Catherine and Anne

Yet another one of those days where two events coincided, this time also in the same year.

On January 29th 1536 Catherine of Aragon was laid to rest in what is now known as Peterborough Abbey, at the time Catherine_of_Aragon_Portrait_at_Lambeth_PalacePeterborough Cathedral. To the very end of her life, Catherine refused to acknowledge anything else but that she was the rightful Queen of England, and she lived out the final years of her life in isolation and as an exile within the country, without even the possibility of ever seeing her daughter Mary. There are many who routinely refer to Henry as a cruel despot without putting events in their context, and while I normally find myself arguing against such casual judgement, I find the treatment of Catherine of Aragon to be one of his cruellest and most pointless acts.

Today, still, there are people putting down flowers at her grave.

Anneboleyn2This is also the day when Anne Boleyn lost a child, the son that most likely would have made her untouchable in the eyes of Henry. But instead this miscarriage was the beginning of her end.

Rumours were spread that the foetus was deformed, and from this accusations of witchcraft, incest with her brother George and extramarital with a number of men were derived. There are a number of theories of who was the instigator of Anne´s downfall, did Henry come to Thomas Cromwell and ask for an investigation of did Thomas Cromwell on his own launch and investigation and presented the evidence to Henry. The answer to this we will maybe never fully know, but while Henry wasn´t a monarch who took kindly to being told what to do, I personally am of the opinion that Thomas Cromwell both initiated the investigation and fabricated the evidence. Less than 5 months after her miscarriage, Anne was dead, beheaded by a French executioner at the Tower. She is now buried in the chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula within the Tower precinct.

Sources: The Lady in the Tower, the downfall of Anne Boleyn – Alision Weir

The Six Wives of Henry VIII –  Alison Weir






Birth, death and a new king

Fatigue and the lack of planning stop me from being quite as lengthy as I had in mind to be.

So I´ll settle for simply stating that today is the 558th anniversary of the birth of the founder of the House of Tudor,King_Henry_VII Henry VII at Pembroke Castle in Wales. As the only son of the, at the time, 13 year old Margaret Beaufort and her 13 year older husband Edmund Tudor, earl of Richmond and half-brother of Henry VI. At the time of Henry´s birth, his father had already been dead for three months, and young Henry became the ward of William Herbert when Edward IV had taken the crown and his uncle Jasper had fled abroad. Although Henry seem to have been well taken care of by the Herbert’s and his mother was allowed to regularly visit him, he would later in life state that he, from the age of five had been either a prisoner of a refugee. In 1471 he joined his uncle and the life in exile began, only to end with the Battle of Bosworth 14 years later.

But that´s not all. To the day 90 years after the birth of Henry Workshop_of_Hans_Holbein_the_Younger_-_Portrait_of_Henry_VIII_-_Google_Art_ProjectVII, his son and heir Henry VIII died after suffering from a detoriating health for the past 10 years. It´s far too easy to dismiss Henry as a tyrant who executed his wives and his friends, but for better or worse, he laid the foundation of the England that can be seen today.

He went from being ”the golden prince of Christendom” to being a maligned, suspicious man plagued by obesity and illness, There are many views and theories on Henry, complex and contradictory much like himself, and to quote Lucy Wooding description of him in her excellent book on Henry: ruthless tyrant or deceived husband, renaissance prince or pious reformer, peacemaker or warrior, musician, lover, scholar, husband, lord and monarch. All the sides were there. But time is catching up with him, and the portrayals that are made now give more justice to his multifaceted personality than has previously been the case.

Henry was buried at the chapel in Windsor along side his wife Jane Seymour, and was succeeded by their mutual son Edward VI.

The reign of Edward regime became a short one He was crowned on February 20th that same year at the age of nine. Portrait_of_Edward_VI_of_EnglandDuring his entire reign the power was in the hands of a regency council, which was to be in place until the young King reached his majority, something that never happened. The period was marred by financial problems and social unrest. Even though his father had made a break with Rome, he never broke with Catholicism; Protestantism was introduced into the English society during the reign of Edward. Personally I believe that if his reign had had the same time span as his fathers of his sister Elizabeth’s, Edward would have developed into a religious fanatic with persecution of Catholics to follow.

But this was not to happen. Edward fell ill at the age of 15, and when it became obvious that he wouldn´t get better again, he appointed his cousin Jane Grey and her male heirs as successors to the throne in order to curb his catholic sister Mary´s claim to the throne, an well as curbing the reintroduction of the catholic faith he anticipated would follow. Edward died on July 6th 1553.


The Winter King – Thomas Penn

Henry VIII – Lucy Wooding

The reign of Henry VIII – Edt, Diarmid MacCulloch


Henrik och Anne

Plötsligt känns det som on det enda jag gör här är att uppmärksamma bröllopsdagar, och inte vilka som helst, utan de vars Anneboleyn2brudpar sedan länge sedan försvunnit in i historien.

Idag är det nämligen årsdagen av Henrik VIII:s bröllop med Anne Boleyn, den 25:e januari 19533. Hans andra av totalt sex och hennes första och sista. Ryktet säger att de redan gift sig en gång i total avskildhet redan i november 1532, något som möjligen stärks av det faktum att Anne Boleyn redan vad gravid med vad man hoppades var Henry´s hett efterlängtade son, men som kom att visa sig vara ytterligare en dotter.

Som fotnot kan nämnas att denna dotter kom att bli den som fortfarande omnämns som Englands mest framstående monark; Elizabeth I.

fe0c4227c924d625e24dbef41a6bb7c3Henrik hade uppvaktat Anne Boleyn, hovdam till Katarina av Aragonien, sedan 1525 och hade för hennes skull klippt decennielånga vänskapsband, fått äktenskapet med Katarina annullerat och brutit med Rom (snabb sammanfattning), men när bröllopet äger rum så har Anne Boleyn inte så mycket tid kvar ändå; drygt tre år senare grips hon och avrättas.

Men vi struntar i detta just nu. Istället hoppas och tror vi att just denna dag så fanns det bara glädje.

Wedding day – 529 years later

If we didn´t care about such things as time – which many of us history nerds don´t – then it would be time to celebrate a wedding anniversary today. The 529th

Today it´s 529 years since Henry Tudor – only 5 months earlier the victor at the battle of Bosworth Field and now king Henry VII married Elizabeth of York; the daughter of one king and the niece of another was now to become the wife and queen of a third king.

Elizabeth was to a very large extent the premise for Henry´s claim to the throne, and in any event she strengthened it as a princess of the House of York.

Henry´s own royal blood didn´t come from the fact that his paternal grandmother once had been a queen or in her own right had been a French princess, but from his mother Margaret Beaufort lineage from Edward III through his son John of Gaunt and his third marriage to his mistress Kathryn Swynford. Their children had been born out of wedlock, but were all declared legitimate after the marriage, and Henry was a descendant through their son John Beaufort. All though their children had not been excluded from inheriting the throne from the beginning, they were barred from doing so in 1406 by their half-brother who had been crowned Henry IV in 1399.

By the time Henry Tudor took the throne by conquest, all male descendants from John of Gaunt by his two previous wives were gone, which set the exclusion of the Beaufort line aside.

And here he was, Henry Tudor, anointed king and with a real princess as a consort. So how did the marriage turn out. It is often claimed that Henry VII was a cold and tight fisted person but there is in reality no evidence that supports that their marriage was unhappy. On the contrary, there are stories of how they together mourned the children they lost, and how Henry grieved when Elizabeth passed away.

Henry had however spent a substantial part of his life in exile, far away from the riches and the overflowing dinner tables his devoted mother no doubt thought was his right as she struggles to have his title as the Earl of Richmond restored to him (there is no actual evidence that she fought to have him declared king in the way that has been portrayed in certain novels). Point is that Henry spent a large part of his life in relative poverty, and no doubt that experience left its mark on him.

There would be seven children; Arthur, Margaret, Henry, Elizabeth, Mary, Edmund and Katherine.

Only three of them would reach what we today would consider adult age; at the time Arthur was considered an adult, if even a young adult.

Arthur died, not fully 15 years old, in Ludlow Castle, leaving the young widow Katherine of Aragon behind.

Margaret became queen of Scotland and paternal grandmother of Mary Queen of Scots.

 Henry, well, he became Henry VIII.

Elizabeth only reached the age of three.

 Mary became queen of France, widowed at a young age and returned to England where she married the man who had been sent to bring her home, Henry VIII`s best friend Charles Brandon, an act for which they were forced to pay a fine. Together they became maternal grandparents of lady Jane Grey, the nine days’ queen.

 Edmund, got to be only one. Eye witnesses told the story of how his death made his parents break down from grief.

Katherine only got eight days to make her mark on history, a mark which mostly depend on the fact that she brought her with her. Elizabeth died the day after her infant daugther, on 11 February 1503, on her 37th birthday.

Henry VII never remarried, even though it´s said that he for a while considered Katherine of Aragon for himself.


The Oxford history of Britain – Kenneth O. Morgan

 Winter King – Henry VII and The Dawn of Tudor England – Thomas Penn

 Britain’s Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy – Alison Weir


Katarina av Valois, Tudorättens moder

Hon var bara drottning av England i två år, mellan 1420 och 1422, genom sitt äktenskapCatherine_of_France med en kung som senare skulle bli Henrik VIII:s stora hjälte: Henrik V, Englands krigarkung och ärorike segrare vid det legendariska slaget vid Agincourt 1415, men finns mer närvarande i den senare medeltida historien än man kanske tänker på.

Katarina av Valois var dotter till Karl VI av Frankrike och Isabella av Bayern och föddes i Paris 1401, och giftermålsförhandlingarna mellan henne och Henrik V påbörjades mitt under det 100-åriga kriget, ett krig som pågick mellan 1337 och 1453 mellan det engelska kungahuset Plantagenet och det franska kungahuset Valois.

Trots det erkände Karl VI Henrik V som sin tronarvinge under en period av fred i maj 1420, och de båda gifte sig en månad senare. Äktenskapet blev kort, Henrik V dog av dysenteri den 31 augusti 1422 under ett fälttåg i Frankrike. I december året innan hade Katarina fött sonen som kom att bli kung bara nio månader gammal, Henrik VI.


När hon blev änka var Katarina bara 21 år gammal, och det var nu hennes inblandning i den kommande Tudor-ätten tog sin början. Hon blev nämligen kär i walesaren Owen ap Maredudd ap Tudor, tidigare i kungens tjänst och vid tillfället för deras första möte sannolikt också i änkedrottningen Katarinas tjänst. De inledde sitt förhållande medan Katarina bodde på slottet i Windsor, och det har sagts att de gifte sig hemlighet, men några dokument som bekräftar ett giftermål mellan de båda har aldrig påträffats, men det kanske ligger i linje med ”i hemlighet”.

1432 tillerkändes Owen Tudor rättigheter som engelsman. Katarina och Owen fick minst sex barn, däribland Jasper och Edmund. De båda vistades vid sin halvbror Henrik VI:s hov, och Edmund skulle med tiden komma att gifta sig med Margaret Beaufort som bara 13 år gammal födde pojken som en dag skulle komma att besegra Richard III vid Bosworth och bli Henrik VII.

Katarina av Valois dog denna dag, den 3 januari, 1437, bara 35 år gammal.