A couple of weeks ago we asked our Instagram followers to vote on their favourite Tudor Monarch and wife of Henry VIII. We combined the votes with the most searched questions on Google and the country in which they are most popular. Here are the results!
On this day in Tudor history, 23rd December 1558, just over a month after her accession, England’s new queen, Elizabeth I, daughter of King Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn, moved from Somerset House to Whitehall Palace, which became her principal residence.
Whitehall, formerly York Place, had once been home to her mother, Anne Boleyn, and had been the setting of Anne’s marriage to Henry VIII. I wonder if Elizabeth felt close to her mother there.
Find out more about Whitehall Palace, and also Somerset Place, the property Elizabeth left, in today’s talk.[Read More...]
On this day in Tudor history, 20th December 1583, the day after his son-in-law, John Somerville, had been found dead in his cell, Warwickshire gentleman Edward Arden was hanged, drawn and quartered at Smithfield.
Arden, who was related to William Shakespeare’s mother, Mary Arden, and married to a member of the Throckmorton family, had been found guilty of treason, after being implicated in Somerville’s plot to kill the queen.
But was Arden actually guilty? Why didn’t others involved end up being executed too?
Find out more about Edward Arden and what happened in 1583, in today’s talk.[Read More...]
On this day in Tudor history, 19th December 1583, twenty-three-year-old convicted conspirator, John Somerville, was found dead in his cell at Newgate Prison. His death was said to be suicide, due to his poor mental health, but some Catholics believed that he had been killed.
Somerville had been found guilty of conspiring to assassinate the queen, but did he really mean to? Was he mentally ill? Was he manipulated by others?
Find out more about John Somerville in today’s talk.[Read More...]
On this day in Tudor history, 17th December 1559, fifty-five-year-old Matthew Parker was consecrated as Queen Elizabeth I’s Archbishop of Canterbury. It was an office which Parker did not want and would not have accepted if “he had not been so much bound to the mother”.
What did he mean by that?
Well, when he was Anne Boleyn’s chaplain in 1536, the queen had met with him just six days before her arrest and he made her a promise.
Find out more about Matthew Parker, his life and that meeting with Anne Boleyn, in today’s talk:[Read More...]
As it was the anniversary of Elizabeth I’s accession this week, I thought we’d celebrate her reign once more with an Elizabeth I-themed quiz. This time, about portrayals of the queen in movies and on TV.
Good luck![Read More...]
As today is the anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth I, on 17th November 1558, I thought I’d share with you some links to Elizabeth I resources here on the Tudor Society website.[Read More...]
On this day in Tudor history, 18th October 1555, Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, finally received permission from her half-sister, Queen Mary I, to leave court and travel to her own estate at Hatfield, rather than return to house arrest in Woodstock.
Poor Elizabeth had spent the last 18 months being watched or imprisoned, so this must have been a huge relief.
But why had Elizabeth been watched and confined? What had she gone through and why?
Find out more about this awful part of Elizabeth I’s life in today’s talk.[Read More...]
Historian Estelle Paranque is our August expert speaker, talking to us on "Elizabeth I of England Through Valois Eyes: Power, Representation, and Diplomacy in the Reign of the Queen 1558-1588".
Estelle will be joining us in the Tudor Society chatroom at https://www.tudorsociety.com/chatroom/ for a Q&A session on her talk on Elizabeth I and her research, on 22nd August.
Here are the times in different time zones. If your time zone isn't listed you can use https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html to convert the London time to your zone.
- London, UK - Saturday 22 August at 4pm
- Madrid, Spain - Saturday 22 August at 5pm
- New York, USA - Saturday 22 August at 11am
- Los Angeles, USA - Saturday 22 August at 8am
- Sydney, Australia - Sunday 23 August at 1am
- Adelaide, Australia - Saturday 22 August at 00.300
Our August expert speaker is historian Estelle Paranque, historian in Queenship, Royal, and Diplomatic Studies, and author of
Elizabeth I of England Through Valois Eyes: Power, Representation, and Diplomacy in the Reign of the Queen 1558-1588. Estelle will be talking to us about her favourite historical character, Queen Elizabeth I, and her relationship with France.
On this day in Tudor history, 30th July 1553, Elizabeth, daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, left her new home, Somerset House, to ride to Wanstead and greet her half-sister, Mary, who’d been officially proclaimed queen on 19th July.
Somerset House was Elizabeth’s new London residence and you can find out more about how Elizabeth acquired it and who built it originally in today’s talk.[Read More...]
On this day in Tudor history, 25th July 1535, the Feast of St James, t, the imperial ambassador wrote about a furious King Henry VIII who’d apparently been nearly driven to commit murder!
What had angered the king? Well, it involved Henry VIII’s fool and some foolish name-calling. Find out more in today’s talk.[Read More...]
On this day in Tudor history, 23rd May 1554, Elizabeth, daughter of King Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn, arrived at the Palace of Woodstock in Oxfordshire, where she was placed under house arrest.
Elizabeth remained under house arrest there for just under a year, and she didn’t make it easy for her gaoler, Sir Henry Bedingfield, and neither did her servants.
Find out why Elizabeth was under house arrest and what happened in today’s talk.[Read More...]
On this day in Tudor history, 3rd April 1559, the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis was signed between King Henry II of France and King Philip II of Spain. The previous day, 2nd April 1559, it had been signed between Elizabeth I and Henry II.
The treaty, or rather treaties, brought the Italian Wars to an end. But what were these wars? How was England involved? And what were the terms of the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis? Find out more in today’s talk.[Read More...]
On this day in Tudor history, 21st March 1603, a dying Queen Elizabeth I finally took to her bed.
Elizabeth I had been queen since November 1558, but now she was dying. She had deep-rooted melancholy, couldn’t sleep and was refusing to eat. She spent her days lying on cushions in her withdrawing chamber. But on 21st March, she was finally persuaded to go to bed.
Find out more about these last days in this talk.[Read More...]
On this day in Tudor history, 5th February 1549, in the reign of King Edward VI, fifteen-year-old Elizabeth, the future Queen Elizabeth I, was summoned to appear before Sir Robert Tyrwhitt, who was keeping her under house arrest at Hatfield while the Crown investigated Thomas Seymour.
Edward VI’s privy council were investigating whether Elizabeth was secretly plotting to marry Thomas Seymour, Edward VI’s uncle, helped by her servants, Katherine Ashley and Thomas Parry.
Parry and Ashley had made confessions, but what had they said? And what would happen to them all?
Find out in today’s talk.[Read More...]
On this day in Tudor history, 28th January 1598, diplomat Edward Barton died of dysentery on the island of Heybeli Ada, in the Sea of Marmara, off the coast of Istanbul. Barton and his predecessor, William Harborne, had played key roles in Elizabeth I’s alliance with the Ottoman Empire.
Elizabeth I had a good relationship with the Islamic World and it was something that was very important to her. Find out why Elizabeth reached out to the Ottomans in the 1580s, and just how the relationship worked, in today’s talk.
Recommended reading: “This Orient Isle: Elizabethan England and the Islamic World” – Jerry Brotton[Read More...]
Katherine or ‘Kat’ Ashley (Astley, née Champernowne) is the purported daughter of Sir Phillip Champernowne, a wealthy landowner in Devon, and his wife, Katherine, daughter of Sir Edmund Carew. Although we do not know much regarding her early years, we do know that Kat received an education unlike that of her contemporary aristocratic women. For aristocratic women, their education centred on what would render them desirable for marriage and as such, learned dancing, sewing, embroidery and music in the place of reading and writing. As such, may aristocratic women were barely literate at all. Kat, however, received an education that was equal to that of a man, learning classical scholarship and developing an interest in humanism, her father being unusually committed to the education of his daughters. Kat’s humanist leanings and interests caught the eye of Thomas Cromwell, who suggested that she be appointed to the household of Princess Elizabeth. It is this appointment which would shape her life, and mark her as a historical figure worthy of note.[Read More...]
On this day in Tudor history, Thursday 12th January 1559, Queen Elizabeth I travelled by barge from Whitehall to the Tower of London to prepare for her coronation, which was due to take place on the 15th January.
Of course, her journey wasn’t a low key one in a normal river barge, it was a lavish one with decorated barges, music and the usual artillery fire. Find out all about this river procession in today’s talk.[Read More...]
In this week's Claire Chats talk, I am continuing my series on the Tudor monarchs, and examining their reigns for "the good, the bad, the ugly", i.e. their achievements and the not-so-good stuff, by looking at the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, who ruled from 1558 to 1603.
Now, I've already handled this topic, in regards to Elizabeth I, back in 2018, so below you will find my previous Claire Chats. But here's a bit about Elizabeth I from my book "Illustrated Kings and Queen of England":
Elizabeth I was born on 7 September 1533 at Greenwich Palace. She was the daughter of Henry VIII and his second wife Anne Boleyn. Her mother was executed for alleged adultery and treason in May 1536 and within two months of her mother's death Parliament had confirmed that Elizabeth's parents' marriage was invalid and that Elizabeth was illegitimate.
In 1547, following her father's death, Elizabeth moved in with her stepmother the Dowager Queen Catherine Parr, and her husband Thomas Seymour. There, she became involved in a scandal with Seymour, who would visit Elizabeth's chamber, dressed only in his night-gown, and proceed to tickle and stroke the teenaged girl. Eventually, Catherine arranged for Elizabeth to go and live with her good friends, Sir Anthony Denny and his wife at Cheshunt. Catherine died in September 1548, following the birth of her daughter, and Seymour was executed in March 1549 for allegedly plotting to control his nephew Edward VI and to remove his brother, Edward Seymour, Lord Protector, from power.
Although Elizabeth supported her half-sister Mary when she claimed the throne in July 1553, she was taken to the Tower of London on 18 March 1554 after being charged with being involved in Wyatt's Rebellion . She was released on 19 May 1554 and placed under house arrest at Woodstock. In April 1555 she was summoned to court to attend Mary I who was, allegedly pregnant. After spending a few months with Mary, she was finally given permission to leave court for Hatfield, her own estate, on the 18th October 1555.
Elizabeth inherited the throne from her childless half-sister on 17 November 1558. She ruled England for 44 years and made a huge difference to the country. England was in a depressing state when she inherited it from Mary I, yet when Elizabeth died England was a strong and prosperous country, a force to be reckoned with, and that is why her reign is known as “The Golden Age”. Her main achievements include defeating the Spanish Armada, following on from her father's work on the navy and turning England into a strong and dominant naval power, defending England from Scotland and actually turning the Scots into a permanent ally, increasing literacy in England, expanding England overseas by encouraging explorers like Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Francis Drake, and Sir John Hawkins to discover new places and form colonies, founding the Church of England as we know it today, raising the status of England abroad, surviving and defeating plots and uprisings against her, helping the poor by her poor laws, ruling England in her own right as Queen without a consort, and promoting the Arts – her love of arts led to theatres being built and great poets and playwrights like Shakespeare, Spenser and Marlow emerging.
Elizabeth I died on 24 March 1603 and was buried at Westminster Abbey in the vault of her grandfather Henry VII. She was moved in 1606 to her present resting place, a tomb in the Lady Chapel of Westminster Abbey which she shares with her half-sister Mary I. King James I spent over £11,000 on Elizabeth I's lavish funeral and he also arranged for a white marble monument to be built. The tomb is inscribed with the words “Consorts both in throne and grave, here we rest two sisters, Elizabeth and Mary, in hope of our resurrection.”
She is known as the Virgin Queen, Gloriana and Good Queen Bess.
Here are the other Claire Chats talks in this series:
- Mary I - The good, the bad and the ugly
- Edward VI – The good, the bad and the ugly
- Henry VIII – The good, the bad and the ugly
- Henry VII – The good, the bad and the ugly
Sources and Further Reading
- 10 Major Accomplishments of Queen Elizabeth I of England
- Accomplishments of Queen Elizabeth I
- Elizabeth I: An Overview
- Henry VIII and Elizabeth I: Pro and Con
- Elizabeth I, J P Sommerville
- "Greater Themes for Insurrection's Arguing": Political Censorship of the Elizabethan and Jacobean Stage by Janet Clare
- Tudor Literary Censorship by Cyndia Susan Clegg
- Censorship in Renaissance England: The Fate of Edmund Spenser by Andrew Hadfield
On this day in Tudor history, 29th September 1564, Michaelmas, the queen’s favourite, Robert Dudley, was made Earl of Leicester and Baron Denbigh in front of the Scottish ambassador, Sir James Melville.
Elizabeth I made Dudley an earl so that he’d be suitable as a potential bridegroom for Mary, Queen of Scots, but she couldn’t refrain from a display of affection during the ceremony, tickling him on the neck!
In today’s talk, I explain why Elizabeth I was prepared to marry her favourite off to Mary, Queen of Scots, what happened on this day in 1564, and what happened next.[Read More...]
On this day in Tudor history, 28th September 1553, thirty-seven-year-old Queen Mary I, daughter of King Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, travelled in a decorated barge to the Tower of London. She was accompanied by her half-sister, Elizabeth, daughter of King Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn.
Mary was going to the Tower to prepare for her coronation, which was scheduled for 1st October 1553.
I explain more in today’s talk.[Read More...]
On this day in Tudor history, 10 September 1533, King Henry VIII and Queen Anne Boleyn’s daughter, Elizabeth (the future Queen Elizabeth I), was christened at the Church of Observant Friars in Greenwich.
Elizabeth I’s christening service was a lavish ceremony presided over by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, who also stood as the little girl’s godfather.
In today’s talk, I share a contemporary source of Elizabeth’s christening service and also of the celebrations that followed.[Read More...]
On this day in Tudor history, 7th September 1533, at Greenwich Palace, Queen Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII, gave birth to a daughter who would grow up to be Queen Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen, Gloriana, Good Queen Bess, a queen who would rule England for over 44 years.
Happy birthday to Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603)!
Find out more about her birth, the reactions and celebrations in today’s talk.[Read More...]
On this day in Tudor history, 20th August 1588, there was a thanksgiving service at St Paul’s to thank God for his divine intervention when England defeated the Spanish Armada. It was thought that God had sent his Protestant Wind to save England from Catholic Spain.
Find out more about this in today’s talk.[Read More...]
On this day in Tudor history, 15th August 1603, Lady Mary Scudamore (née Shelton), a member of Elizabeth I’s Privy Chamber and one of her favourite sleeping companions, was buried at Holme Lacy in Herefordshire.
Mary was very close to the queen but suffered the queen’s wrath at one point. I explain all in today’s “on this day” talk.[Read More...]
On this day in Tudor history, 8th August 1588, Queen Elizabeth I decided to accept Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester’s invitation to visit the troops he had gathered near Tilbury Fort to guard the eastern approach to London from the expected invasion by the Spanish Armada.
In today’s “on this day in Tudor history” talk, I explain why Leicester invited his queen to visit the troops – there was more to it than just boosting morale.[Read More...]
On this day in Tudor history, 8th June 1536, the sixth Parliament of King Henry VIII’s reign met.
This Parliament passed the Second Act of Succession, which removed Mary and Elizabeth from the succession and declared them illegitimate.
I explain what happened at this Parliament and also share another “on this day” event from the very same day in 1536.[Read More...]
On this day in Tudor history, Queen Elizabeth I gave her approval to the Acts of Uniformity and Supremacy. The Act of Uniformity was incredibly important and it reflected the queen’s wish to follow a middle road where religion was concerned.
But what was this act? What did it establish? What did Elizabeth want for England and what happened?
I explain all in today’s video.[Read More...]