February 11th 1466 AND 1503: The Birth and Death of A Queen

On this day in 1466 Elizabeth of York was born. Also on this day, in 1503, Elizabeth of York died. Yes she died on her 38th birthday, what a shite present that was for her. Elizabeth of York was born a princess to King Edward IV and his Queen, the utter badass Elizabeth Woodville, but when her Dad died the shit really hit the fan and Elizabeth’s life changed forever.

To cut short a really, really long story: Elizabeth’s Mum, Elizabeth Woodville, was a commoner who had struck lucky and bagged herself the King. The King’s family didn’t like it and so made life difficult for them. When King Edward died his son was due to inherit the throne under the watchful eye of his Uncle, Richard of Gloucester. However, Richard was a greedy fucker and wanted the crown for himself, so he declared his brother’s children bastards, including Princess Elizabeth. This not coincidentally made himself next in line to the throne – where he sat and ruled as the infamous Richard III (On a side note, Edward’s two sons then ‘vanished’ in mysterious circumstances at the Tower of London, something that Richard has been blamed for throughout history. This not coincidentally cemented his claim to the throne).

The young Elizabeth of York remained at court under her Uncles rule, where there were rumours that he wanted to marry her – which is as vile as discharge, since she was his niece – but she was born a princess, also had a claim to the throne and was smoking hot as fuck, so what can you do?!.

Meanwhile, in France there was a second contender to the English throne, a dude by the name of Henry Tudor. When the time was right Henry stormed into England and kicked the holy shit out of Richard, taking the English crown for himself at Bosworth Battlefield. He made a right fucking mug out of Richard, because not only did he take his throne and his country, he killed Richard and then took his girl too. A deal had been made by Henry’s Mum that if Henry won he would marry Elizabeth. However it was also likely that had Richard won the battle she would’ve been married to him. Either way, Elizabeth was going to be Queen.

Elizabeth of York and Henry Tudor (or King Henry VII as he now was known), married in January 1486. Their marriage was politically very important, as it united the two sides of the royal family that had been tearing strips out of each other and fucking over the country for years: the House York and the House Lancaster. They even combined their colours of red and white to make the Tudor rose, which is quite sweet really.

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Elizabeth (clutching her white rose of York like a defiant BADASS) and Henry with a really long face

The pair were seen to be truly in love and their marriage produced eight kids (though only 4 survived past infancy). Elizabeth wasn’t as badass as her Mum but that doesn’t mean she took any shit either. She wasn’t known for getting involved in Government politics and all of the other shit a King has to sort out, but then who can blame her. She was however known to be kind and loving and made it her business to be involved in choosing partners for her kids. It was Elizabeth who chose Katherine of Aragon for her eldest son Arthur; though Arthur died shortly after they married, and then his little brother Henry swooped in like a spoilt little turd sack and married her too.

Elizabeth’s eighth pregnancy was to be her undoing. A week before she died she gave birth to a little girl who was more than likely premature and died. The birth took its toll on Elizabeth too and a week later she also died leaving behind her three surviving children and a heartbroken Henry VII.

Upon hearing of Elizabeth’s death, Henry sat in solitude for days, refusing to talk to anyone. He never really got over the death of his wife, and never remarried. At one point it was suggested he marry Katherine of Aragon, his Daughter-in-law, once she too was widowed by Arthur’s death. There was a lot of ‘keeping it in the family’ in the Tudor times, and by ‘it’ I mean shagging and marrying. Pure vomit.

Henry lived for another seven years, each year lighting candles and holding mass in Elizabeth’s honour on 11th February. He was also said to have turned into a massive dick, increasing taxes and just being a ratty old fucker in general, to be fair he had good reason.

So, that’s it, a brief look at the story of Queen Elizabeth of York. She was daughter, sister and wife of three kings, had a turbulent life and then died on her birthday. How shit is that?! Our current Queen Elizabeth of course technically has two birthdays – her actual one, and an official one – so you might say she’s stupidly put herself at twice the risk, and you would be right.

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The tomb of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York in Westminster Abby – pimped out by their son, Henry VIII, during his reign

 

If you fancy reading more about the Battle of Bosworth you can do so here

Also, if you fancy getting your peepholes over a bit more of Henry VII’s shenanigans you can do that  here

February 8th, 1587: The Undignified Death of Mary Queen of Scots

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Mary Queen of Scots

At around 3 pm on 7th of February, 1587 Mary Queen of Scots was told she was to be executed the following morning. This was a bit wank because not only was tea AND breakfast ruined, but Mary was denied permission to delay her execution in order to get her shit together prior to her death, (one famous account suggests that the English council member who told Mary she was to die followed her appeal for time to prepare with the comeback, “No No madam, you must die”… that is some cold shit right there).

Mary had been imprisoned for 19 years and her life was one massive turd storm of disaster after disaster. She had been forced to flee Scotland as a catholic, where her rule had been interesting (this is about the best word I could come up with to describe it), in order to seek protection from her English and protestant cousin, Queen Elizabeth I. Elizabeth wasn’t very happy about it and inevitably it all kicked off (you can read about it here), So in the end Mary had to go.

Elizabeth didn’t really want Mary dead but since Mary had pulled off a few dick moves, she had kind of sealed her own fate, and so her death warrant was signed. If Mary was bothered she never showed it. She welcomed death and only wished for the county to be reverted back to its old Catholic ways and so on the morning of February 8th at Fotheringhay castle, she was led to the block.

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Mary being led to the block, looking a little more like a date than an execution

Like a big antagonist bastard, Mary had decided that crimson underskirts were the attire of choice that day. Red was the colour of martyrdom and since Mary believed she yet another Catholic Martyr to die at the hands of a protestant queen (and not the fact that she had taken the absolute piss and conspired to have Elizabeth assassinated), she deemed it an appropriate choice. Who just has crimson underskirts in their wardrobe to wear at a moments notice? Mary Queen of Scots, that’s who. She must have known and planned her dress in advance like a Tudor period Gok Wan.

Her whole execution was a disaster. Her ladies in waiting helped her remove her veil and head dress. When the executioner decided that her needed to help she gave him a bit of a bollocking shouting “Nay, my good man touch me not!”. To be fair, what the fuck was he thinking. He begged Mary’s forgiveness, which she gave, but proceeded to cock up the execution anyway (I like to imagine it was because he was in a mood and being told off and so wasn’t concentrating properly). Mary’s dress was pulled down to her waist so the executioner could have a clear aim, and as she was being pulled about Mary commented that this probably didn’t look as graceful as it should have since she wasn’t accustomed to being stripped off in from of four to five hundred people. A fair point I would say. One of her ladies covered her eyes and she was placed on the block.

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Mary prayed and the executioner swung his axe. Like a massive chump he failed to sever her head from her body so had to have another go. Imagine the faces her ladies in waiting. What a tit. Eventually he managed to detach it and lifter it in the air shouting “God save Queen Elizabeth”, when right on cue the head fell leaving Mary’s wig in his hand. Mary was only 44 and had been loosing her hair, a fact she had hidden well until this prick got a hold of her head.

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Mary’s creepy as balls death mask. She ain’t fooling anyone with that hair

It didn’t stop there. Her decapitated body lay on the scaffold lifeless until a few seconds later it began to move. The superstitious crowd upfront must have shat out a brick, but it wasn’t evil spirits or calls from the afterlife, it was Mary’s pet dog which she had decided to take to her execution as a nice little day out for it. The terrier went and lay in the blood at the end of his masters headless neck and refused to move until he was shifted away when the body was taken for embalming. What a massive fuck up this day had been. Some historians think that it was the execution of Mary queen of Scots that was the deciding factor in Phillip II launching the armada. He was a massive twat too.

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One of the tapestries that Mary made. T Yes, its a dog. The clues were all there

In 1603, Elizabeth I died and named Mary’s protestant son, James as her heir. James had already been ruling since he was a baby when his Mum was forced to give up her crown and flee to England. In 1612, James decided to move his mothers body to Westminster Abbey and give her a big showy tomb.  Poor Mary, she has a shitty end to a shitty life. Elizabeth was said to regret the decision to have her cousin executed for the rest of her life.

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Mary’s tomb in Westminster

 

 

January 16th 1549: Tom and the Spaniel

In 16th January 1549, Thomas Seymour tried to break into Edward VI bedroom and kidnap him. Edward was Henry VIII’s young son who became king after his Dad’s death. He wasn’t old enough to rule so was kept in the care of his uncle Edward (his mum, Jane Seymour’s brother), and Edwards evil bitch faced wife Anne.
Thomas was Edward and Janes younger brother and was jealous to shit that his brother was Lord Protector of the king, which basically meant he ran the country till the king was if age. Not only that but Thomas had married Queen Katherine Parr when Henry VIII had died, (the two had been lovers prior to her marriage to Henry). When Edward Seymour rose to power he stole all of Katherine’s jewels for his dickend wife and refused to return them.
Thomas had had enough. Katherine had not long since died and his brother was a giant wanker. He decided to take matters into his own hands. He broke into the young kings apartments with the intention of abducting him to convince him that he should be Lord Protector and that his brother was a dick. What he didn’t bank on was the young King Ed had a loyal pet Spaniel.
The Spaniel leap up barking much to Tom’s surprise. What did he do? Only fucking shot it. Now I am by no means a consultant when it comes to winning people over and manipulation, but I’m pretty certain shooting a kids dog is not the way to go about these matters.
Obviously Thomas was arrested and eventually executed on no less than 33 accounts of treason, (he had done all kinds of other shit including molest a young Princess Elizabeth). He left his new born daughter orphaned and his brother and sister-in-law thrilled to shit, (needless to say Edward Seymour was also executed a little later for treason like a bell end).

 

Thomas Seymour: spaniel killer

 

15th January 1559: Gloriana begins

 

Elizabeth (before the pox)

On this day in 1559, a 25 year old Elizabeth Tudor was crowned Queen Elizabeth 1 of England and Ireland. Her coronation date had been hand picked by some superstitious old bloke called John Dee. He had done his star gazing Mumbo jumbo and concluded January 15th would be the best day to hold the coronation (he got paid a shit load to give a date… it’s not like if the queen had a short reign she would be around to punish him. Nice work if you can get it eh).
Her coronation came after the death of her fucking mental sister, the Catholic queen (bloody) Mary.
Elizabeth’s ceremony saw her have a short stay in tower as customary, (it is a palace after all), followed by a street procession, then off to Westminster for a ceremony and a slap up feast to finish. Sounds like a mini holiday.
She was dressed head to toe in gold cloth (literally cloth sewn with gold), and her coronation mass was conducted in both English and Latin, (important because previously the Catholics hadn’t wanted the common folk to understand anything they were being told at church other than ‘disobey the church and ye shall be royally fucked’).

Elizabeth, being a Protestant, was thrilled to shit to finally be getting the country back to its ‘proper’ faith after her catholic sister he stormed in and fucking ruined it prior to her death, setting fire to anyone who had an English bible and refused to believe they had been chomping down on Jesus flesh every Sunday at mass.
One bloke though, the Catholic Bishop of Carlisle Owen Oglethorpe, wasn’t having it. He had been appointed by Mary as Bishop in order to restore the country to its Catholic faith and was the only bishop willing to officiate Elizabeth’s coronation. He decided he would totally take the piss and try to ‘elevate the host’, (part of the Eucharist in Catholicism), which Elizabeth had explicitly told him not to do. Imagine.
She went mental and diva stropped out of her own coronation, then had the Bishop relieved of his duties pronto, (but not his head you will be saddened to hear). The whole coronation cost around £17000, (roughly a cool £4m in today’s money and that’s not including the feast which Tudors went completely over the top with).
Happy anniversary Elizabeth

11th January 1569: the First National Lottery (With a Difference)

On this day in 1569 the first lottery ticket went on sale in England. Elizabeth I, being the business-headed woman she was, wanted to invest more money in the country’s ships, ports and harbours. Why not? It would make England better able to trade, better equipped for war and generally more badass than ever before. The problem was that development wasn’t cheap.

In 1566, Elizabeth hatched an ingenious plan to improve the shipping industry (and various other developments), whilst managing not to piss off her subjects by raising taxes…never a popular idea. She would host ticket sales to nobles for their chance to win stuff which matched the value of the revenue it generated. She would then draw the tickets in a couple of years time, therefore securing herself an interest-free loan for 3 years. Thus the lottery was born.

The tickets were available for ten shilling, which sounds like nothing but was actually a shit tonne of cash in the Elizabethan era,( to keep things in good spirits, she let libraries enter for free). The tickets were so expensive to ensure that the rich would enter, generating a boat load of money for the state, a shit load of excitement for the folk who had been lucky enough to enter and probably a few years of resentment to those who couldn’t afford it.
Anyone who was anyone simply had to have a ticket, meaning the prizes had to be something spectacular in order to make the mere 400,000 entry vacancies appeal to the rich and successful – and spectacular they were.

The prizes ranged from luxury goods such as silver plates, tapestries and cloth, to artefacts belonging to the queen. The first prize was £5000 (which would be equivalent to a few millionish in today’s cash), with subsequent prizes being cash values of descending order. BUT one prize was by far the most attractive: a one week ‘get out of jail free card’. You could commit just about any crime and swan off lording over your victim knowing they could do fuck all about it – well anything except piracy, murder and treason that is.

For the poorer section of the Elizabethan middle class, there were syndicates. People would buy tickets and then sell shares on to the giddy and gullible that were willing to be fleeced for a share of the fun.

The prizes were announced on scrolls sent out up and down the country. The public went wild for it. The tickets were all sold by May 1st, 1568 and on January 11th, 1569 the tickets were drawn in the steps of St.Paul’s cathedral.The crowds were enormous and the excitement was high. The lottery was so successful that subsequent lotteries were held, however they soon fizzled away as people decided to keep their cash.

 

the lottery prizes as advertised in scrolls

There is a lesson in this somewhere for Camelot, (the UK Lottery operator), but I’m not sure I know what it is.

January 1st, 1515: the death of Louis XII and a lucky escape for Mary.

 

Louis XII

 

New Year’s Day in 1515, King Louis XII of France died, much to the elation of Mary Tudor (Henry VIII’s sister). Henry had sent his little sister to marry the fat old king, obviously she was less than impressed about this, and asked that once he died she would be free to choose her next match. Anyway, upon Louis death Henry sent Charles Brandon (his best pal), to bring Mary home but the pair snook off and tied the knot. You can read about it here:
https://thetudorials.com/2015/05/13/13th-may-1515-how-to-piss-off-your-brother-the-king/

Louis himself had an interesting life. He had been forced to marry a woman called Joan of France by King Louis XI. Louis had no interest in Joan, their marriage was purely political.

 

poor Joan of France

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He became king purely by accident. His cousin, King Charles VIII (who had inherited the throne upon his dad, Louis XI’s, death), died after twatting his head on a doorframe like a bell end.  As Charles had no immediate heirs, Louis inherited the throne. The first thing he did was annul his marriage to Joan. He claimed it was because Joan was so deformed that he couldn’t shag her,  (Joan had a curvature of the spine and was probably mortified at her husband spreading shit about her around court and using it to mask his own inadequacy. Besides which, Louis constantly bragged about ‘mounting’ his wife several times in the night).  Joan left and became a nun (probably traumatised by the rejection and humiliation), and Louis married Charles’ widow, Anne of Brittany…as you do.

The very beautiful (and very reluctant) Anne of Brittany

Louis and Anne’s marriage produced 4 stillborn boys and 2 daughters. After Anne’s death in January 1514. By October 1514, he had married Mary Tudor in a last ditch attempt to produce a male heir. It didn’t work though because legend has it that Louis went to town shagging his new beautiful young bride, so much so that all the excitement killed him. Their marriage lasted 3 months. What an amazing start to the new year for Mary. She was forced to stay in France for a few months after Louis death incase she was carrying the future King of France. She wasn’t and the crown passed to Louis’ cousin and son-in-law King Francis I, (who later went in the wrestle the shit out of Henry VIII and totally hand his arse to him).

 

Mary Tudor: shagged a man to death

 

December 10th 1541: The Executions of Francis Dereham and Thomas Culpepper

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Katherine Howard

If you’re not familiar with the names Francis Dereham and Thomas Culpepper then fret not; all will be explained. These are the chaps partly responsibly for the execution of Henry VIII’s fifth bride, Katherine Howard.

Young Katherine was only 19 when she was executed for treason. She had been found to be shagging a member of the King’s Privy council, a strapping young lad named Thomas Culpepper. To be fair,  You can’t really blame her when she was married to a fat 50 year old king, who stank of pus from his ulcerated leg and insisted on letching over the poor girl at any opportunity going.

Katherine’s start to life was far from that of a future queen. Although she was Ann Boleyn’s cousin, she had not been graced with the same upbringing and social status.She had been dumped in the care of her Grandmother because her parents, though noble, were too skint to raise her, so there she stayed, in a dorm with other unwanted girls. Her education was limited and she was by no means as intelligent as the other women that had graced Henry’s bed. She was however pretty and charming.

She came to court around 1539 to serve as a lady in waiting to Anne of Cleeves. Henry had married Anne but didn’t like her and so was desperate to get rid when young Kitty Howard caught his eye. To cut a long story short, he divorced Anne and married Katherine.He described Katherine as his ‘rose without thorns’ and was completely smitten. However, fairly soon into their marriage it became apparent that Katherine was not as innocent as Henry was led to believe.

At the time there were people at court who knew of Katherine’s past and the shit she got up to whilst living at her Grandmother’s. Basically Katherine had been getting frisky with her music teacher, Henry Mannox and had then gone onto have a relationship with a bloke called Francis Dereham. Now you may be thinking that there is nothing odd about that, a young girl having a boyfriend, but the problem was that she had declared her love for Dereham in front of God, which technically made them married, referred to themselves as man and wife and more than likely consummated the marriage, (who am I kidding, they defo shagged – Katherine later admitted that she knew her way around a man’s cock without getting preggers…not the words of a virgin).

Katherine thought she could hide her past and move on, be a queen and become the most important woman in the land. The problem is that when you are rich and have the world at your feet, it takes one dirty little bastard from your past to lay down a little blackmail for it all to come crashing down around you. Soon after she became Queen, Katherine found  that one of her old pals from back in the day, Joan Bulmer, had requested to come to court to serve as a lady in waiting. Joan was pure poison – she had dirt on the queen and was prepared to use it for her own gain, what could Katherine do? Joan was swiftly followed by  Dereham, who came knocking on Katherine’s door asking for a position of power. Katherine gave Dereham the position of her secretary, possibly to keep tabs on him and stop him running his mouth, keep your enemies close and all that.

Dereham wasn’t the only bloke at court to get close to Katherine. Whilst the King was ill earlier in 1541, Katherine had began a smoking hot affair with a dashing young chap named Culpepper, (but please don’t get a vision of a Tudor ‘Darcy’ type character in your head, this prick had not long before raped a gate keepers wife, then killed the gate keeper and got away with it like a slimy fucker… though some historians speculate that this was actually his brother, also called Thomas). It’s fair to say Katherine loved Culpepper, (who, incidentally was her distant cousin), very much and the whole affair was assisted by Katherine’s Lady in waiting, Lady Jane Rochford. Things were certainly complicated for Katherine, but she was young and naive, and spoiled by the king, who was besotted with her (and bragged constantly about the hot sex he was getting from the girl more than half his age).

Anyway, shit got real on November 2nd 1541, when the King was passed a letter pointing out that the queen was far from ‘a rose without thorns’ and had actually been married and was now shagging one of his pals behind his back. He went fucking mental. Everything went on lock-down and all parties were questioned. The ladies in waiting were sent to the tower and questioned, Henry Mannox was called in (the letter stated he knew of a ‘private mark’ on the queens body), Culpepper was tortured and confessed, as did Dereham.

Culpepper and Dereham were arrested as traitors and condemned to death. Mannox was allowed to go, he had gained his carnal knowlege of the Queen before the King had rocked up. Dereham had deflowered the Queen, and for that Henry could not forgive him. Katherine denied her marriage to Dereham (if she had admitted it, she would’ve been in a contract with another man and her life may have been spared). It was no good, she had not only made Henry look a right mug, but because she had now gained the reputation of a whore, any kids she had would have their paternity questioned, and since these kind were would be kings that shit wouldn’t fly.  She had to go.

Katherine was condemned to death, along with Lady Jane Rochford (who went mad, literally) and the whole of the Howard family. This however, is the story of Thomas Culpepper and Francis Dereham. Culpepper, being an old pal of the kings, got away lightly with beheading, Dereham on the other hand suffered a far worse fate, He was sentenced to a traitors death. That was some cold, bad shit about to come his way.

Dereham faced a traitors death, which consisted of: hanging, membering, disembowelling, beheading and quartering. In that order. It feels a little unfair that Dereham was handed this death whist Culpepper, who worked for the King, had been trusted by the King and was still bending his rapey little cock inside the Queen, got the easy option. Dereham had popped the Queen’s cherry long before Henry had a whiff of it, this pissed Henry off more than anything.

Dereham’s death was long, excruciating and humiliating.He was taken to Tyburn where he was hung but cut down before death, he than had his cock hacked off and his intestines ripped out and burned before him whilst made to watch. He was then beheaded and quartered. The Queens execution happened the following year, her last words being ‘I die here a queen, but I would have rather died the wife of Culpepper’.

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A traitors death: a jolly good show for all the family. No seriously, this was a day out in Tudor times.

29th November 1530: Suicide, Illness or Divine Intervention?

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The death of Cardinal Wolsey

Cardinal Thomas Wolsey was, at one time, Henry VIII’s right hand man. He was the Pope’s representative in England, held a ridiculous amount of power and influence, and was the second richest man in the country next to the King, (Hampton Court Palace was actually commissioned by, and built for Wolsey – not Henry VIII, as most people believe). This dude was untouchable.

He died in 1530 after what can only be described as a ‘fucking nightmare’. Henry decided that Wolsey was to blame for everything that was going wrong with Henry’s love life, and that the only way to rectify this matter was to execute him. A common and predictable theme in Henry’s life.

It all started when Henry decided he had had enough of his wife of almost 24 years, and wanted to bin her off. He had found some bullshit clause in the bible which he reckoned made his marriage to Katherine of Aragon null and void in the eyes of God. The fact that Katherine had failed to give him a male heir, and that Henry was (almost)  wetting his end in the cock-tease Anne Boylen, had driven Henry’s desire to push for this annulment. His theory was that because Katherine had been married to his brother before him, the couple were doomed for failure and living in sin in the eyes of the Catholic church. Henry now needed Wolsey to pop and see the Pope and get an annulment.

Wolsey was rather stupidly confident that he could get this sorted so off he went. The Pope inevitably said something along the lines of ‘are you fucking mental? It’s not happening my friend’ (paraphrasing slightly), so Henry’s annulment was denied. Knowing what we know about Henry, you can just imagine how this went down. To cap it off Anne was now spouting a load of bollocks about Henry wasting the best of her youth by keeping her hanging on at the promise of marriage. Henry was not a happy chappy.

The problem was that the Pope was Wolsey’s boss, so Wolsey had to do as he was told, and the Pope was in turn told what to do by his boss, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V…Katherine’s nephew. There is no way that Charles was having it that a bell end like Henry was going to screw over his fab Aunt Katy and use Gods name as an excuse to do it. Wolsey could only do as he was told, and so sided with Katherine, Charles and the Pope. It was a bit of a rock and a hard place situation for the poor bloke.

wolsey  Anne now hated Wolsey, so decided that she would chip away at Henry in order to take matters into their own hands. Henry, who was now desperate to bend it up the manipulative genius that was Anne, was all about this and so decided that Wolsey was going down. How dare he fail to get the annulment and make him look a mug!

Henry had decided that because Wolsey could not secure the annulment, had cock-blocked him from Anne and had been a bit too chummy with Katherine, he should be accused of treason. Wolsey, who was now in York, was sent for. He was to come to London to explain why he couldn’t deliver the goods (and to ultimately be put to death).

At this time Wolsey had a new best pal, a bright young thing who went by the name of Thomas Cromwell. They were travelling together to London when Wolsey took ill. He rested in Leicester and it was quickly becoming apparent that he wouldn’t be able to continue the journey. Wolsey died of a bowel infection and was laid to rest in the Abbey at Leicester. Cromwell,  gutted at the death of his friend, still carried on to London to protest Wolsey’s innocence.

The curious thing about Wolsey’s death was that it happened just before he was obviously about to walk into a massive shit storm. If Wolsey had of made it to London he would have been greeted with accusations & public ridicule; his reputation pulled to shreds by the King’s concubine, a long stretch in the Tower and ultimately a humiliating and painful execution. In a lot of ways his death was conveniently well-timed. I don’t for one minute think that Wolsey would have committed suicide: he was devout Catholic after all. So was it illness, or something else all together? What if Wolsey’s death was the act of a kind friend  sparing the Cardinal his reputation at court, and preventing his public execution?

Before coming into Wolsey’s service, Cromwell was a mercenary who had travelled extensively, fought in wars and was ultimately a freaking genius. He was a lawyer and a badass, and exceptionally loyal to Wolsey. Its not implausible to think that he could’ve poisoned the Cardinal in order to maintain his innocence. By doing this he would also ensure the cardinal was comfortable in his remaining days and still able to get his affairs in order? Now I’m just speculating and there is pretty much no evidence for this, but a man like Cromwell was well-placed to protect his friend and take away the grief and worry the Cardinal would’ve undoubtedly had felt. It would also remove the need for suicide and bowel infections are synonymous with poisoning after all.

Whether it was illness or mercy that killed Wolsey, one thing remains for sure, Cromwell deeply missed the Cardinal and maintained his innocence for the rest of his life. Of course, it was Cromwell that later brought abut the downfall of Anne Boylen, and what happened to Henry in all of this? Well he just carried on being Henry.

 

If you fancy reading a bit more about Cromwell give this one a go: A Massive Fall Out

14th November 1501: Prince Arthur Tudor marries Katherine of Aragon.

Katy and Arthur…did they or didn’t they?

Arthur looking about 46, but actually aged 15.

Arthur looking about 46, but actually aged 15.

The very beautiful Katherine of Aragon

The very beautiful Katherine of Aragon

So today is the 514th wedding anniversary of Prince Arthur Tudor (the son of Henry VII and Catherine of York), and Katherine of Aragon. The wedding took place at St Paul’s Cathedral after Henry VII had gone all bridezilla and planned the festivities to the point of perfection. Katherine had been betrothed to Arthur since being 3 years old, so anticipations for the day were high.

Henry was super exited about the union of his son and the Spanish Princess. It mean an alliance with Spain and a fuck-tonne of cash for his treasury. Katherine brought with her a massive dowry and the security of a future baby for the Tudor dynasty. Katherine was the daughter of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabelle I of Castile. Ferdinand had made Henry promise that she would be treated as his daughter, never neglected and always shown the utmost respect. Henry had asked in return that Katherine did not show up with a gang of mingers as her ladies in waiting.

Katherine arrived in England after a ridiculous 3 months at sea to be greeted with masses of affection and a shit load of gifts. The public loved her, (after all this would hopefully mark the next generation of security for the throne and after the Wars of the Roses a few years previously, this is what the public craved). Its fair to say that the whole country celebrated the arrival of the beautiful Spanish princess and could not wait until the wedding.

The wedding itself was a grand affair: Henry VII had arranged street pageants and celebrations for the public to get involved with. He had even arranged a fountain outside  the Cathedral which flowed with wine in order to keep the public in high spirits, (though this turned out to be a fucking nightmare, as the treasury refused to foot the bill, so it had to come out of Henry’s own pocket. Since everyone in Tudor times liked a drink it cost a small fortune).

The Cathedral itself was draped with rich scarlet fabrics and the best tapestries that money could buy. The wedding itself took pace on a raised platform and was conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury whilst a chorus of trumpets sounded to announce the couples joyous day, (though probably not as the service took place as I image that to be quite distracting…not that many people would understand it anyway, what with it all being in Latin).

To make sure the day went well, Henry had enlisted the service of a holy gang: 19 English bishops and abbots (you never can have enough), to the 1 token member of the Spanish clergy there to represent Katherine. Good effort Henry. One weird thing was that the 16 year old Katherine was escorted to the alter by her soon to be brother-in-law, the most ostentatious ten year old in the country, The prince Henry Tudor.

Henry VIII as a young boy looking like a knob. Power and money aside, how did he manage to bag the ladies? seriously, how?! There are no words for this painting.

Henry VIII as a young boy looking like a knob. Power and money aside, how did he manage to bag the ladies? seriously, how?! There are no words for this painting.

After the ceremony the couple retreated to a banquet and that good old favourite Tudor past time of consuming so much meat and ale that their liver turned into a type of human foie grais. The festivities continued late into the night: both at the palace and in the streets. There was dancing, drinking and the odd pageant. The couple were said to be truly into each other (to be fair even if you wasn’t, you would do a good job of pretending, especially when your new father in law had a reputation as a bit of a badass and was partial to a bit of the old head removal).

After the celebrations the couple were then sent to bed. Katherine’s ladies got her ready and prepared the new bride for what was about to come next, (to be honest what they were to prepare her for was a rather sickly 15 year old boy, so they were probably telling her not to get her hopes too high). Arthur was sent into the room and the newly weds were left alone.This was a night that would later come back to be  proper pain in the arse for Katherine later in her life.

The following April the young prince Arthur died, possibly of something like sweating sickness or TB, but this meant that Katherine was widowed only a few months into her marriage. This left a problem for Henry VII, as he needed to keep her dowry and if Katherine went back to Spain  he would have to give it back to Ferdinand. After a few years, Katherine had become as good as  prisoner in the Tudor household. She was kept in squalor and treated badly. In order to keep her about the place,  Henry decided to marry her off to his younger son, Henry, (he had contemplated marrying her himself after the death of his wife…how grim is that?!).

I like to think this was a Tudor time equivalent to a tarot reading, predicting Katherines second marriage to an over excitable, ginger animal.

I like to think this was a Tudor time equivalent to a tarot reading, predicting Katherines second marriage to an over excitable, ginger animal.

Contrary to what you may think, Henry and Katherine were very much in love in the early days and were a couple not to fuck with. Henry would pop off for a war and Katherine would stay at home and rule the country. However, after 24 years and a distinct lack of sons Henry’s eyes began to wander. That’s when he met Anne Boylen.

Now this bitch was all up in Katherine grill, stealing her man and making a right mug out of her, so much so that Henry sought after a divorce. What does this have to do with Katherine’s marriage to Arthur? I hear you ask… well remember I said their wedding night would play an important part in Katherine’s future? This is where that comes in.

Henry had found a bit in the bible which stated something along the lines of ‘if you marry your brothers wife, bad shit will happen and you will encounter a fuck load of bad luck’. Henry used this to suggest that was the reason that the couple had never had a son and a load of children that had died in infancy. This was his grounds for divorce. Katherine countered it by saying that she had never consummated her marriage to Arthur so it was never actually ‘a marriage’ in the first place and therefore Henry was talking a load of old bollocks (just for a change).

Whether Katherine and Arthur did actually ‘hop on the good foot to do the bad thing’ we will never know. You can find evidence to suggest either, for instance Katherine was devout catholic and would never have lied in case she pissed off God and lost her place in line at the pearly gates. It was also common that Tudor youngsters, such as Katherine and Arthur on the night of their wedding, were dissuaded from shagging as it was feared that it lead to ill health, (so much so that Katherine was nearly kept in England as Arthur was sent to Ludlow in Wales, for fear of them having sexy fun times). In the other camp however, Arthur was noted to have come from the bedroom in the morning with a real thirst because he has ‘been in the midst of Spain’, which in itself makes me thing of a boasting teenager and also makes me want to vom. To be fair in a time where sexual education was either a quick chat 30 second prior to it happening, or rape, anything could’ve happened. My thinking is that if Katherine was as beautiful as records say, she could’ve done something as simple as brush her nightgown accidentally on his leg and he would’ve gone off like a firework…but who knows?

It didn’t matter either way though, because Henry took it upon himself to make himself the head of the church and therefore divorce Katherine regardless, (apparently the new religion was for the good of the people and definitely not because Henry was a fucking idiot with a wandering cock). So, I will leave you pondering whether 514 years ago, at maybe even this exact moment, the young prince Arthur was getting his end wet or not.

Happy anniversary to Katherine and Henry

Nobody actually knows if Katherine and Arthur consummated their marriage.

October 30th 1485: Henry Tudor, What A Genius…(oh and his coronation!)

Henry VII: Looking as smug as he should do

Henry VII: Looking as smug as he should do

Henry VII was crowned king on 30th October, 1484, after kicking the shit out of his predecessor, Richard III, a few weeks earlier at the battle of Bosworth (which you can read about here).  Now let’s not be under any pretence: Henry had about as much claim to the English throne as Richard did, actually less of a claim, and there were many people who would see the throne return back to the York’s if they had their way. Henry was nobody’s fool though and did everything within his power to make sure that this didn’t happen. Actually this is more of a story about a very clever man, than the coronation of a King.

As you probably already know, Henry married Elizabeth of York, the daughter of Edward IV and niece of Richard III. This was an attempt to unite the houses of Lancaster and York in order to seal his claim to the throne and suggest that the recent wars and battles were over. Although the pair were betrothed, henry didn’t marry Liz until the following January (nearly 3 months after his coronation). This was to ensure nobody could claim that henry only had the throne through his wife’s claim TO IT. He managed to delay the marriage by writing to the Pope to ask for special permission for the marriage to happen – the couple were distant relatives, though that didn’t usually stop folks back then. Henry knew however that it would take fucking ages for the letter to get to the Pope and for a reply to be sent, buying him a bit of time to squeeze his coronation in.

His next genius move was to set the date of his assentation to the throne to the day before the battle of Bosworth so that he could claim anybody supporting Richard was a traitor and seize their lands. By seizing their lands he was not only showing them that they really shouldn’t fuck with him, but also making himself incredibly wealthy in the process. I think the whole wealth thing would’ve come as a bit of an alien concept to Henry. He had been so used to moving around and living in relative poverty in France, (I say ‘poverty’…he was poorer than his birth right would suggest, don’t feel too bad for him, he wasn’t a council estate in Tory Britain type of poor, more of a Kate Middleton after forgetting her purse kind of poor), then suddenly he finds himself rich with a whole army, a treasury and a shit tonne of land to his name.

Henry also learned from Bosworth that nobody could be trusted, (his step Dad had given him the run around at Bosworth and a few of the other noble men had shown themselves to be a bunch of fickle dick heads). Henry’s answer to this problem was to make a law that no man should have his own army. This stopped anybody rising up against the King and reduced the power the noblemen had. Henry wasn’t thick.

His next act of pure genius was to be crowned before the first meeting of parliament, so that nobody could argue the legitimacy of his claim to the throne. After all who is going to tell the King that he is not king? Especially if that King has just seen to it that the last man who pissed him off has an axe put through his head and his knob and bollock paraded about on the back of a horse for all to see before being shoved under a future car park?!

His actual coronation itself took place at Westminster Abbey. It must have been an emotional day for not only Henry, but for his Mum, Margaret Beaufort. Margaret had not seen her boy for 17 years. She had Henry when she was 13 and childbirth near killed her. She never had another child, and despite being scary as balls, I think she loved him very much. She sent him into exile for his own protection: being an heir to the throne of the house Lancaster at a time when the throne was occupied by the York family was pretty dangerous, (think Montague and Capulet if you need a perspective), and had Margaret not sent henry away he would’ve almost certainly been killed as a child.

Of course, Henry’s ‘unofficial’ coronation took place on Bosworth battle field, when Lord Stanley dragged Richard III’s crown out from under a bush and placed it upon Henry head. Henry knew that he had to have a proper coronation, one that ‘was under the eyes of God’ (i.e. in a church and not on Gods actual face), in order to cross it off the ‘reasons to kick henry off the throne’ list. By holding a coronation at Westminster Abbey and presenting his standards at St. Pauls cathedral, Henry was saying to the world ‘Look God chose me so I must be King…I’ve put my flag up and everything’. It worked. A couple of years late and nobody even questioned henry’s claim (well, apart from the pesky Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck posse’s that is, but that’s a story for another Tudorial).

Henrys 'unofficial' coronation at Bosworth. Apparently this picture is based upon a tapestry, and not a crap colouring in book bought from a National Trust property.

Henrys ‘unofficial’ coronation at Bosworth. Apparently this picture is based upon a tapestry, and not a crap colouring in book bought from a National Trust property.

Henry went on to reign for 23 years, 7 months and 28 days. His reign brought about peace to what had been a really shit past few decades, and also marks the birth of the Tudor reign. Henry always strikes me as an amazing bloke and the more I read about him, the more he becomes a contender for the ‘my favourite Tudor Sovereign’ spot.

October 30th 1517: Martin Luther Causes Shit for the Catholics (originally titled ’95 problems but God aint 1′)

Martin Luther

Martin Luther

So the story of the birth of Protestantism may not immediately stand out as a typical ‘Tudor’ story, but it’s good to understand it’s roots when we examine Henry VIII’s actions / ego. It all kicked off with a bright young thing named Martin Luther, (not to be confused with the ‘I have a dream’ martin Luther king, thought he was named after our Martin Luther, albeit indirectly). Our Martin Luther lived in Germany in the early 1500’s, where he was a friar and Doctor of theology. He single handedly managed to rain such a shit storm on the Catholic Church, that a new religion was born out of the aftermath.

It all started when Luther decided enough was enough. Luther, being a catholic friar himself, had noticed that the Catholic church had started to take the absolute piss by abusing their power and place in society, to exploit the good citizens of Germany for their own financial gain. The priests had been selling ‘indulgences’ – certificates printed by the Catholic church which absolved the dead from their sins and released them from purgatory. Since the priests were quick to tell the public that their dead relatives were being tormented in purgatory and their souls were lost, the good people were shelling out the last of their savings to line the pockets of the greedy priests and ensure their loved ones found their way to heaven.

The priests selling indulgences

The priests selling indulgences

Martin Luther wasn’t having this shit anymore, so set to work to put things right. He decided that the good people of Wittenberg should be enlightened, and introduced to the actual contents of the bible. Prior to this the church had been manipulating the people’s faith for their own gain: mass was conducted in Latin, the bible was written in Latin and the citizens spoke German. With the fear of God instilled into them from the Church, who were they to question the word of the priests? After all they were being given direct orders from Gods representative on Earth…The Pope, and who would challenge him? Martin Luther, that’s who!

On October 30th, 1517, Luther got all badass and nailed a pamphlet to the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church. On it were 95 points regarding the catholic teachings which he wanted to raise for debate with academics and priests. He had written it in Latin, (the language of academics at the time), with the intention of it a) being taken seriously as an academic document and not propaganda, and b)not being accessible to the public prior to scrutiny.

luther_wittenberg_1517

ML causing shit

Luther was called up to debate the pamphlet, (which is now called the ‘95 Theses’), with a small assembly of academics and religious figures, amongst which was the Cardinal Thomas Cajeton. Luther and Cajeton argued relentlessly over the pamphlet for days, until they met a stalemate as neither would back down. This was all well and good for the cardinal, but in 1520, Luther was called to answer to Pope Leo X in order to recant. He didn’t obviously, (after all he had some fair points), so the Pope decided to excommunicate him for being a right pain in the arse, causing trouble and ultimately exposing the Catholic Church for the extortionists they were. Luther, who had always been a religious man, now found himself branded a heretic.

Luther found himself narrowly avoiding execution thanks to a man named Frederick III of Saxony. This dude whole heartedly supported Luther, so used his political power to take Luther into his protection. The Roman Emperor Charles V, ordered that Luther’s work be burned but didn’t manage to pursue his execution as he had some other shit to be getting on with.  Luther used his time in hiding to translate the New Testament form Latin into German, thus allowing all and sundry access to its actual teachings. This took 10 years, it’s fair to say most would’ve sacked it off by this point but Luther persisted until it was complete.

Luther’s time in hiding had made him more and more bitter about the Catholic Church. He had now branded the Pope as the Antichrist, and had also turned his attention to scrutinising the Jewish and Islamic teachings. Upon leaving, he found that the German  people now demanded a political and religious change. They  public had embraced his work and a revolution had broken out, this was partly thanks to the introduction of printing press which lead to an increase in books available to the German people, all clueing them up about the crooked ways of the church. These protests were politically driven and lead to fighting firstly across Germany and then throughout Europe. Nobles supported the cause of the newly rising ‘Lutheranism’ religion, funding revolts and spreading the word.

And what was Luther’s reaction to this? Probably not what you’d expect. He was pissed off to shit and called for the fighting to stop.  He was after all a man of God and a seeker of peace, and not quite the medieval version of Richard Dawkins that you would be forgiven for confusing him with. He did however continue to lead the reformation via more peaceful means, and taught around Germany until his death in 1546.

So that’s it, there you have it: The start of the religious reform in Europe, the protests against the church leading to the birth of Protestantism, and the gateway opening for Kings to use a new religion as a key to power. And what of Martin Luther? He had always questioned the celibacy thing with the catholic religion so now decided that since it didn’t really apply to him anymore he would have a crack with the ladies. He married an ex nun and the pair had a bunch of kids. He died at the ripe old age of 62, and was buried in Wittenberg Castle Church, which I think is a boss place for him to be buried.

Martin Luther's death (apparently)

Martin Luther’s death (apparently)

Of course, all of this had a massive impact on Tudor England: At first Henry VIII furiously sided with the Catholic Church against the ‘venomous’ Luther, so much so that Pope Leo X  gave him the title of ‘Fidei defensor’ or ‘Defendor of the Faith’. But like the little cockweasel he was, Henry soon threw his dummy out of the pram and when he was refused a marriage annulment from the Catholic Church in order to legitimately bend it up Anne Boylen, Henry soon changed camps.

I often wonder what Luther would think of Henry, exploiting the new religion for his own gain. Surely Henry became a parody of Luther’s antichrist? Afterall, Henry reinstated himself as the head of the church, taking the money and the power that came with it, and he too used religion to exploit the people. I’m not sure a man who’s brain is in his bell end should have had so much power, but he did and for the next 500+ years politics and religion have caused fighting and unrest in the UK. Well done Henry, ya massive tit.

As for me, coming from a family who half are catholic and the other half protestant I find the subject very interesting. Just for the record I don’t really believe in either: I do like the freedom that comes with Protestantism and the fact that there isn’t gold shit everywhere with the pretense that the church isn’t wealthy, but I also like the smell of the mass incense and free communion wine so what can you do?!

If you found this tudorial interesting, you may also enjoy me having a ramble about how the Tudor’s concealed their controversial religious views. You can find it here: https://thetudorials.com/2015/10/22/how-did-people-hide-and-share-their-religion-in-the-tudor-times/

How did people hide and share their religion in the Tudor times?

a typical priest hole: its not what your thinking

This was a question I was asked to do a video for. To be honest I found it really hard to answer; there is just so much to explain. Anyway, apologies for the rambling chat and gormless expressions, but hope you enjoy it regardless. Because I’m good to you too, below is a link to a blog about the Harvington Hall Priest holes, a good read if you’re interested.
How Tudors Hid their religion

Priest holes of Harvington Hall

The Revolution House, Derbyshire

October 12th 1537: Happy Birthday Edward

oh Hi there. its my mother flippin birthday

Tudor fact of the day: 478 years ago today, back in 1537, prince Edward was born. The only legitimate son of Henry VIII (despite having 6 wives), and Jane Seymour. He was a really sickly baby, kept wrapped, swaddled and inside for all of his childhood because Henry was totally paranoid that something would happen his only male heir.
A few days after his birth, his mum, Jane Seymour (Henry’s fave wife), died of childbed sickness. Childbed sickness was basically septicaemia contracted after childbirth, usually due to bits of after birth being left in the mum. This tended to happen to the rich more so than the poor. The poor would have experienced women deliver their young (local women/ mums/ aunts etc), the rich would have midwives in hand I case the lady of the house gave birth, hence their only experience came should somebody important become preggo.
So Henry’s fave wife died and he was forced to move into no. 4, (to be fair he did wait a few years). Edward was sent and raised away from court and received the best education Henry could buy. Good job too, cos when Ed was 9, He et kicked the bucket, leaving Ed as king. This was fucking disastrous, and led to a power grasp amongst the piers of the council, a few were made into dead heads.

Edward remained sickly and eventually died in 1553 aged 15, causing a right old shit storm. Jane Grey. Remember her? Edwards fault.  But that’s a story for a different time.
Happy 478th birthday King Edward VI.

What was Tudor Underware like?

 

well it wasn’t like this

 
Did Tudors wear knickers? What’s a codpiece all about? What about periods and hygine? I know these are all questions you have been having sleepless nights over so watch this and learn the answers, and Put those niggling questions to bed once and for all.
Oh PS, I also meant to tell you this nugget of gold too: the costume designer for the BBC adaptation of Wolf Hall was told to tone down the size of the codpieces used on set, just in case the American viewers got offended. 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5j_gy7Y1UDI&feature=youtu.be
 

Henry VIII’s quite frankly, fucking ridiculous codpiece, on view for all at the Tower of London.

 

September 28th 1553: Mary Tudors Coronation.

  
Tudor fact of the day: 462 years ago today in 1553, Mary Tudor was crowned. Queen of England. She wasn’t really meant to be Queen though, as her little brother King Edward VI had named his cousin, Jane Grey, as successor to the throne. 
Edward didn’t want his elder sister Mary to inherit it: for one thing she had been declared a bastard by their dad when he ditched Katherine of Aragon, and for was, she was a mental as balls, hormonal Catholic hell bent on fucking over any Protestant that stood in her way, (this allegedly even included new born infants who she mercilessly had tossed onto fires like a crazy fucker).
Anyway, as it seems I can’t mention Mary without implying she was the Palaces resident psychopath, it’s about time I gave you with some cool facts about her. So here goes my top 6:
1. Mary was the first woman crowned in England who was Queen in her own right. To illustrate this she held 2 sceptres: the one traditionally held by Queens and the other, the sceptre of the King. Quite the feminist was our Mary.

 

a (rather shit) painting of Mary’s corronation, with her double sceptre yielding madness

 
2. Mary was a gambler. She both won and lost a shit tonne of the Tudor coinage this way. It’s all wrote down in the privy purse accounts.
3. Despite being the ‘unwanted Queen’ by Henry VIII, Anne of Cleeves is the only one buried in Westminster abbey. This is all thanks to Mary, who loved Anne so much she arranged a burial fit for a Queen to honour her life. Good skills Mary. 
4. When Henry VIII ditched Mary’s Mum, Katherine of Aragon, for Anne Boylen and made himself head of the Church of England, he all but abandoned Mary and devoted her a bastard. As such, Mary refused to acknowledge that her father was the head of a church and dismissed him as the fucking lecherous idiot he was. She stuck to her guns with it, despite it being treasonous, until her cousin Charles V, convinced her to say she had changed her mind. She never actually did and regretted saying so for the rest of her days. It took a brave woman to stand up to Henry, I totally admire Mary for this.
5. Mary was short sighted and had a MEGA expensive taste in clothes, owning some of the most expensive items in the Tudor wardrobe (including a cloth of silver dress). 

 

a replica cloth of silver dress. it wouldv’ve weighed a toone and made you sweat to shit

 
6. When Jane Seymour, Henry’s 3rd and favourite wife), was preggers, Mary sent her some cucumbers to help her with her cravings. Not quite the bitch we normally think about when somebody mentions the name ‘Bloody Mary’.