Sunday, 16 June 2013
Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived...
Although I haven't got into the same habit of some of the other bloggers of ending my articles with my initials, I reckon it's pretty obvious who I am as my articles seem to carry a familiar theme: the Tudors. Yep, you lucky things, it's me again. And, as some of you brighter buttons may have notice from the title, this article will continue with that trend. If i'm perfectly honest with you, I don't even know why i'm so drawn to the Tudor - my main interest in history is really the 'modern world', but something about them really draws me in. I suppose I probably get it directly from my Nan, who introduced me as a small child to the world of the Tudors, and, being an extremely weird child (not much changes), I was immediately enthralled by them: the 9 year old king Edward (if he could be king at nine, why couldn't I be queen at seven?), the infamous 'bloody Mary', the first truly popular Tudor Elizabeth, and the impossible king, Henry VII. But, if i'm honest, I was completely enraptured the first time my Nan told me about Henry VIII. On the surface, he doesn't seem like the most stable of people, to say the least, and to be honest with you, I was amazed by a king so fat that apparently he couldn't climb the stairs of his palace. I already warned you I was a weird child... So, here is the story of my favorite Henry, and if the Tudor-related articles are beginning to bore you, blame my Nan.
Henry started off with controversy, really. After the death of his brother, instead of looking around for a wife, he just married his brothers widow, which must have looked a little dodgy at the time. The laziness when it came to searching out a suitable lady extended to ruling England, as his close mate Thomas Wolsey basically ruled for him, and was soon elevated to Lord Chancellor, which is pretty nifty job to have, if you ask me. His first battle plans to invade France sunk like a lead balloon as they were both expensive and unsuccessful, but between Henry and Wolsey a Scottish invasion was beaten off, and Henry gained the title 'father of the royal navy', for increasing the navy by ten times.
However, at the time, failure to produce a male heir was basically paramount to destroying your dynasty, and poor old Catherine of Aragon wasn't going to be popping out sprogs any more at the age of 40. So, like every great king, Henry decided it was time to get himself a new woman, and divorced Catherine, despite the fact that it didn't gain him any brownie points with anyone. His new woman, he decided, was to be Anne Boleyn, and we all know how THAT ended when she couldn't have the precious son Henry so dearly wanted. So. Wife number two and still no luck... I like to think that a public 'lock of your daughters' memo circulated after Anne Boleyn's neck parted company with her head, although clearly a certain Mr Seymour didn't get one. Wife number three, here we come: you lucky, lucky woman, Jane Seymour. Finally, Jane became pregnant with a son, and it's said that Henry genuinely loved her, so all was calm and peaceful... But obviously that would be boring, so in childbirth Jane Seymour died. Now, we couldn't leave Henry without a woman, could we? Wife Four, Anne of Cleves, who sets a record for Henry's shortest marriage lasting only a few months before Henry divorced her and chopped off the head of Thomas Cromwell, who suggested the match, for good measure. The next lucky woman was Catherine Howard, who was married to Henry during the period in which he was sending armies left right and center with no actual rewards. Henry, who was probably getting a bit bored of only having one wife for over a year, decided that it was about time for the guillotine to be dusted off and used again. Bye bye wife five.
So. The last and luckiest of the women. The one who was still married to Henry when he died. Catherine Parr. She acted as a nurse to Henry, and after his death almost faded into the background as he was succeeded by Edward and buried next to Jane Seymour.
So there we are. The original womanizer. I'd love to be able to tell you that the Tudor thing would stop soon, but I don't lie. So, until next time!
P.S: Here are those all-important initials --> E.C