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.

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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.

19th May 1536- Anne Boleyn looses her head

19th May 1536: Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne Boleyn lost her head (as in had it hacked off with a sword at the command if her ‘loving’ husband as opposed misplaced it). After turning the political and religious beliefs of the whole country upside down in order to marry Anne, after a few short years he wanted rid to make room for another, ( being the nice bloke he was).

Anne was initially told she would be executed on the 18th at 9am. She waited and waited and nobody came. She was eager to die, i think because on the whole being alive do Anne was utter shit and heaven awaited her. At he last mass and confession she maintained her innocence. This was evidence enough for most subjects that Anne was innocent, to swear it before death must mean its true or how else would God accept you!? She became anxious that she had not been executed before noon as promised, she also joked that the executioner would have an easy job as she had a little neck. Finally, dressed in black, (the colour of death), and red (the colour of martyrdom- like shoving the rods up at Henry), she headed for the scaffold. The executioner had been summoned from France. Anne had requested to die by a highly skilled french swordsman as opposed to the usual fat arsed English axeman. It’s said that as her head fell her lips continued to move. She paid £20 arms to the poor at the time if her death, (given to her by Henry) and was remembered as ‘the late queen’. This is particularly interesting as Katherine of Aragon and Katherine Howard (the two other crowned queens who met particular shorty ends at the hand of their fat head husband), lost their title and recognition as queen straight away.

anne head

Though Anne is not my favourite queen she is one if the most interesting and her death had a large impact on many people. Henry, being the romantic that he was, was betrothed to Jane Seymour the following day and married by the em if the month. What a dick he was