The Tudor Society
  • #OTD in Tudor history – 5 April

    A still from The Tudors series of Richard Roose about to be boiled to death

    On this day in Tudor history, Bishop Fisher’s cook was boiled to death as a poisoner; Convocation ruled on the case of Henry VIII’s annulment; and the new King of England left Edinburgh to travel to London, he was now King of England, Ireland and Scotland…

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  • June 19 – Mary, Queen of Scots has a son

    A painting of Mary, Queen of Scots, and her son, James VI of Scotland, James I of England

    On this day in Tudor history, 19th June 1566, Mary, Queen of Scots gave birth to a son at Edinburgh Castle. He was her only son and he was fathered by her second husband, Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley.

    The little boy was baptised Charles James in a Catholic service on 17th December 1566 at Stirling Castle. The name Charles was in honour of his godfather, Charles IX of France, Mary’s former brother-in-law, but he was known as James, after his grandfather, James V, and the other Stewart kings.

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  • April 5 – A new king travels to London

    On this day in history, 5th April 1603, twelve days after the death of Queen Elizabeth I, the last Tudor monarch, King James VI of Scotland left Edinburgh, bound for London. He was now King of Ireland and England, as King James I, as well as being King of Scotland.

    Thirty-seven-year-old James, who was the son of Mary, Queen of Scots, and her second husband, Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley, had received news of Elizabeth’s death late on 26th March, when an exhausted Sir Robert Carey had arrived at Holyrood. James had been in bed, but Carey was escorted to his chamber, where he knelt by him, and as Carey recorded, “saluted him by his title of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland”. In reply, James said, “I know you have lost a near kinswoman, and a loving mistress: but take here my hand, I will be as good a master to you, and will requite this service with honour and reward.”

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  • March 2 – Anne of Denmark’s death

    Portrait of Anne of Denmark c.1605 by John de Critz

    Portrait of Anne of Denmark by John de Critz c.1605On this day in history, 2nd March 1619, in the reign of King James I, forty-four-year-old Anne of Denmark, died of dropsy and consumption.

    Her death may have taken place in the Stuart period, but she was King James's consort from 1589, when he was King James VI of Scotland.

    Anne was the second daughter of the late King Frederick II of Denmark, and his wife, Queen Sophia, and sister King Christian IV of Denmark. She married James in a proxy wedding in Denmark in August 1589 – you'll find my video on that below - and then in another ceremony, with James present, in Norway in that November. Following their marriage, Anne suffered a number of miscarriages and gave birth to seven live children. Unfortunately, only three of them survived childhood: Henry, Prince of Wales; Elizabeth, and Charles, the future Charles I. Although Henry, Prince of Wales, survived childhood, he died suddenly aged 18.

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  • June 19 – A son for Mary, Queen of Scots, and a Jesuit priest is executed

    On this day in Tudor history, on 19th June 1566, in Scotland, Mary, Queen of Scots gave birth to a baby boy who would grow up to be King James VI of Scotland and King James I of England. He was baptised Charles James though.

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  • 29 October – Henry VIII’s farewell to Francis I of France and the execution of Sir Walter Ralegh

    On this day in Tudor history, 29th October 1532, King Henry VIII bid farewell to his “loving brother”, his French counterpart, King Francis I.

    The two kings had enjoyed each other’s company at Calais and Boulogne, and Henry VIII was pleased with their meetings. In fact, things had gone so well that Henry VIII decided to marry Anne Boleyn!

    Find out more about their farewell, and what had happened during the trip, in this talk…

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  • 19 June – Mary, Queen of Scots gives birth to a son called Charles

    On this day in Tudor history, on 19th June 1566, in Scotland, Mary, Queen of Scots gave birth to a baby boy who would grow up to be King James VI of Scotland and King James I of England. He was baptised Charles James though.

    Find out more…

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  • A new king’s journey, an earl who kept his head, injury kills a king, and a viscountess’s “Little Rome”

    In part 1 of This Week in Tudor History for the week beginning 5th April, I will be talking about King James VI of Scotland’s journey from Edinburgh to London, following his accession to the throne of England as James I; the life and career of Henry Stafford, Earl of Wiltshire, who managed to avoid the awful fates of his father and brother despite his Plantagenet blood; the death of King Charles VIII of France after hitting his head on a lintel, and the accession of King Louis XII, and finally Magdalen Browne, Viscountess Montagu, patron of Catholics and a woman whose properties were Catholic safe houses in Elizabeth I’s reign.

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  • 20 August – A proxy wedding for King James VI in Denmark

    On this day in Tudor history, 20th August 1589, twenty-three-year-old King James VI of Scotland married fourteen-year-old Anne of Denmark by proxy at Kronborg Castle, Helsingør, Denmark.

    James had chosen Anne of Denmark as his bride after praying and meditating over portraits of her and Catherine of Navarre, and Anne was very excited about marrying him. Unfortunately, married bliss didn’t last long.

    Find out more about the proxy wedding, Anne’s eventful voyage, their real wedding and their married life, in today’s talk.

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  • 5 August – Two brothers killed in suspicious circumstances

    On this day in Tudor history, 5th August 1600, John Ruthven, 3rd Earl of Gowrie, and his brother, Alexander Ruthven, Master of Ruthven, were killed in mysterious circumstances at Gowrie House near Perth in Scotland.

    Why am I talking about a Scottish event? Well, because the brothers were killed as they allegedly tried to kidnap, King James VI of Scotland, who, in 1603, inherited the English throne from Queen Elizabeth I.

    But what happened? Did these men really try to kidnap the king or was there more to the story?

    Find out in today’s talk.

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  • 24 July – Mary, Queen of Scots abdicates

    On this day in Tudor history, 24th July 1567, twenty-four-year-old Mary, Queen of Scots, who was imprisoned at Lochleven Castle, and who was recovering after miscarrying twins, was threatened with violence and forced to abdicate. Her young son, James, became King James VI of Scotland in her place.

    I share a contemporary account from Mary’s private secretary regarding what happened that day and how Mary was forced to abdicate.

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  • July 2018 – Tudor Life – James VI & I

    In this month’s Tudor Life magazine we are focussing on James VI of Scotland who became the first king of Britain, James I. It’s an interesting view of the man who took over from Elizabeth I.

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  • James I and VI: Tudor King by Heather R. Darsie

    19th June 2016 marks the 450th birthday of King James I and VI of England and Scotland. Unification between the two countries, though at times strained, was brought about by James ascending the throne of England in 1603. The unification was the result of one hundred years of Tudor politics.

    Back in 1503, Henry VII arranged for his eldest daughter, Margaret Tudor, to marry James IV of Scotland. Margaret during the course of the marriage gave birth to the future James V in 1512. Fighting between Scotland and England resumed. In 1523, Henry VIII attempted to unite the thrones of Scotland and England by offering his daughter, Princess Mary, as a bride for James V. This proposal was rejected. Moving forward several years, James V married the French Mary of Guise in 1538. Henry VIII had lost his third wife in October 1537 and was seeking a new bride. James V beat his uncle, Henry VIII, who was also trying to marry Mary of Guise. In 1541, James V’s mother and Henry VIII’s sister, Margaret Tudor, passed away; this effectively ended the nearly thirty-year truce between Scotland and England. A war broke out, which saw the death of James V due to illness and depression of the current state of war in December 1542.

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