Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Question from Nedra - King vs. Emperor

A question I'd like to ask is about emperors vs. kings. Since Henry VIII was made King of Ireland in 1542, couldn't he be considered an Emperor?

As an empire is made up of multiple kingdoms as I understand it, wouldn't having 2 kingdoms
qualify him as an Emperor? Why wasn't Britain considered an empire back then?

Also, why didn't James I step-up his title and call himself an Emperor too? He was King of Scotland, England, and Ireland.

Question from Carlyn - Elizabeth's Horn of Windsor

Hi everyone,
I am trying to illustrate a scene showing all the different poison antidotes used in the 16th century. One section has Elizabeth’s Horn of Windsor. Does anyone have a rough idea of what it looked like? I am not sure if Elizabeth’s “alicorn” was a rhino or narwhal horn. They look significantly different. The Narwhal is long and thin while the rhino is short and thick.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Question from Deb - Pregnancy examinations before executions

I was reading the blog at PHd Historians website, and some of the questions about Lady Jane Grey have made me remember a question that I have wanted to ask but never get around to it. Some people wanted to know if LJG was examined prior to her execution to see if she was pregnant. I have heard that other women were as well. Here is my question - What if Jane was pregnant? Or Anne Boleyn for that matter? Would the execution have been delayed? Would the mother be spared? Is there any record of this type of situation occurring? I don't know if anybody knows the answer, but I would be very interested in hearing your comments about this. Thanks!

Related discussion on Anne Boleyn's possible pregnancy at execution here:

Question from Nedra - Edward I

Not exactly Tudor related, but I thought I would ask:

Why was Edward 'Longshanks' numbered as 'Edward I'? Shouldn't he be 'Edward II' as there was Edward the Confessor before him?

And why wasn't Edward the Confessor numbered?

[Ed note - Normally I shy away from posting questions too far removed from the Tudor period, but the second part ties in to our recent "numbering" discussion. And the submitter didn't leave an email address, so I couldn't respond directly.]

Related thread:

Monday, October 27, 2008

Open Thread - Introduce yourselves!

I can't take credit for this excellent idea, that all goes to PhD Historian. I'm sure most of us have been curious about the other "regulars", so here's a chance to tell everyone a little about yourself. How did you get into Tudor history? Are you studying or researching the Tudors at school (for degrees, for history requirements, etc.) - or did you in the past? Any additional info such as name, age, location, is fine too, but only share as much as you are comfortable with of course.

Question from TudorRose - Story of Edward Tudor in a red cloak

Edward Tudor seen in red cloak. --
During the reign of queen Mary I a man said that he saw Edward standing somewhere in a red cloak.
The name of the man was not listed in the book but his name must be on a records list because the man was imprisioned in the Tower for what he said.
Has anyone else heard of this story?

[ed note - corrected title to read "Edward" not "Edmund"... sorry, must have had early Tudors on the brain when I wrote that!]

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Questions from Daniel - Accuracy of portraits, etc.

Just a bunch of random questions!

1) Is it possible to know how accurate holbeins portraits were of henry v111 and others?
2) Is there any information on anne boleyns executioner?
3)What was the main meal for the rich and poor?
4) What was the most popular instrument?
5)Was anne boleyn and kath howard originally buried in st peters ad vincula or moved there years later?
6)What was the main cause of henry v111 passing?

[Ed note- yeah, I know, I'm breaking my rules about one or two topics per post, yet again]

Question from Diane - Language of the coronation ceremonies

Were the coronation ceremonies of all the Tudor monarchs conducted in Latin, even those of Edward and Elizabeth?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Question from Antonia - Currency conversion and value

Hello. I am trying to ascertain a conversion value between the current currency and Tudor currency, particularly during the reign of Henry VIII. If anyone knows of an approximate conversion value it would be greatly appreciated, foremost for "pounds" but I would be fascinated to know the value of other Tudor coinage, such as crowns and shillings.

My confusion arises after reading different views of the annual pension amount of £100. In reference to Mary Boleyn (following the death of William Carey) I have read this referred to as "paltry". However, when the same amount is given to Jane Boleyn (nee Parker) following her husband's execution, I have read it described as "substantial".

Any help greatly appreciated.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Question from Marie - Opinions on Joanna Denny's books

What does everyone think of Joanna Denny's books? Thoughts and opinions would be great. :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Question from Diane - Brooches on Catherine of Aragon and Jane Seymour portraits

In the miniature potrait of Catherine of Aragon (NPG 4682), attributed to Lucas Horenbout or Hornebolte, Catherine is wearing a brooch on the front of her gown which appears to be letters. The Holbein portrait of Jane Seymour in the Kunsthistorisches Museum is wearing a similar brooch. I know the Latin inscription on Catherine's portrait is "Queen Catherine,his wife" but what, if anything, do the brooches mean?

Links to the relevant images:

Question from Koren - Elizabeth receiving books from her mother

I've read that Anne Boleyn left a few books when she died to Elizabeth. Do you know what the titles were?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Open thread on Starkey's "Virtuous Prince"

If anyone has questions or comments on Starkey's new book on Henry VIII, feel free to put them in the comments! I won't be getting a hold of the book for a while, but I'd be interested in others' opinions and thoughts.

Question from Diane - Kathryn Parr's hair on her badge

In this site's Katherine Parr gallery there is a badge of Katherine. She is crowned and rising from a Tudor rose. Her hair is loose. Does that mean she was a virgin when she married Henry VIII (even though she'd been married twice before) or would all queens of the period wear a crown over loose hair regardless of whether they were virgins or not?

[ed note - here is a link to the image: You can also see it at the bottom of her figure at St. Mary's here and here - although it is cut off in the second one- sorry!]

Question from Jennifer - Margaret Beaufort's vow of celibacy

Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII, married twice after the death of Henry's father, Edmund Tudor. Following her third marriage, a political alliance to Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby, she is supposed to have taken a formal vow of celibacy and lived apart from her husband. Is there a date available for this vow and subsequent separation?

Question from Kathleen - Hapsburg marriage dispensations

It's not exactly Tudor, but Mary I did marry her cousin Philip I who was a Hapsburg, and this does relate to this question.

In an answer to the question about Elizabeth of York's pregnancy, it was explained that Henry VII and Elizabeth had to wait for special dispensation from the pope because they were related.

The Hapsburgs intermarried, but their marriages were between couples that were much more closely related than Elizabeth and Henry VII. Did they also have to get papal dispensation, or could they do without it because they were Holy Roman Emperors or relatives or the HRE? Did a couple always have to get dispensation when they were related, or was it sometimes overlooked?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Follow-up to question on Thomas More's grave

Here's the original thread:

And here's Nikki's follow-up from her visit:

asked a question before i left for london that asked about the burial place of sir thomas more. we all agreed that he was buried within the chapel of st peter ad vincula, despite the fact that all hallows barking by the tower has listed sir thomas on their website as being buried there. i took a guided tour of the tower (again!) and at the end of the tour the beefeater takes you into the chapel for the final bit of the tour. he speaks a little about the burials that have taken place in the church, including anne boleyn, catherine howard and jane boleyn. he also stated that sir thomas more is buried behind a door which the public does not have access to. no pictures, of course! after the tour was over, i asked the beefeater if sir thomas was really there and told him about the all hallows website claiming to have sir thomas' bones. he said "he is here, would you like me to prove it to you?" i replied "absolutely!" he lead me to a door at the side of the chapel and i walked through. i turned and to my left was the tomb of sir thomas more! i couldn't believe it, i gasped and he asked if i would like to take a picture. here's proof of sir thomas!

And the photo (click for a larger version):

Question from Marie - Which wife did Henry like best

Hey, I was wondering which wife did Henry VIII like the most?


Related thread here:

Question from Roland - Opinions on Kathryn Howard/Elizabeth Seymour portrait

Hi, everyone, I don't know if this has been posted before, but David Starkey claims that Holbein's portrait of the unknown lady age 21 (the one now said to be of a lady of the Cromwell family, or even Jane Seymour's sister Elizabeth) WAS actually of Katheryn Howard.

Opinion anyone?

Here are the links:

[ed note - We recently discussed some other aspects of this portrait, but I was curious if there were opinions on this particular issue]

Previous discussion:

Question from Genna - Tips on making an easy gable hood for school project

Does anyone know where I can find good, easy instructions on how to make a gable hood? I am doing a project on Catherine of Aragon. I am in grade 8, and have made a dress and written a 2000 word essay, I just need a hood.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Question from Kelly - Misstresses of Robert Dudley

Did Robert Dudley have (a) mistress(es) ?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Question from Elizabethan - Elizabeth of York's pregnancy with Arthur

Hi, I was wondering if there has ever been any suggestion that Elizabeth of York was already pregnant when she married Henry VII, given that she gave birth to Prince Arthur barely 8 months after the wedding? Or is it just accepted that Arthur was premature? Thanks for any help you can give.

Question from Martin - Mary referred to as "Queen of Scots"

Why is Mary Queen of Scots always referred to in this way? Is any other Scottish monarch referred to as "King/Queen of Scots"? Was she referred to in this way during her lifetime or is this a term used by historians.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Question from Ann - First female execution

I am doing research for a book I am writing. In it, a woman is sentanced to execution, and I would like to know in what year in King Henry VIII reign the first woman was executed, as I need to get facts right. Thanks

Question from Kelly - Numbering of a future Queen Jane

Supposing someone named 'Jane' became Queen (Queen Regnant that is) one day in the future.
Would she be 'Jane I' or 'Jane II'? I know that Lady Jane Gret was an illegal queen, but should the 'new' Queen Jane be 'Jane II' to differentiate her from the other?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Question from Will - Outfit of an executioner

Can someone please tell me what outfit an executioner wore as i need to make one for school and all the pictures i have found only show the hooded head. Thank you

Question from Elizabeth - Death masks

I have seen photos of the death masks of Henry VII and Mary Queen of Scots, but does anyone know of any other Tudor death masks? If so, do they still survive into the present?

Question from Elizabeth - Cause of Henry VII's death

I looked on the website, but was unable to find any information on the death of Henry VII, father of Henry VIII. Does anyone know his cause of death?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Question from Sarah - Few portraits for some, more for others

I never understood why Katherine Howard has only one small portrait which hasn't been even confirmed to be her, whereas Jane Seymour who was queen for a similar ammount of time has a few portraits.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Question from Diane - Holbein painting formerly called Catherine Howard

I've got a question about the Holbein portrait called "Unknown Woman, formerly known as Catherine Howard" (NPG 1119) that is now at Montacute House. This is the portrait where the sitter is wearing a simple black or very dark green gown with gold trim and a high collar. It has a Latin caption in the background giving her age as 21. I've read that this sitter might be Jane Seymour's sister but never how this theory was reached. How was it determined that it wasn't Catherine and who proposed it?

[ed note - this is the portrait in question]

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Questions from Daniel - Surviving palaces, etc.

1)Is there any origanal portraits of henry v111 or anne boleyn on dispaly anywhere?

2)Is there any other surviving tudor palaces apart from hampton court and st james palace,And other buildings that henry v111 built or stayed?

3)Where did henry v111 live?

4)And ive always wondered, what has happend to all of henrys v111 outfits he worn in all of his portraits? Same with anne boleyn,Jane seymour Etc.Would they be on display anywhere?

5)Did tudors celebrate new years,Birthdays Etc?

6)What did they do to wash themselves ie hair,Teeth and general hygene did they just use water alone?

[ed note - yeah, I know I'm breaking my rule of too many different questions in one post, but I'm too busy to break them into separate posts right now]

Question from Alison - Elizabeth I's signature on MQOS' death warrant

Can anybody please tell me, with Elizabeth 1's signature, she always signes ELIZABETH, but why on Mary Queen of Scotts death warrant she signs it

Thank you

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Question from Roland - Historical reference for "Mary Rose" name

Question about Henry VIII's sister Mary Tudor, (the 'French Queen' and later Duchess of Suffolk) - I've read books where she was referred to as 'Mary Rose', but I've yet to come across an actual historical reference to her by that name.

Was 'Mary Rose' a romanticized invention of fiction writers? I've a feeling that was so. Or was it that her name 'Mary' was mistakenly linked to Henry VIII's ship 'The Mary Rose'?


Roland H.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Question from John - Arrangement of burials in/under Westminster Abbey

Hi there,

My wife and I just came back from a trip to Westminster Abbey, and were curious about how the bodies are buried. In a vault, or in plain soil beneath their slab. Some stones have 15 or more names on them!!! Mary was beneath Elizabeth I etc. How does this work?
This question came about because I spoke to a remarkable old lady who was in the Lady Chapel (who's floor level is higher than the rest), who was telling me that "No-one's been down there for around 30 years since we though there was a gas leak under Mary Q of Scots." she continued, "There's a stone on the floor over there that turns and you can get down".
I wonder if there's a plan or something.
The lady also mentioned that during a search for a particular monarch's body, they knew where to look first, but in order to have an excuse for a good rummage, they searched all the other caskets etc first!!!
Any info on this stuff would be good.
Anyone drawn up a layout of the foundations or lower floors of the Abbey?

Question from Mary Ann - Elizabeth having her mother re-buried

Why didn't Elizabeth I have her mother's body removed from St. Peter ad Vincula and given a more suitable burial?

[ed note - although we've had quite a bit of discussion of Elizabeth and her mother, I don't think this exact question has come up]

Question from Antonia - Opinions of Phillipa Gregory's Tudor novels


I have been fascinated by the Tudors for as long as I can remember, and was delighted to discover the Tudor court novels by Phillipa Gregory (The Constant Princess, The Other Boleyn Girl, The Boleyn Inheritance, The Queen's Fool, The Virgin's Lover and The Other Queen). I was just wondering what the general opinion is of these books among the history community? Obviously there is some ficticious licence but I've yet to notice any actual "inaccuracies" as such, and think the books are thoroughly researched - but I'd like to know how others feel?

Many thanks, Antonia Kelly.

Related posts:

Question from Brian W. - Isabella Beaufort

The other day I was reading English Medieval Monasteries 1066-1540 by Roy Midmer and came across the following under Marrick Priory Yorkshire.

'In 1536 the rich and beautiful girl, Isabella Beaufort, whom Henry VIII had tried to marry, is said to have obtained sanctuary here for almost 4 years until the house surrendered.'

As far as I know the last two male Beauforts died at Tewkesbury (1471)and even if one had a legitimate daughter (which I doubt) she would not be a 'girl' in 1536.

Did Isabella exist? If so, who was her father? Any info welcome as this is puzzling me!

Thanks, Brian W

Question from Ashley - Pronouncing "Henrician"

This may be a really off the wall and naive question to ask but I have actually heard debates about it among history students.

How do you pronounce Henrician?

1) Hen-ree-shun

2) Hen-ree-cee-en

3) Hen-ree-can


Friday, October 03, 2008

Moving, round 2

Hopefully the final time for a while!

I just wanted to let everyone know that I'll be moving into my new place this weekend and will check in to approve comments and post new questions when time allows. I'm not in as much of a rush in this move, since I don't have to clear out so someone else can move in, like with the first one. I'm probably going to float between the two places for the next week since I haven't set up the cable and internet at the new place yet. Boy will I be happy when this is finished!

Question from Meg - Lines of relationship to Henry VII

Hi, about a year and a half ago my mother found out through a relative that my father's side is related to Henry VII. No one knows how exactly and I would love to know if this is really true. Do you have any suggestions as to where I can go to find an answer??

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Question from Lilly - Possible illegitimate daughters of Henry VIII

So, we all know that Henry VIII had several bastard children...

I know of Catherine and Henry Carey (still not affirmed whether or not he was an actual son of Henry) and Henry Fitzroy.

Somewhere, and I don't remember exactly where, I heard that Henry possibly fathered a girl by the name of Etheldreda (after the saint).

Is this true? If so, what is known about her and her life?

If she doesn't exist, does anyone know of any other females that Henry fathered illegitimately?


Question from TudorRose - Henry VIII's shoes

Has anyone heard of the shoe that was invented by a local villiger for king Henry viii?
Theese are the broad toed silk shoes that you see him wearing in his portraits.