January 31st, 1547: One Out, One In.

It was January 31st, 1547 and the King, Henry VIII, had been dead for 3 days. It was now time to tell the world, and announce the new Sovereign; King Edward VI…What a shit storm this caused.

henry_viii_and_edward_vi-300x184

Henry VIII and his gobshite little son, Edward VI.

Shortly before he died,even when it was obvious he was about to croak it, nobody had dared tell Henry VIII that he was on his way out. To do so would be treason, and nobody really fancied being remembered as the idiot who sent himself to the gallows. Instead, the privy council secretly making preparations – and by this I mean making power grabs for anything and everything they could get their vulture-like talons into, like a shower of cunts.

Henry’s only son and heir was about to inherit the throne, but he was only 9 and therefore vulnerable to manipulation by the Kings ‘finest’ men. Henry was on it though; prevent his one and only son becoming a puppet to the greedy bastards at court, he set up a privy council of 16 of his most trusted pals to act as governors to the young King until he came of age – which was a long way off, lets be honest.

deathbed-scene

Henry’s deathbed: The young prince is sat next to the dying king whilst a member of the Klan looks on, (not really, its Thomas Cranmer)

It didn’t really work though; the men all had different religious and political views, and all were desperate for power. One of the main problems was that Henry’s will seemed to have been poorly thought out, and titles and lands had been handed out to peers like biscuits at your Nan’s house. This had whipped up the already over-ambitious council members into a state, and it was now apparent they needed some sort of leader. Henry had not foreseen this, and had neglected to name someone to lead of the pack of pricks he had chosen, and so something had to be done.

The council reluctantly agreed that they were incapable of aiding a small child without tearing each others faces off, and decided to appoint a leader. On 4th February the council had a vote and decided the job would be best suited to the new Kings Uncle, Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset. I say  “had a vote”  but what more likely happened is that Somerset bought the men’s votes, and brokered deals to buy  power; he had after all just inherited a fuck-tonne of land from Henry’s will so had the cash to gamble with…the sneaky shit.

edward_seymour

Edward Seymour, the 1st Duke of Somerset: Protestant, protector, proper prick shaft.

To Somerset, becoming the Lord Protector of the Realm was the ultimate prize.It meant that he could effectively rule England for the next eight or so years, puppeteering the new King until he came of age. On paper, Somerset probably was the best placed to do the job; After all he was the King’s Uncle, a war hero, extremely wealthy AND  a staunch protestant, just like the young King himself. Obviously he accepted the position graciously.

 

There is much I could write about Somerset, and indeed his brother Tomas, who was also somewhat of a cunt, but this thread is about Henry’s succession, so you will have to take my word when I tell you that he was a massive dick-end. Needless to say met a sticky end. In 1549 he tried to abduct the King, in a fashion, and was removed from power. He was later executed in 1552 for being a massive twat (it did not say this on the execution papers – it said ‘Treason’ – but everyone knew the real reason).

What of the new king? If tales are to be believed, King Edward was a nasty little shit. Wrapped up in cotton wool and spoiled rotten,  he grew to emulate his fathers tyranny. Some even think that had he had survived his adolescence he would’ve been worse – can you fucking imagine that shit?. He apparently once ripped the head off his pet falcon because he had been scolded in the school room. He did keep the protestant faith, but was a sickly little weasel and died young, at only fifteen years old; just over a year after his Uncle’s execution, and the only time TB has ever been welcomed.

Knowing he was dying, and not wanting the country to return to Catholicism (as it would if the throne passed to his eldest surviving sibling, Mary), Edward named his cousin, Jane Grey, his successor – using the excuse that  Mary  had been declared a bastard, therefore removing her and his other sister Elizabeth from the line of succession. This went tits up too, but that too is a story for another time…

If you do fancy reading about Thomas Seymour you can check this snippet out: Tom and the Spaniel. And what of the Lady Jane Grey? Well you can read a bit about that unfortunate business here: Lady Jane marries a proper dick

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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.

January 16th 1549: Tom and the Spaniel

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

 

Thomas Seymour: spaniel killer

 

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

a typical priest hole: its not what your thinking

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

Priest holes of Harvington Hall

The Revolution House, Derbyshire

October 12th 1537: Happy Birthday Edward

oh Hi there. its my mother flippin birthday

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

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

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)

June 4th 1536 – Jane Seymour is pronounced Queen