The Tudor Society
  • Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall, Who’s the Most Renaissance of Them All? Part II: Francis I of France

    This is Part II of a four-part series, which seeks to look at what were considered the attributes of a Renaissance prince, and who of our four princes embodied the ideals of the Renaissance best. What were some of those themes? The idea of a Renaissance man stood for a person who strove to embrace knowledge and develop himself. This included concepts such as the arts, knowledge, physical achievements, and social ideals. More plainly and for a prince, this could include cultivating a court known for patronizing artists, musicians, and the like; establishing educational institutions, a good degree of physical fortitude, and things such as chivalric love or engaging in acts of charity.

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  • 30 November – The Feast Day of St Andrew the Apostle and an important day in Mary I’s reign

    30th November was and is the feast of St Andrew the apostle, who is also the patron saint of Scotland. Andrew was the older brother of the Apostle Peter and the two of them were fishing when Jesus approached them and said that he would make them “fishers of men”.

    Following Christ’s crucifixion, Andrew travelled around preaching the Good News (some sources say as far as Kiev and Veliky Novgorod in Russia) before he was crucified on an X-shaped cross in Patras, Greece. Andrew is the patron saint of fishermen and singers, as well as Scotland, Ukraine, Romania, Russia and Patras. The saltire, or St Andrew’s Cross, is used on the flag of Scotland.

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  • December 2016 Tudor Life Magazine

    Merry Christmas! Here’s the December Tudor Life Magazine, an 80-page magazine packed with facts, fun and festivity. There’s a full 20-page feature on Tudor portraits, and there’s even a “Cut out Elizabeth I” fun activity! Enjoy this month’s magazine.

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  • This week in history 28 November – 4 December

    Detail of Margaret Tudor's face from a portrait of her by Daniel Mystens

    28 November:

    1489 – Birth of Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scotland and consort of James IV, at Westminster Palace. Margaret was the eldest daughter of Henry VII and his wife, Elizabeth of York, and the sister of Henry VII. She spent her childhood at Sheen and at Eltham Palace, but was sent to Scotland at the age of thirteen to marry James IV.
    1499 – Execution of Edward Plantagenet, styled Earl of Warwick, on Tower Hill. Edward was the son of George, Duke of Clarence, brother of Edward IV and Richard III, and so was a potential claimant to the throne. He was imprisoned in the Tower of London after Henry VII’s accession, and was executed for treason after the pretender Perkin Warbeck had allegedly plotted to free himself and Edward. He was buried at Bisham Abbey.
    1557 – Death of Sir Robert Rochester, administrator. He was buried at the Charterhouse at Sheen. Rochester served Mary I as Comptroller of the Royal Household, Privy Councillor, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Keeper of the Privy Seal and a member of Parliament.

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  • 27 November 1556 – Death of Henry Parker, 10th Baron Morley

    On this day in history, 27th November 1556, Henry Parker, 10th Baron Morley, nobleman, diplomat, translator and father of Jane Boleyn (wife of George Boleyn), died at his home, Hallingbury Place, in Great Hallingbury, Essex. He was in his late seventies at the time of his death. He was buried at St Giles’s Church, Great Hallingbury.

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  • Mary Tudor, Queen of France, Quiz

    Mary Tudor, Queen of France, detail from a portrait of her and her second husband, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk.

    How much do you know about Mary Tudor, Queen of France, daughter of Henry VII and sister of Henry VIII? Test those little grey cells over your morning coffee with this fun quiz.

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  • Danny Dyer and Thomas Cromwell

    In last night’s episode of “Who do you think you are?”, Eastenders actor Danny Dyer found out that he has royal blood and that he’s descended from Thomas Cromwell through Cromwell’s son Gregory. It’s a wonderful episode. I do love Danny Dyer, he’s so down to earth!

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  • 25 November 1487 – Elizabeth of York is crowned queen

    On 25th November 1487, St Catherine’s Day, Elizabeth of York, consort of Henry VII and mother of one-year-old Arthur Tudor, was crowned queen at Westminster Abbey. As Elizabeth’s biographer Amy Licence explains, her coronation had been postponed due to her pregnancy and then unrest in England.

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  • Hever Castle with Sarah Bryson

    Today in our regular Friday video spot, Sarah Bryson, author of Mary Boleyn in a Nutshell and Charles Brandon: The King’s Man, tells us about Hever Castle, the family home of the Boleyns, and shares her experience of visiting it recently. Thank you Sarah!

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  • 24 November 1542 – the Battle of Solway Moss

    Thank you to Heather R. Darsie, our regular Tudor Society contributor, for today’s article. Over to Heather…

    Happy Thanksgiving to our American members! Today also marks the 474th anniversary of the Battle of Solway Moss, a border skirmish that took place on the English side of the border with Scotland on 24th November 1542. This was the last of a series of such battles that arose from a falling-out between Henry VIII of England and his nephew, James V of Scotland.

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  • Christina of Denmark, Duchess of Milan and Lorraine, Lady of Tortona

    christina_of_denmark_duchess_of_milanThank you to Heather R. Darsie for writing this article on Christina of Denmark...

    Christina Oldenburg, born a Princess of Denmark and Norway, entered the world in November of 1521 or 1522. Being the daughter of Isabella of Austria, Christina was the niece of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V. Her father was King Christian II of Denmark and Norway. Christian II was deposed in January 1523, when the infant Christina was still quite small, and the family fled to the Netherlands. At that time, the Netherlands were under the regency of her maternal great-aunt, Margaret of Austria. Christina would never return to the country of her birth.

    Christina was married twice. First, in 1533, she was wed to Francesco II Sforza, Duke of Milan, by proxy. She went to live in Milan in 1534. As part of the marriage contract, if Francesco died without any heirs, the Duchy of Milan would become part of the Holy Roman Empire. Francesco died in October of 1535, and the Duchy of Milan was indeed incorporated into the vast territories of the Holy Roman Empire. Another condition of the marriage contract was that should she become a widow, Christina would retain her rights to the city of Tortona for the rest of her life.

    By 1537, Christina had assumed the title of Lady of Tortona. In mourning, Christina returned to the Low Countries, which were now under the regency of her maternal aunt, Mary of Hungary. Mary was sister to both Christina’s mother Isabella and Christina’s uncle, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. Christina briefly visited her elder sister Dorothea in Innsbruck on the former’s way to Brussels. Once at the court of her aunt, a suitable husband was sought for Christina.

    Christina, not unlike her sister Dorothea, had many possible suitors. Going back to when Christina remained as a widow in the ducal palace in Milan, her first proposed suitor was Louis of Piedmont, heir to the throne of Savoy. Louis died before the marriage could take place. It was next suggested by Pope Paul III that Christina marry her foster son, who was also the great-nephew of the Pope. A French husband was proposed for Christina, too. There had been a long dispute over who held the rights to the Duchy of Milan, and France sought to solidify its claim through the marriage of Christina to the Duke of Angoulême. Charles V and the French king were unable to agree on terms regarding the fate of the Duchy of Milan, so this marriage came to naught.

    Moving forward to Christina’s return to Brussels, she was famously painted by Hans Holbein the Younger in early 1538. Dressed in mourning clothes, Holbein had been sent by Henry VIII of England to capture Christina’s likeness while Henry’s ambassador floated the idea of marriage. Christina is reported to have responded, “If I had two heads, one should be at the King of England’s disposal.” It should be noted that Christina was a great-niece of Henry’s first wife, Katharine of Aragon. Mary of Hungary objected to the proposal and Henry was forced to abandon his suit in early 1539.

    After that, Anna von Kleve, better known as Anne of Cleves, almost became sisters-in-law with Christina when Anna’s brother Wilhelm proposed marriage to Christina. Due to a dispute over territory which Wilhelm recently inherited, Charles V turned away Wilhelm’s proposal. Christina went on to marry Anna’s ex-fiancé, Francis, Duke of Bar, in July 1541. Sadly, this marriage put an end to a possible love-match which Christina would have enjoyed with René de Chalon, Prince of Orange. Her sister Dorothea supported the relationship, but ultimately, Christina had to marry Francis.

    As Duchess-Consort of Lorraine, Christina enjoyed a reportedly happy marriage and gave birth to a son in February 1543. She had two daughters later, one of whom was named after her sister Dorothea. By June of 1545, Christina was widowed again. She became regent for her young son, but there was opposition from her brother-in-law. After mediation by her uncle, Charles V, it was agreed that Christina would be the main regent, but share the regency with her brother-in-law.

    Christina never remarried, though she received more proposals. During wars with France in 1552, her son was taken by the French king and Christina’s regency was ended. Christina did not see her son again until 1558. In the meantime, she remained in Brussels. Christina did travel to England in April 1555 to Mary I’s court, returning to the Netherlands in May of 1555. After reunifying with her son, Christina served as his advisor and was again appointed regent when he travelled to France.

    Also in 1559, Christina’s father, King Christian II, finally passed away. Her elder sister Dorothea then made a claim to the throne of Denmark and Norway. Dorothea was childless. Christina eventually convinced Dorothea to abandon her claim in favour of Christina’s son. Nothing ever came to Dorothea, Christina, or Christina’s son from this claim.

    Christina returned to her dower city of Tortona in 1578, where she lived and ruled until her death in 1590.

    Heather R. Darsie lives in the United States with her family and three parrots. She works in the legal field, with a focus on children. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in German Languages and Literature, then a Juris Doctorate in American jurisprudence, and studied abroad in Costa Rica and France. Heather has always loved history. She first became acquainted with Elizabeth I when she was in middle school and chose to write a book report about her. Since then, she has always held an interest in the Renaissance and its numerous enigmatic citizens, with particular focus on the history of England and Italy. She is currently working on a book on the heraldry of Tudor women and is also researching Anne of Cleves.

    Sources & Suggested Reading

    Picture: Painting of Christina by Hans Holbein the Younger, c. 1538, National Gallery.

  • This week in history 21 – 27 November

    Tomb effigy of Frances Grey (Brandon), Duchess of Suffolk

    On this day in history events for 21-27th November.

    21 November:

    1495 – Birth of John Bale, churchman, Protestant playwright, historian and Bishop of Ossory, at Cove, near Dunwich, in Suffolk. Bale wrote twenty-four plays, including “Three Laws of Nature, Moses and Christ, corrupted by the Sodomytes, Pharisees and Papystes most wicked”, “A Tragedye; or enterlude manifesting the chief promyses of God unto Man”, “The Temptacyon of our Lorde”, “A brefe Comedy or Enterlude of Johan Baptystes preachynge in the Wyldernesse, etc” and “ Kynge Johan”. His most famous work is his Illustrium majoris Britanniae scriptorum, hoc est, Angliae, Cambriae, ac Scotiae Summarium… (“A Summary of the Famous Writers of Great Britain, that is, of England, Wales and Scotland”), which was his effort to record every work by a British author.
    1558 – Death of James Bassett, courtier and stepson of Arthur Plantagenet, Viscount Lisle. Bassett was a member of Philip of Spain’s Privy Chamber and private Secretary to Mary I. He was buried at Blackfriars, London.

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  • King Edward VI Quiz

    How much do you know about King Edward VI, the third Tudor monarch? Test yourself with this fun quiz! Good luck!

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  • Transcript of Janet Wertman live chat

    Here is the transcript of last night’s wonderful live chat session with Janet Wertman about Jane Seymour and Janet’s book “Jane the Quene”.

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  • Henry Vaux, poet and Catholic recusant

    On this day in history, 19th November 1587, Henry Vaux, poet, Catholic recusant and priest harbourer, died of consumption at Great Ashby, the home of his sister, Eleanore Brooksby. Vaux was sent to Marshalsea prison after being arrested in November 1586 for offering accommodation and assistance to Catholic priests. He was released in May 1587 due to ill health.

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  • Pears in Compote – Tudor Cooking with Claire

    For today’s Tudor Cooking with Claire video, I’m making a recipe dating back to the 15th century called Pears in Compote, or, as it’s written in the manuscript, Pears in Compost!

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  • 17 November 1558 – The death of Reginald Pole, Archbishop of Canterbury

    A portrait of Cardinal Reginald Pole by Sebastiano del Piombo

    Did you know that 17th November 1558 was the death date of not only Queen Mary I, but also of Reginald Pole, Mary’s Archbishop of Canterbury? Strange, isn’t it?

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  • Kyra Kramer book tour and giveaway

    At today’s stop for her book tour for Edward VI in a Nutshell, Kyra Kramer is giving us an overview of Edward VI. He’s a fascinating Tudor personality and it’s a shame that he’s often overlooked and overshadowed by his father and half-sisters.

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  • Jane Seymour Live Chat 18 November with author Janet Wertman

    Just a reminder that Janet Wertman, author of Jane the Quene joins us on the Tudor Society chatroom tomorrow night to answer your questions on her research into Jane’s life, her book or anything Jane Seymour related. Or perhaps you’d like to ask her about writing historical fiction. Do join us!

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  • 17 November 1558 – The death of Queen Mary I and accession of Queen Elizabeth I

    On the anniversary of Mary I’s death and her half-sister Elizabeth I’s accession, I’d like to share this piece with you from my book On this day in Tudor History.

    On 17th November 1558, Henry VIII’s eldest child, Queen Mary I, died. She was just forty-two-years-old.

    After Easter 1558, Mary I made her will because she believed that she was pregnant. The birth should have been imminent because Philip departed in July 1557, yet there is no mention in the records of preparations being made such as nursery staff being appointed, remarks on her changing body shape, preparations for confinement etc. The pregnancy was all in Mary’s mind.

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  • This week in history 14 – 20 November

    14 November

    1501 – Catherine of Aragon married Arthur, Prince of Wales at St Paul’s Cathedral.
    1531 – Birth of Richard Topcliffe, member of Parliament, priest-hunter, interrogator and torturer, in Lincolnshire. During the reign of Elizabeth I, Topcliffe was issued with warrants allowing him to use torture when examining imprisoned Catholic recusants and priests. His famous victims included Robert Southwell, John Gerard and Henry Garnet.
    1532 – On this day in 1532, according to the chronicler Edward Hall, Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn secretly married:

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  • General Tudor History Quiz

    Grab a coffee and tease those brain cells of yours with this fun general Tudor history quiz from Rebecca Larson. Can you get 10/10?

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  • Transcript of Princes in the Tower Live Chat

    Thanks to all who attended our live chat on the Princes in the Tower last night and a big thank you to Olga Hughes for running it. It was great fun and I think we could have gone on for hours!

    Here is the transcript of the chat, for those who weren’t able to make it:

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  • The Princes in the Tower video

    As we are having a live-chat session later today on the Princes in the Tower, I thought I’d share with you this 2015 Channel 4 documentary looking at the fates of the Princes in the Tower, Edward V and his brother Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York.

    We do not know what happened to these boys, the sons of King Edward IV who disappeared following the accession of their uncle, Richard III, but there are various theories. We can have fun debating them later!

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  • Dorothea of Denmark and Norway

    Thank you to our regular contributor, Heather R. Darsie, for introducing us to this interesting 16th century woman.

    Dorothea Oldenburg, Princess of Denmark and Norway,1 was born to King Christian II of Denmark and Norway, and Isabella of Austria on 10 November 1520. Isabella of Austria was younger sister to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, and a niece of Katherine of Aragon. Dorothea was a niece of Charles V.

    Dorothea’s father, Christian II, was forced to abdicate his throne on 20 January 1523. Thereafter, Dorothea and her family, including her better-known little sister Christina of Denmark, fled to the Netherlands. Three-year-old Dorothea’s great-aunt, Margaret of Austria, was serving as Regent of the Netherlands; Margaret served in this capacity from 1507 to 1515, and again from 1519 until 1530. Margaret was pro-English.

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  • This week in history 7-13 November

    On this day in history events for 7th – 13th November:

    7 November:

    1485 – Richard III and his supporters were attainted at Henry VII’s first Parliament. Click here to read more.
    1541 – Archbishop Thomas Cranmer and the Duke of Norfolk went to Hampton Court Palace to interrogate Queen Catherine Howard, and to arrange that she should be confined to her chambers there. Click here to read more.
    1557 – Death of Sir John Arundell of Lanherne. He was buried at St Mawgan Church. Arundell served Henry VIII as Sheriff of Cornwall and Commander of troops against the rebels during the Pilgrimage of Grace. He also served in France in 1544. During Edward VI’s reign, in 1549, he was imprisoned after John, Baron Russell, accused him of refusing to raise troops and of ordering the mass to be performed. He was released in June 1552.
    1565 – Death of Sir Edward Warner, soldier, member of Parliament and Lieutenant of the Tower of London during the reigns of Edward VI and Elizabeth I. He was the gaoler of Katherine Seymour (née Grey), Countess of Hertford, who had been imprisoned for secretly marrying Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford. Warner died in Norfolk and was buried at Little Plumstead Church in the county.
    1568 – Baptism of Dunstan Gale, poet and author of “Pyramus and Thisbe”, at St Giles Cripplegate, London.
    1581 – Death of Richard Davies, scholar and Bishop of St David’s, in Abergwili, Carmarthenshire, in the bishop’s palace. He was a friend of Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury, and undertook translations of parts of the Bible.
    1603 – Burial of Robert Allot, literary compiler, bookseller, poet and editor of the 1599 “Wits Theater” and the 1600 “Englands Parnassus”, at St Ann Blackfriars.

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  • 18 November – Live chat with author Janet Wertman on Jane Seymour

    The time and date have now been confirmed for the live-chat session with Janet Wertman on the Tudor Society chatroom. It will take place at 11pm UK time on 18th November and here are the times in the different time zones:

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  • Katherine Howard Quiz

    Our quiz maestro Rebecca Larson is testing your knowledge on Queen Katherine Howard this week. Enjoy and good luck!

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  • Bonfire Night Food and Videos

    Wherever you are in the world, you can still enjoy a taste of the UK’s bonfire celebrations with the following recipes and videos that I’ve found for you.

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  • 5 November 1605 – Gunpowder Plot

    Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
    The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
    I know of no reason
    Why the Gunpowder Treason
    Should ever be forgot.
    Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t’was his intent
    To blow up the King and Parli’ment.
    Three-score barrels of powder below
    To prove old England’s overthrow;
    By God’s providence he was catch’d
    With a dark lantern and burning match.
    Holloa boys, holloa boys, let the bells ring.
    Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!”

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