Thursday, December 30, 2010

I'm Moving!!!

Ok, I'm not exactly moving, The Tudor Blog is moving.
For 2011 I have decided to venture out to a new address and make this blog a far more dynamic site.

Please join me at my new digs:

The new site is a work in progress, so I will keep this one live for a little while too.
C'mon over and let me know what you think of the new place.
(Sitewarming gifts are welcome ;-)

Hilarious History Lessons

Browsing The Washington Post this morning, I found an article on a hilarious You Tube Channel that uses music to teach history lessons. The History Teachers' Channel uses a combination of songs from old and new artists and video clips from famous movies on the topics cut together with live action video of actors singing a song parody. It’s pretty funny, although some desperately need to be redone and made modern.

Click here to see hits like

* The French Revolution set to Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance
* Cleopatra taught to Fergalicious
* The Black Death is done with Hollaback Girl by Gwen Stefani

The bummer is that the Tudor videos are all older with songs that kids today will NOT know.

* Anne Boleyn is put to “Girl” by the Beatles (and very hokey with the dancing girl in an odd headdress.)
* Henry VIII is set to an ABBA song I’ve never heard
* Elizabeth I is done with She’s Not There by The Zombies
* Mary Queen of Scots to Jenny from the Block by JLo

They’re entertaining, but I do think they should update them because kids will be more interested and learn better if it’s music they can relate to!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cook Like a Tudor

Stuffed swans, blackbirds baked in a pie or roasted haunch of venison all would have had a place on Henry VIII's royal menu around this time of year, with special culinary variations for Christmas and New Year.

Now you can see exactly what the Tudors ate at the recently restored kitchens in Hampton Court Palace. The historic royal palace is offering free online cooking lessons, recipes, and historical tidbits about the 500-year-old cuisine.

Three of Henry’s favorite dishes are featured: ryschewys close and fryez (sweet and spicy Christmas dumplings), tarte owt of Lente (a rich cheese pie) and fylettys en galentyne (roast pork in caramelized onion gravy). Chef Robin Mitchener is the video guide to the Tudor palette.

If you're lucky enough to live in or be visiting London, Hampton Court Palace is offering in-person Tudor cooking demonstrations until Jan. 2. Visitors can watch chefs at work on the king’s Christmas feast. The demonstrations are included in the palace's general admission, which is about $24 per adult at the door.

Tons of Tudor Entertainment in 2011!

On the heels of the news that BBC America plans to air all four seasons of Showtime's "The Tudors" beginning January 2011, the BBC is also releasing their definitive Tudor collection on DVD in April.

(From the BBC press release)
"The Shadow of The Tower - BBC's Tudors Collection" combines the three most highly-praised, historically authentic mini-series ever produced about the great Tudor monarchs in one collectible set. From the heyday of BBC drama, these three tour-de-force dramas are meticulously researched and brilliantly acted, together winning 6 Emmy awards and 8 BAFTAs.

In The Shadow of the Tower, James Maxwell (The Portrait of a Lady) plays Henry VII, the first of the Tudor monarchs, who took over the throne after Richard III was killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485; Keith Michell received an Emmy and a BAFTA for his masterful portrayal of England's infamously fickle king in The Six Wives of Henry VIII; and double-Oscar winner Glenda Jackson turns in one of the most remarkable performances in television history, transforming herself into England's Virgin Queen in Elizabeth R. All 25 episodes of these three breathtaking dramas are included in this 12-disc collection, the definitive screen portrait of England's Tudor dynasty.

The BBC Tudors Collection comes out April 12th. Along with the three minis mentioned above, the set also includes "The Other Boleyn Girl" (BBC's version with Natascha McElhone). You can pre-order it on Amazon for $111.99.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Don't Have Showtime? You're in Luck!

I was JUST thinking last night that we should hear of The Tudors coming to cable TV channels soon. It has been almost a year since season 4 aired on Showtime and sure enough, I received this on my reader this morning:

'Tudors' Reign Again On BBC America: Net Acquires Basic-Cable Rights To Showtime's Period Drama

Henry VIII, or at least Jonathan Rhys-Meyers' portrayal of him, will return to TV as BBC America has acquired the basic-cable rights to the former Showtime original drama series.

BBC America scored the right to all four seasons of the Showtime series from CBS Television Distribution. Deal terms for the 38-episode series, which will bow on Jan. 16, were not disclosed. The Tudors concluded its original run on Showtime, with a pair of Emmy scepters in hand, last spring.

BBC America will begin its re-air reign with an all-day marathon of the series on Jan. 16, when it will air the first two seasons, beginning at 9 a.m. (ET/PT). From there, the network, proffering a first look at the show to non-premium TV subscribers, will air the remaining installments on Tuesdays at 10 p.m., starting on Jan. 18.

The Tudors, an Ireland Canada Co-Production, was a presentation of Showtime in association with Peace Arch Entertainment and Take 5 Productions.

Shot in Ireland and created by English screenwriter, Michael Hirst (Elizabeth, Camelot), The Tudors also stars Jeremy Northam (Gosford Park) as Thomas More, Henry Cavill (Tristan & Isolde) as Charles Brandon, and Natalie Dormer (Casanova) as Anne Boleyn, as it covers the political, prurient and marital turbulence that marked Henry VIII's nearly 40-year reign over England in the 16th century.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

I Stand Corrected, Kind of...

One of my most redeeming qualities is my ability to admit when I am wrong.

In this post about Alison Weir's book The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn I stated that "I knew I wouldn't like this book."
As it turns out, I liked this book very much.

Admittedly, I need to read it a second time in order to fully understand some of Weir's assertions about whether or not Anne was guilty of "some" crimes which may have lead to her enemies getting a foothold in the case against her. I have been having a good conversation with a reader named Sarah about Weir's meaning and I am open to the idea that I misunderstood what Weir was driving at.

But this post is about the second half of this book. I LOVED it. What Alison Weir was able to do, unlike other historians or biographers, was to capture Anne's possible feelings and moods in her final hours of this life. I attribute this to the author being a woman. Although it has been almost 5 years since I read Eric Ives' book The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn, I recall vividly that it felt very forensic at times. That's not to say that it's a bad thing to present her life in that manner, but it was incredibly refreshing to read someone's take on everything from her possible emotions about her impending doom to the potential for pain and lingering thoughts at the time of beheading.

I also enjoyed the final chapter of the book where Weir recounts some of the legends and ghost stories surrounding Anne Boleyn.

All in all, a good read and different enough from all the others to make it worthy of your bookshelf or a place in your eReader's memory.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Tudors Christmas

Stuck at work in the US today I thought I'd share a favorite view of Tudor Christmas, courtesy of The Tudors on Showtime...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

On This Day in Tudor History

On December 16, 1485, Katherine of Aragon was born near Madrid, Spain.

Although I am an acknowledged fan of Katherine's nemesis, Anne Boleyn, I fondly view Katherine of Aragon as the matriarch of the Tudor Era. She certainly came to represent the first fully-educated female royal consort of the time and was, in her way, a true Renaissance woman. She would prove a ruthless regent in a time of war and, in my opinion, be Henry VIII's most formidable foe.

The youngest surviving child of King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile, Katherine was quite short in stature with long, golden, auburn hair, wide blue eyes, a round face, and a fair complexion. She was descended, on her maternal side, from the English royal houses of John of Gaunt and Edward III.

At an early age, she was considered a suitable wife for Arthur, Prince of Wales, the eldest son of Henry VII of England and heir to the throne, due to her overwhelmingly prominent English ancestry inherited from her mother Queen Isabella I of Castile.

The couple met on November 4, 1501, at Dogmersfield in Hampshire and ten days later, they were married at St. Paul's Cathedral. A few months later, they both became ill, and Arthur died on April 2, 1502. Katherine recovered to find herself a widow.

Not wanting to return her dowry to her father, it was agreed she would marry Henry VII's second son, Henry, Duke of York, who was five years younger than she was. However, the death of her mother meant that Katherine's 'value' in the marriage market decreased and Henry VII kept procrastinating. She lived as a virtual prisoner at Durham House in London.

In order to marry Henry, Duke of York, they needed a dispensation from the pope. To obtain this, Katherine testified her marriage to Arthur was never consummated. This would later become the keystone in her fight to keep Henry from divorcing her to marry Anne Boleyn.

Katherine's second wedding took place on 11 June 1509, seven years after Prince Arthur's death, at Greenwich Church. She was 23 years of age. The new Henry VIII was just days short of his 18th birthday. They would be crowned together Sunday, June 24, 1509, by the Archbishop of Canterbury at a lavish ceremony at Westminster Abbey.

Of Katherine's six pregnancies, only Mary I, would live to adulthood to rule England.

After an (approximately) seven year battle to hold on to her marriage and remain Queen of England, Henry VIII had Archbishop Cranmer declare their union null and void and his marriage to Anne Boleyn valid. Katherine's daughter Mary was declared a bastard and removed from the succession.

Katherine died at Kimbolton Castle, on January 7, 1536, estranged from her husband and daughter. According to the chronicler Edward Hall, Anne Boleyn wore yellow for the mourning, which has been interpreted in various ways; Polydore Vergil interpreted this as an insult and celebration of her death. However, Imperial Ambassador Eustace Chapuys reported that it was actually King Henry who decked himself in yellow, celebrating the news and making a great show of his and Anne's daughter, Elizabeth, to his courtiers. This was seen as distasteful and vulgar.

Rumors circulated that Katherine had been poisoned, as Anne had threatened to murder both Katherine and Mary on several occasions. The rumors were born after the discovery of a black growth on Katherine's heart during her embalming. Modern medical experts are in agreement that this was likely to have been cancer, something which was not understood at the time.

On the day of Katherine's funeral, Anne Boleyn miscarried the son that probably would have been her savior, as Henry was already courting Jane Seymour and tired of Anne.

Katherine was buried in Peterborough Cathedral with the ceremony due to a Dowager Princess of Wales, not a queen. Henry did not attend the funeral and refused to allow Mary to attend.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Tudor Podcast

I am thrilled to announce a new dimension to The Tudor Blog: The Tudor Podcast!

For so long now I have been looking at ways to set my blog apart from the other Tudor Blogs I so admire, like The Anne Boleyn Files. Claire does such a wonderful job on her blog and is so much more prolific than I am that I'm just trying to find a way to beef-up The Tudor Blog a bit!

There is another reason for the development of The Tudor Podcast: I am developing a podcast for my day job and this is the perfect way to research, practice, and perfect my podcasting techniques. I get to do all of this practice utilizing topics about which I am passionate and always interested.

As I am just embarking on this project, I'm not yet sure what the topic of me first podcast will be. But I will check my 16th century calendar (yes, I have one and I am developing it for this site too!) and choose a timely topic or subject.

I am VERY interested to know what you think and whether you are interested in a podcast on Tudor topics? Feel free to leave a comment and as always, thanks for visiting The Tudor Blog.


Friday, December 10, 2010

On This Day in Tudor History

On December 10, 1541, Sir Thomas Culpeper and Francis Dereham were executed at Tyburn for their sexual relationships with Queen Catherine Howard.

Dereham was a courtier, who had an affair with the very young Catherine Howard until she was made lady-in-waiting to Henry's fourth wife Anne of Cleves. After Catherine's marriage to the King, Dereham was made a secretary at Hampton Court, an appointment possibly engineered to silence him about Catherine's previous indiscretions.

Culpeper was reportedly exceedingly attractive. He was described as 'a beautiful youth' and he was a great favorite of the King's, which placed him in Catherine's life after she became queen consort.

Culpeper was most likely using the affair and her feelings for him as leverage to gain power and control over the queen herself. Catherine, for her part, was deeply in love.

When her past relationship with Dereham was brought to the attention of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, he reported it to the King in a letter, provoking an investigation which resulted in the arrests of Dereham, Thomas Culpeper and Queen Catherine herself.

Under interrogation, Dereham admitted a pre-marital relationship with Catherine, but claimed that they were never intimate after Catherine's marriage to the King and that he had been supplanted in her affections by Culpeper.

Dereham was given a traitor's death of being hanged, drawn, and quartered. Culpeper's sentence was commuted to beheading.

Queen Catherine Howard and Lady Jane Rochford were both subsequently executed on February 13, 1542.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

On This Day in Tudor History

On December 8, 1542, Mary Stuart was born at Linlithgow Palace, Linlithgow, Scotland to King James V of Scotland and his French second wife, Mary of Guise.
Six days later, her father would die, leaving her to rule Scotland. Mary's rule was a tumultuous one and would pass to her son through her abdication before she was finally sentenced to death by her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I.