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The Tudor Society
  • June 30 – Henry VIII and Catherine Howard set off on Progress

    Portraits of Henry VIII and his fifth wife Catherine Howard

    On this day in Tudor history, 30th June 1541, Henry VIII and his fifth wife, Catherine Howard, set off on their royal progress to the North.

    The main aims of the progress were to meet Henry’s nephew, King James V of Scotland, at York in September, and to show the king’s authority in the north, following the Pilgrimage of Grace rebellion, and to humiliate his subjects with displays of submission from them.

    Here is my detailed video on this progress, which lasted from this day until the end of October, and was a huge undertaking with the whole royal court travelling from London as far north as York. It was on this progress that Catherine Howard had secret meetings with a member of her husband’s privy chamber, a certain Thomas Culpeper.

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  • 23 August – Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn visit a royal favourite

    On this day in Tudor history, 23rd August 1535, royal favourite and keen reformer Sir Nicholas Poyntz welcomed King Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn, to his home Acton Court in Iron Acton, South Gloucestershire, as part of the couple’s royal progress.

    It was important for courtiers to impress the king and his consort, and Poyntz built a new wing on his property just for the royal couple!

    I tell you all about it in today’s talk.

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  • Courtiers and royal progresses – Claire Chats video

    The summer months were the traditional time for the monarch and his/her consort to get out of smelly and disease-ridden London and to go on royal progress.

    Now although the monarch owned many properties and estate dotted around the country, s/he would also ‘honour’ courtiers by choosing to visit them and stay with them while on progress. Can you imagine what a mixed blessing this was? How honoured you’d feel to be on the itinerary, but how worried you’d be at the cost of impressing the king or queen!

    In this week’s Claire Chats video talk, I give some examples of courtiers who welcomed monarchs into their homes, just what was involved, what they did to try and impress, and what happened.

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  • The queen and the royal potty

    Thank you so much to Tudor Society member Nancy for asking this question: “If the queen had to make a pottie stop between residences, how would that be accomplished? Does anyone know?”

    Social historian and re-enactor Bess Chilver has answered Nancy’s question, taking into account what a king would do as well. Over to Bess…

    Very interesting question. Our perception of a Royal, even now in these times of minimal deference, is that of a figure, remote and almost not human. Or at least, not subject to the usual human frailties and bodily functions.

    However, even a King or a Queen needs to use the (Royal) Potty sometimes, so where did they use it?

    Within their own properties, there were rooms specifically for their own private use. The Close Stool or Privy was the Medieval and 16th-century versions of the modern toilet. Mostly they worked in a similar way to a modern composting toilet except that the contents of the toilet would be removed by the night soil men. The effluent would be used for composting elsewhere – an excellent example of recycling.

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