Friday, February 26, 2010

Nothing Like Controversy to Pump Book Sales

Charges for which she was executed, long thought to have been cooked up, are likely to have been true, says historian George Bernard

A new biography of Anne Boleyn is set to claim that, far from being framed for adultery, Henry VIII’s second queen may not have been innocent of the affairs for which she was sentenced to death.

The widely held view among contemporary historians is that the charges brought against Anne – that she committed adultery with five lovers, including her brother – are too preposterous to be true, and were either trumped up by one political faction to do down another, or invented by Henry as a result of his desire to marry Jane Seymour, after Anne had failed to give him a son. But George Bernard, professor of early modern history at Southampton University and editor of the English Historical Review, believes that the queen could well have been guilty of some of the charges laid against her – or at the very least that her behaviour was such that it was reasonable for Henry to assume she had committed adultery.

Examining a 1545 poem by Lancelot de Carles, who was then serving the French ambassador to Henry’s court, Bernard concludes that the poem, entitled “A letter containing the criminal charges laid against Queen Anne Boleyn of England,” offers strong evidence that Anne did, in fact, commit adultery. She was accused of “despising her marriage” and “entertaining malice against the king”, with her indictment claiming that “by base conversations and kisses, touchings, gifts, and other infamous incitations” she seduced men including the musician Mark Smeaton, chief gentleman of the privy chamber Henry Norris and her brother George, Viscount Rochford, “alluring him with her tongue in his mouth and his in hers”. All five men, and Anne, were executed.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

On This Day in Tudor History:

On February 20, 1547, Prince Edward is crowned King Edward VI of England at the tender age of 9.
Edward was the long awaited son of Henry VIII with his third wife, Jane Seymour. Edward was England's first sovereign to be raised a full Protestant.
Sadly, Edward's reign was marked by economic and social unrest. Of course, Edward only ever ruled through a Regency Council because he never reached maturity.
Edward fell ill in January 1553, and when it was discovered to be terminal, he and his Council attempted to prevent the country being returned to Catholicism by naming his cousin, Lady Jane Grey, as his heir and excluding his half sisters, Princesses Mary and Elizabeth. This would doom Lady Jane to execution by Queen Mary I.

The Hotness: The Tudors Season 4 Trailer

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Creation of the Tudor Dynasty

I have been following this story for a few months now and was so excited to get an alert from The Times - UK today. We finally know the location of the Battle of Bosworth.
In Biblical terms: they found Garden of Eden.
On the morning of August 22, 1485, the last medieval king of England gambled his throne and his life on one desperate cavalry charge. Richard III lost everything to Henry Tudor (King Henry VII).
In those few frenzied moments the future of England — and by extension much of the world — changed course. Bosworth became the bridge that links the Middle Ages to modern Britain and ushered in the dynasty of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. If Richard had killed Henry there might have been no English Reformation, no Church of England and no Elizabethan golden age.


For centuries it has been impossible to revisit the Bosworth battlefield because its location was lost after the Civil War. Then, last October, Leicestershire County Council announced that it had found the site but would not reveal its whereabouts for fear of scavengers.
Click here for the full story in The Times.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

On this Day in Tudor History:

On February 14, 1556, Despite several recantations produced between the end of January and mid-February, Thomas Cranmer submitted himself to the authority of the king and queen and recognised the pope as head of the church.
On 14 February 1556, he was degraded from holy orders and returned to Bocardo Prison, having been declared a heretic by Rome and tried for treason by Queen Mary I.
On March 21, 1556, Cranmer withdrew his recantations and was burned at the stake where Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley were also martyred six months earlier.
Besides being a Protestant and major player in the English split from Rome, Cranmer was made Archbishop of Canterbury by Anne Boleyn and her family and was the one to declare the marriage of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon null and void. So when Mary Tudor came to the throne, Cranmer never stood a chance!

Monday, February 1, 2010

On this Day in Tudor History:

On February 1, 1587, Queen Elizabeth I signed the death warrant of her cousin, Mary (Stuart) Queen of Scots. Mary would subsequently be beheaded on February 8 at Fotheringhay Castle.