Friday, April 27, 2012

Emily's Guide to the Casket Letters Part IV

Letter 4 is another one of the Casket Letters that's suppossedly a love letter from Mary to Bothwell. If it is genuine than that means Mary and Bothwell could've murdered Darnley together! But, sadly it like the others, is probably partially forged. It is most likely this was a letter from Mary to Darnley when she was infatuated with him. (summer of July 1565). It's still possiable that it wasn't by Mary at all but instead, Anna Throndsen (see my post, "Anna Throndsen, not just a girl from Denmark!") or even someone else entirely!

Coming next, Letter 5!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Emily's Guide to the Casket Letters Part III

Letter 3 is not as important as the other letters, especailly not as important as the Glasgow Letters. But, is it genuine? Maybe... the Confederate Lords wanted it to be taken from the prespective of Mary to Bothwell and to be a love letter. (and is written as such) but, it is most likely to be a genuine letter from Mary but, not to Bothwell, but Darnley written during a low point in their relationship. Unlike the other letters it may not have been tampered with just suggested to be read from a different perspective. Thus, it could be incriminating if read from such.

Coming Next: Letter 4!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Emily's Guide to the Casket Letters Part II

No Casket Letter is more incriminating than this one, letter #2, aka "The Long Glasgow Letter" it contains over 2,000 words and the longest of the 8 letters! But, what's so incriminating about it and is it real? It seems to be two totally different letters combined into one.

 It starts off simple enough with what would appear to be Mary's writing an account of her conversation with Darnley while visiting him at Glasgow. Most of the letter seems to match up with Crawford's later account. The letter than takes a more romantic turn and the writers speaks of making a bracelet for her lover and other romantic rantings. It defently matched Mary's writing style. But, then again, Mary was the queen and her style must've been very public.

It is most likely that the first part of the letter was an actually account written by Mary but, has been tampered with by her enemies. The second part may have been a completely different letter written by another person then, add on to the first one and tampered with to appear as Mary's own. So, to sum up, The most vital letter is probably fact mixed with too much fiction! (like an Agnes Strickland book!)

For more on the Casket Letters please see either Alison Weir's "Mary, Queen of Scots and the Murder of Lord Darnley" or John Guy's "Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart" Both book i feel, tell the most accurate picture of Queen Mary.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Emily's Guide to the Casket Letters Part I

This is part one of an eight part series of postings on the Casket Letters. They have been and are still heavily debated over. Are the Genuine or Complete Fakes? Let's look at letter #1, The "Short Glasgow Letter"

This letter was the only one to be dated, "From Glasgow this saturday morning". It was susposedly written while Mary was at Glasgow visiting the recently ill, Darnley. It is likely a draft or copy a letter of Mary's in a totally different context then what the Confederate Lords say it is written in. It may have been tampered with but, we cannot be sure. Therefore, it may been part genunine and part fake.

Coming Tomorrow: Letter two, "the Long Glasgow Letter"!! :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Queen Anne Neville: Forgotten to History

Richard III and Anne Neville
Anne Neville has been forgotten to history for a long...long... time... I think it's about time we give her some of the spotlight! Anne Neville was the wife King Richard III, whom i think overshadows her! They were married before he was king and Anne was a young widow. She was first married to the son of Henry VI but, he died in battle, leaving Anne, a widow. We may never be sure of her true feelings for Richard III but, i'm sure she didnt hate him. She and Richard had a son, Edward, that she loved dearly. She was very depressed when he died and she died shortly later. She was only in her 30's. Anne seems to me to be neutral in the Wars of the Roses and her story is always a some what sad one. But, recently a biography of her has been released and she seems to be making a comeback! Poor Anne, just wanted to lead a normal life then, Richard III came along.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Lennox King of Scotland???

You probably didnt know it but, the Lennoxes (i.e. Mathew Stuart, Lord Darnley, etc.) actually had a claim to the Scottish throne! Though, it wasn't as strong as that of Mary Queen of Scots, it's still possiable that a Lennox could've sat on the throne of Scotland. Here's an explanation of their claim:
  1. James II had a daughter, Mary
  2. Mary married Lord Hamilton and had two children
  3. One child, Elizabeth, married the earl of Lennox
  4. Mathew Stuart, the earl of Lennox (and father of Darnley) is a descendant of that Elizabeth!

Now, you heard me mention the Hamiltons, right? They also have a cliam through the younger child of James II's daughter, Mary. Naturally, a feud between the Lennoxes and the Hamiltons was inevitable. That's where i coined the phrase "Pro-Lennox" and "Pro-Hamilton". Who were the Hamiltons you ask. Well, the earls of Arran and Chatelherault are both members of the Hamilton family. Now, could you imagine either one of them succeeding Mary, Queen of Scots? :)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Even Tudor Historians Make Mistakes...

Let's face it, no one's perfect, even Tudor historians. Every now and then we see our favourite authors make a small error, some just make more than others. I was reading a book today and the author said Mary Boleyn was the mother of Henry Fitzroy! I got a good laugh out of it :) But, this isn't the only time one Tudor character was confused with another. I was reading David Loades' "The Tudor Queens of England" and he confused Margaret Douglas with Margaret Clifford!! :) And in another book, the Earl of Lennox was confused with his son Darnley! It's these little mistakes that i'm always on the lookout for so, this probably won't be the last post on this topic :)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The True Year of Anne Boleyn's Birth

We've all heard about Anne Boleyn haven't we? But, do you know when she was was really born. Most historians say 1507 and yet, other go as far back as 1501. Which is the correct date??? For those who say 1507 i'm sorry to say that's it's 1501. Here's the main reason why
  • Anne Boleyn wrote a letter to her father from the court of Margaret of Austria. It was very well written and had the writing style of a teenager, who was well educated. If Anne had been born in 1507, she would've been six when she wrote this! And i can assure you, six year olds can not write that well...
So, when were the other Boleyn siblings born? Mary was the oldest, in 1499. Then came Anne in 1501, then two other children, both boys, came along somewhere in between here and died, young. Then the youngest, George Boleyn was born in 1503/4.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Katherine and Mary Grey, the Other Grey Sisters

We've all heard of Lady Jane Grey right? the 13 days queen (it's NOT 9, trust me!) and cousin of King Edward VI. Who most people haven't heard of are her two sisters, Katherine and Mary. So, who were the two "Other Grey Sisters"? Well,
Katherine Grey was the 2nd oldest of the three and actually spent some time in the Tower. She met Edward Seymour (son of the "Protector Somerset" by the same name) and they fell in love. They the went through a secret marriage with only one witness, Edward's sister, Jane. No one knew about the wedding until Katherine started to look pregnant. She knew Queen Elizabeth I would be angry with her for marrying without her permission and began to seek help.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Yorkist Pretenders in Early Tudor England

So you think the Yorkists died out when Henry VII took the throne? Well, sorry but, you would be wrong! They were many Yorkists still alive after the Battle of Bosworth, for example: Edward of Warwick, Maragaret of Burgundy and John de la Pole (earl of Lincoln) to name a few. There were also 2 main Yorkist pretenders (people who pretender to be desecendants from the house of York) Let's talk about each one.

#1 Lambert Simnel: He came around early in Henry VII's reign and pretended to be the earl of Warwick, who was still alive at the time and in the tower. The real Warwick was then, shown to the court and everyone figured out Simnel was just a commoner's son who was trained by Yorkists supporters to possiabably stop the Tudor dynasty. Henry VII went easy on Simnel and gave him a job in the kitchens, later, a falconer.

#2: Perkin Warbeck: Warbeck pretended to be Richard, Duke of York, the younger of the Princes in the Tower. Now, This was a much more serious threat because he Warbeck was going around to all the different European countries gaining support. He went to Burgundy where he met up with Margaret of York (sister to Richard III and Edward IV) and got her to believe he was the duke of York too! Even Scotland got in on it and King James III gave him a Scottish wife, Katherine Gordon. When he finally made his way to England and was captured and executed years later.

Still think the Yorkists died out when Henry VII took the throne? Look at it this way, even during Elizabetht I's final years direct Yorkists were still living. But, were there more pretenders? No.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Amy Robsart, An Elizabethan Mystery

 Everyone who loves Tudor history knows who the Dudleys are! There's Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester, John Dudley of Northumberland, and Edmund Dudley who worked for Henry VII to name a few. But, what people don't realize is that there was an Amy Dudley, the wife of Robert Dudley, who died when she fell down a flight of 8 stairs at her estate of Cumnor. Even today we no little to nothing about her. While her husband was off influeincing Elizabeth I, she stayed off in the country side. We do know she was pretty kind, (on the day she died she gave all her servents the day off to enjoy the nearby fair!) and that's about it.

Debate has raged ever since that fateful day. How did she die? Was is murder? Suicide? Cancer? all of these have been suggested as possiable explanations. The Victorians (those darn victorians again...!) thought it was full fledged murder on Robert Dudley's part. Well, you know how they like to romanticize these things. :) No, it was wasnt murder. Some modern historians believe that Amy thought no one really cared about her anymore and killed herself! Well, they're wrong too! Evidence shows Amy was very happy with her life.

  So, what did kill Amy? Other modern historians think breast cancer (or a similar type) and I'd have to agree with them. When Amy was found at the bottom of the stairs, her neck was broken and yet, her headress managed to stay intact. Suppossedly her cancer had made her bones brittle, therefore something as little as a fall down the stairs could lead to a broken neck! There is so much evidence that supports this theory but, we may never be sure!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Anna Throndsen, Not Just A Girl From Denmark!

I've been a Tudor fanatic for quite awhile but, only within the past year or so have i heard of Anna Throndsen. She's very little known in the realm of history (in fact there's not anything close to a likeness of her). And yet, her story has always intrested me. She was a Norwegian girl who lived in Denmark. We do know she had dark hair but, that's about it as far as apearences go. I know nothing of her early years but, at some point she met James Hepburn, (a.k.a. "Bothwell") Now, her and Bothwell had some sort of bethroheral, engagement, i dunno... he promised to marry her and then, well... left. Naturally, Anna was mad. So, when this same James Hepburn landed on Danish shores, years later, she wanted revenge. She was the one who ratted him out to the King of Denmark (sorta...). She was planning on sue him for like... all his money but, he gave her one of his ships instead. Then Bothwell was imprisioned for years and died, insane. I don't know how Anna died, but, she has allways intrigued me. :)

Random Anna Throndsen Fact: It has been speculated that one of the Casket Letters (not a Glasgow letter) was actually written by her to Bothwell!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Margaret Douglas and the Tower of London

Lady Margaret Douglas
I'm sure as a Tudor fan you've heard of Margaret Douglas, coutness of Lennox. (another one of my faaaaaavourite Tudor characters!) Her story is a sad one, as she spent countless time in the Tower of London. She made three main visits (when she wasn't on house arrest) for three different reasons. As she put it, "for  my first love Thomas Howard, (not duke of norfolk) [who died in the tower.] For the love of my son, Henry Darnley to Mary, Queen of Scots, and for the love of my second son Charles to the lady Elizabeth Cavendish." Let me explain...

Reason 1: Before she married the earl of Lennox (Mathew Stuart) Margaret had fallen in love of Thomas Howard, (one of the Anne Boleyn's Howard relations, but, NOT the Duke of Norfolk). Her uncle, Henry VIII was angry that they were betrothed without telling him so he sent both of them to the Tower! Thomas Howard died in the tower of "Tower Fever" as some say. But, Margaret moved on and married Mathew Stuart.

Reason 2: In 1565, Darnley was sent to Scotland by Queen Elizabeth the first to distract Mary Queen of Scots from making a Spanish allience. When it seemed Mary was going to marry Darnley, Elizabeth ordered him to return. Of course, he didnt and Elizabeth sent Margaret to the Tower as a hostage for good behavior. Once Darnley was murdered, she was released and rejoined her second son, Charles.

Reason 3: After Margaret's husband, Mathew, was assassinated in 1571, all she had left family-wise, was her son Charles, who was still not married. Margaret paid a visit to her friend, Bess of Hardwick, who had an unmarried daughter, Elizabeth Cavendish. Charles and Elizabeth fell in love and were married without Queen Elizabeth I's permission. She was angry and ordered Margaret back into the Tower. Charles and Elizabeth later had Arbella Stuart (who should've succeeded Elizabeth) and Charles died 6 months later. Margaret was then released, only to die in the late 1570's.

So, when you think "Tower of London" dont just think, Anne Boleyn, or Elizabeth I, or Princes in the Tower, think, Margaret Dougals too!


Saturday, April 7, 2012

A Tale of Two Jane Seymours

the first Jane Seymour
If i were to ask you who Jane Seymour was in Tudor history, would you say Henry VIII's third wife? Or, would you say the daughter of "lord protector" Somerset? Yup! That's right! There were two Jane Seymours in Tudor history! I'm sure i don't need to explain who the first Jane Seymour is. But, the second, i feel i do need to explain. She was the daughter of Edward Seymour, the first Jane's brother, or "Protector Somerset" as i like to call him. Her only real contribution to history is that she was the only witness to the marriage of her brother (also Edward Seymour) to Catherine Grey. The Second Jane is always overlooked in history, don't forget about her!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Stewart or Stuart? How to Correctly Spell Mary Queen of Scots' Last Name

Mary and her son, James VI/I
Mary Queen of Scots, the daughter of debate, even her last name's spelling is debatable! But, here's the correct way of spelling it... S-T-E-W-A-R-T, the Scottish way. (She was Scottish after all!) Why then is she commonly refered to as Mary STUART. That's becasue S-T-U-A-R-T is how to spell it in the French style, and Mary grew up in France. (Also, in Tudor times people just spelled their last names however the heck they wanted too!) Mary's father, James V, was Scottish and since her last name comes from him, it is spelled the Scottish way, STEWART.

Now, this is just a side note but, there is also speculation as to how to spell Darnley's last name. The correct way is S-T-U-A-R-T, the French way becasue his father, Mathew Stuart, the earl of Lennox, had it legally changed that way before Darnley was born. However, many authors still call him Henry STEWART because his was partially Scottish. THIS IS NOT CORRECT!!!!! (sorry i just get mad when people do that!) So, don't confuse the two. :)

(one more side note, James VI/I's last name is spelled the French way because Darnley was his father. Thus the following 'Stuart' dynasty is [indirectly] named after Darnley)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Where the Tudor Dynasty Gets It's Name

The Tudor Rose!
The Tudor Dynasty, argueable England's greatest dynasty (and my favourite!). But, how did so great a dynasty get it's name? The answer is quite simple. The Tudor name comes from the Welsh family of "Tudor". When Owan Tudor (a Welsh servent) met Katherine of Valois (a dowager queen) and married her, they gave birth to Edmund Tudor. Sound familiar? That's because Edmund Tudor married Margaret Beaufort, mother of King Henry VII (one of my faaaaaaaaaaaavourite Tudor characters!) So, the Tudor name deprives from a little known Welsh family. And get this, Edmund died before Henry VII was even born! But, Henry VII grew up mostly under the care of Jasper Tudor (who is also one of my favourite characters!) younger brother of Edmund. (Just to set the record straight, Jasper and Edmund had another younger brother named Owan who became a monk)

 Random Tudor Fact: Through Katherine of Valois the Tudor have a claim to the French throne that was stronger than their claim to the English throne. (Katherine was the youngest daughter of a French king.)

For more on the early Tudor history, see my post seires "The Early Tudors" or "Katherine of Valois: Mother of the Tudor Dynasty" or "Life and Character of Edmund Tudor" (another post)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Who Was The Real First Queen of England?

Mary I
Jane Grey
Is it Mary I or Jane Grey? I'm sure you've heard both ways. But, only one is right. So, which is it? Mary or Jane? The answer is quite simple, who was the first effective reigning queen, the first to act in a queenly matter. So, it's JANE!!!!!! Because,  Jane ruled for 13 days effectively as queen in her own right. Therefore SHE is the first queen of England, not Mary. I have recently heard someone call Mary Tudor the first queen of England. (that's what inspired this post!) It angered me because it's wrong and vague. First, it's wrong because of what i just stated above. It's vague because does she mean Mary Tudor "Bloody Mary" or Mary Tudor "Dowager Queen of France"? If she means the dowager Queen of  France, then this statement is also false because that Mary never ruled England. Don't is just pain you to hear people mess up BASIC Tudor facts?! Well, it does me! :)

Oh, and just for good measure, the term can also apply to Empress Matilda if it is used in a vague sense. (Just wanted to clarify)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Purquoy's Tragic Fall

You're probably read the title and thought, "Who's Purquoy?'. Well, he's Anne Boleyn's dog! Not only that, he was her favourite dog! But, he had a tragic fall. Not like Wolsey had tragic fall but, he literally fell. (more than likely out a window). See he fell and died, and one of Queen Anne's ladies found him. They didnt tell Anne for 3 days because they knew how sad she'd be. We don't really know what Anne thought of it but, yes, she was very sad. :( Wouldn't it be hilarious (and symbolic) if Jane Seymour pushed Purquoy out the window? :)

Random Anne Boleyn Fact: Anne's family had Irish blood through her paternal grandmother, Margaret Butler. Therefore, Queen Elizabeth I was part Irish.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Agnes Strickland; The 19th Century's Worst Historian!

You may have heard me talk a lot about Agnes Strickland and hows she's a terriable writer and that you should never trust her. Well, you shouldnt. She gets 98% of her information wrong and i'm not kidding! Not to mention her terriable spelling. Don't believe me? Then, see for yourself! Here's some mispellings from her book, "Lives of the Queens of England!'
Katharine of Arragon, Margaret of Lenox, Thomas Wyat, Ludivicous Vives, Eustachio Chapuys, Kirk-Of-Field

Here's some samples of her biggest mistakes!

My personal favourite...

"... [Henry VIII] created Anne Boleyn, marchioness of Pembroke, a royal title last held by his uncle, Jasper Tudor"

and then there's this....
"The first misfortune that befell Anne Boleyn was the death of her mother, Lady Boleyn, in 1512"


"he [Henry VII] was born at Pembroke Castle on June 26th 1456"

Another one i enjoy...

"there is, however, more evidence she [Katherine Parr's daughter] grew up to be a wife and a mother"

Finally, my second favourite...

"a contempory portrait, called Elizabeth of York.....has a sisterly resemblence to the probably that of her sister, Anne"
(oh and FYI, she's referring to the most popular portrait of Elizabeth of York)