So…It all starts back with a beef within a family who had been scrapping for years about who the throne really belonged to. They were all related, but they were also a collective bunch of gobshites, and the family split into two sides: Lancaster and York. Thus began a series of scraps called ‘the Wars of the Roses’.
Anyway, this civil war went on for aaaaages, and the throne swapped back and forth between the houses. Most of the men in England were killed in the fighting, and people were getting pissed off. It all only came to a head in 1485, when both sides put up their front men, neither of which really deserved to be King.
On the Lancastrian side there was Henry Tudor; (a distant relation to the current King, and who had previously been exiled in France), and on the other side, Richard III; the current reigning King, who had nicked the throne from his nephew, (noticed I didn’t say killed his nephews in the tower…that’s cos I believe that to be some straight up bullshit).
Anyway, it all kicked off at the Battle of Bosworth when Henry Tudor kicked arse, thanks to his Mum’s husband. His mum was a crazy biatch called Margaret Beaufort, who had married a bloke with an army, called Henry Stafford. This prick Stafford had already vowed an allegiance to Richard III, and promised the reigning King his army. With this in mind, Margret had tried to win him over, saying shit like, ‘if you fight for Henry and win, you will be the step-father to a King, rather than a noble married to a traitor’s mum, with a small shit army’. This gave him much to ponder on.
Stafford was a man with an interest in his own advancement, so not knowing what to do or who to fight for, he sat on a hill with his army, whilst the battle took place, watching and waiting until last minute to pick a side. It was in this last minute, quite literally, that he decided to rush in, switching sides, coming through for his step-son, Henry Tudor. This was the main reason that Henry won the battle of Bosworth. Think Jon Snow – Ramsey Bolton style, GoT Battle of the Bastards, when the Arryn army came swooping in…which is clearly where that shit was nicked from.
So, Richard III was dead, and the throne swapped back to the Lancastrians. This time it was different though, because Margaret had secretly plotted with the previous Yorkist Queen, a pure badass called Elizabeth Woodville. The women had planned that if Henry won, he would marry Elizabeth’s daughter, Princess Elizabeth of York, and thus unite the houses, and bring about peace.
It’s worth pointing out three things here: 1). Elizabeth Woodville had been married to Edward IV, Richard III’s brother. When Edward died, Richard sort-of nicked the throne from Edwards’ son , so Elizabeth hated him and could not wait to fuck him over. 2) Rather grimly, Richard was in love with his niece, Elizabeth of York and they may have been having a secret romance. 3) Using fact 2 to her advantage, Elizabeth Woodville had also secretly agreed to marry the princess to Richard, should he win the battle of Bosworth. This would guarantee her families safety and Yorkist success, and since she hated Margret Beaufort, she didn’t give too much of a shit about fucking her over… Woodville was nobodies bitch.
So it went…Henry won, married Elizabeth of York, made the Tudor rose to represent the combined houses, ending the civil unrest, and ruling for ages. Their first kid, Arthur (the heir), was married at 15 to a Spanish princess called Katherine of Aragon. When Arthur died a few months after the wedding, Katherine was kept in the country so Henry didn’t lose her dowry. When Elizabeth of York died, Henry was going to marry her himself but eventually, nine years later, married her off to his youngest son, Prince Henry (soon to become Henry VIII).
Henry and Katherine were SOOOOO IN LOVE. She was a badass too, but had about 9 miscarriages and only produced 1 living child, a girl called Mary. After twenty odd years of marriage, Henry met Anne Boleyn, and decided to cast Katherine aside to marry Anne instead; firstly because he felt he needed a male heir to guarantee Tudor succession and Katherine was now too old to bear children; and secondly because he was a cunt.
Henry appealed for divorce to the Pope, saying his marriage to Katherine was ‘unfruitful’ because he had married his brother’s wife, and God was angry at him so had refused him boys. The pope was like ‘nice try, now fuck off’ and that was that. Since the Pope was the only man above Henry in the pecking order, Henry decided that he had to go, and that he start to make his own rules.
By coincidence, Lutheranism was kicking off in Germany, so Henry used this as his excuse to break away from the Catholic Church. He started to use the new movement to get the people of England on side, stating that the Pope had too much control, and that by sacking him off, they would all prosper. And so began the Reformation.
Once Henry broke from Rome, he was free to do whatever the fuck he liked. He kicked off by dissolving the monasteries and reclaiming their lands and monies, making him self an even richer man, and now having the lands to bribe the nobles at court with. He also officially sacked off Katherine, and married Anne Boleyn, who was now preggo.
He declared his first daughter, Mary, a bastard, and said that his kids with Anne would instead be first in line in succession. However, Anne also gave Henry a daughter, a girl called Elizabeth, and after just two years of marriage, he decided to move on from Anne. He now had his eyes on wife number 3, and in order to get her knocked up with a legitimate heir, Henry had Anne executed on trumped-up chargers of incest and treason, and their daughter Elizabeth also declared a bastard.
Like a massive prick, Henry announced his engagement to his third wife, Jane, the day after Anne’s execution. Jane went on to give Henry his son, Edward, but she died of sepsis after childbirth. Henry was gutted and went into a deep mourning, wearing black for three months, giving the illusion that he actually had feelings of some sort.
Cromwell, his best lawyer, decided that Henry needed to get his shit together, and what better way to do this than yet another wife, (though why the fuck you would think that after Henry’s less-than-glittering track record is beyond me).
Cromwell found Henry a lovely, reformed lady by the name of Anne of Cleves. She believed in the new religion and was the daughter of the Duke of Cleves, a highly reputable man, so this looked good. Upon meeting Anne, Henry, thinking he was hysterical (and lacking the self-awareness that would’ve told him his courtiers just humored him under worry of losing their heads), had decided to dress as a tramp and jump out on Anne. Not realising the stinking old man was actually the King, Anne told him where to go. If we are absolutely honest here, she probably struggled to hold it together when he did reveal himself to her, because by this point his looks had started to go, he was on the slippery slope to becoming a lard-arse, and his ulcerated leg would have stank. Not exactly a catch.
The wedding went ahead anyway, but embarrassed by their initial meeting, Henry made out that Anne was so ugly that he couldn’t perform in the bedroom on the wedding night. He likened Anne to a ‘Flanders Mare’, and obviously took no blame for the whole sorry event. Anne, living in a foreign country and surrounded by dickheads, carried on with best behavior as Queen, more than likely shitting herself that Henry was looking to do her in at any minute. The whole experience, though not exactly ideal, did however give Henry a taste of the game again, and it wasn’t long before he was back on the letch.
It wasn’t long before he turned his attention to what was basically a child; a young maid called Catherine Howard. Catherine was a cousin of Henry’s second wife, Anne Boleyn, but she was also his current wife’s 17 year old lady in waiting,. Henry decided to ditch Anne of Cleves by asking her for a divorce, offering her a massive settlement as an incentive. Anne was like ‘yes bitch’, and retreated to her new massive house, with her new title of ‘the Kings Sister’, leaving Henry to crack on with marrying his poor, abused child bride.
Henry was now 54, fat and vile, and it wasn’t long before his teen wife, Catherine, started to shag one of Henry’s best men. Catherine was a beautiful girl and had always had a fun streak. She had also had a fucking awful past that involved lots of neglect and sexual exploitation, so Catherine was no stranger to men. The bloke who Catherine risked it all for was a young man named Thomas Culpepper, (he also happened to be a rapist, and her second cousin, but that is a different story). Eventually, Cromwell found out about his wife’s affair and told Henry, who obviously executed Catherine, Culpepper AND Cromwell, (as well as some other blokes who had been responsible for having ‘relations’ with Catherine prior to her marriage to Henry…)
Henry plodded on, getting older, fatter, stinkier and ever more cantankerous, until he married wife number 6, a rich widow called Catherine Parr. Henry knew that it was unlikely that Catherine would give him a child, but married her anyway, possibly just for company. Catherine was amazing to Henry and their marriage, albeit short, was happy. Then in 1547, Henry died, leaving England to his son, Edward.
Edward was really young, so was governed by his Uncle, also called Edward. He was an utter shit… if you think Henry was bad, Edward was way fucking worse – but, fortunately, he died when he was 15. Edward, knowing he would likely die young because he was so completely sickly and pathetic, decided to make a will. He wanted his badass protestant sister, Elizabeth, to inherit the throne because she believed in the same shit as him. The problem was that Henry had declared her a bastard, and Edward knew that to undo that would mean his big sister, Mary, be ‘undeclared’ too. This would then put Mary ahead of Elizabeth in the line of succession, and Mary was a mental Catholic who would flip the country back to it’s old ways… the last thing that Edward wanted. To get around it he appointed his cousin, Jane Grey, also a protestant and close to Edward, as heir.
Jane’s mum, who was Henry VIII’s niece, was ahead of her in line to the throne, but stood down to make way for her daughter. This was the plan that had been made, but Jane’s family saw the situation for what it was: an opportunity to use Jane as a puppet to further their own gains. Jane’s parents married her off to a proper little womanising cunt called Guildford Dudley.
They did this because Guildford’s dad, The Duke of Northumberland, had approached them with a plan. The Duke had been appointed as the Protector of the Realm after Edward’s Uncle had been sacked but, knowing that upon Edwards death his services would be no longer needed, he was desperate to keep his power. By marrying his son to the future Queen, the parents could manipulate the couple, and rule to country by proxy.
Jane didn’t want to be queen, and HATED Guildford with a passion. There was no fucking was she would be their puppet. In terms of being Queen she was in luck as her rule only lasted 9 days. This was because Mary came in like a badass, with her gang of supporters, correctly stating that she was the rightful heir. Jane was all like ‘yeah take the throne, I’m married to a dick, and never asked for it anyway’. At first, Mary was sympathetic to Jane. she had Guildford and his twatsack of a father executed, but had no choice other than to send her to the tower in order to send a message to her subjects, and quash any potential uprisings.
Mary told Jane that if she would convert to Catholicism she would escape the axe. Jane was an intelligent, and devout protestant, and there was no way she would do this. She would literally rather have died for her faith than convert. Mary begged and was desperate to spare her, but after an unsuccessful rebellion by some protestant subject, it became clear that whilst Jane was alive, the reformists had hope. Also, Mary’s soon-to-be husband, Phillip of Spain, kicked off good and proper, more than likely giving Mary the ultimatum of ‘Jane or me’, so Mary had Jane executed.
So came the rule of Bloody Mary. Mary married Phillip, and the pair tried very hard to convert the country back to Catholicism. The problem was that her subjects liked the new religion and the freedom that it brought, times were changing and they didn’t want to go back. Mary’s response? Burn the protestants. She was not the most popular Tudor monarch.
Mary’s reign wasn’t particularly successful. Her husband was a controlling dickhead, who fucked off and left her alone for long periods of time. She also had a phantom pregnancy that seemed to last forever, and made her a bit of a laughing stock. After 5 years of rule she died in 1558, possibly of ovarian cancer. Which brings us nicely to Gloriana: the reign of Elizabeth I.
The interesting thing to note here is that, had her father not been so hell-bent on having a boy, Elizabeth may never have been the successful monarch that she was. She came to the throne aged 25 and reigned for 45 years, getting shitloads done in the process. She was a total diva who made her ladies-in-waiting wear black and white so as not to outshine her. She kept the country in it’s protestant faith, held lotteries, won wars and crushed rebellions. She was freaking hardcore.
Upon her death in 1603, she named her cousin’s son, James VI of Scotland, as her heir, thus uniting England and Scotland. It’s interesting that the Tudor era started with two plotting, badass women, and ended with one pure and total legend of a queen. No wonder Henry felt threatened by the lack of males.
…and the rest,as they say, is (Jacobean) history.