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

 

Louis XII

 

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

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

 

poor Joan of France

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

The very beautiful (and very reluctant) Anne of Brittany

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

 

Mary Tudor: shagged a man to death

 

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

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

Arthur looking about 46, but actually aged 15.

Arthur looking about 46, but actually aged 15.

The very beautiful Katherine of Aragon

The very beautiful Katherine of Aragon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy anniversary to Katherine and Henry

Nobody actually knows if Katherine and Arthur consummated their marriage.

September 28th 1553: Mary Tudors Coronation.

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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.

mor_mary_tudor_1554_prado

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.