Sunday, April 26, 2009

Question from Monica - Other love interests

Has anyone seen a suggestion that Katherine of Aragon or Anne of Cleves fell in love with someone other than Henry?
And did Mary I ever have a love interest other than her husband?


  1. There is talk in the records about Catherine of Aragon's possibly improper relationship with her confessor, Alessandro Geraldini, during her widowhood. It's not conclusive, and most historians agree that the relationship was not physical, but her contemporaries were very concerned at the degree of influence he exercised over her and Catherine's fierce defense of him when he was criticized. The scandal percolated back to Spain. I believe Henry managed to get Geraldini ousted once he married Catherine.

    Regarding Mary I, there have been suggestions that she may have had an emotional attachment to her one-time fiance and the father of her husband, Emperor Charles V. She met him only once or twice, I think, and he was 16 years older than her, so it may have been a filial rather than a romantic feeling, as well as a growing inclination to regard him as the the head of her "house," especially once Henry VIII began to attack her legitimacy and withdraw his support and approval.

    The Emperor was very concerned about her possible reaction to Reginald Pole and did everything he could to delay his arrival in England until Philip had married Mary. Pole was also 16 years older than her, but he was the son of her former governess, the Plantagenet Lady Salisbury, who was executed partly for being caught with a suggestive piece of embroidery that combined the Pole symbols with marigolds (alleged to represent Mary).

    I don't know how often Mary actually saw him when she was growing up; Henry sent him abroad to study, and then Pole could not return once he challenged the King's Great Matter. Some writers allege that a marriage between the two was planned by Catherine of Aragon and Lady Salisbury. Charles V saw him as a definite threat, but Mary's feeling for Pole may have been merely a sentimental affection for a man who had upheld her mother's marriage and whose mother had brought her up.

  2. All I can say is "No" to all three questions. Or "not that is reliably revealed by the historical record."

  3. Regarding Anne of Cleves, there's very little information. When Kathryn Howard's adulteries were discovered, the Council also took time to scrutinize Anne, due to rumors that she had given birth to a son. The man implicated, however, seems to have been the King. Again, when Kathryn Howard was executed, the talk was that Henry would take Anne back, and that she was in "great grief and distress" when he chose Katherine Parr instead. The man in her life appears to have been Henry, although I don't think this necessarily means she loved him.

    A couple of fiction writers have recently suggested that Anne was a lesbian. I suppose being a discarded wife with a large income, a grateful ex-husband, a private retreat away from court, and the excuse of being "foreign" (in case some unconventional behavior was spotted) might be good cover for someone wishing to pursue a same-sex relationship in Tudor England -- but it's still risky. There's no evidence, however, that Anne's relationship with her female attendants was anything but the usual, and there's no mention of her having female friends among the English aristocracy.

  4. It depends on you view love interest. It will never be certain if they were in love, but guy that might be viewed as such for Mary (I'm guessing your mean Henry VIII's daughter) was Phillip, Duke Baravia. He was taken enough with her to personally court her himself, bought her jewerly and the two of them exchanged kisses. Apperently, marriage was talked about,but it never came to pass. According Lives of the queens of England, from the Norman conquest. According to Agnes Strickland and Elizabeth Strickland, Phillip never married in honor of Mary. Whether this is true or not is uncertain becuase that part of the story is not mentioned in any other biography I've read about Mary. However, her relationship with the duke is mentioned in several biographies I've read, including in Linda Porter's The First Queen of Englamd.

  5. Anne of Cleves was very attached to the only female servant servant she was allowed to retain from those who came with her from Cleves. Foreign-born consorts were often criticized for their foreign-born servants, and this woman was probably the only person Anne could talk to in her own language and dialect. Also Anne seemed to be remarkably ignorant about the begetting of children-- she professed to think that kissing was enough! Perhaps the language barrier was involved, or she was just glad not to have Henry "trouble" her. She was on distant but polite terms with her stepdaughters (later "nieces") Mary and Elizabeth, and once she and Katherine Howard sat up talking and dancing after the aging and ailing Henry had gone to bed. Perhaps the "Lesbian" speculations arose out of the hope that the poor woman had gotten some sensual gratification out of life. Very much "not proven", and very out of period.

  6. The apparently indefatigable Elizabeth Norton is releasing a new book on Anne of Cleves this year (in addition to her books on Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour). Perhaps she will have some new information on Anne of Cleves' personal life. I haven't been very impressed by her Anne Boleyn book, but I'm always willing to check out new books on Tudor people.

  7. I saw the back of Norton's book on Anne of Cleves, and it said that Henry had called her a Flander's mare. That made me doubt the quality of the research, although I may be wrong. I'm suspicious of an author publishing three biographies in one year, especially when two are on women who do not have biographies and therefore would need a lot of research. I wasn't impressed with her book on Anne Boleyn either, but hopefully I'll be proved wrong on the two coming up.

    Thanks for the information, the answers were what I expected - I hoped to uncover some new scandal, but I suppose Henry VIII's court had enough of that anyway!

  8. Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
    I would like to, kindly, advise you, that my Dear Ancestry Grandmother the German Princess and English Queen Anne of Cleves, with my Ancestry Grandfather the English Monarch King Henry VIII have had together two Royal Children.
    Their first-born Royal Child was their little Princess, born, in Sept/October 1540, which, then, became, my next Ancestry Grandmother, and their second Royal Child was the "Fairy Boyee", (which you mentioned, already, in one of your messages,) born, in January 1542, when this truth, about these their concealed Royal Children, have been exposed, by the servants, which loved their English Queen Anne of Cleves, very much, and wanted her, to live, also, officially, with her Royal Husband, and not just secretly. But however, in this moment, when this have been revealed, our Dear Ancestry Grandmother the English Queen Ann of Cleves, according which, all things and beings, in this world, which were clever have been named, have immediately lost both her Royal Children, at ones, as they had to be, immediately, sent secretly to exile, on to the Slovak Territory, of the Holly Roman Empire, where they, then had to live, without Mother and Father, in poverty and need and discriminations, and where all their Royal Descendants lives, this way, even, until today!
    Dear Friends, please, I would like to ask you, very much, please, be so kind, and do not talk, anymore, about our Dear Ancestry Grandmother the German Princess and English Queen Anne of Cleves, such untrue and disgracing her things. She is my maternal strait line Ancestry Grandmother, and she was the most beautiful and the most decent, merciful, kind, and the most humble Queen, this World ever had! And this, I know absolutely exactly! Because exactly the same human character have and had also all her Royal Descendants, - my dear Mom, my dear Grandmother, and all the Ladies and Girls, in our Family, which are the Royal Descendants of this English Royal Family.
    Please, be so kind, and just, read very carefully, and cautiously, everything about her, and do not believe any illogical statements, about her. Please, just, Open your Eyes and see, that she was a very beautiful Lady. Holbein did not lie, he was a GENUINE ARTIST! And nothing was flattered, nothing was old fashion, she just made something, which no one,in this world ever did, which caused, then, just quite logically, this strange/loving behavior of my Ancestry Grandfather the King Henry VIII, towards her. But all this illogical, disgracing her, words, against her, putting her down, were just made up, by her enemies, wanting to get, instead of her, and instead of her Royal Children and their Royal Descendants, on to the English Throne.
    But our Grandfather the King Henry VIII loved her very, very much!!! Just look, what he gave her, and how he treated her, made her the most richest Lady, in England! But on the other hand, he wanted to protecting, her, and also his most Precious Dear and Beautiful Royal Children, as otherwise, no one from us, would be here, today! His first three Children died, without being able, even, having children, is this not strange, enough? And the Royal Descendants, from their both Royal Children, even, despite of the poverty discriminations and very hard life, they, still, live in Slovakia, even, until today! And what they did to me, you can read on:
    Thank you very much and Best Regards to all!
    Prince of England from Cleves Ludovit Bialon.

  9. I wanted to make a correction to my first post on this query. It was not Geraldini who caused the scandal, but rather a later confessor during Catherine's widowhood, Fray Diego Fernandez, a young Spanish friar.

    Geraldini was sent home in disgrace for other reasons (he may have told Ferdinand and Isabella that Catherine had definitely been deflowered by Arthur); it was Fernandez who was the object of Catherine's passionate regard. And it was he who had the major confrontation with Henry VIII in 1515 and was dismissed, to be replaced by Jorge da Ateca, later Bishop of Llandaff.


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