Adding a twist of Tudor to a modern Christmas – with two dashes of fun and a sprinkle of whimsy by Laura Loney

Posted By on September 30, 2022

A big welcome to Laura Loney who is visiting us today in celebration of the release of her debut book ‘Twas The Night Before Tudor Christmas, which is beautifully illustrated by Kathryn Holeman. It’s out today in paperback and Kindle.

Find the book on your Amazon store – click here. It really is gorgeous.

Over to Laura…

Does your heart beat a little faster seeing those beautiful Tudor gown posts online? The luxurious swoosh of fabric, the inevitable twirl, all topped with either a French or English style hood and studded with jewels. Have you ever worn such an outfit? Have you ever longed to? Maybe you’d prefer a grand doublet and hose ensemble. Or maybe you’re like me, admiring them, but if you actually wore one you’d be all fancied up, surrounded by people in jeans and T-shirts, and looking more than a tad out of place.

I know the feeling, but I also cannot quench my addiction to history. The solution? I speckle my Tudor obsession throughout my day in ways that satisfy me, but do not overtake my modern life. I read, listen to podcasts, watch documentaries, but I long to share my interest with others too. Maybe it’s because I often think that anyone who isn’t interested in the Tudors just doesn’t know what they are missing.

So I trickle in fun history facts and tidbits at parties, bring up Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn over coffee, maybe tell a Tudor ghost story or two around Halloween. If you are nodding or grinning right now, then you understand and are likely a history fact teller too.

Christmas is one of my favourite times of year. I absolutely love it. It’s magical, sparkly, delicious and full of feel-good vibes. It also happens to have a very rich and interesting history. And you know what? You guessed it. I wanted to bring a touch of Tudor history to my Christmas. The catch? Well, as a mom I can’t very well say to my kids, “Sorry, lovelies. No tree this year. We are going full Tudor. Turkey, dressing and gravy? Nope. Say hello to a boar’s head and a dead peacock made to look as though it’s still alive. Oh and by the way, we are opening all our presents on January 1st this year.” What a disaster that would be!

However, I can bake gingerbread cookies made to look like a peacock for dessert. How about a bowl of Pleasant Pottage to feed hungry guests who stop by with little notice? Maybe enjoy a festive group craft about secret messages?

‘Twas the Night Before Tudor Christmas began as a witty retelling of the classic poem by Clement Clarke Moore, but grew into a much larger book compiling more than 30 Tudor-inspired recipes, games and activities. The story is the heart of the book, and its words are brought to life by the beautiful illustrations created by the talented Kathyrn Holeman. While writing it, I imagined fellow history enthusiasts having a special Tudor storybook to pull from their bookshelves to read every Christmas Eve.

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September 30 – Mary I’s coronation procession in London

Posted By on September 30, 2022

On this day in Tudor history, Saturday 30th September 1553, Queen Mary I’s coronation procession took place in London.

Mary, the daughter of Henry VIII by his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, processed through the city streets from the Tower of London to Westminster.

The procession was a mile and a half long and must have been such a spectacle for the city’s citizens. There were also pageants, wine flowing in the conduits, streets hung with tapestries, and a new queen to see.

Let me share details of that day…

Transcript:

On this day in Tudor history, Saturday 30th September 1553, at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, Queen Mary I left the Tower of London to the sound of guns firing and church bells ringing. This was her coronation procession which would see her processing from the Tower to Westminster, where she would spend the night at Whitehall before her coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey the following day.

The procession leaving the Tower consisted of the Queen’s messengers, trumpeters, Esquires of the Body, the Knights of the Bath, heralds, bannerets, the council, the clergy, the Garter Knights, the nobility, foreign ambassadors, merchants, soldiers, Knights and then the Queen’s entourage. In Mary’s personal entourage were the Earl of Sussex, acting as Mary’s Chief Server; two knights with powdered heads and old-fashioned hats, representing the dukes of Normandy and Guienne; Stephen Gardiner and William Paulet carrying the seal and mace; the Lord Mayor of London carrying the gold sceptre; the Sergeant at Arms and the Earl of Arundel carrying the Queen’s sword, and Sir Edward Hastings leading her horse.

Then came Mary herself. Contemporary John Stow describes the queen that day, describing how she was “sitting in a chariot of cloth of tissue drawn by six horses, all trapped with the like cloth of tissue. She sat in a gown of purple velvet furred with powdered ermine, having on her head a caul of cloth of tinsel, beset with pearl and stone, and above the same upon her head, a round circlet of gold beset so richly with precious stones, that the value thereof was inestimable, the same caul and circlet being so masste and ponderous, that she was fain to bear up her head with her hand, and the canopy was borne over her chariot.”

Behind Mary, according to Stow, was “another chariot, having a covering all of cloth of silver all white, and six horses trapped with the like”. In this chariot was Mary’s half-sister, Elizabeth, and her former stepmother, Anne of Cleves, Henry VIII’s fourth wife. After them, came ladies and gentlewomen “riding on horses trapped with red velvet, and their gowns and kirtles likewise of red velvet”, then more gentlewomen in crimson satin, and then royal henchmen robed in green and white, the Tudor colours. This mile and a half procession must have been quite an exciting spectacle for the people of London.

Ambassador Simon Renard recorded in a letter to Philip of Spain how “The streets were hung with tapestries and strewn with grass and flowers; and many triumphal arches were erected along her way.” The pageants and displays on Mary’s route from the Tower to Whitehall did include a triumphal arch decorated with verses praising her accession, created by the Genoese merchants; but there was also an image of Judith, the Israelite heroine, at Cornhill, created by the Florentines; conduits running with wine at Cornhill and Cheap, and the singing of verses in praise of the Queen at Cornhill and Cheap. At St Paul’s, the Queen was addressed by the Recorder of London and presented with a purse containing 1000 marks of gold by the Chamberlain. John Heywood, the playwright, delivered an oration in Latin and English at the school in St Paul’s Churchyard, and then at St Paul’s Gate choristers held burning perfumed tapers.

Finally, Mary I reached Whitehall, “where she took her leave of the lord mayor, giving him great thanks for his pains, and the City for their cost” and then she retired for the day to prepare herself for her coronation.

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September 29 – Cardinal Campeggio arrives in England to hear Henry VIII’s case for an annulment

September 29 – Cardinal Campeggio arrives in England to hear Henry VIII’s case for an annulment

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September 28 – Elizabeth accompanies Mary I to the Tower of London

September 28 – Elizabeth accompanies Mary I to the Tower of London

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September 27 – Catherine of Aragon sets sail for England

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