17 November – This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes

On this day in Tudor history, 17th November 1558, Queen Mary I, daughter of King Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, died at the age of forty-two at St James’s Palace in London. She had been queen for just five years and four months.

Mary passsed the throne on to her twenty-five-year-old half-sister, Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn. Elizabeth was at her estate of Hatfield when she was informed of her half-sister’s death and of her own accession. She was said to have recited part of Pslam 118: “A domino factum est istud, et est mirabile in oculis nostris”, this is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.

Find out more about Elizabeth I’s accession in today’s “on this day in Tudor history” video:

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128 thoughts on “17 November – This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes”
  1. I think we should still celebrate the accession of Good Queen Bess but the trouble is, recent surveys taken have discovered that many youngsters do not even know about the Second World War, a lack of the knowledge of the most significant events in Britain’s and indeed the worlds history and most are ignorant, totally shocking and yet it shows how much the education system has declined in recent years, Elizabeth is an iconic figure, both as fascinating as her parents who in turn made both their mark in the annals of English lore, the death of her sister Queen Mary however is as sad as Elizabeth’s succession was triumphant, and whilst Mary’s reign is largely seen as a failure, so is Elizabeth’s largely seen as a success, the two sisters were not close and Mary had viewed Elizabeth with suspicion, she deplored her Protestantism and had tried to turn her into a catholic subject without success, when a toddler Mary had been fond of her, she had possibly lavished a lot of maternal love on her pretty chubby little sister, she must have felt a kindred spirit with her, both their mothers had been discarded by the king, now Elizabeth was declared a bastard and Mary felt sorry for her, however as Elizabeth grew up Mary’s feelings began to change, Elizabeth irked her, she was spirited vain and clever she had a witty tongue like her mother, and what was worse she looked like her, Mary loathed Anne Boleyn for ruining both her and her mothers life, she must have seen that dead queens face looking out at her from her daughters dark eyed gaze, also she was aware Elizabeth was much younger and considered more eligible even though she was still a bastard, their father had them restored to the succession, so child of a convicted traitor she maybe, illegitimate she maybe, but she was next in line to the throne after Mary, therefore sisterly envy must have also been prevalent, the plots against Mary during her time as queen did nothing to ease the tension between them, Wyatt unsuccessfully tried to put Elizabeth on the throne and whilst he stated she had no knowledge of it, she was still viewed with suspicion and at one time was incarcerated in the Tower, after release she was kept under house arrest for a year, Mary could take no chances and we must remember, her own brother had left the throne to Jane Grey, Mary had to fight to oust Jane and her supporters, Mary’s ride to the throne had not been easy and she made a disastrous choice of husband, she married her own cousin the King of Spain which was not popular but Mary was in love and so this choice was made with her heart not her head, politically it was a bad move and her council and her subjects were not happy, England may have been swallowed up in Spain’s empire and became just a vassal state, worse they had the inquisition which was greatly feared, the second bad choice she made was to introduce the old heresy laws which decided the convicted heretic was to be burnt alive, people were rounded up and anyone young old, pregnant were chained to the stake, we have to remember though these people were given the chance of recanting and many refused, their bravery was not in question but what is very sad, is that these same people must have been the ones who cheered for the queen when she deposed Jane Grey and her clemency was noted, when she pardoned many of her council who had deserted her in favour of Jane, she had also meant to pardon her and her young husband, she ascended the throne in a blaze of cheer and optimism as after all, she had always been very popular as was her mother, she was Great Harry’s daughter and they wanted her not young Jane Grey whom most had not even known existed, therefore Mary’s own popular ascension to her throne soon sadly dwindled away, it is tragic that her reign is largely remembered by the crackling fires of Smithfield, what is more tragic is she was young when she passed, not really young by Tudor standards but her youth had been lost by her fathers whims and fancies, her father so caught up with his own matrimonial affairs failed to secure a suitable match for her, and her bastardy made it much more difficult to procure a husband for her, her adolescence had been spent torn between both parents and misery and anxiety had made her prematurely old before her time, although as the daughter of the king she lived in luxury her mental state was in question, and she must have suffered periods of depression which culminated in migraine attacks and of course, she possibly suffered from endometriosis as it was noted she had very painful periods, a condition which often renders the patient infertile, when she married Philip she yearned for a baby and I feel this could be in part maternal feelings aside, because she did not want Elizabeth to have her crown, sadly she was considered way too old to have her first child, and she suffered on two occasions in the space of a year to have phantom pregnancies, she could have suffered from cancer but in the winter of 1558 she fell ill of what sounds like a flu virus, today flu can carry off the very old and weak and the young too, if they don’t take sensible precautions, if Mary was suffering from cancer she would have been considerably weakened by this latest onslaught to her health, on her wedding day she was ecstatically happy but Philip made every excuse to leave her and was not with when she died, this sad queen does deserve our sympathy, she was not the vengeful queen of legend, she did burn hundreds of heretics but a proper analysis of her character shows a misunderstood and possibly misguided woman who was in reality very kind to those less fortunate than herself, she often visited the poor in their hovels taking baskets of food and medicines for them, she had plenty of friends in her own circle as she had her mothers gift of inspiring love and loyalty, she had been feted wherever she went in the days when her father was planning to discard her mother and with their sympathy, grew more loyalty, she was especially popular in the north, and accompanied her father and his fifth queen on a very popular tour there, the loss of Calais which had been English for centuries was a hard blow and must have made her more depressed, her passing was sad and what made it more so, was the country which had welcomed her so fervently had now turned against her, there were few of her subjects who mourned her passing and the success of Elizabeth’s golden reign is largely because of the complete contrast to that of her sisters unpopularity, the old bitter ailing queen with the blood of heretics on her hands is in sharp contrast to that of her younger sibling, the splendour of Elizabeth’s ascension to the throne is more so because of her youth and popularity, and she represented the ending of the dark days and the coming out into the sun, the struggle Mary had to secure her throne also made the path much easier for Elizabeth, the plots Mary had to endure the fight for her crown made the succession pass peacefully into Elizabeth’s hands, no more blood must be shed in the battle for power, she desired her sister to maintain the Catholic religion in England a request Elizabeth had no intention of keeping however, Elizabeth’s joyous exclamation spoken in Latin when she received the council officials into her presence reverberated around the country that misty November day, there were many catholics who were not pleased however but Elizabeth was to show she was a tolerant monarch when it came to religion, only after the plots by her catholic subjects were discovered did she view them with more mistrust and later, had them hounded, it was made worse when the Scottish queen was imprisoned in her realm, Elizabeth’s coming to the throne had not meant to happen, she was meant to be a boy and her female state sent her mother to the scaffold, after her brother was born her chances of ever becoming queen were remote, but the weakened Tudor genes meant slowly the path became clearer for both Henry V111’s daughters, I have heard the story many a time of how Elizabeth was sitting under an old oak tree in Hatfield forest when she saw a cortège of men on horseback riding towards her across the fields, over the years I have visited Hatfield and it is like going back in time, the hilly fields and dense woodland, the ancient building, I have often fancied I see the spirit of Elizabeth there, walking with her ladies wearing a little feathered cap and maybe practising archery, standing with her bow and arrow like Artemis the goddess of the chase, in the long black and white marbled gallery there are valuable paintings of Elizabeth and other Tudor courtiers, there are artefacts on show including correspondence between her and Mary of Scots, Elizabeth’s gloves and stockings are on display, and her gloves are so long and elegant which are exactly how her fingers looked in her many portraits, this day was an exciting day for England, but I feel it is tempered by the death of Queen Mary who could have been a very popular monarch had time been on her side, her distant widower Philip of Spain expressed his regret at her passing and he to went on to have no happiness in his second marriage, he lost his wife and his son was mad, years later he suffered a double blow when he lost his prized Armada, let us on this special day for Elizabeth also remember Queen Mary who tried hard to be a fair loyal monarch, woman who was mourned deeply by her friends and servants, who had been the apple of her fathers eye and whom he had often referred to as ‘his pearl’.

    1. Regarding education it’s the same over here. When American history is taught which is seldom it is to stress how racist our founding fathers were and how bad our country has always been. Some young people are ‘triggered’ by the sight of an American flag. What is going on?

      Back on topic: I know Elizabeth was not perfect and certainly had her problems but I do think because of her reign the Tudor dynasty went out on a high note.

      1. Yes today we have a certain body of people saying British history is racist because of our colonial past and should not be taught, you cannot change the past and it is because of certain events people learn from their mistakes and move on, the Britain of today is not to blame for what our ancestors did and at the most a lot of countries did benefit from British rule as it was a benign empire, however slavery was shocking and rightly abolished but we get a lot of activists complaining about for example, some years ago some students campaigned to get the statue of Cecil Rhodes taken down outside the university because he was ‘racist’, their campaign failed and rightly so, Cecil Rhodes belonged to another age, why do these people harp on about the past, it was a different age then, and then I heard some wanted the statue of Nelson taken down from his rightful place in Trafalger, these snowflakes see racism and intolerance everywhere, they did not succeed either and in one city or town in England the council banned Christmas trees because it might offend the Muslim community, it’s getting ridiculous now to the point I can foresee a backlash happening, you mention your flag, that has also happened in England, in some places the Union Jack is considered racist, I fail to see how ones own national flag displayed in its own country can be considered racist, to the small minded sadly it is.

        1. The past is past but we have learned from it and continue to do so. We will always make mistakes but we grow. Don’t repeat the bad stuff but don’t ignore it. Teach about it but in the context of the times. In a few hundred years I’m sure our foibles will be brightly visible. Without us there will be no future but neither would we have our present without our past.

      2. America has a proud history and in just several hundred years you have evolved from a vast wilderness of a country, to become the worlds number one super power, she was founded on people who bravely left their homes in England and Holland and other European countries to weary of religious intolerance and persecution to seek out a new life, where they could live out their lives in peace and harmony, American history should be taught, I always liked the story of the pilgrim fathers who traded peacefully with the natives, Pocahontas is a legend and I love the Disney film, I also have a book based on her story and her romance with Captain John Smith, the Mayflower is one of the most famous ships in history, how can learning history offend some people, it is what happened, they seriously need to grow up and toughen up.

        1. This may sound conspiratorial but I believe globalists like George Soros want the bonds of soverignty broken in all countries to fullfil their agendas of a one world government. What better way than to make people hate their own countries.

    2. Yes I find it quiet weird that a lot of young people don’t know about things like WW2, (and this is speaking as a 14 year old) British history is quiet extraordinary and exciting to learn about. In my school i’am known for having a extensive knowledge on history as I love it so much. My favourite types of history is more medieval and Tudor, but I also find modern history interesting.

  2. Thank you Claire for sharing your immense knowledge with us.
    Best wishes to you and your family.
    Mariella (from Italy)

  3. Yes I think your right there about Soros, he’s interfering and most people scoff at him but he’s a very dangerous man.

  4. In the words from Golda Meir;
    “One cannot, must not try to erase the past merely because it doesn’t fit the present.”
    Australia is also a very “young” country, white Settlement going back just over 200 years. Although we can’t be held accountable for our predecessor’s actions, we have done our best to apologise and make amends. I can’t see the reasoning of trying to either erase our National holiday (Australia Day) or move it to another day and call it something else. I love history good or bad, it’s how we came to be.

  5. Our history is controversial and it is not always something to celebrate, we are a xenophobic people and racism does underpin many of our interactions with other races but we were not the only ones. Almost every European country has a dark past when it comes to their colonial past and first international connections with the people of America and the Indies. The fact that islands of the coast of Southern and central America were even called the West Indies in the first place showed our ignorance. The Spanish thought they had arrived either in India or China, although close examination of the actual logs of Columbus and others prove he knew he wasn’t that far East. That the mistake wasn’t later corrected by later colonies showed the deep set racism of European culture. Still calling every native people that we encountered ” Indian ” went on for many centuries regardless of their ethnicity. English, Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch and French colonists have all treated native people as if they were slaves or as second class citizens, taking their lands and property, religious icons and forcing white European ideas on them. Misunderstanding initially led to conflicts but the retribution was terrible. Thousands of people were enslaved, killed, tortured or forced to work in mines and thousands died from various Western diseases. Drake, Hawkins, John Smith, numerous voyages of discovery also involved the enslavement of others and the start of the transatlantic slave trade. Whatever good came from new discoveries abroad has to be counter balanced by the true history from the point of view of the people affected by those encounters.

    Not everyone treated people poorly, some effort was made to learn their language and ways and to paint and draw them in their own settings, in their communities and to represent them positively and to also show their art and crafts. Strange as it seems, a number of native people were actually brought back to the English Court, showing off but in a patronising manner. Some leaders were quite happy to accept Elizabeth as their Queen, but once the so called explorers left they mocked them and held their own ways superior and why not? A number of small colonial settlements were established and relationships established over time and came under the control of various European powers as well as long term trade relations, a long-term relationship between American countries and the Western European powers and Empires were built, multiple races mixed and benefited, despite the wars and rebellions and destruction which also resulted from exploration. Long before the vast expansion in the Elizabethan era, the conquest of Mexico and the discovery and conquest of the lands of the Inca, Aztec, Mazda and others had resulted in goods coming to England and Europe, expanding our tastes and opening up markets in exotic fruits and spices and the worst thing we discovered, sugar.

    Our links to India already existed, trade with China existed in Ancient times, through the Middle Ages, but these sea routes would open up direct ways of trading not only long term but in greater quantities of a far wider range of goods and allow a permanent presence there and across the globe. Eventually ships would be criss crossing the oceans on regular routes right across the globe and America as we know it now would be born. Elizabeth also established good relations with Islamic nations, although first contact was made due to an initiative in the reign of Mary I. The Great Muscovy Company was established by Mary I to take a trade and discovery and contact delegation to the White Sea to establish a presence at the Court of the Grand Prince in Russia. An accident caused one of the ships to be sunk and the other limped into the realms of the Sultan and we established a long alliance with Islam, in Bagdad and Constantinople. Both the Tsar Ivan iv known as the Terrible and Muram the Second made firm connections at the Court of Elizabeth I. In the 1570s Elizabeth made an alliance with the latter because of the potential mutually beneficial alliance against Catholic nations. Her alliance with Islam, however, was a problem in Russia, especially with the movement of Ivan to defeat the Tarters and Golden Horde. The Ottoman Empire had links to England going back to Sulieman the Magnificent who offered King Henry Viii an army to help with his reforms and his divorce. Even though a far more complex relationship with the Turks existed in Europe, part one of conflict, part one of far longer coexistence, the defeat of the Turks in Tunisia in 1535 didn’t prevent ambassadors being at the Court of Sultans and even continuing trade agreements. Now England wanted more from the growing and widening routes to India, China and the Orient and Elizabeth was fairly pragmatic about being associated with traditional enemies of Christian Europe, simply because it acted as a defence against Spain. England was notably neutral in the Battle of Lepanto in 1572 when Catholic Europe defended itself against a vast Turkish fleet and won. Ivan was polite but he remained suspicious of further overtures and the same degree of alliance with Russia was never realised. This, of course would have military and political consequences in centuries to come when Russia expanded her own borders into an Empire under Peter the Great and Catherine the Great. It was our own problems, being at war with France, that meant the inevitable conflict over the Black Sea and Crimea was put off for another 130 years.

    That we are not taught proper history in school is totally ridiculous in any modern age, because we are missing so much and our true past has become obscure. What we are actually taught is propaganda. We are taught that Elizabeth I led a Golden Age for example and expected to just accept that nonsense. Her reign had many good points, that is not in doubt, but it also had it’s bad points. Like her father and siblings Elizabeth was the product of the religious disputes of the reformation and so her reign was also one of persecution, a police state, a paranoid state watching everything and everyone, fear and fines for Catholic families, prison and death for Catholic priests and those families who helped them, rebellion from the North, resulting in the greatest official execution of participants in our history, wars with Ireland and Spain and the usual social and economic problems. Elizabeth also created her own dynastic problems. Although she may have indeed been put off the idea of marriage during her early life, there is evidence that she did want to marry, but with the competitive powers after her hand all coming with great risk, her council at odds over who to marry and her own desire alone to have power, Elizabeth made a choice to remain single. I really don’t see why today she is praiseworthy for this, it was reckless and put the succession in danger. It also encouraged favourite competition and people looking to Mary Queen of Scots, who had a son and was Catholic to replace her. Other less serious candidates were the focal point of speculation over the future of the dynasty and Elizabeth almost cost the dynasty everything when she was gravely ill with smallpox. However, recover and rule alone she did, but it was not the strong decision it is painted as today. Mary I may not have made a perfect match and her choice was unpopular in some quarters, but her choice of Philip was a strong and firm one, a good alliance against France, the independent English crown was guaranteed and it was the best match she could make. It was biology that failed Mary, not her choice of husband, Philip was absent a lot, but he was around long enough for Mary to believe herself pregnant even though it was illness which caused her symptoms. They must have had enough of a sex life for Mary to believe herself pregnant in the first place. In fact some examination of her own writing points to a very active wedding night. Suggestions that Elizabeth learned from her sister’s mistake by not marrying are frankly nonsense. Elizabeth learned a great deal from Mary, but it is more likely it was her way of not making any decisions that she decided was the best way to deal with questions of whom to marry. If anything it is more likely to be the choices of her cousin that told Elizabeth to be careful in her choice of husband. Elizabeth also learned the importance of play acting and good speeches from Mary who twice rallied her people when her crown was at stake. The I am married to England speech was borrowed from Mary, alongside her coronation robes. The gender free authority of the crown was made firmer by Mary and this alone made it easier for Elizabeth, a bastard to most people, to succeed. Elizabeth and Mary learned hard lessons growing up and both of them were transformed by those life experiences. They were actually a lot more alike than history admitted.

    Under Elizabeth culture and art did flourish, literature and literacy became wider, the theatre was given much more status and common people enjoyed its now open arenas. The Queen enjoyed a good play, but there was also censorship and even Shakespeare and his men got into trouble for showing Richard Ii just before the Essex Rebellion. Their excuse was they needed the money and had no idea it would cause trouble. Portrait painting became a major way of showing off the Queen and her magnificent wardrobe and through much of the money and riches brought from our colonies or stolen from Spanish ones, a huge building programme took off. Grammar schools had always existed, alongside Kings Schools and parish schools but now they were given more importance and investment. English was by now more prominent as a language but it took on a more international role with our presence around the growing world. Some early attempts to help the poor with the Poor Law of 1563 and 1601,_but war and famine and crop failure were as devastating as they ever were, especially towards the end of Elizabeth I reign.

    Now for the greatest myth of them all…I hate to be a party pooper but this really annoys me so I am apologising for my rant but history and the story of Elizabeth and the Spanish Amarda defeat are poles apart. The victory was a deliverance, no doubt about it, the victory at Gravilines helped the victory and mythology, but it was the weather which played the biggest part and for most of the time, Elizabeth I was not at Saint James Palace plotting her victory, but out of reach hiding in Richmond in the countryside. It was only for the last few days that she was in London. Her Captains ran out of ammunition, Elizabeth didn’t want to know, she had something of a minor breakdown in fact, she was out of communication for part of the time and indecisive. She laughed off reports of a potential trap and the progress of the Amarda which despite days of skirmishes was largely in formation. It was as much quarrels on board the Spanish commanders ships that enabled Howard and Drake to find an opportunity to attack. Even when it was impossible to collect the 40,000 men from Holland to invade, the Spanish still stuck to the original plan, even though they had a golden opportunity to take out the stricken and poorly armed English fleet, half way through the invasion. Had they attacked then, the Spanish would have won. The Armada was sighted by luck making anchor near Calais and she was vulnerable. She was attacked and lost a few ships, others were set adrift but she recovered. Finally an opportunity arose and with the fire ships she was sent into chaos. Gravilines turned the tide of defeat into a victory and the storms did the rest, but this was almost a successful invasion. Elizabeth in the end kept her nerve and her luck held. Storms of Scotland and Ireland wrecked many of the remaining ships and Philip admitted he had been heavily beaten. Elizabeth made a wonderful speech, with more mythology attached to it after the danger had passed but it was her commemorative coins and painting that put the victory over Spain into the mythology of Protestant propaganda and our history books.

    The aftermath of the Spanish Armada was as much a disaster for England as it was for Spain. The financial disasters almost bankrupted the treasury and more than half those who served died of hunger, neglect and disease. The seven Counter Armada attempts to stop Spanish expansion were all disasters and Drake died on one of them. The English Armada which you won’t be taught about in school of 1589 was a complete tragedy. Its aims were to attack Portugal and separate her from Spain, so England attacked her own ally, to take retribution for the attack on England and to stop as many Spanish ships as possible. 1500 English sailors were killed in the attack on Lisbon for one thing, it was a complete disaster on both land and sea and it wasn’t Spain who lost what was left of her ships. The conflict dragged on until James I did something about it in 1606 and the trouble with Ireland continued until 1607 as well, although it was never to be resolved until the Good Friday Agreement. The suppression of the biggest disasters for England from a military point of view and the cost to the country leave a sour taste and makes me wonder what else lies beneath the mythology of the Elizabethan Golden Age, hidden in the darkness of Tudor Britain and her very violent and ruthless dynasty.

  6. Elizabeth really was a strange character, she insisted on wearing trowels of white paint maybe to disguise the smallpox scars she had, and the frizzy red wigs as she grew older I always thought what a ghastly look it was, she also wore her gowns so low and one foreign ambassador commented that he could see her wrinkly white chest she definitely was an eccentric, Cate Blanchett in the movie showed her transforming from young queen to a mature woman in this process, from a normal flesh and blood person to iconic figurehead, she modelled herself on the virgin Mary the blessed mother of Christ, it’s true the golden age is a myth, science and the arts flourished and it was an age of great discovery but it never completely obscured the troubles Elizabeth had with Ireland, the persecution of her catholic subjects, the wrongful imprisonment of Mary of Scots, the defeat of the Amanda was another pr stunt, the way royals are feted for going on tours like Harry and Megan today doing their bit for charity, it’s all about pr, making themselves look good they have spin doctors, Elizabeth was in a state of heightened anxiety during the Armada invasion, she slept with one of her ladies so frightened was she, her speech at Tilbury has gone down in history as a stand against tyranny that all added to the myth of Gloriana, the defeat of the Spanish did wonders for her image but it was the weather that definitely contributed to its destruction, the sailors were treated not well at all and their families were not compensated for their deaths or illness, beneath her piles of white make up turning crapey on her aged skin, and her head adorned with curls of dark red wigs, adorned with rows of pearls and dressed in heavily ornate and brocaded gowns, she looked magnificent, underneath that glamorous visage however her head was sparsely covered with wisps of grey hair and her skin pitted with smallpox scars, not as bad as her dear friend Lady Mary Sidney, but to Elizabeth a very vain woman and queen as well, she could not let anyone see her complexion as it really was, she was also trim and lithe all her life, she never grew corpulent like her father and she possibly had inherited her mothers slender frame, she enjoyed her image of the virgin queen as it made her appear almost mystical but she was only human like the rest of her subjects, she could be a terror to her ladies in waiting for she was given to bouts of ill temper, and yet be gracious to the common people when she was one of her tours, she definitely had the common touch, when young the people loved to see her riding in her carriage or astride her horse, she was not beautiful but was considered striking with her straight lean carriage, her long oval face with the dazzling fair complexion and wavy light reddish golden hair tumbling over her soldiers, her fairness contrasted with a pair of knowing dark heavy lidded eyes that she had inherited from her mother, she was friendly and gracious and had all the charisma of her father, her reign found its way into the history books and for centuries Elizabeth’s rule was seen as a great one, text books regale tales of her glory to schoolchildren and there have been movies and drama series of her reign, the defeat of the Armada shown as the culmination of her victory, I feel Elizabeth was every bit an enigma as her mother was because the real woman is hard to define, we can only wonder why she never married and if she was really a virgin at all, she liked to bruit it around but was she actually virgin intacto? That also adds to her mystery.

    1. Slight correction: that stuff Elizabeth wore on her face was a concoction made from lead. There was an actress, I believe French about a century or so later who died quite young due to that mixture eating away a good portion of her face. Elizabeth was very lucky. I wishI could remember where I heard that. It may have been in a documentary about Elizabeth.

      1. Hi yes you are right it was made from a mixture of lead and other concoctions, women did use it as it was a sign of beauty to have very white complexions, in Elizabeth’s case however it was used to hide the disfiguring smallpox scars, it was very dangerous as a lot of women did die from lead poisoning I also heard that it may have caused Elizabeth’s death, in Victorian times they used belladonna to brighten the eyes, another deadly aid in the quest for beauty.

        1. In regards to Elizabeth’s death I’ve also heard that poisoning from the abscesses in her terrible teeth may have led to heart failure. She did live longer than anyone else in her family. She died at 69. The next oldest was het great grandmother Margaret Beaufort who was about 65 or so. Its probably good that Elizabeth passed when she did as many of the new young people at court didnt respect her as those in the past had in her younger days.

  7. Elizabeth had to wear the heavy paste, lead and all because of the bad scars from smallpox. She was luckier than Lady Mary Herbert, nee Sidney, was badly scarred after taking care of the Queen and had to semi retire from Court. In a rather cruel act, in my opinion, when Ivan the Terrible offered Elizabeth his hand in marriage (she would have been four from seven) Elizabeth offered to send Mary Herbert in her place as his wife. She sent for her lady and when the Ambassador from Russia saw her face he declined the offer. The paste must have taken a long time to prepare and it was also flammable, so she would have had to sit well from the fires. Its one of the reasons for fire guards, the Georgian fashion for putting this stuff on their faces and for putting wick in their wigs meant they would melt from the heat or catch fire. As was often the case back then, the cure was worse than the sickness.

    The reality of her life and age came into view in Elizabeth’s mind when the very rash Earl of Essex burst into her private bedrooms and demanded to see her, only to be confronted by an elderly, pox marked and wrinkled, wiggless and probably toothless Queen. He had no right to be there, it must have been frightening and embarrassing and no wonder she topped him in the end after his treasonous attempt at a rising. This was one of the few times the real Elizabeth was seen because it took hours to prepare her every day.

    1. The Georgians elaborate hair wigs and false pieces they wore was filthy and rats and mice nestled in there, although in paintings they did look beautiful they were carriers of disease, Elizabeth did have bad teeth I read it’s because she loved meringues and ate loads of the stuff, she would have had her pastry chef prepare elaborate pieces for banquets and then there was marzipan to, but it is not known if she was fond of marzipan, called marchpane in those days, but she kept her weight of by rising early in the mornings and going out for long brisk walks, she loved horse riding and dancing, that must have been awful for her I agree when Essex burst into her bedchamber after riding hastily from Ireland mud still on his boots and sweating, what on earth was he thinking of and where were the guards at her door? It was a dreadful breach of protocol and Elizabeth must have felt very vulnerable, no woman likes to be seen first thing in the morning by an admirer, and for the queen it was ten times worse, for she relied on her image to command respect and adoration, she was Gloriana without her glittering jewels and ornate clothes, her red wigs and rouge and powder she looked as she really was, just an old woman with thinning grey hair and had he passed her in the market, she could have been taken for any old lady, she could not have forgiven him for that outrage, only her ladies saw her thus no man not even Cecil, it must have been embarrassing for not only Elizabeth but Essex to.

      1. Yes, the ridiculous wigs had to be constantly cleaned because rats and mice got into them, the best of them were made of either silk or real hair or some other very expensive soft material, wired and powdered and waxed. They were an art form because of the work which went into them. The hair was often powdered in any case in the eighteenth century, but Elizabeth had bright red wigs, as all of her portraits show, all but one. One portrait shows Elizabeth in the late 1590s and its very grim. Here she is surrounded by symbols of death, a Grim Reaper included and she looks all of her 66 years or so, she looks drawn, no wig, no hiding from the world, no skin protection, only herself, vulnerable, old, tired, drawn and wrinkled, looking every bit her age, the weight of her long reign upon her face, her body flagging under the responsibility of caring for her people and she looks ready to lay down that burden. It is a very personal but sad portrait of the Queen, but it is the reality of her mortality, as she really was at the end of her long life, human, not a Goddess, not an allegory, but a woman. She looks quite delicate and you get the feeling she is in pain and just wanted to sleep. It is a very fragile moment and human portrait but she is still somehow, the Queen. There are some small jewels in her hair, she wears a dark but rich robe, her under dress is still rich with jewels, it is faded gold, it is overwhelming with the black robes and the jewellery does not look as if they are her best. She is leaning on the arms of the chair and death hovers as a skeleton at her shoulder. Two cherubs fly above her head, waiting perhaps to receive her soul into the next life. Elizabeth is tired, but can’t put down her burden just yet, her face shows pain and reluctant acceptance, but life has more for her to do. It is quite a moving portrait and it cannot have been easy for Elizabeth to have signed off on this very revealing portrait, because in it we see her as a vulnerable older, ordinary woman, not as a magnificent Queen.

        1. Yes that portrait certainly is gloomy it’s as if she is saying to death itself, come and get me, when I see that portrait I imagine Anne Boleyn would have looked like that in old age, had she been allowed to live her full life span, it is quite remarkable that she did allow herself to be painted as such, maybe she was just fed up with trying to look and sound like an immortal? She looks like she is thinking to herself ‘ I am just so tired of it all’.

  8. It shows Elizabeth has accepted that she is getting old and has lived and reigned for a long time, she has reached a good age for that time. She is almost ready to let go, as you say, tired of the burden and responsibilities of her position. Elizabeth has accepted she is mortal. It’s a really strange image because it is not how one expects to see Elizabeth I and yet here she is, completely outside her comfort zone and as she really was. Maybe this is a more private portrait, rather than a public one. It’s not something one imagines her people seeing, but every portrait had a purpose: this one must have been a personal choice.

  9. I know the painting your talking about. It’s quite shocking after seeing all of her other images as ‘Gloriana’. I was not aware that she had approved this portrait. I just kind of thought (with nothing to back this up) that it was painted clandestinely and didn’t see the light of day until well after her death.

  10. It only came to light a few years ago and it really is as you say, much different than her other portraits which show her in all her glittering majesty, her head is resting on her hand and she looks really fed up, weighed down by burdens of state and maybe health issues to as well as maybe personal problems, possibly it could have been painted after her young favourite the Earl of Essex went to the block, she looks like she is reflecting back on her life and remembering with sadness the people she had loved and who were now dead, Catherine Knollys had been her lifetime companion and her death had devastated the queen, she had been a link to the mother she had never known, Kat Ashley she had been very fond of, the woman had been an old gossip but Elizabeth had loved her, there was also Blanche Parry who had nursed her as a baby, then her wise old trusted councillor and friend William Cecil, he also was dead his son now served Elizabeth up to her own death then he served her successor James 1st, it must be hard growing older and losing those close to you, she did live to a good age by Tudor standards and especially, for a child fathered by Henry V111 as we know the mortality rate of his other children was very high, she did rather well, her great grandmother Lady Margaret Beaufort did rather well to, dying at around 65, again old by the standards of the day, and when we know as a child she had experienced a most horrendous birth it was a wonder she and her child had survived at all, the fate of this most talked about royal dynasty was all down to this remarkable woman, she did give us the Tudors after all.

    1. When her time finally came, though she seemed to fear death, I think because of all the reasons you gave she also welcomed it and she certainly earned her rest. I wonder how she would feel today about her rather high reputation?

      1. I think when the body and mind are weary it can be viewed as a welcome release, it is intriguing to wonder what Elizabeth would make of her legacy today, that she was popular in her lifetime is not in doubt yet she had her enemies to, some years ago she was voted England’s favourite monarch, it seems the legend of Good Queen Bess is still going strong today.

        1. Some historians believe the portrait is an Allegory of Elizabeth and was done after her death in about 1610, but an earlier version has been dated to between 1593 and 1601. Two controversial portraits of Elizabeth appeared aged 60 by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger and Jacab Oliver which show her with a very drawn face. One is known as the Ditchley Portrait because it was corrected and no sitting has been confirmed after 1593, although a number were “corrected” . Roy Strong believes Elizabeth and her government declared that the public would be in shock and fear at seeing such portraits, so she ordered the suppression of many later images and the gathering up, destruction or correcting of her image in a Mask of Youth. The famous Rainbow Portrait for example dates from 1600, when she was almost 70. Like many others Elizabeth looks far younger than she actually was. The original Allegorical painting was painted circa 1593 to 1596, probably kept under wraps and then emerged much later on. One theory is that the black death of 1593 which killed thousands of people, weighed heavily on Elizabeth and this portrait, meant to reflect her successful years, captured instead her grief and misery, her own wish for death and as nobody knew she would go on for another decade, it was believed it may be her last portrait. However, she obviously had one more celebration of her inner youth to come, as the Rainbow Portrait shows. This in contrast is a vibrant and magnificent celebration of Elizabeth, she wears sea pearls for purity, the Rainbow is the symbol of her greatness and the immortality of herself and her reign and then we see a warning in the beautiful bright materials, eyes and ears and serpents. This is a political statement. The eyes and ears of the state are watching everything you do. Every portrait of Elizabeth and indeed most monarchs is loaded with symbolic mysteries. Her secrets are revealed by the modern x-ray and deep scans, providing evidence that most of her latest portraits, although undoubtedly authorised at the time, have in fact been subjected to a Mask of Youth, covering a much older looking woman.

          We have to remember that Elizabeth was a long lived woman as well as a long reigning monarch. Very few people lived much longer than middle age at the time and although we do have notable exceptions, few monarchs have outlived her until modern times. I believe that at her death she was something like the third or fourth longest reigning monarch, two others being Henry iii and Edward iii, both of whom came to the crown as children. Elizabeth was 25 and reigned for almost 45 years. That was extraordinary. She managed to escape a large number of assassination attempts, real and imagined, two major Northern Rebellions and several conspiracies by her male favourites and she was still seen as a Goddess to her people. It is only natural that she would prefer her image not to slip in their eyes so I can well imagine that public portraits were really scrutinised but it’s now clear I think that some remained in her personal procession, even hidden away and have been copied later for the purposes of prosperity. Calling something an Allegory of course meant the Stuarts who succeeded Elizabeth could say it wasn’t a real representation but something more abstract and find symbolic mysteries that don’t hurt her reputation.

  11. Yes after all the painting was only discovered just recently and there was quite a furore about it, hardly surprising as it is just so gloomy with all its illustrations of death and whatever, and Elizabeth’s aged miserable appearance, I was not aware of the Black Death being prevalent in 1593 so thank you for that Bq, it could be that the painting then was a symbol of the queens grief over the deaths of her subjects, and this was a way of mourning them, Anne Boleyn was said to wear a gown with eyes and ears stitched into it as a warning to her enemies, so yes we can see how attire can have significant meaning, I have seen the magnificent Armada portrait of her in her white and gold gown with huge wing like regalia on her back, it stands in London’s National Gallery and is truly an exquisite portrait, the queen looks mature as she undoubtedly was but more like a faerie queen with her iridescent complexion and in this portrait, her hair is more golden than red, which was probably the shade it was in her youth, it truly is a beautiful painting if you are ever in London Bq, you must visit the art galleries, there are such a lot of beautiful works of art in there.

    1. Hi, Christine, yes, that’s a very good explanation because she would be aware that the plague was taking a great toll on the population, it was one of the worst outside of the famous Black Death 1348 to 1350 which decimated up to half of the population of Europe and the Great Plague 1665,_which was followed by the Great Fire, although plagues ran wild every year, this was a nasty one. The state took the usual action no doubt, restricted travel, get rid of the rubbish, shut down theatres and slaughter houses, cleaning everything, shut up those infected and doctors wearing those strange protective items and masks wandering about, the cemeteries had specified areas for burial and several other public health measures. However, the rats were not slaughtered, although in some outbreaks cats and dogs were, but I don’t know if they did that this time. The fleas lived on the black rats but for some reason nobody killed the rats, which even if you didn’t know that’s how the plague started, maybe if you are killing everything else with fleas, why not kill rats? Of course the air was blamed, although it’s believed they suspected contact as well, which was why doctors washed from head to foot and burnt the clothing afterwards. Restrictions on travel and isolation also indicated some fear about contact. None of these measures worked because the healthy were locked into their homes with the sick and may probably all be dead once the house was opened again. One of the main city Churches, one of the few to survive the Fire of 1666,_ recorded every death from plague and is a great resource, especially with the Cross Rail underground project where the archaeologists are moving the London dead first and studying them as the railway is laid. The few processions of each person are also listed. The London Museum is a real treasure house of life in London over many centuries, especially the many thousands of skeletons they look after. The knowledge, though that you could do very little about the plague but hope and pray, must have been truly frightening. I can well imagine the Queen being worn down by it all, devastated by the news of so many deaths. This portrait captured the sheer humanity of it all.

      I have been to the NG and NPG, Christine, they are wonderful places, but because some discoveries have changed over the years, some portraits misidentified and then identified anew since I was last there, I would love to see the new information. I will try and get down again, some day, because I really do love galleries. Steve freaks out after one floor, even though he is interested in art because he isn’t interested in portraits, except certain artists. He had a glazed look after one hour in the NPG and didn’t even go into the NG. We saw many of the Tudor paintings in the special experiences in 2009 on Henry Viii and Elizabeth I and the Holbein sketches in Windsor Palace. The gallery in Sudley has copies of most of them. So you have a Whos Who of the Tudor Court in date order. The ones of Charles Brandon fascinated me because they don’t look anything like the three normal paintings of him. As drawings, they are like a negative and probably more realistic. I don’t believe Hans Holbein set out to flatter and he is most famous for revolutionary portraits because of their realistic and controversial looks. In some cases he may as well have used a camera because some experts believe they are the closest we will get to seeing our Tudor forebears. However, we also have to remember the sitter controlled the commission and our monarchs said how they wanted to be portrayed, so maybe we are seeing the real Henry Viii, maybe we are not. After all the famous cartoon one, you know the huge full face, full hips, full body, huge codpiece, full on Henry, like the one in the Walker and other galleries, houses, of which different versions exist, giant Henry from 1536 onwards, is stretched. The proportions are not right. It’s mad to look at because it’s overpowering. That was the whole idea. It hung in his presence chamber and confronted visitors and courtiers alike. If Henry wasn’t enough, towering above most people, a portrait twice as wide as he was and several inches taller than his 6:2 would terrify you. Remember, these portraits were hung high as well, though low enough to confront you fully facing. I have been absolutely drawn to our version at the Walker Art Gallery, since I was a child. I literally would get on the bus in the Summer and go down most days to look at it. I would go on a Sunday afternoon, or after school. I would just literally stare at it. Maybe that explains why I became obsessed with Henry Viii. The portrait of Elizabeth is so much smaller and probably a later copy, but the portraits of her in the NGP and NG are very special. The ones around the various houses are also special. The Amarda portrait of course is magnificent and domineering and you see Elizabeth the Glorious Queen, daughter of King Henry Viii: it says don’t mess with me and this nation. I really must see it again. There is nothing like seeing something close up. Pictures on the net or in books don’t do art justice. You need to see it in the flesh as it were. Some artists have really captured the colours and materials in those magnificent dresses, the pleats, the furs feel as if you could touch them, every rich detail brought to life.

    1. Helen I’m not quite sure what you mean, there is no post on here that says her death was celebrated by any of us, that many of her subjects celebrated is not in doubt but there were those who mourned her to.

      1. It was something which came about during the reign of Elizabeth I to add bling to her reign rather than Mary I, whose reputation was tarnished by her sister’s propaganda machine and the Foxe publication of his greatly exaggerated and very visually detailed Book of Martyrs. This depicted gruesome woodcuts of the deaths and persecution of heretics under Mary, but didn’t also show that of Catholic martyrs because under Elizabeth that was acceptable. The winner wrote the history so a paranoid government could do what they wanted to put down a predecessor. Mary by her contemporaries was not named Bloody Mary, it came from the even more paranoid later Stuart period to exclude Catholic monarchs from the throne. As terrible as this persecution was, the reign of Mary was actually much more benign than her sibling or her father’s, but she was painted as something evil and her accomplishments were played down. The introduction of an Ascension Day to celebrate the Ascendancy of Elizabeth I raised her reign to a time of glory and happy deliverance, rather than the day being one to mark the passing of a former Queen. I don’t know how long this absurd holiday was held for but it is right that it was abolished, because it gives a false impression of history. Why celebrate Elizabeth I still? Why not any other monarch? Why not Queen Victoria or Henry Viii or George iii or Edward iii or any other King or Queen? Why not all of them, for that matter? Maybe because we live in more sensible times and we simply don’t still hold to holidays that cause great offence and which Elizabeth had for herself in the first place. I don’t believe people would even understand why it was celebrated today, but I am sure everyone would not mind another day off. After all there is nothing to stop anyone taking a day off and having their own celebrations and good luck to you if that is your pleasure. I doubt it was meant to celebrate the death of Queen Mary but that was what it would have turned into. With our monarchs in such a mess at the moment, we should be celebrating more appropriate things than the Ascension of Elizabeth I. The way things are good we might even see the start of a Republic.

  12. i remember there was quite a crowd around the armada portrait and it was drawing quite a few gasps of imagination, I’m sure it was that day I saw Princess Diana, she was on an unofficial visit and had lots of security with her, I often think of that time, it was in the early nineties she was so slender and for a moment I was just staring at her not at the paintings, after a few minutes more people noticed her but no one bothered her which was nice, mind you she had enough men round her, she was laughing at something one of them said, I told everyone at work on the Monday that’d I’d seen our future queen, of course fate ordained a different path for her but I’m glad I saw her anyway, getting back to Elizabeth and portraits, yes her father definitely had his painted in such a fashion so as to instil fear and respect, as you mention the ridiculous codpiece a sign of his virility was huge, he stands legs astride and it is a stance adopted by the young King Edward, who sadly tried to emulate his auguste father yet with his thin frame and bird like legs, he is but a pale shadow, I have often wondered in fact given his reputation if Henry V111 really was as terrifying as legend says he was, he is said to have had a high pitched voice which given his large frame is strange, one imagines a loud bellow instead, his daughter Mary had a low gruff voice yet she was short and slight, when Henry was in one of his tempers I cannot imagine a high pitched voice carrying much momentum, yet it was his lack of mercy which was terrifying, Anne Boleyn never found him terrifying and would have terrible rows with him, but she was exceptionally brave for a woman, Katherine of Aragon argued with him as well and downright refused to agree to an annulment, but then these were his wives,he probably was softer with women, yet Mary his daughter openly defied him for several years, sometimes writing him sarcastic notes which must have turned him purple with fury, a disobedient daughter is different from a disobedient wife, his ministers however found him a fickle difficult and capricious monarch, likewise his daughter Elizabeth 1st, Sir Thomas More and Bishop Fisher openly defied Henry V111, had he been as terrifying as the depiction of him in so many movies and books for instance, would these people have openly defied him for so long? I feel the answer is in the kings youth, for so long he had been seen as a merry generous amiable monarch, however subtly he was changing and it was the frustration over the divorce that was changing his character, it changed Anne Boleyns to, once known as sweet and cheerful she was turning into a vengeful harpy with an acid tongue, by the time they were married they were worn out and exhausted and then, in the January of 1536 Henry V111 experienced a fatal head injury, this last injury had sinister undertones as it may or may not have changed his thought patterns, he certainly suffered from blinding headaches and his old leg ulcer opened up causing him much misery, pain and discomfort does a cranky person make, Henry V111 once loved for being so handsome charming and gay, had altered drastically in face figure and temperament and the cartoon of him in his later years shows a huge gross man with a huge bloated head, the bumpy dumpty face of nightmare as Charles Dickens described him, there is another later sketch of him to, and in this he looks quite repulsive, his face is so jowly it completely obscures his neck, his once red hair is white and wispy, and it is the expression in the eyes in fact that I find particularly frightening, they are looking sideways and they are like narrow slits, he appears to be contemplating some ones death or the seduction of some lady he has a fancy for, they are lascivious cruel and yet mischievous to, like that in the flesh I should imagine he was truly frightening.

  13. Hi Helen. I don’t know how far you are into Tudor history so here’s a basic that may answer your question. As you can see from the post it is about the accession of Elizabeth I. Mary was Elizabeth’s half sister. Her mother was Henry Viii’s first wife Katherine of Aragon. Anne Boleyn was Henry’s 2nd wife and Elizabeth’s mother. Mary wasn’t just the previous monarch to Elizabeth she was also England’s first Queen regnant ruling in her in own right. I don’t know if this is the answer you were seeking but I didn’t completely understand your question. There are much more qualified people who post here than me who would probably answer your question more precisely. Perhaps Christine or Bandit Queen would do a better job. I learn a lot from them.

    1. Thanks for explaining. Your comment answered my questions.

      I studied Tudor history when I was younger but it was so long ago I’ve forgotten most of it

      1. You are very welcome. Be sure to peruse this site and follow this blog. Everything Claire posts is based on documentation that can be checked. No opinions or theories by her. You will learn a lot here. I certainly have. You may also have noticed we sometimes get off topic

  14. I’m sure you’ve seen photos if Abraham Lincoln. He also reportedly had a high pitched voice. If you saw the Steven Spielberg film ‘Lincoln’ with Daniel Day Lewis you are seeing what I feel is the most accurate representation of Lincoln ever presented.

    I was fan of Princess Diana. What I really appreciated about her was her work in trying to ban land mines. I was at work when I heard about her death and was quite shocked.

    1. Hi Michael, no iv never seen that film but have seen plenty of pics of Lincoln, it certainly is strange imagining these powerful figures whom people both respected and sometimes feared, having an almost womanish voice, I did like Diana it was a dreadful shock when she died, I felt for her poor boys and for several weeks the newspapers tv and radio seemed to go into meltdown, all you saw was her image plastered everywhere and the funeral was dreadfully sad, everyone seemed to be weeping, what I feel made it worse for her family was Fayed harping on about conspiracy theories, it did not help her family, and here I am talking about the Spencer’s and her sons, but that really cannot be ruled out, there was something odd about that crash, Diana was foolish in the company she kept I think she was naive, it was over twenty years ago when she died but she will never be forgotten, as she lives on in William and his brother and their children, her death reminded me and I think it did many others of the equally tragic death of Grace Kelly, or Princess Grace of Monaco as her correct title was, before them it was Marilyn Monroe her death was just as tragic, and it will never be ascertained wether her death was murder suicide or accidental death, beautiful icons it seems are not destined to live long.

      1. For years I believed the conspiracy theories. I couldn’t believe it was an accident. I finally came to the realization that it was a tragic accident. I do however still blame the media for what happened (fairly or unfairly). They hounded she and Dodie so mercilessly that her driver, who was in no condition to drive because he had been drinking felt it necessary to get behind the wheel and speed off to escape them. My thoughts also went to her boys. So nice to see they have fared very well since their mother’s death.

        1. No chauffeur for the royal family drives like he’s on the racing track and had she had Scotland Yard protection she would still have been alive today, she should have still been protected as she was the mother of the heir to the throne, Fayeds administration was totally useless, a drunk driver high on drugs it was inevitable a tragedy would occur, there was no need to drive like a madman to escape pursuing paparazzi Diana was used to that anyway, I thought it was just a tragic accident but Diana was cavorting about with Fayeds son, a rogue businessmen mistrusted by the establishment and denied a British passport because of his numerous shady dealings over the years, he illegally acquired Harrods and was allowed to keep it, but he paid a price and has been denied British citizenship ever since, he was forever railing about it and tried to ingratiate himself with Diana, and through her the royal family, it would have been the icing on the cake if his son married Diana and therefore became the stepfather of the one day King of Great Britain, Fayed amongst those who knew him described him as a snob and would only take Harrods bottled water with him on trips abroad, his staff explained how whenever Diana visited Harrods Fayed was to be informed immediately and he would go down and fuss around her, he told Dodi to break of his engagement to his American model fiancée and court Diana, it was obvious what he was up to and many of her friends told her Dodi was not the ideal companion because of his father, I am not being critical of those of a different religion here, but for the mother of the heir to the throne to marry into a Muslim family which many thought Diana may have planned, would have been highly flammable as her son on being king would have become Head of the Church of England, his opinion could be swayed to the point where the very religion the monarch represents could be at threat, since Fayeds conspiracy theories the queen has had her security heightened as she is feared to become a target for Muslim extremists, Diana’s relationship with Dodi was highly toxic and I think she should have displayed more common sense, i am not sure wether I believe she was actually assassinated or whether it was the fault of her intoxicated driver, but there was something sinister about that white Fiat uno that just appeared to be waiting at the entrance to the tunnel and which apparently has disappeared of the face of the earth, Fayed sold Harrods and now keeps a low profile, many felt sorry for him because he also lost a son but he will always remain to the British establishment at least, a man of dubious character.

  15. I too loved Princess Diana and I don’t believe the conspiracy theories, her death was an accident and I am sorry she was denied the happiness she had found with Dodi because she was denied happiness in the most dysfunctional family in Britain, the Winsors. I believe she lived for her sons, who hopefully have turned out better than the Queens sons, neither of which should be allowed anywhere near the English throne. The blame for her death lies with the press who hounded her to her death and her driver is only partly to blame, but it wouldn’t have happened if the French press had not been laying in wait for them at a restaurant in Paris that evening.

    There was actually nothing to stop Diane marrying into a Muslim royal family, regardless of their business connections, the fuss some elements of our stuffy government and press or the royal family. No law exists to prevent it and if that was her choice then good for her. It is possible she may have been asked to convert but not necessarily. The wife of the late Hussain of Jordan was a Christian from Western Europe, who didn’t convert and the same happened with his son. Whatever the fuss, I would have hoped Diana did marry him and had some happiness. She was so different from the rest of them and put them to shame. She reached out to people the royal family would never have helped or visited, like the victims of AIDS and the horrific injuries suffered by children who have been injured by land mines. A lot of ignorance existed before Diane shook hands with a patient who was HIV positive and the film of her work with children in Africa who had limbs missing after stepping on land mines led to an international campaign to remove mines and clear up abandoned mine fields. She always appeared gracious and genuine and underneath she was hiding sadness and insecurity, fear and the fact that her marriage was deeply unhappy. Yet, she never wavered in her duty and her relationship with those she met. Her every move, every emotion was captured on film. I will never forget that sad and very private moment she had in front of the Taj Mahal, a symbol of both love and desperate sadness. The QM was against her from the outset, but she was only acting as a sweet old lady and yet the public loved her. She was also known for wild gin parties and excessive amounts of debt due to the booze being served and she never paid her bills. It was based on her own service that Diane was given a state but rather modern funeral. Apparently the QM moaned about it, but Diane was cut off before her time and the template had to be found somewhere. It was with extreme reluctance that the Queen allowed Diane a state funeral because she wasn’t entitled to one as she was divorced. However, the public would have demanded it and the Queen was made aware of the sensitivity of the situation. In public opinion the royal family have rarely been lower in the polls and the delay in returning to London to pay their respects didn’t help, although it was misinterpreted. The Queen was thinking of her grandchildren and trying to keep them for a time out of the public glare to mourn their mother in private. But that’s not how people perceive things. The Queen has a unique relationship with the British public and the question was asked Where is she? People were shell shocked and the Queen was under pressure to be there in an outpouring of shared grief. The other misunderstanding was in regard to the standard being flown at half mast over Buckingham Palace. The public don’t understand royal protocol so that caused misplaced anger as well. Anyone who has visited any royal residence still in use will know that the standard, the royal flag is only flown when the Queen is actually there. The royal standard or Union flags are only at half mast at the palace if the Queen dies or her parents. The flag flew when George vi died and later for Queen Elizabeth the QM. It will fly when the Queen dies. It isn’t normally flown for anyone else and technically Princess Diane, although allowed to keep her title HRH wasn’t a member of the royal family when she died. Yes, she was the mother of the heirs to the throne, yes she was an ex Princess but the protocols which she was entitled to ceased after her divorce. However, it’s all about public perception these days and the public didn’t know or care about all that nonsense: this was still their Princess, her body on its way home, millions of flowers outside Buckingham Palace and the rest of the family up in Scotland. That was something the Queen failed to grasp and had to be reminded of by, of all people that awful man, the then recently elected British Labour Prime Minister, Tony Blair. Give him his due he took control and made sure the Queen and others did the right thing. Talk about spin. The Queen was really moved to see all of those beautiful flowers and the many messages and stopped the car to read them. From that moment things changed. The public were finally allowed to grieve and a state funeral was arranged. It wasn’t called a state funeral but it certainly was one. There have never been so many pop artists and regular people, representing the many charities Diane patronized, many children, so many groups from just about everywhere and so much modern music at a royal funeral. It was a celebration of her life and work as well as the marking of her premature passing. The new generations are far more understanding and open than the Queen and her children. The press need to give them more privacy and stop bullying them. Even in the light of recent scandal, I have to say the press have done very little to redeem themselves.

    1. The funeral was broadcast here in the states and I watched it. Very emotional. Her loss was felt deeply here too. The Royal family belongs to England but because of her outreach I feel Diana belonged to the world. We were both born the same year so I felt that affinity with her. In regards to flag protocol we have the same problem. The federal government only flys the flag at half mast for certain people and most of the public and the press don’t know the rules so a lot of complaining happens when someone notable passes.

  16. I always remember thinking we had a day of for her wedding then we had a day of for her funeral, Diana it is true did use her status to try to help the unfortunate, unlike Princess Margaret who like Prince Andrew has a useless pampered existence, now the monarchy is going through a very real crisis and I just feel for the queen who has always done her duty and is now in her mid nineties, at her advanced age she deserves peace and quiet not this storm that is engulfing her family at the moment, there are calls for Andrew to be stripped of his HRH, his irritating ex Sarah Ferguson has put her size nine foot in it as usual by describing him as this giant of a principled man – really? She appears to be another one who lives on another planet, the nauseating way she grovels to her ex husband and the queen because she yearns to be a member again is laughable, she would do better to keep her mouth shut, it is rather like Henry V111 being asked for marriage advice,

    1. Yes, indeed, yes, Diana did belong to everyone. The poor Queen really should be putting her feet up now, but she has to do her duty and has always tried to do so. She could really do without the mess of the moment. The House of Windsor make the Tudors look like saints with some of the scandal. Henry Viii for marriage advice? lol I love that. When you yourself are beyond reproach as a monarch, having to apologise for the rest of the family must be really embarrassing and annoying. Of course that could not apply to Henry Viii. He did actually give marriage advice and told his sister, Margaret off for wanting a second divorce. One rule for a man in those times, another for a woman.

      1. Yes Margaret must have thought what a damned cheek, but the double standards prevailed, I actually think all this worry the queen has at the moment is going to be detrimental for her health, monarch she maybe and it seems like she could go on for ever but she’s very old, and with old age comes frailty, she has always done her duty she has never put a foot out of line, and now this scandal the like really has never been seen before, she does not need it or deserve it.

        1. The Queen always ends up taking the brunt and all I will say is getting Andrew out of the limelight is the most sensible thing in this entire mess, with the judgmental press and public interviews. My sympathy is with the victims of the criminals involved and their suffering, but the rush to judgement of social media is disgusting. Condemnation of those who trafficked those girls is one thing, assuming someone connected to that person is guilty, without a trial, investigation and law enforcement bringing any charges is totally wrong. Andrew might be a high class idiot who thinks he is untouchable, but he should be given the same rights and treatment as anyone else accused of such heinous crimes. I know nobody will agree with me, but the last time I looked, the law in this country and America was innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. What people fail to understand is that by conducting trial by social media, he cannot in all fairness be brought to trial further along the way because those hearings are now tarnished. Even if he was charged with anything, hiding knowledge of criminal activities for example, facilitation, participation, whatever a police, FBI investigation shows, any judge worth their salt would have to reduce, suppress or dismiss evidence or even throw it out because no jury could say they didn’t see that interview or read anything on social media which presumed guilt. Andrew should have remained quiet and threatened to sue anything on social media but both sympathized with the victims and alleged victims and made an offer via his legal team to fully cooperate with law enforcement, in a statement not in a public interview. Now I doubt believe he knowingly participated in any illegal sexual activity and this woman making the present claims was 17 at the time, over the legal age of consent here and America. I believe what took place was consensual and that she wasn’t one of the alleged victims. No evidence has been produced to the contrary, just her own public statements for money. That doesn’t mean nothing happened, it does mean it is open to question. I do believe, however, Andrew knew something about other things and should be questioned by law enforcement. He should have had more sympathy for those genuine victims who were forced into sexual slavery and been wiser in his choice of friends. Nobody knows the truth and social and public media isn’t the place for this. If crimes have been alleged or committed or suspected then why isn’t there an open police investigation? The place for getting to the truth and working out what happened is under the authorities of law enforcement, prosecutors and courts, not speculating on social media. Andrew belatedly has issued a statement that he will cooperate with law enforcement, so let them sort it out and the media back off and let’s find out what really happened, if that is actually possible as this happened over a decade or more ago. The Queen must indeed be upset and her children a total disappointment to her, hopefully her grandchildren and great grandchildren will somehow turn out better.

          Yes, Margaret, Henry’s sister that is, made appeals to her brother and received very little in the way of help or sympathy or support. He was too busy pushing his own agenda and with his own annulment, beheading wives and now another annulment he must have come across as really hypocritical. Their last letters do appear to show some personal making up, but yes, there was real tension between them for a number of years.

  17. You have the scandal with Prince Andrew, we may have a scandal with many higher ups inside and outside the federal government. Very few people here believe Epstein committed suicide and it looks like there are many powerful people here who had dealings with that creep who he may have been able to name if he had gone to trial. Those we must not forget are the many young girls who were hurt by these people.

    1. Yes the victims are the ones uppermost in our minds, I would like to think Andrew had no idea what was going on but that makes him out to be incredibly naive and stupid, but he is not noted for his brains anyway, the worse is that he knew yet carelessly carried on seeing his friend, the fact remains whatever his proclamations of innocence he continued to associate himself with this man even after he had been convicted, that makes Andrew out to be a sleaze bag and no better than Epstein.

  18. This isn’t English history but since we are talking about possible conspiracies today is the 56th anniversary of the assassination of President John Kennedy.

    1. That was indeed a dark day for America, yes, the Kennedy family had their own scandal and secrets, but John F Kennedy was a gifted, forward thinking and compassionate man and had a vision which frightened a lot of people. He introduced access to education for black people and ended the unconstitutional ban on them voting, being able to mix freely and that upset many radicals and racists. His handling of the Cuba missile crises was amazing and heroic and his personal intervention ensured it didn’t result in war. I believe he had a lot more to do and although I was only six months old so have no recall of course, it was a great loss for America and the world. By vision I mean the future of technology and science and more importantly, man on the moon which we celebrated the 50th years of back in April. Now we are working to go back, build a base and launch to Mars. It was seen by some as unrealistic at the time but it wasn’t. I wish Kennedy had have lived to see that glorious moment. The funds might never have been cut. America can well afford to keep up the space programme: she just needed to cut the arms budget and stop wasting money on war as we all do. We spend horrendous amounts of money on killing and precious little on health, education and social provision. When Apollo 13_went up America was at war with Vietnam and the loss of life was terrible. Naturally the public complained about the cost of launching another rocket. Very few, apart from the young generations who were protesting actually said lets make peace and don’t waste money on a war which is none of our business. No, the space programme was attacked. Very short sighted. Then an event happened which focused the hearts of the nation on what really matters, three fragile human lives lost on the dark side of our moon. Apollo 13 hit a life threatening failure and she couldn’t land. All that could be done was to find a way to bring those three men safely home. As the world held its breath, the astronauts were dangerously low on oxygen and fuel and out of contact with Earth. America prayed and miraculously Apollo 13 came home. Ironically the project saw another 4/5 successful missions including a four day stay on the moon’s surface. What we learned then and now about our universe, pur own planet and the solar system is astonishing. The ending of the Apollo project gave birth to the International Space Station and the shuttle programme. What we have done since is amazing but what we could have done had we carried on is even more beyond imagination. Yes, space travel is a risk as the sad loss of the crew of Apollo One showed, the losses of Columbus and Challenger since. We go forward in the name of those brave men and women who gave their lives and our movement back to the stars from where we came should be in their honour. A trans European space programme is in full swing with the aim of a manned probe to Mars by 2224. Are we insane? Yes, probably but we are something more important than that, we are human beings and we are amazing and can achieve anything if we open ourselves up to possibilities. We didn’t have the technology when Kennedy made that promise to go to the moon within that decade, but we worked it out and went and I am well with Buzz Aldrin if anyone says we didn’t go, it was a conspiracy. We can find a way, especially if we stop killing each other. The money has to be found and investment made because our future as a race may actually depend on us reaching out into the universe. Of course we have to also learn not to mess up the environment out there or on any planets we may inhabit in the future as we have our own. America and Canadian astronauts still go out to the International Space Station, which will have another one near it in 30 years time, but ironically the Russians have to take them there.

      Thanks Michael for reminding us of that special date. Kennedy should be honoured by the world.

      On a lighter note it was also the date of the first showing on BBC of Dr Who. The news of course took over the ratings and the show was almost cancelled. However, the pioneering director who introduced the first female producer and Asian creative director, decided to show it again the following week with the second story immediately afterwards. It was a smash hit, especially a few weeks later when the Daleks netted over ten million viewers. 56 years later, with the first female doctor, controversial as it was, it is still going, although ratings have gone down because many of the story lines are rubbish. Like the space programme it will bounce back.

      1. I had forgotten that DW debuted in 63. I was a latecomer. Started watching in 2005 with reboot. I was determined not to like Jodie Whitaker as the doctor but after a couple of episodes I really liked her. Love the entire cast.
        The first moon landing was July 20 1969. It’s sole purpose was to beat the Russians. After that they became a little more about exploration. Something else happened on July 20 1969 but was overshadowed by the moon landing: A drunk Ted Kennedy flipped his car into the Chappaquiddick riverr killing Mary Jo Kapechne. He just left the scene and no one ever paid. I have newspapers from that day and it is just a small story towards the bottom. In my opinion Ted could never hold a candle to his brothers John and Bobby.

      2. I watched last years Christmas Dr Who with Jodi Whittaker, I thought give it a go, but could not warm to her, it was daft she did not fit and I thought with nostalgia of David Tennent and Christopher Eccelston both of whom were superb doctors, I was brought up in the 60’s before all this pc rubbish and Dr Who is a man full stop, my fav doctor was Jon Pertwee who was a dandy in his velvet suit and bow tie, for several years we always had Dr Who on Christmas Day, shown at tea time and it was highly enjoyable, now it’s played by a woman and everyone noted the BBC showed it on New Years Eve or New Year’s Day, last year cannot recall which, it’s as if they were saying we know she’s a woman now so she won’t be on prime time on Christmas Day, just in case some of you are miffed, well I certainly was and I’m sure I was not the only one, as the rating figures were very low, I do not like the BBC anyway, since they favour the loony left they are biased, and I think really the only good thing about Auntie at the moment is our very own splendid Sir David Attenborough he’s a national treasure!

  19. Thank you for mentioning that Michael, that was very very tragic for America and Britain to, my cousin who is much older than I informed me of how on the day everyone was going around weeping as he was such a great president, when iv seen footage of that dreadful time he was shot I couldn’t not believe Jackie survived, and afterwards the funeral when his son saluted him as the coffin went by, it was an image shared around the world so incredibly sad and poignant.

    1. I don’t have any recollection of that day as I was barely two years old but my mother who would have been 24 at the time told me when I was a teen that she had the television on all day and walked around the house weeping with me in her arms. Whatever innocence the U.S. may have still had I believe was lost on that day. And then to have nightclub owner Jack Ruby shoot Oswald on live TV while being escorted by the Dallas police is even more strange. I agree about Jackie. How did she keep her sanity after seeing her husband murdered in front of her? She did alright though. She went on to marry Aristotle Onassis until his death and seemed to be happy until her own death.

  20. I was just a tot to, I heard he was killed because it was believed the Kennedy’s had killed Marilyn Monroe, another theory was the mafia which Kennedy had had dealings with in the past and Oswald was shot so he never squealed on them, who can say? Diana’s death could have just been a tragic accident but her association with Dodi was dangerous, Kennedy was a great president but a dreadful husband and had women coming out of the woodwork, his son was very handsome and it was equally tragic he died young to in that fatal air crash, a very unlucky family.

    1. I’ve heard many reasons bandied about. Some make sense and some don’t. Two I’ve heard is that he was killed because he didn’t send in support for the Cuban Bay of Pigs invasion which would have started a war with Russia and another is that Kennedy wanted to join forces with Russia in a joint space program of which the hawks were dead set against. You and I may never know. A 75 year ban was put on the release of key documents relating to the assassination and I seem to recall hearing that that may have been extended. I am positive Oswald was not the trigger man. If you know anything about firearms which I do the Manlicher Carcano that he supposedly used was a poorly manufactured Italian rifle that was not very accurate and especially not at a moving target. Also if you hit something either with your hand or a bullet the impact will not cause the object to move towards you. Just my opinion.

      1. Hi BQ. Slight correction: The legal age of consent here is 18 for most things and for consuming alcohol or tobacco products it’s 21. I am not on any social media platform norbever have been except this blog for the very reasons you state. The outrage mob on line is unbelievable and is the judge, jury and executioner all at once and information and facts be damned. They don’t want or need them. I hope this changes.

        1. Hi, thanks for that. I was under the impression in most states 17 was the age of consent to have sex, but I was obviously mistaken. Thanks for that correction. Believe it or not in Britain, the age you become an adult is 18, but you can do all kinds of daft things before then. I don’t know about you, I am female and science says my brain matures long before a man whose maturity is considered 25. Yet I reckon I was a young 18,_not really ready to become an adult. I wasn’t immature, but that was my personality and character, not biology, I was quite shy and buried in books rather than the disco. I never really feel grown-up for a few more years. Yet I knew 17/18/19 year old girls who were as immature and as daft and wild as any boy, so to say one is old enough to have consensual sex aged 16 or drive at 17 always appeared inappropriate. In the U.K it is sixteen and around the world it varies from 13 to 18, even being forbidden outside of marriage in most Islamic States, but here it was 14 a century or so ago. You could also buy tobacco at sixteen until a few years ago when it was raised to 18. One can of course drink at 18 in Britain. I really don’t know why it isn’t uniform. If you are not an adult until you are 18 or 21 why allow none adult activities before hand. Some political parties want the vote extended to those who are 16 and 17. It’s difficult enough getting 18 year olds to vote without throwing them a huge free party let alone anyone younger. Well the country is in political limbo at the moment so why not? Michael, you are not missing much. I keep Twitter for history blogs, Catholic blogs and football. Everything else I am not interested in. I sign in, have a quick look and sign out. Otherwise the rest is rubbish. I can’t even comment on the Hillsborough trial at the moment because it would prejudice the outcome and the trial would be stopped. For the families of the 96 it’s a nightmare. 30 years later and still no justice. Well the final arguments were today so let’s hope their nightmares are soon over and they can finally find justice and peace.

      2. Yes I think Lee Harvey Oswald was obviously working for someone, I don’t know anything about guns though my father had several shotguns, after we had some crazy men go mad and started shooting at random, such as that dreadful tragedy in the school in Scotland, he had to keep his locked up in a very secure gun case, the police had to come round once a year to check no one could break into it, they were always well hidden anyway and the bullets were kept separate well hidden also, I think it’s not right that Oswald escaped justice, he should have faced old Sparky for what he done, like many other strange deaths we will never know really what happened.

  21. Wheny brother was drinking (sober forb3years now) hevwould call me ranting and complaining about posts on Facebook so I told him to quit reading them. He wouldn’t. Now that he’s not drinking he spends less time on there and I haven’t heard him complain since.

  22. I no my father told me that what irked him was when he got his call up papers in 1940, he was eighteen yet he and others were not allowed to vote, there was such a storm about is as they said how come we are old enough to fight for our country and die, yet not considered old enough to vote? After that the age of voting was lowered from 21 to 18, also on the subject of smoking, the newsagents used to have cigarette machines outside, which was completely irresponsible as any youngster knew how to use them.

  23. Elizabeth I had some interesting international ladies in waiting which I assume is reasonably unique because most ladies reflected the nationality of their mistress the Queen who was from elsewhere or that of their husbands at Court who may or may not have foreign brides. The expansion of foreign relations at various Courts opened up opportunities for more foreigners at the English Court and of course that was reflected in the people who served intimately the King and Queen. The English Court like most European Courts in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were fairly international anyway with artists, musicians, scientists and architects for example coming from Italy, France, the Netherlands, Germany, even as far afield as Estonia in at least one case under Henry Vii. There were Tudors of African and Asian ethnicity living in England for centuries who were representatives at the royal Court and who had high status in noble homes. See the work of Miranda Kaufmann Black Tudors who gives lots of examples of this. Henry Viii for example had black Court musicians and a herald who were his personal band and attended him regularly. They are portrayed in illuminated documents and tapestries as well, richly attired and recorded as being well paid. The reformation brought more foreigners to London and to Court, several are noted there particularly in the 1530s and during later reigns. Ambassadors of course often resided for long periods of time and some were here practically all of their adult service. The Court under Katherine of Aragon retained a Spanish flavour but otherwise it had a mix of English and other European countries for most of Henry’s reign. Anne Boleyn had a number of French courtiers and scholars in her retinue and there are notable tutors for the Tudor Princesses at this time. Prince Edward was also notably educated. Most of these are men obviously, whereas I am interested here in notable ladies. Katherine of course had the redoubtable Maria de Salanais who was her faithful friend and was with her at the end of her life. Inga de Venegas was another close Spanish lady who remained with the Queen her entire life. Anne of Cleves arrived with an entire host of German ladies, but only a handful remained, two have been identified from their Christian names as Katherine and Gertrude. However, more work has been done in recent biographies on her German household. I have to make a premature post as I have to break off here but will return with more details.

  24. I recall seeing an old tapestry with a black trumpeter some time ago, that could have been in Henry V111’s reign, so yes there were some in service, a lot of new lands were being discovered and in fact after the crusades some exotic animals were brought back to England and housed in the Tower, which at one time became a kind of zoo, therefore there was interest in abroad and its people as well as foreign animals, the black people must have been stared at by the native English but they appear to have integrated well into society, but they must have found it so strange and it must have taken them some time before they acclimatised, it was only later during the Empire they became sadly slaves, there were some in Elizabeth’s reign and after the advent of more settling in London, she expressed concern to Cecil, there were some exotic pets that monarchs owned as well, it seems interest in the inhabitants of foreign climes has always been there, Katherine of Aragon owned a monkey in one portrait it looks like a marmoset or squirrel monkey, Anne Boleyn found them horrific and much preferred birds she was given some by Lady Lisle, and of course we all know she loved dogs, Henry V111 had many pets to including a cat and so did Cardinal Wolsey, it would be interesting to find out about Anne of Cleves ladies in waiting, maybe they stayed in her service when she went to live in Hever and her other homes, maybe one or two of them married, but it definitely would be interesting to find out how they got on.

  25. The household of Mary I was mainly English as was that of Elizabeth I but there are some interesting exceptions of note. For example Mary had three Welsh ladies in her household in the Marches, one Lady Troy who served her and her sister until she retired in 1545. Blanche Milbourne was bilingual and came from a strong Welsh background and her second husband was Lord Troy and as she was quite elderly her retirement was well deserved. A Beatrice ap Rhys was noted as the laundress for Princess Mary in 1519 and apparently for many years afterwards, still serving her as such in 1533 to 1536. Contrary to popular belief her household, her ladies that is was not full of Spanish when she was Queen but English, although some of her ladies as a Princess were Spanish. One was Maria Victoria who was the wife, it is believed, and the sources are two papers on this subject done recently, of one Dr Fernandez Vittoria, who served both Katherine of Aragon and the Princess. He was heavily fined apparently for bringing his wife from Spain without permission but she remained in the service of Mary from 1525 to 1533. Two young ladies who remained long term in the service of Mary and Elizabeth whose parents came from abroad are the later known illustrator Levina Terlinc born in Bruges, one of five daughters and who served Katherine Parr and then received pensions and commissions under Mary and Elizabeth, received gifts in 1562_and served well into old age as an illustration artist. The other was Susanna Horenbolt, sister of Lucus Horenbolt, the Flemish painter, her father being Gerald Horenbolt. She served most of Henry’s later wives, Mary I and probably Queen Elizabeth for a brief time. She was noted herself as a Court painter in England.

    Elizabeth had a very well-known lady in waiting called Helena Gorges who came from Sweden. This lady was of very high noble stock and probably minor royalty. Known as Elin Snakenborg from her mother’s family, her father was Ulf Henricksn of Ostergotland and his wife, Agnetta who was a descendant of the Earls of Orkney. During the 1560s Helena served the Princess Cecilia of Sweden, the King’s daughter and in 1564 she came to England with her mother to visit Elizabeth I, who was a distinct relative. Helena married in a love match, Sir William Parr, brother of Katherine Parr, the Earl of Northampton and joined the service of Queen Elizabeth as a chamberer and then privy chamberer in 1567. However, William was already married and although divorced, could not marry until her death in 1571. The Earl died in 1578 and his grave is marked by a tiny plaque in the Beauchamp Chapel in Warwick. Helena married Thomas Gorges without the Queens permission and was banished from Court but later welcomed back. With her second husband she had eight children and served Elizabeth until the Queen died. Helena was the chief mourner at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth I. Her husband died in 1610 and Helena died in 1635. She had 92 direct descendants at her death.

    The Russian and Islamic connection brought another interesting lady to England and the Court of Elizabeth I. A Muslim Lady was painted in the 1570s and is believed to be one Anna Soltana by a recent scholarship on Elizabeth and Islam. An English mission to the Tarters and Greater Russia and then into Persia by Anthony Jenkinson resulted in trade treaties and mutual agreement against Catholic Europe and compromised another treaty with Ivan the Terrible. Jenkinson went on a journey further into the interior and brought a woman called Anna Soltana whom he took with him back to London. She was very well educated and had great skills in dress making and design. She had previously served some high classed nobles in Persia and Greater Russia at the Ottoman Courts and was well known for her high fashion. She was taken to Court it is now believed and came into the service of Queen Elizabeth I to whom she gave fashion advice. Not much more is known but she is believed to have been well respected by Elizabeth and her advice highly sought.

    This isn’t a full list. There were of course others, but they are among the ones we have the best recorded mentions off. Finally I will just mention two attendees off African heritage who came over with Katherine of Aragon. Many of her Portuguese and Spanish Ladies had Moorish origins. One came from much further East. Catalina de Cardines was called the “Ethiopian” and she married an African bow maker and both of them served Isabella and Katherine when she came to England. Another mystery Lady de Bruzia also came from Eastern Africa, although she also had Portuguese blood and married in Spain. She remained in England and served in Queen Katherine’s household until 1533.

    We all know about the main ladies who served these Queens, both as Princess and Queen for many years, but I just thought I would dig up some well known and some not so well-known ladies of the Tudor Court and give them a nod.

    1. Many of the names you mentioned I recognize but I have not heard of Anna Soltana. She sounds fascinating and I would love to learn more about her.

    2. That is really interesting Bq well done! I have always been curious about the people who served in Mary’s and Elizabeth’s households, I have heard of Susan Clarinceux a good friend of Mary’s and Jane Dormer also, they often shared her bed and they were devoted to her, did not Jane marry the Spanish ambassador? I know Catherine Carey was in her cousin Elizabeth’s household and she jealously kept her with her whenever she could, also both Grey sisters but these are well known, as you say it is the others who are a mystery, I have heard of Lavina Terlinc and Susannah Horenbolt both artists, it is strange but Flemish and Dutch painters were very good and when we look at the details in their work it is no wonder they had plenty of praise, they are so lifelike, they excelled at still life, you have only to see the dishes of fruit they captured peaches with the bloom on their skins, and the lustre of the bunches of black grapes – wonderful you can actually reach out and pick the grapes of the canvas, however I am digressing again my apologies, I know the women mentioned above painted portraits I think Terlinc is credited with a miniature said to be of Lady Jane Grey, in looks Jane did appear to resemble Mary 1st and physically as well, they had small features and were both short and thin with the Tudor red hair, academically however Jane was at the top of her league, Anna Soltana sounds very interesting, it is a pity we have no portraits of these interesting women but only in England were high born ladies painted, I don’t know about the royal European families but as Helena was high born maybe there is a painting of her in a Swedish art gallery somewhere? Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us Bq much appreciated.

      1. It took several hours tracking some of them down in detail and some just exist as names but I just got my teeth stuck in and tracked down a few interesting ones. Anna Soltana was talked about in the interview by the author of a wonderful book on Elizabeth I and Islam. It looked also at her connection with Russia which led to more contacts with Islam as an ally against Catholic interests. The connection to Islam and European countries of course goes back much further, especially with Germany, France and Spain and the Crusader States, but relationships centred on Bagdad rather than Constantinople. Accidentally a shipwreck also led to connections with the Tarters and then with the Ottoman Empire when England sent traders and envoys to Russia during Mary I reign and Jenkinson was presented to the Shar of Persia and the Caliph Sulylemein the Magnificent iii and he opened communication, although apparently he wasn’t impressed. In 1558 he went to Khasan and Astrakhan, recently conquered by Ivan the Terrible and here he picked up “Aura Soltana” but named her Anna. This was after he had presented the credentials of Queen Mary to Ivan who had already been negotiating with Richard Chandellor and tried to dissuade adverse relationships with the Ottoman Empire because he was establishing trade with them as well. The Muscovy Company whom they all represented had been sent to get access to the White Sea and open up trade with the Tsars but Russian expansion threatened their equally lucrative trade missions with Islamic countries. This latter mission for trade would flourish under Elizabeth who saw great opportunities. For now, however, Anthony Jenkinson returned to England to find Elizabeth on the throne and presented the first recorded Muslim Lady to enter the country to the new Queen as a gift. Elizabeth of course was delighted and settled her at her Court rather than as a procession or curiosity. The entire story, alongside the future relationship with Islam under Elizabeth and the consequences it had for relations with Russia, specifically Ivan iv are told in a recent book by Jerry Brotton “The Sultan and the Queen” The Untold Story of Elizabeth and Islam from Penguin Books . It is really excellent and well documented. He believes that the relationship in question, with Sultan Mured iii in the 1560s and 1570s onwards was based on mutually beneficial needs for alliances against aggressive counter measures from Spain and Russia, Catholic and Orthodox forces that were rapidly expanding. Elizabeth kept up a long and vibrant correspondence as well as trade and diplomatic missions with the Ottoman Empire for her entire reign, while somehow balancing an international nightmare with Russia. That didn’t prevent Ivan from making a marriage proposal to Elizabeth who refused him or being rude in his later correspondence to the Queen.

        Brotton writes of a woman of Russian/Persian birth being high in the favour of Elizabeth I from 1562 and who helped the Queen to pick her fashion, the materials she wore, her gloves and how she used them as propaganda in a positive way. The lady in question has been recorded with a more Russian name and it is possible she chose this and converted, although in her portrait by Marcus Gheeraects is called “Persian Lady” and there was no reason for her conversion. The lady is recorded by Elizabeth herself in 1564 as ” our dear and well beloved woman, Ippolyta the Tartarian” who wore dresses made of Granadan silk and who had introduced the Queen into wearing Spanish leather shoes. She was also influential on female portraits at the time, including the later one done in 1590,_which although too late to be Anna, is probably one of her students or even her descendants. We don’t unfortunately know anything about her marriage or family, but it is very possible that she was found a husband after she settled at Court.

        This is a remarkable story but we have to pause here and remember this young woman was human trafficked and passed as a gift from Jenkinson to his friend Lyon in London, then to the zoo of the English Court in London. She was fortunate that Elizabeth was enlightened enough to grant her a position of status and to raise her to a more free and comfortable life. This wasn’t the fate of the many others Anthony Jenkinson boasted of bringing back. He claimed to have acquired many men, women and children and these were probably sold as household slaves on his various travels back towards England. They are not recorded in detail. Jenkinson was sent twice more to Russia but also travelled extensively in Persia and China. Elizabeth kept up links established first under the first mission to the White Sea and throughout the Persian and Ottoman Empire and this little known part of her expansion and diplomatic correspondence and trade is one well worth rediscovering. I recommend this book: it gives insights both into human trafficking as the dark side of any contact between the West and East, but more importantly the long-term benefits of trade between the same.

        1. P.S There is an interesting article on the Tudor Society website on Helena Gorges, Marchioness of Northampton and a portrait by Robert Peake the Elder and a portrait at the Tate from 1569 of a 21_years old lady is believed to be the young Helena von Snakenborg.

          Suzanne Horenbolt was apparently appointed to the household of Anne of Cleves as a spy. Honestly the poor woman, a political refugee, probably unable to return home, rejected as Queen by the catch of the day, Henry Viii and yes, she was comfortable and well provided for, able to live well as a high status Princess but her household were spying on her in case she told William anything to contradict Henry’s official version on why he wanted an annulment. Not that Anna did anything but continue to please the King and act with dignity, but imagine being spied on. Susan herself was an illustration artist and worked with her father and brother. She was originally appointed as one of four ladies to bring Anne of Kleves over to England and was given £40 to see to her own wardrobe. She had four servants and was very important in Anna’s household. She later moved to the service of Katherine Parr and her date of death is given as 1545, 1550 or 1554 at the latest.

        2. I wish I could say that human trafficking is a thing of the past but as you know it’s still going on. Thank you for your deep dives into this stuff. I really have learned a lot because of your great interest in history.

  26. I have never thought of Anne of Cleves as a political refugee but yes in a sense she was, rejected by her bridegroom caught between her husband and her brother Duke William of Cleves, she posed a quandary to England who had no wish to upset Cleves as it needed the German alliance, her situation was not enviable but lucky for Henry and Cromwell she was amiable and wished to stay in her adopted country, she agreed to the annulment and as her reward had some beautiful gifts as a bonus, fine homes her own household, an allowance for the rest of her life, she was to be known as the kings beloved sister, an honour in itself and she lived a comfortable existence, but trying to keep Duke William happy posed a problem and Henry and Cromwell were unsure how he would react, especially when the news was leaked abroad about the kings romance with Anne’s former lady in waiting, it could be seen as an insult if Henry wanted to discard Anne because he preferred another woman, and it showed this king up in a very bad light his promises it could be said were not to be taken seriously, he was no man of honour, however Cleves was pacified and Henry enjoyed his new bedfellow and Anne settled into life at one of her fine residences, and that year was welcomed at court where she joined in the Christmas festivities, but I have often wondered how did she really feel in her heart of hearts? It could not have been easy for her to have to travel from her homeland to marry a king who was fast becoming the most notorious in Europe, only to be rejected and all knew it was her physical appearance that he found so repellent, Henry had made no secret of it, this is another un king like trait that Henry V111 possessed, his ancestors would not have much such a fuss and kept their personal feelings to themselves, with the great privilege of being king came duty to ones country and if that meant marrying an ugly wife so be it, many kings could not have been fond of their queens but their duty was to give the realm sons and daughters to, they had mistresses for pleasure, but Henry V111 is the only monarch to have to be attracted to his wives and really why discard Anne of Cleves? He could have got a son on her then left her alone for the rest of their lives, poor Anne herself probably was not attracted to Henry either, but she was to well mannered not to show it, he could have kept Catherine Howard as a mistress and that young girl would not have ended her life so tragically on the scaffold, Henry V111 really did not act nor think like a monarch, it was all me me me, he caused a political storm when he chose to discard Katherine of Aragon and nearly caused a war when he tried to discard Anne of Cleves, he was extremely lucky I believe that England remained politically stable throughout his reign, the religious upheaval that was caused by his marriage to Anne Boleyn however remained.

    1. I agree with you about Anne of Cleves. She probably wasn’t attracted to Henry however she was raised to be obedient. Also being that lady of high class that she was she graciously bowed to his request for a divorce. The other tragedy in her life was her treatment by Edward and his counselors after Edward came to the throne.

      1. Yes her cosy existence was threatened somewhat as Edward reduced her income, I can see where he was coming from as why should the treasury have to keep his fathers discarded bride in luxury all her life, now he was the king and he decided what went and what did not, but it was the honourable thing to do as poor Anne had been treated disgracefully really, I think she had to leave Hever but she still lived in comfort, she was closer to her step daughters than Edward who was by all accounts, a cold and unemotional person.

  27. Hi Claire. I just ordered The Anne Boleyn Collection III. Can’t wait to read it. Loved I & II and all the others you authored.

  28. First of all, thank you very much, Michael and Christine, for your very kind words. Very good of you, but I enjoy doing it and when I get my teeth stuck in they don’t come out until the meet has been eaten.

    There is a great Website called vanosnabrugge.org which has a lot of information on the main families connected to Anna of Cleves and to each other, because they are all grand and old German noble families. In the letter from Wotton to King Henry is below copied from the site there is a full list of the 88 wedding guests, not to mention the full 250 plus in her actual train. No first names are given but as you can see they are all prestigious families, including Auntie Anna von Wylich and her husband, Adolf or Odolf who was a Governor on behalf of the Prince of Cleves. She served with her daughter and a cousin of the Princess is also mentioned. One notable person is Mother Lowe or Loe as Anna called her, who stayed with her in England. This was Christiana Elizabeth von Loe and on the site is a chart link to how these ladies and gentlemen are related and linked. The ones at the wedding are highlighted in yellow. Go to the headlines and under 1200 to 1600 a dropdown menu opens with options. Clink Henry Viii and you have the information about Anna and her wedding.

    Not everyone is named but here are eight ladies. 12 are mentioned but some are siblings. More information can also be found in the Marrying of Anne of Cleves by Retha Warnicke and some information, especially on Wotton in Anna, Duchess of Kleves, by Heather R Daisey. This site was a godsend because they are hard to trace on the net other than genealogy.

    Anna von Wylich served Anna and came from Gelderland being of very important families. Her family had territory in Munster and held several important posts of authority. She died in 1559 and was an Aunt.
    Christina Elizabeth von Loe, Mother Lowe who remained in her service.
    Sybella Sophia von Nesselrode who with most others returned to Cleves in May 1540.
    Johanna von Brockenhurst von Battenberg
    Anastasia von Swartzenbroch or Schwartz gorg depending on spelling. These ladies also returned.
    Elizabeth von Wylich, daughter of Anna.
    Gerberge or Gertrude von Ossenbruch from one of the most powerful families in the United Duchies and of note in the family connection to Anna and her brother.

    She returned after July 1540 but wanted to go home in January as her husband was ill and she had two small children.
    Magdalena von Nassau – Dillenberg
    The widow of the Lord von Wissen Steward of Cleves is mentioned as are
    Lady Keteler who remained with her but whose Christian name I don’t have and one Lady Brempt.
    Anna von Pallandt is the same person as Anna Wylich which is Willik in the Letter. More information can be found on the Website.

    The Mistress Glymlyn named in the Letter is Susanna Horenbolt who was sent to help to teach Anna English and was her second married name. She had a very high status in the preparations and in helping the party prepare for life in England.

    Again hope this helps. If I can locate my copy of the book by Retha Warnicke there may be more information. However, this site vasosnabrugge.org is the place to go as is Maidens and Manuscripts blog.

    Thanks again for your lovely words. Its a passion and a pleasure.

    Letter of Nicolas Wotton to Thomas Cromwell.

    4 December (1539)

    It is purposed to send over the following persons with Lady Anne, to continue with her, Mistress Gylmyn, who is taken for first of her gentlewomen, because she was sent here by the King, and four servants; also the widow of the late lord of Wissem, sister to Willik, steward of Cleves, who is “howmestrinne,” i.e., governor to the other gentlewomen, with five servants; five other young gentlewomen, one being a baron’s daughter called Swartzenbroch, with three to wait on them; eight pages, one being son to the earl of Waldeck, my lady’s cousin germain, an aged gentleman, named Tennagel, my lady’s steward, formerly the Duke’s waltgrave, i.e. master of forests, with six persons, eight young gentlemen, four with two servants, and four with one. There are also a secretary, a chaplain and others. Making in all 88 persons.

    The following will come over with her but return:—The ambassadors of Saxe, the Marshal Dultzik, and the vice-chancellor Burgartus, the earl of Oversteyn, the steward Hoghesteyn, and Dr. Olisleger with their servants.

    The following will come to Calais, but not cross unless the King desires it:—The young earl of Nuenare, whose wife is a kinswoman of my lady, and would have come but that she fell sick. He speaks Latin and French well besides his own tongue. With him is a gentleman named Roussenberg. Also the elder Palant, lord of Bredebent, one of the Duke’s Council, John Buren, drossart or captain of Tolhuis, Hantzeler, drossart of Millen, the younger Palant, a knight of the Sepulchre (the elder Palant of Bredebent, and he be brothers and jolly fellows both), and 26 other gentlemen. There are also 13 trumpeters sent by the elector of Saxony and other officers and servants. The lady Keteler and the elder Palant’s wife are also going. Total 263 persons, with 228 horses.

    Hovemester Willik, one of the greatest men about the Duke, is left sick at Ravesteyn. Another drossart of that name also stayed at home, being diseased. He is not unlike the King in height and face, and of good knowledge and experience. The order in rank is Oversteyn, Newenare, Hoghesteyn, Olisleger, the elder Palant, and Tennagel; and of the ladies Mrs. Gylmyn, lady Keteler, the Hovemestrinne, and the elder Palant’s wife. The gentlewomen’s names are, Swartzenbroch, Brempt, Ossenbruch, Loe, and Willik.

    Antwerp, 4 Dec.

    1. Hi BQ. I just took a cursory look at that geneology website you provided the link for. You could spend hours on there. Thank you.

      1. You are welcome, Michael, it was a real find. Now if only there was a book on these families and their roles. I didn’t get to go to Kleves but I would love something more on its history than the websites can provide. This one is great. The chart was really handy. Glad you enjoyed it Michael and thanks again.

  29. Anna was wise enough to consent to the demands of Henry’s Council and the King himself but in reality she didn’t have much choice because Henry had his ducks in a row before going to Convocation with his reasons for the annulment. Anna consented but she apparently wasn’t represented at the hearing. Yes, she was very reluctant but she wanted to please the King and to escape the fate of those who opposed Henry. She was given many assurances over her situation and Henry was very courteous towards her. Anna had nothing to fear from Henry and really had the power. What he said about her was terrible and it is clear even from the dispositions taken, that Henry invented everything about her body, her alleged poor looks, her smells and maybe even the consummation of the marriage, although that isn’t proved either way. Henry was most probably impotent at this stage in his life, very overweight and not in great health, with leg trouble and ulcers and aged 49. He may not have been totally impotent because he later had a lively love life with Kathryn Howard for several months between July 1540 and March 1541. Afterwards it was definitely off and on. Heather believes that Cromwell wrote more or less what he was told and the conversations recalling what Henry had said to x are not contemporary to the moment. Henry probably ensured his main councillors like Sir Anthony Browne and Charles Brandon who gave written testimony were singing from the same hymn sheet. All of these were inventions but all used as evidence for the annulment. Henry also used the previous contract with the Duke of Lorraine as another reason for the annulment of his marriage to Anna although she had said she was free to marry and the documents showed this to be so. Henry and the lawyers had been satisfied she was free to marry the King but suddenly she wasn’t. To be honest I believe she must have been fuming underneath and she did try to prevent the annulment. However, it was agreed, it went through, a settlement was made and Anna received the title The Kings Sister. Anna showed great wisdom and restraint although she also broke down when she first heard the news. She was treated according to her high rank, she lived in a good state for the rest of her life, retaining the good graces of Henry and his family and had palaces like Richmond and Hever Castle to live in, ordered the famous panels from wood from her homeland, was often at Court and attended the coronation of Queen Mary I. She died in 1557 and is buried in Westminster Abbey and part of her tomb can be seen today. She couldn’t really go back to Germany because the tension between Ghelders and Cleves and the Empire escalated and it wasn’t safe. In fact within a few years war had engulfed her homeland and the United Duchies ceased to exist. She would simply have not been safe and was probably embarrassed as well. Given the choice of living in luxury in England, free to marry again if she chose and living in the war torn ancestral lands around Cleves Jullich and Ghelders under the Emperor Charles V, Anna made the right decision. She learned to dance and play music, card games, to drink rather heavily at times, to entertain and be entertained and apart from a small wrangling over her money she remained wealthy. Given that Anna was only Queen for six months she always believed herself to be Henry’s true wife and was devastated when he married Katherine Parr. She was dignified and very well respected, she was never described as a horse or Flanders Mare by Henry or anyone else: that was a late seventeenth century invention. Henry treated her well and she was visited by him so often that an unfounded rumour arose about her being pregnant with his child. This was investigated and found to be false and Henry moved to crush it. However, like Anne Boleyn and her six fingers it comes up again and again as a question. No, neither is true. Anna was not necessarily well educated but educated enough for a noble woman and knew what she needed to rule a great household and for marriage, but her intelligence shines forth and for me she was one of the most intelligent of the Six Queens. She learned English very quickly and wore French and English fashions. Apart from Henry’s moaning testimony which is biased for his own purposes, Anna is described as fair and lovely and even pretty, so not ugly at all, and everyone said how gracious and benevolent she was. Anna outlived Henry and the others. She was a person of great dignity and wisdom and discernment. The match with Cleves wasn’t a political disaster, it was a good, common sense match and Anne’s pedigree related her to many European families and to Edward iii. It was a firm strategically good marriage and Anna was well trained for the position of Queen, as much as any foreign Princess coming from an all female environment. She was politically astute and knew exactly what was going on in her homeland. She may have dismissed the reality of her life in England but she probably wasn’t too unaware that something was up. However, the actual annulment request and decision came as a real shock when they were known. Rumours had unsettled her and she was fearful of her fate but quickly reassured by the King himself. Anna consented because it was the safest option and she was rewarded for it. Her life was never in danger but a refusal to grant an annulment may have resulted in a less comfortable exile as had happened with Katherine of Aragon. Her choice showed her to be shrewd and intelligent and her life was successful, dignified and comfortable. She even brought out a softer side of Henry who was very concerned over her personal comfort. Not many people could do that.

  30. What I do find strange is how Henry V111 found Jane Seymour attractive and yet was repelled by Anne of Cleves, because as you say, there were good reports of her, and Janes appearance was derided, however there was one courtier at Henry’s court who commented that he did not think the king would like Anne all that much, it is strange but there must have been something about her which made him say such a thing, maybe she was a bit too tall for the king maybe she lacked grace, Henry did seem to prefer small dainty women, we know Anne had not really been brought up like a renaissance princess and spoke no English, it could have been a number of things which Henry found off putting about her, maybe he found her accent ugly, German can sound a bit harsh heard for the first time, I don’t think she smelt unless she was eating too many frankfurters, maybe her hair was greasy and she had bad teeth, Henry was known to be fussy about them, if only there were more paintings of Anne commissioned in her lifetime because apart from Holbein’s famous one, and another showing her face at an angle, we have nothing left to go on, however Holbein’s was not a true capture of her likeness, as Henry was enchanted by it yet was aghast on meeting Anne for the first time, whearas the other where her face is shown at an angle, shows a rather harsh looking woman with a strong nose and sharp cheekbones with a rather sharp chin, maybe that is Anne’s true likeness, her looks were derided by her bridegroom and yet her very character showed her to be a woman of gentle humility and kindness, in the years to come she was revered by her household who found her a most tolerant and generous mistress, Henry V111 it is true came to respect her and he often visited her where they would play cards and chat away amicably, most who came to know Anne found her a very likeable woman and as she gave the king no trouble, he came to grow very fond of her, after Catherine Howard fell she hoped the king would take her back it is strange, but one would have thought she would not want to be taken back after being rejected, but the prize of being queen was a great one even if it meant having Henry V111 as a husband, her pride must have been wounded and she hoped by marrying him she would salvage some of that pride and with it, her self esteem, she was it is true upset when he did marry Katherine Parr, poor poor Anne yet by now Henry really was looking quite repulsive, he had lost some weight when married to Catherine Howard, then after her death possibly due to depression he began to put it on, and had to be wheeled around his many palaces, he had to be winched onto his horse which must have looked quite comical, and he was for the most part irritable and bad tempered, yet Anne still hoped he would take her back, alas it was not to be and this women, rejected by her fickle bridegroom became known to history as the wife Henry V111 abhorred, the one who on casting his gaze on her for the first place declared bitterly ‘who can man trust and I like her not’, she was he complained, nothing like the reports he had received of her, this marriage that meant so much to Cromwell was to be his undoing and his enemies were waiting to pounce, Anne caused no trouble and agreed to the annulment but I feel she must have regretted losing the crown of England all her life, this is evident in the distress she showed when the king married Katherine Parr, maybe another queen would have understood how she felt, that of Henry’s first wife who tried so hard to keep her status as his true wife, both women had been discarded and both had done no wrong, Henry was very charming when he chose to be and he always made sure Anne was treated with respect, their marital bed was soon the source of gossip however, when Anne thought the sex act was merely about kissing, it is absolutely unbelievable that a young woman could be so naive about procreation and one wonders why had her mother not prepared her? Or any other older female who must have been close to her? Surely she would have heard her women discussing such things back in her parents house, Amidst all the sniggering and knowing looks Anne must have noticed something was wrong, and it must have been so awkward for her, the comparison between her strict staid almost austere upbringing with that of the flighty Catherine Howard was extreme, it was said her clothes were unbecoming and looking at Holbein’s portrait her attire does look unattractive, German fashion was not meant to flatter the wearer, the odd looking headress was bulky and she must have seemed drab and clumsy next to the polished ladies at court, poor Anne none of that was her fault, after several months she did settle in and learnt some dance steps and she was fond of cards, she did dance with Catherine at Christmas after the king had retired to bed, Catherine also gave her a lovely little puppy one of two the king had given her, this shows Catherine was caring by nature and she must have felt some sympathy for the discarded queen, maybe also some guilt for she was by now married to the king, the girl queen could afford to be generous to the woman who once had been her mistress, it must have seemed a strange set of affairs, there was the king at Christmas with his new wife and sitting beside them or opposite was the wife he had left, barley six months before, that was Henry V111 for you!

  31. I really don’t believe there was anything wrong with Anna of Cleves, she was a Princess and therefore would not have smelt or had defective teeth or bad breath or greasy hair. I believe Henry Viii made the entire thing up. We don’t have anything independent that agrees with Henry’s remarks. A lot happened in that first meeting which both of them found embarrassing. Even then the German accounts are very different. For one thing Henry did remain and he dined with Anna and he spent the evening, not in the same part of the castle, obviously for modesty sake, but he had breakfast with her and he departed the next afternoon. You don’t remain eating and chatting with someone you find repulsive. I also believe Hall says much the same thing. Anna of course was offended by this huge strange man pawing her and coming into her rooms unannounced, she spent most of her days almost exclusively in the apartments with only women, separated from men. It simply wasn’t seemly. She had been pampered but protected as a woman of high noble birth and Henry was an idiot. He still saw himself as handsome and good looking and even when Anne saw him, I bet he wasn’t what she expected either. Even though she had been taught some English and about customs and tales about Henry, they probably had flattered him, the younger days of the great King. She probably didn’t expect a man who was quite that fat and who had a bald head even though she was aware of the age difference. Maybe she wasn’t taken by his pranks but she soon realised who he was and he apparently then paid her every respect so where did he not find her attractive, in his imagination perhaps once he couldn’t get an erection? After the official ceremonies and welcome and the marriage he seems to have intended to advance sexually and explored Anne’s body. Maybe she didn’t respond to him, but he somehow realised he couldn’t find the spark and he couldn’t consummate the marriage. He couldn’t have found her that unattractive as they slept together every night. Yet, clearly something was up. She could have been attractive without Henry being sexually attracted to her, everyone else thought so and her grace was particularly remarked upon. One painting hides a large nose but that probably wasn’t the problem either. To be honest I just think Henry had not been with a woman for more than three years and his impotency had grown worse. His legs and depression were worse and Henry found he could not find a way to get on with his bride. However, any sexual problems he had with Anna vanished when he began to feel attracted to Kathryn Howard. Maybe she was more sexy, who knows? She was a distraction and he fell for her. There was a definite attraction with this young lady and his ability came back for a time. He lost weight when they married, he was more active and she made him feel young again.

    With Jane Seymour, Henry had a more familiar person and he knew her for some time before he courted her. He could hardly do that with Anna. Henry also built up his own expectations and we all know what that is like when what we are expecting isn’t quite as we thought it should be. Jane was also coached to give a sympathetic ear and listen to the ” my wife doesn’t understand me” complaints he obviously had about Anne Boleyn. Jane Seymour was conventionally beautiful but she wasn’t overwhelmingly so. She showed a kindness that Henry needed at the time and she knew how to mould him and herself so as the attraction worked. She had a strong faction behind her and Henry was captivated by her show of humility and modesty. She did cause some problems afterwards, but mainly Jane did as Henry wanted. Anna was raised to be obedient as well and only wanted to please the King. She asked Cromwell to help her but he kept out of it and Henry knew everything. However, the situation between Cleves and the Empire grew so tense that war looked on the cards with England caught in the middle. This problem arose weeks into the marriage and became steadily worse. Heather R Daisie shows this had a lot to do with the marriage not being consummated and I believe the Kleves marriage was an inconvenience around Henry’s neck. He had to find as many reasons to get it annulled and he of course blamed Anna because he of course is the great lover and can’t possibly be at fault, so he made up a load of rubbish as evidence as to why he wasn’t attracted to her, to support the cause of the marriage never being consummated. Henry even admitted he had bedroom trouble but only with Anna and got his doctor to support him. As you say, that’s Henry.

    1. By this stage we can safely assume Henry did have problems in the bedroom, the need to perform to get an heir can cause stress which in turn can cause impotency, at the same time for the mother to be, stress can also be detrimental to her health and cause her to miscarry, undue pressure on both parties possibly caused Henry’s low fertility rate and his wives tragic obstetric histories, Henrys impotency was first heard of in the trial of George Boleyn and it must have had its basis in truth, why should Anne Boleyn say such a thing otherwise? He went to bed with Anne of Cleves and afterwards told Cromwell he was so turned of by her flabby body he just couldn’t do the deed, the truth is he could have been incapable and to hide his embarrassment started bruiting it around that he was so repulsed by her, as Bq mentions he was passing the buck onto her, but then Anne herself never mentioned the fact that he had tried to have sex with her, and instead asked the extraordinary question to one of her ladies that he kisses her good morning and then goodnight, is that it was her innocent remark? Is that the act of love that the poems sang about, her ladies probably were at a loss what to say, Anne had only ever been kissed by her father and brothers on the cheek, she had never had a lover and this virginal bride was being paired with Henry V111, a man who had been married three times and who had had numerous mistresses, she was told there must be a good deal more else there will be no Prince of Wales! One historian has said maybe Anne made out nothing had happened so as to save both her and the king embarrassment, if that were the case she was far more charitable to him than he was to her, actually I doubt she was covering up anything, I think Henry just did not bother trying as he was so disappointed in her, I could be wrong and he did mention to Cromwell he was still having wet dreams so he knew he could bed another just not her, it’s really such a source or wonder to me that the sex lives of kings were public knowledge, nothing it appeared was private not even when they were in their privy.

  32. Henry had an ego the size of the known universe. He disguised himself to go meet Anna and she didn’t recognize him. Rather than go back out and ask someone about her and to be informed that she had not been brought up on these courtly games then reintroducing himself I don’t think his ego could take it and he simply chose to not like her. As to her supposed body odor I think Henry was smelling his own gammy leg. We’ve all seen the portrait of her. We know it’s accurate because of the artist and the fact that he was not punished for trying to deceive the king. I think she is very cute. The German dress is certainly not flattering and I would love to see a painting of her in English dress with her long blonde hair down. She was also tall. A perfect match for the king. I believe this was all about Henry’s giant ego. If I could meet one Tudor personality it would Be Anna of Cleves because of all the reports of her kindness. I imagine her as one of those people who you meet and feel like you’ve known them your whole life. One of my best friends was married to a man like that (she’s now widowed). How must Anna have felt at only 24 years old to be so rejected? Henry was a a jerk. Though his actions and her good sense did keep her head on her shoulders.

  33. Yes Henry was a jerk, as mentioned he did not act like a king but a spoilt child who wanted to have his cake and eat it, I am not so sure about Holbein’s portrait of Anne however being an accurate description of her, he was known for his accuracy that is in no doubt, but maybe he did make her appear more pretty as Henry’s shock on meeting her was that great, he did choose to paint her full face to not the customary side angle, so we can infer from that he had he own reasons, Holbein unlike Henry’s many ministers and courtiers was indispensable as he himself remarked, ‘he could not make another Holbein’, the mans genius was unparalleled and as an artist and not a politician he would not have vented his fury on him, there was but one man to blame for his disastrous choice of bride – Cromwell, once feted for helping to rid his master of the cumbersome Anne Boleyn, he was now blamed for entangling him with this unwanted German bride, Henry rejected her and chose for his next queen the lithesome and effervescent Catherine Howard, simply because he was attracted to her, he did not question her suitability to be queen as he was merely looking at her pretty face and nubile young body, he chose prettiness over common sense, because Anne of Cleves had this in abundance along with gracious good manners and respect for Henry V111 as king and master of his realm, after Catherine’s execution from what he perceived as her betrayal, he must have pondered on that as he sat in his chair looking out through the windows at the parkland before him, he had rejected a decent honest woman, and now felt a fool because he had married one who had shown she was quite unsuitable to be his consort and mother of his children, if ever Henry V111 felt old then, I believe that was the moment, Anne in her own residence heard of Catherine’s death and must have wept as she had been kind to her, but the king was now free would he take her back? Anne had by now learnt some English and she was used to the ways of the court, she was not the gauche unworldly woman who had first arrived in England two years before, maybe the king would give her another chance but pleasant though he found her company, he preferred her as his sister and not his queen, Anne may have been an attractive woman but Henry was not physically attracted to her, we do not know why, only he can answer that, his next choice of bride was to be another English subject I think secretly Henry preferred his own countrywomen to foreign brides.

    1. I agree with you, Christine, I believe he preferred to choose one of his own Ladies from the Court, his wife’s Ladies rather, because of familiarity. There was another bonus of course, because a subject is more easily disposed of than a foreign bride and if one looks at the marriage contract, Henry’s obligations are spelt out in one word: money. Anne did much better actually than the contract allowed for because the sims are not that great. Henry genuinely felt more at home with women he was familiar with: he was used to women because he himself had grown up in a female environment. He had a code of chivalry towards them personally and generally, but that code went out of the window if they disappointed, betrayed or challenged him too many times. He had a great ego and sense of personal honour and that honour was insulted if his wife was believed to be unfaithful because it meant he couldn’t control his own household, let alone the country. Now you have to remember that was an ideal of the times and Henry enforced such ideas on those around him because that was how the world should be. A patriarch should not have a disobedient wife and daughter, dictating their own terms in life and refusing to do what he said or obey his laws. Henry lost all credibility in the eyes of his subjects when Mary and Katherine said no to accepting Anne as Queen, no to the marriage being over and no to his title as Supreme Head of the Church. The last one was treasonous. The people didn’t see it that way, however, for they loved Mary and Katherine as well as King Henry and his wife and daughter received a lot of sympathy and support. Henry had taken a tougher stance with Jane Seymour as a result and nipped her criticism in the bud before she went too far. He told her to remember what happened to Anne Boleyn. With Anne Boleyn Henry had gone to the furthest extreme and beheaded her on trumped up charges and his real reason was

      a. Anne had failed to give him a son after three pregnancies, two ending in miscarriage, the last most probably a son.
      b. Anne was a nagging wife, in every sense and didn’t take Katherine as an example and turn away from his occasional affairs while she was pregnant. In fact she spoke out and confronted him, she had public arguments with him, hot tempered confrontations and that embarrassed him. Yes, they were very merry together, but they also had very well known falling outs. Anne and Henry were very passionate people. They both spoke their mind and Anne wasn’t the model Tudor wife, even if she did well as a Queen.
      Anne was not popular and had too many enemies, particularly at Court. Henry was far too easily persuaded against her and the legitimacy of their marriage was questioned abroad.

      Henry lost patience and maybe suffered a brain injury; the jury is out on that one, so with a personality change perhaps driving his thoughts, he decided to get rid of wife no two, for wife no three, an English rose. Jane Seymour was probably just what he needed at the time and she did everything to make his wife better, in the domestic hive at least. Henry knew Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour well before he married either of them and yes, he was clearly more comfortable with them being English rather than another arranged marriage. In addition he was passionately in love with Anne and cared a good deal for Jane at least. He knew Katherine Parr and Kathryn Howard somewhat before he married them, although maybe not as much as his earlier wives. He certainly had no idea that KH was no pure maid. O.K. she had one or two boyfriends with whom she had sex and one creep who seduced her. Still a high born noble woman was meant to be a virgin before marriage, so Kathryn had to pretend otherwise. The Howards clearly wanted Kathryn to be Queen, she wanted to accept because telling him she wasn’t a virgin would mean no marriage and a flea in the family ear. Henry was enchanted with Kathryn, dainty and pretty, slender and graceful, a lively little minx, witty and very comfortable around the place. She was flattered and agreed to his proposal. Katherine Parr didn’t want to marry Henry Viii because she was in love with Tom Seymour but was moved by Divine inspiration to marry the King. It wasn’t a love match but she was a good companion for him, she was a good mother and nurse but also a capable helpmate and in his absence a capable Regent. She was known for her intelligence, education and her reformed faith and reformed household, she almost came undone by her trying to convert the King but she used her common sense to submit and saved her life. Henry was very comfortable with her. He courted his English wives and he got on with them most of the time: he married four English women so this was his obvious choice, but there was one exception and I believe Henry’s problems started the moment he sent her away.

      Katherine of Aragon was literally the love of Henry’s life. He even set out to impress her as a child and he stole the show at her wedding to Prince Arthur. As a young Prince in the years after his brother’s death, Henry grew to know Katherine very well and after his own contract to marry her, he was content with the arrangement. Henry was forced to renounce his betrothed by his father in 1505 but he was determined to marry her just the same. As soon as his father was out of the way Henry could not wait to announce he was going to marry Katherine of Aragon. It took just a few weeks to conclude negotiations which had stalled for years over financial payments by the two parties parents because Henry Vii had held out for more and Henry and Katherine were soon in each other’s company, preparing for a wedding and joint coronation. Within two months of his ascension Henry had both married and crowned a lady he admired, respected, loved and adored. Katherine taught Henry how to be a King. For many years they were the perfect power couple and Henry shared many of his interests with Katherine. However, in private they had to endure tragic loss and humiliation because Katherine lost her babies. Only one, a daughter, Princess Mary grew up. Henry and Katherine went on trying for male children, but by 1524 it was clearly not going to happen and within two years Henry was examining the lawful status of his marriage. Once Katherine found out she was furious and she refused to go. Henry’s passion for Anne Boleyn the following Summer pushed the need for an annulment up his agenda. Henry was reluctant to set Katherine aside, however, and it was only his need for sons which made him do so. Had Katherine had a son or two when he fell for Anne B the latter would never have been Queen. It was his subsequent separation from Katherine and marriage to Anne which sent him on his self destructive patterns of searching for marital bliss, with the wrong women. Henry married Anne after several years waiting for her and 24 years being married to Katherine. Anne didn’t provide the long awaited son and his destruction cost him two wives in six months, one from his negligence and illness, the other his capricious desire simply to move on, by being accused of adultery and treason and being executed on false charges. His third wife, Jane was successful and lucky in that she gave him his heir, Edward, who thrived and succeeded him, but unfortunately Jane died 12_days later from birth complications. That led to his even more destructive path. Henry didn’t want to marry again after Jane, but he was persuaded that England needed more sons and a firm alliance with a foreign power. The rest as they say is history. Anna wasn’t his first choice but she and her sisters were early contenders. Few international Princesses wanted Henry, but Anna and Amelia and their brother, William, were amenable to the match. The arrangements took a long time to negotiate and Henry was anxious to see his new bride. Unfortunately, he was too eager and his actions may have set up for a less than perfect marriage. Whatever the reason, it didn’t work out and again the rest is history.

      I seriously believe Henry had a standard by whom he measured all other women, including his beloved Anne Boleyn. I believe he privately compared them all to Katherine of Aragon. He moaned often enough that Anne didn’t come up to the same standard as Katherine and KA never spoke to him as Anne did. Of course Katherine did argue with Henry, just not in public and usually over the divorce. They did fall out over the betrayal of her father, mid way through their marriage, but they had made up very soon afterwards because Henry left her as Regent and she was writing that she was pregnant. Oh and here is the King of Scotland coat to show I am a capable ruler. I wanted to send his head but the English are too soft hearted and would not suffer it. Go Katherine. Katherine had defied him, however, she refused to accept her marriage as unlawful and she held it wasn’t. This was the cause of bitterness between them, although Katherine still appeared to have loved him and Henry may have felt some discomfort at her death. Recent research also showed he had regrets over the execution of Anne Boleyn. He was also very mournful at the loss of Jane Seymour. Henry it seems to me could not cope well without a female companion and the country needed a Queen. His problem was his ego, pride and insecurity, leading to the wrong decision over later partners and his disastrous marriage record. He made the wrong decision to annul his marriage to Anna of Kleves but the political realism probably forced his hand and his own sexual problems. Anna most probably would have been a successful and long-term Queen, the mother of more children and certainly the companion he needed, mother to his own children and a skilled diplomatic representative for her country. Henry’s problems, however, began much earlier, with the ending of his first marriage and continued to shape his decisions for the rest of his life.

  34. I always believed that Henry V111 compared his wives to the woman he had adored the most – his mother, to him she must have appeared the perfect Queen consort, gentle gracious unassuming and regal, beautiful and serene, I believe in every queen he had he sought for that ideal that his mother had been and found her wanting, although I think with Jane Seymour especially after her sad death he thought he had found her, he honoured her memory all his life and although a few times she had annoyed him, once with Mary over restoring her to the succession then over the monasteries, he probably appreciated her more when she was gone which does occur, it is also true that Anne Boleyn really angered him on many occasions and he was heard to say that in all his life Katherine had never spoken to him that way, Anne was very difficult she also upset her uncle Norfolk who told the king she spoke words to him that he would not have used to a dog, she was not the typical demure Tudor wife or maid, outspoken confident and disrespectful she did not care what she said nor to whom she said it to, she owed her entire good fortune to the king and as he once remarked to her, that if he had the same time over he would not do it again, her namesake Anne from Cleves could have been a most successful wife to Henry but no Henry did not find her sexy enough, never mind about the political storm that may erupt with Cleves, never mind that now his ministers had to wrangle about trying to find a way out of the marriage for their contrary master, Henry wanted out and by now he had met little Catherine Howard and taken a fancy to her, this made him all the more impatient to rid himself of Anne, as if she was not being humiliated enough, for after some time she heard about her husbands courtship and must have been so unhappy, Henry was extremely lucky that Cleves had agreed to the alliance with England as Bq says, Henry V111 was not considered these days to be a catch, he had been turned down twice by two noble ladies however much the ambassadors had praised their master, it was Anne Boleyns execution that had shocked Europe, as no queen consort had ever been put on trial and publicly executed before, jokes about two heads and little necks were bandied about and wether Henry got to hear of them, we do not know, but I cannot see somehow Henry’s ambassadors repeating Duchess Christina’s sarcastic reply nor that of Marie de Guise, who promptly married his nephew James of Scotland instead, what was much much worse about Anne Boleyns death, was all the world knew he had moved heaven and earth to marry her, if he could kill a woman he had obviously adored for so long what chance would another have? But yes here we have two English subjects of Henry who were put to death by the king, he could not do that if they were foreign, one wonders if that put him off marrying a foreign bride as she could not be so easily disposed off if she angered him? The mind boggles but Henry could have had that thought in his mind, disgusting though that seems but he was now reaching that stage in his life were he was fast losing an innate sense of decency, morality or tolerance.

    1. Understandable that Henry’s reputation was in the toilet around Europe. Even Henry II didn’t execute his Queen Eleanor of Aquataine and she raised an army against him! Thank Heavens Henry VIII was one of a kind and England never had to go through that again.

  35. I also hold to the theory that Ann was covering up. I cannot imagine her mother sending her out into the world without a basic understanding of sex. That would be very cruel and when you look at her upbringing and personality she was not treated cruelly. She was brought up to be the wife of a great Noble or higher. She would have been taught not to bring embarrassment or dishonor upon her husband. If Anne had really told the ladies about Henry’s impotence that would not just embarrass her husband but also the king. I do not believe she would have done that and so she covered for him. The whole story seems like something to make Anne out to be an absolute innocent so that Henry’s brutishness can be highlighted. JMO.

    1. I agree, Michael, most commentators on most sites who have even so much as taken a cursory look at Anne, as well as the experts, Norton, Warnicke and Heather Daisey all point out that it was the protocol for a mother to instruct her daughter on what to do on her wedding night, how to please her husband and so on. It was also believed that a woman needed to have an org*sm in order to conceive a child. That was what texts said, and when you think they were written by clergy and now doctors who were still just finding their way around the human body, that at least is forward thinking and good for the woman. Anne certainly would have led a protective life but she would have been groomed for her role as Princess or even a Queen or the wife of an Elector as her sister became. Maria von Berg was a devout Catholic but she was also very close to her daughters and certainly knew how to prepare them for their roles as wives. Anna spent several weeks with her mother and several days alone with her during her time just before she left for England overland and you can pretty much bet she had the appropriate conversations then, if not before. Yes, Lady Rutland? I believe was the lady who was responsible for the notorious conversation, during which Anna makes out she doesn’t know anything more about sex than kissing. I am not entirely certain who Lady Rutland was at the moment, but whoever she was she must have been told what to say; the whole thing seems so contrived. Anna asked Cromwell for advice but it is doubtful he gave her that kind of advice and we are not sure what she had in mind, save that she was anxious to make her marriage a success and please the King. Anna, you are correct knew the correct way to act and she would not have discussed the King’s problems with anyone she knew may repeat it. There was a certain decorum to be maintained at Court and that subject was off the table. It was another device to make the Queen look too innocent in the matters of sex. It is something which leaves a poor taste in the mouth and is very low.

  36. Anne of Cleves wedding night with Henry V111 is as much a mystery as young Prince Arthur’s with his Spanish bride, iv been reading the first few pages on Tracy Bormans the ‘Private Lives Of The Tudors’ on Amazon, and am thinking of buying it as it really does cover a whole host of topics, from superstition to the bizarre rituals they undertook at the wedding ceremonies and when they were at their toilette etc, I was fascinated I knew about how the touching of the bridegrooms leg with the brides symbolised their union, and how the marriage bed was blessed and witnessed by the whole company which today seems really embarrassing, but the preparations for when the queens entered their birthing chamber was new to me as I only knew they entered it about four weeks before and how quiet and dark it was with the curtains pulled across to keep out the sunlight, how only one window was opened etc, but the author lets us into a very secret world of what actually happened in there, the foods they ate and what they had to avoid, also on the tests they did to determine wether they were actually pregnant, absolutely fascinating book, I have never read any of Bormans books before but will treat myself to this one.

    1. I bought a digital copy of that book last year and have read it twice. That’s where I got the information about Anne Boleyn wanting to breastfeed Elizabeth. Claire said this is the only place she’s ever seen that. I wonder where Tracy got that from. I enjoy her writing style and would like to get her other books

  37. I read it once in a Jean Plaidy novel and it has popped up in other books but it has been refuted by historians such as Eric Ives, Anne although we knew she was an unconventional queen knew that it was not considered seemly for queens to breast feed their babies, she would not have argued with an age old custom, a suitable nurse was found for the position and Elizabeth was swaddled and laid to rest in her ornate carved rocker, however it was a shame as the mother produces the milk for the baby with all the vital nutrients it needs, Anne and other queens before her and since would have had to suffer leaky breasts for some time after the birth.

    1. It surprised me working for Historic Royal Palaces that Tracy Bormam would let something like that slip in without citing some kind of proof to back it up.

      1. Yes that’s true, it’s surprising the myths that spring up about eminent people, maybe it arose from the awareness that Anne displayed strong maternal feelings towards Elizabeth.

        1. I must admit because I had heard a number of people on documentaries repeat the claim by Tracy Boreman that Anne Boleyn wanted to breastfeed Elizabeth I assumed it was from a contemporary source, but then there are always errors in these history books. It was only recently that I realised she hasn’t actually documented it. Anne Boleyn like many noble women and Queens probably did want to do so, that would be normal as a woman and a mother producing baby milk, but knew she couldn’t. Just being separated from Elizabeth for short periods of time seems to have stressed Anne and she took her baby to work, putting her on a little cushion and meeting courtiers, Ambassadors and petitioners with Elizabeth at her side. Now that must have been annoying, especially if the baby cried as they do, but if she was being cute, they must have been delighted. Elizabeth and Mary were moved to their own establishments and Mary joined her sisters establishment with hers being broken up late in 1533 but still had a reasonable number of people to attend her, nor was she in a pokey room as with the Tudors. She was meant as a waiting lady for Elizabeth but not to do menial tasks and she certainly didn’t change her nappies. Mary refused to do anything and even refused to eat anywhere but in her rooms. Recently records show she did actually dine at table with servants to serve her in some style. Nor where they always in the same establishment. Henry did, however, ensure Elizabeth had a royal establishment as his Princess and current heir while Anne was alive and Mary in a lesser household as his illegitimate daughter. Elizabeth ate under a cloth of state. Nor should we read too much into the letter that states Elizabeth had grown out of her clothes and had not received replacements as a growing child after Anne’s death. A dispute in her household was to blame, not her father’s deliberate negligence. It wasn’t actually his job. However, Anne had been very hands on there as well and had actually ordered new clothes in April that year. By September it would be expected a growing child to outgrow her clothes and a budget had actually been set aside but not allocated, again due to this dispute. Cromwell saw it was sorted out and extra money came forth. The fact that Elizabeth was still being treated as a Princess for several weeks after she lost the title showed that things went on as normal until someone arrived with orders to the contrary. Henry had to be told his daughter was running out of new clothes because nobody had taken over responsibility after Anne died and Henry was too busy with his new wife to notice. Action was taken once he knew and the letter should not be taken out of context. This was how households ran, parents of the upper classes didn’t have much to do with mundane things and the staff looking after their children were expected to provide for them out of budget or from a list of provisions ordered at intervals. Henry ordered this and that to be provided and Anne would have done the same with extras being brought from a budget. Anne and Henry would visit Elizabeth and check everything was fine. Mary may have been separated from both of her parents but Henry did provide medical care when asked and money for whatever she needed. It was well known that babies of this class were not breast fed by their mothers, but by women of good standing and who had their own children called wet nurses. Anne might have pouted but she wouldn’t have done otherwise. It just wasn’t the custom but also it prevented her getting pregnant as breast feeding women were meant to avoid sexual intercourse. Anne was no different to any other mother of high status and because Elizabeth was not the much-needed male heir, once her confinement was over she would be expected to get pregnant again very soon afterwards and deliver a boy. Anne we think was pregnant again by December 1533 or soon afterwards but some historians think she was mistaken. However, references say she had a good belly by the Spring and the Black Book of the Garter has a portrait believed to be Anne Boleyn who looks very pregnant.

          By the way Happy Thanksgiving, Michael and all in America.

  38. Thank you very much BQ. It’s quiet, cold and very very windy here in NE Portland Oregon.
    I appreciate your clarification on Elizabeth’s living conditions after the execution of her mother. In documentaries or in books it always makes it sound as if Elizabeth is being intentionally neglected by her father.

  39. Is it thanksgiving day today then? If so hope you have had a lovely time with good food and wine, or beer whatever takes your fancy.

  40. Thank you Christine. It’s our easiest secular holiday to figure out because it’s not on a particular date. It’s simply the last Thursday of November.

    1. Heather Teysko at Renaissance English Podcast posted a link in her nrwsletter today from the November 27 Guardian about a long lost portrait of Elizabeth I. It’s purported to be from 1562 and may have been used to entice prospective suitors. Did either of you read about this? It will be going up for auction soon.

      1. I must make a correction. When Thanksgiving was proclaimed by President Lincoln in 1863 during the civil war it was to be the last Thursday in November but about 70yrs later because of concerns by retailers looking at it cutting into Christmas sales it was changed to the fourth Thursday in November.

        1. Hi Michael, I haven’t actually read the article but I did see the painting on Twitter and I believe it’s a young Elizabeth. Unfortunately, it was yesterday and we have had a busy Twitter because of the horrendous decision to clear Duckinfield of gross negligence manslaughter of 96 men women and children unlawfully killed in 1989 because of his reckless orders, followed today by the terrible attacks in London. Reading the heart rendering stories as families shared what they now know happened to their loved ones and which took him 30 years to admit, I am absolutely numb. Then this today. It took a real effort to go to the Tudor Society chat room tonight, but I really needed an antidote. I do recall the article but I am sorry it has gotten lost in all of the tears and feelings of devastation for so many people right now.

  41. Thank you for those interesting pieces of info Michael, regarding the portrait, I have not heard anything yet but will look up Helen Teysko.

  42. I could find nothing relating to Helen so instead I googled Elizabeth’s lost portrait from 1562 and there it was, a lovely painting of the young woman she was at thirty dressed in an outfit that looks like ruby red and bronze, her skin has the healthy glow of youth with the bloom of peaches, and her hair looks a deeper shade of auburn than in her coronation portrait and others, her eyes are not as large as in other portraits and of a shade hazel in colour, in reality they were dark as she had inherited them from her mother, all in all it is a lovely painting of the young fresh queen still in her prime though of course she was shown this way to entice would be suitors, in reality she was very pale as natural redheads are, of course she made herself look worse by caking white make up on her face, I am not sure if she had suffered small pox at this stage in her life so her skin definitely did not look as flawless and healthy,

    1. Her name is Heather Teysko. I’m glad you found the portrait. I would think that since it may have been created for such an important purpose that it was actually painted from life unlike most which followed a fixed set of rules. Looking at her here her parentage cannot be questioned. She looks just like her father Henry VIII. So perhaps it’s still possible for a lost portrait of Anne Boleyn to come to light painted from life. We can hope.

  43. Yes there must be one in a stately home or castle somewhere, maybe hidden in an attic or hanging up the owners completely oblivious to its identity, in grand old houses some portraits have been in the families for generations, just checked your post Michael you did write Heather yet I’m sure I read the name Helen, just had an eye check up as well, must be my age.

    1. I know what you mean. I mailed a letter to a friend of mine in Buffalo NY who I’ve known to 25 years and when I talked to her this morning she told me spelled her last name wrong on the envelope.

  44. Hi BQ. I heard that something had happened in London yesterday but no details as I was away from tv and radio all day. I looked up the story. How horrendous! This guy had been convicted of a similar crime and was released to do this again. I am very impressed with the civilians who tackled him and in the process prevented more deaths. I’m glad to see it is being called a terrorist attack.

    Re Duckinfield: I remember that incident. It was certainly big enough to make our news then. I hadn’t heard much since then so I looked up the verdict. I don’t understand the jury’s decision. He admits that he let too many people in and as a result scores of people illegally were killed. Since the end result was unintentional doesn’t that make his actions the very definition of manslaughter? The poor families received no justice. We have boneheaded verdicts like that over here. Where it seems so clear cut to the rest of us t the juries see it differently. I am at a loss and I really do understand why you are in a daze. I don’t know about you but if it wasn’t for my faith in God I think at times this world would be intolerable.

  45. I was at work when my boss told me about the terror attack I had a feeling something would happen near Christmas, absolutely dreadful and frightening and I was so angry to as he was jailed in 2012 yet released a year early only to involve himself again in another terrorist atrocity, why on earth was he released at all, terrorism should carry a life sentence, thank god the quick wits and bravery of the police and some bystanders defeated him and he now lies dead in some morgue somewhere, useless piece of filth! It was Tony Blair and his reckless free movement that let all these crackpots slip in the country, I know many who would like to shoot him as well.

  46. Our previous president was quite leniant with the evil people who committed these atrocities. He would not use the words terrorist or terrorism and he made it policy that neither could anyone in law enforcement. The current administration is much better. They call it what it is. That’s why I was so pleased when I read the story on the attack on London Bridge to see it called out.

    1. I prefer not to talk about modern politics as it can lead to all sorts of heated arguments, but I have to completely disagree with your comment regarding Obama being “leniant” or refusing to use the words “terrorist” or “terrorism”. He had a problem with the term “Islamic terrorism”, as I do too, although I’m not as important as him (lol), as Islam and terrorism just dont’ go together in reality. See https://edition.cnn.com/2016/09/28/politics/obama-radical-islamic-terrorism-cnn-town-hall/index.html for his explanation of this. My degree was in religion and I feel very strongly, as Obama does, about this issue. You can’t have a Christian terrorist either. If these people were true Muslims then they would not and could not commit atrocities. IS and the like are warping religion, as has been done many times during history, to suit their agenda.

      1. I apologize Claire and will refrain in the future. I must tell you though that the CNN article is wrong. Obama literally put it into policy that federal law enforcement could not use the word terrorism or terrorist. This is not my Opinion.

        1. Don’t worry, when it’s relevant it’s fine, I was talking about how I prefer not to get into politics here. Do you have a source for that, Mike? I can’t find anything and I’d like to look into it. I was actually referring to what you said about Obama not using the word, and there are plenty of examples of him using it, but he took issue with it being tied to Islam as it’s an oxymoron.

      2. I have worked with some Muslims and they are lovely people, it’s true when an atrocity occurs then people regard them as all being tarred with the same brush, the majority of Muslims want to live in peace and as one colleague said to me once, Islam is not about violence, Isis are making it very difficult for the ordinary Muslim people who live in Britain, and indeed around the world, some Muslims have been set upon usually lone women out shopping and travelling to and from work for example, this is cowardly and just not acceptable, I feel the problems occur because many believe they may know the terrorists, and those supporting the organisations and are keeping quiet about them, that maybe the case in some households but not all, at one time a hatred of the Irish grew because of the IRA, throughout history there has always been troubles because of religion politics etc, the belief of these ISIS terrorists is dangerous and archaic and they have no place in a modern tolerant society, hopefully they will be stamped out but there are always groups ready to convert the vulnerable and naive.

        1. Exactly, it’s the same with White Supremacists who spout bigotry and hatred in the name of Christianity. I am a practising Christian, but when you have people like that saying they are Christians it makes you want to come up with a new name for yourself! Hatred and bigotry just doesn’t go with true faith.

  47. Yes you have to be hard on them because they only understand their own language, being soft does not work, many deride Trump yet you have to be tough with these people, well it’s the weekend so have a good one Michael, I will rest easier knowing this animals dead, no doubt his followers are hailing him as a hero and think he is in paradise with Allah and his forty virgins ha ha.

  48. Hi, thanks Christine and Michael, the man who stabbed several people, at least two were killed, more in hospital very serious, had been out on licence from half his sentence, automatically released, had complied with his conditions, but some twit let him go to a conference in London and should never have done so. The evil nut took advantage and killed two people. If it wasn’t for the brave members of the public getting him until the cops did, who knows what he would have done? These people are the enemies of our democracy, which imperfect as it is, is better than most other places in the world. Immigration needs to be tackled. Most people come here and are genuine and we need them, but there has to be a system of checking. There are some 30,000 people on a watch list. Most are relatively harmless,some don’t need to be there, but a special list has high value people like him on it. He wasn’t on this despite his convictions for attempting terror before. He wasn’t being watched. His ankle monitoring obviously must have been compromised as well. You can remove them because you have to do so to have a bath. Whatever else, this guy was allowed to roam free and kill. Nobody will tackle the early release system because the majority of people are fine, but surely in some cases they have to be more stringent. Very bad. I feel for those hurt and killed and their families. The brave Londoners should get commended.

    Yes, David Duckenfield gave the order, not once but twice to open that gate, but didn’t block the tunnel off and joked about the fans “finding their own level” which meant, can fend for themselves. 2000 were sent down the tunnel to Pen 3 and the crush which followed. The police didn’t help. They just lined up in the middle of the pitch. He refused to allow the ambulances on to the pitch. The fans pulled people out themselves, the fans made stretchers out of boards and people who were alive were put in body bags and choking to death in body fluids. The relatives were treated like dirt and the lies fed to the Sun.

    The Taylor report cleared the fans but the lies continued for decades. A so called inquest denied any evidence after 3/15 p.m when more than one third of victims were still alive. Inquest, trials, the reports were hidden until the 25th Anniversary and Jack Straw and Tony Blair decided no further investigation was needed. A young MP was sent with the good news to Anfield. 30,000 Scousers screamed at him as he began his speech and sang Justice For the 96. He went back and got the investigation opened. An independent panel found 900,000 pieces of evidence. Much had never been revealed. More than 654 police reports from the day had been falsified and changed by the same hand, altered to back their lies. The new inquests in Warrington over two years took hundreds of statements from survivors and officials and Duckenfield for the first time on camera was questioned and admitted his actions led to the 96 deaths. This testimony is on social media at the moment. However, in court he said he had Post Traumatic Stress and he didn’t open his mouth. Normally that would cost you in a high serious case. So everyone is now at a complete loss as to why this verdict. The time period didn’t help as few people have been prosecuted and some have died since. Today at the match the banners were held up for six minutes in tribute to the 96 and their families, no our families, because that is what they are, family. Justice for the 96 was chanted by both sets of supporters. We will never forget them and they will never walk alone, but they won’t get justice either. The only justice was in 2016 when the fans were cleared of all blame and the truth came out. No newspaper has any sympathy with Duckenfield and they all say the families have been failed again. He will know no peace.

    1. I don’t really care about his ptsd. He’s alive and 96 are dead because of his actions so he needs to just shut his pie hole and go away.

  49. Oh, I saw the portrait of the young Elizabeth briefly last night because I got a link as I subscribe to Heather’s blogg. I thought it looked modern but obviously it isn’t and Elizabeth looks quite slim. It must have been before she had the small pox and her hair is very red. I think the experts said it was for the marriage market which of course it would be as she was 28/29 then with a number of suitable candidates. The one problem is no provenance. It vanished from history and nobody knows what happened to it and now it has turned up, only identified because it was on sale. Call me an old sceptic but without more information, I would say a question mark will remain over it. I don’t know if more will be found but I hope so.

    I too believe there is a realistic portrait of Anne Boleyn around and in fact more than one or two that we have are contemporary. It was assumed they were all destroyed but no contemporary sources support that theory so now everything has been either questioned or is said to be seventeenth century. The portrait in Ripon Cathedral and the Holbein sketch are my favourite bets.

    1. Nothing gets completely destroyed. Didn’t Henry VII order all copies of the Titular Regis destroyed? Isn’t there still an extant copy of that? Things do however get misplaced or lost in 500 years and the world is a big place.

  50. Your comment on Duckenfield made me smile. Yes, one original copy was found at Croyland or Crowland Abbey, in Gloucestershire, who also wrote the most reliable and critical chronicle on the period covering the reigns of Henry Vi, Edward iv and V and Richard iii with a continuation during Henry’s reign. The chronicle was as close to the action as you could get an clearly by an insider. For a chronicle which was also revised it is obvious Henry Vii wasn’t entirely as welcome as he thought. Henry had to suppress the legislation which Richard passed through Parliament that was the legal statement of his Kingship and why he was there. To reverse or repeal a piece of legislation it has to be read out in its entirety. Henry ordered only the first 14 lines to be read. The basic reasons why Richard was King, not the background or full details. This didn’t truly repeal the Act but Henry didn’t care. He passed his own legislation that did the opposite, making his wife and her siblings legitimate again. However, he ordered every copy of the Regis to be destroyed but because it was recorded in its fullness we know what it said. Then we have the copy found in Gloucestershire. Hidden away inside an old chronicle there it was. I am afraid I can’t recall how it came to light but it is available now in full.

    In the NPG in Scotland is a famous painting for a hundred years or more labelled as Bonnie Prince Charlie. Almost every book has this portrait on the front. Recently it was realised that it wasn’t him and no known portrait had been correctly identified. In 2014 that changed with a search for one because one was known to exist somewhere. He eventually traced one to a country house, down a dark corridor, behind a curtain and the family had its provenance and it could be traced right back to the artist. The usual tests and inspections by experts were done and eventually it was declared as the lost portrait of Bonnie Prince Charlie. So it moved on loan to Edinburgh. But what a find. Yes something like that will happen one day and an unknown Anne Boleyn emerge. Portraits are being re identified all the time, so you never know.

    1. Thank you. I like that so many artefacts have gone to other countries because it may be the only thing that protects them but it sure makes it hard centuries later to track things down.

  51. I wish I had a specific source. I heard this from different law enforcement officials in interviews at the time. Obama put a lot of policy things in effect by just using in his words a pen and a phone. This may have been the case here. Most of those policy items done that way are being dismantled because the court’s are finding them illegally enacted. You have to go through congress or the senate. I avoid CNN. Their ratings are some of the lowest in American media and there is a reason for that.

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