I'm pretty sure no one else has thought of this, but, i was reading about Anne Boleyn today and suddenly it hit me, "Anne certainly reminds me of Margaret of Anjou!" If you don't know Margaret of Anjou was the wife of Henry VI and the matriarch for the Lancaster side during the Wars of the Roses (just search her name on my blog and there'll be lots to learn about her!) Both are favourite characters of mine and perhaps that's why I was able to find similarities. How exactly are they alike?
Let's see, where did i leave off last time I wrote in this series... oh yes, the years of exile under Francis II. As i mentioned earlier this wasn't the first time Jasper Tudor wound up in exile under Duke Francis of Brittany. When Edward IV first took over as king and Jasper went into exile the first time he spent some of his time in Brittany. This is probably why Francis was ready to offer Henry and Jasper Tudor shelter when a storm blew them to Brittany instead of France.
Henry VII, this portrait was drawn
will he was in exile in Brittany
At first, they were treated quite well and housed together. I may be mistaken but I'm pretty sure I've read some where that both of their English servants were replaced with Breton ones. So what to do in exile with no English servants? Well for one learn French. (as much as the Bretons loved to protest their independence from France they spoke French as a language) We do from records that Henry VII spoke French and was actually good at, and enjoyed the language. As for Jasper Tudor, probably not as much. (even ironically as his mother was a French princess) I'm sure Jasper learned French but,
Yes, today in Tudor History we have the birthday of King Edward IV, first king of the House of York. Edward IV has never been one of my personal favourite characters but, his daughter, Elizabeth of York did become the first Tudor Queen. As much as I am a Lancasterian i will say one good thing about Edward was that he was quite gifted for fighting battles. You can find out more about Edward IV in this posts of mine
Life of King Edward IV (series)
Who Has the Better Claim, Lancaster or York?
Was Edward IV Really of the House of York?
The Lancasterian Redemption
Queen Consort: Elizabeth of York Part I
Elizabeth Wydeville and Anne Boleyn: History Repeats It's self
There are many people to which, the Tudor dynasty owes it's rise to power and one of those is Margaret Beaufort, mother of the first Tudor king, Henry VII. But, with most characters of that time period, there's misconceptions people have and the real Margaret has become hidden beneath layers of what i like to call, "Misconceptions". That's why i decided to write today's post, to tell the world about the true Margaret Beaufort and hopefully you'll remember next time you decide to read about her.
Here's a list of misconceptions on Lady Margaret along with explanations as to why they are wrong:
As much as the House of Lancaster would've wanted it, their return to power in 1470 couldn't last. And when Edward IV came back from Burgundy and took his throne back the Lancasterians had to leave, one way or another. Prince Edward of Lancaster (Henry VI's son and heir) was killed fighting at Tewkesbury. (which isn't too surprising given that Edward had had no military experience up to that point) and Henry VI was murdered in the tower the night Edward IV came back to London (and that wasn't all that quiet either...) as for Margaret of Anjou, she was brought back to Edward's court as a trophy, she was subject to humiliation then thrown in jail. (only two years later she was forced to suffer the humiliation of returning to France, alone and impoverished)
Other Lancasterians didn't fare so well either. the earl of Oxford was sent to a Calais prison, Margaret Beaufort wasn't imprisoned or killed, but kept under surveillance. Henry Tudor's earldom of Richmond was legally given over to Edward IV's brother the Duke of Clarence and Edmund Beaufort Jr. the last Beaufort duke of Somerset was killed fighting at Tewkesbury as well. Edward IV was now certain of his rule and all his lancasterian enemies had been taken care of, except one: Jasper Tudor.
Lady Catherine Gordon from BBC's "The Shadow of the Tower" miniseries
One of Tudor History's more neglected heroines is the Scottish Lady Catherine Gordon. (or "Kate" as i call her so not to confuse her with other "Katherines" from the time) Lady Catherine was famous for being the wife of Perkin Warbeck, or as she originally believed, Richard Duke of York. (son of Edward IV) She was also cousin to the king of Scots (James IV) and since he supported Warbeck's false claim against the English king Henry VII he gave Kate as a bride to Warbeck. But what makes Kate a tragic heroine is that she truly loved Warbeck and believed him to be the Duke of York and believed herself to be the Duchess.
When Edward IV came to the throne, the Wars of the Roses were far from over. In 1470 Edward's powerful supporter, Warwick "The Kingmaker" deserted to the house of Lancaster and brought the house of Lancaster back into power. This meant a return for all the Lancasterian exiles, including Jasper Tudor. Jasper had arrived back in Wales in 1468, when he tried to take back Harlech castle and failed. He then hid out in Wales until the time was right. Luckily for him, William Herbert (who had taken Jasper's earldom and the custody of his nephew Henry Tudor) was killed in the battle of Edgecote and Jasper could then come safely to Pembroke castle, where Henry Tudor returned under the care of Lady Herbert who was on friendlier terms with Jasper and the house of Lancaster. (see my post "Histories Forgotten Countesses: Anne Devereaux for more on her)
Movie poster for the 1955 film version
of Richard III
I've been reading a lot about the subject of the Wars of the Roses lately, and that also means reading about Richard III. Also being a fan of the Tudor and Elizabethan eras, the fact that Shakespeare wrote a play on Richard III really intrigued me. I personally don't associate myself with the Ricardian movement (basically because for the most part their wrong!) But i will say i have a few Ricardian-ish tendencies when it comes to the subject. Anyhoo, I went down to my local Half Price Books store and bought myself a copy. And after I'd read it many times i realized where Shakespeare had gone wrong.
Actually, just recently i watched the 1955 movie version of the play (starring Laurence Olivier and Claire Bloom) and even though i enjoyed it, i found even more things wrong in that version than there was originally in the play! And because some people have either read the play or seen the movie and not realized what was wrong and believed as the real history! That's why I decided to take a break from my series on Jasper Tudor to talk about this most pressing matter.
So, where to begin? Let's start with the beginning of the play, after all that seems logical right?
Let's see.. where did i leave off in this series? Oh yes, after the (sad and tragic...) battle of Mortimer's Cross. Mortmer's Cross being of course the only battle in which Jasper Tudor was the main commander. It is interesting to note that in all the battles Jasper fought in he never really won. (okay, Stoke and Bosworth don't count!) He was at the First Battle of St. Albans and Lancaster lost, Some even say he fought at Towton, (i honestly am not sure but if he was) and still the Lancasterians lost. But anyway, after Mortimer's Cross, Jasper Tudor was forced into exile or else be executed by the new Yorkists regime. His nephew, Henry Tudor, had to stay behind with the Herbert family. (who was primarily Yorkists, but Lady Herbert was the perfect stepmother for Henry!)
So what happened next? Well, Jasper didn't leave Wales right away. He left Pembroke and joined up with another lancasterian, Henry Holland duke of Exeter (ironically the Duke of York's son in law via his marriage to York's daughter Anne. Anne however hated him and ran off with her lover Thomas St. Ledger, whom she eventually married) Together Pembroke and Exeter went to join the King and Queen in Scotland under the protection of Scotland's Regent Mary. At this point the remaining Lancasterians conferred on what their next plan of attack was. They had lost lots of support to Edward IV and had to do something!
Katherine Wydeville, taken from a stain-glass window of her with Jasper Tudor
A generalization that can be made about the Wydeville family is that they're greedy, blood-sucking, leeches who's ambition leads them to an obsession with stealing power from all the important English Yorkists families. Which is true, the Wydevilles were like a disease, but not all of them, one good thing came out of the marriage of Richard Wydeville and Jacquetta of Luxembourg: Their daughter Katherine.
Some stories in Tudor history have no bases in fact. For example: Some historians assert that Owen Tudor fought at Agincourt and was knighted after the battle. But, why would be even be there? He's just a servant to the king and they weren't supposed to fight in battle. It was probably invented by someone's romantic mind (since Owen Tudor is one of history's more romantic figures) Here's a few other "Tudor Myths" (if i may borrow the term from Richard III"s supporters) and why they can't possible be true!
The years immediately following Edmund Tudor's untimely death were rather anti-climatic for Jasper Tudor. I mean, it's the time when Jasper Tudor falls out of the limelight of the Wars of the Roses and the action switches away from Wales and back to England. What happened from 1457-about 1460? Well, it's actually quite simple: Jasper lived at Pembroke, raising his young nephew, Henry Tudor. And he didn't much other than that.
Of course, we also know at this time Jasper still was unmarried and the romantic mind (of some later generation) just couldn't stand it. So that's were we arrive at a common rumour that during this time Jasper Tudor had two illegitimate daughters named Helen and Joan. This claim is nothing but pure nonsense! You recall that Jasper's education was set up by/supervised by his elder half-brother Henry VI (who at 16 declared to the court that he would never have a mistress). Do you really think Henry VI would've approve of that?
Ever thought the Wars of the Roses was just contained in England? Well, it wasn't! In fact, during their exile, many Lancastrians tried to gain foreign support. One of the foreign powers to which they applied was Mary of Guelders, the Scottish regent. She had been the wife of King James II when the Wars broke out but, upon her husband's death, she became Regent for her young son. the people liked her ruling and she found no resistance. Unlike her contemporary, Margaret of Anjou, Queen of England.
Margaret of Anjou had tried to become regent herself when her husband, King Henry VI, fell ill (due to his mental illness, which modern historians agree was catatonic schizophrenia) in 1453. The English Parliament refused her as regent and made the Duke of York (Margaret's number one enemy) regent instead. So when the two Queens met their was most likely some jealous.
Wait a minute... Margaret of Anjou met Mary of Guelders?
Another Portrait of Jasper Tudor (the one in blue)
It's common Tudor tradition that Edmund Tudor, earl of Richmond, died of the plague at Carmethan castle while William Herbert's prisoner. And, for a long time that's what i thought too. But what might you say if I told you... that familiar old story was false? Yup, it is false. It's true that Edmund Tudor died as William Herbert's prisoner at Carmethan, but, not of plague... for his death was no accident. And his death was the most crushing thing to happen to the Tudor family at the time, especially for Jasper Tudor and Edmund's wife, Margaret Beaufort.
What does Empress Matilda have to do with Tudor history? She died centuries before even Maredudd Tudor was born! But Empress Matilda actually has a lot to do with Tudor History, she was the first female ruler of England since the Norman conquest. (Celtic Britain was ruled by a women, Boudicea during Roman times) Matilda was the daughter of King Henry I, (thus making her a granddaughter of William the Conqueror) which normally isn't that much a big deal except that Matilda, was Henry's only legitimate heir. (he had other children, only they weren't legitimate) And since no document said otherwise, Matilda was to inherit the crown. But this was the 1100's, could a women rule England? No one seemed to think so. Rather they turned to Matilda's nephew, Stephan.
Stephan, being the premier male heir was then made King of England and most history books will omit Matilda and only mention King Stephan. But I'm here to tell you, they're WRONG! (*gasp!* What? History books can be wrong?! uh, yeah... just look at Strickland! :) ) Everyone in England was okay with King Stephan except one important person: Matilda.
Another mistake: This portrait of Katherine
Parr is often mistaken as Lady Jane Grey
Yes, I've returned with, yet again, another set of mistakes on Tudor history that I've found. (when will people ever learn :) ?) So without further ado.. here they are:
Back in February when all the news stations were talking about the finding of Richard III, i saw one station talk about the story and said that it was only "suggested" that he died in battle. (i thus, burst out laughing!)
I was re-reading a book of mine on some of the Queen's of England (not Agnes Strickland) and i read the section of Elizabeth of York and the author said that Cecily of York (Elizabeth's sister) married John Wells, (which is true) but then said that John Wells was an illegitimate brother of Jasper Tudor. (??? I know right?? How do that idea even ENTER somebody's mind?) and back in the chapter on Catherine of Valois, the same author claimed that Catherine and Owen's youngest son was named David, not Owen. (but all accounts prove his name was Owen.)
As I've mentioned before in previous posts, the Tudors were majorly important in the Wars of the Roses. And none more so than Jasper Tudor, one of the lucky few who survived the entire war.
So, why was he so important? Mainly because of his unshaking loyalty to King Henry VI (who was his half-brother) and the cause of Lancaster. It all started after the Duke of York (or "Yorkie" as I like to call him in order to not confuse him with his grandson by the same name and title) stopped being protector in 1454. York had gotten a taste of the power he so thought was his and he disguised his own ambitions by saying he was supporting "good government". People came to support him for his "reforms" and thus, Lancaster and York couldn't have been more divided.
Surely you've all heard of Catherine of Aragon right? Well, I should hope so given that she's Henry VIII's first wife. But, have you ever wondered about or studying Catherine's siblings? She 4 total, 3 sisters and 1 brothers. And here just for you, is a little bit about each one:
(Oh and before I forget, Happy Easter!!!!!)
Juana of Castile
Juana of Castile: perhaps the most of famous of Catherine's sisters, and better known as "Juana the Mad". Juana was Catherine's second oldest sister and grew up with Catherine and the two were good friends. Juana was headstrong like her mother but knew her duty as a princess and was more than happy to marry Phillip "the fair" of Burgundy, son of the holy Roman emperor, Maximilian. After their marriage Juana gave birth to a son, the future Charles V. So also had another son and a few daughters (the youngest of which, Catalina, stayed with Juana) Juana became obsessed with Philip, if he even looked at another girl she had that girl sent from court.