge you to visit his website of an amazing chronology of biographies, general history books, and historical fiction novels at Derek Wilson: Historian of Fact, Faith, Fiction and Fantasy. Under the pen name D.K. Wilson, Derek has authored The First Horseman and the recently released The Traitor’s Mark, both featuring lead protagonist Thomas Treviot, young goldsmith drawn into a religious conspiracy.


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