14 February – Being a royal favourite doesn’t save you and A dog licks up the king’s blood


On this day in Tudor history, 14th February 1539, Sir Nicholas Carew, a royal favourite for over 20 years, was tried for treason after being implicated in the Exeter Conspiracy. Spoilers – his trial didn’t go well.

But how did a man who’d been in royal favour for so long come to such a sticky end? Find out in this talk…

Also on this day in Tudor history, a prophecy was fulfilled as a dog licked up King Henry VIII’s blood.

Find out more about this prophecy in this video…

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One thought on “14 February – Being a royal favourite doesn’t save you and A dog licks up the king’s blood”
  1. I completely agree. There are only two people who know the truth about how they felt about each other.. Anne and Henry. I believe there was only one woman, Henry really loved, besides his mother, that being his first wife and true Queen, Katharine of Aragon. He always compared his other wives against Katharine as his benchmark. Henry often complained that Katharine never spoke to him the way Anne did. Henry cried over her last letter. Maybe that was guilt over his treatment of her but there is no doubt in my mind that Henry loved Katharine for at least 20 years and wouldn’t have left her if their marriage had been blessed with living sons.

    I do believe Henry and Anne fell in love but that’s not how they started out. Henry didn’t want a long term relationship with Anne. He wanted a mistress. Anne said no and inflamed his ardour. It’s fair to say that Henry’s need for Anne turned into an all consuming passion. We might call it obsession but it was more than that, Henry was genuinely interested in Anne. He was passionate about her. I don’t believe it was harassment as Anne was complicit in the game of love.

    Anne didn’t go to Hever just to get away from Henry. She was playing with him. She didn’t want to be his mistress but she was flattered by his attention. Anne wasn’t his employee, she was his wife’s and Henry was genuinely falling in love with Anne. It was far more complex as all relationships are. Anne had to take time to examine her own feelings.

    There is a measure of guesswork here when it comes to analysing how Anne felt. Henry wrote her at least 17 passionate love letters but we don’t have her replies or initial letters from her to him. Henry wrote that he wished he was in her arms, that he enjoyed her company and that he wanted to fondle her breasts. He wanted to have her as his mistress and she said yes, but she now looked for marriage. The yes to that offer of sole mistress was explicitly said when Anne sent Henry a diamond and lady in a boat. It is clear that Anne and Henry where playing games with one another and sometime during this process of cat and mouse, they fell in love with each other.

    Henry’s letters are less frantic by the Summer 1527 and here he displays more tenderness. This changes dramatically in June and July 1528 when Anne nearly died of the sixteenth century Covid, Sweating Sickness. Henry was out of his mind and sick with worry and anxiety, so much so that he couldn’t stop writing to her and was in floods of tears over her near loss.

    I believe that Henry and Anne’s relationship became strained very early on. But this was nothing compared to the rows they had in 1529 and 1530 over the process of his annulment from Katharine. By the time both of them prepared for marriage in 1533, they had waited 7 years without official permission to get married. Anne was constantly frustrated and voiced her opinion in public and loudly. Henry was too comfortable and not rushing things. Yet he broke from Rome for her. Henry was determined to marry Anne but did he lose his passion when he had her?

    There are many complex and intertwined emotions at work during the brief few years of their marriage. Passion and coldness, joy and despair, desperately trying to have living children, rows over Henry and other women, rows over Mary, joy over Elizabeth and victorious visits to religious houses, jealous outbursts, loving moments in private, loving making up after rows and passionate love making. There were times of loss and moments of joy as another child was conceived. It all exploded after Anne’s miscarriage in January 1536. Anne was blamed for the loss of a baby and she blamed Henry for causing it. By May 1536 the love they once had for each other was gone. Anne was in the way. Whether or not Anne really did love Henry, now as Queen she was dependent on him and his protection. The moment Henry withdrew that in the Spring 1536, she was vulnerable. It’s not clear how or when Henry decided Anne had to go, but love turned to hate and hate into murderous disdain, ending in Anne’s execution.

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