25 March – Lady Day

Posted By on March 25, 2015

800px-Henry_Ossawa_Tanner_-_The_AnnunciationThe Tudor tradition of Lady Day keeps Tudor historians and researchers on their toes, and causes confusion when dating events which happened between 1st January and 24th March.

“Why?”, you may ask. Well, because in Tudor times the new calendar year did not start on 1st January, it started on 25th March, Lady Day or the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin, the feast day commemorating the day that the Virgin Mary was first told that she was carrying Jesus. This has to be taken into account when reading tomb inscriptions and brass memorials, letters, documents etc. For example, a primary source may date Lady Jane Grey’s execution to 12th February 1553 and Thomas Boleyn’s brass memorial gives his date of death as 12th March 1538, but we would say that they died in 1554 and 1539 because we take the year as starting on 1st January instead of 25th March. Confusing, eh?

Of course, it isn’t just Tudor historians and researchers that have to be careful. It wasn’t until the Calendar Act of 1752 that the beginning of the calendar new year was changed from 25th March to 1st January, so any documents, tomb inscriptions etc. written and dated between 1st January and 24th March in a year prior to 1752 need a year adding to them. The National Archives website also explains that “In publications you may see this written as January 1750/51, the year as it was known at the time / the year as we know it now. This is also known as OS (Old Style) and NS (New Style).”

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24 March 1603 – The Death of Queen Elizabeth I

Posted By on March 24, 2015

The Death of Elizabeth I, Queen of England, by Paul Delaroche

The Death of Elizabeth I, Queen of England, by Paul Delaroche

In the early hours of 24th March 1603, after a reign of 44 years and 127 days, Queen Elizabeth I died at Richmond Palace at the age of sixty-nine.

You can read all about her death, including a primary source account, in my article 24 March 1603 – Death of Elizabeth I and you read more about her final days over in an article on The Elizabeth Files – click here and another one on The Tudor Society.

Here are some Elizabeth I facts and trivia:

  • Elizabeth was born on the 7th September 1533 at Greenwich Palace and was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.
  • “Nicknames” for Elizabeth I include “The Virgin Queen”, “Good Queen Bess” and “Gloriana”.
  • Elizabeth herself gave nicknames to people she loved and trusted – She called William Cecil her “Spirit”, Sir Francis Walsingham her “Moor”, Robert Dudley her “eyes”, the Earl of Oxford her “boar”, François, Duke of Alençon, her “frog” and Sir Christopher Hatton her “mouton”.
  • Elizabeth I never married, although she had a number of suitors, and thought of herself as married to her country and the mother of her subjects.
  • Elizabeth I’s funeral took place on 28th April 1603 and she was buried at Westminster Abbey.
  • Her motto was Semper Eadem, meaning “Always the Same”.
  • Elizabeth was imprisoned in the Tower of London for a time in Mary I’s reign for suspected involvement in Wyatt’s rebellion. She thought she would be executed.
  • Elizabeth I became queen at the age of 25 and was crowned at Westminster Abbey on 15th January 1559.
  • Elizabeth I’s skin became badly scarred by smallpox after she suffered from the disease in 1562. She covered these scars with a face paint of white lead and vinegar.
  • Her favourite dress colours were white and black which symbolised purity.
  • Although she rarely spoke of her mother Anne Boleyn, she made use of Anne’s falcon badge on several occasions and Anne may well be depicted in the miniature portrait in Elizabeth I’s locket ring.

And what about her achievements?

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