Saturday, November 29, 2008

Question from Catherine - Anne Boleyn's virginity

Hi there, as you probably know i am fascinated by anne boleyn and wanted to know that when she first had sex with henry the eighth she didnt bleed, but she said she was a virgin and when you are you usally bleed but she didnt so does this mean she had been seeing other men?

[Ed note: I thought we had covered this, but I couldn't find it in the archives, so I guess not!]

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Question from Elizabeth M - Relationship between Anne's family and Elizabeth in her youth

After Anne Boleyn's death, was there ever any record of her daughter Elizabeth's grandparents, Thomas and Elizabeth Boleyn, having any type of relationship with their granddaughter? Or any record of Mary Boleyn having any relationship with little Elizabeth?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Three years and counting

With all the craziness I've had this month, I totally missed the three year anniversary of the start of this blog! It started on November 9, 2005 and the first question that came in a week later on Thomas Cromwell. Now here we are nearly 600 posts and three years later!

And since it is Thanksgiving here in the States, I'd like to take a moment to thank all of you for your interesting questions and very interesting and helpful answers!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Question from Mike - Elizabeth I and James VI's relationship

What was the relationship between Elizabeth and James VI, i.e. did they ever meet one another, civil correspondence and also what exactly was James's feelings once he bacame aware of his mothers plight.

Thank you,


Question from Peter - Brother of the 3rd Earl of Southampton

The Earl, who was, I believe, born in 1573 had an older brother who died in childbirth. I've never been able to get the name, or the date of birth of the brother. Would you be able to find that out?

[Ed. note - This is in reference to Shakespeare's patron, Henry Wriothesley]

Question from Diane - Regent v. Lord Protector

What was the difference between a Regent, such as Margaret Beaufort, Catherine of Aragon and Catherine Parr were; and a Lord Protector, such as Edward Seymour was? Was Edward more accountable to Parliament than the Regents? And since Margaret and Edward were acting in place of minors who did not have full authority yet, would both Queen Catherines have been more powerful because they were acting in the name of a sovereign king?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Question from TudorRose - Rings on the middle finger

Why did the people of the tudor era and elizabethan era never wear rings on their middle finger?
I have tried researching this but I cannot find any reason/s for this.

[Ed. note - this was pretty much already covered in the thread linked below, but I don't have an email for the submitter, so I went ahead and posted it. Plus, if anyone has been able to dig up any additional information, I'd love to hear about it]

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Question from Kerry - Factions for and against Catherine of Aragon

For my coursework i need to know- what factions supported Catherine of Aragon, and what factions wanted to get rid of her- any help would be much appreciated.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Question from Diane - Elizabeth of York

I am curious about the rank of Elizabeth of York before she married Henry VII. Since her brothers, Edward V and Richard, Duke of York, were missing and presumed dead, wouldn't she, as the oldest surviving child of Edward IV, be considered the rightful Queen of England? Richard III, even though he was Edward's brother, was thought to be an usurper (and even his nephews murderer) by many, but did his position as the King's brother outweigh Elizabeth's claim to the throne?

Also, could anyone recommend a good biography of Elizabeth of York?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Question from Catherine - Anne Boleyn's ghost

Hi there, i am very interested in anne boleyn and there is a rumour that on the 19th of may every year anne boleyn's ghost appears at blickling hall. is this true?

Question from djd - Accuracy of description of Elizabeth's personality, etc.

I came across a full text of something called Historical portraits of the Tudor Dynasty and Reformation Period. It is obviously a very old book. The writer seemed to have an obvious bias and dislike for Elizabeth, as seen in the pasted text below. My question to all of you, who know a lot more about QEI than me, is simply "Was she really like this?" I don't form opinions from one source, and most books I read paint Liz in much more positive light. Thanks

"The courtiers of Elizabeth," writes a French Ambassador, ''were vieing one with another as to who should use the most flattery." It has been stated that some of the "loyal and chivalrous gentlemen of the Court" assured the Queen that the " lustre of her beauty dazzled them like that of the sun, and they could not behold it with the fixed eye." Birch relates that in old age she permitted courtiers to speak to her of her "excellent beauty." Her conduct to the ladies of the Court redounded little to her credit as a woman. It was the Queen's custom to strike the maids of honour ; she gave Anne Scudamore a blow on the head which nearly proved fatal. Other ladies received similar treatment. In old age the Queen's temper became most violent, and she swore dreadful oaths for little provocation. During the latter years of Elizabeth's reign Lord Essex and Raleigh wore the cause of several Court scandals, for no young lady of propriety could safely remain at Court. The levity of Essex's conduct, and his freedom with the maids of honour, was often a source of trouble to those ladies. On one occasion he made an avowal of his passion to the beautiful Elizabeth Brydges, which excited the Queen's jealousy and passion beyond all bounds. She treated the unoffending lady in the harshest manner, and even inflicted blows upon her person.

Question from Kelly - Why didn't Henry just take Anne?

This crossed my mind: Since Henry wanted Anne, couldn't he have invited her to a private, sound-proof room and raped her? I am not a pervert, I was just curious.

[Ed note - Kind of a sensitive topic, but I think it raises an interesting point about what Henry's underlying desires were. Did his desire for a legitimate male heir overwhelm his desire for Anne herself?]

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Question from Nicole - Anne and Henry's love letters

Does anyone have any theories on Anne Boleyn's stolen love letters from Henry VIII? I'm just curious as to what others believe.. such as who stole them and what not.. Also, what exactly was the Vatican hoping to find in the letters? Proof that Anne and Henry were lovers? If so, what would that have mattered?

Thanks everyone for any and all your answers!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Question from Deb - Henry VIII in battle

I know have read that Henry VII was an active participant in the battle at Bosworth Field, fighting among his soldiers. Does anyone know if Henry VIII every took part in a battle? Did he actually fight alongside his soldiers or did he hang back to ensure his safety - being the king and all.

Question from Laura - Minimum age for war

What was the youngest age that a boy could go to war in 1544? I am especially interested to know if anyone is aware of any young nobles who went to fight in France.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Question from Deb - Yellow mourning colors


I have read so much about the tudors, one of my very favorite subjects, but I am a little confused about something. I have read several descriptions of Henry and Anne's behavior upon receiving the news of Catherine of Aaragon's death. Some say they were really inappropriate in public by wearing bright yellow and celebrating. I also read that the reason they wore yellow was that it was the color of mourning in Spain, which would make the choice of color seem a little more appropriate. Which is correct? I often wonder if Henry had any regrets about the way he treated his first queen. Thanks!

[Ed. note - this was already discussed back in July, but I thought it wouldn't hurt to see if anyone has managed to come up with more information. Plus, I'd be curious is there is any evidence for whether or not Henry did show regrets at how he treated Catherine - although I know how hard it can be to try to go inside Henry's head!]

Previous thread:

Question from Mike - Why did Mary QOS go to England

Why did Mary QoS seek exile in England as apposed to France or Spain and what was her son James VI doing during this period of time?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Question from Nikki - Anne wearing red at her execution

i read that anne boleyn wore a red petticoat to her execution. mary queen of scots wore a red dress to her execution. red was a sign of martyrdom within the catholic faith. why it was a big deal that mary had on red, while nobody makes a big deal of anne wearing the same color, aside from the obvious explination that mary was catholic and anne was not? i think it's ironic for anne, since she was right in the middle of the break from the cathoic church. do you think she did this on purpose?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Question from Zinna - Legality of Mary Queen of Scots' execution

How could Mary Queen of Scot be executed as a traitor if she was not Elizabeth's subject?

Question from Sam - Jasper Tudor and Stephen Gardiner

I'm facinated by the suggestion that Bishop Stephen Gardiner may have been the son of Jasper Tudor's illegitimate daughter (Elen or Helen). Does anyone know what the source of this is? I've often wondered whether, if it was true, either of the monarchs he closely served (Henry VIII, Mary Tudor) ever acknowledged the family relationship.

Question from Kelly - Henry VII v. Henry VIII

People referred to King Henry VIII as a god because he was so handsome and 'godly'. So when he finally had a son they assumed he would be as 'godly' as his father. Did they ever say anything about King Henry VII?

Question from Diane - Henry VIII's coronation oath

Does anyone know where I could obtain a readable copy of Henry VIII's 1509 coronation oath document with notations in his own hand? I've only seen a small copy of the document and I'd like to see what the eighteen year old Henry thought was fitting at the time.

[edited title to change "Diana" to "Diane" -- since I have a name that often gets misspelled I try hard to get others' names correct - sorry Diane!]

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Question from Liz - Mary I's pregnancies and "Bloody Mary" game

As a kid, I remember playing "Bloody Mary." My sister, her friends, and I would light candles,turn off all the lights, and and whisper into a mirror: Bloody Mary, I've stolen your baby." The legend was that, if you chanted it so many times, Bloody Mary would jump from the mirror and kill you.

In retrospect, this game sounds morbid, but it was kinda fun in a spooky way. I've heard other kids have played this game and I wonder where it orgianted from and if its connected to Mary I.

I did a little search and found this: "On the other hand, various people have surmised that the lore about taunting Bloody Mary about her baby may relate her tenuously to folklore about Queen Mary I, known in history by the sobriquet "Bloody Mary".[3][1] The queen's life was marked by a number of miscarriages or false pregnancies. Speculation exists that the miscarriages were deliberately induced. As a result, some retellings of the tale make Bloody Mary the queen driven to madness by the loss of her children"

I was wondering if anyone knowns the validity of these claims

Friday, November 14, 2008

Question from Angie - Number of people at and traveling with the Court

How many members of a general Tudor court actually lived in the palace? I read King Henry VIII's court numbered from 600-800, but does that mean they all took up residence at Hampton? Those must've been some interesting family dinners! If an entire household went on the move, which was often, how many court members would come along with the monarchs?

Question from Angie - Elizabeth's virginity

Okay, we all know that Elizabeth I was called the virgin queen. I am going to assume the title was Tudor terminology for one who never married, because now I hear that she may not, in actuality, have been a virgin. Since they didn't have birth control back then, how could this even be possible? You'd think that with the numerous sexual relations she was said to have, she's bound to become pregnant, and somebody would've noticed it sooner or later. Any thoughts?

Related threads:

Question from Kayleigh - Elizabeth and Raleigh

From reading the majority view in answers on here, i know that people tend to believe that Elizabeth I died a virgin. I also know that she was said to have loved the earl of leicester, Dudley. What i am unsure of, is her relationship with Walter Raleigh? Did she love him also?

Question from Red Ned - de la Pole family

Hi like your site, very useful for research, I have a question about the de la Pole family. I know that they were attained for treason( well for being 'white rose' claimants really) Having done the usual google searches and trawls through all the books on Henry VIII( Bowle, Weir, Scarisbrick, Erikson) they seem to draw a bit of blank except for very basic details ( ie one died at the battle of Pavia and at the news Henry VIII celebrated). Are there any books or references to their claim or their efforts to led revolts or invasions apart from brief one liners
Thanks for any suggestions

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Question from Nancy - Tudors eating their veggies

Did the Tudors eat vegetables? Information on Tudor food and banquets seems to focus on rough bread and the "white meats" for the poor, and of course meats for the rich. Did these people also eat plain or made vegetable dishes, or much salad?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Question from Samantha H - Queens' Apartments and rooms

I have been looking for basic information regarding the "Queen's Apartments/Rooms" in the Tudor age. How many rooms were there? What was each room used for/called? I understand that each house/palace would be different, but I guess just a general understanding would be great! I haven't been able to find anything online.


[Ed note - We had a similar question a few months ago, but that focused more on the daily routines of the Queens and less on the architecture. Related thread below.]

Question from Christy - Breast feeding in the upper classes

When upper class women during the Tudor era gave birth did they nurse their own children?

I'm assuming that "regular" women (the other 98% of the population) would have nursed their babies nearly all of the time but what about Royal and Upper class women?

If they used a wet-nurse was this "required" by standards of the day or did they have the option to nurse their babies themselves if they wanted to. I thought of this when I was thinking about the little baby boy that Katherine of Aragon gave birth to that died when he was still an infant...did she nurse him? If she didn't but had wouldn't he have had a better shot? Were babies isolated from the large groups of people while they when they were first born, like parent's tend to do today, or was this concept just not around at the time?


Related thread on Anne's desire to breast feed Elizabeth:

Friday, November 07, 2008

Question from Diane - Catherine of Valois re-burial

Why was the body of Catherine of Valois left unburied for so long after she was disinterred for the building of Henry VII's chapel?

Question from Megan - Tudor dreams

This is a bit of a frivolous question, but my curiosity is piqued after my own recent experience. Has anyone ever had any Tudor-related dreams and, if so, what were they?

I ask because a few weeks ago I had an emotionally upsetting dream that I was poor Anne of Cleves, dealing with the self-confidence-obliterating realization that my royal husband found me physically repulsive!

More seriously, though, I have had several somber dreams where I am following the last days of Anne Boleyn -- in some, trying to save her.

I even had one dream where I was alternately Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn, seeing both sides of the struggle for Henry's marriage through the eyes of each woman, and finding sympathy for both!

I wonder if anyone else's Tudor studies and fascination have ever slipped into their dreamscapes ...

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Question from Haldira - Reproductions of Anne Boleyn's other jewelry

I am researching Anne Boleyn jewelry (other than her B necklace) and was wondering if anyone has any information on companies that do any good reproduction work. I know she's been painted with a cross necklace, and there is the emerald ring she was gifted...but I can't find any repro's, nor can I find any paintings as evidence.

Previous related thread:

Question from Sarah - Plantagenet v. Tudor ladies in waiting

It seems to me the ladies in waiting during the Tudor period were much more influential and daughters of privliged people that wanted a daughter to be at court to find a suitor. But when I read about the Plantagenets, the ladies in waiting seem to be more servants than anything with no real importance and marrying other servants. In one book it said, someone of real importance would never do chores, even for the queen. Could you explain how that changed from one era to another, and if this has any truth to it? Thank you!

Question from Mary Ann - Living descendants of Thomas More

Does anyone know if there are any living descendants of St. Thomas More? I know the male line died out (I believe in the 1700s), but I know that his daughters married and had children.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Question from Elizabeth - Jane Seymour at French court

I was reading on the website and saw that Jane Seymour may have served at the court in France. I have never heard this before and wondered if there was any strong evidence to support this, and what others thought about it.

[ed note - I think the passage that Elizabeth is referring to is in the chapter on Jane from Strickland's 19th century work on the Queens of England which you can find on Google Books]

Question from Diane - Jane Parker and Matthew Parker

George Boleyn, Lord Rochford, married Jane Parker. Was she related to the Matthew Parker who was Anne Boleyn's chaplain and Queen Elizabeth's first Archbishop of Canterbury?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Question from Lilly - Theories on the character of Jane Seymour

I have some theories concerning the character of Jane Seymour, and I'd really appreciate some feedback on them.

Firstly, I believe (and I don't think I'm alone on this) that the attraction of Henry to Jane primarily stemmed from Henry's desire to completely stray from the extreme, rebellious, unconventional Anne Boleyn with the typical male ideal of a woman: dulcet, softspoken, and submissive. However, I find it very odd that Henry, being a man who prided himself in his lovely mistresses and eye for beauty, selected the plain, lackluster Jane Seymour for his next bride. How could a man such as he utterly overlook Jane's pallid features and general, as it has been deduced, lack of sexual appeal?

Secondly, Jane was completely illiterate and could only read and write her own name. Therefore, she was most likely lacking of the wit and charm that her predecessors possessed and Henry so treasured. If she could not read, what did she occupy herself with every day?
Embroidery? And, being such a devout Catholic, would the routine church visits seem limiting to her, despite their length? Meaning, is it
possible that she may have felt unsatisfied with her inability to control what Biblical readings were chosen to be read during service? If she wanted to know more, what were her resources? How could a heavily religious person such as her be able to worship outside of a formal church setting if she were unable to read?

To expand on the above, since Jane was so pious, is it possible that she had issues separating evil from good? What I mean is, the Bible had
and still has scads of moral tales in it that Jane was exposed to regularly. In many of the Bibilical stories, notably in the Deuteronomic
Histories, blind faith in God is praised above all and evil was portrayed in many forms, all of which could be converted into good (although this
is an irrelevant sidenote, said goodness was achieved by religious reformation or, chiefly, by death and hope for acceptance from God). Could this have rooted a belief in her that there was good in everything and everyone and that that good must be appealed to as opposed to resented, because with faith in God, one could abolish that evil? May these views have influenced her attitudes toward Anne and Henry? That while they may have committed evils they were still capable of good?

And, if Jane believed in the above, did she see Anne's decapitation as a positive event that would renew her faith in God and restore her to
purity and goodness? If so, could that be a possible explanation for Jane's seemingly indifferent attitude toward stepping over the dead body of her predecessor and assuming her role as queen? It seems odd to me that a religious sentimentalist such as Jane (as I view her) would have no objection to a clearly innocent woman (I say this because Anne's multiple "evidences" of infidelity contradicted each other so mercilessly that only a real idiot would be able to believe it; the propoganda seemed to be effective, despite this) being ostensibly murdered. Unless, of course, she thought that her religion deemed it ethical.

Also, I find it interesting that there are many parallels between Jane Seymour and Henry's mother, Elizabeth of York. They both died of puerperal (childbed) fever and were both idolized by their husbands. They both bore sons, were good-natured, gentle, and pious. One of the only differences I could find (and I'm sure there are more than this, as I've really only grazed the surface on this topic) is that Jane was physically less appealing than Elizabeth, who was said to have been very beautiful. Is it possible that Henry may have been reminded of his mother through Jane and that that may have increased his fondness of her both during her life and after, when he reflected on her? And, since he was old enough to recall his mother's death, as she died when he was ten or eleven, could that painful memory have been risen by the almost identical death of Jane? What evidence is there of the relationship between Henry and his mother, Elizabeth? If it was good, then perhaps the simila!
rities between she and Jane were regarded by Henry with tenderness; yet, if he had a bad relationship with his mother, that would kind of shoot down my theory.

Just some thoughts - many thanks in advance!

Also, please, no one take offence to my references to the Catholic faith. My speculations are just that - speculations - and I have no intention to offend anyone, if any offense may be taken from my thoughts.


Sunday, November 02, 2008

Question from PJW - Mary I and Suffolk

Hi, can anyone explain why Mary I didn't have Suffolk sent to the block immediately after she became Queen? It's difficult sometimes to understand why some 'traitors' were treated so leniently whilst others were swiftly and harshly dealt with. I think I can see various political reasons, particularly around the time of the Wyatt uprising in relation to Mary marrying Philip of Spain, but I'm not sure why Sufflok seemed to get off lightly, particularly when Jane was still alive and there was the possibility he may try the same thing again. Many thanks in anticipation!

Question from Mrs GC - New Year

Howdy - did the Tudors celebrate the New Year on January 1, or on March 24 (I think that's the date).

I read that the old Tudor calendar considered March 24 as the day of the New Year, but they seemed to have had their celebrations and gift-giving in January.

And did continental Europeans at that time celebrate on January 1 or March 24?

[ed note - this was mostly covered in the thread below, but I'm curious about the continental courts and whether New Year was the big celebration that it was in England... I'm woefully under-educated on the other Renaissance courts]

Question from Marie - Favorite Tudors

Hey everyone. I always wonder which Tudors are people's favourite. So what's everyone's favourite Tudor and why?

[ed. note - I thought this had come up before, but I didn't see it in the archives... I'm kind of surprised since it is something I often get asked personally, not that I ever have a satisfactory answer!]

Open thread - Suggestions for future book discussions

After the success of Foose's "live blogging" of Starkey's new book on Henry VIII, I've had a couple of folks suggest we do some more. If you have a suggestion for another book that we can do as a group discussion, please post it in the comments and I'll work out a proposed schedule. To start with, I'd like to stick to NON-fiction books, although if this is successful and we continue it for a while we can certainly branch into fiction.

[I'm going to cross-post this with the general blog, but the discussions will actually take place on this blog]

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Question from Kayleigh - Field of the Cloth of Gold

Firstly, i would like to say what a huge relief find this site has been. I am 21 and tired of being looking at me as though im insane for talking and reading about the tudors. I love this period of history with a passion and im happy to find that so many others do to.

So, my question, I have read many books surrounding the tudors and have heard the 'field of the cloth of gold' mentioned many times? I was just wondering if someone could explain to me what this is?

Thanks in advance.