28 January 1547 – Henry VIII dies and Edward VI becomes king

Posted By on January 28, 2018

The king is dead! Long live the king!

Yes, on this day in history, Friday 28th January 1547, that iconic Tudor monarch, King Henry VIII died at Whitehall Palace at the age of fifty-five. He was succeeded by his nine-year-old son, Edward, who became King Edward VI.

Henry VIII’s death was kept secret until 31st January 1547 to give his council time to discuss what was going to happen regarding the boy-king’s accession.

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27 thoughts on “28 January 1547 – Henry VIII dies and Edward VI becomes king”

  1. Michael Wright says:

    This is one time I actually have sympathy for a Henry. In Suzannah Lipscomb’s book : ‘The King is Dead’ she goes into great detail about Henry’s will which was well thought out but not carried out by his men. They were more interested in aquiring power than carrying out the King’s final wishes. You certainly see this with the executions of Thomas Seymour. I highly recommend this book. Many photos of the king’s will and transcriptions in the old English and modern to make it easier to read.

    1. audrey brand says:

      a cruel king like his daughter mary

      1. Banditqueen says:

        I think you will find that Mary was not a cruel woman or a cruel Queen and does not deserve her mythical name, given almost a century after her death. Elizabeth was more like her father than Mary in dealing with treason and rebellion. Mary was more like her maligned grandfather and more ready to give rebels a second chance.

        1. Jessica says:

          Maybe…but Mary reigned for 5 years and executed 10 people, Elizabeth reigned for 44 years and executed 6 people during her entire time on the throne.

        2. Banditqueen says:

          I think, Jessica you will find they both executed a lot more than 10 people. Mary forgave everyone who backed Jane Grey except Northumberland, only to have Jane’s father take advantage and get himself embroiled in a second rebellion to kill Mary. No Tudor or Medieval Monarch tolerated rebellion or violent opposition let alone treason. They were no more cruel or not than anyone else and Mary has gone unfairly down in history as Bloody Mary because of the persecution of heretics, which most of the executions for heresy are actually decided by local authorities and not the Government. This was not unusual cruelty, although by modern standards of course such executions are cruel, but they were perfectly normal for the time. Elizabeth, more than any other Monarch subjected people to the full law of disembowling, hanging and beheading, not commuting this very often. Most rebels under Mary were actually not even executed, even then most that were were commuted as well as the leaders. If you are comparing one ruler with another you need to tell the whole story. The Tudors faced rebellion over social and religious changes as well as economic and forced a new religion on people. The Tudors also thought they were Old Testament type rulers and any opposition undermined that authority. They also went through changes that upset the whole world view of other people, again causing problems which didn’t exist 50 years earlier. The Tudors also made ended up with enemies abroad and saw enemies everywhere. Elizabeth saw everyone who wasn’t on the same page as supporting Spain thanks to her spy masters. Mary didn’t set out to condemn the number of heretics but hoped to win people over and the majority of people supported her policies. Elizabeth also tried or hoped to find a middle way but that wasn’t accepted either. Both Puritans and Catholics suffered fines, prison, horrible death and even starved in prison, both were persecuted, for many reasons, political and fears from the Government, so you can’t say Elizabeth or Mary were not different in that sense. Both had been raised to have fervent belief although Elizabeth was criticised by her advisers for not being Protestant enough. Mary also showed herself to be more generally merciful to people generally. As Christine says you are too much listening to the myth of Bloody Mary, which is nonsense and not looking at a more balanced picture. You may as well say Henry was like anyone who ruled anywhere, like Elizabeth, like Mary, like Charles V, like Genghis Khan, like Catherine de Medici, like Gustavas of Sweden, like anyone, as they were all ruthless in one way or another, but most are also praised as rulers. A more balanced picture is favoured today of Mary as a successful and balanced Queen and I can recommend a number of studies which you should read to help with your assessment.

      2. Christine says:

        You are giving too much credence to the Bloody Mary myth, she was a kindly generous woman and had endured a lot of misery in her life, she wasn’t any more cruel than Elizabeth 1st her young sister, she is in fact very misunderstood

        1. Roselynde says:

          Mary burned over 300 Protestants. There is no misunderstanding that. She was cruel, rigid, unforgiving, and fanatical. She did not listen to her advisors, as Elizabeth did. Mary was a perfect example of what NOT to do as a Queen– and Elizabeth did learn from her.

        2. Banditqueen says:

          Elizabeth I did learn from Mary, she learned how to be a Queen, she learned how to win over her people as Mary did on two great occasions, she learned how to appeal to people, she learned the “I am married to England” from Mary who said it first, she learned how to be a Queen from Mary, she was no different in her approach to people she saw as dangerous, she learned, however, that marriage wasn’t a good idea, but Elizabeth was a better political Queen, she didn’t learn anything different about royal dignity, they both knew how to show that off and to be astute and proud but she did learn much when it came to taking advice. Elizabeth would never have reigned but for the success of Mary as a Queen and her determination.

          I don’t believe anyone could condone the 280 people killed as heretics under Mary or the hundreds of Catholic martyrs under Elizabeth, any more than the general Tudor brutality when it came to crushing rebellion. It’s not a competition to name the most cruel monarch, they all had a ruthless side and it is unfair to go on blaming Mary for the same thing her father and sister were guilty off, more so in fact. Mary’s reign and that of Elizabeth I has to be evaluated from original sources, from contextual history and in a balanced way, not based on myth and propaganda. I have listed some very good historians who have done just that Jessica and Roseylind below.

          Happy reading.

      3. Banditqueen says:

        I would recommend the following for better understanding of both Mary and Elizabeth.

        Tudor Queenship..The Reigns of Mary and Elizabeth by A Hunt and Anna Whitelock.

        I would also recommend any of the books on Marian England or her policies by the late David Loades, critical but fair.

        I would recommend the works on both Queens by Susan Doron.

        I would also recommend Fires of Faith, an honest but balanced assessment of the Catholic faith and Marian religious policy by Eamon Duffy.

        I would recommend biography by Linda Porter, Anna Whitelock, John Edwards, Judith Richards and Hilda Prescott as well as a more critical but older work by Carolly Erickson.

        Works by Susan Doron, John Guy, Alison Plowden, J. Neale, Elizabeth Jenkins, David Starkey, Lisa Hilton are among a number I would recommend on Elizabeth for a reasonable and varied accounts of her reign without the myths.

        Tracy Borman has also written Elizabeth’s Bedfellows an account of the many women in her life and her relationship with them from her mother to her life long companions.

        The Portable Queen by Mary Cole is a look at Elizabeth through her image and letters.

        Professor Robert Tittler has written an accessible study for the curriculum of Mary and her reign which is very well balanced.

        Alison Plowden has written a series of popular history on Elizabeth
        while Brian Crompton has written an old, but still valid critique of her from the point of view of her subjects and her courtiers and contemporary rulers.

        Robert Hutchinson has written a good biography on Francis Walsingham, Elizabeth I’s spy master.

        Jessica Childes has written an Excellent account of what life was like for persecuted Catholics under Elizabeth and James through the eyes of members of one family.

        The Watchers is a spy on the wall inside history of the network of suspicion and how it worked under Elizabeth.

        For a lighter but well researched fictional account of the life of Mary there are the two best trilogys I have read. Hilda Lewis writes from the point of view of Mary and her books are on Kindle. More recently there are three books which are sympathetic, fair, balanced and accessible by Samantha Wilcoxson. She also has an excellent blog.

        I have tried to include as wide a prospective as possible and recommend from a variety of abilities and depth as I am sorry, but I don’t know anything about your previous knowledge. I hope you can find something from this list that helps and you will enjoy.

  2. Christine says:

    So the old rotters dead, Henry V111 certainly is our most colourful monarch and him and his six unfortunate wives have been the subject of numerous books plays, television series and movies ever since, although I believe many of his councillors and those who were close to him feared him more than they loved him, his death must have been extremely sad and I can well imagine the sombre atmosphere of the court in the days that followed, Henry must have known he was dying, I think a sense of calmness invades the body in those that are and he must have thought about all what he had done to his realm ever since he had succeeded his father as a fresh faced youth, I can imagine his gloomy bed chamber, the huge bed he lay in and the opulent furnishings, the windows closed with the heavy curtains and the fire crackling in the grate, the soft murmur of voices and the air must have been fetid with the scent of the medicines his doctors had prescribed and his councillors were waiting silently by, the Duke of Norfolk languishing in the Tower up the river awaiting the thud of footsteps outside the door to his cell, that would tell him the King had signed his death warrant and he was to die, his nerves on edge awaiting that fatal moment then learned that the King was dead before he could sign it and he was free to go, had any prisoner awaiting death in the Tower been so lucky? The fact that Henrys will regarding young Edward to be governed by a body of trusted men was overruled shows how ambitious the Seymour’s were, and how disrespectful they were of the late kings wishes, the same family that had manoeuvred their sister onto the throne, and now with the King dead they saw real glory, they would rule England through their nephew, it was time for a new era, that auguste mighty monarch King Henry V111 of blessed memory had given his soul upto God and in his place stood a little boy of nine, frail and vulnerable to the machinations of his late fathers council, although so young his academic ability was not in question, he was a son to be proud of and Henry had made sure he was cosseted and pampered every day of his life, he had lost countless children over the years and he was determined not to lose little Edward, after the kings death the Seymours like a band of wolves all closeted together and his oldest uncle Edward the Duke of Somerset soon coerced the other members of the council to make him Lord Protector, several years down the line Edward was soon to be governed by another ruthless ambitious man, the Duke of Northumberland, such is the fate of the realm when a child inherits the throne, Henry must have trembled for his young son, his queen Catherine Parr he had taken leave of several days before and I would love to have known what they talked about, no doubt she would have been overwhelmed by the doleful atmosphere and could have shed a few tears for him, she had not wanted to marry him but had accepted his proposal of marriage as her duty as she had done throughout her life with her other marriages and she had come to respect him I believe, her enemies had not succeeded in destroying her and Henry had come to value her for her good sense, her patience and her skill as a nursemaid, she was to go down in history as Henrys sixth and final wife, according to the old nursery rhyme, she survived but sadly went onto make a disastrous marriage with her stepsons uncle and like many women died in childbirth, Henry V111 was called by one of his biographers ‘ the rarest man that ever lived’ another described him as a hero another a tyrant, in his day he done the unthinkable and broke with Rome all for the love of a woman, he set the founding of the navy which would later go on to be the mightiest in the world, his founded the Church of England in which all his successors ever since have been the supreme head of, but I don’t really think of these things when I think of Henry V111, I just see him or try to see him as he first appeared to his subjects when he was young and became King, a tall athletic graceful generous smiling man with golden red hair and a beard, a composer of music and an expert rider at the jousts, I can see him writing his ardent love letters to Anne Boleyn and strumming away at a lute whilst he sang Greensleeves to her, the composer of course of this most beautiful of songs is unknown but I like to think it was written by Henry, who wrote it for Anne, was not her favourite colour said to be green? That’s my fancy anyway, RIP King Henry V111 you certainly made your mark in not only England but in European history as well.

  3. Michael Wright says:

    I think you’re absolutely right about Henry’s counselors fearing him more than loving him. I was the caregiver to an elderly friend who passed away a few years ago and I wanted to make sure that she knew what was happening to her. When Henry was on his deathbed nobody was brave enough to tell the king he was dying because the king’s laws made it so it was very possible that by telling him this they could be executed. Happily for the king Anthony Denny stepped up and let the king know what was happening to him. Everyone should be able to prepare for their own demise.

    1. Christine says:

      Yes it was treason to foretell the death of the King, Denny was brave enough but I’m wondering if they all picked straws and poor old Denny drew the short straw, Cranmer hastened from Croydon and he was aware of him in his last minutes, his had comfort from his beloved archbishop, years ago I read that Henry muttered the words monks on his deathbed but this has shown to be just a tale, like most people on their deathbed speech goes and the breathing becomes ragged, he died peacefully which was not the luxury many of his victims had.

  4. Banditqueen says:

    When men and women like Henry Viii, Rameses the Great, Elizabeth I, Edward iii, Queen Victoria and others died they left an enormous gap behind, because they had reigned for a long time, sometimes longer than many had lived. Some people would have only known one King, a few lived under his father, but very few spanned more than that in those times. Our own Queen is in her 90s, very few will remember any other Monarch unless, like my mum who was 90 last week, they too are her age. People now live 80, 90, even 100 years. In Henry’s time the average (even adjusting for infant mortality )was something like 38 to 45, the former being his reign. Elizabeth ruled for 45 years and it is rightly remarked upon, but in an age were Kings ruled for an average of two decades, Henry had made it for over 38 years, plus he was an adult King. The rights and wrongs of his reign will be subject to debate for as long as historians have a voice, but just the length of his reign, after Kings had rapidly come and gone for over 100 years was a remarkable achievement. Although Henry had dealt with serious rebellion in 1536 and 1537 and faced opposition to his political and religious changes, his reign had kept the place reasonably stable compared with the previous century and reasonably free from invasion. I say reasonably to qualify the fact that all ages saw invasion or attempts to invade and the Tudors were no different. His Queen, Katherine of Aragon had sent the Howards north and marched herself to see off invading Scotland and Henry saw off a large French fleet, bigger than the Armarda in 1545. Nobody in fact dared to even try to invade by sea until his final years. His fortifications had guns that could blow ships clear out of the water, thanks to his paranoid determination to strengthen our coastal forts or build castles on every rock on the coast. The navy went from 15 to 246 ships, many of them men of war, 30 over 800 tons. The canon making industry was in full flow in Wales and the South and the Thames and Wye Valley. The Tower contained enough weapons to arm one third of the population, with over one million bows alone. Henry sourced the best wood, iron, bronze and guns he could find or make. Under Greenwich Palace was the equivalent of the Map Rooms in World War II. Some of his forts were mounted with modern guns even during the first and second world wars and the borders were not neglected either. Henry may have been called ruthless, merciless, even mad, insane, or tyrant, but nobody was getting their hands on England, not while he was around.

    Elizabeth I was the chip of the old block as was Mary as shown by their own determination to take and defend their own inheritance. Mary showed herself a true Tudor and a true daughter of Spain by standing up to Northumberland and unseating Jane Grey, who had the Tower and army at her command. Regardless of how her choice of consort would be received, and I don’t accept it was universally unpopular, because we cannot ask all six million people, when less than 10, 000 joined Wyatt, Mary went ahead and married Philip of Spain, proving she alone was in charge, just as a King would do, just as her father did, especially when he married Anne Boleyn in the face of opposition. Elizabeth proved she was a Tudor by telling Parliament to mind it’s own business and by acting with shrewdness to play one suitor off against another, in the end showing no man could rule her and she would and could rule alone, although her lack of an heir put her in peril. She also proved she would not bend and faced down the very real and dangerous Armarda, having finally renewed the army and navy.

    Edward was just nine years old when his father died, which is the great tragedy of Henry Viii. Henry needed a son and strived for one to the point of obsession. With hindsight we know women could rule and we live in a culture that gives women the opportunity to do what they wish. However, in the sixteenth century, few people believed a woman could rule, let alone rule alone. Women ruled as Regents, but in England we didn’t have Regents, we had the model of Lord Protector or a Council. Marie de Guise ruled ably in Scotland for her infant daughter, Mary Queen of Scots, Catherine de Medici ruled for three Kings in France, although her rule was controversial and cruel, in the Netherlands a series of female Regents, all called Margaret, ruled and kept magnificent and learned courts and there was a Regency in Austria for a time. Two of Henry’s Queens were Regent in his absence, with limited powers but none in right of his son. Isabella of Castile took her inheritance back by force and ruled with an iron fist, but she too had the support of an independent King, Ferdinand of Aragon. Together they forged the united Kingdom of Spain in fire and blood and went down in history as great, if ruthless rulers. Who would form the Government to shape young Edward into a Tudor King worthy of his father? Henry could not see either of his daughters as Queen and in fact nobody could, save themselves.

    The conversation which the old King’s Council now had was to form the next Government. Henry wanted a Council to rule, not one man as they were supporting many different factions. Henry was a good judgment of men, he knew what they were doing and he didn’t trust any of them. Not even the overly ambitious Seymour brothers were to be given ultimate power and Katherine Parr was excluded altogether. However, the Seymour clan had other ideas. Within days, if not hours, Edward Seymour and his brother, Thomas had seized control and had the heir and Elizabeth brought to court, under their control and only when everything they felt was needed was in place did they announce the death of King Henry Viii and reign of Edward vi.

    It was not the first or last time the death of a monarch had been hushed up for a few days and palace coups to control or even by the heir often came about during this period. It was an emotional and sometimes dangerous time, civil disobedience could result, factions were formed and a young heir was vulnerable. The death of Henry Vii was hushed up for two days, during which two coups took place, one led by 17 years old Prince Henry, who refused to have a Regency Council, even though effectively he did. Edward vi died aged 15 and for four days the Northumberland plot to make certain, the nominated heir, Lady Jane Grey was informed and installed before being proclaimed and Mary and Elizabeth were almost arrested, but for their escape. Now the Kingdom faced a child King and it was a dangerous time. He who had the heir ruled the Council and country. Hence, Edward Seymour was now to be Lord Protector and Thomas Seymour his next in command. With Prince Edward secured, his reign could now begin.

    Lord Protectors don’t have a very happy success rate, however, as can be seen by Humphrey of Gloucester and Richard of Gloucester, the latter ending up as King. This one would end on the block, trying to yet again, expand his power. Edward vi would take much of his intended power by 1551, making much of his own reformation policy, showing his own mind and he would then exclude his sisters from the succession which was forced upon him as he was dying, prematurely in 1553. The Old Testament prophecy: Woe to the land whose King is a child, was to all to really come true.

  5. Banditqueen says:

    It can also be argued that Henry Viii was the greatest King England had, just as it was that Elizabeth was the greatest Queen or Monarch. This of course is a matter of opinion, propaganda, changing assessment of their reigns. Henry was at one point called Great, in fact, I have called him so, half in gest, half because I used to believe it at one point and his contemporaries called him thus at times. Elizabeth has been called this by many historians and had names like Glorianna and Virgin Queen and so on. She was written up to such an extent that she has ceased to be a woman of flesh and blood and become a myth, one born out of sonnets and portraits and good old fashioned propaganda. She has been promoted by many of her Protestant succession, but we have been taught to believe it and many do. However, Elizabeth had her detractors, who promoted their own version of events and good propaganda. She also faced good old fashioned opposition from the North, from rivals and from abroad. Ireland was in turmoil during her reign and it was her biggest error to even set foot there. Elizabeth and Henry and Mary were ruthless and gracious at the same time. Mary was overshadowed by Elizabeth but we now know her reign had many successes and it was prematurely cut short. We also know that Mary could show great restraint in dealing with her enemies, but the stain of 276 Protestant martyrs has wrongly caused her name to be defamed.

    Three foreign Kings and one Queen have in particular been given the actual title Great and we have one King called Great, Alfred, and none were gentle rulers. Catherine the Great and Peter the Great were ruthless, merciless and even cruel, yet both are considered great and have been called so in Russia and outside. Today we may look at their reigns and assess them fairly, acknowledging their achievements, yet critically assess their acts of cruelty and even failure. Peter, like his ancestors, left nothing to the imagination when it came to swift and brutal justice, repression and even terror. However, he was more than this. He vastly expanded Russia to the East and her territorial claims included parts of the Ottoman lands and Sweden. He toured Europe, bringing the best minds and science to a backward people, he built a navy and turned the army into a modern fighting force, which was well equipped and well supplied, he built harbours, vast Imperial cities, such as Saint Petersburg and wonderful palaces. However, he did so at a great cost to his people and with a great death toll. He put down the Steltzie rebellion with brutal totality. He also made a modern spy and police force and many of the institutions and reforms of the time were to last to the present day. He was ruthless and cruel, but he was rightly called Great. Catherine took the throne on her own account, murdered her husband and son and expanded Russia yet again. She reformed education and extended it to women, was a champion of the arts and reformed the army. However, she too was ruthless and caused scandal, but was also called Great. Rameses was not a great general, but he was a builder and made allies with Egyptian enemies. He was no better or worse than any other Pharaoh but he lived until he was 96 and reigned over 75 years and was called Great. Genghis Khan was notoriously cruel and extermination of peasants and populations, but to his people he was a great and wise ruler. He was feared as a conqueror but he is considered Great as he more than that. He united warring tribes into one great nation, expanding the Empire in all four directions, he was a law giver, he brought artisans from every conquered people, he built, he reformed and he was revered. Charlemagne is honoured almost as a saint but he could be as ruthless as any, particularly in dealing with the Saxons, was a patron of learning and the arts and defender of Christianity. He too is called Great as his name suggests. Alfred was called Great for similar reasons to Charlemagne as a Law Giving King and the man who saw of the Vikings, but he too had his faults. He actually merely paid them off, although he did win a great victory against them. He was also ruthless in war and not a man of mercy. All of these are as bad, if not worse than Henry Viii, save maybe the latter, but he is called monster and tyrant, not Great. Great Monarchs are not gentle, they are all ruthless and have a reputation for swift justice. Henry V and Edward iii are praised for conquering parts of France and for being strong, but they both committed atrocities in war and left England with children as Kings. They also left England in debt as did Henry Viii and Elizabeth I. Mary probably did as well, but she had little money to inherit in the first place. Yet she did build three huge state of the art battle ships, that were copied by Elizabeth as prototypes, she reformed the economy and made female Queenship accepted and respected. Elizabeth used much of her father’s and sister’s ways in her rule, but had the most confidence in herself and abilities. She took advice, but her own strength was the secret of her long and reasonably successful reign.

    1. Christine says:

      I must admit iv never liked the image of Elizabeth as queen especially when she became the virgin queen of legend, this to me makes her appear less human more distant like the gods she is said to personify, I cannot warm to her later portraits where she is depicted with an unnaturally white face and huge ruff with a dark red wig, (since her own hair was by then sparse and grey) with jewels, her hooded dark eyes and her long white fingers splayed across her elaborate dress, this is not the Elizabeth I find attractive but rather the young girl who frolicked in the gardens with her stepmother and that unsavoury rake Thomas Seymour, the young woman with anguish in her heart who was taken to the Tower on the orders of her sister and refused to enter and sat down on a stone and had to be persuaded to step inside, the little girl who had been her fathers darling after he got over the disappointment of her birth, and who had paraded her up and down his court to the admiring crowds, the young girl who studied at her books and wrote to her father in Latin and who admired herself in the mirror whilst she tried on a new gown and maybe wore a new necklace of pearls around her neck, the young woman who knew her own mother had died on the orders of her adored father, the child who wept on the death of her father and who played with her brother in the nursery, it is this very human Elizabeth I prefer not the iconic one that stares out at us from the pelican portrait or the armada portrait, I like to see the human side of kings and queens because then they don’t appear so distant.

      1. Banditqueen says:

        Yes, the young Elizabeth gives a true picture of how she may look. The older Elizabeth probably lost part of her looks in 1562 when she had smallpox, for after that she had this white powder on her face. I remember a long time ago someone on television said that the portraits of Elizabeth I were all done to a standard pre agreed formula and this was used for every portrait. Most of her images are these goddess type portraits which are meant to convey an official message of divinity and power and are definitely not the true woman. There is one portrait and it was made near the end of her life with no red wig, little make up, as a lady who has lived, an old Queen, tired, the wait of the world on her shoulders, as the Queen really was. There is one portrait of Elizabeth aged 25 just before her first Parliament, which I think is the last true image until the end of her life. In other words we don’t see a true Elizabeth for all the years that she is Queen, just the goddess images that she presents to the world.

        Now I am no fan of Oliver Cromwell, but give him his due, at least he was painted ‘warts and all’.

        1. Michael Wright says:

          If I remember my history correctly Oliver Cromwell was painted that way at his request?

        2. Christine says:

          Yes I have seen that portrait and she looks just like a tired old lady, she looks overcome with the burden of her high office, did she not use white lead on her face to cover the scars of the smallpox she suffered from early on in her reign? I know she was very ill and said she wished to make the Earl of Leicester protector which proves she thought she was near death, Leicester’s sister Lady Mary Sidney nursed her and caught it herself, but thankfully they both survived, maybe Elizabeth used a combination of lead and powder but it was deadly, there is a theory she died from lead poisoning, Oliver Cromwell I have never been much of a fan of either, I think it’s shocking he sent a King to his death but he changed the structure of parliament forever and some call him a villian or a hero, iv never been quite sure what I would call him, I watched Richard Harris play him in a very good film and you got to know the man behind the image, I have never liked puritans though, they banned music and even laughter was frowned on, it was a sin to dance on the village green, I think they even banned Christmas? A right dreary lot, when Charles 11 returned from exile the city in fact the whole country went wild with joy, and then Cromwells body was dug up and he was decapitated like a traitor, interesting that this man was also related to Henry V111’s chief minister.

        3. Banditqueen says:

          I think he was, although he wore the regalia in formal occasions, he did ask for this portrait. He then had a funeral in Westminster as did Elizabeth his wife, but was dug up and tried and his body cut up. His head ended up, I am not certain, in a local medical museum but then it vanished a few decades ago, probably reburied. There is a book on it.

    2. Christine says:

      Henry 11 has been called the greatest of the Plantaganet kings and when you consider he built up the whole of the Angevin empire which lasted until his ne’er do well son John nearly lost all of it to the French King Philip, in fact Philip was offered the crown to come and help govern England, how humiliating, Henrys fly in the ointment was Thomas A Becket whose murder shocked the world and which the King did penance for, his wife who he managed to upset and so it is claimed, turned their sons against him, yet he was responsible for introducing the jury system into the law courts which is in practice to this day and in many courts around the world, his son Richard The Lionheart by his very title sounds like he was a great monarch, yet he disliked England and was more at home in Aquitaine his mothers home province in southern France, the history books at school told us he was this valiant hero who went on the crusade but the reality was very different, he was cold and cruel, he burnt and pillaged towns and cities, killed hundreds and raped the womenn, all the Plantaganets were known for having a terrifying temper and in fact Henry 11 was infamous for getting into such a rage he would roll about on the floor and stuff rushes in his mouth, he was also like his son John, very lustful and had several children born out of wedlock, Henry V was a great King and was a King Henry V111 had great admiration for but he never got to conquer France, which was his dream, it’s true that great monarchs of the past cannot be weak, their very strength lay in their ability to excersise control and control is largely inspired by fear, just as the big cat in the circus is controlled by the crack of the whip, so great kings ruled by fear, I didnt know anything about Catherine the Great but have often wondered why she was so called, but she’s another example of a woman ruling against the odds in what was obviously a male dominated society, that she resorted to murder and that of her own son shows her to be unnatural and utterly ruthless, but she sounds interesting, a strong if thoroughly dislikeable woman, well iv commented enough so I’m going to watch some television now, ‘ Hands Of The Ripper ‘ is on aw gawd!.

  6. Christine says:

    In Weirs book ‘Children of England’ she writes how the lady Mary was annoyed she had not been told of her fathers death by Somerset much sooner, and Edward and Elizabeth had been in seperate residences but they had been bought together for the sad occasion when the council told them their father had died, but then the men would have first knelt in his presence and taken of their hats so they would have guessed, to their dismay and discomfiture children both burst into tears only to be expected, since they were so young and the loss of their big and sometimes terrifying father would have been an unexpected shock to them, we all think our parents are going to live for ever, though the rational part of us knows it is not so, and we are comfortable in the knowledge that our parents are with us, with little Edward and Elizabeth they never knew their mothers, Elizabeth may have had a vague recollection of hers but it was to have been her father who dominated her life just like it did Edwards, Mary was the more fortunate for she had known a mothers love but for Edward and Elizabeth he was the only parent they had ever known, and it must have been a lot to take in for two children of just nine and thirteen, they may have been told he was unwell but a lot of things would have been kept from them, as they cried hopelessly the men patted them and said soothing words but they should really have had Kat Ashley Elizabeths servant and companion and Edwards nurse in attendance, as women being more maternal would have been able to give them a big hug which was what they needed, Edward was then aware what this meant to him for he was now King, a grave studious little boy who in character seemed to resemble his cousin Lady Jane Grey, as he grew older he became quite imperious and showed quite an alarming strength of character reminiscent of his father, and as Bq mentions, was determined the country would remain Protestant, his sudden death before he had reached his sixteenth birthday was tragic as he possessed a remarkable brain that could have benefited England greatly, and paved the way for more bloodshed with the failed coup to put Lady Jane Grey on the throne, his country were forced to take sides and young Jane, an innocent victim was put to death, if he had honoured his late fathers will it would never have happened but Edward was using the sovereigns prerogative, he despaired of his sister Mary becoming queen as she would undo everything he and his father had done therefore he no doubt coerced by Northumberland, drew up a new will and barred both his sisters, he although being exceptionally bright, (he is said to have been a child prodigy) was not mature enough in the ways of the world, indeed who at fifteen is?, and lacked the foresight of the consequences his actions would have, his sister Mary as her life drew to a close knew there could be no repeat of that and wisely left her crown and kingdom to her younger sister Elizabeth, the battle she had to fight for her crown paved a much smoother path for Elizabeth when she finally became queen in 1558.

    1. Banditqueen says:

      I am a fan of Henry ii and Edward iii because of what they set out to build. Henry ii tried to reform the justice system to the extent that he wasn’t happy with the clergy being tried in church courts for major crimes like murder and theft and getting off with a fine or penance. Minor stuff or religious stuff fine, but serious offences should be tried in the King’s court or secular courts as they were for the laity. He also introduced a jury system and circuit judges, so the same justice could be given all over the country. Unfortunately, Thomas Becket saw this as an attack on the rights of the Church, so off they went on their epic struggle.

      The whole thing about Henry was that he had built everything from scratch and he found it difficult to keep it all under control. While Henry ii was an excellent administrator, as Becket was as Chancellor, his lands were extensive in the end and a headache. As with his descendants Henry ii also owed homage to the King of France for his lands in France and this wrankled later Kings who refused it. Thus the wars began and land disputes forced us into the 100 years war which went on for 116 years, on and off. His sons of course were the big problem, wanting more and more power, which he denied them. Henry gave them lands, rich wives, but not the authority to do anything with it. Mum sided with the over active sons, as only the rich, beautiful and powerful Eleanor of Aquitaine could, saw them as being right and rebellion was inevitable. Henry could forgive his sons, but not his wife and she spent the last eleven years of their marriage as a prisoner. Every year at Christmas they all got together at Chinon and the fights all started again. The first thing Richard I did was let Eleanor out of jail and give her as much authority as it took to rule for him. It was Eleanor who kept Richard from harming John when he stole his lands while he was on Crusade. By the time John’s own son, Henry iii came to succeed, John had lost most of his father’s Empire.

      Edward iii was praised because of the glory he brought back after his great victories which are also down to his son, the Black Prince at Crecy and Poiters, at which the long bow was used. I think for me he stands out as a brave King who as a young man took back control from his mother and her alleged lover, Roger Mortimer by taking a few companions and going up the back stairs under Nottingham Castle and up into their rooms. Taking them by surprise he arrested Mortimer and held his mother. Having then had Mortimer killed for the murder of his father, the young King let his mother, Isabella the Fair, live out her life in comfortable retirement with an income.

      Edward is also well known for his interest in King Arthur and his establishment of the Knights of the Garter, at Windsor where he built a hall and where the stalls are still in the choir at Saint George Chapel there and their seats are all along the great gallery. Here we have a link to Henry Viii who was very into the Knights and is buried in the vault in the middle of this same Choir. The banners hang either side and the Chapter is still held every year with the Monarch and the Garter Knights vin their finery.

      The problem with Edward iii was he lived and reigned a very long time and he renewed the wars during the 1350s and 1360s, with a lot taxation being granted on an already overburdened population. The years 1346 to 1350 also saw the Black Death with its devastating effects, including the death of Princess Joan, the King’s daughter as she travelled to her wedding. The whole thing left crops unsown and fields fallow and caused chaos as well as the terrible suffering and death toll. Afterwards people left behind saw more opportunities and demanded payments for work and more rights. A series of controls to prevent labour and price wars forced people back onto the land they had abandoned and by the end of Edward iii’s long reign resentment was brewing. The country was on the verge of rebellion and even before the famous Peasant Revolt in 1381, during the reign of his grandson, Richard ii, there were Poll Taxes which caused discontent. They had to be cut back and made more affordable and labour costs regulated but all this would be reversed and the notorious Poll Tax at 12 shillings regardless of income led to the above revolution. Edward iii, as Edward I before him left a country bankrupt from war and in a precarious financial situation to a ruler unable or unwilling to deal with it, without resorting to violence and oppression.

      1. Christine says:

        Edward 111 certainly was courageous, taking on the formidable Mortimer, it is said when he stormed their apartments his mother highly distressed and pregnant urged him to show pity on sweet Mortimer, I hardly think Edward thought of him as sweet, but it was just a term they used, this was the man who some thought had murdured his father Edward 11, Edward 11 was a weak ineffectual King who was said to be homosexual and loved his favourites more than his wife, I am directly descended from Mortimer and his wife Jean De Genevielle, through another line I am descended from Edward 1st via his daughter Joan of Acre, Edward 1st who has been called that great and terrible King and who the King of Scots once remarked that he feared his bones more than his son, Edward 111 inherited his mothers bravery who when she was married to his father Edward 11 did her best to support him as a queen consort and became very popular, she was intelligent as well as being beautiful and after the way her hopeless husband treated her, I’m not surprised she rebelled, her and Mortimer both had her husband’s some say lover Despencer hung drawn and quartered whilst they ate dinner, they had strong stomachs in those days, I have Weirs book on Isabella and she paints a very sympathetic view of her, very readable and I highly recommend it.

        1. Banditqueen says:

          That’s interesting being a descendent of the great Mortimer clan and of Edward I. Family trees are fascinating. Roger Mortimer was a powerful man and you only have to go to their strongholds at Ludlow and Wigmore and Cluny to see how much power they had. Wigmore is extremely difficult to get to and we gave up, just too many steps, but seeing it from the valley below gave the impression of a mighty impregnable fortress. All of these border March castles were inherited by the Third Duke of York, through his mother, Anne Mortimer and were just one powerbase. Roger Mortimer was no gentleman and Edward took a huge risk. Had he not come up the hidden stairs into their chambers, they would most likely have run into the heavily guarded contingent keeping watch. It was a very courageous thing to do.

          I have read Isabella by Alison Weir and it is good. Some people don’t like it because she says Dispenser might have raped Isabella when he abducted her. While there is no absolute proof, it is not discounted by Karen Warner in her more recent study, so it is something I am open minded on as we don’t know and it may help to explain her venom towards him. Isabella was only twelve when she married Edward, so forget Braveheart, never happened, but he waited a few years to consummate the marriage. Forget also the story of Piers Graveston getting all the attention at the wedding and the wedding presents, never happened. He was given them to take back to England and store as the marriage was in France. Isabella and Edward were successful as husband and wife, even if he was a disaster as a King. To be fair he did inherit a bankrupt Kingdom, war on two fronts and a country practically on the brink of civil war over Edward I’s wars, taxation and fall out with his nobles in his last years. Stephen Spinks makes no excuse for Edward but does put his difficulties in perspective. Unfortunately, Edward had too much of a passionate thing for useless favourites who were resented by the nobles to pay any attention to their advice and sort out the problems and of control this led to inevitable strife and the murder of Graveston. Then after defeating his own enemies, Edward made the same mistake with Hugh Dispenser the Younger. It all went wrong again, this time with a more brutal man, who Sprink says was more of a bully and emotionally abusive to Edward. Isabella was naturally outraged and took herself off to demand justice and her marriage back at her brother, Philip Iv’s court in France. Her son joined her, having been sent to pay homage on behalf of Edward ii for his lands in France, something which was the Kings of England hated, but he now refused to come home and a series of letters from father and son, husband and wife reveal Edward as increasingly frustrated and angry at their defiance. The marriage which has produced five children is in decline. Isabella said there are three people in the marriage, either Dispenser goes or she does. At some point a banished Roger Mortimer turned up and although Paul Doherty says they became lovers, this has also been questioned. Ian Mortimer has written an excellent biography of Roger Mortimer and Karen Warner is sceptical. In the end Mortimer and Isabella land in England, acting for her son, thirteen year old Edward Prince of Wales and he is crowned in his father’s place. The King and Dispenser were cornered like rats and we know the brutal way he was dealt with. Dispenser and others were given a mock trial, not allowed to speak and executed. I don’t know about eating dinner, but Hugh Dispenser was brutally executed, and there is a horrible depiction of him being disembowled on top of a ladder before being beheaded and quartered.

          The Queen was a powerful and popular woman but she was also pretty ruthless so maybe she was better set to rule than Edward. Roger Mortimer was not the most popular man and this period is highly controversial. Edward iii asserted himself at the age of seventeen, punishing the man that he saw as his father’s killer and took back the government. From now on Edward iii would go forward as a strong ruler, probably taking after his mother.

          Edward ii was undoubtedly homosexual, despite some attempts to say he wasn’t. It was a dangerous thing to be, with many countries having the death penalty for a sexual preference that was universally condemned as a perversion and unnatural and contrary to the laws of God which people lived by. (I am not agreeing or disagreeing, this is how it was in the fourteenth century). Edward could only get away with having an obvious male lover because he was a King. However, Edward knew it was his duty to marry and produce an heir and five children show regular sexual intercourse with his wife, so he was more probably bi sexual. The terminology did not exist then but all knew it to be true. The main objection to Edward ii and his lover or lovers was not their sexuality. It was that they kept Edward from listening to anyone else, took all of the honours and kept those who should rightly rule and govern for and with the King from him. This was the same with Hugh Dispenser who was seen as going further. It was his malicious cruelty that became a problem and his hold over Edward. He also may not have been his lover, but his abuser, at least emotionally. His fate was certainly cruel.

          Edward iii was known as a great warrior as was his son, he was also lenient to his mother, although Mortimer hung as a common criminal. There is also controversial evidence that Edward ii was not murdered but lived on until 1341. Letters came from Italy in 1330 to claim this was so. Edward iii killed his half uncle, Henry of Lancaster, the younger son of Edward I by his second wife, Margarite, for saying his father was still alive. The Fieschi Letter by the Papal notary, Manuele de Fieschi to Edward iii claimed his father was alive after 1327 and had lived in Italy as Edward of Caernarfon, the name he used when he was deposed. His body was not viewed by a family member and was half hidden as it lay in state and in the Abbey of Saint Peter, now Gloucester Cathedral where his tomb lay. This was disturbing for Edward iii, and some historians, including Warner and Spinks and I believe, Ian Mortimer believe his survival until at least 1341 is a possibility. If he did, who was buried in Gloucester in 1327? Another historical mystery.

  7. Christine says:

    Braveheart whilst being a good film was not historically correct you are right, and Edward 11 was quite possibly bisexual, the marriage between him and Isabella was successful for some years and it appeared to get better after Gavestons death, it is interesting the theory that Despencer raped Isabella, certainly he got the full force of her venom but he may not actually have laid a finger on her, quite possibly it was his obnoxious attitude and insulting manner towards her and the other nobles that really got under her skin, and of course as you mention he was seen to be effectively controlling Edward, I find what happened to Isabella sad, she lost her lover and child and some said went insane, on a comical note, she is said to haunt a London cemetary and one night she supposedly bumped into another lady ghost and they both had a dreadful fight, each thinking they had the right to haunt there and the other was stealing their pitch! I read that in the book Haunted London, yes I am rather proud of having Plantaganet blood in my veins and in my family tree I have the arms of England and the arms of William the Conqueror, unlike Henry V111 who no doubt would have had me arrested for displaying the Royal arms I don’t think Queen Liz would mind.

    1. Banditqueen says:

      Ha ha!! My money would be on Isabella winning. lol.

      1. Christine says:

        Yeah she was certainly a feisty woman!

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