Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Thanks to everyone for a great year at the Tudor Q&A blog! I had a lot of ups and downs in 2008, so I'm ready to put it behind me and tackle 2009. Several big anniversaries are coming up that touch various parts of my life. The 500th anniversary of Henry VII's death and Henry VIII's accession to the throne (and Margaret Beaufort's death, and H8 and CofA's wedding and coronation.... You get the idea.) It's also the 400th anniversary of Galileo's first use of a telescope for astronomy, so I'll be helping out with various International Year of Astronomy events.

Here's looking forward to a great 2009!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Question from Kathy - Recording of time in Tudor England and Oking

During the Middle Ages, the time of day seems to have been generally referred to in terms of liturgical hours (matins, laud, etc.) But I've never seen that used in Tudor times.

A summary of a council meeting on August 23, 1545, contains the phrase " pray with them for my lord of Suffolk who died yesternight at 4 o'clock." S.J. Gunn says Suffolk died at 4 pm on the afternoon of August 22. But I'm curious as to why 4 pm is considered to be yesternight (italics mine). Did night start at noon and day at midnight? What conventions replaced liturgical hours?

And, if I can sneak in a quick, semi-related question, the council meeting in question was held at Oking where the king (who was on a progress) had moved on August 21 from Guildford. Where or what is Oking? I can't find any mention of it elsewhere.

Question from Marilyn R - Alison Weir lectures and Gainsborough Old Hall

I live a few miles from Gainsborough Old Hall, Lincolnshire, a beautiful late medieval building that played host to Richard III and Henry VIII, amongst others, and which will be hosting a number of Henry VIII events this coming year, including Alison Weir on the subject of 'The Wives of Henry VIII'. I was planning to be away for a few days about that time but was wondering whether anyone has heard Ms. Weir speak, and if so, is it an event not to be missed?

For any likely visitors to this part of the world in the next few months, the events at The Old Hall are as follows:

13th January 'When Henry VIII Visited Gainsborough' by Paul Howitt-Cowan. (Henry stayed here with Kathryn Howard, who, to her cost, was rather too friendly with Culpeper during the stay.)

May 23rd 'The Wives of Henry VIII' by Alison Weir

July 10th 'Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk', by Dr. Steven Gunn of Merton College, Oxford

Date to be announced - 'The Lost Palaces of Henry VIII' Dr. Jonathan Foyle. - visitors are always made very welcome.

[Ed note - thanks for the info Marilyn, I'll add it to my list of 500th anniversary events!]

Question from Nikki - Tudor Rose print for framing

Does anyone know where I can get a nice print or picture of a Tudor Rose? I would like to frame a picture or print and put it on the blank wall in my bedroom. Thanks!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Question from Nancy - Surviving items of Elizabeth I

I wonder if anyone knows what is left -- if anything -- of Elizabeth I's personal possessions. The jewels I know are long gone. She is supposed to have owned something like 2000 dresses when she died. Did they all end up being filched away to bedeck humbler and humbler classes of women, until they became rags and disappeared? What about things like plate, books, musical instruments, or saddles?

[Ed. note - some of this has been touched on in the threads below]

Question from Elizabeth - Illegitimate children of noblemen

If a noble man had an illegitimate child, where would that child live, with the mother or the father? Would that child get some sort of title?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Question from Nikki - Disestablishment of the Church

This issue dates back to Henry VIII and I wondered what your thoughts were on the subject. I think it's ironic that this is coming up at the same time as his 500th anniversary of his accession.

What do you think about the Labour party trying to oust the monarch as head of the Church of England, and disestablishing the church in general? Will it happen?

On top of that, what would Henry think??!!

[Ed. note - I generally try to stay away from potentially politically-charged questions, but this one really does have a tie to Tudor history, so it is worth discussing.]

Question from Michelle - Verification of Portraits of Anne Boleyn

Have any of the portraits of Anne Boleyn been fully verified as a true likeness?
All portraits seem to be post her death or by an unknown Artist, which would make it unlikely that they were painted with Anne Boleyn herself as a live sitter. In addition - given the circumstances of her death, you would imagine Henry would have had any portraits destroyed.

Edited to add some related threads:

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Question from Elizabeth - Nobles at court and income sources

I was wondering, if you were part of the nobility class (like a duke or an earl) did you have to go to court? Or could you shun politics and just hang out out your estate? As a noble, what would your "job" be anyways? How would you make money? Lol, I guess that these are alot of questions, but I'm curious and I can't seem to find an answer anywhere!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Open thread - The Sisters Who Would Be Queen

I know I haven't posted anything since the request for suggestions on further book discussions, but I have been collecting the responses and we'll get to some of the others in the future. Both PhD Historian and I have received our advance copies of Leanda de Lisle's The Sisters Who Would Be Queen: The Tragedy of Mary, Katherine and Lady Jane Grey and he is ready to tackle it (I'm already reading two books now so I think I'll be waiting to start this one). Chime in with any comments or questions!

Our previous open thread book read was Foose "live blogging" her read of Starkey's new book on Henry VIII.

[edited to correct a typo and post the info below... I shouldn't try to post with a sinus headache]

Previous discussion on this book is here:

And I'll post an announcement for this thread and Amazon links on the news blog in a moment...

Question from Nikki - Henry VIII events in October

other than the british library exhibition shown on the blog page, does anyone know of any other exhibits that will be celebrating henry's 500th? i'm sure there's going to be a bunch.

i'm just going to miss the british library exhibit, i get to go over in october. i am NOT happy about that! haha hopefully i can find something else to see in october.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Question from Tracey - John Guy's book on Elizabeth I

"The Reign of Elizabeth I" by John Guy... him of Margaret More Roper and Mary, Queen of Scots fame.
Just saw this book advertised on Amazon for $110!! Is it worth it for me to cut-out the peanut butter and just eat jelly??

Question from Nikki - Spellings of names

Why are the names of Anne and Katherine spelled differently now? I've seen Anne's name spelled Boleyn and Bullen. Katherine's name is spelled with a C and sometimes a K. Katharine is over her tomb, but that was put up around 300 years after her death.

[Ed note - This has partially been addressed in the thread below]

Question from Shane - Infidelities and Henry VIII as a womanizer

Hey. I was wondering which men where unloyal to their wives? And which women were unfaithful. Also it says that Henry VIII was a womanizer in some books and says it was down to ill-luck that he had six wives, which version is true?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Question from Chloe - Catherine of Aragon and Henry VIII's coronation

Here I have some questions about the coronation of Catherine of Aragon and Henry VIII, that I have been wondering about as COA is my fave Queen. Any information would be very welcome!

1. Was there a coronation book for Catherine of Aragon. I have seen one for Ann Bullen, but cannot find any information about one for Catherine.

2. What crown was Catherine wearing/crowned with, again I can find this info. about Ann Bullen but not for Catherine!

3. Did Catherine have an orb or septre, I think it's probably unlikely but I would like a definate answer please.

4. Were there any pagents/processions along the way to tminster Abbey? If so does anyone know what they were about/looked like?

If you have any good information about the coronation that I didn't ask about that would still be most welcome, and I would be so thankful! :)

Question from Elizabeth M - Birthing methods

How did women in Tudor England give birth? I have heard of a "groaning chair" with an open bottom for the afterbirth. Was this a primitive version of our modern exam table that can be adjusted and has the stirrups? Or did they give birth in bed? I have also seen reference to a wooden device with handles for the birthing mother to hold onto?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Question from Miranda - Contemporary belief of Anne's guilt or innocence

Nowadays people don't buy that Anne Boleyn commited adultery and incest with all those men. In hindsight we can see that she was really executed for political reasons. Did the general public believe it to be true at the time?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Question from Bailey - Maundy Thursday services

I know that Mary I and Elizbeth I performed Maundy services - where on Easter Thursday they would humbly wash the feet of the poor and give them alms. According to Anne Boleyn's chaplain William Latymer, Anne did likewise, so we can assume that her mother-in-law Elizabeth of York, and Henry VIII's other wives did as well.

But I'm curious whether this was a ritual normally performed by queens in Tudor (or even earlier medieval times), or did kings (like Henry VII and Henry VIII) presumedly take part too? And would Edward VI being the strict Protestant that he was?

Henry VIII, being a devout Catholic, was known to have at least 'crept to the cross' on Good Friday. Perhaps he did washing too, but maybe it was just never commented upon at the time.

Thoughts anyone?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Question from Liz - Christmas customs, etc.

I was wondering what were some Tudor/Elizabethan customs for Christmas? How did they decorate. etc?

Thanks and happy holidays to all!

[Ed. note - I'm going to post the other Christmas related threads we've had before, and of course any additional comments are welcome, since I expect we'll get a lot of people stopping by and looking for Tudor and Elizabethan Christmas info!]

Question from Julian - More information on Matthew Baker

Henry Tudor's Men - Matthew Baker, [whom the Bretons named Matthieu Besquer]Liegeman and Squire of the Body, "faithful unto death"?

Matthew Baker was a member of Henry's bodyguard during the Breton & French Period of Exile [ his name appears several times in quotes from Breton reports of the period]
In 1486 he was appointed joint Governor of Jersey & Guernsey with Davy Phillip, [another "Squire of the Body, who was Knighted in 1504]
Baker served the-now King Henry VII in Jersey until 1494, when he seems to have been recalled to London. Thereafter he is said to have been thrice appointed to head three Embassies [which ones and when?]; and is said to have finished his Royal Service in charge of the Palace of Westminster, or "Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell" as it was nicknamed, [the central Offices of Henry VII's government]
This week, quite by chance, I have seen a reproduction of Brit Library Additional MS 45131, fol.54 - showing Henry VII's "deathbed scene". And I quote - "The chief Officers and other nobles are identified by their heraldic shields"! The Arms of Matthew Baker are shown by a figure at the foot of the bed.
So Baker served the young Henry in Brittany, at the Castle of Susciniou, - and was still high in his Service in 1509, when his Liege Lord died..
A lifetime of faithful Service?
Where might I find out more about the jobs Baker did for King Henry VII AFTER he was recalled from Jersey 1494/5? Who is the leading Scholar of Henry VII's Court and Courtiers, who might be able to either inform me - or direct me to relevant contemporary sources, or modern transcriptions thereof?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Question from Miranda - Jane Rochford's testimony against her husband

I am curious about everyone's opinions on why Jane Rochford would have testified such horrible things against her husband, which hardly could have been true. She had to have known it would result in his death. Was she bullied into it, or intimidated? Did she fear for her own neck? Did she hate her husband? And if so, why might she hate him?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Question from Lovey - Francis I's remarks on Anne Boleyn

King Henry VIII and King Francis 1 remained friends throughout most of his reign . I read that Francis 1 wrote to King Henry VIII after the execution of his 5 wife Katherine Howard, and commiserating over Katherine's "lewd and naughty demeanor", and reminding him that "the lightness of women cannot bind the honor of men". Does anyone know what Francis 1 said upon hearing about Anne Boleyn Arrest?,( I knew Henry VIII had broken off his relationship with the french, but Anne had tried to contact Francis 1 prior to her arrest.) Does any one know if Francis one made any comment in regards to Anne beheading? What about Charles V?, did he make any comments about king Henry VIII having her beheaded?

Question from Carlyn - Emblem books

I have a question in regards to emblem books. Did these books ever contain the emblems of kings and queens or were they more like clip art with morality lessons for the general public?

I think part of the problem is that I am not sure that I completely understand the difference between a king or queen’s royal badge and an emblem. Can you use the word interchangeably?

Monday, December 08, 2008

Question from Colleen - Grounds for annulment

I'm back...thanks for the answers on Mary I's death. My question now regards marriage - particularly, basis for annullments. This may sound farfetched (although you'll have to excuse me, as it happens in the book I'm writing) but say a commoner was raised to believe he was nobility. He marries an earl's daughter, the union is consummated, and then he discovers that he's really the child of some household servants, not nobility after all. Could there be grounds for an annullment? Keep in mind this character isn't very important politically and would therefore have no pull with Rome. This might seem silly but it's a very important plot point for me and I want to make sure I get it right before wasting my time writing thousands of words that might have to be trashed. Thanks!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Question from Sam (aka Merlin) - Jane Seymour's brother Henry

Does anyone know anything about Jane Seymour's brother, Henry? I've always been interested in him because he seems to have shunned court life and the opportunities arising from Jane's marriage and the relationship with the future Edward VI- very much in contrast with his brothers (Edward and Thomas). I just wonder whether there was a reason for it- some sort of disability or health problem perhaps?

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Question from Trezza - "Madness" of Henry VIII

I have heard reference to the "madness" of Henry VIII. Is there any evidence that he was "mad", or was his behavior acceptable for a monarch at the time?

Friday, December 05, 2008

Question from Lara - Mary "Rose" Tudor's death and her daughter Frances

Yes, this one is from me! Kathy teased us on the general blog with some information on the death of Henry VIII's sister Mary and the possible effects on her children. We also started to discuss Frances' personality and usual portrayal. So, I'm moving the thread over here to give Kathy a place to post any information she'd like to share and to give folks somewhere to continue the discussion on Frances.

Here's a link to the thread where this discussion started:

Question from Melisondre - Catherine of Aragon's virginity

I've been having a debate with myself about Catherine of Aragon's virginity when she married Henry VIII. She was married to Arthur first, but not for very long. Also, as we all know, she denied having sex with him until the end of her life. However she could have been denying it to keep her marriage and position in tact. So, my question is was Catherine of Aragon a virgin when she married Henry VIII or did she sleep with Arthur first?

[Ed note - I was really surprised that this question hasn't shown up here yet, especially since it has been discussed quite a bit on my email list! It was touched on in the thread below, but not really discussed in full.]

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Question from Sam - Tudor military

How far would you agree that there was a Tudor military revolution? Was it an evolution or a revolution?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Question from Colleen - Mary I's death details

I apologize if this question has already been asked, but I was wondering if anyone had any information on the death of Mary I. Not what she died of, but her actual death and what happened afterward. I know she died on November 17 of 1558, but when? Early morning, etc.? Who was sent to Hatfield to notify Elizabeth of her sister's death? Was anyone of importance in the room when Mary died? And she died at St. James Palace, right? Thanks for any and all information!

Question from Angus - Henry VIII's friends early in his reign

When he was a young man (18-26) did Henry have many friends close to him in age?

If so who were they?

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.

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.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Question from Laurie - Anne's mental state

Has anything been written about Anne Boleyn's mental state during her years with the king and after she'd fallen from favor. I've read the she would laugh hysterically at times near the end and wondered if experts today might call her manic?

Question from Hilary - Tudor contraception

What forms of contraception were available in the Tudor period? How effective were they?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Question from jessaluce - Anne's body at burial

I am curious to find more detailed information about Anne Boleyn's burial. Other traitors executed at the Tower had their heads put on display and bodies were customarily buried naked as the executioner had rights to the clothing.

What exactly was the state of Anne's body when it was buried? What became of her other belongings after her death?

[ed. note - some discussion of Anne's possessions have been covered in the posts below.]

Question from Diane - Essex quote on the Spanish Infanta

When Essex rode through London trying to rouse the people against Elizabeth and her government he cried that they had been sold to the Spanish Infanta. I thought that might have been a hackneyed reference to Catherine of Aragon and the Catholic cause but it seems not. Does anyone know what he meant?

Question from Simran - Why did Henry VIII wish to end his first marriage?

Why did henry VIII wish to terminate his marrige with Catherine of Aragon?

[Ed note - Yeah, I know, this is a pretty basic Tudor history question, but I have a feeling that it will bring around a variety of thoughts and opinions, so I decided to throw it out to you all.]

Related posts:
(and I suppose all of the childbirth/fertility questions are related too, but I don't feel like posting all of those links again, since you can just look at the post before this one for a lot of them.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Question from Emily - Further thoughts on Catherine of Aragon's miscarriages, etc.

This really isn't a question, more so a thought on a possible reason Katherine of Aragon had such trouble delivering live children.

This came to me today while researching a condition that a few of my family members have: a bicornuate uterus.

This basically means that the uterus is malformed into two distinct sections (forming a heart shape) in varying degrees of severity, and this results in:

-high rates of miscarriage
-high risk of premature delivery
-high risk of weak live births (the infant doesn't have enough room to grow, so is stunted in growth and weak as a result)

And I thought to myself, this fits Katherine's situation pretty well. I mean, obviously we will never know, and it's never wise to make a medical diagnosis hundreds of years later, but I think it's a possibility.

At least two of her pregnancies ended in premature births/miscarriages, (there may have been more, as miscarriages in the first trimester were unlikely to have been recorded accurately) and of the three that were born alive, only one (Mary, obviously) survived.

"Prince Henry," I think can be dismissed as a result of high infant mortality, as he did survive for several weeks. Her last pregnancy, however, resulted in a small and weak daughter (although some sources say she is stillborn?).

Healthy infants are possible with this condition, so Mary isn't a problem with this hypothesis.

The only true problem I see with this is that Katherine's mother, grandmother, and sisters all seem to have had no trouble conceiving and bearing live children. Mary, unfortunately, can give us no information either, as she was likely past her fertile days by the time she married Phillip. This condition isn't always an inherited one, but usually there are a few other family members who show symptoms. In my family, for example, my great grandmother and my mother are both good candidates for this condition, and my cousin definitely has it.

Anyway, this is just a thought that came to me.

People always make a big deal over Henry not being able to have children, when in reality he may just have had rotten luck with the women he bedded. Katherine may definitely have had some kind of uterine malformation, in my opinion, Anne's miscarriages were quite possibly the result of the Rh factor, and poor Jane Seymour never had a chance to prove she could continue to bear him children.

[Ed. note - other threads on the reproductive issues of Henry and his wives listed below]

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Question from Margaret - Duties of a Tudor bailiff

Roger Whitton received a grant to be Bailiff of Watlington in 1519. Would be grateful if someone could explain the duties of a bailiff in Tudor times.

Question from Diane - Why didn't Mary I execute Elizabeth

I'm new to this site so this question may have been covered before but I have always wondered why Mary I would put someone like Cranmer or Lady Jane Grey to death and not Elizabeth. Elizabeth was the personification of all Mary's troubles yet her life was spared. I feel that as Queen Mary was prepared to overlook personal attacks against herself but never against her faith in the Transubstantiation. Elizabeth never openly "denied the Mass" as Jane, Cranmer and those executed for heresy did. She took instruction and attended Mass (even though she complained in private). I don't mean this question to be a religious debate but only to discuss Mary's personality and motivation. How do others feel?

Question from Kristen - Resemblances among the Tudor generations

I was wondering if I could gauge the opinions of the regular bloggers on this forum regarding the resemblances of two generations of Tudor siblings based on the known descriptions of these people. Who do you think Arthur, Margaret, Henry, and Mary resembled respectively? Likewise, who did Mary I resemble more - Henry or her mother Catherine of Aragon?

Thank you all once again for your help!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Question from Kelly - Motto for Henry VIII

Did Henry VIII have a motto?

500th post!

We hit 400 on July 16 of this year and now we're already up to 500! Don't worry, I won't keep posting at each multiple of 100... But maybe I'll have to find something special to commemorate 1000.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

More possible delays

No hurricanes this time, thank goodness. The house has sold and unfortunately my new place won’t be ready for another couple of weeks, so my stuff is going to be in a couple of friends’ garages and I will be staying with family. I’ll be tied up with getting the stuff out of the old house on Thursday and Friday of this week, but things should be back to something passing as normal after that. There will probably be another break in posting in the first part of October when I move into the new place. I’ll be sooooo glad when all of this is over and done with!

Question from Tracey - Fate of the families of Norris, Weston and Brereton

Norris, Weston, Brereton...what happened to their families?

I haven't been able to find any information that goes past their executions. Weston's wife and mother offered a generous sum to Henry to allow Weston to live, but Henry declined their money. What happened to Weston's wife, for instance?

Did any of these three families continue at court? Were they relegated to the country, either purposely or by their own wish?


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Question from Lauren - Quotes from Mary Queen of Scots

Hi everyone! I've been trying to find quotes attributed to Mary, Queen of Scots and am not having any luck (well besides "In my end is my beginning"). Does anyone know of other quotes that I am overlooking? Thank you so much for you help!

Question from KB - More on John Perrot

I am interested to know what the community thinks about Sir John Perrot's relationship with Henry VIII; whether he was Elizabeth's half-brother or not.

I have him listed as the son of Thomas Perrot and Mary Berkeley. I know very little else about him except that his grandson Thomas married Dorothy Devereux, daughter of Lettice Knolls Devereux and sister to Penelope Devereux Rich.

So I geuss the question is whether Mary Berkeley was Henry VIII's mistress 8-10 months before John's birth - a date I don't have to hand.

Any information, thoughts or trivia would be welcome. Thanks.

[Ed. note - This has sort of already been addressed, but I don't think we've had much discussion on John himself.]

Previous threads:

Friday, September 12, 2008

Possible blog posting interruptions and delays

Courtesy of Hurricane Ike --

The odds are good that I won't have much in the way of satellite internet access starting sometime this evening and lasting until sometime Saturday evening given the rain we're expecting from Hurricane Ike. It might just end up being windy with only some light rain in my area, but we'll just have to see. So, there probably won't be any new questions posted or comments approved until Saturday evening or sometime on Sunday.


Well, we ended up with a very breezy day, but no rain in my area. A little rain would have actually been a good thing since we need it, but given a choice between no rain and way too much rain, I'll take no rain!

Question from Charlotte - "Significant decision" topic for essay

Hi im doing an essay on a significant decision in Tudor history and im a bit stuck for a topic so i was just wondering if any one has any ideas?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Question from Jason - Yet more crime and punishment

hi, im researching law and order, crime and punishment in tudor stuart england for history.
just wondering if anybody has any information on

1 what crimes were considered particularly serious, and what laws and actions were passed to control this.

2 'what legal processes were availible in tudor stuart england'

3 what crimes were considerd worthy of long term imprisonment or the death penalty.

any help regarding these questions would be greatly appreciated. thanks

[ed. note - this is obviously a popular research subject in schools, since it comes up every year. Some of these questions area little more specific than we've gotten in the past, which is why I went ahead and posed them.]

Previous related threads:

Question from Kelly - Heavy alcohol consumption

Did any of the Tudors beside Henry VIII drink heavily?

[Ed. note - We've already covered this for the wives, but any other comments are welcome.]

Previous thread:

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Question from Nikki - Catholicism and the current Prince of Wales

I know this isn't Tudor related, but I don't know who else to ask. Is Camilla Parker Bowles still Roman Catholic? Andrew Parker Bowles was Catholic and their children were raised as Catholics.

I know that the King cannot be married to a Catholic, so I am guessing that Camilla denounced her Catholic faith before marrying Charles?

Why didn't they have an official wedding within the Church of England instead of the small blessing at St. George's Chapel? Seems to me like the King of England would want it to be as official as possible!

[Ed. note - I generally shy away from modern Royal Family topics, but since the roots of this one go back a ways, I decided to go ahead and post it.]

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Question from Tracey - Francis I biography

Francis I of France...I know he's not a Tudor, but he was a big player in the life of Henry VIII...especially in Henry's wish to marry Anne Boleyn.

My question is the whereabouts of the biography of Francis by Leonie Frieda. It was supposed to be published this month (September 2008), but I have yet to find it listed anywhere.


Monday, September 08, 2008

Question from Judy - Starkey's new biography

Is David Starkey's biography which is coming out in 2009 going to be available in the USA? I see it is already on amazonuk.

[Ed. note - I keep periodically checking for this to come out in the US, but haven't found any info. Anyone else know something?]

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Question from Elizabeth M. - Burials in Westminster Abbey

With Westminster Abbey being a royal peculiar, how did so many non-royals wind up being buried there? Were these people, based on the accomplishments in their lives, offered burial in the Abbey by the monarch, or did they or their families have to ask for permission? Or do not all burials in the Abbey need royal permission?
Also, when and why exactly did Westminster Abbey seem to fall out of favor as a royal burial site, with Windsor being the preferred place for many generations?

Question from Carol-Louise - Image of Elizabeth I as a toddler

I was watching a documentary on Elizabeth I on video, which appeared on the Discovery channel a few years ago and the front cover bears the portrait of her when she was crowned queen at 25.
However, when the voiceover is discussing her early years as a small child, some of the images used to illustrate the points of Elizabeth as a toddler, were of charming portraits of a toddler with strawberry blonde hair and traditional Tudor dress.
I was unaware that portraits of Elizabeth I as a small toddler were in existence. But I have searched for them online and found no such mention of them.
Is it true that there are such portraits in existence or was it artistic license merely for the video?

Friday, September 05, 2008

Question from Nikki - All Hallows by the Tower and Thomas More

I was on the All Hallows by The Tower website and it says that Sir Thomas More has a connection with the church. It doesn't say he's buried there. Where is he buried and what is his connection with that church?

Question from Nolaboy84 - Jane's motto in Latin

Hi, I am a history major at Tulane, and Jayne is my favourite queen, can anyone tell me her motto IN LATIN, not Enlgish.

I know what it is in English but can't remember the Latin. This would mean so much to me for Personal reasons


[Ed. note - I'm assuming Jane Seymour, whose motto was "Bound to Obey and Serve" in English. Unfortunately my Latin education consists of one year in junior high and the stray stuff I've picked up in science and history!]

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Question from Elizabeth M. - Christ Church Greyfriars at Newgate

I am curious about Christ Church Greyfriars at Newgate. I read that Edward I's second wife, Marguerite was buried there, as well as Isabella, wife of Edward II and the heart of Eleanor of Provence, wife of Henry III. With the plundering of the tombs during the time fo Cromwell, the Great Fire of 1666, and the bombing of World War II, was there anything left to identify the burial sites of these women?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Question from Ron - More info on Anne Pedissiqua, lady to Margaret of Anjou

Re previous query: Anna Pedissiqua, Lady-in-Waiting.

I have recently discovered that Anna was L-in-W to Queen Margaret of Anjou wife of Henry VI. Does anyone know anything about, or have any idea how to search for, info on Queen Margaret's Ladies?
I am a direct descendant of Thomas Berry, husband of Anna Margaretta Regina Pedissiqua, and anxious to further my research of their lives. Any leads or other help will be appreciated.
Thank you,

[Ed note - The previous question can be found here]

Question from Nikki - More Tudor places to visit in and near London

I am lucky enough to be going to London again this year!!!! I will be in London 4 days and then head to Dublin for 3 days. (suggestions for Dublin are also welcome!!) What are some of the "must see" Tudor sites? I've done Westminster Abbey (my favorite place!), Hampton Court and The Tower. Is there anything I could go back and do at those places that aren't in the typical tourist guided tours? I want to get more Tudor history out of those places.

A trip to London is not complete without the Abbey, in my opinion, so are there any graves I should take notice of? I know where Henry VII and Edward VI are, and of course Elizabeth and both Mary's (I and Queen of Scots).

Any other churches or buildings that I can get to without taking a whole day trip to get to and from?

Question from Karl - Possibility that Henry VIII was the cause of the high mortality of his offspring

Henry VIII had little luck in establishing his dynasty. The number of miscarriages and stillbirths that his wives suffered seem excessive, even taking into account the time period when there was a high mortality. This is in sharp contrast to other contemporary royals, and even Henry's mother, Elizabeth of York. Would it be possible for the fault to lie with Henry himself? This would mean that Henry carried a balanced translocation, probably a new mutation. This could explain the miscarriages, stillbirths and possibly early death from cancer of Mary Tudor. If this were considered possible, would there be any way of extracting DNA to check this hypothesis.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Question from Gervase - Henry VIII's fool Will

I have read and seen in documentaries , movies etc., that Henry VIII had a fool named "Will", yet I do not see anything in legitimate print to say he was in fact an actual person who was devouted to Henry VIII. Is he a real person?

Question from Kelly - Royals being dressed by attendants

Did royalty mind being dressed by their ladies? I know this is a lame question, but this has been on my mind for more than 6 years.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Question from Leilani - Elizabeth's family identifications

Did Queen Elizabeth consider herself a Boleyn as much as a Tudor? Is there any record of her talking about or asking about her Mother?

[Ed note - The Boleyns part of this question have been discussed a lot, but I thought it might be interesting to discuss how Elizabeth showed her Tudor heritage in comparison. Previous discussions on Elizabeth and her mother can be found at the link below, which also has links to some other related threads.]

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Question from Paula Fullilove - Possible bastard of Henry VII

I recently read that the very first Tudor was a bastard child of Henry Vll, a son borne by Henry's mother's courtier who went by the name of Bess Fullilove. My interest is obvious as I have the same surname which I have found in the past to be surrounded in a lot of ambiguity. Can you give me any real info on this obscure bit of history?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Question from Tudor Rose - Reconstruction of Kathryn Howard's skull

Do you think that the skull of Catherine Howard should be dug up and reconstructed?
I think that the skull of catherine Howard should be reconstructed then that way everyone will have a clear idea of what she looked like.
Because up until now there has been no authenticated likeness of her.

Question from Kelly - Why were only two of Henry's Queens crowned?

How come only Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn were anointed queens?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Question from Christy - Effectiveness of bleeding patients

I am wondering if bleeding people, a common 16th century cure for almost anything, was an effective procedure for helping treat patients. It seems like this would not help a person, only make them more suspectible to infection. However, because it was practiced so widely, I am wondering if physicans during this time era saw positive results to bleeding their patients.

Question from Faith - Why did Anne Boleyn have to be die?

I have read a great deal about Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, and the ins and outs of Henry's court, but I just do not understand why Anne had to die. Why couldn't Henry have allowed her to enter a convent or find some other,less harsh way to be rid of her?

Question from Mike - Fate of Frances Walsingham, Countess of Essex

Does any one know what happened to Lady Essex I believe her name was Frances daughter of Sir Waslingham after the death of Robert Devereau? I also think they had one or two children at the time of his death.



Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Question from Leia - Diabetes in Tudor times

I know back in Tudor times they had deadly illnesses they called "the sweating sickness" and of course the plague and childbed fever. I wondered if there was ever any reference to a disease that could have been diabetes. I'm sure type 2 wasn't very prevalent back then, although Henry VIII would have been a prime candidate for it. I have had type 1 for 15 years and am very into 16th century England. I wondered if there was any symptoms in England teens and kids that could have been type 1. In the early 1900's before insulin was invented diabetes was called the "sugar disease". I thought maybe there would be something similar to this that may have surfaced during this time as well. Of course I know that many children perished in these times because of lack of medical awareness and vaccines and such so it may be hard to pinpoint this many years later any symptoms or illnesses that may point to diabetes. Also these children would have lived only a month or two at best so they probably went to quick for anyone to make the connection to the thirst and the "fruity breath" which is characteristic of untreated diabetes. This has been on my mind for a while- thanks for the help!

Question from Sara - Nickname for Essex

I had a question about Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex. I know that Elizabeth had nicknames for most of her favorites, but so far I haven't heard of one for him. Did Elizabeth ever give him a nickname? Is it possible that she gave him one, but it wasn't recorded? Or was "Robin" a good enough nickname in her opinion? Thank you for any answers you can give me.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Question from Terry - Mary "Rose" Tudor's burial site

Henry's sister Mary was buried at Bury St edmunds in 1533. At the dissolution was she re interred elsewhere and if so, where? He moved Henry Fitzroy, or at least someone did from Thetford to Framlingham.

Question from Elizabeth M. - Dorothea Stuart

Can anyone tell me anything about DOROTHEA STUART? Apparently, she was a daughter of Queen Margaret Tudor? But I have seen a source that says she was one of the short-lived daughters born to Margaret and her first husband, James IV, and I have seen another that says she was a daughter of Margaret and her third husband, Henry Stuart, Lord Methven. Anybody know?

Question from Liz - Ivan IV in England

I have a few questions about the accuracy of the story of the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. The story this year is that in 1583 Ivan IV comes from Muscovy to England looking for a bride and he ends up choosing Queen Elizabeth's lady-in-waiting, Mary Hastings.

Did Ivan really come to England? And if so, did he propose to Mary Hastings, to Elizabeth, or to anyone else?

I have found conflicting information on the internet and wondered if anyone could help clarify it.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Question from Margaret - Comptroller and Surveyor at Woodstock

"Comptroller of the King's Works and Surveyor of the Manor of Woodstock" - One of my ancestors (Owen Whitton) was appointed to this position in 1523 (he died 1554). I would love to know what this entailed.
He was also a yeoman usher of the King's Chamber. Would he have held this position first then been promoted to comptroller? or could one be both at the same time?
Is he likely to have been at Woodstock all the time, or would he have been with the King?

Question from Nikki - Elizabeth I's signal on her deathbed

In the book "Royal Affairs: A Lusty Romp Through The Extramarital Adventures That Rocked The British Monarchy" by Leslie Carroll, it is said that on Elizabeth's death bed she pantomimed a crown above her head with her hands since she was unable to speak. This was to signal that James VI of Scotland was to succeed her. This is the first I have heard of this?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Question from Gervase - Pearls and stones on gowns

Having been looking at 16th century portraits, not only of Mary Tudor, Elizabeth I, etc., but ladies of Court, they all have their gowns adorned with pearls (pearls seemed to be bountiful) and precious gems etc., I wonder, what did they do to remove the gems from the gowns. They couldn't possibly keep those gowns for very long, I don't know if they had deodorant etc. but surely, they must have had stains, etc. on them. What a job that must have been! But I always wonder if the seamstresses' continually made these fabulous gowns, or had to wait until the Queen made up her mind about style etc.. I would love to hear from our group with the answers..........

Question from Kathy - Archaeology at the Field of the Cloth of Gold

Has there been any archeological excavations done at the site of the Field of the Cloth of Gold?

There should certainly be some evidence left of Henry's "faux" castle and the cornerstone of the church that was planned but never built.

Incidentally, the Eurostar route from London to Paris through the tunnel under the English Channel comes out very close to the FCG site and there doesn't appear to be any structures there now at all. I would think somebody would have investigated this.

Question from Kivaldo - Food and costs for a Tudor banquet for school activity

I am a teacher of Y6 children (10-11yr olds). We will be doing a topic on Tudor's again this year and I am planning on tying it in with other aspects of the curriculum. An idea I have been presented with for maths is to plan a Tudor banquet. In order to keep it in context, I was wondering if anybody could give me an idea of some different types of food found at a Tudor banquet, but more importantly the cost of these (either per person or, for example, a leg of pork, the price and how many people it would feed).

I look forward to hearing from you,


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Question from Elizabeth M. - Biography of Elizabeth of York

Has there ever been a decent biography written of Elizabeth of York? Tempus Publishing has an England's Forgotten Queens series edited by Alison Weir, and so far they have had Elizabeth Wydeville and Anne Neville and plans for Matilda. Does anyone who might be next in the series?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Question from Nikki - "Britain's Real Monarch"

I was watching a documentary today titled "Britan's Real Monarch." The documentary claims that the current Queen is not really the true claimant to the throne. This dates back hundreds of years to Edward IV, who was claimed to be a bastard.

Edward IV's birthday was April 28th, which would have put him as being conceived in July or August of the previous year. The problem with that is that Edward's father was in France fighting a war during that time. The royal family tried to claim that Edward was conceived a couple months before Edward's father left, which would make him about 8 weeks overdue. There was a lavish christening celebration for Edward's younger brother, but Edward's christening was very low key.

There were rumors of Edward's mother, Cecily, having an affair, which would put truth to the bastard claim. If this is true, that would mean that Henry VII's wife was not of royal blood, which of course is why he married unite the houses of York and Lancaster. They claim that this would've made Elizabeth and Henry VII both illegitimate, which would of course make the royal bloodline completely different.

In the documentary they traced the royal bloodline as it would have happened if Edward was illegitimate. Margaret, Countess of Saulisbury is the blood line that they follow for the descent, as she would've been the true Plantaganet heir since her brother, Edward, Earl of Warrick, was locked up in The Tower where he died. (We know that Henry had her executed because of her claim to the throne.)

Michael Hastings is claimed to be Britain's current monarch and he lives in Australia. He moved in 1960 when he was 17 and would've been King Michael I. He's a Plantaganet descendant. Interestingly, he's in favor of a republic! Haha you think there's any truth to this? I know this is lengthy but I wanted to give you the background in the documentary.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Question from Barbara - Exhibited items related to Anne Boleyn

I have three questions about finding images of or belonging to Ann Boleyn.

1 - I understand that here is a medal minted in 1534 that is a likeness of Queen Ann, and that it is in the British Museum in London. When I look on their web page there is no mention of it. Is this medal on permanent exhibition at the BM?

2 - Is the locket ring (1575) belonging to Elizableth I that has a miniature of her mother on permanent exhibition.? I know that the Chequers Trust loaned it to the National Maritime Museum in 2003, but have they placed it on permanent exhibit?

3 - Does anyone know if the Ecclesiaste belonging to Ann and passed to the Duke of Northcumberland on exhibit? I think it might be at Alnwick castle.

Question from Lynne - Henry VIII coins early in Edward VI's reign

Any idea why Edward VI issued posthumous coins bearing Henry VIII's portrait for the first few years of his reign, in addition to coins bearing his own portrait? Was it convenience?--or perhaps wanting to assert and identify himself, since he was merely a boy, as his father's son? This has always puzzled me.

Question from April - "The Sweat"

When Arthur died they said it was the sweat. I was wondering what the modern day equivalent of the sweat would be. Everyone I have asked says they think it's pneumonia or small pox or even the flu. What is it?

[ed note - this is a repeat, but I wouldn't mind some additional input on it. Here's the previous post on the subject, which I responded to with some of the information I had at the time: ]

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Question from Gervase - Fascination with the Tudors

Friends, has anyone besides myself ever wondered why we are so fascinated by the Tudors? I have pondered on this question over and over again, especially when I see the actual photographs of the castles, letters etc., originating from Henry VIII, or Anne, or any other person involved with them. At times it is very eerie, I don't necessarily believe in reincarnation but I am puzzled by these feelings about all of the characters, especially Anne Boleyn. I believe if her father had not "pimped"(excuse the expression) both she and her sister Mary, she would have been married to Percy and happy. excuse me for rambling but if someone would care to comment, I would like to hear from you all.......Gervase

[Ed note - This seems to be the question I get asked the most when reporters want the opinion of a 'fan site' owner when doing articles on the Tudors (the series or the royals). It always makes me stop and think!]

Friday, August 15, 2008

A couple of quick notes

Hello all!

First up, I'm pretty sure that I'm coming down with a cold, so there is the possibility that updates and comment approvals might be a little slow over the weekend if I'm not feeling well. I despise getting sick in the heat of the summer (not that I really enjoy it in the cooler months, but I'm sure most of you know what I mean). So anyway, depending on how foggy my head is, I may or may not be on the computer much.

And the other note is about people including their email addresses in the question submission form. Although I leave it as optional, I strongly encourage people to put an address in there so I can email you to get a clarification of your question or answer it directly if it is something that is just a quick answer or already has been addressed on the blog. If you don't see your question show up on the blog after a couple of days, it might mean that it was already answered or that I wanted to clarify something, but without an email address I couldn't contact you. It might also mean that I did email you but my message ended up in a spam folder. Messages will come from either tudorhistory or lara

Have a nice weekend y'all!

Question from Jen - Henry's treatment of his children

Ok, so I love reading historical fiction but I really want to know how accurate they are. I just finished Elizabeth: Red Rose of the house of Tudor. Its from a royal diaries series, kinda of like American girl. Anyways, in the book, Elizabeth's father (Henry VIII) is a really mean dad. He neglates both of his daughters (He even seems a little scared of Elizabeth becuase he believes she's a half-witch. Worse, he taunts his son (Edward) and makes fun of him becuase he's fat---even though Henry himself is huge! Was Henry that bad of a father? Was he verbally abusive to his children?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Question from Meredith - Henry's deathbed fears

When henry was on his death bed did he show any indication of fear at meeting his god after all the evil he had done?

[Ed. note: I'm assuming Henry VIII here, but I guess some could see it applying to either Henry?]

Question from Faith - Best likenesses of Anne Boleyn and Elizabeth I

What do you think is the nearest likeness we have today of Elizabeth I and Anne Boleyn?

I have heard that one good candidate for the best likeness of Elizabeth is the Sieve Portrait which hangs in the Board Room at the Folger Shakespeare Library -- would you agree?

Thank you!


Question from Gervase - Rumors that Elizabeth I was a man

Friends, I once spent the summer between school waitressing and I met a young lady from England who told me that her professor in England once, during the study of Elizabeth I, said that there was a rumor that arises once in awhile, that Elizabeth was really a man. Apparently, in an unfortunate accident, the toddler drowned. Panicked, her guardian found a young boy,same age, red hair etc., and raised the child to be the Queen. While I realize that this is probably just a random rumor, in the movie Elizabeth I, the French Prince is complaining about her lack of emotion and he says "some say she is a man". Does anyone know anything regarding this story. I appreciate all the effort given in the blog.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Question from Liz - Religious terms

I was wondering, are Calvinist and Purtians the same thing? What about Protestants? Was that just a blanket term for a Christian who wasn't Catholic? And if you were a Protestant, would you call your self that or would there have been a different name?

Question from Gervase - Sainthood for Catherine of Aragon

I have been wondering, and have inquired, if Catherine of Aragon was ever considered for Sainthood by the Catholic Church? I cannot seem to find any documentation regarding the same, however, I would think she certainly suffered enough thru all kinds of humiliation and still maintained her faith.

Question from Nikki - Layout of English churches

I know this isn't Tudor related, but I cannot find anyone to answer this question so I thought I would see if one of you can!

Why are the church pews in English churches facing each other, rather than the altar? I noticed this in the Temple Church. I also noticed this in Bermuda, which is of course an English territory.

Question from Kelly - Henry VIII's private marriages

How come henry VIII's marriages were done in private? When his father married Elizabeth of York, it was done in public.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Question from Kelly - Elizabeth and Dudley's relationship

Did Elizabeth and Robert Dudley have a serious relationship?

Friday, August 08, 2008

Question from Diana - Mary's betrothal ring

Does anyone know what became of Mary's betrothal ring after it was presented to Elizabeth?

Question from Gervase - Notes from the renovations of St. Peter ad Vincula


Question from Elizabeth M. - Biographies of Catherine of Aragon

I have a copy of Garrett Mattingly's biography of Katherine of Aragon, written in the early 1940s. Has there ever been another biography of her? I am just curious why she has seemingly not been tackled by biographers since Mattingly's work.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Question from Nikki - Possibility of twins for Catherine of Aragon's first pregnancy

I was watching a documentary about Henry VIII and it mentioned that with her first pregnancy, Catharine of Aragon miscarried. Her stomach was still very swollen and they told her she was pregnant with twins & the second child was still alive. She took to her chamber, but after a month her stomach soon went down and they lost all hope that there was a second child. I'm going to assume her stomach was swollen due to infection. This is the first time I've heard of a possibility of twins?