Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Monday, September 15, 2008

Monday, September 1, 2008

Anne of cleves

Anne of Cleves (Anna duchess of cleves)
BORN: 1515

DIED: 16 JULY 1557 (MY birthday...btw)

Could be considered the luckiest of all Henrys Wives, for she was the one who lived the longest aside from Katherine parr who died in childbirth from her last marriage to Thomas Seymour. could it have been that the wive whom was most despised by the king for shallow reasons was also the one who survived and was regarded "sister" to the king at Henry's court?

Henry's first marriage had been a foreign alliance of sorts, although it is almost certain that the two were truly in love for some time. His next two brides were love matches and Henry could have had little or no monetary or political gain from them.

It was infact Thomas Cromwell who proposed the idea of a foreign marriage (and alliance) as the split from Rome had left england very much isolated. It was these circumstances that led henry to direct his minsiters to look at the possibility of a foreign bride, much to Cromwells delight.

Henry did also want to be sure he was getting a desirable bride, so he had agents in foreign courts report to him on the appearance and other qualities of various candidates. He also sent painters to bring him images of these women.

Hans Holbein, the most famous of the Tudor court painters, was sent to the court of the Duke of Cleves, who had two sisters: Amelia and Anne. When Holbein went in 1539, Cleves was seen as an important potential ally in the event France and the Holy Roman Empire (who had somewhat made a truce in their long history of conflict) decided to move against the countries who had thrown off the Papal authority. England then sought alliances with countries who had been supporting the reformation of the church. Several of the Duchys and principalities along the Rhine were Lutheran. Holbein painted the sisters of the Duke of Cleves and Henry decided to have a contract drawn up for his marriage to Anne.

Although the King of France and the Emperor had gone back to their usual state of animosity, Henry proceeded with the match. The marriage took place on January 6, 1540. By then, Henry was already looking for ways to get out of the marriage, as their was beleived to have been a disasterous meeting between them just days before the intended date on which Henry surprised Anne in her chamber, surprising her in disguise. She was mortified and screamed aloud in German, this too horrified the king, but what was worse for Henry was when he laid eyes on the woman he was to marry.

His very words "I like her not"

Anne of cleves was reffered to as "the flanders mare"

Both Cromwell and Holbein were scolded for allowing this and promoting anne of cleves as she appeared in Holbeins portrait, quite attractive.

Anne was ill-suited for life at the English court. Her upbringing in Cleves had concentrated on domestic skills and not the music and literature so popular at Henry's court.

In addition to his personal feelings for wanting to end the marriage, there were now political ones as well. Tension between the Duke of Cleves and the Empire was increasing towards war and Henry had no desire to become involved. Last but not least, at some point (beleived to be around The new year season of 1540 Henry had become attracted to young Kathryn Howard. lady in waitng to the New Queen Anne

Anne was most likely informed by her ambassador that she would only be making trouble for herself if she raised any obstacles to Henry's attempts to annul the marriage. She testified that the match had not been consummated and that her previous engagement to the son of the Duke of Lorraine had not been properly broken.

After the marriage had been dissolved, Anne accepted the honorary title as the 'King's Sister'. She was given property, including Hever Castle, formerly the home of Anne Boleyn. Anne was also present at the Twelfth night festivites in 1541 during Henrys happy period of marriage to Kathryn Howard. Anne was beleived to have befreinded Mary Tudor, the kings eldest Daughter, and was a kind towards Elizabeth and little Edward.

Anne lived away from court quietly in the countryside until 1557 and attended the coronation of her former step-daughter, Mary I.

She is buried in a somewhat hard to find tomb in Westminster Abbey.

Thomas Cromwell was executed in 1540, as the king was not only angry at Cromwell for insisting on this marriage for his own gain (Anne of cleves was heavily influenced by her brother the Duke of cleves, to sway the king to things Protestant as was Martin Luthers influence in Germany vastly spreading.) The king had also become aware of Thomas Cromwells "Secret" plans for a supposed "Reformation", The king listened to Cromwells enemies on this particular occasion as he did when he was swayed into dislike for people who were once so influencial in the realm, IE Thomas Wolesy.

when Cromwell was executed it was beleived to have taken several attempts from the rather inept Executioner to severe his head. The death would have been a very painful experience.

Catherine Parr

The last of Henry's Queens and possibly the most remembered for this poem "Divorced, beheaded, died" "Divorced, beheaded, Survived...."

Katherine Parr (Kate) was the eldest daughter of Sir Thomas Parr and his wife Maud Green, both of whom were at the court of Henry VIII in his early reign. Maud was a lady-in-waiting to Queen Catherine of Aragon and named her daughter, born in 1512, after her. So, Henry VIII’s last wife was named after his first. Thomas Parr died in November 1517, leaving his three children, William, Katherine and Anne in the care of their mother. Maud managed the chil
dren’s education and the family estates and must have left an impression on her daughter of the greater role an independent woman could have in society. The education that Maud arranged for the children was similar to that of other noble figures of the time and at least in the case of Katherine, it ignited a life-long passion for learning. She was fluent in French, Latin and Italian and began learning Spanish when she was Queen.

Katherine Parr’s first marriage was to Edward Borough, the son of Thomas, third Baron Borough of Gainsborough in 1529 when she was 17 years old. Edward died only a few years later, in early 1533. It was during this marriage that Katherine’s mother Maud died, in December 1531. Katherine’s second marriage was to John Neville, third Baron Latimer of Snape Castle in Yorkshire, whom she married in the summer of 1534 when he was 41 and she was 22. Latimer had two children from his previous marriages so Katherine also became a stepmother for the first time. During the Pilgrimage of Grace a rebel mob forced Latimer to join them and later took Katherine and her stepchildren hostage at the castle. Latimer was able to eventually secure their freedom and managed to escape arrest for his associations with the rebellion after it was finally put down.

Katherine’s ailing husband died in March 1543, leaving her a widow for the second time, now at the age of 31.Katherine was known as "Lady Latimer" It was not long after that Katherine was noticed by not only the King, but also Thomas Seymour, brother of the late Queen Jane Seymour. Katherine expressed her desire to marry Thomas Seymour after Latimer’s death, but the King’s request for her hand was one that Katherine felt it was her duty to accept. Thomas Seymour had never been married and was living as a "Bachelor" at court. Katherine had her reservations toward the rather brash Seymour, but was attracted to what appeared to be the opposite characteristics that she displayed herself. None the less Henry asked for the gentle lady Kate's hand in marriage. The marriage was not only for the kings gain as he had expressed no desire to marry again after the ill fated Kathryn Howard, this was said to be for the Children Elizabeth and Edward whom Katherine took and tended to. Henry was impressed with Katherines closeness with his son and heir Edward.

Katherine and Henry VIII were married on July 12th in the Queen’s closet at Hampton Court Palace in a small ceremony attended by about 20 people.

Katherine was interested in the reformed faith, making her enemies with the conservatives of Henry’s court. The king beleived that she was so pious it was though "his Kate" had married the lord as her bridegroom as oppsed to him.

It was Katherine’s influence with the King and the Henry’s failing health that led to a plot against her in 1546 by the conservative faction. Katherine and her ladies were known to have had banned books which was grounds for arrest and execution on charges of heresy. To gain evidence against the Queen, Anne Askew, a well-known and active Protestant, was questioned and tortured, but refused recant her faith or give evidence against Katherine and her ladies. However, there was enough other evidence against the Queen to issue a warrant for her arrest. The warrant was accidentally dropped and someone loyal to the Queen saw it and then quickly told her about it. This is a well-documented incident that has made its way into many historical fiction accounts.

In this case its as though the history itself is the best drama!

After learning of the arrest warrant, Katherine was said to be very ill, either as a ruse to stall or from a genuine panic attack. Henry went to see her and chastised her for her outspokenness about the reformed religion and his feeling that she was forgetting her place by instructing him on such matters. Katherine’s response in her defense was that she was only arguing with him on these issues so she could be instructed by him, and to take his mind off other troubles. Playing to Henry’s ego helped and Katherine was forgiven. Her faith in God was what Katherine beleived had protected her in her most fearful time.

Katherine was close with all three of her stepchildren as Henry’s wife and was personally involved in the educational program of the younger two, Elizabeth and Edward. She was also a patron of the arts and music. Katherine’s own learning and academic achievements, as alluded to previously, were impressive, and in 1545, her book “Prayers or Meditations” became the first work published by an English Queen under her own name. Another book, “The Lamentation of a Sinner”, was published after Henry VIII’s death.

Katherine was a kind and gentle woman who's only downfall was being true to what she beleived in which was the reformation and the Protestant faith.

There is also a theory that Katherine was a virgin when she married Henry VIII as her previous husbands had been too old and ill to connsumate with her. Whether Henry and Kate had marital relations is a misty subject. This could indeed be why Katherine had not became pregnant until her Marriage of love to Thomas Seymour in 1547.

Henry VIII died in January 1547 and Katherine had expected to play some role in the regency for the new nine-year-old king, Edward VI, but this was not to be. Only a few months after Henry’s death, Katherine secretly married Thomas Seymour, but the quickness and secret nature of the union caused a scandal. Katherine was still able to take guardianship of Princess Elizabeth and Seymour purchased the wardship of the king’s cousin, Lady Jane Grey. It was during this time that the rumors of a relationship between Elizabeth and Seymour arose and Elizabeth was sent to another household in the spring of 1548. Again these were all rumour and hear say.

After three previous marriages and at the age of 37, Katherine was pregnant for the first time and in June 1548, she moved to Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire to await the birth of her child. On August 30th she gave birth to a daughter named Mary. Katherine soon fell ill with puerperal fever, which was to claim her life in the morning hours of September 5th. Katherine was buried, with Lady Jane Grey as the chief mourner, in the chapel at Sudeley Castle, where the tomb can still be visited today.

Katherine parr, may she be in eternal peace.

Mary was beleived to have died sometime after her Father Thomas Seymours Execution in 1548. Catherine Brandon, formerly Willoughby was Kates best friend and confidant, who is beleived to have taken care of the infant as she had two sons of her own and was to raise a daughter in great joy. Little is known on the exact date of death for Mary Seymour.

Catherine Howard

born 1520
Married 8th august 1540
Executed in 1542

Of all the death and tragedy within Henry VIII's reign, His ill fated fifth wife and supposed "love of his life" Catherine Howard, was
indeed the saddest.

Born to Lord Edmund and Jocasta Culpepper Catherine came from a strong lineage, as her father was the third son of the second duke of norfolk, the third Duke of Norfolk was her uncle and she indeed was cousin to Anne Boleyn.

Catherine was braught to court as a lady in waiting to Anne of cleves and was beleived to have been thrown in the kings way by her relatives particulary the Duke, seeing this as another opportunity to advance by using the vivacious and very caring, attractive Catherine to play on the kings needs. A love affair between the king and her (although whether she loved him is highly disputed) had erupted by the late spring of 1540.

They were married at hampton court, the same place Jane Seymour was married to Henry just four years prior.

Catherine was only in her late teens while Henry was a fifty year old, overweight man who's leg had became so bad he had to walk on a stick. He was no longer the fit and agile boy king he once was. Catherine was named by henry to be his "Rose without thorn" for she was able to help him feel young, entertained and delighted him, bedded him when he had the stamina and saught favour with all three of Henrys children.

Speculation into Catherines virtue was soon questioned when she admitted one of her admirers and alleged old flame "francis derenhem" to court. She later confessed to under accusation to not being "Pure" (in a virginal state) when she married Henry. Henry was so smitten he himself did not want to beleive it but as the evidence supposedly poured out, Henry fled never to see Katherine alive again. When Lady rochford (Jane boleyn) testified that Thomas Culpepper one of the kings most respected young noblemen was seen in Catherines bed chamber repeatedly, he was later braught down for Questioning. Francis derenhem was also suspected of continuing an affair with the queen after she allowed him into court, for why would one allow an old flame back in to their lives? Catherine was said to have confessed to meetings with Culpepper and many beleive she indeed did have an affair however in Starkeys book he puts that Thomas and Catherine had a close platonic relationship catherine was forced to admit to private meetings and liasons however this does not mean they shared a sexual encounter, according to catherine the realtionship was encouraged by the not quite sane Lady rochford jane boleyn.

both Francis and Thomas were beheaded and Catherine was sent to Syon abbey where she must have awaited her fate so anxiously. The duke of norfolk delivered Catherines summons to the tower where she was to executed, another family member sent to the scaffold, another failed attempt at rising higher than he already was in Henry's court. Jane Boleyn was executed and was beleived to have admitted her statement against her husband george and sister in law anne were indeed false. She had shown symptoms of maddness until the very end when she was executed after a very weak Catherine howard.

The ambassador Chapuys (starkey, 2003) had witnessed the kings reaction to Anne boleyns exectuion and Jane seymours death, but he had never seen him behave as he did over Catherine Howard. He continued to say
"He has certainly shown greater sorrow and regret at her loss that at the faults, loss of divorce of his preceding wives"

So why did he have her executed? did he really beleive his rose without thorn had an affair?
in his young day ,Henry had mistresses and was known to cheat on his wives. When the shoe was supposedly on the other foot it was a different story.

Katherine was too young to die and i beleive most innocent.
He mourned her so dearly and cried but there is no sympathy for the selfish old fools own doing!

Jane Seymour

Widely known as the sweet chaste maiden who usurped Anne's crown and place as Queen by acting the complete opposite to her rival, never to argue or speak her mind. Jane seymour's lack of spirit and eagerness to please drew the dominating Henry into a trance, for as the portrait reveals Mistress Seymour was certainly no beauty. Sent as a lady in Waiting to Queen Anne after the alleged encounter with the king at her fathers manor, Jane apparently read to Henry and comforted him after his jousting accident which left him with an ulcerated leg that never healed. Anne was outraged and some historians beleive this was the cause of her last failed pregnancy. Janes brothers Thomas and Edward were great beleivers in the refformation of the church,while Anne remained a strict noble Catholic (mainly to please the country and keep out of the kings way) Jane was married to Henry on 30th may, 11 days after annes execution, and waited two weeks for her coronation. She indeed delivered Henry the son he had been waiting for as both his previous wives had either lost or given birth to short lived, deformed heirs. The son was named Edward per Henrys request and was rightfully heir to the throne, as two months into Jane and Henry's marriage, the only living and illegitimate son of henry Henry fitzroy died at 17. Edward was given a royal christening at hampton palace on the 15th october. Mary tudor, and Elizabeth were both at the ceremony. Jane died on the 24th october, due to illness from child birth..... Henry did not marry for two years after Janes Death Jane seymour was the only one of Henry VIII's wives to be buried alongside him Whether Jane Seymour really loved him is doubtful the rolling stones composed a song "My sweet lady jane" based on Henry's point of view towards his fleeting love for anne and his new passion for his dear lady Jane.

Anne Boleyn

Anne Boleyn (formerley "Bullen") is probably the most controversial and talked about Queens and Ladies in british history.

Born somewhere between 1501/1507 depending on which historical book you read, anne was daughter of Elizabeth howard and Sir Thomas boleyn. They had three children, Mary the eldest, Anne and the youngest was George. Their mother was beleived to have died in Childbirth, with the boleyns fourth child who did not survive.

It was the eldest Boelyn Mary who came to court first, after being sent to france to be educated in the finer of the courts of the day, alongside Thomas and Edward Seymour. Mary met the kings eye in around 1520 and was sent back to England as the kings mistress after he tired of Elizabeth blount. Mary had two children in this time, which are still debated as to being the kings offspring, however nothing was actually proven.

Anne boleyn followed her sister to france and remained after Mary returned to england. Anne later followed and took the king by storm. She was not the conventional be
auty of the 16th century. Her hair was long and dark, she was of a thin frame with small breasts and hips and the infamous "little neck". she was known for the B necklance she wore and was a leader as apposed to a follower which proved to be true in the way she carried her fashion, beleiving to have made the "French hoods" so popular and also adopted Secretary Cromwells views on the reformation of the church. Anne was sent back to her home in Kent, known as hever castle after being engaged to Henry percy. When henrys father found out he was said to have been outraged, there is also a beleif that the king had sent to wolsey to persuade Percy to call off the engagement at the kings request.

Anne was devastated but soon turned her affections to her cousin (or neighbour depending on historical facts and evidence) Thoams wyatt, who later went on to become a great poet and protestant.

Anne was to put aside her passion for the love of her family and as the kings passion wained for Mary, his lust and desire for anne only grew larger. Thomas and her uncle Duke
of norfolk, agreed that Anne would have to use her cunning and ambitious streak to keep the kings affection in the hopes that the boleyn family would rise ever higher. By this time Sir Thomas boelyn was already made Viscount of Rochford, which George and his wife Jane boleyn were said to inherit.

Obeying her fathers orderes and satisfying the king, anne continued to play on Henry's affections by abstaining from sexual relations with him until she were married, this in turn urged Henry to take his passion to the next step and make the enticing Anne his queen. Henry had promised anne be queen in 1527, it wasnt until 1533 did anne take her place as queen and "rightful wife" after Katherine was sent into exile and forced to renounce her status.

By 1533 Anne was already pregnant, leading historians to beleive that she indeed conceived with Henry in 1532 after eventually giving into his seduction. Her marriage and pregnancy was highly celebrated as was Henry's new rise to power as head of the church of england, with all catholic monuments and teachings to be abolished in favour of his new Queen, however it was merely for his own selfish desires, for now henry could command whoever he wanted to be sent to the scaffold without recognition from the pope, he had this put into place when two of his loyal subjects, Thomas more, devout catholic and Bishop fisher, made cardinal by the Pope in italy at the time, were both sent to death by beheading.

Anne gave birth to a daughter on september 7th 1533, after taking to her birthing chamber nine days prior. At around 3 in the afternoon it is beleived that Elizabeth was born. Her christening service was not that of the first ill fated prince Henry to Katherine of aragon, none the less twas still a grand affair. The princess's white christening robes can still be seen on display at Sudeley castle in england. The name Elizabeth was after Henry's mother Elizabeth of York which would have suited anne fine, since her Mother was also named Elizabeth. The urgency for the vast ageing Henry to conceive an heir put great strain on their marriage and in annes time of pregnancy, Henry was beleived to have looked elsewhere for his pleasure delighting in mistresses from around and even consulting whores, although this widely speculated to be rumor.

Anne knew the haste in which she had to produce a son, not just for herself but for her familys own weatlh and love of the court was dwindling rapidly. By January 1534 anne was pregnant again, but alas the child was still born, (beleived to have been) Anne did not give up hope and became pregnant again in 1535 but the child was born prematurely, and was beleived to have been deformed, and at the worst indeed a boy it was. By now speculation and accusation was surrounding anne as to her faithfulness with the king. Surely a disformed baby could not have been the product of a healthy King and Queen?

Henry started to buy into the conspirators that anne had, one being Thomas cromwell the very man who saw her rise and encouraged her to aid the protestant movement and reformation in england, also plotted her downfall and questioned the men including anne's brother george of whom she was very close to, and his rather bitter wife Jane parker into Annes chastity before marriage and faithfullness during their marriage.

Anne blamed the fatal pregnancy on the awful news of Henrys jousting accident which occured sometime in between her last pregnancy and the baby being born. Anne was also fully aware of the Kings new favourite at court, one of her slow ready to please ladies in waiting, the blonde and somewhat silly, Jane Seymour who was beleived to have read to henry when he cried aloud in pain after his accident had left him with an ulcerated leg which never healed and caused him great discomfort. Henry also sad that he would never joust again, began to worry if what was being said about anne was true.

On April 30, 1536, Anne's musician and friend for several years, Mark Smeaton, was arrested and most likely tortured into making 'revelations' about the Queen. Next, Sir Henry Norris was arrested and taken to the Tower of London. Then the Queen's own brother, George Boleyn, Lord Rochford was arrested.

On May 2, the Queen herself was arrested at Greenwich and was informed of the charges against her: adultery, incest and plotting to murder the King. She was then taken to the Tower by barge along the same path she had traveled to prepare for her coronation just three years earlier. In fact, she was lodged in the same rooms she had held on that occasion. How very ironic indeed.

There were several more arrests. Sir Francis Weston and William Brereton were charged with adultery with the Queen. Sir Thomas Wyatt was also arrested, but later released. They were put on trial with Smeaton and Norris at Westminster Hall on May 12, 1536. The men were not allowed to defend themselves, as was the case in charges of treason. They were found guilty and received the required punishment: they were to be hanged at Tyburn, cut down while still living and then disemboweled and quartered.

On Monday the 15th, the Queen and her brother were put on trial at the Great Hall of the Tower of London. It is estimated that some 2000 people attended. Anne conducted herself in a calm and dignified manner, denying all the charges against her. Her brother was tried next, with his own wife Jane Boleyn, lady rochford testifying against him Even though the evidence against them was barely passable as evidence at all , they were both found guilty, with the sentence being read by their uncle, Thomas Howard , the Duke of Norfolk. They were to be either burnt at the stake (which was the punishment for incest) or beheaded, at the discretion of the King.

At the sympathy (or in the real case GUILT) of the King, Anne and George were sent to their death by beheading, Anne would even have an executioner from France with a specially made blade to cut her delicate little neck. The other males were not treated to this priveledge and on the 17th may George Boleyn and the other four men condemened were beheaded in front of a live cheering crowd with the english execution style axe, Mark, Francis, william and Henry's sentences had been reduced to death by beheading as apposed to the awful punishment they were to receive, hung, disemboweled and burnt.

Two days later on the 19th May Annes execution came to be. She was only made visible to a small audience of people and displayed tremendous dignity to these harsh and blatentely untrue crimes held against her. It is beleived that Anne blessed the king and at the very end asked "jesus to receive her soul" there is also a theory that the executioner was delayed, adding to the anxiety and last minute hope that the king had changed his mind or would be forced to with all these delays being a sign from god. Her head was cut off in one swift stroke.

Anne's body and head were put into an arrow chest and buried in an unmarked grave in the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula which adjoined the Tower Green. Her body was one that was identified in renovations of the chapel under the reign of Queen Victoria, so Anne's final resting place is now marked in the marble floor.

In later years Anne Boleyn was seen as a Martyr, dying for un just reasons and her stance against the catholic church and in favour of the reformation was followed by many who mourned her death.

Anne was not the crazy sour faced "Wench" with withcy powers and boils that some have made her out to be. Anne was merely a woman living in a mans world, good for nothing for her Father and uncles own selfish desires to rise them higher. Sir Thomas boleyn kept his earldom and was grateful to attain that.