4th September 1539: Anne of Cleeves is betrothed to an idiot.

Anne of Cleeves is betrothed to an idiot.

A hashed together piccy of the  'happy' couple

A hashed together piccy of the ‘happy’ couple

Anne was Henrys fourth wife and without a shadow of any doubt by far the luckiest. She was a young girl from Germany who had been promised to the Duke of Lorraine at the age of 12, but that all fell through and eventually she found herself in the Tudor Court.

This was all set up by a man called Thomas Cromwell, who was Henry’s BFF, but we will get to him in good time.
In the year 1537 Henry’s most favourite wife Jane Seymour died of Pleural fever (which was basically septicaemia or child-bed fever as it was known back in the day). Pleural fever was pretty much down to shit midwives and dirty septic stuff at childbirth, (that and a dose of the odd placental remains left in the mothers uterus).
 Henry stayed single and alone growing more and more cantankerous  for 2 years after her death. This isn’t really all that surprising when you consider his situation: he was 3 wives in, with only 1 male heir, (who to be honest was a bit weak and sickly),  it was starting to look like his lack of children despite his shagging any and every maid at court, was down to his knob-rot and not his wives. To cap this off the one wife he actually gave a shit about had taken the piss and died before she had time to annoy him sufficiently and be executed. Cromwell decided to get him a new wife. A pretty young protty that would give him a son and make him a bit less of a miserable old cunt. Enter Anne of cleeves, aged 24.
In 1539 Cromwell had heard about these hot two Young girls of the Duke of Cleeves. He was a protestant too and since Henry had ripped the country apart two wives previously in order to bend it up Anne Boleyn, he didn’t have many friends outside of Rome. By marrying a girl of Cleeves he could form some powerful allies away from the Catholic Church. Anne was good loyal girl when Henry sent his favourite painter Hans Holbein to paint her and her sister Amelia. He wanted to pick them from their pictures and guarantee he got the fittest of the sisters. Much too Anne’s dismay (and with a little influence from Cromwell), Anne was chosen.
Anne...

Anne…

...or what we think is Amelia?

…or what we think is Amelia?

Now whilst it’s every girls dream to be classed as the most gorgeous lady about, particularly over your sister, you can’t help but feel sorry for and and think that actually Amelia, who was apparently the less attractive of the two, actually got the better deal as she was spared the mess that was Henry.
Cromwell took the pictures to Henry and laid it on a bit thick. Henry wasn’t in any frame of mind to be marrying after the death of his much beloved Jane but is privy council were just like ‘well you need to get your knob doing some work and filling some cradles and if this doesn’t work out we’ll just get another’, so that was Henry and Anne’s betrothal in the bag. Now Although today is The anniversary of the betrothal, (or more specifically the day the Duke of Cleeves signed his daughter over to a fat Lecherous old man), it would be a shame to end the story there so let’s take a look what happened next.
Thomas Cromwell.Like a boss.

Thomas Cromwell.Like a boss.

Anne’s boat was late to arrive in England due to the shit weather and she was holed up in Calais for ages, tired and fed up. When she eventually did arrive in England she was taken to Rochester to rest up before travelling onward to London, to eventually meet the King. Henry however had other ideas and being the ‘trickster’ he was he was going to dress as a tramp, barge in on Anne at Rochester and surprise her. Bear in mind Anne had never even seen a picture of Henry so had no idea what he looked like. What could go wrong?!
So off he went to surprise Anne. Dressed like a bell end, he jumped out on her at court. Anne was not impressed at all, didn’t bow and recoiled from him, as you would if a strange tramp tried to grab you. Henry went wild with rage from the embarrassment that he had been made to look, (or rather made himself look), like a complete twat. How could she not find the fact that she was a) marrying King of the hobo’s, b) at the command of her dad, and c) have the impossible task of procreating with this prick hysterical? I often catch myself wondering this.
 The king being one spoiled little bastard took umbrage at this and decided that he didn’t like the first woman ever to not instantly piss her side open at the Kings wank japes. Henry then went into the mother of all tantrums, acting like a mardy teenager calling Anne a Flanders mare, (the best insult he could come up with). Henry was mortified with their first meeting and decided that he wasn’t all that into Anne, but it was tough shit, stuff had been sorted for their wedding and he was just going to have to suck it up. Being betrothed in those days was as good as married, so the marriage went ahead the following January.
On their wedding night Henry came to Anne’s chambers to consummate the marriage. He couldn’t though. His knob wouldn’t work. This was obviously Anne’s fault so a few weeks later she was told to leave court. Annes dismissal from court obviously had nothing to do with the fact that by now Henry was already poking his rancid cock into the young Katherine Howard, who was 34 years his junior and brought to court as eye candy for the king whilst serving as Anne’s lady in waiting.
Henry felt humiliated by his lack of performance with Anne so had done the honourable thing and blamed her because she was so repulsive to him. What a dick Henry was. He could not kill her off cos she had done nothing wrong, but had the marriage annulled anyway based on her previous betrothal to the Duke of Lorraine, (remember I said betrothal was as good as marriage? well that’s the rule he used…that and the fact that he had decided he wanted to marry Katherine Howard).
Henry paid Anne a shit load of cash and gave her a tonne of houses to fuck off and stay quiet. He also agreed to refer to her as ‘the Kings sister’ making her the second most important woman in the country after any new queen Henry decided to take. Anne had a lucky escape. She became good friends with her step daughter Mary, had bagged herself a load of wealth and had escaped Henry VIII relatively unscathed, (aside from her first time with a man resulting in having a fat useless cockwomble rub his floppy rotten bell end on her). Life after Henry came and went for Anne, and at one point there was talk of a second betrothal to him but luckily that fell on its arse and she had her second lucky escape. Anne was reportedly an amazing woman: she looked after her servants well and treated everyone with kindness and regard. She outlived Henry and eventually reverted back to Catholicism under the reign of her step daughter and best bud Mary Tudor. She was the only one of Henrys wives to have avoided penetration by Henry’s rancid man member and yet also the only one to be graced with the honour of burial at Westminster Abbey.
And what of Cromwell? Well Henry had him executed for bringing him a ‘minger’ to court…Im surprised you had to ask.
You can read about life for Anne after Henry here: https://thetudorials.com/2015/07/16/july-16th-1557-anne-of-cleeves-death-and-life-after-henry/
and also about Henry’s fall out with Cromwell here:https://thetudorials.com/2015/06/10/10th-june-1540-a-massive-fall-out/

22nd August 1485: the Battle of Bosworth, The Tudor dawn and the King in the car park.

boswroth

So the Battle of Bosworth, the first day of the 118 year reign of the Tudors. Quite a significant day really. It’s the day where Richard III got his arsed well and truly kicked by Henry Tudor. In fact it wasn’t even kicked – his head was smashed in, a sword ran through his brain and his body paraded around Leicester like a teddy on The Generation Game. Richard lost, big time.

First, some back story: The shit all started because of a Royal family feud. There was the Lancaster side and the York side, both related to long-dead Edward III, and both thought this gave them a claim to the throne. The Lancastrian Henry VI, AKA ‘The Mad King, had a nervous breakdown and so his cousin Richard of York became the protector of the realm. This did not go down well with Henry’s mental bitch Queen Margaret of Anjou, and she promptly rallied around to try and take the throne back.  Rainbow fans may remember that Richard of York Gave Battle In Vain – this is where that came from.

 Well anyway, Richard’s son Edward took the crown and was declared King of England. The English subjects didn’t mind because Henry VI was crazy as balls and they hated his French wife. By way of contrast, Edward IV was a young bit of totty who actually went on to do a fairly good job. There were a few incidents where Henry won the throne back and the crown swapped hands a few times but then Henry died.

 How does this all relate to the Battle of Bosworth I hear you ask? Well listen up and you will see. Henry VI’s only son lost his head at the Battle of Tewksbury so Henry Tudor became his heir. This made Edward IV a little nervous and Henry was exiled to France for his own protection. Henry Tudor however kept in regular contact with his Mum, Margaret Beaufort, one of the most formidable women in Tudor history.

Margaret was a fiercely loyal Lancastrian, and she hated the Yorkist King Edward with a passion. Margaret had very cleverly married Lord Stanley 1st Earl of Derby. She had sniffed him out because, although he was a bit of a scrote-face, he was notorious at having a finger in every pie. Margaret had quite rightly figured that because Stanley was central to the Yorkist camp, he was well placed to help her put her son Henry on the throne. Stanley had sworn loyalty to Yorkist’s but this meant precisely fuck all when shit got real.

Henry VII's Ma, Margret Beaufort and her best 'do not fuck with me' face

Henry VII’s Ma, Margaret Beaufort and her best ‘do not fuck with me’ face

The hottie King Edward IV died, and was succeeded by his son, the imaginatively named Edward V. As the new Edward was only 12, the old Edward had entrusted his brother Richard to be The Lord Protector until he came of age.

Richard subsequently had his nephew, the new boy-king, put into the Tower of London with his younger brother (you heard of The Princes in the Tower? this is them), to prepare for the coronation. This wasn’t too weird at the time because the tower was a royal palace, but a short time later the boys vanished. They were presumed murdered, though no bodies were ever found*. I don’t want to go on a tangent about who killed the boys in the tower because it’s something I could write about all day, but Richard was conveniently next in line, and became King Richard III

princes-in-the-tower

A painting of the princes in the tower and a man with a bowl cut who is obviously the culprit of their murder.

Whilst all this was happening Henry was still in exile in France gathering an army with his Uncle Jasper, (a Welsh badass training Henry to be equally as bad ass). Henry got funding from King Charles VIII of France, who wanted the English distracted while he seized Brittany Sneaky bastard. He gave Henry a shit load of cash and a small army to go fuck up the usurper King Richard.

Richard only ruled England for two years and it’s fair to say that he had pissed a lot of people off – especially his former sister-in-law, Elizabeth Woodville, mother to the missing Princes in the Tower. Elizabeth actually started to conspire with Margaret Beaufort, despite the fact that they previously loathed one another’s guts. Seriously, these women pure hated each other, they were sworn enemies but when you both want to see Richard dead what can you do? They plotted together to marry off Elizabeth Woodville’s daughter (the beautiful Elizabeth of York), to Henry VII once he had destroyed Richard. This would unite the Yorkist and Lancastrian houses and remove all doubt that Henry was true king; Elizabeth of York was after all Edward IV oldest child.

Henry was happy with this. Providing he wasn’t brutally murdered in the field he would not only inherit the throne of England, Wales and Ireland but also get to wed and bed the fittest girl in the lands, like a boss. However, like all good stories, there is a twist. Richard III was also widely rumoured to be smitten like a pubescent 14 year old boy over her, even though she was his niece. Grim. Gossip was flying that the two were already secretly shagging and he wanted to marry her, much to the dismay of his wife Anne Neville (the Queen, as she was then).

Anne Neville, Richard III's wife - Hot

Anne Neville, Richard III’s wife -Hot 

Liz of York -also hot (though this painting does make it look like she has a thyroid problem)

Liz of York -also hot (though this painting does make it look like she has a thyroid problem)

These rumours were only made worse when Elizabeth rocked up to court in clothes so smart she made Anne look like a right tramp. Richard danced with Elizabeth, wined her and dined her all, under the nose of his wife. Anne was pretty good looking herself, but Elizabeth was just so hot that all the men at court loved her.

Shit got real when, in March 1485, Anne died. Rumours flew everywhere that Richard had bumped her off with poison to clear the way for Elizabeth. Hearing the news in France Henry went fucking wild. If he still wanted to bag the English throne AND his smoking young bride then he had no choice – he had to invade straight away, bringing us to the Battle of Bosworth.

By this point Margaret Beaufort had been placed under house arrest for suspected treason. Her husband was placed in charge of making sure she didn’t cause any shit. If this already sounds like a dumb idea, then remember that her husband Lord Stanley was planning to see which side would benefit him best, despite telling Richard he would fight for him.

Lord Stanley’s brother, William, had already told Richard he couldn’t make the battle due to ‘ill health’. Richard was so pissed off about this he declared him a traitor. Thomas Stanley’s son was also taken to the tower as hostage, saying he would execute him on the battlefield if the Stanley’s didn’t turn up. What a prick, using the ‘ha, I’ve got your kids’ approach.  Apparently Thomas’ response was ‘I have other sons…’ Stone cold. The Stanley brothers though to be fair were on a win-win; they had 6000 men and were set to be key in deciding who would be King

Henry finally landed on the Welsh coast on August 7th, 1485 with 2000 men, most on loan from the French King, and picking up another 500 badass Welsh men up for a scrap on the way. They then started the 200 mile march to kick some Yorkist arse all over the shop.

Richard was at Nottingham castle at the time and really didn’t give a shit. Like a cocky mother trucker he stayed an extra night and ordered an enormous banquet to celebrate his victory (albeit prematurely, like a chump). What did he care; he had 10,000-12,000 men (though 6000 were the Stanley families army), was competent in battle, already had the throne and this was by no means his first rodeo, unlike the scruffy nomad Henry Tudor who was new to all this. Things did look a little bleak for Henry, and although he had bollocks of steel he must’ve been pure shitting himself.

In the early hours of 22nd August 1485 the two armies met on the battlefield: Richard at the top of the hill and Henry stuck in a shitty marsh down at the bottom. Henry had brought with him some long bow men from France, who ripped into Richards men no problem, and Richard opened cannon fire. Both sides took a pasting. The Stanley brothers, Thomas and William, sat on the hill with their army watching the fight, waiting to join in when the opportunity was in their favour: sly but totally clever.

A massive amount of Richards’s men simply placed their swords into the ground and refused to fight. By this point there had been more than 30 years of conflicts over the throne and the knights and squires were pissed off with fighting for spoilt rich bastards who couldn’t stop scrapping like dogs over a bone The men who surrendered made a difference but it was a stones drop in the ocean and Richard advanced on Henry, who refused to back down.

Richards’s men came dangerously close to royally fucking Henry up (in every sense) but his bodyguards managed to protect him. Then, suddenly, Stanley’s army swooped down to join the battle – on Henry’s side. Richard found himself right in the centre of the deepest shit storm in The Plantagenet history (and there were loads, this family couldn’t have a shit without an execution, some treason or a slice of betrayal).

Why did the Stanley’s side with Henry? Well, what did they have to lose? William was already accused of treason and Richard would’ve killed The young Stanley Lord regardless, Thomas stood to be ‘father’ of the King should Henry win, and in all honesty they were both sick to shit of Richard. The prospect of uniting Yorkist’s and Lancastrian’s seemed appealing as it would finally see peace in the country. Richard gave the orders to execute Thomas Stanley’s son – whose name, incidentally, was Lord Strange which is awesome – but his men resisted, saying they were too far into war and they would do it after. They were clearly thinking about handing him over to the new King as a bargaining chip in case Henry won, crafty like ninja foxes.

As the Stanley’s troops advanced on Richard, he was offered a horse to flee battle, to which he replied ‘I will die here a king or live’ and charged into battle. Richard was not a popular King but nobody could call him a coward. He was soon dragged to the ground and brutally killed.

 DeathRichardIII

It’s not obvious that the men of that era were able to recognise when a man was dead because they drove an axe (or a halberd if you want to be technical), into his skull, stabbed the shit of his face and then for good measure and to make absolutely certain Richard was dead, they shoved a sword through the base of his neck up into his brain. I’m not an expert myself, but I will go out on a limb and say Richard of York, Duke of Gloucester was definitely dead after this. After death the brutality just kept coming. He was stabbed through the buttock, damaging his pelvis and stabbed in the side fucking up his rib cage. I think its fair to say the Lancastrians meant business.

Lord Stanley then, like a massive creep, picked up Richards crown from under a bush and placed it upon Henry’s head, proclaiming him as the new King of England. Richard III was the last king of England to die in battle, and the first to be found buried under a car park. The battle was over by lunchtime, which I’m sure some of the men would’ve found convenient as they probably had eating and raping to do in the local taverns.

Henry went on to marry Elizabeth of York and the two ruled in relative peace, before eventually having a child who grew to be a more familiar character to us: Henry VIII.

Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. I like how she has sneakily popped in a white rose of York.

Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. I like how she has sneakily popped in a white rose of York.

*just as a little foot-note, two children’s skeletons were uncovered in the Tower of London during a renovation.  They can never be identified as the princes though because Queens’s approval is needed for a DNA test to be conducted and she won’t allow it

Do I think Richard killed the princes? No. Do I shit. Evidence holds that he was a boss Uncle and loyal to his brother. Do I think Shakespeare was responsible for him being portrayed as a tyrant? Hell yes. Do I think he killed his wife? Nah,she could’ve died of 101 things, it was the 15th century and the country was like an opened clinical waste Petri dish. Do I think he would’ve married his niece had he won? Fuck yes, she was hot as shit.

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 04:  A television screen displays the skeletal remains of what is believed to be King Richard III during a press conference at Leicester University on February 4, 2013 in Leicester, England. The University of Leicester has been carrying out scientific investigations on remains found in a car park to find out whether they are those of King Richard III since last September, when the skeleton was discovered in the foundations of Greyfriars Church, Leicester.  (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

August 19th, 1588 – Elizabeth I: feeble my arse!

427 years ago today, in 1588 Elizabeth I rode out like a pure badass, and in front of her army at Tilbury, delivered her famous speech which went like this:
“I know I have the body of a weak, feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm; to which rather than any dishonour shall grow by me, I myself will take up arms, I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field.”
Might not seem like much now but for a woman to say this (especially the queen), was pure hardcore. She gave NO shits about King Phillip of Spain’s plans to take over Britain and convert it back to Catholicism. This prick was married to her mental sister, Mary Tudor (the same one who burned all the Protestants at the steak), and upon her death proposed to Elizabeth so he could keep his slimey hooks on the English throne. Liz knew he was a complete twonk and was prepared to go all out to fuck him up.
The armada came and went and the Spanish were defeated at sea (despite having a much bigger and more experienced army), with a little help from a storm. The sheer fact that Liz had the balls to face her troops and be prepared to fight soldered her place with her people as a fucking awesome ruler.
Go Liz eh

side note – this is just how the tale goes, but is not an eyewitness account and speculated to be somewhat embellished. Elizabeth actually met her troops when the armada was defeated. If you are interested in this, you may also like the Tudorial about Francis Drake. click here to see it.


(Oh PS look at this pic painted after the defeat of the Spanish, clues everywhere about her role in the armada. I like how she’s holding the world. Think she would’ve quite liked it too)

29th July 1565 – Mary Queen of Scots marries one giant wanker.

Mary Queen of Scotts and the right Honourable prick Henry Stuart (Lord Darnley)

Mary Queen of Scots and the right Honourable prick Henry Stuart (Lord Darnley)

When Mary Queen of Scots was 18 years old, she became a widow for the first time. Her husband, who was the King of France, had only gone and died so Mary found herself back in Scotland as Queen where she belonged, (or not as the case may be – she had been away far too long for the public to give a shit about her). Mary being a widow presented a new opportunity for marriage: she was young, royal and more importantly fertile. It was time for hubby number two.
The whole prospect of marriage raised a few issues though (cos when would it be interesting if it didn’t): Mary was heir to the English throne as well as ruler of Scotland, her husband had to be chosen carefully. Because her cousin Elizabeth 1st had refused to marry and chuck out some kids, Mary was next in line. This pissed Liz off a little so she took it upon herself to sort out Mary a match and in return for marrying Liz’s choice of suitor, Mary would def’s inherit the English crown.
Liz chose Henry Stuart, the Lord Darnley to marry Mary. He was a royal himself, in line to the English throne and Mary’s 1st cousin (which makes me want to chunder but was ‘normal’ back in the day). He was also a massive prick. Somehow his charm won through and Mary fell head over heels for him, as most teenage girls do when they meet someone who’s not only good looking but also minted and says the right thing. Usually this is a pretty good indicator that the boy in question is actually a giant fuck head and should be swerved at all cost. Darnley was no exception to this.
Anyway, Mary fancied the shit out of him and the couple married on July 29th1565, (only after she had nursed him to health after a casual  bout of secondary syphilis that he had caught in England prior to arriving in Scotland for his marriage).  Darnley dressed himself in all the jewels he could find like a fucking idiot and Mary wore her mourning gown for the last time, (which I’m sure did everything to lighten the atmosphere of the service). Darnley was such a gobshite that he even refused to attend the nuptial mass (he was protestant and Mary catholic. Yes it came down to that shit again).
A few months down the line, Mary began to realise what a dick she had married. Darnely barely ever saw her, drank like he had an endless supply of livers and had gold membership and a loyalty card at the local brothels. What a bell end this man was. Not only that but he incessantly pressed her to make him King, putting himself above her as the sovereign in an act called ‘crown matrimony, which was a fucking joke because when they had first married Mary had given him a say at parliament and he never showed up. Mary even had a stamp made out in his signature so shit could actually get done. She wasn’t having any of his crap any more and started to despise the prick, but by this time it was a bit too late.
Mary turned to her close friend and private secretary, David Rizzio for support. By now Darnley was a violent, incompetent piss head, and Mary needed advice on how best to handle it. Having said this, Rizzio was by no means an angel. He was a short arse who has been documented to have been shagging Darnley himself at some point prior to all of this. But anyway, that aside, Mary and Rizzio’s friendship didn’t sit well with Darnley, and he grew jealous and enraged.  He saw it as an opportunity to try again to seize power of the throne. What this fucker did next was unreal (even for a bloke like him).
Mary had pissed off some of the protestant nobles by taking away their lands because they had been utter knobs. The nobles weren’t happy so approached Darnley. They suggested that if he were to kill Rizzio and put it about that the queen was shagging him, they would grant him ‘crown Matrimony’ in parliament, and he would take full control of the Scottish throne in exchange for returning the noblemen’s lands and benefits. Of course he agreed.
On the night of May 7th, 1566, Mary was sat having tea in her quarters with Rizzio and some pals when in bursts Darnley and his pals and stab the shit out of Rizzio. Rizzio apparently hid behind the queens skirts but nothing could protect him and he was stabbed over 50 times until he died in front of the 7 month pregnant queen. How Mary did not miscarry was a miracle. She could do nothing to save her best friend and hated her husband with a passion. Who wouldn’t? he was a right cunt.
thumann_friedrich_paul-the_murder_of_david_rizzio-OM472300-10157_20090401_2818_408
Mary fled to Edinburgh where her army were awaiting. There she had protection and power and sentenced all of the murderous protty noblemen. The plan had failed, but there was still a problem. If Mary named Darnley as a perpetrator to the crime, it would put into question the legitimacy of her unborn baby and the throne would be up for grabs. She just carried on bless her, (I would’ve drowned the bastard but that’s just me).
On June 19th 1566, Mary gave birth to her son and heir James Stuart (soon after his birth this little dude inherited the throne because his mum fucked up and married another dick head but that’s another story… The link to which is at the bottom of the page). Mary reconciled with Darnley but the marriage was bitter and cold. Not surprisingly she pure fucking hated him but couldn’t divorce him because a) she was catholic and b) it would make her child a bastard and he would loose his entitlement to the throne. They barley saw each other. Darnley couldn’t even attend his owns sons christening because he was at home with anther bout of cock rot. At the christening Elizabeth was proclaimed Prince James’s Godmother, later he would inherit her throne too.

Now at this point you may be thinking that things were looking a bit shitty for Mary, and you would be right. She was stuck in a marriage with a murderous, wife beating alcoholic adulterer, and her future looking really grim. But fret not, because Darnley was about to get his just desserts.

Early in 1567 Darnley got the pox (wait…that’s not even the best bit), so was sent to live at Kirk O’Field just outside Edinburgh. Mary had the estate kitted out so he would be comfortable but didn’t want him near the young prince so off he went to live away. To be fair, the pair were all but estranged at this point anyway and I’m going to go out on a limb and say Mary would have been possibly relived he was out of the way because he was one giant fucktard. Mary did however visit him frequently (probably to cheer herself up at how ill and disfigured the pox had made him. The chump).

Here’s the good bit. On the night of 9th February 1567, Mary left Darnley early in order to ‘attend a wedding’. During the early hours of the morning there was an almighty explosion and the whole of Darnley’s Kirk O’Fields estate went up in one giant fireball. Upon closer inspection it was obvious that it was arson and caused by a shit tonne of gunpowder. Darnley’s body was found and the fucker was at last out of Mary’s hair once and for all (though as Iv just typed that I remembered that Mary wore a wig, but you know what I mean). The curious thing about all of this though was that his body was recovered in the garden with not a burn or scorch mark on it. Darnley had been suffocated and dumped before the explosion.

The explosion

The explosion

A Tudor time CSI style map, giving an 'accurate' account of where the bodies of Darnley and his servant were found in the garden. Quite why they are stark bollock naked with their arses out, and bigger than what appear to be pine trees is as much of a mystery as the incident itself.

A Tudor time CSI style map, giving an ‘accurate’ account of where the bodies of Darnley and his servant were found in the garden. Quite why they are stark bollock naked with their arses out, and bigger than what appear to be pine trees is as much of a mystery as the incident itself.

Now I know what your probably thinking, that it was Mary, BUT there were several suspects. Yes Mary could’ve done it because it was her only chance to move on but it was equally likely to be one of the other noblemen that Darnley had annoyed, a pal of Rizzio’s or even Darnley himself in a failed plan to blow up Mary. One thing was sure: he was dead and Mary’s horrific car crash marriage had come to an end. The arsonist was never caught.

Now the really shitty thing is that this was only the end to one chapter of Marys life. The next chapter began almost instantly after these events, (again follow the link at the bottom of the page to find out more), when mary found herself in the company of one Earl of Bothwell, another known prick and also a suspect in Darnleys murder. She lost favour of her public and was forced to flee, never seeing her son James again. James inherited the throne of Scotland aged 13 months old. Mary Queen of Scots really did have one of the saddest lives that I’ve ever read about, (and the wankest choice in men), still Happy anniversary Mary and Henry Stuart.

Poor Mary

Poor Mary

https://thetudorials.com/2015/07/17/july-17th-1586-plots-executions-treason-and-the-dick-end-men-in-mary-queen-of-scots-life/

25th July 1554: Mary married Phill

So yesterday was the 461th wedding anniversary of Mary Tudor and Phillip II of Spain. The pair married on 25th July 1554 at Winchester Cathederal, I couldn’t write about it yesterday as I was actually dying of a hangover and Phillip of Spain was such a dick that my stomach could not hold my levels of rage without evacuating. 
Anyway, Mary was super into Phillip but he was a bit meh about the whole thing, to him it was pretty much a business deal. However because this was the case there was an act passed prior to the big day which stated that Phillip would rule jointly with his wife and it prevented him from stealing the throne. Ultimately the pair married to restore to England, Wales and Ireland after a few decades of the Protties having ago (much to the sheer dismay of Mary who fucking hated them).

Mary was 37 when she married, had a few failed pregnancies, (including a phantom pregnancy) and bore Phil no kids. They were married for 4 years, in which time they managed to murder about 300 Protestants (still only a small amount compared to how many people Her dad Henry VIII killed)

Phillip wasn’t that into Mary and wasn’t even there when she died. He then took the piss and proposed to Elizabeth Tudor when she inherited the throne after her sister death like a greedy bastard. She told him to cock off and a few years down the line, Phil tried to invade England with his shit armada. She handed his arse to him. Long and short he was an absolute knob face. Still, happy anniversary eh.

 

look at him with his stupid legs like a chump

 

July 17th 1586- plots, executions, treason and the dick end men in Mary Queen of Scots life.

July 17th 1586. The Babington plot and Mary’s final fuck up

Mary Queen of Scots

Mary Queen of Scots

It always seems to be cousins at war when you read about the Tudors, but to be fair they were all a bit incestuous and so had about a million cousins a piece; with that number it’s inevitable that you’re going to annoy a few of them along the way. With so much deceit and scandal that they all hated each other, though I suppose that’s families for you isn’t it?

However for these particular cousins things got really bad, (well second cousins to be precise). Both were Queens in their own right, both well-educated and formidable, both had shady pasts and both wanted the English throne: Welcome to the battle arena Mary Queen of Scott’s and Elizabeth I.

Elizabeth I had been on the English Queen for 27 years. Everything was going sweet. There had been a couple of assassination attempts but nothing major and besides, Liz had the best spy master around, Francis Walsingham. Mary’s social standing is not so easy to explain so we have to go back to the beginning; I will keep it brief because we all have stuff to do.

Mary Stuart was born to James V of Scotland and his wife Mary of Guise (James was Henry VIII nephew, Henry was Elizabeth’s dad, hence second cousins…complicated isn’t it). Anyway Mary’s Dad died when she was 6 days old making her an infant Queen. She was betrothed to a French Prince and sent to French court until she was married. In marrying Mary her husband, Francis II, became king of France and Scotland but kicked the bucket 2 years later. Her mother in law shipped her back to Scotland after this but Mary was catholic and Scotland was protestant, not that she wasn’t unpopular at this point, but it made things a bit tricky for her. Loads of the Scottish public thought that Mary would inherit the English throne, Elizabeth had no kids so it put Mary as close as you can get without being executed.

Elizabeth I

Elizabeth I

Anyway, Mary eventually married her cousin Lord Darnley, who was a complete fucktard. This dick had Mary’s best friend stabbed to death (accusing him of being her lover), he drank and beat her and was just in general a giant twat. Mary had also grown very close the handsome young chap, The Earl of Bothwell. This dude was Mary’s closest advisor and there was much speculation about the pair. They made matters worse for themselves when Lord Darnley was killed in suspicious circumstances, not long after Mary had given birth to hers and Darnley’s son, James. There was an explosion at their house and his body was found outside, though not burned or anything like that but strangled, indicating murder (Full on CSI, Tudor style).

darnley death

Bothwell then abducted and allegedly raped Mary and forced her to marry him a mere 3 months after Darnley’s death, as she was on her return form visiting her infant son, (though it’s always possible that Mary was in on the whole business). By this point Mary and Bothwell were accused of Darnleys murder and the Queen now found herself in the deepest of all shit. Their marriage was ridiculously unpopular. They had been married under Protestant law which pissed off the Catholics no end. The pair were caught and Mary surrendered and abdicated in return for Bothwells safe exile. This prick just fucked off and was never seen again, he died 10 years later in a Danish prison like a massive chump.

Whilst in prison Mary gave birth to his stillborn twins and was branded a whore, adulteress and murder by her people. Shitting herself massively, she managed to escape and head to England seeking the protection of her Cousin, Queen Elizabeth, who wasn’t happy about the whole thing:

Elizabeth was a protestant Queen and Mary was her catholic heir. Having finally got rid of Mary Tudor, the most mentalist of Catholics, Elizabeth didn’t really want another Catholic Queen in the country compromising her throne and was worried about loyal Catholics revolting against her and giving Mary the crown. Nobody was happy and so bringing us up to speed on the background checks.

So back to the events of 1586 and the Babington plot. As I have mentioned there were a couple of plots to murder Elizabeth but all failed. This one however was to be Mary’s undoing. Mary had been imprisoned at Elizabeth leisure for the past 19 years. Her son James was now king of Scotland and had no contact with his mother. Mary had decided that she was going to hatch a plot with King Philip II of Spain: A strict Catholic and previous king of England (he was married to Mary Tudor, Elizabeth’s sister, when she was Queen, then did one back to Spain when Elizabeth inherited the throne and told him to cock off). The plan was to assassinate Liz and put Mary on the throne, thus restoring England back to its Catholic ways. Philip would provide the muscle for this to happen and my guess is at some point try and worm his way back in. He didn’t like Elizabeth: she had refused to marry him after her sister’s death, refused to convert to Catholicism and taken the country back to its new, more liberal protestant ways after her sister and his wife had gone on a killing spree of Protestants. The Spanish armada! That was him. He was a bell end. The messanger of this whole thing was a dude called Anthony Babington.

Mary's second dick of a husband, the earl of Bothwell

Mary’s second dick of a husband, the earl of Bothwell

The plot started with a bloke called Gilbert Gifford who was a well sketchy character. He was British born but became a deacon in France in 1585 after being expelled from college in Rome. When in Rome he became pally with some dude who was involved in the plot to assassinate Elizabeth and agreed to help. After travelling back to England to do this he was caught and arrested by Walsingham and agreed to be a double agent for him. Gifford’s job was to take letters between Mary who was imprisoned (well, living the life of Riley in Stately homes around England and Wales), and her accomplice Anthony Babington. He did this by shoving the letters that the two wrote to each other in beer barrels and taking the correspondence between the pair. The letters were obviously then taken to Babington who had them all decrypted and basically knew everything. Babington has already managed to convince Elizabeth that he was a Protestant and worm his way into court but he was a massive secret Catholic working to overthrow the Queen.

Walsingham had enough evidence on Babington to convict him of treason but he wanted the bigger prize. He wanted Mary dead, buried and in the ground cold (and possibly a bit headless too for good measure). On 17th July 1856, Walsingham had his break. He intercepted a letter from Mary to Babington ordering the Queens execution and highlighting her plan to take the English throne. She has royally fucked herself (forgive the pun).

Babington - the chump

Babington – the chump

Elizabeth I's version or Varys - Francis Walsingham

Elizabeth I’s version or Varys – Francis Walsingham

When Gifford heard about this he shat himself. His job was done and being the bell end he was, it became obvious that he was heading for a stint in the tower, so he did what any man would do and ran off. He was found the following year shagging a man servant and a woman in a brothel in France (remember this was a priest having a threeway) and arrested only to die in prison in 1590. I love Gifford, he was like a bisexual Tudor Russell Brand priest, the dirty shagger.

Walsingham, having the evidence to arrest Babington AND the Queen, now decided he was going for the hat trick and was going to go after the other 6 accomplices who were mentioned in the plot. He wrote a letter to Babington posing as the Queen Mary, asking that she might know the names of the gentlemen sent to set her free. Like a twonk of the highest magnitude he named them and the whole bunch were arrested (only after Babington had fled and been captured).

Babington wrote Elizabeth asking for forgiveness and offering her a shit tonne of cash, but that shit didn’t fly and Liz was having none of it. Suppose he thought it was worth a try though eh. The men involved were all hung drawn and quartered, a really shitty and gruesome way to die. Basically they were strapped to a horse and dragged through the streets, to the gallows, there they were hanged till near death, taken down, had their balls cut off (and often shoved into their mouths), disembowelled and then cut into quarters but kept alive till the very end. I don’t think many people took a picnic to these, even though they were basically treated like a family fun day. FACT

Marys execution

Marys execution

spot the red petticoat

spot the red petticoat? bet you cant see the dog though eh?!

Mary didn’t get off lightly either, as you’d expect really. She was arrested and kept at Fothringhay Castle where she was executed under the order of Queen Elizabeth I, (well this is not strictly true, Elizabeth signed and retracted the death warrant several times, She didn’t really want to kill her cousin, particularly as she was a Queen in her own right but parliament had twisted her arm. She was mega mega mega distressed by the whole thing after and was reported to have regretted it tremendously).

Mary’s execution was one giant fuck up. she was told the night before to be ready for the execution the following day. At the execution Mary was forced to remove her black dress. under it she wore a bright red petticoat which symbolised Martyrdom. I’m not honestly certain if Mary truly believed she was a Catholic martyr or if it was a last ditch attempt at sympathy but one thing I do know is that if you try to kill the Queen you had better not fuck it up, and Mary REALLY fucked it up.

Death mask of Mary Queen of Scotts - scary as balls.

Death mask of Mary Queen of Scotts – scary as balls.

The executioner struck her neck and failed to part it from her body. Mary would’ve been suffocating, bleeding to death and possibly still alive at this point. He then proceeded to strike it twice more before her head fell off, he then picked it up, held it in the air and shouted some shit about God save Elizabeth the rightful Queen. As he did this, her hair came away in his hand and the head fell to the floor. She was bald and wore a wig to hide this fact. Oh the indignity. Then there was a ruffle in her dress: she had only smuggled her bloody dog in her clothes to her execution. Who does that shit? Mary that’s who. Elizabeth was saddened and outraged, and would always live with the regret. History does not record the dogs opinion on the whole situation though.

Mary’s body was taken away and embalmed. Her bloodstained clothes were either washed or burned. Years later her son James VI  had her body moved Westminster Abbey where the true Queens are buried. James went onto then inherit the English throne after Elizabeth’s death so a Stuart found their way to the English crown after all.

A young James I of England and VI of Scotland.

A young James I of England and VI of Scotland.

July 16th 1557 Anne of Cleeves’ death (and life after Henry)

Recent x-rays have revealed a longer nose under the top layer of paint. Now at St. John's College Oxford

Anne of Cleeves

I know I’ve wrote about Anne of Cleeves before but today is the 458th anniversary of her death. She died on 16th July 1557 (possibly of cancer), aged 41. She outlived Henry VIII and all of the other wives, and went on to live a fantastic, luxurious lifestyle as the ultimate single lady upon the finalisation of her divorce.

Anne of Cleeves had been suggested as a wife to Henry by Thomas Cromwell and pals (He was Henry’s fave lawyer and well renowned for getting him out of the shit with Anne Boleyn amongst other things). Henry didn’t really like her and was a complete knob to her. To cut the story down, it basically went like this:  when they first met he dressed as a tramp and ‘surprised’ her at court and them took offense when she looked disgusted, he then couldn’t get a stiffy on their wedding night and so this somehow became her fault and she was labelled ‘a flanders Mare’ for all the court to take the piss out of. Not only that but Henry has his eye on Katherine Howard, her young 17 year old Lady in waiting, so he wanted rid of his new wife ASAP. Their marriage only lasted 7 months and Anne only survived because she went without fuss. Henry paid Anne a boat load of cash and gave her a shit load of houses and awarded her with the title of ‘Kings sister’ making her the most powerful and well respected woman in the country aside from the queen and princesses (who had both been declared bastards by this point). Anne embraced this new found sense of freedom knowing she had a lucky escape. She started signing letters ‘Daughter of Cleeves’ and not ‘The Queen’ and did everything she was told by the King. It must have been terrifying for Anne to come so close to pissing Henry off.

After their divorce Anne was paid a massive annuity, more than likely to keep her quiet. She lived well and was always welcome back to court. During his marriage to Katherine of Howard, Henry invited Anne to court; this must’ve given him some sort of sick kick surely? Anne went and it was all lovely. This went on for some time, even after Katherine Howard’s death and long into his last marriage to Katherine Parr. Henry would visit her frequently and the two would have all kinds of fun. By now Anne had become slightly more British, by this I mean she had let her strict piousness lax a little and now enjoyed a gamble and a booze up (welcome to England eh). She was minted. She loved her servants and was a fab boss, and they loved her. The whole of this period she remained close to the kings daughters (princesses) Elizabeth and particularly Mary who was only a year younger than herself. She even bought a pet parrot. Things were good.

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Mary Tudor: Anne’s step daughter and BFF

Upon henrys death, his son Edward took over the throne as a mere young wipper snapper at the age of 9. Now Anne was no longer the Kings sister (now she was his aunt), so her importance, and with it her annuity, dropped and Anne quickly found herself in debt. Edward had also suggested that Anne should marry his Uncle Thomas Seymour, but she wasn’t keen and Tom was already secretly plotting to marry Katherine Parr, Henrys 6th wife and Edwards step mum…nice and incestuous like.  The King was fairly good to her though, but it didn’t matter anyway because in 1553 he died.

Upon his death there was the whole business with Lady Jane Grey inheriting the throne and being kicked off by Mary I. Anne loved this. Mary had been her step daughter and more importantly her Bessie. Anne found herself back in royal favour. She even ditched her strict protestant faith in favour for ‘the old religion’ of Catholicism, as Mary had requested. Anne took centrepiece next to the new Queen and her sister Elizabeth at Mary’s coronation to show the world how ace she was.

Upon her death, Mary ordered that she would have a grand funeral ‘fit for her status’. She was carried on a massive hearse through London to Westminster Abbey. She lay in state for just over two weeks and was draped in the finest funeral attire. Her funeral was conducted under Catholic rites, as Anne had wanted, (though let’s be honest this was possibly an action devised to keep Mary on side…nobody wanted to piss that bitch off!). She was the only one of henrys wives to be honoured with a burial at the Abby.

Anne is by far the luckiest of henrys wives. She not only profited from him, but survived him, outlived him and prospered from him. Getting that divorce was the best thing she ever did.

June 15th 1519: Henry Fitzroy – One spoilt bastard

Henry Fitzroy (Fitzroy meaning 'son of the King')

Henry Fitzroy (Fitzroy meaning ‘son of the King’)

You may have never heard of this boy but he was the apple of Henry VIII’ s eye, the only recognised bastard of the king. All this came about when Henry was married to his first wife Katherine of Aragon. Poor Katherine had several miscarriages which were said to have made the 27 year old king greatly stressed. In order to relieve this stress Henry found shagging about very therapeutic, particularly with his wife’s lady in waiting Elizabeth Blount. Obviously being the year 1518, contraception wasn’t what it is now and to be fair it wasn’t really an issue for the King, it was his royal right to sew his seed, so obviously these facts combined lead to a pregnancy not of the Queen. Poor Katherine.

Bessie Blount was swiftly removed from court to spare her (or more likely the King ), any embarrassment through her maternity months. On June 15th 1519 her son was born. Henry was so taken with the boy that he decided to announce him at court, how shitty this must have been for his wife, Katherine?!

Henry Fitzroy’s upbringing would’ve been one fit for a prince; after all he was the kings’ only son at this point. Henry was starting to panic that he had no male heir to continue the Tudor reign, (he also had no surviving brothers either so it was starting to look a bit grim for the future of the Tudor claim) and the aging Katherine was producing stillborn babies or unavailable pregnancies (which Henry thought this was obviously her fault and used it against her in later years when he sought a divorce claiming it was Gods way of punishing him for marrying his brother’s wife, like a twat). At this point Henry was only on his first wife and the couple had a  young daughter (Princess Mary or bloody Mary as we sometimes fondly refer to her), This is almost certainly why Henry acknowledged little Henry. On June 18th, 1925 big Henry made little Henry Duke of Richmond and Somerset, and Lieutenant-General of the North as well as the fucking massive Durham house on the Strand, and an annuity of just under £5k which was a shit ton of cash back then. The perfect gifts for a 6 year old boy.

Henry Fitzroy’s luck also came in again in that year. The King had started to realise that Katherine of Aragon was probably never going to give him a legitimate son, so looked into other options. He came up with an idea which on one hand was a genius way to secure the thrown, but on the other was plain fucking grim: he was going to marry little Henry to his half- sister the Princess Mary. This would mean that Henry would guarantee his succession, (despite having hairy faced, web footed Grandkids). Fortunately luck struck again for our young Henry, as Anne Boleyn rocked up on the scene and caught the Kings eye, so he ditched his wife and his plans of interbreeding his children, and had a crack on Anne instead, (who also gave him a single girl. Karma is a bitch). Henry Fitzroy was too little to understand the magnitude of the bullet that he had dodged, but I can’t help but think that in later years he would’ve found out about the plan and though his dad fucking mental, (a treasonous though but how could you not think it?)

When Henry was 14 (in 1533), he married Lady Mary Howard (the cousin to both Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard). It’s said that the couple never consummated their marriage as King Henry had put little Henry off, suggesting to him that sex at a young age could kill him, and that’s what happened to Henry’s brother Arthur. As if a newlywed 14 year old boy wasn’t going to get laid if he had the opportunity, but apparently he abstained at the wishes of his father.

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Three years later, the couple were still sex free (at 17…as if), but now the world was a different place. Big Henry had binned off Katherine and married Anne and Henry had a new little sister (the princess Elizabeth), and a new wife. But as per usual things went belly up for the King and he now wanted to swap Anne for Jane Seymour. The young Henry was put in what must have been a bit of an awkward spot. The King had asked him to stand as a jury member for the trial of Anne Boylen, his wife’s cousin. Young Henry could not refuse and so contributed to his step mothers’ downfall. In order to sweeten this predicament for Henry Fitzroy the King (being the devious bastard he was), had convinced his son that Anne had tried to poison young Henry and his half-sister Mary, who had since been declared a bastard by the King when he annulled his marriage with Katherine of Aragon.  So off Anne went to the executioners block, making the Princess Elizabeth also inheriting the title of ‘royal bastard’, and the King wins again (despite now having no legitimate heirs…not a well thought through plan but he had double or quits riding on Jane).

A few months into Henry VIII’s marriage with his third wife Jane, the young Henry Fitzroy, who was still very much the apple of his father’s eye, took sick. On 22nd July, 1536 Henry Fitzroy died of consumption (Tuberculosis most likely), leaving behind his ‘virgin’ widow, (who promptly inherited all of his titles and land), and a grief stuck father.  The King had planned for the young Henry Fitzroy to take his place if he didn’t manage to produce a son and now all that he was left with was two illegitimate princesses. Poor Jane must have been shitting bricks with the pressure.

And what became of Mary Howard you ask? Well the King had decided that because he had ordered the marriage to not be consummated it was officially annulled, so Mary lost all of her husband’s titles, money and homes and was sent back to court where the king could keep an eye on her and possibly save her as a pawn in any future adventures.

This is thought to be Henry Fitzroy, however some evidence suggests it could be his younger brother Edward, who came after Henrys death. Either way it seems the artist can paint children but not animals.

This is thought to be Henry Fitzroy, however some evidence suggests it could be his younger brother Edward, who came after Henry’s death. Either way it seems the artist can paint children but not animals.

10th June 1540 – A massive fall out

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Today marks the anniversary of the arrest of Thomas Cromwell for accusations of High Treason no less. Thomas was Henry VIII’s best pal and chief advisor. I always find the case of Thomas Cromwell really interesting. Its a story full of brown nosing,influence, betrayal and regret, (and of course a sprinkle of sex because lets face it, when is it not when Henry VIII is involved?).

So let me paint you the picture. Thomas Cromwell was Henry VIII’s right hand man. He played a major part in the reformation and the fucking up of the monasteries. He was key to the rise AND the fall of Anne Boleyn, and most impressively he was a self made man from grass roots.
Thomas had a colourful past, (I will keep it brief because I intend to cover him in greater detail another time). He was born in Putney in 1485. His Dad was a blacksmith (among other thing) and a known dick head, so as a boy Thomas decided to run away. He worked as a mercenary for the French, found his way into the service of a wealthy Italian Banker, then onto roles in the Vatican before popping back to England to become a barrister and eventually ending up working in the service of cardinal Woolsey in 1523 because he had pure gold Intel on the Italians (Woolsey was an important man to Henry and the richest man in the country at the time, having more dollar than Henry himself..).
Cromwell married in 1489 and stayed that way until his wife (and two of his kids), died in 1428 of sweating sickness, (a really shitty Tudor disease that first rocked up in 1485 ish and completely disappeared by the reign of Elizabeth 1 in 1551. You would be well one day and dead the next. The disease was rife through Henry VIII’s reign and then disappeared…Im not sure what to take from this fact).
The next year proved crap for Tom too. In 1529 Woolsey failed to get permission from the pope for henry VIII to divorce his first wife Katherine of Aragon (so he could bend it up Anne Boleyn). Because of this Henry went into a sheer rage and demanded Woolsey come to London to face charges of high treason, (which basically is polite for ‘you’re going to be executed’). Thomas wanted to stay loyal to Woolsey (they had became good friends), so arranged for his estate to be divided up in his will, obviously knowing of the Kings appetite for murder and took precautions and thus taking precautions.

Thomas-Cromwell-And-Cardinal-Wolsey

Cromwell and Woolsey – besties

 Anyway, this didn’t come about because Woolsey died en route. lucky escape or divine intervention? whatever it was he dodged a bullet, (well he still died but it wasn’t by decapitation. Id take dying in bed over an axe to the head by a pissed up masked man in a public arena any day).
All was looking bleak for Cromwell: he had lost his wife, his kids and his master, and escaped execution by sheer luck. However just when things were looking about as low as they could possibly get, Thomas played a blinder. He managed to use his law skills and knowledge of the church to cook up a plan which saw Henry VIII break away form Rome, the pope and ultimately the catholic church, which was preventing him divorce his wife in favour of the concubine (good word isn’t it), Anne Boleyn. By doing this henry was then able to announce himself ‘The head of The Church of England’. Henry then married Anne (who lets face it must’ve been super hot for him to go through all of that trouble), and made Cromwell his right hand man.
Cromwell then cemented his name as number 2 on the ‘don’t mess with me list’ of Henry’s court by seizing power of over 800 religious, (catholic), houses and monasteries and repossessing anything of any worth. This of course went straight to he head of the new church (which was of course Henry -being the fat greedy monarch he was), making him ‘bear pe’ as the kids say, (a shit ton of cash).
That wasn’t it for Cromwell either, he managed to pull a hat trick and in 1536 he secured the downfall of Anne Boleyn, (yes that’s right, the woman he had worked so hard to raise). He managed to make stick charges of treason, adultery and incest and got men to confess to these, thus incriminating Anne (they confessed under torture obviously). She was then sent to the block to clear the way for wife number 3 – in true Henry style.
Henry loved it. Cromwell was a touch of pure Gold. He was the man who got shit done, the man who never said things were impossible and the man who gave henry everything he wanted.  Everyone at court was jealous of Tom, the kings right hand man. Henry loved  Cromwell so much he awarded him with the Order of the Garter.
And so to his downfall. In 1537 the kings fave wife, Jane Seymour, dies of childbed fever. The king was grief stricken (unlike henry I know, but this time he was). Henry missed Jane greatly but shit was hitting the fan and the Catholics were not impressed with Henry. Cromwell proposed that he remarry. This served the king 2 purposes: 1)to have yet another chance of producing more male heirs and 2) to form allies with other protestant countries.
Cromwell found him a nice little princess in Germany who went by the name of Anne of Cleeves. Henry sent his most trusted painter, Hans Holbein, to paint Anne so he could decide if there was to be a marriage, (all the good portraits of the Tudors are Hans Holbein’s work, you will have seen them before). Henry didn’t like Anne, but Cromwell saw it his duty to persuade Henry that Anne would be a  good match. Reluctantly the king agreed and on New years eve in 1539 the pair met. It all went tits up (But I will save that story for an ‘Anne’ day), and the king was left humiliated.

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Anne of Cleeves by Hans Holbein the younger

The wedding went ahead anyway, it would’ve been bad form ion the kings part to cancel it and cause offence and break allegiances. Anne was totally out of place at English court. She could barely speak English and was not used to the flirtatious lifestyles of the courtiers. coming from a strict religious upbringing she must’ve thought the English women were nothing but a bunch of floozies with their low cut dresses and extrovert behaviours. Henry did not like her one bit. He likened her to a horse, said she stank and then couldn’t perform his manly duty on their wedding night…Obviously Henry saw this as Anne’s fault, which then in turn made it Cromwell’s fault for suggesting the whole thing.
Henry wanted the whole thing annulled, he asked for her permission and of course she said yes – what was the alternative?  Giving the King what he wanted usually bought you your head a little longer at least. The problem then was that henry has to give evidence in order to break off the marriage, that evidence being that he couldn’t get it up on his wedding night. How humiliating. Cromwell was well and truly in the shit now, but despite this in April 1940, the King made Thomas the Earl of Essex – an unusual move.
Meanwhile in court, the vultures ere circling.The Duke of Norfolk (a power hungry dick of a man) and the Bishop Gardiner desperately wanted rid of Cromwell and hated the influence he had over the king.Norfolk has his niece, Katherine Howard put into Anne of Cleeve’s service and being the 17 year old stunner that she was, she immediately caught the Kings eye. He was now more desperate that ever to be rid of Anne of Cleeves but lets be honest, she had done nothing wrong.
By now Henry was annoyed that Thomas had pushed him into the marriage and it had become such a disaster. He was also annoyed that he could not simply behead Anne and have done and would need to essentially buy her out. Norfolk at this point would’ve been whispering in the Kings ears, planting poisonous seeds about Cromwell’s competency and ambitions, fuelling a fire. Well it worked.
On June 10th 1940, Thomas Cromwell attended a small council meeting when the door burst open and in rushed Norfolk (like the massive bastard he was) Norfolk then led the arrest of Cromwell, and took him to the Tower where he faced charges of high treason, heresy and corruption. Cromwell was kept in the tower under a Bill of Attainder (meaning punishment without trial). It was now obvious that Cromwell was facing certain death. The king kept Cromwell alive until the annulment of his marriage had gone through, (possibly keeping him on standby as lawyer extraordinaire in case it all fell flat on its arse).
Thomas was finally executed on 28th July 1540. Some people say his head was boiled and put on a spike on Tower bridge, others say it was quartered. There is no evidence for this but what we do know is that the executioner cocked it up (like a knob end), and it took 3 or more strokes to remove Cromwell head. A really sad end. And the King, what was he doing on the day of Thomas’ execution? well he was marrying wife number 4, Katherine Howard, Norfolk’s niece, (Anne incidentally lived happily ever after).
The King apparently spent the rest of his days regretting Ordering Cromwell’s execution. I don’t think he wanted it to happen at all and got swept away with the Duke of Norfolk’s charm and promises of his 17 year old nieces maidenhead. Henry obviously thought a lot of Cromwell, even at the end, after all he made him Earl of Essex weeks before execution. Without Cromwell around the Duke of Norfolk was about to have his time.

Thomas cromwell - another one of Hans Holbeins portraits.

Thomas cromwell – another one of Hans Holbeins portraits.

June 4th 1536 – Jane Seymour is pronounced Queen

1st June 1533 – All Hail Queen Anne

                       1st June 1533 – Anne Boleyn is crowned

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482 years ago today, in 1533, Anne Boleyn was crowned the Queen of England. She was Henry VIII’s 2nd wife and lasted a mere 3 years (almost exactly to the day), before he lopped her head off through sheer boredom (and a sprinkle of politics).

Henry spent a shit ton of cash on her coronation as a desperate attempt to win around the public’s enthusiasm. They hated Anne. She had turned the whole religion of the country around, caused monasteries to be burned and had somehow enticed the king away from the much loved Catherine of Aragon (who he had been married to for freaking ages and had stood by him through thick and thin, organised his wars and kept his country running smoothly when he had buggered off to scrap about in France).

Anne and Henry had undergone a secret wedding a little before the coronation. I think this would’ve been a bit of a snub to the public as it was no secret that they disapproved of the union, so for Henry to then marry Anne was like a massive fuck you to the people, little did they know that she was also preggers with their daughter Elizabeth, (later Queen Liz I, ultimate hardcore virgin  feminist), at the time. Because of the pregnancy, Henry would’ve wanted to marry Anne asap in order to have a heir to the throne s opposed to another bastard (I like to think of Henry as a Robert Baratheon type figure since he had a few bastard kids kicking about being the dirty shagger he was).

Anyway, back to the coronation… I could write all day about the riches and elaborate decorations but I wont, just think big. Think  grand flags and bunting, hundreds of boats following the Queens golden barge down the Thames, cannon fire meeting the royal couple (who had a bloody barge each), cloth’s of gold (yes gold…as in real gold), foot soldiers and the finest attires.

boleynprocession

Knowing Henry’s choice of replacement queen was unpopular, he made her coronation more expensive and much more elaborate than her predecessor’s, as if by way to win the public’s affection. However this blew up in his face somewhat when Anne was reportedly met by mocking laughter, insults and booing. sad times for poor Anne.

In her coronation the archbishop declares that Anne is ‘Set above all others and witnessed by God Himself thus only death could remove her’. Oh how wrong could one man be?!

Anne Boleyn: possibly the most famous and most formidable of Henry VIII's wives, even though her marriage (and reign), only lasted 3 years.

Anne Boleyn: possibly the most famous and most formidable of Henry VIII’s wives, even though her marriage (and reign), only lasted 3 years.

Thomas Cranmer: Lover, bishop, martyr, badass.

2nd July 1489 – Thomas Cranmer is born

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Ive always thought of Thomas Cranmer as a bit of an obscure Tudor, in that he did a lot to shape the country during Henry VIII’s reign and yet never seems to take much of a centre stage despite his importance. He was born in 1489 under the reign of Henry’s dad, Henry VII (they liked the name Henry back then), and rose to fame as the archbishop of Canterbury before being executed by Henry’s daughter Mary at the ripe old age of 67 for the crime of heresy, (I always think it hardly seemed worth executing anybody above 50 in Tudor times as being left to the ravages of old age was probably a far shittier punishment).

Thomas was born to parents of minor gentry and sent off to University in Cambridge to become a priest. However before qualifying, he fell in love and married his first wife Joan so the University kicked him out, (the Catholics didn’t like married priests, but priests were allowed to take a mistress….I don’t get it either).  Anyway within the year Joan died during childbirth and the University, being the understanding bunch that they were, reinstated Cranmers fellowship allowing him to qualify as a priest and eventually a ‘Doctor of Divinity’, which has to be up there amongst the best titles ever. Eventually Cardinal Woolsey (the Popes right hand man in England), came sniffing about for bright young Cambridge scholars to work in Spain as ambassadors to the Pope and Cranmers name cropped up, so off he went.

Meanwhile, Back in England in the 1520’s, Henry VIII was growing fed up with his first wife Katherine. She had not only failed to produce an heir (how selfish), but she had also produced a long list of miscarriages and still born babies. The king was now shitting himself that he would have no heir so turned his attentions to the idea of a new wife to chuck out some boys. In order to do this he needed an annulment (to get around the problem of divorce shitting on the face of the Pope). In order to get an annulment Henry needed a good lawyer,( just like every corrupt noble), and he figured it might be a good move to find somebody from the clergy willing to justify Henry’s actions  to the Pope. Henry chose Thomas Cromwell as his lawyer, and in 1527 he interviewed Thomas Cranmer and decided he was exactly the man he needed to get him out of his 24 year marriage. The men became good pals and decided between them that Henrys marriage contradicted a passage in the bible which stated that you must not marry your brother’s wife. They added evidence to this claim stating that the marriage was cursed and the failure to produce a male heir was proof (they neglected to mention henry’s syphilis). This did not stick in the slightest and they were told by the Pope that it was basically tough shit. He chose to marry Katherine and to abandon her would be an act of heresy and result in excommunication.

In 1532 Thomas found himself in Rome as the ambassador to the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, Katharine’s nephew. He was not happy about the annulment either. Anyway, whilst following Charles around Europe, Thomas met his second wife Margarete. He loved her so much that he decided to sack off celibacy (its shit anyway) and his vows to the church and marry her anyway. Shortly after this he got a letter from henry VIII ordering him to return to England to become the Arch Bishop of Canterbury. This was a bit of a fucker for Thomas so he decided that he would hide his wife in exile.

Back in England Henry was still trying desperately to get his annulment from his wife (it went on for 6 years). In 1532 he dropped a massive bollock by getting Anne Boleyn knocked up, (he had promised to marry her in order to bed her, so now the need for divorce was greater than ever). In January 1533 Henry secretly married Anne (and did not tell Cranmer till 2 weeks after, possibly so as not to piss him off whilst working on the annulment bullshit and also so he didn’t get into a hot mess for being a fat arsed bigamist). Anyway all was good when Cranmer came through for Henry in May of the same year, declaring his marriage void.

As you can imagine this did not fly with the pope, so henry went to Cranmer again for help. The two decided they would sack off Catholicism and invent a new religion where Henry could be boss and Cranmer could re-write Holy passages which basically allowed Henry to do what he wants and be thought of as equal to the Pope (in that he was the head of the church of England as the pope was the head of the Roman catholic church).

Cranmer remained faithful to Henry and a load of other less interesting stuff happened: Henry executed Anne after just 3 years of marriage, got remarried to a bird called Jane who gave him his heir and died in the process. He also married Anne of Cleeves and decided he didn’t like her so Cranmer helped the king ditch her only to go  forward to marry a girl of 19, (when he was 49 like a dirty old bastard), called Katherine Howard. Katherine was his ‘rose without thorns’…his words, and he was besotted with her, giving her wealth beyond her wildest dreams and bragging about all the sex they had been having (imagine the poor girl having that fat oink writing on you with his old body and stinking, ulcerated leg. Not exactly a turn on).

Being a girl of 19 in a court full of hot young lads, It didn’t take long for Katherine’s eyes to wander and they fell upon the youthful face of Thomas Culpepper (member of the Kings privy council). They began an affair and it also came out that she had shagged a couple of dudes before she had met the king and not quite been the virgin he had taken her to be. Nobody wanted to tell the king of his new wife infidelities so the job was handed to Cranmer. Cranmer, being the brave, fearless man he was, slipped a note informing the king of all Katherine’s shenanigans under his chair at mass. The king upon finding this note was most pissed off and decided to send wife number 5 to the block at the tender age of 19.

The execution of poor Katherine Howard

The execution of poor Katherine Howard

When Henry VIII died in 1547, Cranmer was all about Protestantism. He gave so few fucks about what the Catholics thought that he almost seeming only purpose went out of his way to piss them off. Under the Reign of the boy king Edward VI, who was also a big fan of Protestantism, (after all it had assisted his dad in binning off 2 wives prior to knobbing his Ma and spawning the sickly lad), Thomas Cranmer was allowed to run wild. He was given free reign to the changed he though necessary to the church in order to make it a bit less catholic and also write two books of prayer.

When Ed died Thomas supported his successor, the protestant ‘nine day queen’ Lady Jane Grey. The thought of Lady Jane inheriting the throne pissed loads of people off. Edwards sisters, (Princess’ Mary and Elizabeth), had both been declared bastards by Henry and moreover, if Mary (who’s turn it was next) inherited the throne she would try and make the country Catholic again…she was having none of Edward Protestant bullshit. Likewise, Edward wasn’t about to risk the Catholics coming back and the Pope laying some smackdown on his country or losing the gold looted from the monasteries some years earlier by his Dad, so he did the sensible thing and named their cousin Jane as the next sovereign.

Long story short, Mary went fucking mental, rallied an army, marched on London like a banshee, told Jane she would be spared if she converted to Catholicism, Jane told her to cock off so was totally executed. This meant Mary inherited the throne of England and Cranmer swiftly ran out of allies.

And so to poor Thomas’ end. Mary was a psycho bitch. She fucking HATED Protestants and loved nothing more than torturing, hanging and setting fire to them. Thomas Cranmer being the King of the Protty’s now found himself in deep shit. Mary had Cranmer arrested and put on trial for the crime of heresy, he was told that if he recanted all would be OK, so he did. He basically told the court that Protestantism was crap and Catholicism was amazing, but they did not believe him, (can’t think why), so Cranmer was sentenced to death.

Upon his death took back his recantation, stating that the Pope was the antichrist and that he had cleared his conscience before his death, basically stating that because he had nothing to loose he was going to let the world know his thoughts about the catholic reign. He was then tied to the woodpile with chains and set alight. Thomas then did something totally fucking awesome and shoved his first recantation (the one which said he now likes Catholics), into the fire first, held it there whilst the paper burnt (and his hand with it), and said ‘this unworthy right hand’, before being consumed by the flames.

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After surviving Henry VII, HenryVIII, Edward VI and Lady Jane Grey, Thomas was executed by the hand of Mary I at the ripe old age of 67.

Thomas Cranmer…religious badboy.

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27th May 1541- The Bloody Death of Margaret Pole

On 27th May, in 1541 Margaret Pole, niece of Richard III and Edward IV, was executed at the command of Henry VIII. You may not of heard of Margaret Pole so I will fill you in because her death was quite brutal and makes an interesting read, (if you like the darker side of the Tudors).

Here is where it gets complicated. Margaret was daughter of the Duke of Clarence which made her niece to Richard III and Edward IV. She was a Plantagenet by birth, (so instantly posed threat to the Tudor throne), and cousin to Elizabeth of York (Henry VIII’s Mum). confusing isn’t it?!

Anyway, being a Plantagenet meant that Margaret obviously had the power to stir up a massive shit storm for he Tudors, so when Henry VII came to power he married her off to his cousin, Richard pole. They had 5 kids together but when Rich died he left her nothing, literally fuck all so Margaret turned to court for help.

Henry VII paid for his funeral and put Margaret back onto the Market. By now her kids were growing and one of her sons, Reginald, was sent to the church as thanks (he later became the archbishop of Canterbury no less…boy done good).

All was sweet for a while, she remarried and became stupid rich (inheriting the title Countess of Salisbury and owning lands in her own right). When Henry VII died and his lad Henry VIII inherited the throne, Margaret pole was in favour, she was Catherine of Aragon’s best pal, godmother to the princess Mary (later known as Bloody Mary when she went on her killing spree), and had never posed a threat as a Plantagenet.

But! Like all good things in the Tudor world, it came to an end. During Henry’s proposed divorce to Catherine of Aragon, Margaret son Reginald (the church baby who grew up), started flapping his trap about the King. He wrote pamphlets suggesting Henry was somewhat of a bellend for crossing the church and denounced his policies as king. I’m sure you have heard of Henry VIII and what a massive git he was, so I’m also sure you can imagine how utterly unimpressed he was with the whole thing.

Anyway, Reginald Pole then fuked off to France and remained under protection of the pope , (who shared the opinion that Henry was somewhat of a knob for throwing the word ‘divorce’ around as head of a catholic country). So Henry, not being able to touch Reggie, obviously Henry went after his family, which included the frail old Margaret Pole.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, Margaret was arrested and taken to the tower and charged with treason in 1539. Being a strong woman in the last of the Plantagenet line, I think Henry would’ve jumped at the opportunity of binning her off, so he waited and waited keeping her and some of her family, under lock and key in the tower.  Two and a half years later in 1541, Margaret was taken to the block. She was a decrepit 67 year old, but being of noble birth was granted a ‘private execution’ (just the 150 or so gawpers as opposed to all of London).

She protested her innocence and refused to kneel at the block so was forced down. As the executioner struck his blow she struggled and he missed and hacked at her shoulders. Its then said that she made a break for it and it took 10 swings of the axe to kill her. Her son, Reginald didn’t really care for his mother, she did abandon him with the church after all (obviously not realising that it would bite her on the arse in later life). He returned to England when the Catholic Mary Tudor stormed onto the throne an became Archbishop of Canterbury. So good for him eh?!

After she died a poem was found carved into the walls of the tower:

For traitors on the block should die;
I am no traitor, no, not I!
My faithfulness stands fast and so,
Towards the block I shall not go!
Nor make one step, as you shall see;
Christ in Thy mercy, save Thou me!
margaret pole

if you look closely on this protrait if Margaret, you will see a little barrel pendant on her wrist. she wore this as a nod to her Dad, George of Clarence, who was executed for treason by his brother Edward IV, by being drown in a barrel of malmsey wine…his choice of execution method. he was a bit of a nobber so dont feel too bad, i just think the barrel is a nice touch!

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Poor old Margaret Pole.

13th May 1515 – How to piss off your brother, the King.

13th May Tudor history fact of the day: 500 years ago today, in 1515, Mary Tudor (Henry VIII’s sister) married Charles Brandon (Henry’s best pal) in secret, without permission in France.

There is evidence to suggest Mary was on love with Brandon from a young age but the king wouldn’t allow them to marry. Being the dick he was, he wanted to choose her husband in order to buy political power and other such bullshit. Anyway, Henry married her to Louis XII, king of France who was an old gipper. He was more than 30 years older than her, but this suited him as he wanted a young wife so he might produce an heir. He died 3 months after their marriage, (much to Mary’s relief I would think). His cause of death was put down to ‘over exertions in the bedchamber’…poor Mary.

Anyway, after a few months, (the French wanted to make sure Mary wasn’t knocked up), Henry sent Brandon to France to bring her home. He must’ve known something would happen cos he told Brandon not to propose. Well that didn’t fly with Brandon and he married Mary before their return. This was an act of treason, punishable by death. Brandon must’ve carried his balls about in a wheelbarrow. On their return to England, Henry VIII was obviously mega pissed off. He didn’t want to execute his sister and best friend so gave them a heavy fine. Like ridiculous. In the end the couple were married for 37 years, untill Mary’s death in 1515. They had 4 kids, (2 died i infancy),and became grandparents to Lady Jane Grey (the 9 day queen). Happy 500th anniversary

brandon

11th May 1509 – Henry VII laid to rest and how he taxed the rich

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Tudor fact if the day: 506 years ago today, in 1509, Henry V11 was laid to rest with his wife Elizabeth of York. There is loads that an be said about Henry. He was the first Tudor monarch, rising to power after killing the unholy crap out of Rochard III. He brought peace back to the country (which before had been in a massive shit storm), and was dad to the infamous Henry VIII. Anyway, because of the current political state of the country, I thought it would be interesting to tell you about this move that Henry pulled in order to restore financial balance to a country in debt. Henry had no experience of court life or ruling. He spent most of his life in exile and had little political know how, yet was pure amazing at managing finance. Along side the Archbishop of Canterbury, John Morton, they developed one of the most effective taxation systems to date (in terms of the debt repaid, money banked for the country and length of economic stability). Henry and Morton recovered debt by heavily taxing the wealthy with a catch 22 rule (this is where we get the term ‘Mortons Fork’, for when 2 contradictory scenarios end in the same result). Henry’s tax law went like this: if you are from a wealthy family and do not spend money, then you obviously have a shit load of savings, so will face large taxation to aid the realm. If however you are from a wealthy family and spend lots of money then you are obviously filthy rich and will face large taxation to aid the realm. If you were poor you would pay significantly less tax. This law also helped Henry keep nobles in check and created much needed economic prosperity for the first time in a long time. Obviously not a Tory then eh?!

Tomb effigies of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York Henry’s tomb with his wife Elizabeth of York in Westminster Abbey, (he was so cool he has his own chapel in there)

3rd May 1536 – The Arrest of Anne Boleyn

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Tudor fact if the day: 479 years ago today, in 1536 the queen Anne Boleyn was arrested and taken to the tower with the charge if treason. Henry VIII had grown bored of Anne and wanted rid so he could knob the young courtier Jane Seymore. The problem was that he didn’t want to divorce Anne, (given the massive shit storm he caused a few years earlier when he divorced his first wife Katherine so that he could bed Anne, divorce would make him appear to be ‘careless with the holy act of matrimony’ and just a bit shit as King). Also, and probably more importantly politically, a divorce would do mean that Anne would secure a fortune and some very powerful and very sympathetic allies.

This all presented a problem so Henry being the douche bag he was just let his BFF, the lawyer Tom Cromwell sort out his mess. Cromwell’s solution was to compile evidence against the queen that would suggest she was treasonous. Anne was quite vain and flirty so the solution was clear- accuse her of adultery. Anne had been seen flirting with a court musician (called Mark Smeaton) and a dude called Henry Norris. They were arrested and Mark Smeaton was tortured until he confessed that he had been shagging the queen, (To be fair in those days you probably confess anything under torture cos it must’ve made death look like a day at the spa).

Both men were eventually executed along with George Boleyn, Anne’s brother. He was also supposed to have ‘Carnal knowledge’ of his sister (which is obviously a massive pile of horse crap but he was too important and influential to keep alive if the king wanted rid of Anne).

The day after Anne’s execution the king announced his engagement to Jane Seymore. What a prick.

Anne being taken through the 'Traitors Gate' to the tower

Anne being taken through the ‘Traitors Gate’ to the tower