4 February 1520 – Mary Boleyn’s first marriage

Posted By on February 4, 2020

On this day in history, 4th February 1520, so 500 years ago today, Mary Boleyn, sister of Anne Boleyn, got married to her first husband, William Carey.

You can find out more in my “on this day” video below.

By the way, I checked on the National Archives currency converter, which only goes up to 2017 but gives us a good idea, and the king’s wedding gift of 6s. 8d. is worth approximately £173.34 in today’s money, and in 1520, it would have paid for 11 days of work from a skilled tradesman or 3 stones of wool. It wasn’t enough, however, to buy a horse or a cow.

If you’re interested in Mary Boleyn then I have a few more videos for you in my Mary Boleyn playlist:

There are also lots of articles on Mary Boleyn here on the Anne Boleyn Files in our Mary Boleyn category.

206 thoughts on “4 February 1520 – Mary Boleyn’s first marriage”

  1. Michael Wright says:

    It’s so frustrating that Mary Boleyn is such an enigma. This is the Boleyn child who survived. It would be so interesting to find something either written by her or written by someone she may have spoken to (in secret of course) about her feelings of what happened in May of 1536.
    In regards to her daughter Catherine when I look at that well known painting of her heavily pregnant I see Henry Viii in her face and also Henry’s daughter Elizabeth. I don’t know if I actually see that or if it’s because it’s been planted in my brain from other things I read that I’m looking for it. As you said Claire, there’s no evidence to support it. When did this rumour/story start?

  2. Anira says:

    Thanks for this summary of facts, Claire! Now I’m looking forward to your dissecting of the myths and theories!

  3. Banditqueen says:

    Well one could knit a load of jumpers or scarves with three stone of wool. Wool was the heart of the English economy during the sixteenth century, very expensive, a cut throat industry, ripe for fraud and fines and a great deal of illegal trade went on. Shakespeare father, John Shakespeare, was involved as a wool agent and was fined for pocketing the profits.

    Mary Boleyn was most probably the oldest child, an older daughter would get married first under normal circumstances, although this wasn’t always the case. There is one theory that Henry married her off to his friend and relative William Carey as a good marriage for a discarded mistress, to ensure she had a good marriage but most historians believe this is too early. Henry didn’t normally sleep with married women, but one cannot rule that out. There is of course much debate around the fatherhood of the two children of this marriage, Henry and Catherine Carey. Grants of money to William do not prove Henry was the father of either child, it was normal to reward loyal retainers with money and land and titles. Henry was a generous man and he gave gifts to every family who served him well. Was he the father of Henry or Catherine Carey? Well we don’t really know anything about the relationship between Mary and the King. We don’t know when they were together or for how long. The favourite time period is around Shrovetide 1522 and Summer 1526. Not that it lasted that long but it is linked to a joust and to a broken heart and motto. The application to Pope Clement also mentioned Mary not by name but by reference to one who had slept with King Henry and was related to the woman he wanted to marry, Anne Boleyn. He would use his relationship with Mary to annul his marriage to Anne in 1536.

    So we can’t answer the question around the fatherhood of Mary’s children. The marriage to William meant he was the presumed father and he didn’t deny them. His children inherited from him and their mother what little they could after the inheritance was settled several years after his death in all but poverty. It is most probable that both children were fathered by William Carey, although Catherine considered herself royal, had a very close relationship with her “cousin” Elizabeth I and was highly honoured by her in death, although her husband was kept from her bedside by the Queen. Henry Carey considered himself an heir to some of the property of the crown. Mary had a hard time getting the monies she was entitled to as a widow in 1528 and also the inheritance from her parents. She married William Stafford without the royal consent of her sister, Anne and that of her father in 1534. Henry Viii didn’t recognise the children, although both Catherine and Henry have been said to look like him by one person or another. In the end we can only guess as there isn’t any proof either way.

    1. Michael Wright says:

      Hi Christine. Sorry for the stupid question: did you make sure you hit post? I have had this happen a couple of times. Once for assuming I posted it and another for a computer glitch. I make sure to watch it post now before I walk away. Something I’ve noticed is that my post appears to me Immediately but I’ve gotten notifications that a reply has been posted but when I click the link the reply isn’t there yet and I check back in a half hour or so. I think you may have to retype it. Not fun.

      1. Christine says:

        Hi Michael, no I definitely hit the post link, when it hasn’t appeared iv hit it again yet it then says duplicate comment I have already said that, very frustrating as you know my posts can be rather long, have done it several times yet no luck, I may try again tomorrow, I bet this one appears though.

        1. Michael Wright says:

          Computers are weird. Last week I was blocked from The Tudor Society for what the computer said was using too many IP addresses. Problem with that is I have one computer in one location that I use for that and I wasn’t using a VPN. I mentioned it to Claire and she reset it and it was fine. Understanding computers is like trying to understand cats. I love cats but if I ever start to understand them I know it’s time to move to into a home.

        2. Christine says:

          I know ounce my banks computers all crashed, and the staff were counting out the cash by hand, it took ages there was such a long queue as well, computers are wonderful but can be a problem when they go wrong.

    2. Christine says:

      Henry Carey does not resemble King Henry at all, he was possibly named after the king and some posters on here (those descendants of Mary have taken that as proof he was his son), but many children were named after the reigning monarch as a compliment, Catherine Carey was probably named after Katherine of Aragon, the portraits of both Henry and that said to be of his sister do not show any resemblance to each other at all, you would in fact never guess they were blood kin, Carey has the long Boleyn face with the high cheekbones and he was born several years into his parents marriage, but Catherine being born not long after could have been the kings, she does share similar features with Henry V111, I am just seeing if this post goes through, my other shorter ones have, maybe the website is trying to tell me my posts are over long ha!

      1. Michael Wright says:

        Yay it posted!

  4. Christine says:

    I posted about Mary Boleyn about four hours ago but it hasn’t appeared, hopefully it may do so shortly as I don’t want to write it all again, it was rather long.

    1. Michael Wright says:

      Just heard that Kirk Douglas passed away at the age of 103.

      1. Banditqueen says:

        What? Thought he died years ago. That’s a good age. A good actor gone. RIP. His career was brilliant and I will always remember him as Spartacus. His son, Michael Douglas looked as if he was his father’s clone. Another great actor. Another legend gone. Fans on Twitter are really heart broken. Some very moving memorials.

        1. Christine says:

          Yes he was 103 a great age he made some great films, I loved him in The Vikings and Spartacus these old movie legends from the golden age of Hollywood, his family must be devastated you always think your parents are going to live forever.

        2. Michael Wright says:

          I had clearly remembered a news report in the late 90’s or early 2000’s that he died and found out a few years ago I was wrong. Strange.
          I had the privilege of seeing a brand new 70mm print of Spartacus in the theater a few years ago. So much better than watching it on TV.
          One of the last movies he made was a comedy called Tough Guys with Burt Lancaster and Ely Wallach. Douglas and Lancaster were elderly mobsters getting out of prison after many years and Wallach was an elderly myopic hitman hired to kill them. Hilarious movie. They don’t fare well on the outside and intentionally do something to get put back in prison.
          If your a fan of comedies and these three great actors I highly recommend this.
          I am also a fan of Michael Douglas. My introduction to him was in a TV show from the 1970’s, The Streets of San Francisco where he played a detective alongside Karl Malden. I think my favorite thing he did was Romancing the stone with Kathleen Turner.
          When these younger actors of today pass on in a few decades I can’t imagine there will be the same sense of loss as feel for someone like Kirk Douglas.

      2. Christine says:

        Some Like It Hot is hilarious and Jack Lemmon was especially, there is nothing more funnier than men dressed as women and he played his role with gusto, when he was being chased by the elderly millionaire and at the end when he said he’s a man, then the actor I cannot recall who it was, but his character was Osgood, he said ‘well nobody’s perfect’ it was the perfect ending to an incredibly funny brilliant and witty movie, Lemmon really was the star of the show, it featured also as you know the very beautiful and vulnerable Marilyn Monroe, it remains a classic to this day, I do like Michael Douglas and he was great in ‘Fatal Attraction’, that film also had a moral tone to it as well, it was a warning to young men not to play around, as you never know who your dealing with, Glenn Close was incredible as the spurned lover but at the end it was said in the cinemas everyone was clapping and yelling when she was shot by his wife, the eternal triangle has been there since time began and the death of one of them is never a cause to celebrate, as Close especially played a very sick woman in real life it would be a very sad and tragic situation, but yes I agree with you Michael about the old Hollywood actors there are not many today who I feel would be very missed when their time is done, although the suicide of Robin Williams was very sad and he is rightly missed as he was a brilliant comedy actor, the are showing The Searchers’ at the weekend that was my parents all time favourite western, I had a crush on Jeffrey Hunter when I was a kid and today I still think he was one of the most handsomest actors there ever was, fantastic movie !

    2. Banditqueen says:

      This should be renamed the Christine and Michael files. It’s the sites spam catching, it may hold it for a bit. I wouldn’t worry about it. I hit something on my keyboard yesterday which certainly wasn’t delete and my entire post vanished into thin air and would not reverse. Annoying.

      Yes, Henry Carey doesn’t have much Henry Viii in him and I do believe Henry Viii was the father of Catherine but decided not to admit it. Mary was married at the time so there wasn’t any reason to assume her children were not those of her husband. She was very lovely as a person, very caring and kind and maligned in France and England as the Great Prostitute. At best she had a brief encounter with the Great French Male Prostitute (my words, not contemporary) Francis I of France, who himself exhausted half his Court and a brief encounter with Henry Viii which did her no favours. Mary and a number of others around the Court ended up in the royal bed and I believe her reputation in particular suffered more than others because of her sister. Anne Boleyn was maligned because she had a long-term relationship with a married King, one which took him from a beloved Queen and Princess and which was seen by contemporaries as causing his annulment and to lead the country into heresy and separation from the rest of Christendom aka Rome. Anne was the King’s mistress whom he refused to discard over several years and he paraded her around in public, not behind the scenes. She wasn’t a lady he had sex with because his wife was pregnant, she wasn’t the object of courtly love, she was the woman who had replaced his wife permanently. Anne’s reputation suffered, she was assumed to be sleeping with Henry even if she wasn’t and it is generally accepted that she may not have been now, but she was his official and only public concubine. Mary was assumed to have slept with Francis regularly because of his bragging about her being his “mule” whom “he rode whenever he wished” . As she then moved from one King to the other of course it was assumed that Mary did the same for Henry Viii and hey, maybe he passed her around to his mates? That was the type of comment which followed Mary most of her life, comments she didn’t deserve. She wasn’t the mule of Francis and her relationship with Henry wasn’t that long either, she may or may not have given him one child, both were recognised by their “,father” William Carey, because he was her husband. William didn’t hold anything against his wife as far as we know and the grants made to them were for loyal service. It’s possible that Mary maintained a friendship with Henry, one which ruined her reputation. All but named on his annulment petition twice, it’s little wonder her name was maligned so much. A co respondent in a divorce now is going to get the same treatment if it is made public. Poor Mary was the one who history punished for the alleged crimes and sins of her entire family. Anne was also maligned because one assumes a mistress is just that, sleeping with the King and she was rumoured to have had two lovers besides him and then the scandal of her trial for treason and multiple adultery and incest and possibly murder if she had not been caught, even if it was all a tissue of lies, just like President Trump’s speech. Michael, that was a joke and that silly woman had no right to tear it up even if she didn’t like it. Mary’s reputation suffered because of her sister’s and male boasting. The Court was a sexual and political quagmire. A woman was supposed to be a virgin on her wedding day and remain chaste in every way. Her husband alone was to sleep with her. She had to be almost as a matron during her marriage and her behaviour beyond reproach. Women could only uncover their hair as a single woman looking for a husband, otherwise it remained covered. A young girl then decorated her hair with ribbons and bands to let people know she was available and looking for love or courtship. Of course most of the time it was the parents who did the looking and arrangement but a woman let her hair down loose on her wedding day to indicate she was a virgin and covered it afterwards (no white gowns from Klinefelds lol) her husband seeing it only in private. Actually, because it was covered it didn’t actually get dirty as it does now, combing it out did actually clean it. Anne was presumed to be sleeping with Henry. Mary had slept with two men outside of marriage, it was presumed both of them were bad women with great sexual appetites and poor Mary could not find a second husband to protect her for years.

      William Stafford was below Mary in status but he respected her for herself and she loved him and was happy with him, saying she would rather beg bread from door to door than be without him. Nobody else wanted her because of the reputation around both sisters. Her family disapproved and she was banished from Court. Her marriage to William was apparently happy, if lived in relative poverty. Thomas Boleyn had to support them on the orders of the King and it was hard but she wrote to Cromwell for help. Anne was offended but probably that changed with time. Anne, after all was the guardian for her son, Henry Carey and provided him with a good education and living after her first husband left her in debt. It was very unfair that Mary acquired such a reputation and later Anne did as well. Nothing could be further from the truth.

      1. Banditqueen says:

        This should be renamed the Christine and Michael files. It’s the sites spam catching, it may hold it for a bit. I wouldn’t worry about it. I hit something on my keyboard yesterday which certainly wasn’t delete and my entire post vanished into thin air and would not reverse. Annoying.

        Yes, Henry Carey doesn’t have much Henry Viii in him and I do believe Henry Viii was the father of Catherine but decided not to admit it. Mary was married at the time so there wasn’t any reason to assume her children were not those of her husband. She was very lovely as a person, very caring and kind and maligned in France and England as the Great Prostitute. At best she had a brief encounter with the Great French Male Prostitute (my words, not contemporary) Francis I of France, who himself exhausted half his Court and a brief encounter with Henry Viii which did her no favours. Mary and a number of others around the Court ended up in the royal bed and I believe her reputation in particular suffered more than others because of her sister. Anne Boleyn was maligned because she had a long-term relationship with a married King, one which took him from a beloved Queen and Princess and which was seen by contemporaries as causing his annulment and to lead the country into heresy and separation from the rest of Christendom aka Rome. Anne was the King’s mistress whom he refused to discard over several years and he paraded her around in public, not behind the scenes. She wasn’t a lady he had sex with because his wife was pregnant, she wasn’t the object of courtly love, she was the woman who had replaced his wife permanently. Anne’s reputation suffered, she was assumed to be sleeping with Henry even if she wasn’t and it is generally accepted that she may not have been now, but she was his official and only public concubine. Mary was assumed to have slept with Francis regularly because of his bragging about her being his “mule” whom “he rode whenever he wished” . As she then moved from one King to the other of course it was assumed that Mary did the same for Henry Viii and hey, maybe he passed her around to his mates? That was the type of comment which followed Mary most of her life, comments she didn’t deserve. She wasn’t the mule of Francis and her relationship with Henry wasn’t that long either, she may or may not have given him one child, both were recognised by their “,father” William Carey, because he was her husband. William didn’t hold anything against his wife as far as we know and the grants made to them were for loyal service. It’s possible that Mary maintained a friendship with Henry, one which ruined her reputation. All but named on his annulment petition twice, it’s little wonder her name was maligned so much. A co respondent in a divorce now is going to get the same treatment if it is made public. Poor Mary was the one who history punished for the alleged crimes and sins of her entire family. Anne was also maligned because one assumes a mistress is just that, sleeping with the King and she was rumoured to have had two lovers besides him and then the scandal of her trial for treason and multiple adultery and incest and possibly murder if she had not been caught, even if it was all a tissue of lies, just like President Trump’s speech. Michael, that was a joke and that silly woman had no right to tear it up even if she didn’t like it. Mary’s reputation suffered because of her sister’s and male boasting. The Court was a sexual and political quagmire. A woman was supposed to be a virgin on her wedding day and remain chaste in every way. Her husband alone was to sleep with her. She had to be almost as a matron during her marriage and her behaviour beyond reproach. Women could only uncover their hair as a single woman looking for a husband, otherwise it remained covered. A young girl then decorated her hair with ribbons and bands to let people know she was available and looking for love or courtship. Of course most of the time it was the parents who did the looking and arrangement but a woman let her hair down loose on her wedding day to indicate she was a virgin and covered it afterwards (no white gowns from Klinefelds lol) her husband seeing it only in private. Actually, because it was covered it didn’t actually get dirty as it does now, combing it out did actually clean it. Anne was presumed to be sleeping with Henry. Mary had slept with two men outside of marriage, it was presumed both of them were bad women with great sexual appetites and poor Mary could not find a second husband to protect her for years.

        William Stafford was below Mary in status but he respected her for herself and she loved him and was happy with him, saying she would rather beg bread from door to door than be without him. Nobody else wanted her because of the reputation around both sisters. Her family disapproved and she was banished from Court. Her marriage to William was apparently happy, if lived in relative poverty. Thomas Boleyn had to support them on the orders of the King and it was hard but she wrote to Cromwell for help. Anne was offended but probably that changed with time. Anne, after all was the guardian for her son, Henry Carey and provided him with a good education and living after her first husband left her in debt. It was very unfair that Mary acquired such a reputation and later Anne did as well. Nothing could be further from the truth.

        I just had the same problem and Timed out before it posted five minutes later. The site must have a fault.

        1. Christine says:

          Alison Weir in her biography ‘Mary Boleyn The Great And Infamous Whore’ has a theory that she could have been forced by the king into sleeping with him, in other words raped! As she relates the tale of when the king and some of his company were out riding one day and came across a man with his sweetheart, the king fancying the lady promptly abducted her and rode her off with him to one of his secret places where he seduced her, all the whilst under the very eyes of her lover who could only stand by helplessly and watch with mounting fury, Weir says this action by the king shows he was not averse to forcing a woman if he was so inclined, it also shows a very arrogant disregard for the feelings of others, therefore Mary could as I mentioned earlier may not have been as willing as is supposed, maybe Anne knew this and part of her reluctance to be involved with Henry later on was caused by resentment of his treatment of her sister, Mary could well have shared with Anne some sisterly confidences, we do not know wether Mary was a willing tool or no, but in those days when a family’s fortune could rise and fall so easily just because a king took a fancy to a pretty girl, it could be that Mary merely slept with the king because she was too afraid to refuse, she does not appear to have possessed her sisters fiery spirit and notoriously bad temper, in fact because she is such a vague figure in history writers have had a field day with her, she has often been portrayed as the complete opposite of Anne, mainly to suit the romantic ideal of her story, she has been shown as fair to Anne’s dark seductiveness, mild of spirit to Anne’s fiery character and immoral and empty headed to Anne’s intellectual brilliance, in Hever castle both portraits of the Boleyn sisters hang side by side, Anne holds a scarlet rose in a delicate long fingered hand, Mary gazes out at us serenely her face is softer and more rounder than her sisters, and her colouring appears auburn, ,her features are more delicate than Anne’s and she has beautiful heavy lidded almond shaped eyes, her mouth is a perfect rosebud almost Rubens like in its feature and there is no likeness to her sister at all, she’s is richly dressed and appears very young, maybe not more than twenty, it is not known for definite if this is her and several other portraits also claim to be that of Mary, she sometimes served her sister at court and as Chapyus noted she was with her when Anne apparently lost a baby through miscarriage, it was said to be shrouded in secrecy and the queen would have none but her sister with her, was Chapyus saying Anne imagined herself with child, it would not be the first time a queen has had a phantom pregnancy, often brought on by sheer longing, the fact that Mary was the only woman she would have attending on her shows that at some times they had been close, they were much of an age also, siblings born within just a few years of each other have more in common than those with a much larger age gap, apart from the odd references to her court appearances we have no other sources that tell us where she was living or her activities, she was tragically widowed when her young husband died and after several years met and fell in love with a William Stafford, a minor member of the powerful Stafford family, she maybe was in love for the first time in her life and had had enough of her families plotting and scheming, her sisters tantrums and decided to follow her heart and grab this chance of happiness, good for Mary I say, she risked her family’s fury and was thus banished from the court but she was with her true love and probably did not care much, so off they both went and she was carrying his child but then once again, the mystery that is Mary Boleyn appears again, she must have lost her baby as it is not mentioned and so she could have sadly miscarried, or it was born dead or died soon after, the stress she may have been under because of her family’s fall out may have caused the tragedy, but she still had her husband and must have lived in peace for her remaining years, her date of death is not recorded like her birth, but she must have had a beautiful funeral with weeping mourners and her stricken family at her side, maybe her tomb will be discovered one day it would be an exciting find, it’s location could well be Rochford Hall a Boleyn family seat, maybe the parish records were burnt or destroyed as often happens over the centuries, her young widower went onto marry again and had several children so he had a happy ending one presumes, Mary is just as much an enigma as her more famous sibling as so little is known about her, because of that she does make an interesting subject to discuss.

  5. Christine says:

    It does annoy me the double standards surrounding women but it always has been so, there was King Francois a right lech and yet his behaviour was deemed acceptable, he probably did infect most of his court with syphilis and his wife died young, she could also have died from it, it really is a dreadfully serious venearel disease and was treated with mercury, in fact the saying ‘mad as a hatter’derives from that, as mercury was also used in the manufacture of top hats, as insanity was one of the symptoms of syphilis – hence the saying Mad as a hatter! but regarding Mary Boleyn yes I believe her reputation was unfair given that she was at the mercy of the licentious French court and therefore of its king, then she returned to England and caught King Henry’s eye, maybe she felt that in being his mistress some good would come to her family, their affair is a mystery and we do not know her feelings on the matter, she could have been afraid to say no, as a young girl in France she would have felt awed in front of her king, to refuse may have brought banishment and disgrace, yet writers believe she was this merry hoyden who willingly jumped into bed with both kings, we do not know if that is correct and she could well have hated herself, she did not have the kind of immoral upbringing her young cousin Catherine Howard had, and when she married her first husband no doubt she was faithful to him, there was no scandal about her taking lovers, he died young and much later married for love her second and last husband, she comes across as a sweet loving young woman without the driving ambition of her two younger siblings, and none of their spitefulness either, her letter to Cromwell is especially sad in the line she wrote, ‘ I could see all the world set so little by me and he so much’…, that tells us she was not held in much regard by her family and she comes across as infinitely much more warm and humane because of it.

  6. Michael Wright says:

    Hi Christine. Did Ms. Weir cite any sources to back up her claim against Francis? I have certainly read of some monarchs acting like this over the centuries but have never read this account anywhere else. I would hate for this to be another instance of the sullying of a historical person’s reputation without some kind of, if not proof at least something close to contemporary accusation or story. If true it is certainly possible that Mary was raped. I certainly hope not.

    1. Christine says:

      Hi Michael no it’s just a theory Miss Weir has, kings were so used to snapping their fingers and everyone come running they must have thought they were like gods, in a sense they were as they did exactly what they wanted and not be held accountable, she does not think Francois raped Mary but Henry could have, yet he liked to think of himself as chivalrous certainly he never forced Anne, in later years Mary was confused with Anne by a Catholic recusant and she was the sister who slept around, very unfair as Anne was by nature virtuous and there is no evidence that Mary was an infamous whore at all.

      1. Michael Wright says:

        That doesn’t sound like Henry at all so I would discount that. Look how long he waited for Anne and I don’t think it was just because make her his wife. He was a young, good looking guy who apparently had no trouble attracting the ladies so I think if she spurned his advances he would have simply moved on. I know someone advanced the theory that his father raped Elizabeth of York. There is nothing to back that up. I am not a fan of Henry Viii but I don’t believe he ever raped any woman.

        1. Christine says:

          No his behaviour as you say throughout the long years of waiting for Anne does not bear that up, and he had a strict chivalric code where it came to women, but he did respect and adore Anne, and with Mary she could have just been a passing fancy when his wife was heavily pregnant and she satisfied his desire for a few weeks, in other words just a one or possibly two night stands, today men go to nightclubs just to pick women up they are not serious about the women, it is just a release, a need to satisfy pent up desire or just for the fun of it, men have not changed much down the ages, Bessie Blount was quite a serious love affair which lasted about three years and then she fell pregnant, maybe by this time Henry had tired of her but he had her married of to a Gilbert Tailboy’s and she left court afterwards, she gave birth to a bonny boy Henry much to Queen Katherine’s sadness, it must have been awful for her, the kings mistress succeeding where she had failed, she also had a daughter however and one historian has debated whether she was also the kings like his other alleged daughter Catherine Carey, after her marriage Henry did not continue the affair and it is believed he did not see Mary after she married either, so yes we can see that Henry did not really fancy the idea of sleeping with married women, maybe also for the fact he could not be sure if her children were his or her husbands, I think in that respect Henry was quite sensible.

      2. Banditqueen says:

        I read the part of the book were Alison Weir rambled on for several pages on Mary and Francis and after several needless citations on how a mistress ended up in the royal bed and the likelihood of one doing so, eventually we came to Mary and Henry. Talk about how to turn a book into a tome with nonsense! Really her idea boils down to Mary accepting Francis who sweet talked her as all great womanizers did and it maybe that she didn’t even sleep with him. Mary certainly wasn’t his mistress as they are all listed. If anything she slept with him after a brief wooing and there was no evidence of Claude sending her home as she surely would and did with others. The relationship was most certainly discreet until Francis boasted of it. The same Mr Pio reported the same in the same letter in which he claimed King Henry complained about his fallen wife, Anne Boleyn, being corrupted in France. This is a hostile source and we cannot take it seriously and is second or third hand at best.

        I really don’t see were Miss Weir gets her idea here because he would not act towards a woman of the knightly class. I agree that Mary may have been reluctant to accept Henry’s proposal to be his mistress because she was probably married at the time. However, given that we don’t know when she became his mistress and for how long, it’s impossible to know how she felt about his approach which would have been within the rules of courtly love. Henry may have been rejected but continued to court her and she accepted him and agreed to come to his room and hence his bed. The most likely place he became enamoured of Mary was the Castle of Virtue in 1522 and his emblems of the Shrovetide joust show that Henry had a wounded heart and Mary may have wounded it. Historians are divided as to whether this was a mere device as the others also bore such emblems and it may just have been the theme of the day or whether Henry was indeed in love, Mary being the object of his affection. The affair was most probably brief as Henry was still sleeping with Katherine, was discreet and nobody knew anything about it until his much later application to the Pope regarding his marriage to Anne. It’s unlikely that Henry raped Mary and her reluctance was more likely about accepting him as a suitor in the first place. She certainly didn’t sleep with anyone afterwards but her husband and yet her reputation was put to shame by the mutterings of men.

        The story of the park warden and his sweetheart is an interesting one and has some merit. There was a complaint made to the Council regarding Henry out on a private hunting party in one of his parks when he came across a man and his lady riding through the park. He dismounted and the couple paid him homage. Henry approached and the man showed his pass to ride but Henry was more interested in his sweetheart. He asked her name and took her by the hand, placed on his horse and took her to the hunting lodge and that there he made love to her. We don’t know if she was willing or not or just felt constrained by the King. The petition was reported to Henry who made no comment but apparently paid compensation, presumably to prevent him from suing him in the Courts which at the time was possible. Henry certainly would want to avoid a public petition and complaints but we don’t know the full details of this. However, a quick romp in the hey with a commoner was not considered the same as taking a high born lady at Court to be the King’s mistress. The rules believe it or not were very different. I don’t see Henry forcing Mary or Anne, although leading an ordinary woman off to his abode is quite possible.

        Mary may have been very reluctant, a young girl at the Court of France, overwhelming splendour before her eyes from the man with the art for winning over a woman, may not have seen that she could say no or she was just charmed by him after an evening of dancing and drinking. With Henry, it was the art of love which won her over, but I believe the sexual act itself was consensual, even if she had to be won around by a wounded heart. You are right, it was Francis who was the whore, sleeping with several named women and goodness knows how many unnamed ones, openly boasting about his riding Mary as a mule and who was notorious and yet a young girl who had no more than two or three sexual partners, including her husband her entire life was branded a great an infamous whore by a man quoting a rumour several decades later. It is clear she was nothing of the sort.

  7. Michael Wright says:

    Sadly you are correct, men have not changed. I’m not one of those guys but I certainly know those who are. Regarding Katherine of Aragon she seem to have no problem getting pregnant but did have a bad track record of carrying to terms. Could her bouts of poor health after Arthur’s death have contributed to that? Henry may also of uad some kind of fertility problem and though I’ve heard various theories I don’t know what it was.

  8. Christine says:

    Yes Katherine was certainly fertile and although she did have number of miscarriages she did manage to carry to term several babies, however those that thrived died not long after, it was very tragic for both Katherine and Henry and a number of theories have been put forward why their babies so tragically died, Anne Boleyn to had a couple of miscarriages and Jane of course died not long after giving the king her prince, today modern medical diagnosis could probably spot the problems both queens had with carrying their infants and the actual reasons as to why Katherines children died not long after being born, however sudden infant death syndrome has been around forever and it is still a mystery although several theories have been suggested as to the cause, regarding Katherine it seems she could have had a biological weakness in her that caused her children’s fatalities, and with Anne also she had not much luck, losing her last baby could have been the result of the stress she was under and the news of the kings fall at the joust that day, it was so long ago medical men can only ponder but it is strange both Henry’s first two queens had difficulties with carrying their infants, in the Victorian age some Edinburgh doctors theorised that the king could have had syphilis which would have explained the miscarriages, yet this has been denounced as the kings medical records show no mention of the pox as it was called then, and he was not prescribed the standard treatment for it, also children of a syphilitic parent or parents would have had serious medical issues, blindness for one and besides, Henry V111 never showed any marks of the disease, a decaying nasal bridge sight problems and other distressing symptoms, also as mentioned in the previous post about the mad as a hatter saying, the king never went insane, he had a dreadful temper and it grew worse as he aged, he became history’s tyrant yet he was not mentally unbalanced, therefore the lack of children in the Tudor nursery may not have been his fault, could he have just been very unlucky in his choice of wives? There is a theory that Anne was of the rare rhesus blood group, if she was rhesus negative and Henry rhesus positive then she would have had no difficulty carrying and giving birth to her first baby, yet afterwards the anti bodies in the mothers blood see any future offspring as a foreign invader in the body and attack it, which would mean certain death for any future offspring, that meant that poor Anne would never have had the chance to give her husband a healthy baby, it is a strange freak of nature but nature is very strange, and as one professor claimed once, it is natural for nature to go wrong.

  9. Banditqueen says:

    Mary was the kindest and most resourceful of the Boleyn family. She fell for a man she could love and was supported by him in as much as William Stafford could support a wife of higher status. For her trouble she was banished from Court by her sister, Queen Anne and cut off from her family by her father, who cut off her allowance. Mary had very little choice in her mind but to accept the hand of a man of a lower status, one who loved her and wanted her for herself, not her family name, heritage or her reputation. However, she was in love with William Stafford and she said that she would rather beg her bread from door to door than be without him. Cromwell had to intervene and reconcile her to her father who provided them with a small income. Unfortunately, we know very little of her life afterwards, but we do know she appeared content and in the end was the one Boleyn who found solace in her chosen life. Mary eventually would get the lions share of the Boleyn estates but wouldn’t receive her inheritance until about six months before she died and so had little chance to enjoy her new wealth. For me Mary might remain very much a mystery, but she certainly didn’t deserve the reputation she received.

    1. Christine says:

      Yes there is nothing either to suggest she was anything other but a loving wife to both husbands and a loving mother, where do women get these reputations from? Jacquetta Woodville was said to have indulged in witchcraft and that she and her daughter used black magic to seduce King Edward 1V, it was pure lust that motivated the king not the dark arts that bewitched him, the Woodvilles had their enemies as the marriage to the king was very unpopular, Elizabeth being a commoner and not considered worthy of being queen consort, it is easy to slander ones enemies, I think really the defamation of Mary Boleyn was due to her sisters reputation as the concubine of Henry V111, even the mother came in for a bit of mud slinging, she lured the young Prince Henry to her bed when she was at court, all nonsense yet such stories once put about are hard to dispel, the whole family were tarred as immoral and wicked simply because of Anne, a one innocent love affair which Mary or Anne may have indulged in wether in France or at home does not make them whores, the Catholic recusant Nicholas Sander slandered the family quite dreadfully during Elizabeth’s reign, he even said whilst young Anne had an affair with the family butler and was sent to France, such stories stick and yet by examining the many sources available to us we know there is no evidence that Anne was sent abroad because of her behaviour, the reason she was sent to France was to further her education and in this her father was doing her and Mary a very big favour, there they would learn polish, and the very skills needed for the day when they would leave girlhood behind and become adults and travel to court, however the worst defamation of Anne was the vile charges she was accused of later on, conspiracy to kill the king adultery including incest and high treason, no wonder Mary herself was made out to be not so whiter than white.

      1. Michael Wright says:

        It’s ironic that Elizabeth of York who is so beloved would not exist if Edward IV had not married the commoner Elizabeth Woodville.Elizabeth Woodvill’s eldest daughter’s marriage to Henry Tudor also helped end the Wars of the Roses. Edward IV may not have known it at the time.but his choice of wife was a good one.

    2. Michael Wright says:

      I often wonder what it would be like to meet some of the historic personalities I read about and if I met Mary Boleyn I think I would like her but if I met Anne not so much.

      1. Christine says:

        I should imagine Anne was not the sort of woman you could warm to, I feel she mixed better with men but she did have some close women friends, she could be sarcastic and her cutting tongue riled a lot of people up, but in her youth she was described as sweet and cheerful, cynicism grows with age and as the years went by her character hardened, after the many obstacles barred her path to the throne and she was left with a deep seated hatred of Katherine and her daughter, had she chosen another path had she not caught the eye of the king, her life would have been so very different and of course she may well have kept her sweet nature, I for one would love to travel back in time to the court of Henry V111, and see the colourful personalities that we have read about so many times, I would love to see for myself what these people really looked like in the flesh, how they sounded and walked and danced, but it would be a total shock to see England in those days looking so rural and quiet without the noise of traffic and phones and radios blasting out, no properly built roads just dirt tracks, no tall concrete buildings and the hygiene or lack of it also would be a shock, it would be a whole new experience.

        1. Michael Wright says:

          Let’s be thankful for the portraits of Hans Holbien, the closest thing we have to photos of members of Henry Viii and his court. Just imagine the skyline of London then, no paved streets and the tallest buildings are the White tower and some cathedrals. I love looking at the sketches of London by someone like Wynken de Word. I know what it looks like now and think how much it’s grown in a few short centuries and that includes a major fire.

  10. Banditqueen says:

    When one thinks about how young Mary and Anne were when they arrived at the French Court, probably no more than fourteen or fifteen years old, they were hardly going to bed hop around or even be available for the King’s pleasure. Francis I may have been a womanizer but I doubt he liked girls that young. If Mary did sleep with him it must have been later in her stay in France, where, along with Anne she was attached to the Court of Queen Claude, not the King. It was a separate establishment and the women were as protected as much as possible. The only evidence that Mary even slept with Francis was his boasting and we all know how most men like to do that and he was in his prime.

    Mary’s reputation has suffered mostly because of her sister. It was assumed that Anne had been schooled in sex in France and had learned such techniques as to be accomplished as any prostitute. She was rumoured to be an expert in sexual matters and to have a huge sexual appetite. Henry was meant to have found her practices repugnant, while she complained that he couldn’t satisfy her or any woman in bed. Well this was all nonsense probably and the letter by Rodolfo Pio to the Bishop of Faenaza in March 1536 speaks of Francis using Mary as his great prostitute and of Anne also learning sexual and immoral tricks in France. He also says Henry referred to this life and was deceived by Anne because of it. It’s a third hand source of course and we cannot read anything into it but that both Mary and Anne had somehow picked up something of a false reputation from their days in France. The problem is, we have very little to go on with regards first hand knowledge of their time there. From a number of scholars during the sixteenth century we get a flavour of the French Court, which was probably no more licentious than any other at this time and the women who were contemporary with Anne are described as elegant, charming and learned. Anne spent more time studying the classical writers and the reforming influence of Margeruite, the sister of Francis than the ways of sexuality. Mary was not as studios as her sister but nevertheless received a similar education under the wise and strict gaze of their mistress and mentor, Claude of France. Her Court was one of the most sophisticated of the time and highly cultured. One can imagine that any girl from England or elsewhere she was responsible for would be shipped home at the slightest hint of immorality.

    Mary at best probably had a very brief encounter with King Francis and the same with King Henry. The latter certainly kept their affair to himself. We only know about it because Henry asked the Pope for a dispensation to marry Anne Boleyn because he had a previous sexual relationship with a member of her family. Anne earned a ruinous reputation because for seven years she was the mistress of the King, apparently was taking him away from his beloved loyal wife and popular Queen Katherine of Aragon and his beloved daughter, Princess Mary and it was assumed she was using sexual charms to do it. When she was falsely accused of adultery with several men, including her own brother, Anne was also painted as a sexual predator, with an appetite nobody could satisfy. Anne was called a whore several times and became the official concubine, living with Henry, even if she wasn’t yet in his bed. People made assumptions. It was also assumed she had lived an immoral life in France and was using her lessons to allure the King to her bed. Mary was linked to her sister and vice versa. Her reputation was beefed up in the very same way. If one was bad, the other must have been as well.

    As for the story of Mary being raped, poppycock. I too like Alison Weir but she does have some strange ideas. That’s up there with the deformed baby and sixth finger and Anne of Cleves had a few kids out of wedlock. Henry didn’t need to rape women. He was tall, handsome and charming and an athlete and in his prime in the early 1520s. He didn’t need anything else but his position for women to accept his invitation to his room. Yes, Mary may have felt obliged to say yes, but the rules around courtship and alluring a woman gave her the freedom to say no. Henry had the power, yes, but there isn’t any evidence for rape. Nor was she pimped out by her father. In fact there is evidence that Thomas Boleyn may have disapproved of her relationship with Henry. The family didn’t particularly benefit from it, not as they did with Anne and that was a more permanent relationship. The Boleyn family had been in royal service for almost three decades and were highly placed in society and at Court already. We don’t even know really when Mary had a relationship with Henry or for how long. There is no evidence of any other relationship during her marriage to either William Carey or William Stafford and I doubt she was unfaithful. Finally, I don’t believe Mary was infected with syphilis either by Francis who, unlike Henry did have it, because he was treated for it. It makes one infertile and neither Mary or Claude were infertile. Claude most likely died from being exhausted after eight children and from complications due to her scoliosis.

  11. Christine says:

    Whilst Francois was a most depraved and debauched monarch, a reputation which he was no doubt very proud of, his wife the long suffering Claude kept her own court and her women she guarded most strictly, she knew her husband and preferred to keep her ladies to herself, if some of her ladies strayed well temptation was always there, but she did keep a strict moral code of behaviour and this she instilled in her women, Marguerite of Savoy also kept a very strict moral household, this was something Anne was influenced by and during her time as queen, she also adhered to the same principle, as a girl growing up in two strict moral households it is hardly likely she would have turned into a raging nymphomaniac, the same goes for Mary, so yes such upbringing renders a later drop in moral behaviour highly unlikely, Mary Boleyn could not have been a sufferer of syphilis as you say she was fertile and her children were fertile themselves, no problem there, but Francois did later die from it and it really was a most horrible disease, not long after his brother and rival Henry V111, it makes one wonder how Claude escaped it as you say, she gave her king many children, unless she caught it after she gave birth to her last child, a dreadful thing to happen to a woman, to be infected with such a rotten disease by her own husband, at least Henry V111 never gave his wives syphilis he merely had their heads cut off – ha!

    1. Banditqueen says:

      Certainly a quicker way to go. Giovanni Borgia had syphilis and possibly gonorrhea but his children were healthy, because they were born before he contracted it. The great irony was he was the grandfather of Saint Francis Borgia whose marriage brought eight children. After his wife died Francis became a Jesuit priest and retired to a holy life.

      Prince Ernest of Saxe Coburg had the disease as well and here is another ironic thing the same actor played both Giovanni Borgia and Ernest, older brother of Prince Albert in the television dramas about them. Talk about being type cast. It is a terrible disease, extremely painful, can spread across the body, not just the genitals. I have studied the development of both under the microscope. Lovely. Claude must have been extremely lucky. Yes, he did die from it and was acutely affected needing a course of treatment on more than one occasion. Given that it was well-known how one got it, you would think he would behave himself after his first bout. I don’t believe people ever really fully got rid of it back then, it cleared after six weeks with mercury but it was still in the patients system. Now strong antibiotics kill it.

      Claude was still a loyal wife, at the end of the day it was to her bed Francis returned literally every night. Her death was an absolute tragedy and although he married again to Eleanora, the sister of Charles V as part of a settlement when he was released as his prisoner, they didn’t have anything more than a diplomatic marriage and had no children. Neither she or Marguerite received Anne when she returned to France with King Henry as his wife to be in 1532 because well, she wasn’t his wife and because of Queen Katherine. Claude and Francis ran a true Renaissance Court but she was the true cultural Queen and her Court was renowned for its strict moral code, the scholarship she promoted and the arts she patronized. Anne Boleyn had far too much to do with learning and meeting numerous men of new ideas to be sleeping around. I do believe she slept with Henry Percy, but that was different, they were in a relationship and at one time intended to get married. How did Anne hold off the lusty Henry Viii for several years and then turn into a sex maniac, who nobody, including her husband could satisfy? It was simply nonsense.

      1. Christine says:

        Yes it is all nonsense that is why people at the time never beloved the vile accusations against Anne including her enemies, Chapyus for one he may have disliked her but he was a realist and knew it was just impossible about the adultery charges, incest was different she could have had an unnatural love for her brother but as she was accused of plotting murder as well, it deemed the other charges incredibly ludicrous, then as now people know it did not tie in with her very character and personality, his hasty marriage afterwards to Jane Seymour only confirmed the suspicions at the time, that she had been innocently put to death just so the king could marry and begat an heir on another, I believe Anne could have slept with Percy as well, they were in love and intended to marry, but if they hadn’t they could well have indulged in other sexual behaviour, this is why I do not believe that Anne ever really loved the king she may have grown quite fond of him, but she held out against him for so long that proves to me at least, that their relationship was one sided, but I maybe wrong, she could have fallen in love with him down the years but if she ever had, then her self control was supreme as she never surrendered herself to him except when she knew without any doubt whatsoever, that the king intended to make her his queen, why would any woman who had kept her king waiting for many years, and who not once during those long years, had her name linked to any other man suddenly become so depraved and immoral that her household was turned into a hotbed of an orgy, as Ives puts in, quadruple adultery invites disbelief, as for the plotting to kill the king, where would that have left Anne, parliament would never have made Anne regent for her baby daughter and allow her lover to rule with her, the council would have been in uproar, it was not the days of the vikings but Tudor England where bills and laws had to be put through Parliament, it was not the days of Edward 11 where the country was all to ready to welcome Queen Isabella as they were all in revolt against the hapless king and his immoral favourites the Despencers, Anne and her lover/lovers would simply have been arrested – another nonsense charge, and because her name was so defamed her poor sister and mother were all accused of whoring around as well, there was also the ludicrous claim that Henry V111 was really Anne’s father, if that were true at the time of her birth he would have been only nine years old, yet such lurid tales abounded and Sander in the reign of her daughter Elizabeth 1st was partly responsible for such slander, he had a hidden agenda though he wished to discredit Elizabeth the Protestant queen, he had a hatred for Protestants as he had been persecuted in his early years.

        1. Michael Wright says:

          I find that so interesting that people who were alive and old enough to remember what happened in May 1536 suspected immediately that something was not right and even those who did not like Anne didn’t believe the charges. We all know half a century later Nicholas Sander started badmouthing her but as a near contemporary and considering how people of his faith were treated we can forgive him for venting. Probably few except other persecuted Catholics read his works. It seems it took 400-500yrs and some modern novel writers to really do the damage for no other reason than the all mighty dollar. Even scholars if they did their research and came to the conclusion of her guilt can be forgiven because at least they studied the history. It seems some fiction writers spread as fact rumors without at least a caveat of ‘I really don’t know’. Drives me nuts. I’ve said this before, the period 1485-1603 had so much interesting salacious, scandalous stuff happening that if the history was told exactly as it happened, with no embellishments the readers would not be bored. That’s why with England’s very long wonderful history so many of us worldwide are drawn to this 118 years.

        2. Banditqueen says:

          I agree, the charges against Anne Boleyn were totally ludicrous, they were meant to shock and they received mixed reactions. The majority of people would have accepted them without question, the King would have seen to that but we can gage some responses, such as Chapuys, as you posted, her enemy and detractor, who wrote that the men condemned with her were tried without any witnesses and on very little evidence and from rumours only. Nicholas Bourbon, who was a French reformer and official in Anne’s household, reported on the situation with great disapproval and praised Anne’s character and her person. Mary of Hungary and the Regent of the Netherlands showed mixed reactions. However, Anne wasn’t popular around the Court and although we don’t know any real details, if Henry had any sympathy it was here. Life went on as usual. Interesting though the reaction to his third marriage was one of murmuring among the ordinary people in London. It was a thing unheard of, the execution of a high born woman was unheard of in England, let alone a Queen. There have been some right power grabbing females over the years, including the infamous Eleanor Cobbam, who should have burnt as a witch for treasonous necromancy. However, the woman she brought the potions from died instead and she spent the rest of her life in prison. Constance of York traded her family for her life in order to escape potential execution, Margaret Beaufort was attained but Richard refused the Act and she was released to her husband’s control instead, Isabella of France was excused by her son and given a pension and so on. Legally Anne was found guilty but unusually for a woman of high status, the Queen in this case she was executed. This caused a stir and when Henry moved on to wife number three eleven days later, in unnatural haste and without any sign of mourning, the people grumbled. They had nothing against Jane Seymour, personally, in fact she soon won them over with her support for Princess Mary, but the sudden haste of their marriage was indecent and people made their views known. Henry went on a three week honeymoon with Jane.

          Incest was the worst kind of sin and it was added to the horrendous false charges against Anne because it was so deeply horrifying that if it was believed she was guilty of that, then she was guilty of anything, including plotting to kill the King with five men, four of whom he had trusted. To Anne and George this was very offensive because they were deeply religious and Bible believing reformers who knew such a sin could put their souls in immortal danger. Incest was the last thing they would engage in. Anne’s reputation suffered greatly afterwards and people still question what happened.

          You are right there is no way Anne could have ruled with her lovers, she would only have acted for her daughter, Elizabeth with a Council around her and Parliament, until Elizabeth came of age. The nobles would have possibly taken their chances with a coup, they had no backbone, their power was reduced, so it’s unlikely the Council would fall, but any suspicions at all world result in her arrest and guaranteed execution. Isabella of France was the sister of the King of France, the daughter of a King and wife of a King, the mother of the thirteen year old Prince of Wales, in whose name she claimed to act and was Edward II one and only wife. Anne Boleyn was a commoner, a knights daughter, with a bad reputation and whom had replaced the real Queen in the eyes of the people. If they heard she had plotted to get rid of Henry, there would be nothing down for her. Isabella had also shown herself to be ruthless and she easily won people over. She had executed her enemies and she was actually able to rally a lot of support, why, she was replacing an inept tyrant with the true heir. As far as most people were concerned, Elizabeth was illegitimate. Even if she did end up as Regent for her daughter, I suspect it would only be a matter of time before Mary moved against her and took her rightful place on the throne. The idea of her plotting such a thing is ridiculous because she had worked so hard to become Queen in the first place. Anne and Henry had been in a relationship for seven years, she had been involved in his political and theological changes and his break with Rome, risked everything to be his wife, given up years of childbirth and her youth, given up her chances of marriage elsewhere, had put her reputation on the line. Why would she risk all of that, her life, her security and the future of her daughter, all of which depended on Henry being very much alive, for a bit of incest and sexual deviance? As you say, it was preposterous.

      2. Christine says:

        Bq you really are so knowledgable about many subjects, did you study medicine or science as you mentioned studying the disease through a microscope? I know syphilis really is a serious illness and those children born to an infected parents do suffer life long ailments, Lord Randolph Churchill suffered from it no doubt caught by London prostitutes, it showed him in a drama series lying in a kind of oxygen tent, of course they treated him the best they could but it must have been an awful way to die, the Earl of Rochester in Charles 11’s reign also caught it, hardly surprising as he was the most dissolute of the dissolute at court, his nose rotted away and he had to wear a mask, aids was prevalent in the 20th and now in the 21st century but it is under control at least, I heard a story that it was man made by a group of scientists as a way of ethnic cleansing, the black communities were the ones targeted but it may just be a story, the fact is aids was not around in ancient times, and when we consider the orgies the Romans indulged in and people’s of other nations it is very surprising, I feel so sorry for those who had haemophilia and who contracted aids through the infected blood transfusions years ago, an old lady told me once they had a saying years ago, ‘the richer you were the filthier you could afford to be’, truer words were never spoken!.

        1. Michael Wright says:

          Ive also heard that AIDS was developed as a bio-weapon but not for use against a particular group. I’d also heard that it originated in a chimpanzee population and was first transmitted to humans through the consuming of chimpanzee meat.

        2. Banditqueen says:

          Hi Michael, I took Microbiological Health Histology and the Pathological and Physiological Anatomy of the Human Organism or Anatomy and Physiology as parts of my degree, one as an option, so that’s part of why I understand the history as well as the socio-economic affects of disease and how it affects humans at most levels. I should probably have taken history, but to be honest, the employment opportunities were far more limited. History is my passion and while my degree had a historic element, I am self taught in history, its a natural ability and to be honest I enjoyed it more. I have done advanced courses to develop my knowledge but I probably got most of my knowledge over time studying myself. You don’t need a piece of paper to be a historian as far as I am concerned, you need a passion and the pleasure of studying the sources and other experts over time. Claire, doesn’t have a history degree but she is a historian because she has studied for years from the original sources and knows her stuff. She references everything she states in her books and articles, which is more than some professional historians do. A haughty reviewer on Amazon once remarked that historian so and so was more of a historian because he had two degrees at Cambridge. So what I replied, I can read Claire’s work and know she knows what she is talking about and get excited about it, the book by x historian was as boring as hell, dry and badly written. I might read it when I can’t sleep one night. Believe me there is nothing like academic snobbery, academics arguing over each other’s work and academics defending their own out dated ideas in the face of new evidence. Academic texts are often poorly written, they certainly are well researched and well referenced but they are rarely a great read. Claire knows her stuff, does her homework and I would love to see her get an honorary degree or masters, she certainly deserves it. As a professional research assistant and independent researcher the importance of knowledge of the original sources has been essential in my life. I still do research but only now for pleasure.

        3. Christine says:

          Really Michael chimpanzee meat, how ghastly!

  12. Christine says:

    What many do not realise is that history is so fascinating it takes you into a whole new world, but you are either interested or you are not, and part of the problem I believe are those teachers we encountered at school who only taught you the basics and not the full story, my teacher swept us through Henry V111 and his six wives and we were only taught that Anne Boleyn was his second wife and was beheaded so he could marry Jane Seymour, we were not told the real drama and passion of her story nor the fact that five men died through her, and I only learnt that when I came across a biography of her one day, she was a fascinating creature that beguiled many of her contemporaries including the king, neither was she an air head who merely relied on her physical charms to seduce a hapless king, but a highly intelligent and cultured educated woman, I realised there was more to this lady than we were taught so vaguely at school, and with complete astonishment to the reader she refused to become the kings mistress and stored up a lot of deep seated resentment because she was viewed as the cause of the reformation, she was not a particularly nice woman who caused much misery to his first wife the saintly Katherine from Aragon, she was bad tempered and and she also declared she would poison the Princess Mary, because of her that sainted man Sir Thomas More a scholar and humanist was sent to the block and Bishop John Fisher, I was absolutely fascinated and through her I met other more exciting personalise of the Tudor court as well, there was Anne Askew and Lady Jane Rochford, her brother George who was quite a character in himself and an extremely talented poet, Sir Thomas Wyatt and Henry Percy the heir to the Earldom of Northumberland who both loved her and lost her, because of the king, that Henry V111 fought so long and hard for her, only to abandon her completely and send her to her death, only adds to the sheer romanticism of her story, the Plantagenet saga also is fascinating and in fact they were the most successful ruling dynasty in England, ruling for well over four hundred years, in comparison the Tudors only had the throne in their grasp for a quarter of that time, yet their name leaps out from the ancient pages of English history, I also self taught myself English history and I also have a passion for Ancient Rome and the Viking era, England’s early rulers are shrouded in mystery, like the mists that were said to conceal her strange little island that lay beyond the land of Gaul, and what many people do not realise about history is that it was the events that happened in the past, the people who helped shaped the world we know today.

  13. Christine says:

    What many do not realise is that history is so fascinating it takes you into a whole new world, but you are either interested or you are not, and part of the problem I believe are those teachers we encountered at school who only taught you the basics and not the full story, my teacher swept us through Henry V111 and his six wives and we were only taught that Anne Boleyn was his second wife and was beheaded so he could marry Jane Seymour, we were not told the real drama and passion of her story nor the fact that five men died through her, and I only learnt that when I came across a biography of her one day, she was a fascinating creature that beguiled many of her contemporaries including the king, neither was she an air head who merely relied on her physical charms to seduce a hapless king, but a highly intelligent and cultured educated woman, I realised there was more to this lady than we were taught so vaguely at school, and with complete astonishment to the reader she refused to become the kings mistress and stored up a lot of deep seated resentment because she was viewed as the cause of the reformation, she was not a particularly nice woman who caused much misery to his first wife the saintly Katherine from Aragon, she was bad tempered and upset many, she also declared she would poison the Princess Mary, because of her that sainted man Sir Thomas More a scholar and humanist was sent to the block and Bishop John Fisher, I was absolutely fascinated and through her I met other more exciting personalise of the Tudor court as well, there was Anne Askew and Lady Jane Rochford, her brother George who was quite a character in himself and an extremely talented poet, Sir Thomas Wyatt and Henry Percy the heir to the Earldom of Northumberland who both loved her and lost her, because of the king, that Henry V111 fought so long and hard for her, only to abandon her completely and send her to her death, only adds to the sheer romanticism of her story, the Plantagenet saga also is fascinating and in fact they were the most successful ruling dynasty in England, ruling for well over four hundred years, in comparison the Tudors only had the throne in their grasp for a quarter of that time, yet their name leaps out from the ancient pages of English history, I also self taught myself English history and I also have a passion for Ancient Rome and the Viking era, England’s early rulers are shrouded in mystery, like the mists that were said to conceal her strange little island that lay beyond the land of Gaul, and what many people do not realise about history is that it was the events that happened in the past, the people who helped shaped the world we know today.

    1. Banditqueen says:

      The virus does originate in primates in the Congo and other parts of Africa and transmission from primates to humans began between 1888 and 1920. There are two variations of HIV and a number of theories exist to explain how HIV 1 was transferred from primates to humans and became HIV 2_which rewrites human DNA into its own RNA and ultimately into AIDs. Anything from the poor storage of samples during experimental testing to contaminated meat are used. However, the first recorded case was in America during the 1930s and it was a heterosexual male, so it doesn’t originate with gay people. It wasn’t known as a pandemic and it wasn’t known outside of Africa on a public basis until the first campaign in the 1980s. Until then few cases had been documented outside of Africa and with the stigma which followed, that’s hardly surprising. With an explosion of free love and a sexual revolution AIDS became widely spread, the contaminated blood from transfusions which followed during the 1970s, 80s and 90s until it became public knowledge to none sufferers highlighted the dangers of HIV for future generations and our knowledge of how it could be transmitted from sufferer to none sufferers. It is contracted via bodily fluids, contaminated blood, sexual contact and not as the scare mongers claimed by general contact. Princess Diana did much to reduce the cruel stigma of HIV and AIDS when she shook hands with patients again in the 1980s. We now understand the virus and the drugs can prevent HIV from becoming full blown AIDS. It’s illegal to discriminate against any group with AIDS although in the States some States have recently made laws to punish anyone who infected another person with AIDS through unprotected sex and not saying they are infected. This is very controversial and most prosecutors will not run with it. It’s private to test for HIV and confidential so this breaks that privacy. The film Philadelphia is about a lawyer who contracted AIDS and was sacked and fought for years against the discrimination. I believe it was a true story. AIDS is a terrible disease and nobody deserves to live with it, to be persecuted because of it, especially those who get it innocently, babies for example. We understand so much more now, but do we have the compassion understanding brings? Probably not.

      1. Michael Wright says:

        Thank you for expanding on that BQ. I heard the report then heard no more and didn’t have the wherewithal to do any research. Every few generations we are faced with a new ‘plague’ but unlike centuries ago science gives us a much better chance of survival.

        1. Banditqueen says:

          Yes, when its not attempting to blow us up first, ha. We are also making it impossible to be cured by taking too many antibiotics. Its still amazing how many parents turn up at doctors demanding antibiotics for their kids runny nose. Totally ridiculous, especially as they do nothing for a virus. They are for serious conditions, not the runny nose of a kid who needs to learn to develop their own immune system. Scientists have made great in roads but we also have to be cautious of them, it can be misused as well.

          Henry Viii was very interested in medicine and made his own remedies and he appointed the first medical collages and professional body, which in the seventeenth century due to a matter of disagreement on approach broke into our two professional bodies College of Surgeons and College of Physicians, the former remained as Master or Mr, the latter Dr. A very famous portrait by Hans Holbein shows the entire fraternity kneeling to receive the Letters Patent from the enthroned King, all of them named. He was also interested in science as was King Charles ii and George iii and the Royal Society set up by them.

  14. Christine says:

    Don’t know how that happened but my comment posted twice.

  15. Michael Wright says:

    Hi Christine. Sorry it took so long to reply, I kept getting kicked off line the last couple of days.
    This is in response to the conversation about eating chimpanzee meat.
    I had heard that report on the news in the early 2000’s. Some people in Africa were illegally killing and eating chimps and it was thought the virus started there. One of the early reports I heard about the current Corona virus was that it may have started from people eating snakes. Just what I’ve heard.

    1. Christine says:

      That’s ok, it makes you wonder doesn’t it how these things do start but this coronavirus sounds pretty nasty, hope it doesn’t come down to my neck of the woods, it’s pelting down here we’re suffering from storm Ciara, and we have gale force winds storms and lightening, my gardens a wreck but I’m not too bothered about that, I’m nice and cosy indoors watching the latest Pet Semetary film.

      1. Michael Wright says:

        As deadly as it sounds my understanding is that it is not as virulent as the regular flu that comes around each year and that flu kills far more people.

        1. Christine says:

          Flu is very virulent and can lay you off work for a fortnight, I used to get it every winter but now just get the odd bad cold, but I would be in bed for three days sweating one minute shivering the next, and my head felt like a hundred weight, ghastly illness!

  16. Michael Wright says:

    I haven’t had the flu in quite a few years. But when I get it I am sick as a dog. Not fun at all.

    1. Christine says:

      My old family doctor told me that when you get older you get immune to viruses, I used to get horrendous sore throats accompanied by really bad bouts of catarrh and sinusitis, but now there not half as bad, of course these new diseases cropping up do not help, they had the really virulent and deadly Spanish flu which killed more souls than the Great War, now they know it was what we call now Avian flu, hopefully a vaccine will be found for this Coronavirus, we do owe a lot to our wonderful scientists who are working tirelessly to find an antidote to this distressing virus.

      1. Michael Wright says:

        As a kid I would catch every cold that came around. It was the thing in the mid to late 60’s to remove a child’s tonsils. All my friends had it done but my pediatrician told my mom to wait and see if I outgrew that. I did so still have them. What I’ve been getting now for the past 5yrs is bronchitis. Usalky the same time of year, in the fall. If you’ve never had it it’s really annoying. For me at least it’s better than the flu because I don’t really feel sick. Just a constant cough for a couple of weeks 24hrs a day. I can’t lie down as I choke. If I want to sleep it has to be in my chair in the living room with my head straight up. Bent forward or back I choke. Not fun but like I said I don’t nreally feel sick. BTW: constant coughing makes it nearly impossible to drive, at least for me as my car has a manual transmission.

        1. Christine says:

          Yes I remember when I caught tracheitis it was absolutely dreadful, it was a cold winter and when I ventured out I had to keep my mouth covered up as the slightest breeze could set it of, I never smoked and neither did the rest of my family so god knows what it would have been like if I were exposed to smoke, trouble was we had a small works canteen and most there smoked, I had to have my break somewhere else, and that cough was so severe it lasted several months, I felt fine apart from that but I never want to catch that again, it was so uncomfortable and yes it does stop you from having a good nights sleep, at junior school quite a few other children would have their tonsils removed and it was common practice to give them soft foods like jelly and ice cream, then they gave my friend cheese and crackers in hospital she was told they don’t give kids soft food anymore, some years also I read that doctors think it’s not a very good idea to have tonsils removed now as they are a barrier against infections, iv never had my tonsils removed, the other organ in the body is the appendix which baffles medical men as like the spare rib, it serves no purpose, and of course it’s only when it starts playing up then they rush you in and whip it out, the pain is pretty dreadful so iv heard if you get appendicitis.

  17. Michael Wright says:

    Tracheitis sounds much worse than bronchitis. I pray you never go through that again. Glad to meet someone else who still has their tonsils. It seems at our age it’s rare. I also still have my appendix but I have a lot of friends who had theirs removed.

    1. Christine says:

      I googled tracheitis and apparently it’s rare,children are more vulnerable when it comes to catching it but boys more than girls, I was a young adult when I caught it, but yes it was dreadful, I recall my sister had bronchitis when she was about sixteen and her chest was very sore, had a dreadful hacking cough but it didn’t last as long as tracheitis.

      1. Banditqueen says:

        The appendix does serve a purpose, although we can do as well without it. It is a safe house for good gut bacteria. When illness or antibiotics flush everything out of the intestines, a few million hide in the appendix pouch to restart the process of homeostasis afterwards. We can manage without but it takes a bit longer to produce the good bacteria again and diet and fibre or probiotics are essential to help the intestines recover. The ideas on the veriform pouch or appendix have changed over the last few decades. Unfortunately we eat rubbish like apple pips and stuff which also go into the appendix, causing inflammatory disease there and if not removed in time.. BOOM a burst appendix or peritonitis which can also occur in the illium and colon as well as any other part of the large intestines. I can give you a very detailed description of what that means. The toxins alone as well as the clusters of poo all around the system are life threatening. The important thing to remember is no part of our body is redundant, everything has a purpose and to care for it.

        We don’t actually have extra ribs. Well not in the sense the Bible means. 1_in every 200 people have a cervical rib in the neck. Its an anomaly, not a problem, doesn’t cause any problems and is present in men and women at random. I believe you will find 12 normal ribs on either side of the body in both sexes if you count them. If you have got something extra, like four kidneys or three kidneys, don’t complain, the extra ones are probably dormant but may be useful one day and are probably smaller than the functional ones. I had a friend with three or four kidneys and everyone knew it. Believe me the body needs what it has and adapts when it hasn’t. That’s why you can live with one perfectly functional kidney if the other is removed. The problem comes when you receive a transplant and the immune system says no thanks. That’s when rejection of the organ occurs and why so many drugs are needed to help. It must be terrible waiting on a list for a new organ, especially as someone else may have to die and have to be an exact match. I was actually asked if Stephen was a doner when he was in a coma because he was hanging on by a thread with five organs failed and I had his card with me. I actually didn’t hesitate because I knew it was his choice. It’s not as cold as it seems, they are actually quite sensible and sensitive and took me aside without everyone else chirping around me (13 family members) and I said yes. I knew that decision wasn’t needed yet but I had to be prepared for it. Every time the doctor took me aside for something I then had to tell several adults and teenagers to pipe down while I passed on the update. In the end I said unless I had to make any decisions as his next of kin to tell everyone together: it was impossible with everyone asking questions. I know people are anxious but really! The nurse sent most of them home after the second night and I told them to stagger the visits as we can only go in two at a time and most of them didn’t want to be there anyway. I am just thankful it didn’t come to that but imagine waiting to get a new organ and time running out! Our bodies are remarkable things but we really do need to care for them.

        1. Michael Wright says:

          Thank you BQ, you are an excellent teacher.

        2. Banditqueen says:

          Cheers, Michael, my bill is in the post lol.

        3. Christine says:

          Wow, there seems to be no subject Bq does not know about, ThankYou for that Bq!

        4. Christine says:

          You have had a lot of worry haven’t you Bq, thankfully Steve pulled through I agree, our bodies are marvellous things and to think we evolved by trial and error, I know the old bible story says god made man and from the rib of Adam he fashioned Eve, but that has been debunked by science, and the earth certainly was not made in seven days, it is believed our planet was part of another planet that exploded after a comet struck it, and pieces flew off and it took in fact billions and billions of years for the earth to cool down, and produce an atmosphere that would support earth, when we consider the dinosaurs ruled the earth seventy five billion years before man appeared it makes one wonder how old earth really is, and the sun is far older, life is marvellous and there are so many diverse species, the human body itself is a wonderful piece of machinery the human brain which sets us apart from the lower forms of life, no wonder primitive man believed in gods who could perform miracles, who else could be responsible for such wonderful acts of nature?.

  18. Banditqueen says:

    Today the 10th February 1542 Queen Kathryn Howard was taken by boat to the Tower of London from her obscure but comfortable prison at Syon House. The previous day the probably still deranged Jane Boleyn, Lady Rochford was also taken to the Tower. They were housed in the Royal Apartments, there to await execution. Anyone who has read or seen anything to do with the Tower of London or visited there will know the multiple purposes of this ancient complex of buildings. It was a Royal Palace, used as such during most of the Middle Ages, before a coronation and more recently it was the only place fit to house a condemned Queen and other nobles, it was a mint for coins of the realm, a place of work and business, numerous homes were within its boundaries, a place of trade and commerce and a place of terror under the Tudors. The artillery and gunpowder was kept there, it was a garrison and a fortress and in extreme cases of interrogation and torture. It was rarely a place of execution but a few did die there on the palace yard before the present Jewel House. The marked place on the green is a lovely monument but not correct.

    Prisoners were housed according to rank and means which is why a number of locations had famous prisoners there. The Tudor Palace no longer exists being destroyed long ago. However, it held a fully decorated and fitted suite of state rooms, a chapel and a grand great hall where Anne Boleyn was tried and a private garden. As Royal prisoners Anne and Katherine would have eaten at the table of the warden and his family and had gentle women around them, hostile or not. A prisoner of means had decent suites of rooms, servants and their own cooks and good food. One of the reasons Kathryn and Jane were probably held away from the Tower to the last moment was that all of her relatives were housed in rooms there and one could not simply put them in a cell.

    Jane had also become ill in her mind and a nervous breakdown shortly after her arrest and first imprisonment. She was removed to the care of doctors under Lord and Lady Russell and Henry had passed a law making it legal to execute a mad person in cases of treason. It was vicious and was repealed by his daughter, Mary I. She also had their Attainders repealed because they had been made by a flawed process. Kathryn had been left at Syon while the investigation continued, the men tried and the Act of Attainder debated in Parliament. The law said she had led a base life and was wanton and had deceived the King through her relationship with Francis Dereham and intended to do so with Thomas Culpeper. She had used Jane as an agent to procure her lovers and this wanton and infamous woman had done so, finding the places for their meetings. Not a charge of treason but one of intentions and a wanton life. No wonder the reputation of these ladies suffered so.

    Now the Queen joined Jane in her prison and her journey was something of a nightmare. Kathryn according to witnesses struggled and had to be man handled into the barge. She was escorted by the Duke of Suffolk, servants and several troops. Kathryn was heavily guarded and it was rumoured that she saw the heads of the two accused with her, the heads of Culpeper and Dereham upon spikes still as she travelled there. That must have caused her more distress and one can only have sympathy for her here. The next day she was told to prepare and then the Bill received the assent of her husband, the King, but by dry seal. The two women were executed on 13th February 1542.

    1. Christine says:

      It does make me chuckle to think that all the comfortable apartments in the Tower housed the unfortunate members of the illustrious Howard family, they probably all waved to each other from their windows, imagine their conversation, ‘what is your cell like’, and ‘I don’t really like the view from here’, imagine ! But it must have been awful for them likewise Queen Catherine and Lady Jane Rochford, if Lady Rochford was unbalanced she may not have realised what was happening to her, in fact I have often wondered if she feigned lunacy simply to escape the axe, if she did then she sorely misjudged the king, because Henry V111 had a bill pass to make it legal to execute mad people, I also heard that Catherine put up a bit of a struggle when she was escorted to the barge, it was a terrifying experience for her, a queen being rowed to her doom, for the Tower that impregnable fortress rarely let any of her victims walk free, whilst she was at Syon she must have hoped for a pardon, she must have hoped beyond hope that the king would not order her death, he had loved her and doted on her, but such love and adoration can turn to hate, those who love passionately hate passionately, but by being told she had to go to the Tower must have made her despair, by the time she arrived at the Tower she may have begun to be resigned to her fate, later she would request that the block be brought to her so she could practice at making a good ending, an extremely sad request coming from such a young and vibrant life.

      1. Michael Wright says:

        I don’t know if either of you have read House Treason by Robert Hutchinson but it does seem that a lot of the Howard’s became very aquainted with the Tower and some didn’t bcome out with a head. That family seemed to have such an ancient lineage that their blood was in much of the population.

        1. Christine says:

          The Howard’s certainly were an interesting family, they produced two Queens of England both of who were beheaded, a very talented poet one of England’s finest, Henry the young Earl of Surrey, but who sadly also lost his head, they were descended from the Earls of Mowbray and became England’s most prominent noble house, they did have a very ancient lineage but so did the other powerful and wealthy houses, the Nevilles and the Staffords and the Percys, they mostly all descended from noble Norman houses and of course they were all related as they all married their distant cousins to keep the wealth in the families and share any extra titles and offices that went with them, Henry V111 hated the Howard’s however as they shared Plantagenet blood with the Tudors being descended several times over from Edward 1st, and there was no doubt about their legitimate descent either, as he grew older and ever more tyrannical he vented his fury on the Earl of Surrey who could not resist displaying the arms of the Confessor on the Howard’s coat of arms, Surrey did nothing illegal as they were not displayed on the first quarter but Henry V111 had him executed for treason anyway, but he at least has a beautiful tomb at Framlingham Castle the Howard’s family seat,

      2. Banditqueen says:

        I believe Jane Boleyn was definitely sincere in her illness and collapsed under the strain of being accused as both Katherine and Culpeper shifted the blame onto her. Henry’s doctor’s seemed convinced and I am not entirely certain but it might have been recorded that she had recovered somewhat by this point. Kathryn wasn’t of course taken to the Tower at first, being confined to her own apartments in Hampton Court for a few days and then moved to Syon, which was originally a convent made into a palace. Anne had been ushered straight of to the Tower and was dead eighteen days later. Kathryn wasn’t accused of adultery and treason or serious criminal activities either until after the trial and execution of her alleged lovers, being investigated for rumours into her previous life before her marriage to Henry. It all sort of came out bit by bit thanks to Francis Dereham naming Thomas Culpeper and then he bragged he intended to go further with Kathryn. It all emerged over a number of days and Kathryn was questioned a few times. She then seems to have been left alone at Syon and she was not questioned after her eventual confession. While the men were investigated and interrogated further, the case moved on without the Queen. She had servants and ladies, robes, no symbols of her status but comfortable clothes and accommodation, but she was more or less left waiting. I wonder if Kathryn actually thought she had been forgotten about, she must have hoped the longer it all went on the more likely she was to walk free. Henry took himself off to hide in the country as he normally did, so hurt was he after discovering his perfect wife was anything but. Henry was angry and extremely distressed. Kathryn had to wait for her fate to be decided by Parliament.

        There were of course delays. Henry didn’t want a trial as he allowed with Anne Boleyn, in public because of the embarrassment that brought. However, one cannot just tell Parliament to sit, he had to wait for the next session after the Christmas and New Year break. The Bill of Attainder was against Jane for misprison and Kathryn for presumption of treason, in other words her intentions not proven actions. The entire Howard clan and their relatives were tried as well for misprison, although mercy was intended to be shown to the women. The Acts included them. The usual account of goods were made, including girdles and rich dresses. The long interrogation of the old Duchess had taken its toll and the Howards were all locked up at the Kings pleasure for perpetual imprisonment. Most of them would be pardoned the following Spring and Summer but they faced the prospect of life in prison. In the meantime the Act of Attainder was read and debated but failed to pass. The Lords and Council wanted the Queen to have the opportunity to defend herself before Parliament or at least to question the Queen before passing the Bill. Now it’s a bit unclear, but a petition to the King was granted at first. It’s also unclear but Kathryn may have refused a trial in Parliament. In any event, the Council only came to speak to the Queen in order to give her the bad news, the guilty verdict had been passed and she was being moved to the Tower in the next few days. The Bill returned to Parliament and was passed on 25th January 1542. That was the beginning of the end with royal assent being given by 9th February when Jane was moved to the Tower.

        I like that them all waving to each other. I very much doubt it, although prisoners did bribe guards to let them see each other. That’s how Father John Gerard escaped. He bribed his guards with oranges, which he had brought it to use as invisible ink and prayed with a fellow prisoner whose cell was next to the river wall. He got a message out to his friends and then set up a night for the escape. This was 1597. Arranging to pray with his friend he kept the guards busy and probably drunk and an arrow was shot through his window, attached to a rope and a heavy stone. He got onto the wall and had to get to the outside wall. He threw the rope and stone across and his friends secured it. The other man went first but Father Gerard had been tortured and hung by his wrists several times. He had been in the Tower for three years and forgotten by the Government. He was far weaker and going along the rope was harder. He had to stop half way and rest, taking a chance on being caught. He summoned up his inner strength and made it, his friends pulling him over the wall and into the boat and away to France. He left a complete record of his adventures and escape. William Seymour, the husband of the tragic Arbella Stuart walked out of the Tower. Don’t laugh, that’s right, just walked out. He was to meet Arbella and escape to France. She had ridden to Barnet and was dressed as a man, boarding a ship and waited in the Channel for him. He was kept in the Saint Thomas Tower, as you go in, the old Medieval bachelor pad of Edward iii and he had a visit from his barber ever week and a friend. The two entered, the barber then asked to see his barber and confused the guards went away. William swapped clothes and he and his barber walked out. Ironically Arbella got caught and her ship boarded. William was blown to Holland but he escaped. He lived to old age. Poor Arbella was arrested and put under strict watch in the Tower. She died of a wasting disease aged 40. Then we have the Scottish Renegade who the night before his execution had a visit from his wife, sister and her maid. All sorts of coming and going followed, pretend conversations and weeping women, the guards were drunk, the day passed and the women left saying the Lord was at prayer and wished not to be disturbed. Save it was actually the maid. The condemned prisoner had walked out in her clothes. By the time he was woken the next morning, he was in France. The embarrassment was such that the maid was set free and the tale covered up. His escape outfit can be seen in the family home in Scotland today. So you can see the guards were not always well behaved and the Tower because of the numbers going in and out was not a mere secure fortress and contact between prisoners was certainly possible.

        Of course, the one man who did escape all this was the Duke himself. Good old Thomas Howard, Third Duke of Norfolk, whose own father was held in the Tower by Henry Vii and who refused a chance to escape, wrote to Henry begging for his life and denouncing his family and two nieces as traitors and crooks and claiming he had revealed all this to the King in the first place. He did quite a bit of being humble and Henry pardoned him. He completely defaced himself and threw Kathryn and everyone else to the wolves. I am sure his father would have been proud. Several years later when his son, Henry, Earl of Surrey was in the Tower, he also tried to do the same thing but it didn’t work. Norfolk was also arrested and only saved by Henry Viii dying at 2 a.m on the morning he was due to be executed. Henry Howard tried to escape down the lavatory shoot in his cell but was caught and he was less fortunate, being beheaded on 19th January 1547.

        It really is little wonder the collective biography of the Howards by Robert Hutchinson is called House of Treason as a good number were executed or implicated in treason.

        Henry Howard executed, Katherine Howard executed, the 3rd Duke almost executed, his grandson, Thomas 4th Duke, executed, Anne Boleyn, a half Howard, executed, Saint Philip Howard, died in prison under Elizabeth I and so on. Blessed William Howard was executed under Charles Ii on false charges made by Titus Oats and two others, Thomas and Charles were imprisoned for failing in love with Margaret Douglas. Thomas died in the Tower as they had a secret marriage which was annulled. The Howards otherwise were powerful crown servants and remain at the forefront of ceremonies and political life under the crown today.

        1. Michael Wright says:

          Of all of the members of the Howard family I have read about the one I have the least respect for is Thomas 3rd Duke. The only positive thing I’ve read about him is he was a decent soldier in his younger days. If the only thing you ever read about him was his crying at Anne Boleyn’s trial when he announced the verdict you might think he was a decent man but from all I’ve read what I come away with is he was crying about how this might affect him. He may have cared about his son Surrey but I’m not even sure of that. His entire existence seemed to revolve around his own survival and if it would get him out of a jam with the king he’d throw them under the bus. I think he was a man who had no sense of humor and seldom if ever smiled. Holbien’s portrait captures him perfectly. Serious, stern and weasely.

        2. Banditqueen says:

          You are quite right, Michael, he did care about his son and they seem to have a half decent relationship. He was a hard man and a career soldier, they didn’t do cosy. He wept at Anne’s trial but he was reported as tut tuting as Anne denied the charges when he and the Council confronted her on 2nd May 1536 after the tennis match, before her arrest. He seems to have disapproved of Anne in general. He was rough with his wife, who made several complaints against him, although to be frank she gave as good as she got. He carried out Henry’s retaliation against rebels without much trouble to his conscience, except he refused to quarter the bodies of monks in Yorkshire, against Henry’s orders. He moaned that his daughter, Mary, newly widowed, trying to get her case for monies due a widow, did nothing but weep and complain. Very sensitive! He was good at his job, that was one good point for him as a member of the Council, but he was not one for education or culture, although his children were well educated. Like most nobles he didn’t see a need for anything beyond what was practical for life. He was coarse in his use of language as well from some reports and he wasn’t very compassionate when he told Anne that Henry had had a serious accident. Henry used him in the front line because he was reasonably successful and he wasn’t given to sentimental nonsense. However, he was let down by Henry in 1544 when he wasn’t given the funds and supplies he needed to raise the siege he was fighting. Suffolk was given everything he needed, but Norfolk was left out in the cold. For a couple of decades Norfolk was the senior statesman, to whom Suffolk was forced to defer, when Anne came around their retainers fought with fatal outcomes but Anne’s fall meant the temporary fall of Norfolk. The old soldiers were needed during the rebellions of 1536/7 with Norfolk and Suffolk acting in different territories equally. However, the war of 1543 to 1545 with France saw Norfolk deferring to Suffolk and depending on him for his own favour with the King. The fall of the Howard’s in 1542 had a huge impact on Norfolk and his political power, bringing a sharp decline in his influence. His experience as a soldier was the key to his return to favour and remained so until the arrest of Surrey and himself in January 1547. Norfolk was mostly concerned for himself and was only too ready to denounce his niece and family in 1542. He really had little qualms over any of this and he certainly doesn’t come across well at all, a nasty unprincipled man. He was a soldier first, crown convenience second and family man last. He survived Henry Viii but remained in the Tower until Mary freed him in 1553. He ended his career in brief retirement in his 70s having led one last campaign, against the Queens enemies in 1554. Robert Hutchinson certainly doesn’t give Norfolk a good press, but he did have one redeeming feature, life long service to an ungrateful King.

  19. Christine says:

    Yes I heard that he tried to escape down the lavatory ha! It is in fact Roger Mortimer 1st Earl of March who is the only prisoner noted for actually escaping from the Tower, I agree with you about Thomas Howard he does appear to be a bit insincere, he had a mistress his wife’s laundry maid, Bess Holland who was allowed to serve in Anne Boleyn’s household, this must have enraged his wife who was the daughter of the noble Duke of Buckingham, class distinction was always prevalent amongst high society, and the fact that she was being passed over for a laundry wench must have felt like salt rubbed into the wounds, the Duke certainly flaunted his mistress in front of his wife, but then we do not really know the in-depth story of their marriage, maybe the Duchess was a very difficult woman, maybe she was a scold – a bit of a dragon? Sources tell us they had dreadful rows and once he even sat on her, he must have been astounded when his niece Anne Boleyn was arrested and charged with treason and adultery, and the much more serious crime of plotting to kill the king, he may not have believed it himself but he was ever aware that as he was closely connected to the Queen his fortunes may suffer also, he also held the prestigious office of Earl Marshall of England, something which his descendant the current Duke holds today, when his niece was arrested she was brought before several nobleman of the kings council, of which the duke was present, Anne complained that he was being sarcastic and kept tut tutting at her, it was common knowledge that they did not get on , as once she had argued with him so fiercely he had told the king afterwards she had spoken to him they way he would not speak to a dog, he also himself accused her of being a great whore, it seems uncle and niece were not over fond of each other, which must have been heartbreaking for her mother who was the dukes sister, he is frequently being portrayed as the head of the family who ordered the lesser members around, in films and drama he has an active role in Anne’s rise to prominence, discussing how best to keep the king happy and such, in Wolf Hall he was swearing about Henry Percy when he declared to his estranged wife he was not really her husband, he had been engaged to queen, but was he really like that, he had his own affairs to see to and after all, Sir Thomas Boleyn was Anne’s father we all know he was not very happy with his daughters involvement with the king, the Duke distanced himself from the queen after her fall and then several years later his other niece was being pursued by the king, so the Howard family were on the rise, in the slight enchanting form of the very young Catherine Howard, he does appear like an opportunist and concerned only with saving his own skin, after her fall he did as he had with Anne leave her to her fate and yes, this is the bit I criticise about him, he had an audience with the king in which he deplored her wanton and disrespectful behaviour, he was the one who had introduced her to the king and had praised her virtues to the roof, this sordid example of womanhood! How the king must have felt his stomach turn when he gazed into the dukes terrified eyes as he knew full well, how this would affect him, we however must understand that Thomas Howard was not aware of Catherine’s behaviour at her grandmothers house, and was no doubt shocked when he heard of her conduct, maybe his stepmother had told him about the romping with Manox her music tutor of which she had been giving a beating, but he could of shrugged it off as just a romp, he could not have known about the carrying on in the ladies dormitory night after night, according to him she was the perfect match for the king, noble born, young from a fertile family and of course she was a scion of his own house The House of Howard, but it was a deplorable thing to do to to savage his own blood relation to the king, shades of ‘I do hope you will not hold me responsible for my erring niece my Lord’ spring to mind, did he not even feel some sympathy for her who was cut off from her husband who had no way to plead her cause, who was going out of her mind with worry? his full length portrait shows a rather cheerless gloomy looking personage but then I get the feeling he did not laugh much, except when he was with his washer woman, he had two children the talented yet reckless Earl of Surrey and a daughter Mary who married the kings bastard son, they were an interesting family and in fact several years ago there was a tv documentary about the Howard’s, where they took us to Framlingham Castle and interviewed the Dukes descendants the current Duke and his daughters, they were a lovely family and we was taken on a tour of the castle and the grounds, it took us back to the days of Henry V111 which as we know were a bloody and frightening time for the family, it was a fascinating documentary and I do hope they show it again.

    1. Michael Wright says:

      That sounds like such an interesting program. I’m sure the current Howard’s are wonderful people. What do they think of some of their ancestors?

    2. Banditqueen says:

      Christine, how can Roger Mortimer be the only person to escape from the Tower, when the evidence is there for several people escaping in my post? Do you mean he was the first person to escape?
      Actually he was the second of 40 people to escape with Walter Flambard getting his guards drunk and on drugs to get out in the late 12th century. Roger Mortimer did something similar.
      Cross dressing, diguise, ropes, drink, all kinds of things, a basket, people have escaped all kinds of ways successfully. Unfortunately, the loo wasn’t one of them, sadly for poor Henry Howard. Escaping was actually a capital crime and today if you escape from custody you can have it added to your sentences or sentenced for it, even without being found guilty of a crime. Most courts simply don’t bother unless someone escaped from prison, rather than police custody or courts. Not that some people let that stop them. I must admit if I was incarcerated, given the opportunity, I would go. Even 24 hours on the outside is most probably worth it.

      1. Christine says:

        Hi Bq, I read it some years ago that Mortimer was the only prisoner to escape successfully from the Tower, but I think I read it in Wikipedia which I know now is not always a correct source of information, I hadn’t actually read your post properly prior to my posting so I am glad you have corrected me, it must have taken guts to attempt to escape from the Tower, but then the fate that was awaiting them if they stayed must have set the old adrenaline going.

        1. Banditqueen says:

          Hi Christine, yes Wikipedia can have some good information when its backed by good citations, and you can find some good links, but in a number of occasions its very inaccurate. We were always told at University never to quote from it and to get as close as possible to the original sources. Maybe a bit harsh but it’s good to find better information. I suspect whoever put the information probably meant to put one of the first people to escape and nobody noticed until some time later and it was corrected. Recently Wikipedia has been more careful and highlights areas of concern or no citations. I would suggest they only use trained volunteers or researchers not just anyone, but that doesn’t seem to be taken notice off and I don’t think they should be asking for financial help from users but maybe they need proper financial support from Government or University in order to be more professional and authoritative.

          To be honest I was surprised so many people had escaped, I recall eleven being mentioned many years ago, but 40 is amazing. Of course it’s the tip of the number of people actually held in the Tower over 1000 years and the place has changed over those years. When Flambard was there, the main structure was the White Tower and a few outer buildings and walls but by the time of Edward ii and Mortimer it was very much changed and larger, with many apartments and Towers and then by the time of Henry Tudor, more as we would see it now, but with a very large palace, hall and even more buildings which are now missing. We must also forget about the grim place of torture, execution and prison which it became under the Tudors.

          The Tower in most of its history has been a fortress, palace, prison, mint, zoo, residential area for hundreds of workers and market place, bachelor pad for a number of Kings, the royal armoury and gunpowder stock as well as the home for some of the most important prisoners or hostages from abroad and the official royal residence in the capital. Literally thousands of people came and went all of the time, hundreds of people lived and worked there. They came and went all night as well as all day. In certain periods of its history it wasn’t very secure, the guards were often drunk, asleep or negligent. Edward I and Edward iii made it into a place of security, but even then it was breached in 1381 with inside help and the Archbishop of Canterbury, several of his associates and the Queen Mother, Joan of Kent were assaulted, the former being brutally beheaded by the mob. It wasn’t made fully secure until the Yeoman of the Guard was formed by Henry Vii and as a professional body in the pay of the crown, the military organisational brigade was formed we know as the Beefeaters. They are all ex military and are all fully trained, not just part of the entertainment. The role extended to tourism in peace time during the Victorian Age when the Tower became an official tourist attraction. The Tower of course has always had visitors, the menagerie being a great attraction for hundreds of years. The tales of terror have beguiled people ever since. Items of interest were created for the tourists. For example there is no such place as Traitors Gate. The water gate which now bears that name saw important visitors, guests and royalty up to a number of royal and comfortable apartments as well as being one of a number of entries by which important state prisoners, accused of treason came into the Tower. In the late eighteenth century it was sealed off and then named appropriately for tourism in the early nineteenth century. The script has not changed since then and on tours every traitor came in via Traitors Gate, including Anne Boleyn and Elizabeth I. Neither of them entered by this route. We have the old Saint Thomas Tower and the Bloody Tower, where Sir Walter Raleigh was held in extreme luxury, leading to the Medieval Palace and the now demolished later Royal Palace, which was the site of Anne Boleyn being there, the so called Princes, many others, but which doesn’t exist anymore. The Garden Tower was demolished in the seventeenth century so the site of the rooms in which Richard of Shrewsbury and the former Edward V lived vanished as well. However, the White Tower still stands in all of its glory and so do the other Towers holding Saint Thomas More, Lady Jane Grey and the Dudley family. The Norman Chapel and old Council Chamber can be seen. The White Tower houses a splendid collection of weapons and armour, some belonging to Henry Viii. The magnificent golden domes are still on top. The jewel house was held at the Tower and in a new later sixteenth century building a modern display shows off what is a fantastic arrangement of the mainly Georgian crowns. Very few Medieval crowns exist anywhere but ours were lost a long time ago, mainly by King John. The Queens House owned by the warden was built in the later sixteenth and seventeenth century and tourists were told it was where Anne Boleyn stayed, together with ye old fake bed and ye old fake inscription. That the site had been demolished wasn’t what millions of tourists wanted to hear in the 1840s. The late seventeenth century axe and block have probably never even seen an execution. The axe is wrong to begin with. The blood definitely isn’t human.

          The tales of gruesome executions, torture and escaped heroics are a mix of fact and exaggerated entertainment. Torture happened at the Tower, it had a rack and several other things, but nobody actually knows where this took place, if it still exists or what happened to the original implementation. Suitable dark and dismal areas and cells are therefore used to give the visitors a flavour. The wardrobe of the King was also moved to the Tower at some point, the original being in the City for the convenience of the King to change into ceremonial robes and so on. The original inventory of Henry Viii, his wardrobe, clothes and hangings were once held there but are now scattered, in the original place, Hampton Court, the various museums or lost. We have an extensive list and are talking thousands of items. The execution site within the Tower isn’t quite on the right spot, but at least its not too far away and can be seen and a beautiful memorial marks the spot where, Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard lost their lives.

          Finally, one of the oldest links with the Tower and its past, the many people who lived there or who were unwilling residents and worked there, still a living place of worship, the central place of the Tower community, still stands today. On the site of an older Chapel and grave grounds, the Chapel of Saint Peter ad Vincula was built by Henry Viii. Ironic really since he helped to fill it. Not only the burial place of those executed at the Tower but the burial place of hundreds of people who lived there, the place of baptism for their children and a place of memories today, its history brings the Tower to life. Here are Anne and Katherine, George and Jane Boleyn, the Duke of Northumberland and Jane Grey and others like Henry Howard and Thomas More, originally buried here or at the Church outside All Hallows and others were later removed to family graves and tombs. The men who were killed with Anne Boleyn, except her brother, who was a peer, were buried in the grave yard of the Church. The others in the Church are representing the community in the Tower, including children who lived and died naturally. It’s a beautiful place and very peaceful.

          What we know about the Tower of London probably merely touched the service and as so many documentaries on this wonderful palace and fortress have shown, we are discovering new bits of it and new evidence all the time. In the Bloody Tower apartments of Walter Raleigh they found a small painting, not made by him but dating from 100 years before, an angelic face. A thirteenth century mural was found in one of the largest Medieval rooms about a decade ago of the Last Judgement. The site had structures on them from the Bronze Age, a Roman fortress for example and bones have turned up from every human age going. There was also a beech at the Tower, used during the 1950s to the end of the 1970s and a lot of archaeology there is very rich. People went there from the inner cities for fresh air. So you can see the Tower has a long, rich and very varied history, has been many things and how one could have escaped with little difficulty at certain times. My favourite escape was that of Father Gerard because it was so thrilling and dangerous and he literally needed all of his last bits of strength to get along that rope. Scary.

  20. Michael Wright says:

    Hi BQ. I seem to remember reading in Hutchinson’s book something about Surrey and his father wanting to use his sister Mary as bait for Henry to leverage influence for themselves but Mary was adamantly against this. Am I correct and if so can you elaborate?

    1. Banditqueen says:

      I believe you are talking about the testimony of Mary Howard against her brother as she was questioned by Robert Southall to get evidence after he was arrested for treason. According to Jessie Childe his biographer he had tried to use her to influence the King in the build up to settling his will because Surrey wanted to have something to do with ruling for the young Prince Edward. I can’t remember the full details but in her testimony Mary said that Surrey had wanted her to become the mistress of the King. She refused and he became angry. She gave evidence confirming the ambition of Surrey and this was used against him at his trial. Surrey said it was a load of rubbish and given nobody could actually prove anything against him, Mary could have been manipulated into this testimony or did Southall invent it? Henry Howard had done nothing wrong, the Commission said so but his Judges were told to find him guilty. However, the story of Mary Howard being told to sleep with the aging King has grown in the popular mind without its background being known. Putting it into the context of a typical Tudor treason investigation, the story becomes that bit more dubious.

      1. Michael Wright says:

        Thank you BQ. Yes, that is what I was referring to. Robert Southall was as dishonest as Richard Rich so it is very possible he made it up to make sure Surrey was convicted. This many centuries we will never know.

        1. Banditqueen says:

          Hutchinson and Childe put the whole thing into context because according to Hume as in Martin Hume and an early history Norfolk was really getting ambitious in June 1546,_proposing that he should marry Princess Mary and because the Seymours were the future power behind the throne, that his daughter and grandsons should marry with them, Mary presumably was meant for Seymour or his son. Edward Seymour would be Lord Protector by persuading the majority of proposed Regency Council members in King Henry’s will to support him as such. In December this so called conspiracy was revealed by Southall with Mary saying her brother wanted her to sleep with the King in order to achieve the same. It all rather stinks of ambition and a complete set up with Mary Howard manipulated to back the Seymour counter attack. Southall was meant to be Surrey’s friend which was why he complained about being betrayed by a friend.

          Edward Seymour was already married to Anne Stanhope but other family members would suit any ambitious purpose. Norfolk had married into the House of York as a young man, being promised to Anne of York, the daughter of Edward iv and Elizabeth Woodville from a very young age. He and Anne had four children, none of which lived to adulthood, including two sons. Anne died of tuberculosis in 1511. Elizabeth Stafford was his second wife, the mother of his living children, but of course the marriage was a turbulent and unhappy one with violence on both parts and his famous mistress, Bess Holland, moving in and taking over. The couple separated. Norfolk was the richest noble around and the last to run the old bond and feudal system. However, this entire “conspiracy” was most likely contrived and the entire testimonies are suspect even for the ambition of the Howards. I believe Mary made these accusations under some pressure . The Howards were on the way out and as the Uncles of the future King the Seymour clan were the ones moving in for political power. A rivalry had existed between Surrey and Edward Seymour for some time. The idea of marriage between his children and Seymour family members must have seemed repugnant. Of course Mary found sleeping with Henry Viii repugnant and probably comical. Henry was on his last legs and hardly capable of sleeping with anyone.

  21. Christine says:

    Hi Michael I read that it was her brother who suggested to Mary that she could use her feminine wiles to influence Henry V111, but Mary was rightly disgusted at the very idea, the tv programme was a few years ago so I’m afraid I cannot remember much what was said but they did seem to be very nice not haughty or anything, the the Dukes daughters were very attractive, also on another programme they interviewed the descendants of Edward Seymour the Duke of Hertford, Queen Jane Seymours brother, I think they had on display Janes needlework, she was an expert at needlework and was said to have interested the king in this ladies pastime, it is very interesting when they take you round these old houses and buildings I find those sort of programmes very relaxing almost therapeutic.

  22. Michael Wright says:

    Thank you Christine. I feel exactly the same way about those programs.

  23. Michael Wright says:

    I really appreciate that detailed explanation of what was going on BQ. With all all of this stuff going on around him Thomas Howard was very lucky that Henry died when he did. What a mess.

  24. Banditqueen says:

    The Howards were ambitious, that goes without saying, but they also kept the Tudors in a job.

    For one thing, John Howard First Duke of Norfolk (remember the Mowbray Dukes proceeded them and he was made Duke by Richard iii in 1484 after it fell vacant because the crown had the rights. There is some debate as to whether the disinherited Richard, Duke of York was dead and he got it or whether it was because as a legal bastard the boy wasn’t entitled to the title). Anyway, Norfolk 1 was the grandfather of our famous Duke. He was killed fighting for Richard at Bosworth somewhere near Mill Lane. His son was badly wounded fighting for Richard, Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey, future 2nd Duke of Norfolk. He was rescued and his wounds attended to, practically going down fighting, but as a loyal supporter of the transplanted Dynasty, Henry saw fit to place him in the Tower. So the Howards were not red hot Tudor fans. With marriages into the Stafford, Neville, Dacre and York families, they had extreme wealth and contacts. As Royal cousins and claimants the importance of this family cannot be underestimated.

    The Howards had one major skill..fighting. Yes, they also appeared to be astute political and administration wise as well, but they were called upon to fight the Kings wars and put down rebellion. That made the first Thomas Howard an asset to Henry Tudor within a few years of being in prison. He had a chance to escape during a breakout by a pretender and didn’t take it. He was released and sent to put down tax rebellions. Much of his land and fortune was restored but he was made Earl of Norfolk, not Duke. Thomas I had a number of opportunities to prop up and make the new Tudor Dynasty and his fortune grew. He wasn’t too proud to marry his daughter, Elizabeth to one of his close retainers, Thomas Boleyn, the mother of Anne, George and Mary. He was closely involved with the Tudors under Henry Vii and Henry Viii and is most famous for his victory over the Scots at Flodden in 1513. His brother was also there as was his son, Thomas II, the future third Duke of Norfolk. Henry Viii restored the title of Duke to Thomas Howard I and made Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk for his role in France in 1514. Thomas I died aged 70 in 1524 after many years of proven service and hard work keeping the Tudors on the throne.

    Now our boy, Thomas Howard, Third Duke of Norfolk had already distinguished himself at Flodden and Ireland and in the Tudor regime. His sister was married to Thomas Boleyn an invaluable asset to Henry Viii and his own second wife was Elizabeth Stafford, daughter of Edward, Duke of Norfolk and Lady Eleanor Percy. By her he had three known adult children, Henry, Mary and Thomas and three others who may have died young. They had a colourful relationship which ended in them living separate lives. We have already marked out our Norfolk’s career and his self interest, but I think it’s safe to say if anything he was a lucky survivor. He also earned the gratitude of Henry Viii on a number of occasions, especially after the pilgrimage of grace, during which Henry had also accused him of being a coward, not fully appreciating a Royal army not fully kitted out of 6000 may not be a match for 30,000 rebels who apparently were. However, its also fair to say that his own personal loyalty and desire to work for and please the King should be highlighted. It was, however, marred by the constant misfortunes and schemes of the women in his family. Although no doubt Norfolk was boosted by the rise of his niece Anne Boleyn, his retainers even had a fatal fight with those of Suffolk, with one of Suffolk’s men being killed in the Sanctuary at Westminster Abbey over insults against her, he didn’t really see her as worthy as being Queen. However Norfolk did his duty, regaining the Earl Marshall title from Suffolk for her coronation. He also did his duty in her arrest, trial and execution and there is a question mark over how sincere his tears were when he condemned Anne. War revived his fortunes and he also organised and was in charge of the funeral of Queen Jane Seymour.

    What role Norfolk actually had in promoting the woman who was a curse for the Howard clan is very much a mystery. The contemporary sources say next to nothing, if anything. Katherine Howard was the daughter of Thomas’s much younger and penniless brother, Edmund and just one of many Howard sprogs lurking around in need of an education and a future during the 1530s and her step grandmother raised her with other relatives. After a number of years sampling the gentlemen visiting her, one in particular, Francis Dereham, strawberries and wine, a half supervised Kathryn was ripe for marriage and the world. Originally she was trained to serve Queen Jane but Jane died so Kathryn went home. Then she was selected to serve Anna of Kleve in 1539 and came to Court. She was not uneducated, she was literate to the extent of basic reading and writing at least, she had a French Bible but we don’t know if she used it, she was taught music, dancing, deportment, to be graceful, charming and to run a large household. However, she was anything between 15 and 22 years of age although it is more traditional and more likely to say she was about 17 when she came to Court and about the right age for marriage. Contrary to popular belief people in Tudor times didn’t marry at 13, the majority married at 22 for a woman and 24 for a man. Very rare Royal and top noble marriages took place then with consummation usually a few years later. However, there were exceptions. Kathryn would have a better prospect of a fine husband at Court than in the countryside. It isn’t known for certain if her Uncle or grandmother had anything to do with her appointment but as heads of the family and a leading courtier its hard to see who else would put her forward. Now mythology has Norfolk pick Kathryn out and immediately promote her as a Catholic royal bride, but again there isn’t any real evidence to support this. How she came to the King’s eye is actually another mystery. However, we do know that she was placed into the household of his wife, Anna, whom he didn’t wish to remain with after very long. We also know that Kathryn was a guest at a banquet given by Bishop Stephen Gardiner who was renowned for a good kitchen and his entertaining and a favourite banquet visit for Henry Viii. She was possibly presented to Henry here. Even so Henry would have seen Kathryn around her mistresses apartments and during Court entertainment so would have become aware of her. By Spring 1540 Henry was taking trips over the river to court Kathryn Howard and married her on the same day as Thomas Cromwell was executed. Whatever the truth of his nieces affairs during her marriage Norfolk didn’t conspire with Jane Boleyn to trap her, nor was she reporting to him. He actually had very little to do with the fall of Kathryn Howard, despite his letter to Henry afterwards. Norfolk was almost ruined however in the purge which followed, the women were believed to have known Kathryn wasn’t a virgin when she got married, the old Dowager Duchess was guilty of hiding something because she removed money and evidence from a trunk, the fall of the proud Howard family was a stain on the reputation of the great Duke even if he didn’t have anything to do with it and managed to save himself. In an important family, personal shame was family shame. Norfolk found himself out of favour for a time and had to work hard to build his career again. The wars with France and Scotland didn’t bring him any gains, although the Pilgrimage of Grace did win him back the Kings trust for a time. Norfolk stayed strong in his support for the King, something which should have ended in more gratitude. The final fall was an insult to his service. The family never really recovered from the attack on Henry Howard and then Norfolk himself. Treason is a dreadful stain to remove. Fortunately for Norfolk, he just about survived and was given one last chance to recover his reputation by helping Queen Mary defend her crown.

    The fourth Duke, another Thomas Howard, Henry’s son was on good terms with his cousin Queen Elizabeth I when she succeeded in 1558 and remained part of her service until the trouble of 1568/9 and 1571. It was then that he became involved in plots and conspiracies to free Mary Queen of Scots, one which proposed he marry her and remove Elizabeth. Two Northern Risings from Northumberland and Westmoreland also drew in Norfolk and others at Court, were cruelly put down and Norfolk tried to get out of the entire affair. The Ridolfi Plot by a Florentine banker was also allegedly backed by Norfolk who was undervalued by Elizabeth only allowed minor roles. He had already confessed to the marriage plot having been in the Tower for nine months and put under house arrest. The plot was to assassinate Elizabeth who had been Excommunicated in 1570 after her cruel repression of the Northern Rebellions. Now anyone could assassinate her, although the Bull said remove her and allegiance, it didn’t tell people to kill her. Some people believe the Pope paid Robert Ridelfi, others that he was mad and acted alone. However, a number of people at Court appeared to be implicated. Norfolk said he had tried to prevent it. His descendants believe he was set up. Ironically he was called the Protestant Duke because he was raised as a reformer and there is some debate as to if he died a Catholic or a Protestant. He was executed for his troubles in any case.

    Norfolk 4th had a famous son who inherited his mother’s lands and became the 23th Earl of Arundel. His name is Saint Philip Howard. He was baptised at Court and King Philip II was his Godfather. He was converted to the Catholic Faith after hearing Father Edmund Campion the famous Catholic martyr and preacher. He was arrested and charged with being a Catholic and funding Spain. He was in the Tower for 10 years and remained a devoted Catholic. He shared a cell at some point with another Catholic priest and martyr, Saint and poet Robert Southall, no relation to the notorious Southall already mentioned. For some reason his death warrant was never signed but he was under condemnation. He died of dysentery in 1595, although some people believe he was murdered and was buried in Saint Peter ad Vincula under the floor. However, after his canonization he was moved to Arundel Cathedral where he has a memorial statue and shrine.

    Another relative went on to raise the family fortunes again by becoming the Lord Admiral under Elizabeth I and in command of the English fleet which defeated the Spanish Armada in 1588,_Lord William Howard. The Dukes of course continued and the family consider themselves to have a rich and proud history and to have been a backbone for the monarchy. Treasonous adventures, which were probably dubious, aside, given their military service, this is probably true.

    1. Michael Wright says:

      That puts a lot of this in perspective. Something you learn quickly reading about the court of Henry Viii is that if you poke the bear you may end up in the Tower or sans head. Every courtier knew this and saw it happen to friends and family and yet it seems many we’re so hungy for power they proceeded to poke the bear. The Howard’s of all families should have known better. Thanks BQ.

      1. Banditqueen says:

        The title of Duke was only restored in 1660 because of the various problems with the Tudors and the Howards had various titles, Earl of Suffolk, so on and the notorious granddaughter of the Fourth Duke of Norfolk, Lady Frances Howard, Countess of Essex was also one who went into Tower of London on a charge of treason. She was married at the age of 14 to the Earl of Essex but in time fell in love with King James favourite Sir Robert Carr and sought an annulment because she was still a virgin. Her husband was also accused of being incapable of consummation and he apparently raised his robes and removed his codpiece in order to prove he was capable by the fact he had an errection at that moment. It was nonsense and still required a legal enquiry and her Uncle, Sir Henry Howard of Uffingham took on her case. She took on an affair with Carr and married him, probably before her annulment was completed.

        Sir Robert Carr and Lady Frances had a deadly rivalry for the affection and favouritism with one Sir Thomas Overbury, her second husband’s former friend and through schemes Overbury was imprisoned in the Tower and there the cook brought in cakes and tarts reported to be made by Lady Frances. Over time Overbury became ill and eventually died of what was suspected to be poison. In a complex trial which has been often examined by modern experts Frances was found guilty of murder and Carr of being an accessory. However, both were pardoned by King James, although they did spend time in the Tower and in banishment from Court. It was the scandal of the day and remains infamous to this day.

        1. Christine says:

          Yes the Overbury murder was a right scandal at the time, especially as it involved Frances Howard Countess of Somerset and her husband Robert Carr the kings favourite, Frances was a known beauty and yet she ruined her very noble name, and reputation for becoming involved in the ghastly murder of her husbands friend, Sir Thomas Overbury, in her employ was a Lady Anne Turner who was a ‘ madam’ in the city, although this was well hidden by a veneer of respectability, it was Anne who supplied Frances with arsenic to poison the tarts and jellies the countess sent to Overbury, she also made up love potions with her husband who was a bit of a quack, and supplied many a courtier and lady with their potions, Overbury must have considered the gifts from Frances as an act of kindness, yet the poor man must have suffered dreadfully and after his strange unforeseen death, both Frances and her husband were arrested along with Anne Turner, yet no doubt because of their influence with the king and Frances’s noble lineage they were pardoned, whilst Anne was sent to the gallows, Carr always denied any involvement in the murder and their marriage broke down completely hardly surprising over this affair, Frances was undeniably wicked but it appears her motive was just jealousy, another Howard family member who brought scandal to the name, they were certainly interesting those Howard women and the men to of course, I have Jean Plaidys ‘The Murder In The Tower’ and it was a very exciting novel, I highly recommend it I think you would find it interesting to Michael, it is a love story yet played out amongst the dark tragedy of one of the foremost scandals of the 17thc.

        2. Banditqueen says:

          Women were always maligned and their sexuality paraded before the media and public of their day especially if any kind of scandal touched them. Adultery or murder, coupled with illegitimate children practically condemned them to notoriety. Take for example the last woman to be hanged in Britain on 13th July 1955, 28 year old Ruth Ellis. Her family came to the South of England as Belgium refugees and she had a moderate education, leaving school aged 14 to get work as a waitress. However, Ruth was pregnant by a married man at 17 and her son was born and she already had the stigma of being an unmarried woman. She had to go through the Courts but eventually she got custody of him. In 1950 Ruth married a man much older than herself, George Ellis, giving birth to a daughter, Georgia in 1951. She had become a nightclub hostess (escort) and her husband disowned her daughter and she was forced back into prostitution and escort work.

          George Johnson Ellis was a 41 year-old divorcee with three children of his own, a nightclub owner and cabaret producer, who was violent and an alcoholic who regularly beat Ruth and although she left him regularly, she returned because she was economically dependent on him. That is important and we must remember that women who are in such a situation cannot make an easy escape. No women sanctuaries existed then and it was only working in the nightclub as an escort which kept Ruth from the streets. Having already been pregnant with one of her clients and having an illegal abortion in her third month, Ruth was very much linked to her escort service. However, by 1953 she was separated from her husband whom she divorced.

          In 1953 Ruth Ellis became the manager of her own club, the Little Club in Knightsbridge which is an upmarket part of London and here met the man she would kill at point blank range with four shots, her lover David Blakely, a flash racing driver. Ruth carried on an affair with him, he also lived with another woman and she moved in with yet another man, Desmond Cussen. Blakely was well educated and it was said Ruth was under his influence, his control but this was never proved one way or another. She was also known to abort a fourth child. It’s likely she didn’t know who the father was and she created a cycle of jealousy between her two lovers. Blakely became increasingly violent and Ruth suffered a miscarriage when he punched her in the stomach. It was soon afterwards that she killed him. Although she was painted as a whore and temptress in Court Ellis drew a great deal of sympathy from the general public because of the violence she had suffered. After her conviction a huge petition was drawn up to save her. It obviously failed but her case led to the rethinking of the death penalty in Britain.

          So what happened? On Easter Monday 1955 Ruth left the home she shared with Cussen and went to a flat she believed David Blakely was. As she got there she saw his car drive away and then followed him in a taxi. She waited outside a public house in Hempstead and as he and a friend came out, she stepped out of a doorway and fired a 38 at him. The bullet missed and she chased him towards his car. She felled him with two bullets and stood over him and fired three more into him. As she prepared to fire the sixth and seventh the gun jammed. Ruth told a friend to call the police and was arrested by an off duty officer but was not under the influence of drugs of alcohol.

          Women are far less likely to commit violence than men, far fewer have killed historically and women are not meant to be capable as mothers of such violence so when they did, not only was it all the more shocking but they obviously had something seriously wrong with them. They were portrayed as sexually deviant, as driven against their natures and the murders they committed highly sensational in the press. A woman who had a sexual past and was living with two men was far more likely to be found guilty than ones who were good wives and mothers and her class was also a factor. Ellis had had at least four or five children, aborting two and miscarrying another by four different men and was still only 28. This wasn’t the greatest way to build a character defence and it all went against her. Ruth was only asked one question at her trial, what her motive was in killing her lover. She said it was obvious, she intended to kill him. It took 20 minutes to convict her. Ellis would later claim her other lover gave her the gun and that she had been drinking with him. 50, 000 people signed a petition to save her. However, it was no good and she hung. However, the death sentence was reconsidered with a hold on it until 1963. In 1960 the Capital Murder statue made hanging only possible for certain types of homicide. The last person was hanged in 1964. In 2003 a campaign was opened for a pardon and new look at her case but it came to nothing and expired in 2008.

          This and other cases are typical of the attitude society has had of women and still does. No man would be condemned more readily because of his sexual immorality, which on the contrary would be a reason to hero worship him. Male pirates were hero worshipped as were highway men, despite their cruelty, but females of the same profession and yes they existed, were vilified. This was part of the problem Lady Frances Howard faced, she was called a witch, whore, sexual predictor, wicked and every vile name her contemporaries and historians could come up with ever since.

  25. Michael Wright says:

    Thank you for the recommendation Christine.

    1. Christine says:

      That’s ok and ‘Katherine’ is another novel I highly recommend by your fellow American author Anya Seyton, Seton really was a brilliant author she weaves a spell in her books that really transport you into another world, Katherine is the story of Katherine Swynford and John of Gaunt, who were the ancestors of the Tudor monarchs, also another novel I recommend is ‘Avalon’ also by Seton, it is the story of England in the days of the reign of King Edgar a fascinating story.

  26. Banditqueen says:

    I watched “A Man for All Seasons” last night on Sony Classic Movies . Its still one of the best and Robert Shaw made a fantastic Henry and probably looked like him at that time between 38 and 43, before his accidents put the weight on him, still golden haired, still athletic, still energetic and before his moods became too dangerous, which obviously they are as the legislation for his Supremacy was passed in 1534. However, even an angry Henry was much more cordial then than he was two years later. Henry comes to the home of Thomas More which was up the River at Chelsea and appeared with his entire Court and appeared on the steps with the evening sun behind him, bright red hair and all dressed in cloth of gold. He was shinning. I think its a brilliant film and really gives a good account of More. I actually liked Norfolk in it as he is a good friend to More which was accurate. He was reluctant to sit as his trial judge, that’s also correct.

    Anne Boleyn is Vanessa Redgrave, probably at the start of her career and Rich a very young but brilliant John Hurt.

    One problem with it. No, Henry didn’t die of syphilis. I believe they probably knew that but Robert Bolt was a bit anti Henry and Elizabeth.. Yes, More is the opposite to Wolfe Hall, but that wasn’t in any wise a correct portrait of him.

    1. Roland H. says:

      Even though Vanessa Redgrave was onscreen for less than a minute and was silent, I thought she was excellent as Anne Boleyn.

      She captured Anne’s legendary allure and seductiveness. You understand why Henry VIII was so captivated by her. As well, Vanessa looked so much like Anne in the famous “B’ pendant portraits.

      By the way, the actor (Nigel Davenport) who played the Duke of Norfolk, played the Earl of Bothwell in ‘Mary Queen of Scots’ with Vanessa Redgrave. And for those of you who watched the hilarious ‘Keeping Up Appearances’, Davenport appeared as the Commodore whom Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced ‘Bouquet!) picked up at the train station.

      1. Banditqueen says:

        Yes, Vanessa was a really good look for Anne, capturing her laugh and those captivating eyes, she didn’t say anything but every move and look was Anne Boleyn and Robert Shaw isn’t a bad singer either. I think for once the costume people did a great job. Anne’s dress of cloth of silver and her hood really her.

    2. Christine says:

      I too love that film, seen it twice and I believe that Paul Schofield looked cannily like the original Thomas More as he is portrayed in his painting by Holbein, I agree about Robert Shaw he is my favourite Henry V111 out of all the actors who have ever played him, tall and charismatic very good looking, and even Venessa Redgrave resembled portraits of Anne too, she has the same long face and high cheekbones, I do love it when the actors resemble the people they portray on the screen, I recall that bit at the end when they said Henry died of syphilis,I thought what are they on about? And to many who do not study history it is quite surprising how many do think the old king had that most awful disease, it is like the myth that he was a lecher and chased after anything in a skirt, he conducted his affairs in the utmost secrecy he never flaunted them, I am talking about when he was married to his first Queen here and maybe because he wished to spare her feelings, she did actually discover when he was sleeping with some lady and she was distraught so the sources tell us, so that would explain why he was very secretive about them, he had several hunting lodges where he would dally with them, but yes a lot of myths have arose about Henry V111, like he was coarse and vulgar and had no table manners when in fact like all royal and nobly born, table manners were deemed very important he was no stable lad, the film was wonderful and More at his trial was wonderful, it showed the scene where Richard Rich gave false evidence against him, it also showed the close relationship he had with his daughter and when he was in the Tower his wife and family pleaded with him to come home, she brought him in some cakes she had made, I thoroughly applaud his daughter Margaret Roper who took his head from its spike on London Bridge, she showed courage and spirit, and she was telling all the world he had died unjustly he was no traitor, it was an act that made the king tremble when he heard of it, in that superstitious age he must have thought it was a sign from god that he was displeased with Henry for ordering his death, Sir Thomas More would not sign the act of supremacy as it went against his conscience, but as he said he means no harm, he speaks no harm and that was turned against him, the world was shocked at his death as he was well thought of for his learning, his intelligence and his integrity, it was very a sad ending for a man who had been in court circles since young and had been friends with most of the court, the king himself, his death I believe marred Ann Boleyn‘s relationship with the king, and when the news was bought to him of the death of his once dear ex chancellor he was playing cards with Anne, the news upset him, he put down his cards and got up abruptly and accused Anne of being the cause of his death, his behaviour would not have made her feel very good and I would not be surprised if they ignored each other for the rest of the day.

  27. Michael Wright says:

    Hi Roland and BQ. I’m ashamed to say I’ve never seen it. I tried to rent it a couple of times 20+ years ago but it was never available. I know who’s in the cast, all great actors and though Vanessa Redgrave is one of my favorite actresses I can’t picture her as Anne Boleyn simply because of her height: she’s 6ft. Perfect for her portrayal of Mary of Scotland however.

    1. Christine says:

      As I said in my previous post Michael she does resemble Anne a little in the French hood she wears, and which is what Anne wears in some of her portraits, yes she was very good as Mary Queen of Scots and Glenda Jackson as her nemesis Elizabeth 1st, it showed the fabled meeting between them which never actually took place but was put in for drama, poor Mary was completely at the mercy of Elizabeth whilst she was a captive here, and although politically I can understand why she did imprison her, I have always had a lot of sympathy for Mary to, she threw herself on her mercy she had lost her realm her crown and her son, one wonders why she ever chose to come to England as France would have welcomed her back with open arms, it was another disastrous decision in a one long list of disastrous decisions she had made during her queenship, she lost her freedom and was never to recapture it, ultimately she lost her life.

      1. Michael Wright says:

        I’ve only seen Glenda Jackson’s performance as Elizabeth in Mary Queen of Scots. That was definitely her part. I really want to see Elizabeth R. Hopefully at some point I will. As you know I usually complain about changing history to tell a story but as to the meeting of Elizabeth and Mary I’m fine with that. The alternative is to show them just writing letters to each other which is a bit boring. Besides, Glenda Jackson and Vanessa Redgrave in a scene together? Who’d want to miss that?

        1. Christine says:

          It’s like Bette Davis and Joan Crawford in ‘ Whatever Happened To Baby Jane’ fantastic film.

        2. Christine says:

          iv seen Elizabeth R a 1970’s BBC drama but I cannot recall if they staged a meeting between Elizabeth and Mary, it was very a good drama series and it should be available on dvd from Amazon, I do hope you get it see it Michael, and try to read those books I recommended by Anya Seton as I am sure you will enjoy them very much.

  28. Roland H. says:

    Speaking of Joan Crawford, she did a radio play of Maxwell Anderson’s ‘Mary of Scotland’ in 1937, with her second husband Franchot Tone as the Earl of Bothwell. Judith Anderson played Elizabeth.

    You can listen to it on Youtube by typing ‘LUX RADIO THEATER MARY OF SCOTLAND JOAN CRAWFORD’ in the Search Box.

    1. Banditqueen says:

      Thanks, Roland, that sounds like well worth listening to, cheers.

  29. Banditqueen says:

    Forgot to say yesterday was the execution of Queen Kathryn Howard and Jane Boleyn, Lady Rochford, in the morning of 13th February on the green of the Tower of London, with what most eye witnesses describe as great dignity and repentance. No wishing one was married to Thomas Culpeper or weeping or hysteria or wetting of ones self, or stammering or fainting, sorry nothing dramatic, just a few words, nothing out of the ordinary and quiet dignity. Independent eye witnesses including a man who wrote to his brother two days later say Kathryn was very penitent for her sins, prayed for the King, asked for prayers for herself and died with one stroke. Jane died afterwards, the block being cleaned first and said a few words and died in much the same way. She didn’t confess to betraying her sister in law, Anne Boleyn or her husband George Boleyn as Georgio Leto wrote much later, a document which turned out to be a fake.

    Two many myths have been written about these two ladies, and while they may well have been guilty of the foolishness they engaged in, their reputations do not deserve to be sullied any further, let alone at the time of their executions. The Spanish Chronicle was the Tudor equivalent of the S*n #Don’tBuyTheS*n which is known for its invention and a complete tissue of lies. Anything written in it should be taken with a pinch of salt and their names at least should be remembered with some dignity. They both rest in the same Chapel as Anne and George under the stones of Saint Peter ad Vincula in the Tower grounds.

    May they rest in peace.

    1. Michael Wright says:

      Amen.

    2. Christine says:

      I’m glad you should enjoy them very much Michael.

    3. Christine says:

      I knew the time was near but had not realised it was yesterday, as Claire usually posts on the anniversaries of events such as these, a sad tragic fate for both these ladies, one so young a Queen of England, cut down in the flower of her youth by an ageing obese and sickly monarch, and the other, a more mature woman widowed, a member of the notorious Boleyn family, it was a double beheading for the executioner that day, it was February which can be a dreadful month of the year, cold and with the kind of raw dampness that seeps in the bones and makes those who suffer with rheumatism much much worse, Catherine did make a good Christian end all hysteria was gone, and she calmly said her speech and submitted her small charming head to the rough surface of the block, that very same block that she had practised on the previous evening, she had been given great prestige, she had been queen but to her immense folly, she had not acted with discreetness and had disrespected her husband, Catherine Howard was a tragedy waiting to happen but youth was her folly, it is difficult really who to feel sympathy for, Catherine or the king, I feel sympathy for both of them but Henry V111 was the hand that signed the death warrant and I feel he should have pardoned her, however he had so it is believed suffered from a personality change due to a very serious head injury, and I do feel had he been the same man he had been in his youth, Catherine would not have lost her life, he would have been enraged still but I think a divorce or annulment and banishment would have sufficed, it was the shedding of her blood that marked another stain on the reign of Henry V111, and let us also remember Lady Jane Rochford who was merely acting on her mistresses orders, a woman who really only wished to live in peace like us all, a woman who had lost her husband and had a comfortable life at court, lady in waiting to several Queens of England who found her life was inextricably linked with two of them, and whom had both died in the same tragic circumstances, after the death of Culpeper whom I believed Catherine was in love with she probably felt she had no wish to live anymore, and Jane after she became lucid enough must have felt a calmness that she would soon be reunited with her husband, as the cart trundled upto the church of St Peter Ad. Vincula bearing the bloody remains of this woman, whom history really has done a great disservice, where Catherine’s body was waiting also to be interred in the cold mean earth, the king was going about his business as it was just another day, two women butchered one his wife, but the running of the country still had to continue, maybe all the anger had left him by now and only a deep depressing grief remained, he grew more heavier in the months since Catherine’s death no doubt turning to food and wine as a solace, and a full year would end before he began casting his eyes on the other women of his court again.

  30. Michael Wright says:

    Thank you for the recommendations Christine, I wrote them down.

  31. Michael Wright says:

    Amen.

    1. Banditqueen says:

      Along with the biography by Julia Fox I recommend an excellent novel based on the latter years and her time during her illness in the care of the Russells, the Raven’s Widow..The Story of Jane Boleyn by Adrienne Dillard. It is very good and based on her footsteps. Very well researched and compassionate portrayal of Jane, Lady Rochford through her eyes. Available on Kindle and in paperback. Enjoy your reading.

      1. Michael Wright says:

        Thank you BQ. Along with Christine’s suggestions it’s added to the list.

  32. Banditqueen says:

    Yes, Kathryn had acted with foolish disregard and disrespect towards her husband, the King in meeting with another man in her rooms, late at night and today many question if she actually did sleep with Thomas Culpeper during her marriage, but the law at the time allowed for that interpretation and for the Government to presume treason based on their admission that they intended to go further. Kathryn Howard certainly wasn’t the whore or airhead or uneducated twit or child of popular myth, nor was she a Howard pawn: no evidence backs any of these assumptions. However, that doesn’t mean she wasn’t vulnerable or at a great disadvantage as Henry’s Queen. Anne Boleyn had every advantage a woman could imagine and have, intelligence, international contacts, family, education, the wider experience of travel and interests in theology and reforms and the passion of the King for many years, but she had no power to protect herself at the end when his wrath fell upon her head. Enemies at his Court were many and they pulled her down as soon as his protection wavered and she was vulnerable after the sad loss of her pre born son. Henry was far too distrustful afterwards to hear anything but the charges against her and Anne didn’t have any chance to refute them.

    It was undoubtedly the admission that Culpeper wanted to go further than the adultery he denied which condemned everyone and the blame game, putting the blame on the women, then onto Lady Rochford didn’t help matters. Nevertheless Henry was reluctant to believe the charges against his young wife, with whom he was absolutely besotted. The investigation took a long time and in the end she was condemned by an Act of Parliament, with Jane found guilty of being the one who conspired to help the Queen, to encourage her, concealing her indiscretions and finding the places for them to meet. Jane was actually more likely acting on Kathryn’s orders and with reluctance but once she had done it, had little option but to carry on. She should have known better, but Kathryn could be hard to say no to and was very much a young woman who needed to have her own way. Henry was shocked about everything and it was difficult for him to know what to do, but in the end he was too angry to be moved to spare her.

    Kathryn had lit up the Court of King Henry Viii with her grace and her charm and bright personality, her wit and laughter and her joy in dancing and entertainment, her love of beautiful clothes, parties and her presence was such that it really left an impression with everyone. She was the life of the Court, the heart that brought it to life. She had made Henry feel better in himself and feel younger, she had even moved his heart to mercy on a number of occasions. Henry thought she was perfect. Kathryn had her moments, she could be difficult to live with from time to time, she fell out with Princess Mary, sometimes acting on impulse not thinking and she became over anxious when Henry fell ill as nobody told her very much. Kathryn had the charm to act as a grand lady and reports say she was as a Queen when she was in public. It was during a period that Henry was away from her bed for a long time that Kathryn had her first private meetings with Culpeper. These were in April 1541 and were quite innocent, exchanging gifts and teasing him, but she yearned for more. During the progress up to the North of England Kathryn was praised for her charm and beauty and Henry himself praised her. However, in the less formal settings of various castles and stately homes, Kathryn was able to find time to arrange the meetings which would condemn her. She was also unfortunate to be reunited with Francis Dereham whose boasting almost cost them their lives earlier that year. He was bold and brash and rude. He boasted he knew all about Kathryn and hit a courtier for defending the Queen. Kathryn was offended by his crude language and was probably regretting letting him stay around. The King knew nothing of all this and on the return to London had prayers said to give thanks for Kathryn. 24 hours later his world fell apart.

    Although there is no direct evidence that Kathryn had a sexual relationship with Thomas Culpeper, it was assumed that she had because he was in her rooms, or that of Jane Rochford nearly every night during the progress. What were people supposed to think? The Council didn’t believe her protests and Henry was presented with a case that the couple had intended to commit adultery, that they had discussed marriage and that adultery had most likely taken place. Henry was devastated. I am not so certain that he could have pardoned Kathryn. He could have sentenced her to imprisonment and divorced her, maybe but pardon wasn’t an option. However, Henry was not that sort of man any more, and its impossible to say how he would react ten years earlier. If Kathryn was a Princess of the blood, she would have lived, but she was originally a subject. She was a gentle woman, rather than a noble because she was the child of a younger son without a title. She had noble blood, but she wasn’t royal. She wasn’t Katherine of Aragon, for example with the blood of Europe in her veins, a titled Princess with a powerful Emperor for a nephew. Henry had the power of the Supremacy and was totally intolerant of opposition, of his manhood and reputation being challenged and that was bad for young Kathryn Howard. Henry’s anger clicked into gear and he made an example of his young Queen and her chief accomplice. In his own madness and anger Henry made a law allowing the mentally ill Jane to be executed, a law repealed by Mary I. The terrified Queen had to be carried onto the barge to take her to the Tower, morbidly asked for the block to be brought to her the night before her execution and practised her position and in the end found the dignity and strength to make a good end.

    A vibrant and wild life, full of joy and hope and excitement had ended on the scaffold in scandal and tragedy and in this she has our compassion. Jane was an older woman who should have known better, but who has been unfairly slandered by fiction and history alike. She too deserves our compassion and a retelling of her life.

  33. Christine says:

    Today people would think the same of Catherine Howard and Culpeper, that something obviously had gone on because they were left alone too long for innocence, I am sure Jane Rochford under interrogation claimed that she heard a lot of gasping and sighing that logically, can only be interpreted as love making, once she fell asleep whilst waiting outside on her chair, the queen was closeted with her beau for hours and one of her other ladies could not believe it on one occasion, when in the early hours of the morning Catherine had still not retired to bed, one can see the winks and nudges they knew the queen was involved in a dangerous love affair, it is true the title of Head of the Church gave Henry V111 more power he was in a sense like God, answerable to no one which was how he saw himself, had his first queen or his fourth both foreigners been cavorting about at night however he would not have come down so hard on them, yes English women were his subjects without powerful allies abroad to assist them, it was so easy to get rid of Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, not so easy as Bq mentions with a Spanish princess or a German noblewoman, the circumstances of their birth protected them, but they were both treated very shabbily, Anne of Cleves won Henry’s respect and friendship however as she meekly agreed to his demands for divorce and she gave him no trouble, it was so much more difficult with Katherine as she still genuinely loved him and this in a sense was her undoing, her heart was involved and she could not let him go, Henry V111 rejected the worthiest queen of them all, the one who truly loved him, in middle age he gave his heart and hand to a teenage girl whose frailty for her own pleasures overrode her judgement, and rendered her unworthy of the status of queenship, it does seem a strange law, the intention to do treason, Catherine and Culpeper were condemned on that presumption as there was no actual proof of adultery, in Lady Rochford’s case misprision of treason, today we call it a different name, accessory before and after the facts, but of course that is without actual treason being committed, it just means if you knew a crime was being committed and you did nothing, that makes you just as guilty, Catherine I believe was very enamoured of Culpeper other people noticed the looks between them, long lingering looks which they could not disguise, it was obvious something was going on, alone in a secret room for several hours they were not going to just sit and talk, the Queen was playing an incredibly risky game but she was in love and thought it was so easy to meet up and not be discovered, the first meeting went smoothly enough, and that is the problem, because you get away with it once so you do it again and again and so forth, the more time the Queen spent with Culpeper the more she found it difficult to stay away, hence the saying, ‘ give a person enough rope and they will hang them selves ‘, Jane Rochford expressed loyalty to her mistress yet when push came to shove she threw her to the wolves, she declared it was all Catherine’s doing, meanwhile Catherine blamed Jane saying she encouraged her to meet up with her husbands groom of the stool, and yet it did not matter to the king or Cranmer and his men whose idea it was, Catherine was his wife she was his queen, and no lady in waiting could order her about, it was her choice to trip about at night in the dark, lady Rochford in tow with a candle, both women were badly frightened and Catherine became hysterical as the enormity of her situation sunk in, she realised then how foolish she had been, but what was made far worse was the uncovering of her past and her rather immoral behaviour which made her current behaviour look more suspect, had Catherine spent her early years at a convent with a spotless reputation, her meetings with Culpeper would not look as sinister, but in truth when the king and Cranmer discovered what had gone on at her grandmother’s house it did not look innocent at all, and Catherine had done another foolish thing, she had written Culpeper a note in which she expressed her sorrow at being apart from him, he had possibly out of vanity kept it and when his rooms were searched it was then found, and a more damning piece of evidence there wasn’t, their fates were sealed, but Culpeper was lucky the king commuted his sentence to a mere beheading, instead of the ghastly end meted out to those who committed treason, her ex lover however Francis Dereham who seems like a dissolute character like Culpeper was not that lucky, he suffered the dreadful death of hanging drawing and quartering, simply because he had ‘spoiled’ Catherine for the king, this petty act of revenge is the same he gave to Jane Rochford, so she was mentally unbalanced and therefore would escape execution, that would not satisfy Henry who felt because he was suffering everyone else should, Jane was thus doomed a bill was passed making it legal to kill mad people, and as Bq attests this was revoked by Mary 1st and quite rightly to, it seems a deplorable thing to do to send people to their deaths who were not in their right mind, but Henry must have thought, as Jane was sane enough when she aided the queen in her betrayal of him, so she should not escape justice, he showed no pity to these two women, and once again the world looked on aghast as Henry V111 sent another queen to her bloody end.

    1. Banditqueen says:

      Yes, there were a few occasions that Jane was definitely acting as a chaperone to protect Katherine, but really in the middle of the night, how do you stay awake all night to be certain? In one instance Kathryn left Jane outside and went into the loo or private closed stool closet with Culpeper. Why on earth go in there just to talk and yes, for the curious, out there, people do have quickies in the loo! The royal stool closet would contain a velvet padded seat over an enclosed box containing a chamber pot for her doings, but would be a reasonable size and probably decorated. It may have contained a seat perhaps, we don’t know how or why it was attractive in this case, but it was private and as Jane wasn’t her female groom of the stool, she definitely wasn’t using the loo. In fact Kathryn seems to have been excited to find unusual places for her activities. Jane did say she had heard on one occasion noises which very much sounded sexual, although she didn’t witness anything. Jane wasn’t the only one either. Others saw and heard things which were suspicious. However, for their testimony they were pardoned, because they were not the main conspirators. Jane was the most important lady in Queen Kathryn Howard’s household, she was in charge and everyone else subject to her rule and control. She was responsible for order and the running of the household. Jane was the boss if you wish. She could have stopped this nonsense if she wished but didn’t. Julia Fox is correct in that once Jane had become involved and committed misprison, she might as well carry on. However, Jane could still have said no after the first time, but then there is Kathryn. She was to be obeyed and at times was like a spoilt child, stamping their feet when they don’t get their own way, hard to say no to. Kathryn seems like someone with a strong and forceful personality. She wasn’t to be denied. I also believe Jane tried to protect Kathryn as much as possible by being close by and ensuring her safety and reputation. After all she could hardly go sneaking around a strange castle in Yorkshire or the Midlands in the middle of the night by herself in the dark. Jane tried to find a place close by so as they didn’t get caught, they could be safe and discreet and she could watch out. Jane would normally bring Thomas to them as he had no automatic access to her household, he was an attendant of King Henry, not Queen Kathryn. He should only be there on the King’s orders. Even in the public parts of her presence chamber during proper hours male visitors had to have genuine reasons to be there, on business or invited to entertainment, they couldn’t just wander in and out as they pleased. The Queen should have been in bed, not up talking with men and that was her main problem. Jane once she became involved had very little choice in the matter, other than to report the Queen and that would also have led to Kathryn being investigated and executed.

      On Henry being Supreme Head of the Church, something Kathryn is meant to have said, although I don’t know the source or if it’s genuine, but she was reported as telling Thomas to say nothing about their affair in confession or the King as Head of the Church would hear about it. Was she saying the priest would break his oath under the seal of confession and tell Henry or did she believe Henry was semi divine and knew everything? She wouldn’t be the first wife to believe the King was a demi god or to worship him. His age and experience as well as his magnificence and power would certainly have given her that impression. She did look up to Henry who had been good to her and said as much and thanked him for his goodness when the story of her past first broke. Henry had been very patient during this investigation, it took a long time and he was genuinely shocked and upset when the “truth” emerged. Yet, that didn’t prevent her from seeking inappropriate company when he was ill and later on progress. Perhaps she thought she could have it all and she certainly could not have believed she would get caught. After all, they were ever so careful, weren’t they?

      1. Christine says:

        With the young the risk they take of conducting an illicit affair adds to the appeal, the danger the risks adds to the excitement and I feel both Catherine and Culpeper felt this, with Catherine she appears to have been more enamoured and Culpeper enjoyed the affair more because his lover was the Queen of England, one would think he would feel ashamed at his betrayal to the king who favoured him and who was very fond of him, but when it comes to sex it is really the be all and end all, to men potency is all important their prowess as a lover and to the majority of them, most women are fair game, Culpeper was possibly the lad who had brutally raped a gamekeepers wife previously and after the complaint had been made, the king had pardoned him, he appears arrogant and aware of his status as kings favourite and thought he could do as he wished and not be held accountable, but the rape of a poor gamekeepers wife is not like the seduction of the Queen of England, they were both distantly related as Catherine’s mother was a Culpeper by birth, I too have heard the story that the queen begged her beau not to disclose her name in the confession box, this proves she was very worried of the fear of discovery, she knew she was not acting as her status demanded, the affair possibly made her think with nostalgia of the halcyon days of her girlhood, her rompings in the dormitory with wine and sweetmeats, but those days were different, she was but a girl then, such behaviour would have just warranted a beating and a severe telling of, even though her family would have been aghast that she had lost her virginity, now she was queen and her conduct had to be above reproach, the ghost of the kings second wife should have warned her, I feel in the beginning she thought because the king so adored and loved her devotedly, that he would pardon her and possibly forgive her and she could continue as queen, or if the worse came to it, she would be divorced and have to suffer the shame and disgrace of her fallen reputation, other queens as we know had done far worse and still not suffered death, but Henry V111 was a totally different monarch altogether and he was not averse to shedding women’s blood, Catherine’s torment must still reverberate around the gilded walls of Hampton Court where she was confined to her rooms, when the first investigation took place, and her hysteria in the old palace of Syon and finally in the Tower where she was to end her days, I have always felt that little Catherine Howard was the most tragic of all Henry V111’s wives because her behaviour was partly due to a naive innocence, and because she was in love with a man who so obviously was not worthy of it.

  34. Michael Wright says:

    The episode of the Talking Tudors podcast that was just posted is an interview with Dr. Lisa Urkevich about Anne Boleyn’s songbook MS1070 in the Royal College of Music. A couple of those pieces are played on the program.

    1. Christine says:

      Thank you Michael that is certainly interesting news.

      1. Michael Wright says:

        You’re welcome. Some very interesting information.

  35. Christine says:

    I have always been very intrigued by the song ‘O death rock me asleep’ that she is said to have composed in the last days of her life, but some think it was written later after she died, there is no actual evidence that she did write it but her brother composed a sad sonnet whilst he too was awaiting his fate, George was a gifted poet and he turned his tragedy to music just as his sister is said to have done.

    1. Banditqueen says:

      I love this haunting poem and have just been listening to it set to music as it was either late in the sixteenth century or the seventeenth century. It certainly could not be contemporary with the execution of Anne Boleyn because the music is far too complex and is in five parts. I was remembering the documentary on the Tower of London with Martin Pope a musician who went to find out the truth behind the “Victorian” poem in manuscript form and met with Professor Eric Ives. I had a look at it again on the Olivia Longuville website and Ives believed the poem unfortunately wasn’t written by Anne Boleyn because she was too closely watched and there is no mention of such a poem in the letters of Constable William Kingston . However, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, every archaeologist knows that. The maxim is it cannot be proved one way or another but we cannot go on romantic speculation alone and it is possible we may know some day.

      The site and video explained that Martin had traced the poem to a later sixteenth century manuscript with a collection of poems in it but didn’t seem to trace it back earlier. As Ives points out the poem was possibly written by someone in memory of Anne and projected on to Anne in her last hours. It certainly captures the agony of Anne’s final night as she prayed and prepared for death. The lyrics and music are hauntingly beautiful and potentially sixteenth century, definitely seventeenth. The possibility of someone close to Anne writing it and hiding it is not impossible but Anne had four spies who certainly would have reported her composition of such a risky poem. It isn’t without possibility that she wrote it and placed it in her prayer book which was given to one of them on the scaffold. However, my favourite for this would be Thomas Wyatt. Yes, we have most of his known works, but do we have them all? One could have been hidden, discovered in the reign of Elizabeth I and this beautiful lament composed. We forget as well, there was a condemned lute player in the Tower, about to die. How do we know these are not the last lyrics written by Mark Smeaton and lost somehow? Christine makes a good point about George Boleyn. Although he died two days prior to his sister, it doesn’t mean he couldn’t have dedicated this to her and left it behind with a trusted servant. I am wildly speculating, but that’s all we can do about this lovely and morbid poem. We have no real link to anything connected to Anne, it is a sixteenth century death knell is all we know, a delightful and haunting example of a later lament.

      Various sites have speculated that although writing such a work and performing it during the reign of Henry Viii would be totally crazy, his lute player Wilder from Holland may have composed it or it was composed during the reign of Anne’s daughter, Queen Elizabeth I. I like to believe it was written in the memory of Anne by someone who knew her and passed down to later be set to music. Unfortunately, I don’t believe it was possible for Anne herself to write it, I believe Ives is right on this point, but certainly it reflected how she felt during her last frightening hours preparing for her forthcoming doom.

      1. Christine says:

        I think I saw that documentary yes George could have dedicated it to his sister, or maybe someone else, the tune and words are very poignant and haunting, I feel also that Anne being in the heightened state of anxiety she must have been throughout her imprisonment, would not have been able to write and compose lucidly enough, I think she must have spent most of her time in prayer, the letter she is said to have written to the king also has a few things wrong with it, such as her signature at the end when she signs herself as merely Anne Bullen and not Anne the Queen, she was watched every minute as Ives states and how would it have been possible to obtain paper and a quill from Kingston, every request she made had to be via him to Cromwell, and Henry V111 would not receive any messages from her anyway, therefore Anne would not be allowed to send him any, I believe this letter sadly was merely the work of a forger, maybe someone who was close to the queen and who wished to tell her side of the story, a way to rehabilitate her reputation or could have been just one of those sad individuals, those who like to create havoc by writing fantasy like that man who sent recorded tapes to the police claiming that he was the Yorkshire ripper, maybe Wyatt who had once loved Anne and who wrote that beautiful sonnet on the bloody days of the executions on Anne and the courtiers, could well have written it and then another composed the music to it, but it does remain a beautiful haunting piece of work, to me it does sound more 17th c however than 16th.

        1. Banditqueen says:

          Yes, these sonnets are often dedicated to people, the authorship often obscure. We know Thomas Wyatt wrote his dedication to the men who died with Anne Boleyn and a number of others, which experts believe are about Anne, although this isn’t specific. Also nobody has any idea who the Dark Lady of the famous Shakespeare Sonnet is. In one article, by Claire, I think, it stated that Shakespeare quoted from the lament “Oh Death” twice, although I don’t know where. Anne had many admirers, surely one would have preserved her memory and last hours in verse and later music. Anne is more likely to have spent her last hours in prayer, she was prepared to die and dressed for the occasion, twice. Anne was due to die on 18th May but the French swordsman was delayed, then at noon, but that was putting it off, she was finally to die at 8 a.m on May 19th 1536 and almost faltered because she feared she would not be able to compose herself again. She had to spend another night, waiting, making her final confession and dress again. We have no idea how Anne spent her last day, save for a few details, we do know she spent some of it in prayer. It has been imagined, the Tudors actually did it very well as Anne recalled her far off youth in the Netherlands, as she prayed and was ready for her last triumph the next day. Anne’s marriage may have been annulled, but you can imagine that Anne dressed and held herself as a Queen on that last morning of her life. She wore a crimson and grey and scarlet dress and a crimson cloak with fur and she wore an English, not a French hood to frame her immaculately prepared her. I will not repeat her speech, we all know what Anne said, but she died with dignity and according to one record, boldly. Thanks to the skill of the executioner, Anne felt nothing and died quickly. I am of the opinion that she was taken by angels to Heaven.

          Anne would have been allowed paper had she wished to write a letter. Cromwell wasn’t the person to make such a decision, the King was. He may be in charge of the investigation and everything was going via him from Kingston but he didn’t have the authority to refuse Anne the right to pen and paper. Several important prisoners had access to pen and paper or to a scribe to write final letters, lists of their debts and so on. Francis Weston wrote to his mother and father and wrote a list of debts on his last night. Anne in fact wrote a list of her debts, one was money owed for hats and bonnets and dresses for Elizabeth brought at the end of April. It was standard practice to do this. Thomas More, whose books were removed at one point was allowed pen and paper to write to his daughter, Meg, a friend and the King. The only problem was whether or not anything was passed to the or if Henry refused her letter. Anne could have written a poem, but not without anyone knowing and Ives pointed out that Kingston didn’t mention it. Anne may not have been able to give this to anyone and she was watched, everyone knew what she said and did but she may still have penned it in secret. The point is nothing was found and recorded and it’s unlikely that Anne had the presence of mind to write such a poem. We don’t even know if she scribbled on the walls as so many others did, because the old royal apartments where she was kept were destroyed years ago. A falcon on the wall of another cell was believed to have been drawn by her brother. A poet George may have been, an artist he wasn’t. There are many drawings, inscriptions and carvings in the Beauchamp and Wakefield and other Towers, one in particular to the Dudley brothers. No poem was ever recorded but it may have existed, although Anne was busy praying that last night, so that makes it impossible for me. Anyone writing at the time would be in danger, the last thing Henry needed was someone reminding him of the suffering of a woman he chose to forget, it was seditious. That is another reason it was more likely written some time later and set to music to commemorate a Queen who was innocent and worthy of honour.

          I do believe Anne dictated the letter to Henry in the first week in May. Although it’s a very strange letter, it’s one which reminds Henry of his former kindness to Anne and his raising her to be Queen. The title was probably added later, but it’s certainly a letter from a wife to her husband and King. The circumstances make some of the things in the letter odd, Anne’s state of mind also make it very odd. I really don’t see any reason why it should be accepted as a forgery. The syntax in the language is similar to phases Anne has used in previous letters. I understand why some historians believe it’s a forgery and respect anyone else who does but it rings true for myself. Cromwell put it into his private papers, where it was found in the eighteenth century. Cromwell had his papers confiscated before his death, but they were kept together. However, it appears that someone removed a number of incriminating items before the King’s men got to his house. We don’t know if Henry saw this letter or his reaction, perhaps he didn’t care. However, as Cromwell was the person whom it would come to first, it maybe he kept it hidden because it was genuine. Cromwell could not know or take a chance on Anne being able to move Henry to pity. I don’t believe the King knew it existed.

  36. Banditqueen says:

    This is why a recent reappraisal of the circumstances around the Frances Howard and Robert Carr case by a historian and barrister David Lindley called The Trials of Frances Howard: Fact and Fiction at the Court of Saint James is more than welcome. He re examined the trials themselves, the causes of the death of Thomas Overbury and the way women were viewed at the time and their reputations. I recently acquired this gem and looking at the evidence and background from a legal and contextual point of view, without necessarily reaching a new conclusion the reputation of Frances Howard is also challenged in an excellent piece of modern scholarship.

    In the case of Frances and her second husband, however, their privileged status as favourites of King James I and especially her noble family name, saved them from the noose while five others were executed. Sir Gervase Ewles the Lieutenant of the Tower, his servants Anne Turner and Richard Weston, although the latter was threatened with pressing because he refused a trial and gave in, were executed, having been employed at the invitation of Frances Howard. Weston administered the poison and Turner provided it. She in turn had brought it from James Franklin who confessed and implicated everyone else but was still executed. Sir Thomas Moson who recommended Ewles as the Lieutenant of the Tower after Waad retired was lucky. King James was fed up with the round of death and was worried about where this was leading to. He stopped the rest of the investigation and closed down the trials. The Lord Chief Justice, the prosecutor, Sir Edward Coke, a man who put the common law of Magna Carta before all others, fell out with James twice but was involved in some of the most important legal cases of his time. He pursued Thomas Mosen because of his Catholic Faith and imprisoned him anyway. He was released one year later.

    Society made it impossible for women to be treated fairly before the law and several female killers came about because of the conditions society placed upon them, mostly poorer women, making them social outcasts. Amy Dyer and Mary Anne Cotton are but two of a whole host of notorious baby killers from the nineteenth century. The 1834 Poor Law meant any single woman with an illegitimate child or any single mother at all could no longer be supported by the Parish, so it was the workhouse, prostitution, or the factory and farm out the baby. Baby farming was illegal but a hidden wide spread institution, in which women offered to take in children and babies for a weekly fee or to “,adopt” them for a one off fee. It was lucrative and meant respectable, struggling mothers could return to the factory floor. Nobody would employ a single mother, even with legitimate children. They couldn’t even go into service. Baby farming took on as many children as possible, paid the mother so as she didn’t come back and then the babies were killed through neglect, starvation or disease or simply smothered or drowning. They would be passed off to others and the trail go dead. Babies were fed opium to keep them asleep. However, the NSPCC began to ask questions and make inspections of these unlicensed cares. Mothers who returned for their babies asked questions and the more respectable the mother, the more likely an investigation would follow. Mrs Scott, not her real name, was a widow, who had given her child up for temporary adoption and was called to identify the body some weeks later. Her insistence that her daughter was perfectly healthy six weeks earlier and that she had asked for her baby back only to be given several excuses led to the prosecution and hanging of Dyer. The numbers of children killed through this terrible system is unknown. The laws were changed to give more protection to mothers and to force carers to be registered and regularly inspected. However, if the Poor Law had not so stained the reputation of young mothers, unwed or widows, this horrific tragedy of institutional murder would never have happened. The women who killed these babies were often poor and destitute themselves and abandoned by husbands or societies, and this to them was nothing more than a source of income. Harsh a reality as that was, again our society which cast women onto the scrap heap with such disregard and lack of responsibility, historically needs to be also held to account for so many infant deaths.

  37. Christine says:

    People were very angry at the time that Anne Turner had hung and the main figures in the tragedy got of scot free, because of their favouritism with the king and their high rank, Anne was noted for her yellow ruffs a fashion she started amongst the ladies at court, but after her death the fashion died with her never to be worn again, it was considered unlucky and evil, I cannot understand Frances Howard trying to kill her husbands best friend and I think she was just incredibly childish and had been spoilt and used to getting her own way all the time, the tragedy ruined her marriage and although she and Robert were sentenced to death, the king could not bear to think of his one time handsome favourite hanging from the gallows, so they were both pardoned, but banished from court, her daughter was born in the Tower Anne Carr, and she went onto marry and by all accounts led a virtuous life, unlike her erring mother, Frances is a fascinating woman her beauty well lauded and her charming portrait certainly proves that it was with foundation, Robert Carr was also said to be one of the most handsomest men at court, in his portrait his colouring appears auburn and he has a little curling moustache, their daughter was blonde like a platinum haired angel, Frances because of her evil acts undoubtedly ruined both her and her husbands lives and yet did she ever feel remorse for the suffering she had inflicted on poor Thomas Overbury possibly not, death by poison is incredibly painful and really by her own standards of her day and by ours to, she got off incredibly easy, however she was well aware that one day she would face a much higher court and this could not have afforded her much comfort in the years she had left to her.

    1. Banditqueen says:

      Frances is a real beauty and if I may say it so is her husband but you are quite right, they were incredibly spoilt. Robert Carr wasn’t even a peer born and bred, like many favourites, like Charles Brandon, for example, he was raised to a title and that made him privileged, as she had been. The case is a very odd one because Thomas Overbury was put in the Tower for refusing a commission from the King. It is also believed that he knew about an alleged affair between Lady Frances and Henry, Prince of Wales, the eldest son of James I, who died of TB when he was seventeen. Frances was later also rumoured to have poisoned Prince Henry, although there is nothing to substantiate this claim and the book looks at that aspect of the many claims against Frances and Carr.

      As to a reason for their actions, when everyone is sleeping with everybody else, stuff gets very complicated and the little green monsters come out and this sort of thing is the end result. Anne Turner was a bringer of fashion and you can see the anger against the Somerset two in the pamphlets which were published at the time and the sympathy she received at her execution. Typically of course, as with most famous female killers or alleged killers, because there is the possibility that Overbury died of natural causes and the Government pressure pulled confessions from people, Frances has been unduly vilified. As Dr Linden points out women are painted as monstrous and witches and sexually out of control, yet their partner in crime is hardly mentioned, and yet in a lot of cases, it was the man who had the control and power in the murder. Why are there only books called Infamous Women and not Infamous Men? Women as care givers and the givers of life are meant according to the misogynistic theory be incapable of such deep emotions and violence. Men are naturally predictors and therefore a woman is going against nature if she kills. Male animals will often attempt to kill their own young, but news flash its actually the female who hunts in most species. A mother will fight like hell if her children or in the case of animals, her young are threatened or harmed. Women are just as capable as men as being killers, its just that we are more rational and control our irrational behavioural problems, such as aggression. Women don’t tend to have the time to go out fighting and men were trained to fight in history. Having said that girls in particular can be very aggressive and cruel in gangs, especially against each other and reading some of the stories of female killers they sound just as cold and calculating as men. The Celts fought in battle, men and women, and according to the Romans, the women were more terrifying than the men. A book on Terrorism years ago was called Shoot the Women First because in the experience of the author, a former anti terror specialist and psychological expert pointed out that when confronted by a commando unit the women in the terrorist organisation will not hesitate to shoot but the men do. That’s very debatable and we are talking training, women are not normally expect gunners. His views have been challenged. However, all of these views show how stereotype and prejudices form our views and reasoning on why people kill over time and still exist. More logical reasoning at personal reasons for killing are probably more valuable than general old fashioned attitudes.

      1. Banditqueen says:

        Women with training, the same as men with training can shoot and handle firearms the same as men, as proven by the number of female armed officers and specialist police, women in the armed forces and female security guards and who hunt were its permitted today. Female gladiators and the female armies of Western Africa who guarded their Kings and could use 14 different weapons as specialist warriors, certainly put those myths to bed. It can also be argued that its just as unnatural for a man to kill or use violence as it is for a woman and that this was something boys were taught from childhood and because it was accepted, it was excused. Testosterone might make some men aggressive but it certainly doesn’t make most of them act with violence. It is another socially motivated and constructed excuse for a street fight, which isn’t caused by testosterone but an excess of booze and stupidity.

      2. Christine says:

        Boudicca was legendary I can just see her and her tough sinewy fighting women rising against the Roman army and slaughtering them all, what caused her behaviour was the rape of her daughters after her husband had died, she was also beaten to and cast out of her home, her husband was ruler of the ancient Iceni tribe of Britons and she really is our first national hero, she marched on Colchester then London laying waste to the Roman encampment and mercilessly butchered the women by slicing of their breasts then setting fire to the cities, London still has the effects of that fire deep within her subterranean layers, she showed no fear and it was said when the enemy first cast eyes on her in her chariot fear chilled them to the bone, Boudicca was said to be six foot tall with flaming red hair and she must indeed have looked terrifying with her tribal make up and spears, what a woman she was but if your beloved country is invaded and your daughters violated, her behaviour was understandable and it was a very cruel age, her ending when she killed herself is somehow fitting for this extraordinary woman, she knew the Romans could not be defeated and they would eventually kill her so she took her own life, her statue outside Westminster is very fitting and it’s something iv always loved, to me she represents Britain and the fight against the oppressed, however in modern times today I don’t feel that women should be in the army, I applaud them that are but really I think it undermines the army somewhat, I am not all for women staying at home with the babies it’s upto them what career they want, but those who do have families should think of them first, there is always the risk of injury or death and then the dads left bringing up the children, also I think that possibly women might be more prone to PTSD, we can injure more easily as our frame is not as big as a mans, and what happens when she finds herself pregnant ? Then she can apply for maternity leave and it creates one big issue amongst the army, a lot of her fellow soldiers (men) could get a bit disgruntled, by her very sex she has concessions, If the army were barred to women there would be none of that, in the Second World War there were some women who flew the spitfires, but they were not in action, you got the women in the medical core and of course women were working in Biggin Hill, so you can still play an active role but without the risk of being killed, really I think those women who do want to join the army are a bit odd I find the idea of running over muddy fields with loaded weapons very unappealing personally, but it’s upto them, I just think it’s not fair on the children if they have any, you are right about some women being more aggressive than men, the ones who fall out of nightclubs drunk and start having scraps in the street, it’s the drink that does it as you say and its usually always about a man, Iv seen men have fights in the street and some get so rough and start kicking the victims head in, there’s been cases where men have died because of that and really, it is such a vile thing to do, there was a case on the news about that stupid girl kicking off on the plane and she tried to open the door whilst in flight, yet again drink is the problem, I can one day see alcohol being barred at airports and on the planes, thankfully the incidents are quite rare but their stupid behaviour ruins it for everyone else, regarding that book you mention about terrorism, I cannot see women being able to shoot a man easier than a man, hesitation being the issue, I think that’s as you say highly debatable, oh well I’m going to put my tea on so will return later.

        1. Michael Wright says:

          Colchester also still has scars. I watched a program a few years ago where some archeological work was being done in the basement of one of the public buildings and they had cut a small square out of the bottom of a foundation wall and exposed blackened earth, ash and other burnt debris from Boudica’s visit. They covered the opening with clear plexiglass so it remains visible. I’ve read a couple of things re Boudica’s demise: I’ve read that she committed suicide and also that what happened to her is unknown.
          As to women in the military I don’t think they should be ground troops but as far as pilots I have no problem. Some of our finest fighter pilots are women. Woman fly many of the support aircraft.

      3. Michael Wright says:

        During WWII there was a fighter group called The Black Widow Squadron made up of Russian female pilots. The German fighter pilots were terrified of them because of how good they were.

        1. Christine says:

          I havnt heard of them Michael so that’s interesting, apart from women in the military there have been a few female spies to, one English lady beautiful and brave, was tortured by the Germans they pulled her nails out and yet she refused to divulge information, a latter day Anne Askew! She survived and I believe is still alive today, there were also in France the French resistance with plenty of women in, they also were brave and it must have been really awful when the Germans invaded and their lives were changed for five bleak years, about Boudicca her grave was lost for centuries but now it is believed she lies under the site of Kings Cross station, really fascinating to me as I like to think she is close to home, I think the Iceni tribe ruled the area in East Anglia, in the seventies Sian Philips played her in a BBC drama which was very good, be fascinating if her grave was unearthed but that would mean an area of the station being out of work for some time, if any archeological finds are discovered which usually happens when workmen are doing work around the city, the whole area is cordoned off for weeks and the work is delayed as the archeological society swoops down, little Anne Mowbray’s grave was discovered during building work in the mid sixties, originally buried in the Abbey, her grave was then lost for four hundred years then her little coffin was found, it was an exciting find and her living relative the Duke of Norfolk expressed his anger at the way she was subjected to intense media curiosity, but it does happen, she was the child bride of Richard Duke of York one of the princes in the Tower, like her husband she was fated to die young, it is not known what she died of but she could have had an under lying medical condition.

        2. Christine says:

          Colchester did really suffer and she is England’s oldest city, older even than London, there is a story that says London was called Londonium by the Romans and over the centuries it was shortened to London, but some historians refute this as they say the name pre dates the Roman occupation, and that it is more Celtic in origin, in very ancient times the old city was called Trivantium, there was also a King Lud who ruled in the area and on his death he was buried in the area now called Ludgate Hill, I have Peter Ackyrods history of London and it is a fascinating informative police of work, for some time it was no 1 on the bestsellers list.

  38. Michael Wright says:

    Hi Christine. That is quite interesting if she is buried there. She is safe. I googled to find out exactly where the Iceni were based and it was Norfolk and Southwest Suffolk. I’ve seen photos of that wonderful statue of Boudica on the Chariot. Is that in London and if so where is it located?
    One of my favorite areas of history is the Roman era and the Romans in Britain is a bonus. I am very proud of Boudica and her people. They certainly made their presence known and were not going to be dismissed. In that final battle with the Romans the Iceni of course had no chance against a seasoned, trained, professional army but they did make the Romans fight for it. Her ‘rebellion’ obviously had some impact since 2000 yrs later we’re discussing it. I think she can be a hero not just for Britain but any subjugated peoples.

    1. Christine says:

      A good assessment Michael, Boudicca stands near parliament just opposite Big Ben, I to am interested in the Romans they certainly had a professional fighting force as they were one of the first early civilised societies, in the ancient world, yet I have always maintained the countries they subdued were easily vanquished, because their armies were too ill equipped to stand against the night of Rome, far easy to win victories when your not easily matched, the Romans were a very cruel race, and their empire was vast, it was also successful and lasted for a long time yet in the end it fell, like all empires one cannot rule the world forever, today it would be impossible, they have left their mark on many a country around the world and in Britain especially, old mosaic tiles with beautiful colours and illustrations beautiful frescos are still being discovered today, old pottery is still being u earthed and for the very fortunate, hoards of gold and silver coins, though these finds are quite a rarity now, when I was a girl I always dreamed of finding a Roman treasure chest filled to bursting with gold and silver coins or jewellery, sadly it is just a fantasy like the discovery of Captain Kidds treasure, metal detectors have sometimes found an ancient ring or a coin from the days of Elizabeth 1st, a farmer out with his tractor found such a ring but of course you have to inform the authorities, in the thirties a great treasure belonging to an Anglo Saxon king was found buried I believe in Suffolk? It was pure gold jewellery and armour and it really was the find of the century, it is on display in the local museum , the Museum of London is interesting to visit, there was the newly discovered tomb of a wealthy Roman woman on display, it showed a reconstruction of her face and nearby the jewellery she had been wearing, a necklace and matching earrings of black jet, her tomb was very elaborate and decorated with carvings. when she was discovered all work was brought to a standstill as I mentioned earlier, which of course is very frustrating for the company whose work was being carried out.

      1. Michael Wright says:

        Perfect place for her statue so that many people see it. Is her story taught in schools? You stated Christine that the Romans were a brutal race and conquered and enslaved many people but we have the pleasure of history teaching us that they fell at the hands of those considered by the Romans to be ‘barbarians’.
        Hi BQ. I’ve stated in earlier posts that I also believe the Anne’s tower letter is authentic. Not only is the syntax applicable to other correspondence by her but the language is correct for the time. It truly reads as a letter from wife to husband. I’ve also heard that Katherine of Aragon’s dying letter to Henry is a fake. I can’t answer to that and don’t really have a feeling one way or the other though it is a wonderful letter. So many centuries after the fact with no solid provenance I don’t know how it can ever be known and unfortunately with the tower letter it’s not the original copy dictated by her but my gut tellsebthe words ere hers.

        1. Christine says:

          Yes I am not sure exactly how the Roman Empire fell but but they did gradually leave Britain, it was said they were homesick for their own sunny land and could not really take to this islands damp inclement weather, they buried a lot of personal items, money jewellery household items intending later to return and claim them, but they never did, it could be that the fall of the empire was just down to the in practicalities of trying to rule vast areas of the globe, they seemed to crop up everywhere, they had to have bigger armies which meant more money, in Germany the locals rebelled against them and it was akin to a massacre, similar to Boudicca’s revolt I should imagine, i have visited Bath which is a lovely Georgian city in England, it has rows and rows of fine buildings and in the 18th c was very fashionable amongst high society, the old Roman baths are well worth a visit, used for centuries for those ladies and gentlemen who suffered from rheumatics, and those who just wished to enjoy the sublime surroundings, on Anne’s alleged Tower letter it certainly invites debate, there are many imminent historians who dismiss it as a clever forgery, I agree with you Michael, it is the kind of letter a wronged wife would write to her husband, it is a very passionate letter with pleas for justice and there is also reproach in it to as well as comments about her enemy which the reader can take for Cromwell, but would she have dared to write a letter like that, I believe Anne wanted to write to her husband it was perfectly understandable, she was escorted to the Tower after her husband had abruptly left the May Day celebrations, she had been dining at Greenwich and then been told members of the kings council requested her presence, she was then told of the charges against her and that it was the kings command that she be taken to the Tower, she was given some time to pack her belongings and from then she was a prisoner she never spoke to her husband nor saw him again, railing against her fate guarded and spied on by women she disliked, of course she would want to write to him, she knew her enemies had been planning this for months, the Seymour faction and their supporters she also knew the king wished her out of the way as she had failed to give him a prince, it’s understandable she would want a chance to write to him and explain these charges, dumbstruck at the unfairness of it all and horror struck at the seriousness of her situation she would wish to write to him, as she knew she was not allowed an audience, in the letter she writes of his conscience and how she does not want her sworn enemies to sit on her trial, she writes of the stain on their daughter Elizabeth and in fact, it is like she is rebuking the king more than trying to explain her innocence and slander of the charges against her, she upbraids him throughout yet in person she did that, would she have so dared however given the precarious position she was in now, she was not under house arrest like her tragic cousin years later, but in the gloomy and oppressive Tower of London where traitors resided, she had been taken there straight away as if she was already condemned, she knew she had to tread very very carefully, therefore I believe any letter she wrote him would have been more humble, but it is the title which is odd as well as her signature at the bottom, is is titled ‘From The Lady InThe Tower’ , which sounds to me more like the title of an 18th century work of fiction, as Alison Weir notes Cromwell would have signed it from The Queen, her correct title, then she ends the letter with from ‘my doleful prison in the Tower the 6th of May, Anne Bullen,’ in the few documents we have of her she signs herself ‘Anne The Quene,’ I am using the 16th century spelling here, why should she simply sign herself Anne Bullen? She was still Queen of England, Henry’s wife something which she had always striven for and been very proud of, and as yet there had been no trial no mention of her taking reduced status, at the moment she was residing in her own lavishly furnished apartments in the Tower where she had stayed during her coronation, of course she would sign herself as queen still, she maintained throughout her imprisonment she was the kings true wedded wife, also the writing does not resemble Anne’s but as Weir says she could have dictated it, it was found amongst Cromwells papers after his death, was it written by the doomed queen or is it merely a clever forgery, maybe one day more evidence will come to light, but there are many inconsistencies with it, I think it was just written by a supporter of Anne’s, someone who passionately believed in her innocence and wished the world to know of it, with the strange romantic style of heading it could as I mentioned, be written much later or as mentioned, it could just be written by a person who liked to create a sense of mystery but that is just my view, it certainly is a very interesting piece of work though.

        2. Christine says:

          Katherines dying letter to Henry V111 is also said to be a fake but I am not so sure about that, I think it is the kind of letter she would have wrote to the king, it is humble and devout just like her and of course, she was able to have access to paper and quill, she was not imprisoned like Anne Boleyn, she knew she was dying, she wished to write to him who she still loved dearly and she wanted him to know she still loved him and prayed for his immortal soul, a messenger would have been able to deliver it to the king, she had never accepted she was not the kings true wife, she had never accepted the loss of her title and would not answer to those who addressed her as merely the dowager Princess of Wales, only as Queen Katherine, this is evident in her last sentence where she signs herself in one last act of defiance, ‘ Katherine the Queen’, the ending of these first two queens of Henry V111 was very different but they both believed themselves to be martyrs, Katherine in her letter wrote of the many torments you have cast me in, and she had lamented throughout her long separation on the break with Rome and the purgatory she believed the king was facing, Anne according to one tale as she left for the scaffold, called a messenger to her and told him to carry these words to the king, ‘he had raised her well and now at the end he gives her innocency the crown of martyrdom’, the alleged speech was longer than that but I have shortened it, both these queens believed they were Henry V111’s true wife however, really we know he only had one true wife and that was Katherine, with Anne he had committed bigamy but both women defended their right to the title till death, and in fact Anne did die a Queen, even though the king had annulled their marriage she was still referred to as Queen Anne.

  39. Michael Wright says:

    In history books I’ve seen London referred to in three ways: Londinium, Londonum and London. As to Colchester I know Boudica laid waste to the city. Many people were locked in the main city Hall and burned to death. What she did was brutal but what was done to her and her daughters was inexcusable and unnecessary. I stand by her. Those were brutal times and the Roman occupiers were nothing if not brutal to the people whose home they invaded.

    1. Banditqueen says:

      She was a Celt. They didn’t do gentle. Boudicca was brutally raped by a large number of men, Roman soldiers as were her two daughters for asking about her inheritance. She went to make a petition as a widow of a client King who had cooperated with the Romans. The Iceni had accepted Roman rule, wealth and law. They benefited from the Romans. As a client King her husband had agreed to leave half of his lands to his wife and daughter and half to the Emperor. Boudicca was at first treated fine but then a disagreement meant she lost out. As the leader of her people she had to maintain her status so she went to make a petition, which she was entitled to do. As a recognised person of high rank and status she had in theory the protection of Roman Law and her inheritance should have been confirmed. Instead Nero was now Emperor, the new Governor a twit and a brutal man with no regard for the former agreements or local traditional rulers and people and he refused to grant Boudicca her request. He thought she was a stuck up woman and to teach her a lesson she and her two teenage daughters were raped and brutally abused by a number of his men. Boudicca went home and with other tribes raised an army and gave Rome what they deserved. Not everyone sided with the Icini. The majority accepted and welcomed Roman rule. It was lucrative. A number of our villas were not built by the Romans but Romanized Celts. The Romans were attacked at Saint Albans ( later name for the town), Colchester and London. The burn layers are still to be seen in London when it’s dug up. Her army were merciless. The citizens, Roman and Celt, men, women and children were executed every brutal way you can imagine. The Cities were burnt to the ground.

      Rome sent out a new commander and his skill drew her into open war. In an open battle the Romans v Celts had a better chance. He first attacked Anglesey, an island opposite modern day Llandudno, the headquarters and sacred place of the Druids, the Celtic priests. They and this place was wiped out. When he returned he drew Boudicca into a pitch battle. A great speech is put into the mouth of Livy, the Roman historian. Whether or not her descriptions are correct, the Romans feared and respected her. They didn’t put a speech in the mouth of many women. Zenobia was another female ruler and warrior who rebelled and whom they feared. Nobody knows how Boudicca died or where she was buried. Celtic warrior leadership, male and female, were honoured with grand burials, a huge chariot, a cauldron, jewellery from Afghanistan, India and Germany, has been found in their graves, rich tapestries, even sacrificed victims and horses, many items of value and across two continents. Boudicca, her golden tork around her neck and her daughters if recovered, would have been placed on show, then cleansed and their bodies prepared and laid on their chariot for battles with the gods. Her memory is her greatest legacy, the woman who took on the bullies of Rome and who may have sacrificed her life rather than be a trophy in Rome.

      The Celts had travelled with up to 400,000 people to the battlefield, probably an exaggeration, many of whom were not combatants. Less than 100,000 faced a terrified Roman army, probably half that v 20,000 Romans of professional soldiers and the rest at the end of the fields in carts and with the baggage was their families. Due to the fact that their scattered forces were being followed back towards them by the pursuing army, a great number of them were also killed. Some believed Boudicca killed herself, others she was ritually killed, others she was killed in battle. Nobody knows. However, she is a British hero and a symbol of those who fight against tyranny. Her monument on the Embankment in London is symbolic of all that she suffered and all that she achieved, her courage and her dignity and her tragic but triumphant end.

      1. Michael Wright says:

        I agree she is a hero and in the context of the times and circumstances in which she lived I support her actions. I am very happy that Britain remembers her.

        1. Michael Wright says:

          I’ve never run across the name Zenobia. Can you give a short bio of her?

        2. Banditqueen says:

          Just the brief version as my right hand is very painful. Zenobia ruled the Roman province of Palmyra in Syria during the 250s and 60s. Like Boudicca she was married to a client King who was also the Roman Governor and she became Regent for her son after his death. She also led her armies to defeat incursions into the Empire by the Persians and received high honour from Rome. However, Zenobia decided to expand her part of the Empire, adding significant territory in modern Turkey and along the Euphrates. In 260 the new Emperor, Auerian, one of the good Emperors, had rightly had enough. Zenobia in response to his military aggression and movement conquered Egypt, cutting off the bread basket of Rome. She won several victories before Auerian was able to pin her down and put her city of Palmyra under siege. By 264 she was forced to surrender and was to be taken back to Rome with her son in triumph, displayed in a chariot, then probably ritually killed.

          Several sources talk about her and three possible ends to her life. In Arabic sources she wasn’t so heroic but in the Roman ones she is actually praised, even though she caused significant problems. Unlike Boudicca she was recognised as a significant ruler and achieved independence for at least two years. As an African Queen she is shown in highly decorative styles and was very much admired. She is also displayed in statue as a Roman Queen. Lady Antonio Frazer included her in her book on female warriors and female rulers. Zenobia is recorded in one biographical source, which although later, is believed to be from earlier authorities and here she speaks with her own voice.

          Zenobia either killed herself with poison but agreed to her son returning to Rome and in fact he actually ruled the province as an ally of Rome with some success, was taken to Rome in a triumph and killed by poison or became the lover of a Roman general or even the lover of Aelurian the Emperor who saw her beauty and pride and fell for her. One of the famous tower tombs from the times in Syria and right across Roman Libya and North Africa belonged to her son and has inscriptions to her. It is a tradition that Zenobia was buried in one with full honours and a vast treasury. The treasure is highly unlikely, but her palaces show a wealth to actually make Rome blush. It was a wealthy province that Rome had a light hand on while they cooperated, sending trade and bread and wine and oils back to the hungry millions, but her rebellion not only cut all that off, causing hunger and poverty, her expansion opened up new trade routes which Rome was excluded from controlling. It certainly made them weary of their Eastern provincial rulers in the future. Ironically it was the Eastern Empire when it was formed which would flourish, while the West went into decline and broke up into several successful kingdoms.

  40. Christine says:

    It’s the thought of them putting the poor prisoners in the arena as food for the lions that makes me shudder!

  41. Banditqueen says:

    I recently heard the same thing about the letter by Katherine of Aragon and I am going to be brutally honest here, not aiming it at anyone here, but to the minority self styled so called experts who have done this, without any evidence to support it, hog wash. The majority of historians have accepted it for 500 years, it may not be her hand, but she was too ill and dictated it. It sounds like the way Katherine felt about Henry at the end of her life. So the poor woman was love struck over an emotionally abusive husband! How many women have been exactly the same over men they adore for some reason because they depend upon them? Katherine saw Henry as her true husband, she never wavered in that.

    Who faked it? When? Prove it? Nobody ever has. Again, hog wash, of course Katherine wrote it! Sorry but there isn’t any evidence that she didn’t.

    Not saying what Christine says is wrong, her arguments are all sound, there are anomalies, but I suspect Anne was taking Henry back to the man he was before their marriage, the man who raised her to the station of Queen. I am sure she had her reasons, actually a lot of things Anne said and did make little or no sense. We might have to wait and ask her in the afterlife and it’s not a question very easily answered. Maybe because Anne did not believe herself still to be Queen. Her mind wasn’t exactly in the present at this time. There are elements which are very clever and it’s certainly a letter that is decisive and historians have apparently been divided over for 250 years. There are a lot of questions and one is why sign herself Anne Bullen not Anne the Quene or Anne R? The intimate nature, a wife to a husband, rather than a Queen to a King? A humble subject, sending a letter of submission and petition? There are a number of questions but I still believe it’s genuine, but it’s something the jury is out on.

    A recent expert on the Henry/Anne letters and especially her final letter has written an e book on the letter and believes they are genuine and in the integrity of the Lady in the Tower letter. Sandra Vasoli has studied the letter in detail and researched the provenance and scholarship on both sides of the argument. Unfortunately, because of the strange anomalies which Christine points out this letter has been dismissed, but for me the jury is still out. 250 years is a long debate.

    The strangest thing for me is why it was hidden in the Cromwell papers, or was it merely gathered there with his archive?
    Did Cromwell fear that Henry was vulnerable to Anne’s influence still? He was concerned enough to set her up in the first place or was only too ready to go after her because he feared her influence?
    If Henry saw his wife’s letter would he be moved to pity? It’s highly unlikely given his behaviour, but it was not a chance Cromwell could take. Did he actually destroy the original letter, having copied it and change parts of it, making a forgery? I do not really see that.
    Did someone see the original but make the letter we now have as well, hiding the original which was destroyed in the fire in the eighteenth century?
    I can think of a dozen conspiracy theories but none of them are really viable. The truth is we don’t know and I simply believe Henry didn’t see the letter and Cromwell kept it in his private papers because he didn’t believe the King needed to see it. Henry was taking himself out of the equation and took as little part in proceedings as possible. His wife was the person furthest from his mind. Cromwell was told to handle it and handle it he did.

    1. Michael Wright says:

      I really want Katherine’s letter to be authentic. I agree, it certainly sounds like her. I didn’t know that non acceptance of the letter by ‘experts’ was a fairly new phenomenon. What brought that change?
      I just want to say, and I think Christine would agree with me that you would have been a wonderful history teacher and I for one would love to have been one of your pupils.

      1. Christine says:

        I believe it is genuine and yes I am sure Bq would have made a wonderful history teacher I certainly would have loved to have sat in her class.

      2. Banditqueen says:

        Apparently it was Giles Tremalet who wrote an excellent if sometimes controversial biography of Catherine of Aragon.
        He also suggested she had an eating disorder which caused fertility problems, but Catherine wasn’t infertile, she had six pregnancies and one healthy child, one boy who was healthy at birth but died through some form of cot death two months later, one miscarriage, one stillborn female, two more sons who died within hours or days of birth. The causes of these deaths are unknown and a number of theories have been suggested, none of which are substantiated and are all interesting, if speculative theories. An eating problem or fasting, is as good an explanation as any other.
        He also suggested Katherine had an unhealthy fascination with her early confessor, but nothing inappropriate happened. Intense relationships between confessor and supplicant is possible, especially if they were her confidante in difficult times, but this doesn’t suggest a sexual attraction or anything to support the idea of a crush.
        His suggestion that her last letter was a “pius forgery” has been taken too literally. He means one supposes that her ladies had it created in her memory to reflect how Catherine felt about Henry. His reasons are obscure, based on the fact Catherine only hand wrote the last bit and signed it. She didn’t need to write it. That’s why people paid scribes and as she was dying she dictated it. There was a problem with sources for him, although it was mentioned in letters and papers and nearly everyone else accepted and quotes it. I actually can’t remember exactly what he actually said but it seems to me to be a bit picky at best and a personal opinion not a proven fact. I don’t know of anything else to substantiate such a claim. He is an expert on Catherine and opened up many sources from the Spanish archives which have helped understand Catherine in a much deeper way. The book is excellent, but everyone these days has an agenda. Every book these days has some new theory. Interesting, but where is the evidence?

        Did you know for example that Anne of Cleves had a son? No, not the one Henry heard about and proved was rubbish in late 1540 but one a couple of years before she was married.

        Whose idea is this? Alison Weir in her novel about her. Origins of this impossible idea? A comment by Henry Viii on how he “left her as good a maid as I found her” and it gets better, the comments about her sagging breasts and belly are proof of her being pregnant. . O.K at least the Authors Note puts things back into perspective. Miss Weir is exploring a theory behind these comments and invented the idea of Anna having a son by a visiting cousin before she came to England. So its Miss Weir’s theory and she isn’t trying to make unjustified claims and yes its fictional but we all know where this sort of thing goes. Somebody is bound to take it seriously and make a film and then all the dimbo people out there will believe it. I am not having a go at Alison Weir but her ideas are getting a bit odd from time to time and she recently theorized if Anne Boleyn loved Henry Norris. Innocent enough but given that he was one of the men accused of adultery with Anne Boleyn and Professor Bernard believed this claim made by the gossiping Elizabeth Browne, Countess of Worcester, the comments actually opened up a social media can of worms. An excellent article on this site showed why it was not something to reflect upon. In a novel it’s one thing and at least Miss Weir stated it was her own idea, albeit something based on alleged comments by Henry Viii to Thomas Cromwell, which should be good enough to protect Anna of Kleve from gaining a needless reputation. The comments were more than likely invented for the annulment and are totally meaningless.

        Seriously, though, if one thinks Queens were generally unable to do as they pleased or have lovers without help, not that this stopped a few of them, most certainly with help, for a German Princess, being kept away from male company and living amongst females, this was impossible. Anna was raised in very strict conditions, she had female only company most of the day and lived in the Ladies Room. Other people came to visit and they came together with the Court for entertainment and took part in hunting and so on. However, they were accompanied by a number of female attendees and had a strict moral upbringing. Comments about her breasts and belly are nonsense. Henry was angry because he couldn’t get the deed done and made such comments to get an annulment. Anna was a virgin and he knew it. In such a strict atmosphere there is no way she could have had an illegitimate child and really it adds nothing to the story, fictional or not. Theories are interesting, but they really do need good solid evidence, not speculation.

        1. Christine says:

          Henry was being critical of Anne because he was trying to extricate himself from his fourth and disastrous marriage, his comments about her body were mean spirited and did nothing for his character, he liked to think of himself as a Sir Galahad and yet there was nothing gallant about the way he treated his fourth bride, I agree the saggy breasts and belly were just an excuse to malign Anne’s reputation for not being a virgin, he probably could not make love to her (if he even tried), and his moaning in the days that followed were all part of his plan to extricate himself from her, Miss Weir does have some strange theories but I do like her books, the bit where she says Anne swore on the sacrament that she had never betrayed the king with her body but she never mentioned her mind, makes Miss Weir thinks was she really fantasising about Henry Norris etc, well every woman’s thoughts are hers and hers alone and we all have our fantasies, Claire may well dream of running over the golden beach with Brad Pitt but it does not mean she would actually do it (if she had the chance), just because Anne never mentioned her mind does not mean she was imagining sleeping with Henry Norris or Smeaton, or any other of the handsome courtiers she knew and mingled with at court, I have Tremletts book on Katherine and yes he did have access to a lot of the Spanish archives regarding her first marriage with Arthur and other events, I did enjoy his book and his theory about Katherines alleged eating disorder, as for Prof Bernard I must admit I find his theories rather wacky on Anne’s so called infidelity, the Bisley Boy docu was on tv a few days ago and he was on that saying that as far as Henry V111 knew Elizabeth may not have been his daughter, because of Anne’s alleged adultery, Henry V111 never had any doubt in his mind that Elizabeth was his, years later in her reign one contemporary who had known both her parents, informed the queen that the old king always acknowledged her as his, indeed her Tudor colouring proclaimed to the world her heritage, such rumours were put about by enemies of her mother, and they lasted well into her reign but there was never any credence to them, is the book about Anne of Kleve the fiction one you refer to by Weir? I was going to buy it but then read a preview on amazon and saw the piece about her having a lover and a child born out of wedlock, it is fiction but I don’t really see the point of altering an actual historical figures life like that, just for drama, Anne was brought up in a very strict German household, she was completely artless over marriage and sex and was sent over to England to be a bride for one of Europe’s most notorious monarchs, it was rather like pairing a lamb with a hawk, the result was Henry V111’s shortest lived marriage on record, both parties parted amicably however but Henry made a complete fool of himself over his next choice of bride, and had bitter cause to regret it, whilst Anne the discarded bride set up home in one of her many gifted lavish residences and did very well out of her annulment.

        2. Michael Wright says:

          Is my brain making this up or did I read that the letter was or may have been dictated to her wonderful friend Marina de Salinas?

    2. Christine says:

      I no what you mean about her humble tone, I am trying to imagine what I myself would have written had I been Anne locked in the Tower, I have often thought this myself just maybe by her not signing herself as queen was designed to soften her husbands heart, as she was trying to remind him of their long ago courting days, I feel I would have signed myself from your much wronged devoted misrepresented wife, would I have signed myself queen I am not sure? I know had I been Anne I would have been terrified beyond belief and my letter would have been much longer and much more eloquent, it was written on the 6th of May and by then she had been in the Tower for five days so that would have given her cause to think about what she was planning to say, caution would have been prevalent in her choice of words and yet the letter as I said before is quite critical of the king, there is not much caution there, but Anne was noted for her waspish tongue, as Michael said Sandra Vasoli does explain a lot in her book so I may try that.

      1. Banditqueen says:

        I don’t know if you have Amazon Prime but with that you get Kindle Unlimited and you can read ten books free of charge. Sandra’s book on the AB letter is free on Kindle Unlimited to download at the moment.

        By the way there is a book by Hayley Nolan which claims to finally tell all the truth about Anne Boleyn after 500 years of lies out now. Don’t touch it with a barge pole it’s nothing but a rant, terrible writing and hasn’t seen an editor or anyone who knows how to put everything in a calm and balanced manner. After all the self hype I was disappointed. Thankfully I used the free option and could return it double quick. Don’t get me wrong her aim is laudable to give Anne good press, but every other author is slagged off and she hasn’t dispelled as many myths as she has created. She might as well be screaming down a megaphone like a shrew. Nor is she telling us anything new, but the whole thing is really just so unprofessional and a rant, it probably shouldn’t have been published without more input from scholars to keep it accurate and balanced. It’s really poor. Sorry but that’s how it is. A shame as I was looking forward, given all the hype.

        1. Michael Wright says:

          I’m glad you didn’t pay anything for that book but I’m sorry you wasted time on it. I think the only effective way to correct the misinformation and lies about Anne is as Claire is doing on this blog, taking one topic at a time, elaborating on it and putting it in it’s proper context. So many lies have been told about Anne over the centuries it would take as many books as a set of encyclopedias to begin to set things straight.
          Hope your hand is improving.

        2. Christine says:

          Thanks for that piece of info I have amazon prime, yes I saw that book and was tempted to buy it but be honest, I hadn’t heard of the author so was a bit wary glad you enlightened me.

  42. Christine says:

    That’s what I find strange why was it in Cromwells papers? If it is genuine that is written in Anne’s own hand or a dictation then surely Cromwell would have made sure it was securely hidden, or destroy it altogether why leave it around, where one day prying eyes could discover it, I cannot either see Cromwell going to the trouble of destroying after copying it only for the purpose of altering the text, what would be the point? If it was archived as Henry’s chief minister and lawman would do with his documents, then that would explain why it came to be in his quarters but if it was from Anne why would he keep her letter if he had no intention of sending it of to the king, if the king had discovered it then he would be furious with Cromwell for keeping it from him even though he had already condemned her in his eyes to death, he was determined she would die and even though a letter like this may have stung at his conscience a little, he would have been irked to discover his wife had wrote him a letter only for Cromwell to hide its existence from him, maybe as Bq says the original was lost and a scribe tried to copy it the best they could and maybe added a few extras for drama, it’s very existence is strange and thralling really, because if it is genuine then we have an insight into her very mind heart and feelings, if it was copied then that would possibly explain the strange heading and the signature at the end, as the person who wrote it may not have had the insight as to how it should be headed and signed by a crowned queen, we have so few written letters by her that if this is genuine then it makes it all the more precious, as it was written in the most traumatic period of her life.

    1. Banditquern says:

      I completely agree. Maybe that’s why I don’t want it not to be genuine. A mystery.

    2. Michael Wright says:

      I recommend Sandra Vasoli’s book ‘Anne Boleyn’s Letter from the Tower’. It answers all of those questions quite convincingly. The book is a very quick read.

      1. Christine says:

        Yes Sandra has been on here earlier with her book as the subject of discussion, I may purchase it as you say, it answers all these baffling questions.

        1. Banditqueen says:

          Hi, wasn’t it found after a fire in the nineteenth century? The problem with many of these archives is that while they are great for research, bringing all the paperwork together from everything and Thomas Cromwell has more than most because he was the chief minister of state, is that we don’t always know who or when they were gathered together by. Cromwell was accused and executed for treason, so his papers were seized as evidence for investigation by the King’s agents but it’s believed that a number were removed in advance. Now of course, it’s a big gap between this and his collection being explored 200 years later and additional papers have obviously been found or added, including this mysterious letter. Cromwell’s papers have been fortunately gathered for prosperity and we know its an extensive collection because it took Hilary Mantel five years to study. She did a number on everyone but Cromwell but no doubt she found some interesting stuff in there.

          So how does an odd letter end up there? The collection has been brought together over time and preserved. A number of odd things have probably been kept there. The archive itself has thrown up one or two surprises, such as an indication that Henry regretted the execution of Anne Boleyn. This document has another weird provenance, the conversation dating from the 1570s, but pointing to a Cotton Document which refers to it. Its dubious but who knows what Henry was thinking in his last few weeks? Another explanation for the letter from Anne being weird is it may have been destroyed and recreated but with changes. Just my passing fancy. We must read the letter and articles.

  43. Michael Wright says:

    Hi BQ. First off, if any of the paintings of Elizabeth are accurate she is the spitting image of Henry, which is clearly visible in the full length portrait Elizabeth had made for her father when she was 13. Out of anger Mary made comments about Elizabeth’s paternity but don’t you think if she truly believed her father was not Elizabeth’s father that she would leave the throne in her hands upon her death? For people to doubt Elizabeth’s paternity is nonsense.
    A few years ago I bought a beatup, dog-eared copy of The Lady in the Tower for a couple of bucks and as I always do before I read a book I was looking at the illustrations when I ran across a description of Thomas Boleyn as a man who pimped out his daughters and the book went into the recycling bin and I decided I would not read anything by Alison Wier. I’ve seen and heard her in interviews and just like Phillips Gregory I quite like her. She’s gracious and seems very kind but she doesn’t cite sources. I don’t read historical fiction or fiction of any kind. I watch tons of fiction but I don’t read it. When a fictional idea is put into what is supposed to be a history book it muddies the waters because if that idea catches on the caveat which proceeded it ‘in my opinion’ is removed and we are left with the idea eventually becoming a declared fact. This drives me nuts.
    As to Anna of Cleves I am a huge fan. She was proper in every way and to slander her at all is ludicrous. She is the only other of Henry’s wives to come close to the status of Katherine of Aragon and as such just as you stated would have been in too protective a situation to do anything untoward. And who in their right mind gives anything Henry says credence? He was an egotistical blowhard. Of course his comment was made to help annul the marriage. If there’s any truth in the story that her ladies told investigators that Anna thought Henry kissing her was all there was to sex I believe that Anna, being the very classy young woman she was was not only protecting herself but Helping Henry save face.

    1. Christine says:

      Elizabeth did resemble her father and she had many traits of his character to, when she went on her tours around the country people declared it was like watching old king Henry V111 again, it was something that she revelled in and possibly because of her mothers murky ending, she was a bastard to many and there had been rumours Mark Smeton was her real father, so any references to the king she took especial delight in, she was tall for a woman and had his commanding presence, pale and red headed with his long aquiline nose, she was definitely a Tudor and rumours about her parentage were really without foundation, she was also a good orator and like both parents had their fiery tempers, when she was older her sister it is true did mutter amongst her women that she believed Elizabeth was not really her sister at all but the result of the adulterous liaison between Anne Boleyn and her young handsome musician, she said this I believe in anger as she could not really have believed those rumours, her young sister had probably annoyed Mary over something and she was just lashing out, Elizabeth and Mary had both their fair share of the Tudor genes, she had also been a charming baby and Mary has liked to mother her after Anne’s death, it was as she grew older and more spirited that Mary could see more of Anne Boleyn in her, hating the mother would naturally turn her against the daughter although Mary was a realist, and knew this to be unfair, it was the problem with their differing opinions over religion also that helped sow the seed of discontent, Elizabeth angered her on several occasions when she declared she was too ill to attend mass, Elizabeth should have just gone and closed her eyes and paid no attention to what she probably thought was mumbo jumbo, the queen would have been satisfied and no harm done, it was very sad I feel that both sisters could not really get on that well, but of course there was the age gap that did not help and the religious issues, Mary was also only to well aware that Elizabeth was her heir apparent and this did not help her as her pregnancies turned out to be false, which only served to make her depressed about the future of her realm, she did not wish her beloved country to fall into the hands of Anne Boleyn’s Protestant bastard daughter, yes I agree with you Michael Mary knew Elizabeth was her flesh and blood sister, and she honoured her fathers will, she did prefer her throne to go to her cousin Margaret Lennox who was also Catholic but after all the bloodshed surrounding the failed coup of Jane Grey, she knew a smooth succession was what the country needed, Elizabeth became queen easily because Mary made it possible for her, she did not have to fight for her birthright which was what Mary had to do five years earlier.

  44. Christine says:

    That is true Jean Plaidy now long dead, used to try to stick to the truth as much as possible, i am not keen on these authors who as you say muddy the waters, the only thing I’m critical of Miss Plaidy is that she did romanticise her subjects quite a bit, in Murder Most Royal both Culpeper and Dereham were portrayed as handsome gallants who would defend the queen till death, yet in reality the pair of them were just braggarts, they disrespected women and especially Dereham the Queen, Culpeper could have been guilty of the rape of a poor gamekeepers wife, Anne was portrayed as a raving beauty and although many found her attractive her charm lay more in her presence of character, her charming voice her wit, her elegance and then there were those bewitching dark eyes, which according to one admirer she used to full effect, I would have bought Weirs ‘Anna of Kleve Queen of Secret’s’ had she stuck to her true story more, I do enjoy her books and yes she is only using her writers porogative but it does make readers who are not aware of these historical characters true stories, think that is what really happened, she wrote a book about the young Princess Elizabeth some years earlier and in this one she had a child with Thomas Seymour her stepfather, she gave birth in secrecy and the baby was sadly born dead, it was thrown in the fire amidst the shocked disgust and dismay of the midwife, this tale went around the country at the time her rompings with Seymour were discovered by the council, and therefore author has added it in her book, there really is no harm in it as it was a rumour at the time, but there is no proof either, she wrote a fiction book on Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry 11 and I thought that was very good, it was not that far stretched from what I felt really happened in her first two marriages, and there was that lurid tale that she poisoned her husbands lover the ‘fair Rosamund’in her book she did no such thing, Rosamund retired to the abbey at Godstow as she wanted to make amends for her sins and she was suffering from a canker in the breast, in reality she did retire to the abbey and it was believed she did have a deadly illness which in the end killed her, the canker in her breast could be explained today as breast cancer, yes I agree with you about Anna of Cleves Michael, she did nothing wrong she was treated most shabbily by her husband, I have always believed given the chance she would have made a perfect queen for Henry V111, she was described as very gracious by those who knew her, and her long time staff who served her when she left the court and went to live in her many residences she had acquired from her divorce, she was described as a very loving kind and generous mistress and was mourned very deeply on her death, it was Henry V111’s misguided judgement that caused his strange marital history, he rejected Katherine of Aragon for Anne Boleyn because he was taken in by a sexy wiggle and yet that marriage ended in disaster, he later rejected Anne of Cleves and promptly married Catherine Howard because he was bewitched by her young beauty, that to ended in disaster, we know of course that it was a son and heir that he wanted not just the fact he wanted to bed these women, but his judgement really was blinded by sheer lust, as we have discussed prior Henry V111 really was a very odd monarch indeed, when he ventured on his fifth marriage his great rival across the channel, King Francois was on being told of Henry’s latest marital adventure raised his eyebrows and exclaimed ‘this his latest’, one of the court ladies declared of Henry, ‘what a man is this king how many wives shall he have’, his marriages really were the object of salacious gossip and rumour and shocked wonder around Britain and Europe of the day.

  45. Michael Wright says:

    Hi Christine. I mentioned that Vasoli’s book on the Tower letter was a quick read. It’s 61pgs and includes photos of the burnt fragments of the the extant letter and of other relevant documents she refers to.

    1. Christine says:

      I will order a copy from Amazon I get second hand books on there and there much cheaper.

      1. Michael Wright says:

        That’s how I get most of m books and as I’m sure you’ve noticed they come from dealers all over the world. The strangest was a used book I ordered from a store in Ireland that was shipped from Sweden!

        1. Christine says:

          Iv had that happen, but it’s great when you can gets books cheap, I don’t mind if there a bit bruised and battered either anything for a bargain,

  46. Michael Wright says:

    I’ve gotten a couple of used books from Amazon marketplace for practically nothing that were in pretty poor condition but as long as all of the pages are intact and it’s not falling apart I don’t mind.

    1. Christine says:

      I agree I love old books anyway as long as like you mention the pages aren’t falling out.

  47. Michael Wright says:

    Thank you so much BQ for that information on Zenobia. Even more so since your hand is bothering you. I hope it heals soon. I am fascinated by these warrior queens which of course we’re never mentioned in school.

  48. Christine says:

    Thank you from me also Bq, I think I had heard of Zenobia vaguely, what is wrong with your hand is it rheumatism – arthritis or have you sprained it ?

    1. Banditqueen says:

      Hi Christine, actually don’t know, probably all three, starting just before Christmas, it is really bad. Seeing doctor on Wednesday as it’s getting worse. Thanks for asking.

      1. Christine says:

        That’s ok I have I think arthritis is my right hand or rheumatism, I have never mentioned it to the docs cos keep forgetting, now and then I get waves of pain starting from the thumb and it’s goes upto the wrist, I tried kelp tablets and it went, iv got it a bit now but it doesn’t affect me too much as I’m left handed, I hope you get it sorted though, is your house problem ok now ?

        1. Banditqueen says:

          No, we have a new date for the hearing, on 17th March, although we hope that will either be adjourned, which is normal at the first hearing, especially with outstanding issues or an agreement can be reached. It’s a long process in any event. Thanks for asking.

        2. Christine says:

          Your welcome I will keep my fingers crossed for you.

  49. Christine says:

    Regarding the source that says the old king expressed remorse about sending his second queen to her death, if human nature is anything to go by, then yes I believe Henry V111 did feel remorse for executing Anne Boleyn, as he neared death he must have looked back over his reign which had been quite long, and reflect also on those he had sent to their deaths, what of the poor monks of the charter house they suffered dreadfully, Sir Thomas More a man of integrity and honour, brave Bishop Fisher – what of the torture and execution of Anne Askew, the death of his girl queen little Catherine Howard, the Earl of Surrey who had done nothing wrong merely taken pride in his heritage, the Duke of Buckingham some say was murdured simply on account of his Plantagenet blood, Jane Boleyn lady Rochford who he had determined should not escape justice and had a bill pass for the prime reason of having her put to death, the old Countess of Salisbury his cousin and one time beloved governess of his daughter Mary, murdured because he could not kill her son, the horrible mutilation of Francis Dereham just because he had ‘known ‘ Catherine before the king, there were also five other men to, whose names he must have remembered, and who were forever connected with his second queen, his old faithful friend Henry Norris, William Brereton, Francis Weston George Boleyn his brother in law, and Mark Smeton , all these must have gone through his mind, and in their case if he had any real conscious any feelings of decency, he should have felt more remorse over their deaths than any others, as King Henry knew how impossible it was for a queen to conduct illicit affairs, and he was also aware that most men will confess to anything under torture, or the threat of torture, all Anne’s alleged co adulterers had sworn their innocence except young Smeton, but the king knew he had been interrogated by Cromwell, he was no fool and must have suspected that torture had been used, he had known they were all innocent and it was just for expediency’s sake his queen had to go, therefore the men were doomed also they all had to die so the king would be free to marry again and begat another son, Tudor court politics was certainly ruthless, as it all centred around the king and his needs and all the courtiers were clamouring for and vying for favours, it was a hot bed of intrigue, I think as he neared the end of his life Henry V111 must have felt regret for a lot of the things he had done, and maybe everytime Elizabeth fixed her dark eyes on her father he was reminded uncomfortably of her mother, he more than any other king had cause to regret the deaths of those he had executed, even though a lot of the old Plantagenet kings had certainly been ruthless and done some dreadful things to, Henry V111’s name alone seems to represent a reign of tyranny and bloodshed, and uniquely a king who also sent two wives to the scaffold.

    1. Michael Wright says:

      For the sake of Henry’s own soul I really hope his deathbed regret was real as it shows he still had a spark of humanity and maybe empathy. During a lot of his reign it seems that with the exception of himself, his son Edward and maybe his daughters that life was cheap and he could and would snuff it out on a whim. I would like to think there was more to him than that.

  50. Christine says:

    Me to, we have to remember he was not always like the tyrannical monster of legend, but a happy go lucky cultured handsome and benevolent prince, unfortunately when people think of Henry V111 or hear his name, they inevitably see him as a fat spiteful old man, surrounded with the image of the axe looming over the faces of his six unfortunate wives,

  51. Banditqueen says:

    This Anne Boleyn letter apparently has a good history and was mentioned by a number of early historians. Lord Herbert of Cherbury and Sir Gilbert Burnet who wrote some huge history of the Protestant Church mentioned the letter, the latter believed it rang with Anne’s words. In 1731 it was damaged with the letters of Sir William Kingston to Cromwell and the King, but was readable, by the fire in Oxford. The manuscripts are now in the Stowe and Cotton Collections at the British Library. It was written on 6th May 1536 and although some historians think it’s too polite, others that she sounded unusually stressed. However, Anne was in a very stressful place, she was a prisoner, not yet condemned but in fear of her life and denied freedom. This was something she hadn’t experienced before, she was frightened and angry. She sounds haughty at times, sarcastic, but the main tone of the letter is polite and similar to her letters to Cardinal Wolsey or Thomas Cranmer, for example. This was how one wrote. She doesn’t need to have written it herself and Cromwell had every letter copied. Could this be the first copy made by Thomas Cromwell and the original destroyed in the fire? The archive letters were put together by Ralph Sadler his secretary at his bequest. It’s a pity some bits of the original Kingston Letters are missing from the fire, but fortunately Cromwell copied everything, leaving us a fantastic legacy.

    Sandra also makes one point about why he might keep such a letter, regardless of whether or not he passed it on to Henry Viii, legality. Cromwell was a lawyer and it would be his legal nature that informed him, all evidence is kept and copied. I believe he took more of a risk by withholding it or destroying it because what if Henry found out? Kingston might have informed Henry of the Queen’s letter, anyone who knew about it could. We really don’t know. Cromwell may not have hidden it, Sadler or Kingston merely filed it. It was apparently in with Kingston’s reports which makes sense as it was to William Kingston that such a letter would be passed. I doubt Henry saw it though, most likely refusing and also Anne’s request for a visit. Now all we can do is speculate, but some of this is beginning to make sense. The jury remains out.

  52. Christine says:

    I was able to rent ‘Anne Of The Thousand Days’ on my Apple TV today, a film we have often discussed on here and which I have not seen for many years, as unfortunately it is not shown much on tv, I thoroughly enjoyed as much as I did the first, and Genevieve was enchanting as Anne, her and Burton were wonderful and explosive together as the fiery couple whose doomed relationship split England in two, the way their relationship began and Anne’s reluctance which gradually after a whole year softened towards the king, coerced with outpourings of love and devotion and always accompanied with precious gifts, his passion which overwhelmed her at first and maybe made her feel uneasy, his anger and frustration towards her at her denial of his love we can feel that was how it must have been, then the kings determination to marry her which earns her favour and hence she became his official mistress yet in name only, still she refused to sleep with him, there were several inconsistencies in the film though, Norfolk came to see her alone when she was playing with Elizabeth and told her she was to go to the Tower immediately as allegations had been made about her, in reality there were many of the kings council who informed her of Smetons confession and she was taken to them whilst she was at Greenwich, also she was on trial with her brother and Smeton was giving evidence, she was allowed to question him and the king burst in and questioned the hapless musician himself, inaccuracies like these I feel trashes the history and thus the quality of the film, which really was wonderful, the next piece was the king visited Anne in the Tower and this is totally out of keeping with Henry V111’s character, he never saw his victims after they were arrested and certainly he would never ever want to see Anne again, he was wining and dining his new love Jane Seymour and acting in the greatest of spirits, certainly he would never hop in his barge and be rowed up to the Tower to engage in conversation with his hated spouse, which would no doubt have ended in a slanging match, part of the reason why he never saw those who displeased him could be because he feared he might weaken in his resolve to carry out, as he saw it justice, Henry liked to think of himself as a strong king that meant no softening of spirit, he never saw Thomas More again neither Cromwell or Wolsey after they fell from favour, they had all been well loved by him, his fifth queen after he ordered Cranmer to carry out an investigation on the allegations about her, and she he still loved, both queens he abandoned when he believed they had betrayed him, with Anne we will never know what he felt or believed in, but we do know like his other victims once out of his sight he acted like the merciless auguste king he was, and that included no audience, the letter which has caused so much frustration and curiosity since it was found continues to invite debate, Sandra did mention that a lawyer would not destroy a letter, I can understand that, all documents letters and such were carefully archived away, there are absolutely thousands of old files books and documents preserved in the records office at Kew, dating back centuries, if it was mentioned amongst Kingston’s records then that is a good argument for its authenticity, but could that be another letter the queen wrote, maybe she was concerned about her mother and wrote to Lady Elizabeth Boleyn, some of her first words were for her, she was anxious about her state of health which was delicate at the time, it is understandable Anne would want to write to her beloved mother and maybe ask her to look out for her daughter, Cromwell wrote to the king in his hour of doom, we can see the despair he felt in the three urgent words at the end of his letter, ‘good king I beg for mercy mercy mercy’, to his pleas the king was deaf, I do believe myself that if Anne had written to the king then he would have refused to read it, I can see him berating the messenger and sending him on his way, the gift Katherine sent him on New Year’s Day was returned by a furious Henry, if this letter was returned to Kingston then he would have given it to Cromwell and thus it was kept for all eternity, there are so many what ifs and how’s to its existence that I feel sadly we will never get to the real truth, however hope springs eternal.

  53. Michael Wright says:

    I watched it a few months ago. Still love it as it was my introduction to this subject in the mid1980’s. A lot of inaccuracies but remember it was based on a play from the late 1940’s written by a man with his own opinions who wasn’t going for accuracy. He also wrote the screenplay. My favorite inaccurate scene is where Henry visits Anne in the Tower. Burton and Bujold are so powerful there and I know Anne never said those words but I can sure imagine her saying them if she had the chance. Genevieve so inhabited the part of Anne Boleyn that even though I know others have laudably played her, in my mind she is the best.

    As to the letter I believe Ms. Vasoli also said that Cromwell, since everything went through him may not have even allowed the letter near Henry because it may have changed his mind about disposing of Anne. Keeping the the letter would not only have been a lawyerly thing to do but it would also have given Cromwell plausable deniability if the king later asked if Anne had written anything before she was killed. Cromwell could say yes she did but when he sent one of his Messengers with the letter for Henry to read he was turned away. Cromwell could then produce the letter and since the deed was already done Henry could be allowed to read it. Henry was a busy man who didn’t like details so I don’t think this possible scenario is too outlandish. I also doubt Henry asked about it because somebody probably would have written about that in a correspondence or journal or something and it would now be a part of history. Sure wish that had happened it might have helped authenticate the letter. My personal belief is it is real. Just a very strong feeling.

    1. Christine says:

      That does appear to be a valid argument about the existence of the letter, Weir also mentioned that she did not think Cromwell would want the king to see the letter, had he read the contents he may well have softened as I mentioned earlier, he never saw his victims after they were arrested, therefore a letter from Anne a once loved queen may have weakened his resolve, and that was something Cromwell would have feared, Cromwell was a sharp lawyer he was the one who found a way for the king to marry Anne, but when we consider Cromwells own pleading letter to the king years later, that certainly did not sway the kings mind about executing him, but he did regret his death, he raged at those afterwards who had brought him down that through them he had lost a valued servant, when he was much older and infirm depression did sink in, and he must then have pondered on the actions he had made throughout his life, he must have looked back over his reign and surely have felt regret for the people he had sent to their deaths, he is said to have expressed regret about the death of his second queen, but sadly there is no source that backs it up..

  54. Christine says:

    Yes I had forgotten it was based on a play, many films are based on plays, Richard 111 played by Olivier and Henry V were both based on Shakespeares plays, I do agree with you about Bujold, she really is my favourite Anne too, although she was far too pretty with her little elfin face and turned up nose to look like Anne, authentic trivialities like that do not matter, she also won an academy award for her performance, Burton also did not resemble the real Henry being shorter and dark, they could have made him wear an auburn wig but he was still magnificent, he seemed to portray his quick temper and characteristics very well, also the agonising over signing her death sentence I can actually see him doing that, Burton also played Henry 11 in Becket another brilliant film, I googled Bujold after the film had ended and she still looks attractive quite lined and grey now but she really was a stunner in her youth, I want to see ‘The Trojan Women’ next in which she played Cassandra, Katherine Hepburn and Irene Papas were in it also playing the lead roles, a play by Euripides about the aftermath of the Trojan war, I watched a trailer so will have to see if il be able to rent that to.

  55. Banditqueen says:

    I love Anne of 1000 Days, even with the impossible scenes because they make a really good dramatic point.

    The dialogue in the scene between Henry Viii and Mark Smeaton is actually very interesting because an angry Henry asks him where he slept with the Queen and when the answer comes back, Henry contradicts him, saying it was impossible because Anne was with him at Greenwich or Windsor or wherever and then doubt creeps in because the Court was elsewhere. Mark collapsed and said it was everywhere and Henry got angry and tells him to tell the truth because no matter what he says he will still die. Mark says Anne was innocent but Henry doubted it. Its a remarkable scene because its reflecting the facts we now know about the evidence being nonsense and Anne or the men being at different locations to those listed in the indictments. It’s a great dramatic device to reflect the conflict between the lies told by Cromwell and the King to make their case and reality and you can’t have someone standing there reading out the numerous charges while someone dismisses them as false in a drama, everyone would just go home. The film has to make the point while keeping Henry’s point of view alive. If there is one thing this film does, it makes us certain that Henry is struggling with the possibility of his wife’s guilt. That leads to the explosive, if totally fictitious confrontation between Henry and Anne in the Tower and Anne’s My Elizabeth speech. Oh boy don’t you just wish that to be true, even though it was impossible. Anne probably had no hope at all that Elizabeth would be Queen and it’s obviously the way the filmmakers wanted to remind us of the future fate of Anne’s daughter, that she will be Queen for almost 45 years.

    Burton and Bujold absolutely play off each other really well and made the best Anne and Henry going. Her presence as Anne on screen is like a gazelle, lively and bright, she bursts on the screen and although tiny, her stage presence was immense. Burton is perfect as her foil and certainly one of the best King Henry’s, passionate, angry, hurt, compassionate, desperate, frustrated, full of self love, yet lost and they really complemented each other. I know it was the way she was written, but Anne’s bedtime persuasion of Henry to brook no further disobedience and that everyone who opposed them should die is chilling and believable. This is probably only a partial true interpretation but as I said its Henry who gets the better press in the film, but much of the violence of the 1530s was as a result of his marriage to Anne Boleyn. Henry would not have broken from Rome or executed Thomas More and the monks otherwise, there would be no need for the legislation he had prepared by Cromwell but for his second marriage. Remaining married to Katherine and finding another way to secure an heir, through a grandchild for example would not result in the Treason Act, Supremacy and Succession that demanded oaths and thus demonstrated loyalty in favour of Anne’s children. However, it certainly isn’t accurate to blame Anne for those deaths as such. Henry couldn’t continue to allow the loud demonstrations and direct opposition to his marriage and his plans once Anne was Queen. That would bring insecurity. The legislation which followed meant everyone must show support for his marriage to Anne Boleyn and acknowledge their children alone as his true heirs or be branded as traitors. Support was demonstrated by the taking of an oath. The Treason Act extended the definition to make thought a crime, in other words what people said regarding the above could be considered treason. Ironically those very laws designed to protect Anne as Queen were used against her and those accused with her, three years later. However, it’s certainly not the case as far as we know that Anne personally pushed Henry to try and punish great statesman like More and Fisher or to wade through blood for her as I believe the film puts it. I think that Henry was quite capable of moving against those who deliberately stood against him without being pushed by anyone else.

    1. Michael Wright says:

      That scene with Mark Smeaton is infuriating but I think it also accurately showed Henry’s odd way way of processing information. He knew he was being lied to but he never let truth or facts get in the way of getting rid of somebody. Burton did a great job of portraying him as the odd bird that he was.

  56. Christine says:

    Burton was an incredibly talented actor and yet he ruined his health by excessive drinking and smoking and died young at the age of only fifty eight, he once said he drinks to escape the boredom that accompanies him off stage, it seems the world of the theatre and the film industry were his life, he reminds me of that other great actor Errol Flynn who also died young being only fifty nine, his body destroyed by drink and drugs, it was said by the medical staff who performed his autopsy, that it was difficult to determine the cause of death, so ravaged by disease was his organs, yes apart from the inconsistencies which I mentioned ‘Anne Of The Thousand Days’ was a great movie I thoroughly enjoyed it, the beautiful costumes were exquisite, I especially loved the coronation gown of ivory and the matching headdress ornamented with pearls Bujold wore, the coronation route where Anne was booed and heckled as he walked along with Henry to the Tower, surely though that not true as I thought she would be rowed in her magnificent barge up the Thames, as there was something about her wanting to use Katherines barge but that was not allowed, I am not sure? Also Henry was at the Tower awaiting her arrival already, but in movies they cannot add all the details in as the film would be very long, she was heckled by the crowd who glared at her sullen faced as she went to the abbey to be crowned, and there were some who chuckled at her initials entwined with the kings, as they said HA HA, many chucked at that, but it was a triumphant day for her and the king who had both waited long enough for this day, and Anne I believe did not are overmuch what the common people thought, the actor who played Cromwell was good as the kings arbiter of doom, when he questioned Smeton in his house i thought that’s possibly how it could have happened, it was a trick which the hapless young musician walked into, he had a request from the great minister to dine with him at his house in Stepney, and the poor lad must have been excited as to what was the purpose of this request, maybe he thought he was going to ask him to play for him and his guests that day or the next, he must have felt a little over awed, Cromwells house must have been quite grand and he must have skipped up the steps to the great oak door and then – his life changed forever, poor master Smeton he was only young and because he was of no consequence, no titles no power no social standing, he was chosen to be the scapegoat by the most ruthless man in England to bring down an unwanted wife and queen, I should imagine Cromwell could be quite terrifying when he chose to be the poor lad was possibly bullied, there is no evidence he was tortured as he was able to walk well enough to his trial and later, to the scaffold, but it may have been the threat of torture that scared him half to death, I can see Cromwells silky voice regaling him with tales of the torture chamber in the Tower of London, I can just see him promising the poor frightened boy a quick death instead of the agonising pro longed one reserved for traitors, I thought also Anthony Quayle as the doomed Wolsey was very good to, he tried so hard to bring about the divorce and by his failure he incurred the wrath of both Anne and the king, who he had served so long and faithfully for many years, he also looked a little like the great Cardinal, as he was a huge man and looked even bigger in his scarlet robes, I wish they would make another movie about Anne, the only other ones have been based on the novels by Gregory, and the less said about those the better!

    1. Michael Wright says:

      When you look at a lot of actors from Richard Burton’s generation drinking, and quite often to excess was very common and as you point out many died much younger than they should have.

      1. Christine says:

        Yes they lived in the fast lane, I suppose when you can afford to drink champagne and malt whiskey for breakfast that’s what happens, they all married at least four or five time’s as well, I read in the paper today that one of Hollywood’s child stars from the silent era has passed away, she was 101 a great age, apparently her parents squandered most of her fortune poor girl.

        1. Michael Wright says:

          I’ve heard stories like that involving other child stars. Quite sad and selfish on the part of the parents.

  57. Banditqueen says:

    This is where more details could be accurate in movies. I don’t believe Henry ever hit her either, yet as a product of the day, when women were sexualized, beaten and raped and the good old boys down the cop shop thought it was acceptable, they were also often brutalized on screen. In an argument between Anne and Henry were he says he can get a divorce and if he did would Anne be his Queen, she calls such sons as he hoped for bastards because they were not married and going on about it, so Henry lost it and slapped her, hard. He was repentant as men are when they hit women, but of course this was fictional and the film culture at that time, the 1970s was to show women as victims and victimised. Any woman who stood up for herself was hit and then has semi forced sex. You saw it in Bond Movies, Carry On Films and even in Star Trek. It was still not a crime to rape your wife until R v R in the 80s/90s and not so here until this century. Forced sex during marriage may be considered assault but not rape. R v R changed the law. A woman was attacked by her ex partner and raped and the police refused to prosecute but she fought them and it went to the highest American Justices who made a land mark ruling and then the law was changed and rape inside marriage recognised. The British case was a couple still married and the law went back to 1875. The judge ruled sex within marriage had to be fully consensual and mutual and again the law changed. At the same time we saw the start of women being shown more positively and powerfully on film. A number of leading female roles in positions of authority were made from the end of the 1990s onwards. I would love to say Anne Boleyn and others would be shown more positively now but we all know that’s not necessarily true. She is powerfully played by Natalie Dormer in the Tudors but raped by Henry in Henry Viii with Ray Winston and I won’t mention the Other Boleyn Girl. Henry was almost under her thumb in that, as was her sister. Ironically the best balanced films and series of these wives was the 1970 series Six Wives of Henry Viii and the mid 70s film. The portrayal of women has varied and now they often get their terrible vengeance over the abusive males. For example Sansa in GOT is first betrothed to a 13_year old psychopath whose abuses are terrifying and who gets poisoned on his eventual wedding day to another woman. Sansa is married to the one man who would not hurt her but flees the capital only to be married to the bully from hell, raped and abused by him, but gets her revenge by feeding him to his own hounds after her brother defeated him in battle. There are a number of powerful women in GOT but they all appear to be nuts. However a number of dramas have shown women thriving as mayors, vice President, Secretary of State, President, PM, judges, lead detectives and even Police Captains, star ship Captain, doctors, all kinds of professionals in fact, which has been good for female imagery and equality. It’s just a pity we can’t portray historical women who gained power without them being sexualized, brutalized or nuts.

    1. Michael Wright says:

      You are absolutely right. Films by their very nature are going to reflect the mores of their times. You could sit down and watch any film and without knowing the production date probably guess to within a decade when the picture was made by paying attention to what was accepted and not acceptable in the movie. This was something I had not really noticed until last week when I was listening to the commentaries on all of the Star Trek films and one of the producers brought it up. After giving it some thought I realized he was right.

    2. Christine says:

      The BBC have always been good at costume dramas, and the 70’s really was the hey dey of British television, me and my mum loved ‘Poldark’ with Robin Ellis, the later version was good but I never watched the latest series as one critic said it was all too pc, and I cannot bear that, after Elizabeth died Poldarks old love I lost interest, I loved that series about Henry and his wives to, there were no glamourising like ‘The Tudors’, the wives were wonderful but I did not like the portrayal of Catherine Howard who as soon as the servants backs were turned, she pulled one of the men down on top of her on the bed, and she was always skipping about giggling, but this young girl queen of Henry V111 has often been thus portrayed, Keith Mitchell’s performance as Henry V111 I particularly loved, his gradual decay from the hope of his realm into the gross old monster of legend was quite painful to watch, I would love to see it again so hoping I will be able to have the opportunity on my Apple TV, I do not believe Henry ever hit Anne either even though he probably felt like it at times, i agree with Bq about strong historical women being portrayed as sexual predators or mentally unbalanced, or yes the victims of sexual abuse, women in power have always been stereotyped as such, as if there’s nothing normal about them, it was always different for men as they were supposed to be warriors and it is natural for them to be sexually dominant, Margaret Thatcher those who did not like her used to jeer insults at her, she wasn’t a woman because she was PM, in fact she was a very feminine woman, she had a family she adored and they adored her, but because she was a woman and in a position of power, she was vilified by the ignorant, Eleanor of Aquitaine was a strong very powerful woman yet her name was linked to scandal since girlhood, her beauty was well known and she was said to be a bit of a flirt, but all women know a flutter of eyelashes can usually get what they want from a man, women have traded on their sexuality and the gossip about her was possibly caused by her flirtatious ways and incomparable beauty, later there were tales she had tortured and murdured her love rival Rosamund De Clifford, I have always admired Hilary Clinton she’s one tough lady, thankfully now women are more in positions of power and they are not being shown as abnormal so much like in the past.

      1. Banditqueen says:

        The costumes in Game of Thrones are remarkable and because its fantasy and not really set in any particular time the designers could really use their imagination. The wedding dress for Natalie Dormer aka the lovely and gentle, if a bit streetwise Margaery Tyrell, wife of Renly Barathean, then the horrible Joffrey his nephew and finally the gentle but timid Tomin, his younger brother. The entire family so annoyed Queen Cersi, her sister in law that she blew them all up in the Sept of Baalor the holy temple in the capital. Anyway the wonderful costume she wore of golden woven roses and braided emblematic symbols, long train and really lovely blue and silver threads and cloth of gold was the most detailed costume I have ever seen on any film set. At least the horrible Joffrey was poisoned on their wedding night by her grandmother. The costumes for Dani Daenerys Targaryen played by Emilia Clarke were absolutely gorgeous, especially the completely white fur all in one silver fur hooded costume which she wears in the North. Dani also comes complete with one true bloodline claim to the crown and three dragons and powerful charisma and sex appeal. Even Sansa finds her power on her return to her home after a number of misadventure. She eventually rules the North. Her best costume was this black feathery number, very sleaky and totally the opposite of her normal dresses. A huge feathering collar and silk skirt finished it off, along with her newly died black hair. It marks her transformation from mouse to heroine. Hers was the most difficult and complex character arc, from puppet and stupid girl, through a series of abuses to a fiercsome, strong and courageous young woman who escaped and killed her abusive husband. She became strong and a leader and ends up in charge of the North as Queen, independent from the rest of the Kingdom. Dani began as a vulnerable 13_year old girl, whose family have been killed and who lived in exile with her potty brother. She is sold in marriage to a warlord in order for her brother to get an army to fight for their kingdom. However, Dani actually fell in love and becomes powerful. Her brother gets himself killed acting like an idiot with a crown of boiling gold being poured over his head. On the day her husband was cremated Dani walked into the fire with three dragons eggs and emerged in the morning unscathed and the 300 years old dragons eggs have hatched. Dani is now the Mother of Dragons. She turned from a vulnerable child bride to a leader of her husband’s people, she frees most of the slaves in Essos and destroys the slave masters, gaining a variety of armies as she goes. She finally takes over the most powerful City State there and rules for five turbulent seasons. Threatened by an underground group of killers who see the end of slavery as bad, she is cornered in the arena, but ends up flying off on her favourite adult dragon east and is taken prisoner by a huge horde. When the Khal discovered who she was she is forced to live in the Temple of widows of the former Khals until her fate is decided. Brought before the Khals she mocks them, then burning the Temple down, walked out again unscathed and gained 40,000 strong army. By the end of the season she is ready to conquer Westeros with an army of freed unsullied, an army of Dothraki, three fully grown dragons and various allies waiting for her.

        Her titles are
        Kalisee of the Great Grass Sea
        Breaker of Chains
        Mother of Dragons
        Queen of Meereen
        Stormborn
        Queen of the Seven Kingdoms
        Lady of Dragonstone
        Protector of the Realm
        Princess Who Was Promised.

        What could possibly go wrong? The books finishing two seasons before the end of the series meant the writers made a lot of changes. For one thing she immediately lost two allies and by actually listening to her advisor she lost half her fleet as well. The North also has a King, Sansa’s brother, Jon Snow who turned out to be the son of Dani older brother, who was killed years earlier in a rebellion lead by their father. His real name is Eamon Targaryn and his gender makes him the heir to the crown. His mother was the Aunt of the Stark siblings, Leanne who turned out to be his secret wife. Nobody knows this except the viewers in the last episode of season seven. Dani regained the upper hand by wiping out most of the Lannister Army with her Dragon and leaving the Usurper, Mad Queen Cersie in big trouble, even if she denied it. However, more stuff goes wrong because of the main battle behind everything with the Army of the Dead and here the makeup and costume and other designers really went to town. Jon volunteered to go out into the furthest North and capture one in order to convince Cersie to stop the fighting while they fight this unstoppable Amy of the Dead. Dani ends up having to rescue him with all three Dragons and one of them gets killed because Jon who is immortal decides to carry on fighting while the rest of his small team are on board the other dragons. Dani is heartbroken. Cersie isn’t convinced but Dani goes North to fight the Army of the Dead, having bedded Jon Snow. Of course she doesn’t know she is his Aunt. When the truth is revealed we see a slow but fatal change in Dani and Jon, the Army of the Dead are defeated, but loss on her return home of a friend to her enemies sends Dani over the edge. When she does attack the capital the entire population are destroyed. Jon in the end killed her and Drogon flew her back East. Ironically neither he or her end up with the crown but the youngest Stark boy who was crippled in the very first episode, who is named Bran for the very first Targaryn King gets the gift of sight and sees everything, past, present and future, he is elected King. Poetic justice really. The sets and the costumes and graphics are great but you can see how the women evolve and are either powerful or go around the bend. I know it’s probably realistic of the turbulent and damaged war torn world it portrayed, probably set around 300 A.D with an Ice Age thrown in, a time that was in total chaos with warlords on one side and the normal people in the middle. It was also a time of changing beliefs and cultured exchange and migration, also reflected in the series. Its the perfect example of what is now permissible on TV and of our society which is greedy and gratuitous in its violence and ideas. It’s certainly nothing like the more restrained films of 30 years ago.

        1. Christine says:

          Iv never watched Game Of Thrones but i know it’s very popular, the point about films being restrained years ago yes they were very mild compared to today, talking about the love scenes here, I watched ‘Nell Gywn’ with Dame Anna Neagle an old black and white movie which was shown on talking pictures channel, the most raunchiest scene was of her and her lover the king kissing, today everything would be on show, you get full bedroom scenes the lot, with the horror genre those they call the Slasher movies there’s always a lot of blood and guts on show, Halloween and Friday 13th are typical – no actual story just people getting stabbed and whatever, the Hell Raiser films were revolting yet when I was younger I loved them, now I think there just rubbish. at least with the old movies there was a storyline a plot you could follow, I am looking forward to watching ‘Dr. Sleep’ the sequel to ‘The Shining’, at least those kind of movies are entertaining there’s no blood or gore, or there maybe a little but you don’t mind that, as the proper scares are more in the element of the chill factor, the sense of the unknown and the supernatural, that is what made the Alfred Hitchcock movies so frightening, I read once that Spielberg himself follows a lot of that old great masters techniques.

        2. Banditqueen says:

          The Shinning is even worse in the actual book and the Directors Cut was even more terrifying. The Jack Nicholson classic is great, really intense, but the six part mini series made about six years ago is even more frightening. The mother is funny looking anyway and gave me the creeps and the boy is even more creepy than the one in the film. That scene were the kid is riding his bike going Redrum Redrum Redrum and comes across one of the murdered people is terrifying. Redrum = Murder backwards. The Shinning is my favourite blood curdling horror. I wasn’t into Halloween to be honest. Yes, more and more slashing movies appeared over the years and what is particularly frightening are video nasties which show dolls looking like children killing children, like Chuckie which were banned. Those films led to the murder of two year old Jamie Bulger, in Bootle, in the North part of Liverpool. His mum lives in a nightmare still while the two ten year olds, now fully grown and one constantly reoffends have their identity protected, and who Europe decided should not be sentenced to longer than the Courts decided and so they were out by eighteen are protected by law. If you find out their real names and publish them you can go to prison. The human rights of two murderers, one of whom is a sex offender now, are more important than the human rights of the family of a beautiful little boy. Yet some of these terrible films are allowed again. Why? Its all wrong. GOT isn’t for kids, obviously, but believe me, some of the deaths had me cringing. Video Nastys are not for kids, but the parents of the two boys who killed Jamie watched with them all the time, turning them into robotic killers who didn’t even act as if what they had done was real. Such was the public outrage that the Home Secretary responded to a public petition and extended their sentences to a minimum of fifteen years. The European Court of human rights declared this violated their natural human rights and our HS didn’t have the right to overturn the Court. He does actually in extreme cases where a petition has been made and can review the judgement. Europe can’t force a decision but as signatories we are obliged to agree and of course did. Now the European Court of Human Rights does a great job on the whole, but it overstepped the mark here. Jamie Bulgers parents are separated and live a life sentence with the horrific loss of their precious little boy while his killers were helped to find jobs and given protection. In case anyone is wondering, criminal responsibility here is between twelve and fourteen but in this case it was ruled that it should be lowered as a one off, making a legal precedent for the future. The case received some criticism because of the media attention and hysteria but the terrible nature of this crime was unprecedented. I really don’t know why films have to be so graphic. When you think that Dracula and Frankenstein in the days of Christopher Lee and the earlier ones in black and white were 18 or x rated and the worst thing in those was a bit of neck nibbling, its ridiculous what is acceptable now.

  58. Michael Wright says:

    It’s strange, my younger brother who is 10yrs my junior loves horror movies including the slasher type. My mom when she was alive (she died in 1999) also loved them. They would read the same horror novels and see the movies together. I can’t stand them. I can watch war movies or documentaries with graphic battle scenes and have no problem but if I watch a slasher film I get nightmares and can’t shake them. All I can figure is that it’s in the presentation. What I am watching is in a historical context and isn’t gratuitis. Game of Thrones sounds great but I have heard about the violence and I don’t think I could take it. I must admit I am a bit of an odd bird.

    1. Christine says:

      Aw no your not Michael! I too find violence not very entertaining to watch, when it’s an historical movie showing battle scenes it is expected, but like you I don’t like it when it’s just added to the picture for drama, when younger I saw ‘Jaws’, and was too scared to go to bed in case I dreamt I was being pursued by the monster fish, I do watch a lot of supernatural programmes on tv and loved ‘Most Haunted’, I have often gone on haunted events around London and on one New Year’s Eve visited Hampton Court on one of their haunted excursions, I was very upset to hear of the death of Derek Acorah even though there was some controversy about him being a fraud, I think he put it on a few times when nothing was happening, but I do believe he was a genuine psychic, he had a great following and I have seen him perform when he came down south once, I own one of his books and loved his Ghost Town Series, speaking of horror movies now I cant watch them as too much blood, one of the daftest I saw was ‘House Of Wax’ with Paris Hilton, I preferred the Vincent Price version because it was not so much bloody as suspense filled, it is the suspense that’s more scary, this remake was ridiculous, there are not many horror movies that frighten me but ‘The Exorcist’ chills me to the bone even after all this time.

      1. Michael Wright says:

        Thank you for that Christine. Jaws is actually one of my favorite films and though I’ve seen it many times the scene with the head popping out of the hole in the boat still makes me jump. I must admit I have never seen The Exorcist. A very good scary Spielberg film with no gore is one he directed for television in 1971 called Duel. It starred Dennis Weaver as a man being inexplicably hunted down by someone in an unmarked black semi. What made it so frightening is the truck is treated as if it were a monster. The monster is eventually defeated but you never find out who or why. This is not one to leave you sleepless, just really tense as your watching it.

        1. Christine says:

          Yes I like Duel it’s all the more scary as you never see who’s actually driving the truck, he overtook it early on and from then on it haunted him, it is a very good film and we all cheered when the truck went over the cliff top, Weaver was brilliant as the innocent driver who slowly turns into a nervous wreck, you must see ‘The Exorcist’, though it can turn your stomach when the little possessed girl is lying in her bed and she really does look hideous, watch out for the scene when her head turns right round, watch it and let me know what you think, it did inspire a lot of similar movies about demon possession but most of them were rubbish.

        2. Banditqueen says:

          The original Haunting about a group of people staying during an experiment in a house which has seen many murders and things is really genuinely scary, a psychological thriller. The remake is nowhere near as good, too many special effects and the original wasn’t gory. It’s probably one of the most frightening films I have seen, after my favourite Werewolf film of course the first Howling, the werewolves have long hair which makes them even more creepy. That scene with the woman inside the house and the werewolf trying to get in at the door and then when it gets in and grabs her, is literally one of the most frightening scenes ever. I love it but always have nightmares. In fact I am giving myself the creeps writing this now as the hall is dark and the moon tonight is full, clear and shinning and looks very odd, shimmering almost and is very atmospheric. I haven’t heard of Duel but I will check it out. Did you ever see that movie about a nightmare car called Christine from years ago? Its believed that in moderation and for the normal functioning adult mind appropriate horror films are a very healthy way to let out our dark side without doing ourselves or others harm. The Mask is another supernatural classic but its in Italian with subtitles and hard to get hold off. I downloaded it some time ago and was actually terrified. It’s great. Oh well healthy scare ourselves but without too much gore.

  59. Michael Wright says:

    I was a projectionist at a local theater and actually ran Christine. I did enjoy it but I just have really no interest in horror movies. Never had. I’m not completely convinced that what you watch has a direct bearing on your behavior. I think there are many factors involved. As I said previously my younger brother was/is into the horror and slasher genres. My oldest sister warned our mom that he was going to be violent or a killer. He’s 48 and has never been in any trouble whatsoever. Her oldest son (50 in December) however is another story. He was dishonorably discharged from the Marine Corps for beating up a prostitute and later spent time in prison for rape. When he was about 10 he attacked my youngest sister with a pair of scissors. Her younger son has had a few drug problems but no violence. Neither were allowed to watch the movies my brother did. She also has 2 daughters who have never been in any trouble. I look at Henry Viii. He was not brought up in a really violent time and was well loved. The Wars of the Roses were mainly over and Henry’s father mostly punished people with exorbitant fines, not death with the exception of treason and possible pretenders. Henry Viii however as soon as he came to the throne executed 2 of his father’s advisors with no compunction. How on Earth did Henry Viii turn out to be this way? I think it someone is going to be prone to violence there is already a psychological problem and that external factors may trigger something but are not the cause.

  60. Michael Wright says:

    Hi Christine. In re the Exorcist m brother also keeps urging me to see it. He says I’ll enjoy it. I’ll watch it in the next couple of weeks and let you know. Thank you.

    1. Christine says:

      Yes I recall when it came out at the time there was a bit of a hoo haa, in the papers someone hung themselves after watching it, it appeared to have a pyscological effect on the vulnerable but really, in the years since there have been loads of frightening films released, does it have an effect on some I’m not sure, I know the Chucky films influenced a dreadful murder crime where the victim was said to have been tortured the same way a scene in Chucky was done, they say teenage killers are more influenced by horror films like these, maybe as you say they have a psychological problem which these films trigger of and of course drug abuse does have an effect on the brain, long term drug abuse has been known to create schizophrenia, it’s a shame about your nephew Michael maybe he will eventually turn out to be a decent human being, I think Henry V111’s execution of Epsom and Dudley was just to appease the people they were baying for their blood, at the time Henry as you say had just ascended the throne, he was well known to be affable friendly and generous, everything was rosy for him, he was married to Katherine and thought soon he would have a son, it was the disappointment of the years that followed that I believed was partly responsible for the tyrant he later became, the head injuries certainly did not help, and of course there was Anne Boleyn who he wished to marry and found there that the course of true love did not run smooth, it is the trials of life that maketh the man, I am sure you will enjoy ‘The Exorcist’ it was the most talked about film of the decade, as I said before to me it is still the most frightening film I have ever seen, though there have been plenty, Bq mentions ‘The Howling’, that too was scary, I have seen ‘Christine’ based on the Stephen King book, sometimes I get stick about it for obvious reasons ha! But after discussing ‘The Exorcist’ I have an urge to watch it again so may do so.

      1. Banditqueen says:

        I won’t be watching the Exorcist, either the original, remake or the series, that can stay in someone else’s mind.

        Children are more likely to be influenced by most horror films, especially the more juicy and gory and explicit ones these days because their brains are not equipped to filter out the bad stuff and ten year olds are blood thirsty in any event. Add the addiction to such films by constant exposure and abuse and they are more likely to see how far they can copy it in real life. They haven’t got any impulse control. There are good reasons for these films being eighteen and milder ones being fifteen, to prevent things like the murder of Jamie Bulger by two ten year olds. Even the Lord of the Rings was twelve of fifteen. The books have children versions because they are not meant for children below that age. The Hobbit was written for children, the Ring Cycle was written for older teens. Some stupid parents took their kids to see it and ended up walking out the moment a bit of gore was shown. If the film is 12 or 15 or 18,_sorry don’t watch it, certainly not on their own. The whole idea of stricter film and video ratings was to stop another Jamie Bulger murder. Just how much psychiatric help Venerbles and Thompson got is debatable because one of them is a paedophile now. He is back again in prison. I don’t believe their ID should be protected any further once they continued to offend. Their parents should have gone away for life. However, the recent movie, oh yes, there was a movie on very limited release and banned in Liverpool, made last year incorrectly showed the mother of one as a screaming shrew. Denise Fergus, Jamie ‘s mum wasn’t consulted and the film was eventually withdrawn from further distribution. It is actually based on trial transcripts but it showed the disturbing CCTV footage of Jamie being targeted, led to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, half a mile away and the brutal torture and assault. It was sick to make such a film. A book about how much love little Jamie gave was released by his parents in order to raise money for charity to highlight what happened and prevent its happening again, but doesn’t contain anything upsetting about his death. Yes, a number of old fashioned horror films are harmless, but several are not. Extreme caution must always be used in exposure to them to children, even with adults present.

  61. Christine says:

    I wonder have you ever heard or seen the drama series ‘The Enfield Haunting’ that was shown a few years ago, the house is a few miles from where I live, and it was notorious at the time in 1978, it was in the papers and on the news, I have seen one of the sisters on the bus and my old boss lived up their road, the tv camera crew were there and the ‘Daily Mirror’ who ran the story, our cleaner told me he looked through the window once and saw objects moving around, it was very famous at the time and since then in the years that followed the two sisters have been interviewed on television, and recently were offered large sums of money to admit to it being a hoax, they refused the money which to me proves it was genuine, as they declared it was not a hoax it really happened, there were many eyewitness accounts including one from a policewoman who saw an armchair move across the room, it will always remain a fierce object of debate and made my once sleepy little parish of Enfield quite famous.

    1. Banditqueen says:

      Hi Christine, I saw the series about that last year. I thought it was a hoax because they did get a lot of media attention but it was probably not as they didn’t take anything.

      However, in a documentary which followed the series, they were all being seen by a number of psychological experts and two members of the family were on long-term drug therapy for acute psychosis. The house itself had some kind of history, I would need more information, the para psychological experts admitted the family had problems and they don’t think it was a hoax but that they didn’t actually find evidence of haunting activity. You probably know I am a sceptic which is the only really scientific and true stance on anything unusual until you assess the evidence. There is also a spiritual element that one has to consider as well as environmental issues plus the state of mind as well as the history of a home. A good number of perfectly rational explanations can explain seeing things, noises, smells, odd senses and of course we suggest things to each other in a group. On the other hand it could simply be beyond our explanations, a mystery, as William Shatner ends on the Unexplained, part of our powerful imagination and the part of the mind which remains unexplained. I loved him in Star Trek and as TJ Hooker but I find his voice very creepy in this documentary series. I tell you what was good in the series as well as the acting, there was some actual press footage and the scenes were aged well and with some very clever photography. I love it when they make dramatic films set in the 50s, 60s and 70s and they age everything even the background to look as if its made back then, really clever. The problem with recreating experience which may or may not be real is that you can’t really put together what someone else saw, you have to be inventive and creating the exact environment is impossible as light levels, temperature, the time and place, the weather, direction, everything contributes to any visual experience and can never be recreated exactly. Even attempting to do it under laboratory conditions is artificial so there are always marginalised errors. Someone describing a shadowy figure is seeing something unique and personal and balancing the eye witnesses description which will by its nature be unreliable as we know from criminal cases with the conditions that are likely to make such a shadow. What sort of shadow? What sort of light was in the room, natural or electricity? Day, evening, night? Where was the figure? What exactly did it look like? Male? Female? Obscure? Anything particularly sinister about it? How did it move or was it still? Was it floating, still, standing, sitting, etc? Trying to reproduce the exact experience and what exactly was seen is very difficult because only one person knows what they believe they saw and transformation of that experience to the screen may need some imagination or even special effects. I remain sceptical of most of these experiences although they are fascinating. Lets face it we all find the witch craze fascinating even though what people claimed was impossible and often imagination, them being vindictive against a nuisance neighbour (I can think of six male medical students I certainly would have been tempted to report for witchcraft just to get rid of them a few years ago, singing Rugby songs and having wild parties until four in the morning every weekend) caused through poison from rye bread or illness or the persuasive voices of others. Confessions came after sleep deprivation and walking all night up and down and constant interrogation. Then the accused started seeing imaginary animals because they were having hallucinations. Repeating that gave their tormentors even more evidence against them. Witches were tried on spectral evidence, the shadow of the accused visiting them and causing harm. This is impossible but it was accepted as lawful evidence 300 years ago. Nobody ever thought the reason all of the testimonies were the same was because people merely reported the standard things known to be the official powers of a witch. The people doing the accusing ironically were well educated, the accused were outcasts. In Salem this trend was broken as some of those brought to trial and execution were among the best educated and most respected pillars of the Puritan communities. Rebecca Nurse was the oldest member of the village of Salem, one of the most respected and best educated, one of the wisest and the most holy of the Church members, a midwife for several years and a petition was taken up when she was arrested. She was the first to be accused on physical evidence, that is upon examination of her body and she caused outrage. 300 people signed a petition against further arrests, but they became targeted themselves. Salem broke every rule of judicial processes even for those days. Thanks to the archive it’s also the best documented witch trial in history. It was the result of several different causes, anyone is possible. Eating rye was blamed because of the hallucinogenic poisons if its diseased, the children made it up, jealousy, over controlled religious ceremonies, emphasising strict moral codes and punishment especially to young girls, all combined to set a paranoid community on fire.

      It’s important to note here that the centre for all of this in Salem took part in the village. In the more sophisticated cosmopolitan town no cases took place and the girls were celebrities and taken from place to place to identify witches across the county and state. It’s also important to note that more people and children were afflicted with the mysterious illnesses than the three children who made the first allegations. The intensity of their upbringing in the home of the new and unpopular minister had something to do with them starting this terrible nonsense rather than anyone else. He had recently read Potts Discovery of Witches and become obsessed with the End of the World, his writing showed him to be psychotic about it. The three children became paralysed by what we might call hysterical illness. A reverend examined them and said it was nothing and they would recover. The doctor said it was witchcraft. The first accused had all upset the family. Sarah Good and her sisters were people who begged and were not the most successful or best people in Salem. They were accused and the craze began. 21 people hanged, 300 plus were rounded up and several died in prison because they couldn’t afford to pay to get out. When you were arrested then you were made to pay for your keep. A person may be found to be innocent as several actually were in the latter trials but left in prison until someone paid their jail debts to let them out.

      I know its not the same thing but as a sceptic I would suggest that the same influences often underline claims of paranormal activity. I would also go as far to say that para psychology is junk science. Unless they have proper qualifications and have replicated the experience under strict double blind laboratory conditions, the results of such observations made on television by them are statistically invalid and scientifically null and void. They are interesting but anecdotally notable only. Yes, there are a number of things we can’t explain, maybe we should not bother but they are not proof of anything.

      1. Christine says:

        Hi Bq, there are a lot of things which I think science cannot fully explain and yes when it comes to most haunted houses I do remain a sceptic, I do not believe that people say they see ghosts when they wake up and see a figure standing at the foot of the bed, when one has been asleep and wakes up in the dark I believe it is easy to see things that aren’t really there, however when an investigation takes place and then some say they have seen this or that and heard things which are rather baffling, then I am not so sure, as said I have taken part in haunted events more for the fun of it really, I have done the ouiji board under the supervision of a psychic and made contact with spirits, I’m not very educated in the Salem witch trials but of course have heard of them as they are quite notorious, regarding possession like in the case of the ‘Enfield Haunting’, I did see a documentary on this subject whereas the priests and psychics call it actual possession by a spirit or demon, but the scientists and psychiatrist’s say it’s all in the mind, and the patients mentally ill, what is the real diagnosis? I saw the girl Janet from the Enfield case not so long ago on tv and she looked haunted, a sceptic was on the couch with her and she was arguing the fact that it was all in the girls mind, yet Janet was adamant it had really happened and many people did see objects and furniture moving around, Janet and her elder sister were both described as being absolutely terrified and later on she did go into hospital as her mum feared for her fragile state of mind, I read though it may not be true, that prior to the haunting the two sisters had been playing around with an ouiji board, I know my cousins husband years ago in the fifties used to live near Forty Hall, this building isn’t far from me, it was owned in the 17th c by a Sir Nicholas Raynton, it is now owned by the local council and is a lovely place to visit, Enfield has long had connections with royalty especially the Tudors, as it is not far from the city, further down in the grounds stood the old manor where the children of Henry V111 used to study, it has long vanished but archaeologists have found the remains deep in the earth, one afternoon my cousins husband was playing in the grounds where the manor of Forty Hall stands, with his friend and his friends father, they all saw this lady suddenly appear in a wide dress with a ruff behind an old willow tree, just near the lake, she smiled at them then vanished, they all saw her and were shocked, it could not be explained as pure imagination as all three saw her, I used to play there all the time yet I never saw anything like that nor did my friends, so I admit I am rather jealous, prior to that some Australian tourists had been visiting and had their photos taken near this willow tree, when the photo was developed this figure was also in the photo, it was very intriguing and the couple sent it of to Kodak, who after examination proclaimed they could find nothing odd about it, it was not a double exposure or anything like that, the security staff told my relation of this strange story and we find it fascinating, in later times the house was home to a Derek Parker Bowles who was a famous horticulturist and was also related to Camilla’s ex husband, if you google Forty Hall it does tell you quite a bit of interesting information, at Christmas they hold craft fairs and in the summer music bands which are great to go along and watch.

    2. Michael Wright says:

      I have never seen the series but I have heard about the case on the Astonishing Legends podcast about a year ago. In find it intriguing.

      I have had one paranormal experience. I was the caregiver to a friend’s grandmother who died at the age of 98 in 2012 from congestive heart failure. She was on hospice and died in her own bed at home. After she passed I called the hospice nurse who came to the house to confirm her death and she called the mortuary and my friend to inform them. My friend came by and then the morticians to remove the body. After they left my friend stayed around for a bit then took off. I then went down into the finished basement where I was living and while standing still for a very brief moment at the point where her lips would be if his grandmother was kissing me on my left cheek I could smell her. She had not been able to come downstairs for over two years so this was not residual. I know with every fiber of my being she was saying goodbye. If she had done that while her grandson was there I would never have noticed it. It meant so much to me because I wanted to know if I had done right by her.

      1. Christine says:

        Yes spirits do let you know by smells they are visiting, some time after my mother passed away my friend went to see a medium, who told her a lot of fascinating things about a lady who had come through who died in her mid seventies, we knew it was my mother and that night when I went to bed I could smell the most beautiful bouquet of flowers, right near me as I lay in bed, it lasted several minutes and a few weeks later during the day I could smell it again though only briefly, none of the windows were open and so the strong bouquet I smelt was not due to any flowers in the house, or coming from outside, it was very strange but also very comforting to me as well.

      2. Banditqueen says:

        Hi Michael, yes this is a well-known and shared phenomenon. Most people see or feel or can smell a scent that a loved one wore after they have passed. Your story is so beautiful, Michael, it’s lovely to know you did right by your friends grandmother. She sounds like a lovely lady. You must miss her very much. It’s part of the grieving process and many people have experienced a paranormal moment after somebody died. I recall seeing my Nan sitting or rather laying on the bed with her white socks on, relaxed on her pillow, in her nightgown and eating sweats as she used to when she wasn’t well. She smiled. I blinked and she wasn’t there. Paul my brother in law saw his late dad a few times. I think its the soul saying goodbye and I am fine. I am glad you got to say goodbye to your friends lovely nan, that must have been a beautiful and peaceful moment. I don’t believe these are hauntings but personal experiences and the farewell of the soul to a loved one. They are also part of our memories and our link with them which goes beyond this life into the next. I believe its also about love living on, the deep love we have for our family and friends and even those we care for, the memories all that creates, the smells we remember, the touch of their hands or lips, the kiss on their cheeks, the little things that made them smile, their strange but individual little ways, even a word can open up that link again and you can see them as clear as day. Its the beautiful continuance of them and their love.

        1. Michael Wright says:

          Thank you BQ and Christine, your kind words are most appreciated. I don’t know if spirits or ghosts are walking among us. All I do know is energy can neither be created nor destroyed only it’s state can be changed and we are electro-chemical in nature. Something has to happen with that energy when our physical forms cease to operate. Does it just disperse into the ether or does it remain coherent? There is so much we don’t know and probably never will.

  62. Christine says:

    Yes Einstein said that energy cannot be destroyed, it is a fascinating thing to consider about what happens after we pass on, it is a very complex subject and I doubt we will ever know the truth till we ‘pass’ on ourselves.

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