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The Tudor Dynasty


The Tudor Rose

The House of Tudor was an English royal house of Welsh origin, & descended from the Tudors of Penmynydd.


Tudor monarchs ruled the Kingdom of England & its realms, from 1485 until 1603, with six monarchs in that period: Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Lady Jane Grey, Mary I & Elizabeth I.


Henry VII of England the first Tudor monarch, descended through his mother from a legitimised branch of the English royal House of Lancaster. The Tudor family rose to power in the wake of the Wars of the Roses (1455–1487), which left the House of Lancaster, with which the Tudors were aligned, extinct in the male line. Henry VII stood as a candidate not only for traditional Lancastrian supporters, but also for discontented supporters of their rival House of York, & he took the throne by right of conquest. Following his victory over king Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field (22 August 1485), he reinforced his position in 1486 by marrying Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV, thus symbolically uniting the former warring factions under the new dynasty.


The Tudors extended their power beyond modern England, achieving the full union of England & the Principality of Wales in 1542, & successfully asserting English authority over the Kingdom of Ireland (proclaimed by the Crown of Ireland Act 1542). They also maintained the nominal English claim to the Kingdom of France; although none of them made substance of it, Henry VIII fought wars with France trying to reclaim that title. After him, his daughter Mary I lost control of all territory in France permanently with the fall of Calais in 1558.


The Tudor monarchs ruled their domains for just over a century. Henry VIII was the only son of Henry VII to live to the age of maturity. Issues around royal succession (including marriage & the succession rights of women) became major political themes during the Tudor era. When Elizabeth I died without an heir, the Scottish House of Stuart succeeded as England's royal family through the Union of the Crowns of 24 March 1603. The first Stuart to become King of England (r. 1603–1625), James VI and I, descended from Henry VII's daughter Margaret Tudor, who had married King James IV of Scotland in 1503.



(b. 28 January 1457 – d. 21 April 1509) Henry VII was born at Pembroke Castle on 28 January 1457 to Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond. His father, Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond, died three months before his birth. Henry attained the throne when his forces defeated King Richard III at the BATTLE OF BOSWORTH FIELD, the culmination of the Wars of the Roses. He was the LAST KING of England to win his throne on the field of battle. He cemented his claim by marrying ELIZABETH OF YORK, daughter of Richard's brother Edward IV. Henry was successful in restoring the power & stability of the English monarchy after the civil war. They were third cousins, as both were great-great-grandchildren of John of Gaunt (son of Edward III). He paid very close attention to detail, & instead of spending lavishly he concentrated on raising new revenues. New taxes stabilised the government's finances, although a commission after his death found widespread abuses in the tax collection process.

As king, Henry was styled by the Grace of God, King of England & France & Lord of Ireland. On his succession, Henry became entitled to bear the Royal Arms of England. After his marriage, Henry used as his emblem the red & white rose, which became known as the TUDOR ROSE. In 1499, Henry had the Earl of Warwick executed. However, he spared Warwick's elder sister Margaret. She survived until 1541, when she was executed by Henry VIII. Both were children of George, Duke of Clarence, the brother of kings Edward IV & Richard III of the House of York. Upon Warwick's death, the House of Plantagenet became extinct in the legitimate male line. However, the surviving sons of his aunt Elizabeth, Duchess of Suffolk, continued to claim the throne for the Yorkist line. He established the pound avoirdupois as a standard of weight; it later became part of the Imperial & customary systems of units.

Henry is the first English king of whose appearance good contemporary visual records in realistic portraits exist that are relatively free of idealization. At 27, he was tall & slender, with small blue eyes, which were said to have a noticeable animation of expression, & noticeably bad teeth in a long, sallow face beneath very fair hair. Amiable & high-spirited, Henry was friendly if dignified in manner, and it was clear to everyone that he was extremely intelligent. His biographer, Professor Chrimes, credits him – even before he had become king – with "a high degree of personal magnetism, ability to inspire confidence, & a growing reputation for shrewd decisiveness". On the debit side, he may have looked a little delicate as he suffered from poor health.



(b. 11 February 1466 - d. 11 February 1503)


Elizabeth of York was Queen of England from her marriage to King Henry VII on 18 January 1486 until her death. Elizabeth married Henry after his victory at the Battle of Bosworth Field, which marked the end of the Wars of the Roses.


Although Elizabeth seems to have played little part in politics, her marriage appears to have been a successful & happy one. Her eldest son Arthur, Prince of Wales, died at age 15 in 1502, & three other children died young. Her second, & only surviving, son became King Henry VIII of England, while her daughters Mary & Margaret became queens of France & of Scotland, respectively; many modern royals, including Elizabeth II, trace their line through Margaret.


Elizabeth of York was born at the Palace of Westminster as the eldest child of King Edward IV & his wife, Elizabeth Woodville.


Elizabeth received a grand coronation where she was carried on a royal barge down the Thames.


[Elizabeth of York]....royally apparelled, in a kirtle of white cloth of gold of damask, and a mantle of the same suit, furred with ermine, fastened before her breast with a great lace, curiously wrought of gold and silk, and rich knobs of gold at the end , tasselled; her fair yellow hair hanging down plain behind her back, with a call of pipes over it, and wearing on her head a circle of gold, richly garnished with precious stones....... - A Queen's coronation, contemporary account by John Leyland


Elizabeth had a hand in designing the former Greenwich Palace & that the Palace itself was well appointed for large scale entertaining. Records are very clear that Christmas was a special time for the royal family on the whole, with documents depicting a particularly lively court having a marvellous time, with copious amounts of imported wine, great amounts of money spent upon roasted meats, & entertainers. Henry also frequently bought gifts for Elizabeth & their children. The account books kept by Henry himself show that he spent a great deal of gold on expensive cloth for both himself, his wife, & his children.


 Elizabeth was a very pious woman & one of her life passions was charity, one of the three theological virtues of the Catholic Church. She gave away money & alms in very large quantities, to the point she indebted herself on many occasions. She also gave generously to monks & other religious orders.


Elizabeth of York enjoyed music, dancing, & gambling; the last of these was a pastime she shared with her husband. She also kept greyhounds.


In 1502, Elizabeth of York became pregnant once more & spent her confinement period in the Tower of London as was the custom. On 2 February 1503, she gave birth to a daughter, Katherine, but the child died a few days afterwards. Succumbing to a post partum infection, Elizabeth of York died on 11 February, her 37th birthday.


According to folklore, the "queen ... in the parlour" in the children's nursery rhyme "Sing a Song of Sixpence" is Elizabeth of York, while her husband is the king counting his money.


The symbol of the Tudor dynasty is the Tudor rose, which became a royal symbol for England upon Elizabeth's marriage to Henry VII in 1486. Her White Rose of York is most commonly proper to her husband's Red Rose of Lancaster & today, uncrowned, is still the floral emblem of England.


Elizabeth of York was renowned as a great beauty for her time; with blue eyes, tall, & a fair complexion, she was five feet six inches, considerably taller than most women of her generation. She inherited many traits from her father & her mother Elizabeth Woodville, who was considered at one point the most beautiful woman in the British Isles. All other Tudor monarchs inherited her reddish gold hair & which became synonymous with the dynasty.


Elizabeth & Henry had nine children;


Arthur, Prince of Wales (20 September 1486 – 2 April 1502)

Margaret, Queen of Scotland (28 November 1489 – 18 October 1541)

Henry VIII, King of England (28 June 1491 – 28 January 1547)

Elizabeth (2 July 1492 – 14 September 1495)

Mary, Queen of France (18 March 1496 – 25 June 1533)

Edmund (1499 – 19 June 1500)

Katherine (born and died 1503)




(b. 28 June 1491 – d. 28 January 1547) Henry was King of England from 1509 until his death in 1547. Henry is best known for his six marriages, &, in particular, his efforts to have his first marriage (to Katharine of Aragon) annulled. His disagreement with Pope Clement VII on the question of such an annulment led Henry to initiate the English Reformation, separating the Church of England from papal authority. He appointed himself the Supreme Head of the Church of England & dissolved convents & monasteries, for which he was excommunicated.. Domestically, Henry is known for his radical changes to the English Constitution, ushering in the theory of the divine right of kings. He also greatly expanded royal power during his reign. He frequently used charges of treason & heresy to quell dissent, & those accused were often executed without a formal trial by means of bills of attainder. He achieved many of his political aims through the work of his chief ministers, some of whom were banished or executed when they fell out of his favour. Thomas Wolsey, Thomas More, Thomas Cromwell, Richard Rich, & Thomas Cranmer all figured prominently in his administration. Henry's contemporaries considered him an attractive, educated, & accomplished king. He has been described as "one of the most charismatic rulers to sit on the English throne". He was an author & composer. As he aged, however, he became severely obese & his health suffered, contributing to his death in 1547. He is frequently characterised in his later life as a lustful, egotistical, harsh, & insecure king.


Henry cultivated the image of a Renaissance man, & his court was a centre of scholarly & artistic innovation & glamorous excess, epitomised by the Field of the Cloth of Gold. He introduced Renaissance music into court. Musicians included Benedict de Opitiis, Richard Sampson, Ambrose Lupo, & Venetian organist Dionisio Memo, & Henry himself kept a considerable collection of instruments. He was skilled on the lute & could play the organ, & he was a talented player of the virginals. He could also sight read music & sing well. He was an accomplished musician, author, & poet; his best known piece of music is "Pastime with Good Company" ("The Kynges Ballade"), & he is reputed to have written "Greensleeves" but probably did not. Henry was an avid gambler and dice player, & he excelled at sports, especially jousting, hunting, & real tennis. He was also known for his strong defence of conventional Christian piety. He was involved in the construction & improvement of several significant buildings, including Nonsuch Palace, King's College Chapel, Cambridge, & Westminster Abbey in London. He also improved existing buildings, such as Christ Church, Oxford, Hampton Court Palace, the Palace of Whitehall, & Trinity College, Cambridge. Henry was an intellectual, the first English king with a modern humanist education. He read & wrote English, French, & Latin, & owned a large library. He annotated many books & published one of his own, & he had numerous pamphlets & lectures prepared to support the reformation of the church. Richard Sampson's Oratio (1534), for example, was an argument for absolute obedience to the monarchy & claimed that the English church had always been independent from Rome. At the popular level, theatre & minstrel troupes funded by the crown travelled around the land to promote the new religious practices; the pope & Catholic priests & monks were mocked as foreign devils, while the glorious king was hailed as a brave & heroic defender of the true faith. Henry worked hard to present an image of unchallengeable authority & irresistible power. Henry was a large, well-built athlete, over 6 feet [1.8 m] tall, strong, & broad in proportion, & he excelled at jousting & hunting. These were more than pastimes; they were political devices which served multiple goals, enhancing his athletic royal image, impressing foreign emissaries & rulers, & conveying his ability to suppress any rebellion. He arranged a jousting tournament at Greenwich in 1517 where he wore gilded armour & gilded horse trappings, & outfits of velvet, satin, & cloth of gold with pearls & jewels. Henry finally retired from jousting in 1536 after a heavy fall from his horse left him unconscious for two hours, but he continued to sponsor two lavish tournaments a year. He then started adding weight & lost the trim, athletic figure that had made him so handsome, & his courtiers began dressing in heavily padded clothes to emulate & flatter him. His health rapidly declined near the end of his reign.



Henry's Six Wives;

(b. 16 December 1485 – d. 7 January 1536) Katharine was Queen of England from June 1509 until May 1533 as the first wife of King Henry VIII. She was the daughter of Isabella I of Castile & Ferdinand II of Aragon. Her baptismal name was "Catalina", but "Katherine" was soon the accepted form in England after her marriage to Arthur. She signed her name "Katherine", "Katherina", "Katharine" & sometimes "Katharina". In a letter to her, Arthur, her husband, addressed her as "Princess Katerine". Rarely were names, particularly first names, written in an exact manner during the sixteenth century & it is evident from her own letters that she endorsed different variations. Loveknots built into his various palaces by her husband, Henry VIII, display the initials "H & K", as do other items, including gold goblets, a gold salt cellar, basins of gold, & candlesticks. Her tomb in Peterborough Cathedral is marked "Katharine Queen of England", my preferred spelling. Katharine was educated by a tutor, Alessandro Geraldini, who was a clerk in Holy Orders. She studied arithmetic, canon & civil law, classical literature, genealogy & heraldry, history, philosophy, religion, & theology. She had a strong religious upbringing & developed her Roman Catholic faith that would play a major role in later life. She learned to speak, read & write in Spanish and Latin, & spoke French & Greek. She was also taught domestic skills, such as cooking, dancing, drawing, embroidery, good manners, lace-making, music, needlepoint, sewing, spinning, & weaving. For six months in 1513, she served as regent of England while Henry VIII was in France. During that time the English won the Battle of Flodden, an event in which Katharine played an important part with an emotional speech about English courage. The Education of a Christian Woman by Juan Luis Vives, controversial at its release for promoting that WOMEN have the right to an EDUCATION, was commissioned by and dedicated to her in 1523. Such was Katharine's impression on people that even her enemy, Thomas Cromwell, said of her, "If not for her sex, she could have defied all the heroes of History." She successfully appealed for the lives of the rebels involved in the Evil May Day, for the sake of their families. Katharine also won widespread admiration by starting an extensive programme for the relief of the poor. She was a patron of Renaissance humanism, & a friend of the great scholars Erasmus of Rotterdam & Thomas More. Katharine was of a very fair complexion, had blue eyes, & had a hair colour that was between reddish-blonde & auburn. In her youth she was described as "the most beautiful creature in the world" & that there was "nothing lacking in her that the most beautiful girl should have". Thomas More and Lord Herbert would reflect later in her lifetime that in regard to her appearance "there were few women who could compete with the Queen [Katharine] in her prime." She was descended, on her maternal side, from the House of Lancaster, an English royal house; her great-grandmother Catherine of Lancaster, after whom she was named, & her great-great-grandmother Philippa of Lancaster were both daughters of John of Gaunt & granddaughters of Edward III of England. Consequently, she was third cousin of her father-in-law, Henry VII of England,  & fourth cousin of her mother-in-law Elizabeth of York. Katharine was pregnant six times altogether; 1. On 31 January 1510, she delivered a stillborn girl 2. A son, Henry, Duke of Cornwall, was born on 1 January 1511, On 22 February 1511, after only 52 days of life, the young prince died suddenly. It was said that he died of an intestinal complaint. 3. On 17 September 1513, she went into labour prematurely & gave birth to a boy who was either stillborn or died shortly after birth. 4. In December 1514, she gave birth to a short lived boy. 5. On 18 February 1516, Katharine delivered a healthy girl. She was named Mary (later Mary I). 6. On 10 November 1518 she gave birth to a daughter at 8 months gestation, but the child was weak & lived only a few hours. By 1525, Henry VIII was infatuated with Anne Boleyn & dissatisfied that his marriage to Katharine had produced no surviving sons. In 1533 their marriage was consequently declared invalid & Henry married Anne on the judgement of clergy in England, without reference to the Pope. Katharine refused to accept Henry as Supreme Head of the Church in England & considered herself the King's rightful wife & queen, attracting much popular sympathy. Despite this, she was acknowledged only as Dowager Princess of Wales by Henry. After being banished from court by Henry, she lived out the remainder of her life at Kimbolton Castle, & died there on 7 January 1536 of cancer. The English people held Katharine in high esteem, & her death set off tremendous mourning.




(b. c.1501 - d. 19 May 1536) Anne was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536 as the second wife of King Henry VIII. Anne was the daughter of Thomas Boleyn, later Earl of Wiltshire & Earl of Ormond, & his wife, Lady Elizabeth Howard, daughter of Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk. Thomas Boleyn was a well-respected diplomat with a gift for languages; he was also a favourite of Henry VII of England, who sent him on many diplomatic missions abroad. Anne & her siblings grew up at Hever Castle in Kent. Anne's early education was typical for women of her class. In 1513, Anne was invited to join the schoolroom of Margaret of Austria & her four wards. Her academic education was limited to arithmetic, her family genealogy, grammar, history, reading, spelling, & writing. She also developed domestic skills such as dancing, embroidery, good manners, household management, music, needlework, & singing. Anne learned to play games, such as cards, chess, & dice. She was also taught archery, falconry, horse riding, & hunting. In France, Anne was a maid of honour to Queen Mary, & then to Mary's 15-year-old stepdaughter Queen Claude, with whom she stayed nearly seven years. In the Queen's household, she completed her study of French & developed interests in art, fashion, illuminated manuscripts, literature, music, poetry, & religious philosophy. She also acquired knowledge of French culture, dance, etiquette, literature, music, & poetry. Anne returned to England in early 1522, to marry her Irish cousin James Butler, 9th Earl of Ormond; the marriage plans were broken off, & instead she secured a post at court as maid of honour to Henry VIII's wife, Katharine of Aragon. In February or March 1526, Henry VIII began his pursuit of Anne. She resisted his attempts to seduce her, refusing to become his mistress, which her sister Mary had been. Henry soon focused his desires on annulling his marriage to Katharine so he would be free to marry Anne. When it became clear that Pope Clement VII would not annul the marriage, Henry & his advisers began the breaking of the Catholic Church's power in England. In 1532, Henry granted Anne the Marquessate of Pembroke. Henry & Anne married in a secret ceremony on 14 November 1532. She soon became pregnant &, to legalise the first wedding considered to be unlawful at the time, there was a second wedding service, also private in accordance with The Royal Book, which took place in London on 25 January 1533. On 23 May 1533, Thomas Cranmer declared the marriage of Henry & Katharine null & void. Five days later, on 28 May 1533, Cranmer declared the marriage of Henry & Anne to be good & valid. Anne was crowned queen consort on 1 June 1533 in a magnificent ceremony at Westminster Abbey with a banquet afterwards. She was the last queen consort of England to be crowned separately from her husband. Unlike any other queen consort, Anne was crowned with St Edward's Crown, which had previously been used to crown only a monarch. After her coronation, Anne moved in to the King's favourite residence, Greenwich Palace, to prepare for the birth of her baby. The child was born slightly prematurely on 7 September 1533. Anne gave birth to a girl, who was christened Elizabeth, probably in honour of either or both Anne's mother Elizabeth Howard & Henry's mother, Elizabeth of York. Anne presided over a magnificent court. She spent lavish amounts of money on gowns, jewels, head-dresses, ostrich-feather fans, riding equipment, furniture & upholstery, maintaining the ostentatious display required by her status. Numerous palaces were renovated to suit her & Henry's extravagant tastes. Her motto was "The most happy", & she had chosen a white falcon as her personal device. Anne Boleyn was described by contemporaries as intelligent & gifted in musical arts & scholarly pursuits. She was also strong-willed & proud, & often quarrelled with Henry. Following the coronation of her daughter as queen, Anne was venerated as a martyr & heroine of the English Reformation, particularly through the works of John Foxe. Over the centuries, Anne has inspired or been mentioned in numerous artistic and cultural works. As a result, she has remained in the popular memory & has been called "the most influential & important queen consort England has ever had.


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(b. c. 1508 – d. 24 October 1537) Jane Seymour was Queen of England from 1536 to 1537 as the third wife of King Henry VIII. She succeeded Anne Boleyn as queen consort following the latter's execution in May 1536. Jane, the daughter of Sir John Seymour & Margery Wentworth. Her birth date is not recorded; but it is estimated as occurring in or around 1508. INTERESTING FACT - Through her maternal grandfather, she was a descendant of King Edward III's son Lionel of Antwerp, 1st Duke of Clarence. Because of this, she & King Henry VIII were fifth cousins. She shared a great-grandmother, Elizabeth Cheney, with his second & fifth wives, Anne Boleyn & Catherine Howard. Jane was not as highly educated, she could read & write a little, but was much better at needlework & household management. Her needlework was reported to be beautiful & elaborate; some of her work survived as late as 1652, when it is recorded to have been given to the Seymour family. After her death, it was noted that Henry was an "enthusiastic embroiderer." Jane became a maid-of-honour in 1532 to Queen Katharine, & went on to serve Queen Anne. The first report of Henry VIII's interest in Jane was in February 1536, about three months before Anne's execution. Jane was highly praised for her gentle, peaceful nature, being referred to as "gentle a lady as ever I knew" by John Russell & being named as "the Pacific" by the Imperial Ambassador Eustace Chapuys for her peacemaking efforts at court. According to Chapuys, she was of middling stature & very pale; he also commented that she was not of much beauty. However, John Russell stated that she was "the fairest of all the King's wives." Polydore Vergil commented that she was "a woman of the utmost charm in both character & appearance." Henry VIII was betrothed to Jane on 20 May 1536, just one day after Anne Boleyn's execution. They were married at the Palace of Whitehall, on 30 May 1536. As a wedding gift he made her a grant of 104 manors in four counties as well as a number of forests & hunting chases for her jointure, the income to support her during their marriage. She was publicly proclaimed queen on 4 June 1536. Her well-publicised sympathy for the late Queen Katharine & her daughter Mary showed her to be compassionate & made her a popular figure with the common people & most of the courtiers. She was never crowned because of PLAGUE in London, where the coronation was to take place. Henry may have been reluctant to have her crowned before she had fulfilled her duty as a queen consort by bearing him a son & a male heir. As queen, Jane was said to be strict & formal. The lavish entertainments, gaiety, & extravagance of the queen's household, which had reached its peak during the time of Anne Boleyn, was replaced by a strict enforcement of decorum. For example, she banned the French fashions that Anne had introduced. Politically, Jane appears to have been conservative. Her only reported involvement in national affairs, in 1536, was when she asked for pardons for participants in the Pilgrimage of Grace. Henry is said to have rejected this, reminding her of the fate her predecessor met with when she "meddled in his affairs". Her motto as a queen was "Bound to obey and serve." During her pregnancy in 1537, she developed a craving for quail, which Henry ordered for her from Calais & Flanders. She went into confinement in September 1537 & gave birth to the coveted male heir, the future King Edward VI, at two o'clock in the morning on 12 October 1537 at Hampton Court Palace. Edward was christened on 15 October 1537, without his mother in attendance, as was the custom. He was the only legitimate son of Henry VIII to survive infancy. Both of his daughters, Mary & Elizabeth, were present & carried Edward's train during the ceremony. Jane's labour had been difficult, lasting two days & three nights, probably because the baby was not well positioned. After the christening, it became clear that she was seriously ill. She died on 24 October 1537 at Hampton Court Palace. Within a few weeks of her death, there were conflicting testimonies concerning the cause of her demise. In retrospect from the current day, there are various speculations that have been offered. According to King Edward's biographer, Jennifer Loach, her death may have been due to an infection from a retained placenta. According to Alison Weir, she may have succumbed to puerperal fever following a bacterial infection contracted during the birth. The same author has also speculated, after medical consultation, that the cause of her death was a pulmonary embolism. Jane was buried on 12 November 1537 in St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle after the funeral in which her stepdaughter Mary acted as chief mourner. A procession of 29 mourners followed Mary, one for every year of Queen Jane's life. She was the only one of Henry's wives to receive a queen's funeral. When Henry VIII died in 1547, he was buried beside her, on his request, in the grave he had made for her.




(b. 1515 – d. 16 July 1557) Anne of Cleves was queen consort of England from 6 January to 9 July 1540 as the fourth wife of King Henry VIII. She was born in Düsseldorf, the second daughter of John III of the House of La Marck, Duke of Jülich jure uxoris, Cleves, Berg jure uxoris, Count of Mark, also known as de la Marck & Ravensberg jure uxoris (often referred to as Duke of Cleves) who died in 1538, & his wife Maria, Duchess of Julich-Berg. She grew up in Schloss Burg on the edge of Solingen. Very little is known of her life before coming to England. The artist Hans Holbein the Younger was sent to Düren to paint portraits of Anne & her younger sister, Amalia, each of whom Henry was considering as his fourth wife. Henry required the artist to be as accurate as possible, not to flatter the sisters. The two versions of Holbein's portrait are in the Musée du Louvre in Paris & the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. In March 1539, Thomas Cromwell oversaw the talks & a marriage treaty was signed on 4 October of that year. Anne had received no formal education but was skilled in needlework & liked playing card games. She could read & write, but only in German. Anne was considered gentle, virtuous & docile, which is why she was recommended as a suitable candidate for Henry. Anne was described by the French ambassador, Charles de Marillac, as tall & slim, "of middling beauty & of very assured & resolute countenance". She was fair haired & was said to have had a lovely face. In the words of the chronicler Edward Hall, "Her hair hanging down, which was fair, yellow & long ... she was apparelled after the English fashion, with a French hood, which so set forth her beauty & good visage, that every creature rejoiced to behold her". She appeared rather solemn by English standards, & looked old for her age. Holbein painted her with high forehead, heavy-lidded eyes & a pointed chin. According to the testimony of his companions, he was disappointed with Anne, feeling she was not as described. Most historians believe that he later used as excuses Anne's alleged unsatisfactory appearance & failure to inspire him to consummate the marriage, saying he felt he had been misled, for everyone had praised Anne's attractions: "She is nothing so fair as she hath been reported", he complained. Cromwell received some of the blame for the portrait by Holbein which Henry believed had not been an accurate representation of Anne & for some of the exaggerated reports of her beauty. When the king finally met Anne, he was reportedly shocked by her plain appearance, & the marriage was never consummated. Henry urged Cromwell to find a legal way to avoid the marriage but, by this point, doing so was impossible without endangering the vital alliance with the Germans. In his anger & frustration the King finally turned on Cromwell, to his subsequent regret. Despite his objections, the two were married on 6 January 1540 at the royal Palace of Placentia in Greenwich, London, by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. The phrase "God send me well to keep" was engraved around Anne's wedding ring. Immediately after arriving in England, Anne conformed to the Anglican form of worship, which Henry expected. The couple's first night as husband & wife was not a successful one. Henry confided to Cromwell that he had not consummated the marriage, saying, "I liked her before not well, but now I like her much worse." In February 1540, speaking to the Countess of Rutland, Anne praised the King as a kind husband, saying: "When he comes to bed he kisseth me, & he taketh me by the hand, & biddeth me 'Good night, sweetheart'; & in the morning kisseth me & biddeth 'Farewell, darling.'” Anne was commanded to leave the Court on 24 June, & on 6 July she was informed of her husband's decision to reconsider the marriage. Shortly afterwards, Anne was asked for her consent to an annulment, to which she agreed. Cromwell, the moving force behind the marriage, was attainted for treason. The marriage was annulled on 9 July 1540, on the grounds of non-consummation & her pre-contract to Francis of Lorraine. The former queen received a generous settlement, including Richmond Palace, & Hever Castle, home of Henry's former in-laws, the Boleyns. Anne of Cleves House, in Lewes, East Sussex, is just one of many properties she owned; she never lived there. Henry & Anne became good friends—she was an honorary member of the King's family & was referred to as "the King's Beloved Sister". She was invited to court often &, out of gratitude for her not contesting the annulment, Henry decreed that she would be given precedence over all women in England save his own wife & daughters. In March 1547, Edward VI's Privy Council asked her to move out of Bletchingley Palace, her usual residence, to Penshurst Place to make way for Thomas Cawarden, Master of Revels. They pointed out that Penshurst was nearer to Hever & the move had been Henry VIII's will. On 4 August 1553, Anne wrote to Mary I to congratulate her on her marriage to Philip of Spain. On 28 September 1553, when Mary left St James's Palace for Whitehall, she was accompanied by her sister Elizabeth & Anne of Cleves. Anne also took part in Mary I's coronation procession, & may have been present at her coronation at Westminster Abbey. These were her last public appearances. As the new queen was a strict Catholic, Anne yet again changed religion, now becoming a Roman Catholic. She was compelled to live a quiet & obscure life on her estates. After her arrival as the King's bride, Anne never left England. Despite occasional feelings of homesickness, Anne was generally content in England & was described by Holinshed as "a ladie of right commendable regards, courteous, gentle, a good housekeeper & verie bountifull to her servants. When Anne's health began to fail, Mary allowed her to live at Chelsea Old Manor, where Henry's last wife, Catherine Parr, had lived after her remarriage. Here, in the middle of July 1557, Anne dictated her last will. In it, she mentions her brother, sister, & sister-in-law, as well as the future Queen Elizabeth, the Duchess of Suffolk, & the Countess of Arundel. She left some money to her servants & asked Mary & Elizabeth to employ them in their households. She was remembered by everyone who served her as a particularly generous and easy-going mistress. Anne died at Chelsea Old Manor on 16 July 1557, eight weeks before her forty-second birthday. The most likely cause of her death was cancer. She was buried in Westminster Abbey, on 3 August, in what has been described as a "somewhat hard to find tomb" on the opposite side of Edward the Confessor's shrine & slightly above eye level for a person of average height. She also has the distinction of being the last of Henry VIII's wives to die, as she outlived Henry's last wife, Katherine Parr, by 9 years. She was not the longest-lived, however, since Katharine of Aragon was 50 at the time of her death.




(b. c.1523 - d. 13 February 1542) Katherine was queen consort of England from 1540 until 1541 as the fifth wife of Henry VIII. Katherine was one of the daughters of Lord Edmund Howard (c. 1478 – 1539) & Joyce Culpeper (c. 1480 – c. 1528). Her father's sister, Elizabeth Howard, was the mother of Anne Boleyn. Therefore, Katherine Howard was the first cousin of Anne Boleyn, & the first cousin once removed of Lady Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth I), Anne's daughter by Henry VIII. She also was the second cousin of Jane Seymour, as her grandmother Elizabeth Tilney was the sister of Seymour's grandmother Anne Say. As a granddaughter of Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk (1443–1524), Katherine had an aristocratic pedigree. Katherine was not as well educated as some of Henry's other wives, although she could read & write. Her character has been described as vivacious, giggly & brisk, but never scholarly or devout. She displayed great interest in her dance lessons, but would often be distracted during them & make jokes. She also had a nurturing side for animals, particularly dogs. Katherine's uncle, the Duke of Norfolk, found her a place at Court in the household of the King's fourth wife, Anne of Cleves. As a young & attractive lady-in-waiting, Katherine quickly caught Henry's eye. Her youth, prettiness & vivacity were captivating for the middle-aged sovereign, who claimed he had never known "the like to any woman". Henry bestowed gifts of land & expensive cloth upon Katherine, calling her his 'very jewel of womanhood'. Holbein's portrait showed a young auburn-haired girl with a characteristically hooked Howard nose; Katherine was said to have a "gentle, earnest face."

King Henry & Katherine were married at Oatlands Palace on 28 July 1540. She was a teenager & he was 49. Katherine adopted the motto, Non autre volonté que la sienne or "No other wish but his" using the English translation from French. The marriage was made public on 8 August, & prayers were said in the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace. Katherine was young, joyous & carefree; & was taught to play the virginals. She was too young to take part in administrative matters of State. Nevertheless, every night Sir Thomas Heneage, Groom of the Stool, came to her chamber to report on the King's well-being. No plans were made for a coronation, yet she still travelled downriver in the royal barge into the City of London to a gun salute & some acclamation. Every day she dressed with new clothes in the French fashion bedecked with precious jewels. The Queen escaped plague-ridden London in August 1540 when on progress. The royal couple's entourage travelled on honeymoon through Reading & Buckingham. The King embarked on a lavish spending spree to celebrate his marriage, with extensive refurbishments & developments at the Palace of Whitehall. This was followed by more expensive gifts for Christmas at Hampton Court Palace. Katherine may have been involved during her marriage to the King with Henry's favourite male courtier, Thomas Culpeper, a young man who "had succeeded [him] in the Queen's affections", according to Dereham's later testimony. She had considered marrying Culpeper during her time as a maid-of-honour to Anne of Cleves. Culpeper called Katherine "my little, sweet fool" in a love letter. It has been alleged that in the spring of 1541 the pair were meeting secretly. Their meetings were allegedly arranged by one of Katherine's older ladies-in-waiting, Jane Boleyn, Viscountess Rochford (Lady Rochford), the widow of Katherine's executed cousin, George Boleyn, Anne Boleyn's brother. During the autumn Northern Progress, a crisis over Katherine's conduct began to loom. People who claimed to have witnessed her earlier sexual behaviour while she was still a ward at Lambeth reportedly contacted her for favours in return for their silence, & some of these blackmailers may have been appointed to her royal household. Lady Rochford was interrogated & from fear of being tortured agreed to talk. She told how she had watched for Katherine backstairs as Culpeper had made his escapes from the Queen's room. During the investigation a love letter written in the Queen's distinctive handwriting was found in Culpeper's chambers. This is the only letter of hers that survives (other than her later "confession"). On All Saints' Day, 1 November 1541, Henry received a warrant of the queen's arrest that described her crimes. On 7 November 1541 Archbishop Cranmer led a delegation of councillors to Winchester Palace, Southwark, to question her. Even the staunch Cranmer found the teenage Katherine's frantic, incoherent state pitiable, saying, "I found her in such lamentation & heaviness as I never saw no creature, so that it would have pitied any man's heart to have looked upon her." Katherine was stripped of her title as queen on 23 November 1541 & imprisoned in the new Syon Abbey, Middlesex.. She was beheaded three months later on the grounds of treason for committing adultery with her distant cousin Thomas Culpeper. The night before her execution Katherine is believed to have spent many hours practising how to lay her head upon the block, which had been brought to her at her request. She died with relative composure but looked pale & terrified; she required assistance to climb the scaffold. She made a speech describing her punishment as "worthy & just" & asked for mercy for her family & prayers for her soul. According to popular folklore her last words were, "I die a Queen, but I would rather have died the wife of Culpeper". However no eyewitness accounts support this, instead reporting that she stuck to traditional final words, asking for forgiveness for her sins & acknowledging that she deserved to die 'a thousand deaths' for betraying the king, who had always treated her so graciously. This was typical of the speeches given by those executed during that period, most likely in an effort to protect their families, since the condemned's last words would be relayed to the King. Katherine was beheaded with a single stroke of the executioner's axe.




(b. 1512 – d. 5 September 1548) Katherine Parr, sometimes alternatively spelled Catherine, Katheryn, Kateryn or Katharine, was queen consort of England & Ireland (1543–47) as the last of the six wives of King Henry VIII, & the final queen consort of the House of Tudor. Katherine's initial education was similar to other well-born women, but she developed a passion for learning which would continue throughout her life. She was fluent in French, Latin, & Italian, & began learning Spanish after becoming queen. According to biographer Linda Porter, the story that as a child, Katherine could not tolerate sewing & often said to her mother "my hands are ordained to touch crowns & sceptres, not spindles & needles" is almost certainly apocryphal. She married Henry VIII on 12 July 1543, & outlived him by a year. Katherine enjoyed a close relationship with Henry's three children & was personally involved in the education of Elizabeth I & Edward VI. She was influential in Henry's passing of the Third Succession Act in 1543 that restored both his daughters, Mary & Elizabeth, to the line of succession to the throne. Katherine was appointed regent from July to September 1544 while Henry was on a military campaign in France & in case he lost his life, she was to rule as regent until Edward came of age. However he did not give her any function in government in his will. In 1543, she published her first book, Psalms or Prayers, anonymously. On account of Katherine's Protestant sympathies, she provoked the enmity of anti-Protestant officials, who sought to turn the King against her; a warrant for her arrest was drawn up in 1545. However, she & the King soon reconciled. Her book Prayers or Meditations became the first book published by an English queen under her own name. She assumed the role of Elizabeth's guardian following the King's death, & published a second book, The Lamentation of a Sinner. Henry died on 28 January 1547. After the king's death, Katherine was allowed to keep the queen's jewels & dresses as queen dowager. About six months after Henry's death, she married her fourth & final husband, Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley. The marriage was short-lived, as she died on Wednesday, 5 September 1548 due to complications of childbirth. Parr's funeral was held on 7 September 1548. Parr's funeral was the first Protestant funeral in England, Scotland or Ireland to be held in English. Lady Jane Grey was her Chief Mourner at the funeral. With four husbands she is the most-married English queen.



(b. 12 October 1537 – d. 6 July 1553) Edward, born in 1537 was the son of Henry VIII & Jane Seymour, & England's first monarch to be raised as a Protestant. His mother died of postnatal complications less than two weeks after the birth of her only child. From the age of six, Edward began his formal EDUCATION under Richard Cox & John Cheke, concentrating, as he recalled himself, on "learning of tongues, of the scripture, of philosophy, & all liberal sciences". He received tuition from Elizabeth's tutor, Roger Ascham, & Jean Belmain, learning French, Spanish & Italian. In addition, he is known to have studied geometry & learned to play musical instruments, including the lute & the virginals. He collected globes & maps & , according to coinage historian C. E. Challis, developed a grasp of monetary affairs that indicated a high intelligence. Edward's religious education is assumed to have favoured the reforming agenda. His religious establishment was probably chosen by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, a leading reformer. Both Cox & Cheke were "reformed" Catholics or Erasmians & later became Marian exiles. Both Edward's SISTERS were attentive to their brother & often visited him – on one occasion, Elizabeth gave him a shirt "of her own working". Edward "took special content" in Mary's company, though he disapproved of her taste for foreign dances; "I love you most", he wrote to her in 1546 In January 1547, Henry VIII died, Edward, became king aged ten. Although Edward reigned for only six years & died at the age of 15, his reign made a lasting contribution to the English Reformation & the structure of the Church of England. The last decade of Henry VIII's reign had seen a partial stalling of the Reformation, a drifting back to more conservative values. By contrast, Edward's reign saw radical progress in the Reformation. In those six years, the Church transferred from an essentially Catholic liturgy & structure to one that is usually identified as Protestant. In particular, the introduction of the Book of Common Prayer, the Ordinal of 1550, & Cranmer's Forty-two Articles formed the basis for English Church practices that continue to this day. In February 1553, when Edward fell ill. His sickness was discovered to be terminal, he & his Council drew up a "Devise for the Succession", to prevent the country's return to Catholicism. Edward named his first cousin once removed, Lady Jane Grey, as his heir, excluding his half-sisters, Mary & Elizabeth. This decision was disputed following Edward's death, & Jane was deposed by Mary nine days after becoming queen. During her reign, Mary reversed Edward's Protestant reforms, which nonetheless became the basis of the Elizabethan Religious Settlement of 1559.




(b. c.1537 – d. 12 February 1554), Jane was an English noblewoman & de facto Queen of England & Ireland from 10 July until 19 July 1553. Jane was the great-granddaughter of Henry VII through his younger daughter Mary, & was a first cousin once removed of Edward VI.

Jane received a humanist EDUCATION, studying Latin, Greek & Hebrew with John Aylmer, & Italian with Michelangelo Florio. Through the influence of her father & her tutors, she became a committed Protestant & also corresponded with the Zürich reformer Heinrich Bullinger. She had a reputation as one of the most learned young women of her day. In May 1553, she married Lord Guildford Dudley, a younger son of king Edward's chief minister John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland. In June 1553, Edward VI wrote his will, nominating Jane & her male heirs as successors to the Crown, in part because his half-sister Mary was Roman Catholic, while Jane was a committed Protestant & would support the reformed Church of England, whose foundation Edward claimed to have laid. The will removed his half-sisters, Mary & Elizabeth, from the line of succession.

After Edward's death, Jane was proclaimed queen on 10 July 1553 & awaited coronation in the Tower of London. Support for Mary grew very quickly, & most of Jane's supporters abandoned her. The Privy Council of England suddenly changed sides & proclaimed Mary as queen on 19 July 1553, deposing Jane. Her primary supporter, her father-in-law the Duke of Northumberland, was accused of treason & executed less than a month later. Jane was held prisoner in the Tower & was convicted in November 1553 of high treason, which carried a sentence of death—though Mary initially spared her life. However, Jane soon became viewed as a threat to the Crown when her father, Henry Grey, 1st Duke of Suffolk, got involved with Wyatt's rebellion against Queen Mary's intention to marry Philip II of Spain. Both Jane & her husband were executed on 12 February 1554. During & in the aftermath of the Marian persecutions, Jane became viewed as a Protestant martyr for centuries, featuring prominently in the several editions of, the Book of Martyrs (Actes & Monuments of these Latter & Perillous Dayes) by John Foxe. The tale of Lady Jane grew to legendary proportions in popular culture, producing romantic biographies, novels, plays, operas, paintings, & films.



b. 18 February 1516 – d. 17 November 1558), Also known as Mary Tudor, she was the queen of England & Ireland from July 1553 until her death. Mary was the only child of Henry VIII by his first wife, Katharine of Aragon, to survive to adulthood. In July 1520, when scarcely four & a half years old, she entertained a visiting French delegation with a performance on the virginals (a type of harpsichord). A great part of her early education came from her mother, who consulted the Spanish humanist Juan Luis Vives for advice & commissioned him to write De Institutione Feminae Christianae, a treatise on the education of girls. By the age of nine, Mary could read & write Latin. She studied French, Spanish, music, dance, & perhaps Greek. She married Prince Philip of Spain, son of her cousin Charles V (Holy Roman Emperor), at Winchester Cathedral on 25 July 1554, just two days after their first meeting. Philip could not speak English, & so they spoke in a mixture of Spanish, French, & Latin. Mary became queen consort of Habsburg Spain on his accession in 1556. Philip left England in 1555 to command his armies against France in Flanders. Mary was heartbroken & fell into a deep depression. Michieli was touched by the queen's grief; he wrote she was "extraordinarily in love" with her husband, & was disconsolate at his departure. After Philip's visit in 1557, Mary thought she was pregnant, with a baby due in March 1558. She decreed in her will that her husband would be the regent during the minority of their child. However, no child was born, & Mary was forced to accept that Elizabeth would be her lawful successor. Mary was weak & ill from May 1558. In pain, possibly from ovarian cysts or uterine cancer she died on 17 November 1558, aged 42, at St James's Palace, during an influenza epidemic. Mary is best known for her vigorous attempt to reverse the English Reformation, which had begun during the reign of her father, Henry VIII. Her attempt to restore to the Church the property confiscated in the previous two reigns was largely thwarted by parliament, but during her five-year reign, Mary had over 280 religious dissenters burned at the stake in the persecutions, which led to her denunciation as "Bloody Mary" by her Protestant opponents. After Mary's death in 1558, her re-establishment of Roman Catholicism was reversed by her younger half-sister & successor, Elizabeth I.




(b. 7 September 1533 – d. 24 March 1603) Elizabeth was Queen from 17 November 1558 until her death on 24 March 1603. Sometimes called the Virgin Queen, Gloriana or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the last of the five monarchs of the House of Tudor. She was the daughter of Henry VIII & his second wife Anne Boleyn. Elizabeth was two years & eight months old when her mother was beheaded on 19 May 1536. Catherine Champernowne, better known by her later, married name of Catherine "Kat" Ashley, was appointed as Elizabeth's governess in 1537, & she remained Elizabeth's friend until her death in 1565. Champernowne taught Elizabeth four languages: French, Flemish, Italian & Spanish. By the time William Grindal became her tutor in 1544, Elizabeth could write English, Latin, & Italian. Under Grindal, a talented & skilful tutor, she also progressed in French & Greek. By age 12 she was able to translate her stepmother Catherine Parr's religious work Prayers or Meditations from English into Italian, Latin, & French, which she presented to her father as a New Year's gift. From her teenage years & throughout her life she translated works in Latin & Greek by numerous classical authors, including the Pro Marcello of Cicero, the De consolatione philosophiae of Boethius, a treatise by Plutarch, & the Annals of Tacitus.



By the time her formal education ended in 1550, Elizabeth was one of the best educated women of her generation. At the end of her life, Elizabeth was also believed to speak Welsh, Cornish, Scottish & Irish in addition to the languages mentioned above. Elizabeth became queen at the age of 25 in 1558. One of her first actions as queen was the establishment of an English Protestant church, of which she became the supreme governor. This Elizabethan Religious Settlement was to evolve into the Church of England. It was expected that Elizabeth would marry & produce an heir; however, despite numerous courtships, she never did. Elizabeth was lamented by many of her subjects. Expectations of King James started high but then declined, so by the 1620s there was a nostalgic revival of the cult of Elizabeth. Elizabeth was praised as a heroine of the Protestant cause & the ruler of a golden age. Elizabeth established an English church that helped shape a national identity & remains in place today. Elizabeth believed that faith was personal & did not wish, as Francis Bacon put it, to "make windows into men's hearts & secret thoughts". Under Elizabeth, the nation gained a new self-confidence & sense of sovereignty, as Christendom fragmented. Elizabeth was the first Tudor to recognise that a monarch ruled by popular consent. She therefore always worked with parliament & advisers she could trust to tell her the truth.




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