2nd June, 1572: Thomas Howard Is In The Shit.

On June 2nd, 1572, the 4th Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Howard, was executed for treason under the order of Elizabeth I. Thomas was born into one of the noblest families in England. Thomas’ family had been powerful for some time. His Grandfather, (also called Thomas Howard since the Tudors only had about 3 names), was a powerful politician during Henry VIII’s reign. This overambitious prick was the uncle of Anne Boleyn, and one of the main reason she found herself in the mix with the fat, spousicidal twat of a king in the first place.

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Thomas Howard,4th Duke of Norfolk…

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…who, to my utter amusement, looks like my friend Oisin.

Thomas’s Dad, Henry Howard, was a bit more vanilla than his father. However, he was still executed under Henry VIII’s orders for suspected treason. Thomas Boleyn senior was also due to be beheaded, but as luck would have it Henry VIII died the day before the order was to be carried out, so he managed to dodge his sentence… and still it was only women who were accused of witchcraft!

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Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk (the Grandad)

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Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (the Dad)

Anyway, after the king’s death, his daughter, Mary Tudor, took the throne with her very catholic and very Spanish, dick of a husband, Phillip of Spain. Mary had Thomas Howard Snr. released from the Tower and reinstated as Duke of Norfolk, a title which passed to his grandson on his death in 1554. Thomas junior was now the 4th Duke of Norfolk and in royal favour, which was still the case when Elizabeth I inherited the throne upon Mary’s death.

Elizabeth thought very highly of Thomas, she referred to him as ‘her cousin’, (Anne Boleyn and Henry Howard were first cousins, and Elizabeth liked to think that she and Thomas were also very close). Thomas might have been close to the queen, but he was still no comparison to Elizabeth’s favorite, Robert Dudley. It was said that Thomas Howard was jealous of Dudley because Dudley could influence the queen’s decisions, whereas he could not, despite being the richest bloke in the country. That aside, she still relied on him to do her bidding, and sort out the unholy shit storm that her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots, had caused when she came to England to seek refuge.

The catholic Queen Mary had basically run away from all kinds of mess that she had been tied up in back in Scotland. She was hoping that her cousin would help her, but Elizabeth, quite rightly, saw her as a threat to her throne. Mart was catholic, the country had just reformed, Mary had a family link to the English throne, ergo she was a massive threat, and she now being in England brought about the threat of rebellion against Liz. So off went Thomas Howard to sort it out.

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Mary Queen of Scots – doing the ‘shady moon’ face.

Howard was all for laying some smackdown on Mary, until he met her Secretary of State, a slimy dude called Maitland. Maitland not only convinced Howard that Mary was innocent of any ill intent towards Elizabeth, but he also convinced Howard that it would be a good idea if he married Mary and then tried to blag Elizabeth into naming Mary as her successor to the English throne upon her death. Talk about being played like a fiddle, but Howard was stupid enough to go for it. The problem was that he didn’t have the bollockss to actually put the idea to Elizabeth, so, like a deluded fuckwit, he kept it a secret and but carried on making plans to wed the Scottish Queen regardless.

Because Howard suspected Elizabeth wouldn’t go for the idea, and because he shat himself at the prospect of being the one to put it to her, Maitland and Howard decided that Maitland would approach Elizabeth and make the suggestion. After all he had been able to chat shit to Howard and convince him of the shit idea in the first place. In the meantime, the plans for Howard and Mary to wed continued to be hatched.

When Elizabeth found out,  was had none of it. Why the fuck would she hand the throne to her knob head cousin, who had literally THE WORST track record with men in History*, and who would seek to restore England back to Catholicism with the help of that snivelling cunt, and  Elizabeth’s sworn enemy, Prince Philip of Spain? So as you can imagine, Howard’s plans started to look a tat premature, and a lot ridiculous.

For acting like a knob and going behind her back, Elizabeth had Howard was arrested and imprisoned in the tower. Elizabeth didn’t quite have the same blood thirst as her father and didn’t want the PR nightmare that sending Howard to trial would cause, so when shit settled down, he was eventually released from the tower. However, this is not where the story ends, because like an utter fucking spafftool, Howard continued to write to Mary, who wrote back chatting all kinds of love shit, and kissing him up via letters. This eventually lead to Howard getting himself involved in a fucking stupid idea with the shitehawk, Phillip of Spain and his cunt faced, London based banker pal, (yep, they were around being fuckheads in Tudor England too), Roberto Ridolfi.

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Phillip of Spain: Elizabeth’s ex bro-in-law and a right cunt.

The ‘Ridolfi Plot’, as it is now known, was basically a plan hatched by the men to free Mary, marry her to Howard, boot Elizabeth off the throne and restore England to its catholic glory with the help of Spain. Can you imagine?! What a misled knobweasle Howard had become.

The perpetrators of the plot had not counted on three things: firstly, Howard’s incompetence, Secondly, the pure badassness of Elizabeth’s spymaster, Walsingham (think Varys from Game of Thrones),  and finally, the fact that Howard’s servant sang like a bunch of shitbirds when put to the rack.

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Walsingham the spymaster, like a boss

Howard had also mistrusted one of his servants to convey messages between himself, Phillip and Ridolfi. The servant had then found a merchant to do the dirty work, taking letters and money between the parties. The merchant was found out pretty sharpish as his sacks weighed more than they were supposed to, arousing the suspicion of the port guards, so he was arrested and questioned and he too spilled the beans on Howard.

Meanwhile, back at home, Howard’s servants had been arrested and tortured, during which time they told their captures that Howard had been squirrelling away letters about the plot under one of his roof tiles at one of his many properties.

Elizabeth was beside herself when she found out. How the fuck did Thomas Howard find himself mixed up in all this bullshit? He had always maintained his loyalty to Elizabeth and, to a certain extent, she believed him. She did not want to condemn him to death, signing and retracting his death warrant several times, until eventually parliament stepped in and insisted she should stop fannying about and just get it over and done with.

Thomas Howard’s death warrant was eventually signed and he was sent to his death for being a treasonous prick, just like his father and Grandfather, on June 2nd, 1572. He is now buried in the church of St Peter and Vincula at the Tower of London, a dumping ground for headless Tudor traitors. ‘And what of Mary?’ I hear you cry. Well she continued to plot and scheme once she found out that Elizabeth would not name her as heir to the throne. In 1586, Walsingham uncovered enough evidence to have her sentenced to death, and in 1587 she met a very sticky end.

*If you need proof of Mary’s terrible choice in men, or you want to know more about her rather shitty execution, you may be interested in this plots-execu:https://thetudorials.com/2015/07/17/july-17th-1586-tions-treason-and-the-dick-end-men-in-mary-queen-of-scots-life/

 

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

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Mary Queen of Scots

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Mary’s tomb in Westminster