The (not always so) happy New Years of Henry VIII.

So, it’s New Year’s Day and what could be better than reading a few facts about our favourite Tudors, and some of the New Years events that befell them. 

New Year’s Day, 1511, and Katherine of Aragon gave her hubby, Henry VIII, the son he had long hoped for. Rather originally, they called the boy Henry after his father and Grandfather, and the king, near jizzing with excitement, threw the biggest bloody celebratory even the nation had seen in honour of his wife’s achievement. Sadly, only 52 days later, the young prince died and with his death, the royal couples chances of any future happiness and stability together. 

Henry help a joust in his wife’s honour. This was when He et loved Katherine dearly and now she had given him his so . What could go wrong?


Let’s skip forward a few years and look at a second Tudor New Year. In 1515, New Years Eve saw the death of King Louis XII of France, much to the joy of his new young bride, Mary Tudor. 

Mary was Henry VIII’s sister, who he had decided to marry off to the ageing and amorous King of France. She was understandably fucking livid about the whole thing, but the whole ordeal was short lived, and upon Louis’ death, Henry sent his pal Charles Brandon to bring his sister home. This worked out really well for Mary because she had fancied Charles for a while, and the pair decided to marry upon their return to England, (which was a massive ‘up yours’ to Henry who had not given permission for their union). Henry was fuming. He had been made to look like a dick by his sister and his best friend and was not happy in the slightest…just for a change. 

Louis XII. Not even having a young fit wife could make him smile, the miserable old get.


The final Tudor New Year’s Day I’m going to tell you about happened in 1540 and it’s brilliant. It happened when Henry VIII met his 4th wife to be, Anne of Cleeves, for the first time. This whole even was an absolute fucking disaster and Henry came away looking like a massive chump. 

Henry decided that his initial meeting with his new wife was going to be one of japes and capers, and everyone would find him hilarious and recognise him as the comedic thespian he so obviously thought he was. He was wrong. He decided to dress like an utter twat, mince his way across the room of Rochester Castle where Anne had been staying upon her arrival to England, and proceed to snog the shit out of the rather unfortunate Maid. 

Having never met Henry before, Anne was mortified at the cheek the scruffy looking, cockwomble of a man that had been so bold as to take advantage of her in this way, and much to the dismay of Henry, expressed the nausea brought on by the whole experience very loudly and very publicly. This was the couples first meeting, and Henry was raging. 

When the eventually pair married, Henry had a hard time warming to Anne and the marriage was quickly annulled. 

So there you have it, wether you’re having a really good New Year’s Day or a really bad one, just be thankful that at least your not Henry VIII. 

6th and 7th November 1541: The Queen Gets Sprung


On this day in 1541, The queen and Henry VIII’s 5th wife, Katherine Howard, found herself well and truly in the shit. Henry had discovered that he had not been the only person to have ‘carnal knowledge’ of his wife, in fact he had not even been her first husband as the queen had previously had a marriage of sorts to a man called Dereham, who was now loitering around her again. 
As this wasn’t enough, to add a cherry to this turd flavoured cake, He ru had also learned that the queen was now shagging one of his besties, a man called Thomas Culpepper who was a manger of his privy council. Henry went wild. The 6th November was the last time that Katherine saw her husband before being locked away awaiting her fate. This was the legendary day that she apparently broke free of her guards at Hampton Court and chased Herny down the gallery to protest to her house arrest and convince the king of her innocence. She was dragged back into confinement, never to see the king again. Apparently her ghost can still be heard screaming down the gallery at Hampton Court, (and because it’s totally cool and the Historic Royal Palace people are boss, I have put a link to their take on the ghost at the bottom of the page).

On 7th November, Henry sent the Archbishop Cranmer to question the queen at Winchester Palace, but he found her in such a state of distress that he ordered that anything and everything the queen could use to harm herself to be removed. It did her no good because the following February she would be executed. 

And what of Culpepper and Dereham I hear you ask? Well they too were executed, but the real kick in the teeth here is that Culpepper (Henrys pal and helper who was bending it up the queen behind Henrys back) was given the privilege of a quick death by being beheaded, whilst Dereham who had known and loved the queen before they had even met Henry, (although was more than likely now blackmailing her into getting a position at court) served the traitors death, as he was the one who had ‘spoilt’ the queen for Henry. 

Katherine was only 20 when she died.


You can read more about Katherine’s ghost here: http://www.hrp.org.uk/discover-the-palaces/ghost-stories/catherine-howard/#gs._Lv9Pow

October 24th, 1537: The Particularly Shit Death of Jane Seymour

Queen Jane- not the most attractive of Henry’s wives but his favourite non the less

Today is the anniversary of the death of Jane Seymour, Henry VIII’s 3rd and fave wife. She died a mere 12 days after giving the king his long awaited, precious son, and like a cruel joke, or a mean twist of fate died as consequence. The man who had rejected the church, and ditched his two previous wives had now, at last, got what he wanted, but lost his beloved wife in return. 
Janes death was caused by a long and painful birth, open wounds and the royal midwives failing to remove bits of placenta from Jane’s body, which became infected causing ‘childbed fever, (or septicaemia if you want to get technical…fanny rot if you don’t). 
The ironic thing is, the richer you are, the more inexperienced midwives you had, as they were reserved for the nobles households, and not out there gaining valuable experience in not killing labouring women. It paid to be a scrubber in Tudor times where childbirth was concerned. 
Henry went into mourning for 3 months after the death of Jane, wearing black, refusing to marry (although more than likely still shagging anything in a kirtle), and skulking about like a child who had its sweets stolen. He refused to marry for 3 years, (and when he did it was a political marriage done under much winging and moaning). I dare say the closest Henry ever got to why is commonly known as ‘feelings’.
Janes funeral was organised by a select few members of Henrys privy council. The country hadn’t buried a ‘proper’ queen for 34 years, (ditching your first wife for another woman only to hack her head off a few years later didn’t enable Henry’s first wives to be called ‘Queen’ at the times of their deaths), so they had to spend a few days looking up how to actually do it. Fucking useless. 
Queen Jane was laid to rest in the chapel at Hampton Court, which was draped in fine black cloth, until early November, when she was taken to Windsor and buried in a tomb designed by Henry. She had 29 mourners, the chief being Mary, Henrys daughter, who rode out in black being not quite as mental as she would be in years to come.
Ten years and three more wives later, Henry croaked it and was buried in the tomb with Jane, and their young son, Edward VI, inherited the crown of England.

Inside Henry and Janes tomb, (which resembles a shit French wine cellar that’s currently out of stock)

5th September 1548: A mini tribute to the awesome Catherine Parr


On this day in 1548, Catherine Parr died after contracting ‘childbed fever’, (scepticemia caused by shit, inexperienced midwives who had been reserved for the wealthy instead of actually delivering babies and working out what the fuck they were meant to be doing). She was Henry VIII’s last wife and pretty cool, so here are my 5 fave Cath facts:
1. Catherine wasn’t a fan of the idea of marrying Henry, (let’s face it by the time he had got to her, he was a vile, bitter old bastard, and she had been shoved into two marriages prior to him; the last being to a proper Grandad). She had the hots for Thomas Seymour, who was Jane Seymour’s (Henry’s 3rd wife), brother. She married Tom in what some called an indecent amount of time after Henry’s death, (Good girl is what I say).

2.Catherine’s mum, Maud, was Katherine of Aragon’s lady in waiting. Maud called her baby after the queen, so Herny’s last wife is named after his first… Which is fucking grim.

3. Catherine was the best step mum in history (probably). Catherine nagged Henry into bringing his kids back to court, and ultimately back into his favour. She took on Elizabeth’s welfare when Herny died and saw the best education. She moved her into her home at Sudley (away from court), and encouraged her to follow the Protestant faith, (she also sent her away from the house to protect her from her rapey, mental as balls husband when she found out he’d been sniffing around young Liz, which must’ve broke her heart). Without Catherine, Elizabeth I wouldn’t have been the fab queen, and strong woman that she was.

4. Katherine was a known follower of the reformed faith, which pissed off loads of the moany old codgers at court. She was known to have a stash of banned books, which she had inevitably read and shared with her ladies. This was a crime punishable by death and some of the members of the privy council, in particular a sly cockweasle called Gardiner, wanted to see her gone, so drew up a warrant for her arrest. 

To cut a long story short, Catherime caught wind of the plan to arrest her. Some people think the warrant was ‘dropped’ and one of her ladies found it and told her about it, others say that she was so well loved that an insider told her, whatever happened it was a bloody good job it did. The queen was so distraught she became ill (or maybe faked it), and the king came to visit her. Not letting on that she knew of the arrest warrant, she let Henry talk to her about religion and listened as he tried to trap her into saying something incriminating. 

Katherine was far too clever for Henry, and simply said that she could not have an opinion about religion without him, because his opinion was the greatest. Like the egomaniac he was, he believed that she actually thought he was the leading authority on religion and went back to being her BFF, but like a complete bell end forgot to tell his guards, so when they came the next day to arrest Catherine, instead of putting them straight, he battered them (yet again another illustration of what a tool he was).

5. Catherine was a bit of a boffin and published her own books about religion, (much to Henry’s dismay). Upon Henry’s death, she published a book called ‘Lamentations of a Sinner’, in which it became obvious she had been a strong believer in the Protestant faith all along. Well played lady.

So there you are, a whistle stop guide to my fave Catherine facts. 

25th may 1553: Lady Jane grey is forced to marry a proper dick

Today is the 463rd wedding anniversary of lady Jane Grey and Guilford Dudley. The pair were palmed off and forced to marry in 1553 by their parents, (as many were back then), in order to seek a strong claim to the throne upon the death of Edward VI. Jane was NOT happy with the arrangement; Guilford and his power hungry family were dickheads and out for their own gain, and Jane didn’t want to be queen at all, she wanted to read and prey and certainly not marry.

Guilford was a massive tosser who did little but drink and whore, whereas Jane was a refined gentle character who would have been happy in a nunnery with her books. Their marriage was a mere political convenience.

Lord_Guilford_Dudley

The absolute cockweasle that is Guilford Dudley

It came about because Jane’s mother, Francis, was next in line to the throne when Henry VIII’s only son, Edward, was king. Francis was Henry VIII’s niece, and since his two other children, (Elizabeth and Mary), had been declared bastard, she was his next kin by blood. She was a cunt too. She was an utter botch to Jane, and manipulated her through cruelty and neglect. She decided that if she could forfeit her claim to the throne (after all she had no sons so there was very little point of her inheriting the crown), it would pass to Jane and Francis and John Dudley (1st Duke of Northumberland and Guilford’s Dad), could essentially rule through their children.

Since the king was young and sickly, and Northumberland was his chief counsellor, (therefore already the most powerful man in the country), he was in prime place to notice when your Edward was past his sell by. He moved quick to get to work putting his son in the throne and secure his power, and block out Mary and Elizabeth’s claim for good (well that was the plan).

The pair were married on 25th May. The marriage was so rushed that Jane had to borrow a gown from the Royal wardrobe. Edward died in July of the same year, naming Jane as his heir (she was the same religion as him, as was his sister Elizabeth, but Edward knew that by reinstating Elizabeth’s claim to the throne would mean that the crown fell to his catholic sister, Mary. Edward did not like Catholics so left the crown to his cousin Jane). All was falling in line for Jane and Guilford’s parents.

The marriage was short and most likely unhappy, (there is little evidence to suggest otherwise but a stack to suggest there was no love lost between the two). The couple were married in the May and by the November both were dead.

jane

Lady Jane Grey

Mary came after just 9 days of Janes reign and took the throne with an army of supporters. She was after all said and done Henry VIII’s first child, and bastard or not the people would rather have seen the morally correct thing being done, than see some cheeky little bastards steal the throne… even if that ‘morally right’ thing was Mary.

Mary arrested all concerned, and promised to be forgiving to Jane as she knew none of this was her doing. In the end, what actually happened was that Francis was pardoned and Northumberland and Guilford executed at Tower Hill. It looked as though Jane would get her pardon, but since she refused to convert to the catholic faith, Mary had Janes body relived of its head. The night before their execution, Guilford asked to meet his wife for a final time. Jane refused saying it would be too distressing and they should wait to meet in heaven. I like to think she had her final revenge on Guilford, blowing him out in style and leaving him snivelling in the tower like a snot faced idiot with donated pride.

Some historians think that Mary would’ve executed Jane anyway, despite her promise of keeping Jane safe. Marys new soon-to-ben husband, Phillip of Spain, was a strong supported of the Catholic faith and wanted to see jane dead, partly because she was of the reformed faith, partly to send a message not to fuck with the Queen, but mostly because he was an utter bastard. Mary was smitten with this tit faced Pillock and desired nothing more than to marry him, so if doing away with jane was the answer then this is what she would do. Some think Mary wanted her to convert so her soul would be saved in the afterlife. Whatever the reason, Jane was so brave and headstrong that she refused to repent and was executed at the tower.

I love the tragic story of Jane Grey and Guilford Dudley. No matter what you think of Guilford, both children, (because essentially that’s what they were: Guilford was 19 and poor Jane only 17), were horrifically manipulated by their greedy parents, with dire consequences.

723px-Paul_Delaroche_-_The_Execution_of_Lady_Jane_Grey

Out of all the images that depict Tudor life and events, this is my absolute favorite. It is the execution of Jane grey painted by Paul Delaroche.

May 2nd, 1536: The queen is arrested


480 years ago today, in 1536, Anne Boylen and her brother George were arrested and taken to the Tower of London by barge, to await a trial for incest, high treason and adultery.  

On May 1st he had held the May Day joust when half way through he stropped off with some of his pals to head for Westminster, without a word to anyone, leaving his queen, Anne,  stood there like a right dick in front of their audience.

 En route Henry asked his one of his knights of the garter, (and Henry’s actual arse wiper), Henry Norris, if he had been nobbing Anne. Norris maintained his innocence but was taken to the tower anyway, along with a court musician called Mark Smeaton. Anne and George were sent the next day, and eventually 2 other blokes who had also supposedly shagged the queen joined them. 

Anne had apparently been having a fine old time with these blokes, (even her brother), and the whole thing was a nightmare. All concerned were found guilty and executed. The whole thing had been engineered by the incredibly perceptive Thomas Cromwell, who was trying to sack off Anne because the king had grown fed up of her and wanted to commence his molestation of a young courtier named Jane Seymour. The queen had been accused of witchcraft during the trial because Henry’s lack of sexual competence had been brought into the spotlight. After all, it would be inconceivable to thing that the fat old prick couldn’t get a stiffy. 

Now don’t get me wrong, Anne was no innocent in all of this; she was scheming, manipulative and selfish. But did she shag half the Tudor court and practice witchcraft? Did she fuck. Henry was a spoilt brat and hd grown sick of his new toy. After a seven year chase, a religious reformation, a divorce and a cast aside queen, he now needed to ditch the strummer Anne because he had cock twitches  for a younger, more submissive and far less feisty model. 

Anne was executed at the tower by a French swordsman for a whole catalogue of offences. He only real crime was being greedy and over ambitious. She had bitten off more than she could chew and paid the ultimate price. However, I like to think that Anne had the last laugh, it is her daughter who against all odds and pitfalls, became England’s greatest monarch, Queen Elizabeth I. 

a romanticised image of the execution of Anne Boylen, apparently in some sort of padestrian footpath at court

17th April 1534: Thomas More is sent to the Tower

thomas more

On 17th April 1534, The kings right hand man, Thomas More, was sent to the Tower of London to await a trial for charges of treason. More was one of henry VIII’s best chancellor and lawyers, and at one time the two were super pally, but More had over stepped the mark by refusing to give into the King and go against his own better judgement. More, being a strict catholic man, had refused to acknowledge Henry as the head of the church, and as far as henry was concerned this meant that More was proving to be a right pain in the royal hoop.

The trouble all came about when Henry decided that he wanted to divorce his wife of nearly 24 years, in order to bend his member up his fancy piece, Anne Boylen. The Pope was all like ‘ Hell no boy, that ain’t happening, Us Catholics don’t do divorce, or maybe you missed the scroll’. Henry was not in the slightest bit happy bout this so decided to sack off the Pope and make himself the head of the church in England. As you can imagine, this caused a bit of tension and people were pissed off at the idea that their king, who was previously kept in line only by the Pope, was now taking the liberty to make himself even more important and powerful by moving the moral goal posts and putting himself in charge of that aspect of English law too. So, like a spoilt little shit, Henry sought the council of his closest pals to go about binning off the Pope.

More wasn’t having any of Henry’s bullshit. He was Catholic like everyone else at that time, and like everyone else he too recognised that the Pope was the boss…not Henry. What gave Henry the right to make himself the head of a new church? How could Henry be so arrogant to assume that he is the best person for that job anyway? How did he have the nerve to piss off Rome in such a spectacular way that the whole country would suffer and Catholicism would be shaken to its very core? All because the King could’t keep his dick in his pants. Fuck. That. Noise. More wasn’t buying into that shit at all. So, like the predictable, overindulged twat that Henry was, he had More arrested for treason.

Henry was worried that More’s resistance to the idea of him running his own religion illuminated the fact that the Parliament were sceptical of it too, and if parliament had doubts that they dare to voice, then the public wouldn’t be on board either, putting a spanner in the works for Henry’s knobbing. More had to go. Henry found him guilty or treason and sentenced him to death.

towerhill

Thomas More’s decapitation at Tower Hill and a rather pleased executioner. Obviously not a fan of the Catholics.

On 6th July, 1535 More was beheaded at Tower Hill. To be fair he got off lightly: the standard form of execution of traitors was to be hung, drawn and quartered, but since Henry and Thomas were once friends, Henry thought he would be kind and lessen the punishment. What a kind ‘friend’ he was. Henry didn’t really want to kill More, he pushed and pushed for more to retract his statement and recognise Henry as the new gaffer, but More wasn’t budging. He was a moral man and knew that there was NO WAY Henry was entitled to  govern the church and break from Rome. More told Henry where to go, he told Henry’s men that he believed  that ‘no temporal man should be the head of spirituality’, (which is a confusing sentence from a man who heavily supported the Pope…another temporal man at one time).

So there we are, another one of Henry’s friends murdered so that the King could get his way. You have to admire Thomas More for committing to his beliefs and having the bravery to tell such a spoilt king to shove his Oath of Supremacy up his arse. The sad thing is that after More’s death Henry soon grew bored of Anne Boylen too, (who suffered the same fate as More).

Thomas more’s head was spiked and placed on London Bridge. It was there for a month or so, rotting away, until it was decided that it would be thrown into the Thames to make space for the heads of other traitors to the crown. Mores daughter, Margaret Roper, decided that she did not want to see her fathers rancid, decaying face sink to the bottom of the murky water so bribed one of the guards to pass it to her and brought it home to save as a relic. It is now presumed to be locked in the Roper family vault at St Dunstan’s church,  Canterbury.

morehead

More’s daughter rescuing her Dad’s head from the spikes at London Bridge. There are better things to inherit.