The Tudor Society

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  • 21 October – Henry VIII leaves Anne Boleyn behind in Calais

    On this day in Tudor history, 21st October 1532, King Henry VIII left his sweetheart, Anne Boleyn, behind in Calais while he travelled to Boulogne to spend a few days at the French court with Francis I.

    The kings were beautifully attired for their meeting and there was a bit of a bromance, with Henry calling Francis his “beloved brother” and Francis instructing his sons to be “loving always” to Henry. However, Anne Boleyn was disappointed with the situation and you can find out more in today’s talk.

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  • 18 September – A victorious Henry VIII

    On this day in Tudor history, 18th September 1544, Henry VIII rode triumphantly through the streets of Boulogne after the French surrendered it to him.

    This English victory came after the first siege of Boulogne of 1544 which saw the town “sore assaulted and so besieged with such abundance of great ordinance that never was there a more valianter assault made”.

    The French surrendered Boulogne on 13th September 1544 and King Henry VIII entered it and was given its keys by his good friend, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, on 18th September. England was victorious but his ally, the Holy Roman Emperor, wasn’t behaving himself.

    Find out more in today’s talk.

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  • 16 September – Henry VIII and Catherine Howard get lots of money!

    On this day in Tudor history, 16th September 1541, King Henry VIII entered the city of York as part of his Northern Progress with his fifth wife, Catherine Howard.

    This was a chance for the people of the North to show their loyalty to their king and his consort, and to make up for rebelling against him. How could they do that? Well, by getting on their knees in submission and paying him lots of money.

    Find out more about this progress and how the king ended up being humiliated too, in today’s talk.

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  • 22 July – The death of Henry Fitzroy, Henry VIII’s illegitimate son

    1536 was an eventful year for Henry VIII! Just over two months after the fall of his second wife, Queen Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s only son, his illegitimate son by Elizabeth Blount, died on 22nd July 1536 at St James’s Palace. It was a huge blow for the king.

    In today’s “on this day” talk, I give details of Fitzroy’s illness, death and burial, and also just how much of a favourite he was with his father.

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  • 28 June – Happy birthday to Henry VIII

    Yes, on this day in Tudor history, 28th June 1491, King Henry VIII, second monarch of the Tudor dynasty, was born at Greenwich Palace.

    This second son, the spare, of King Henry VII and Queen Elizabeth of York ended up becoming King Henry VIII in April 1509 and although in many ways he could be seen as a monstrous tyrant, he did achieve much during his reign.

    In today’s video, I give an overview of this man, his life and his reign.

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  • 23 June – Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon’s coronation procession

    On this day in Tudor history, 23rd June 1509, the new King and Queen of England processed through the streets of London dressed in their finery.

    This procession was their coronation procession and it was a lavish spectacles. In today’s video, I share contemporary descriptions of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon’s appearance and outfits, the procession and the streets of London. It must have been wonderful to see!

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  • 12 June – Catherine of Aragon gets cross with Henry VIII

    On this day in Tudor history, 12th June 1530, Queen Catherine of Aragon got rather cross with her husband, King Henry VIII, who, according to her, was leading an evil life and being a bad example.

    What led to Catherine’s strong words on this day in 1530? What exactly was Henry VIII doing to upset his wife?

    Find out in today’s video.

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  • 11 June – Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon get married

    Happy wedding anniversary to King Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon! Well, Catherine would be celebrating, as she viewed herself as the king’s true wife right until the end.

    On this day in Tudor history, seventeen-year-old King Henry VIII married twenty-three-year-old Spanish princess, Catalina de Aragón, or Catherine of Aragon, his brother’s widow, at a private ceremony at Greenwich.

    Find out more about what led to this marriage in today’s video:

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  • 30 May – Henry VIII gets married to Jane Seymour

    On this day in Tudor history, Tuesday 30th May 1536, just eleven days after the execution of his second wife, Queen Anne Boleyn, King Henry VIII married his third wife, the woman he thought of as his true love and true wife, Jane Seymour.

    Find out more about this event and the bride and groom in today’s video.

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  • 31 March – King Henry VIII as King Ahab, Anne Boleyn as Jezebel

    On this day in Tudor history, 31st March 1532, Henry VIII was left fuming after Friar William Peto likened him to King Ahab and preached against his quest for an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Friar Peto also made a prophecy that some believe was fulfilled after the king’s death in 1547.

    I explain exactly what happened on this day 1532 to make Henry VIII so furious, what Peto said and what happened next.

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  • 16 February – The burial of King Henry VIII at St George’s Chapel, Windsor

    On this day in Tudor history, 16th February 1547, King Henry VIII was laid to rest in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. He was buried with his third wife, Queen Jane Seymour.

    In this video, I talk about his burial and what happened to the sarcophagus that he had planned to use. You can see that beautiful sarcophagus today, but it is the resting place of another famous historical person and is not at Windsor.

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  • King Henry VIII

    The iconic portrait of Henry VIII after Holbein

    Happy birthday to the man who has the honour of being both my favourite and least favourite king! I find him fascinating but also love to hate him.

    I thought I’d celebrate the anniversary of his birth on 28th June 1491 by sharing some of the Henry VIII resources we have here for members at the Tudor Society:

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  • Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich (1496/7-1567)

    A preparatory sketch of Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich, by Hans Holbein the Younger

    Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich, we’re led to believe, was born in 1496. The dating of his birth comes from the fact that in 1551 he was said to have been around 54 years of age. He was born in Basingstoke, Hampshire. His father was John Rich, and his mother was Agnes, and it is believed that he may have had ties to the Rich family that was prominent in the Mercers’ Company during the 15th century. The connection came from his father John, for he owned a house in Islington, Middlesex, which he left to his son on his death in 1509.

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  • Anne of Cleves Part 2: Her marriage to Henry VIII and its annulment

    In today’s Claire Chat’s video talk, I look at Anne of Cleves’ marriage to Henry VIII and what happened between 6th January 1540, her wedding day, and 28th July 1540 when Henry VIII married Catherine Howard, his fifth wife.

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  • 13 November 1537 – Margaret Tudor writes to Henry VIII

    On this day in history, Margaret Tudor, the former Queen of Scotland, wrote a letter to her brother, Henry VIII.

    The following letter is one of a collection of letters written by Margaret to Henry in the 1530s. Margaret was desperately unhappy. She had married her third husband, Henry Stewart, 1st Lord Methven, in 1528, and was intent on divorcing him because not only did he have a mistress, he was also spending and wasting Margaret’s money. Margaret’s own son, James V of Scotland, was siding with Methven and Methven had control of Margaret’s lands and money, so Margaret wanted her brother’s support and help:

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  • Anne of Cleves, fourth wife of Henry VIII

    Today is the anniversary of the death of Anne of Cleves and to mark the occasion Claire looks at some texts associated with her.

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  • 12 July 1543 – The marriage of Henry VIII and Catherine Parr according to a primary source account

    On this day in history, 12th July 1543, the fifty-two-year-old King Henry VIII married thirty-one-year-old Catherine Parr, Lady Latimer, in the Queen’s Closet of the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace.

    Here is a primary source account of Henry VIII’s sixth, and Catherine’s third, marriage. It is the notarial attestation by Richard Watkins, the King’s prothonotary, and can be found in Letters & Papers:

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  • Happy Birthday Henry VIII!

    To celebrate the anniversary of Henry VIII’s birth on this day in history, 28th June 1491, I thought I’d give you some links to some talks, articles and resources on this iconic king. Happy 526th birthday to King Henry VIII.

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  • 22 June 1509 – Henry VIII creates 26 Knights of the Bath

    On either 22nd or 23rd June 1509, before his joint coronation with Queen Catherine of Aragon on 24th June, King Henry VIII created twenty-four Knights of the Bath at the Tower of London.

    Letters and Papers names the knights as “Richard (sic) Radclyff lord Fitzwater, the lord Scroop of Bolton, the lord Fitzhugh, the lord Mountjoye, the lord Dawbeney, the lord Brooke, Sir Henry Clyfford, Sir Maurice Berkeley, Sir Thomas Knyvet, Sir Andrew Wyndesore, Sir Thomas Parr, Sir Thomas Boleyne, Sir Richard Wentworth, Sir Henry Owtrede, Sir Francis Cheyny, Sir Henry Wyotte, Sir George Hastynges, Sir Thomas Metham, Sir Thomas Bedyngfeld, Sir John Shelton, Sir Giles Alyngton, Sir John Trevanyon, Sir William Crowmer, Sir John Heydon, Sir Godarde Oxenbrige and Sir Henry Sacheverell.”

    Who were these men?

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  • 28 January – Henry VII, Henry VIII and Edward VI

    This day in history involves Henry VII, Henry VIII and Edward VI; grandfather, father and son. For it was on this day in 1457 that Henry VII was born, this day in 1547 that Henry VIII died, and this day in 1547 that Edward VI became king. What a day in history.

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  • 17 August 1510 – The Executions of Sir Edmund Dudley and Sir Richard Empson

    On 17th August 1510, the second year of King Henry VIII’s reign, Henry VII’s former chief administrators, Sir Edmund Dudley and Sir Richard Empson, were beheaded on Tower Hill after being found guilty of treason.

    Chronicler Edward Hall records:

    “The kynge beyng thus in hys progresse harde euery daye more and more complayntes of Empson and Dudley, wherfore he sent wryttes to the Shynfes of London, to put them in execucion, and so the xvii. day of August, they were both behedded at the Towre hyl, and their bodies buryed and their heades.”

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  • 30 December 1546 – Henry VIII’s Will

    On 30th December 1546, Henry VIII signed his last will and testament, authorising changes he’d instructed William Paget to make on his behalf on 26th December 1546.

    You can find a transcript of Henry VIII’s will from Letters and Papers below, but I’d highly recommend Suzannah Lipscomb’s book The King is Dead as it guides the reader through the last few months of Henry VIII’s death and argues that Henry was in control right to the end and that his will reflected his wishes and not those of the Reformists surrounding him. It is a wonderful read and also contains a transcript of the will.

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  • Good King Richard Play at Kennington, UK

    Information on the Good King Richard play at the White Bear Theatre, Kennington, UK.

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  • Henry VIII and the Carthusian Monks

    Between May 1535 and August 1540 eighteen monks from the Carthusian order were put to death for the same crime, for refusing to accept King Henry VIII as the Supreme Head of the Church.

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  • Leanda de Lisle’s review of Cromwell: The Untold Story of Henry VIII’s Most Faithful Servant by Tracy Borman

    Leanda de Lisle’s review of “Cromwell: The Untold Story of Henry VIII’s Most Faithful Servant” by Tracy Borman.

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  • Henry VIII Books

    A list of recommended biographies and books on Henry VIII.

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  • June 13 – George Neville, and fighting actors

    On this day in Tudor history, 13th June 1535, courtier George Neville, 3rd Baron Bergavenny, died. He’d done well for himself in the reigns of King Richard III and Henry VII, but came undone in Henry VIII’s reign.

    What happened to George Neville?

    Find out a bit more about him

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  • Battle of Bosworth Quiz

    Today is the anniversary of the Battle of Bosworth. The battle took place on 22nd August 1485 and was between the forces of King Richard III and Henry Tudor. Henry’s forces defeated those of Richard, and Henry became King Henry VII.

    Test your knowledge of the battle with this fun quiz and scroll down for more resources on the battle.

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  • Henry VII’s Early Life Quiz

    As yesterday was the anniversary of Henry Tudor landing on the Pembrokeshire coastline in 1485 in preparation for claiming the throne of England, I thought I’d test your knowledge of Henry VII’s early life, from his birth in 1457 to his defeat of Richard III in 1485.

    Get those little grey cells working with this fun quiz.

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  • Elizabeth Howard (née Stafford), Duchess of Norfolk (1497-1558)

    Elizabeth Stafford was born in 1497 and was the eldest daughter of Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham, and his wife, Eleanor, eldest daughter of Henry Percy, 4th Earl of Northumberland. Through her parents, Elizabeth was a descendant of King Edward III, and her paternal grandparents were Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, and Lady Katherine Woodville, sister of Elizabeth Woodville. Her paternal grandfather was beheaded for treason against Richard III in 1483, which is a fate her father would suffer in 1521, beheaded for treason against Henry VIII.

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