Did Henry VIII and Francis I really wrestle?

Posted By on April 15, 2021

Thank you to Leah for her excellent question regarding a scene from Showtime’s “The Tudors” series in which Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Henry VIII challenges Emmanuel Leconte as Francis I to a wrestling match at the Field of Cloth of Gold meeting.

Did Henry VIII and Francis I really wrestle? And, if so, what happened?

Find out all about the history behind this scene in this video I recorded…

11 thoughts on “Did Henry VIII and Francis I really wrestle?”

  1. Banditqueen says:

    According to Glen Richardson. this didn’t happen. I think it did, but the English hushed it up. The French of course probably boasted about it and I have heard that Henry claimed that Francis cheated by tripping him up with his leg. Robert de la Marck was a reputable historian so this incident probably did happen. Another thing which points to this incident being correct is the personality of Henry himself. It’s right up his street, challenging Francis to a wrestling match. He always took part in everything himself and no doubt he couldn’t resist. In fact in one part of the painting you can see the two Kings wrestling. Henry had a great ego as did Francis and although both Kings agreed to certain conditions, there was no way they were going to spend all of that time together and not take stock of each other or challenge one another. I suspect this wasn’t the only match they had and at least it all ended well, with dinner.

    Last year was the 500th Anniversary and the Tudor Summit held a virtual Field of the Cloth of Gold, hosted by Sarah Morris with Glen Richardson as a special guest, speaking of the part played by Cardinal Wolsey in putting this spectacular assembly together, the costs and entertainment, the food and the celebrations and reasons for the Field of the Cloth of Gold. Basically it was to celebrate the coming together of the parties who had signed the Treaty of Universal Peace and to look forward to a more stable Europe. Not only was this a meeting between France and England but Henry and Katharine met separately with her nephew, Charles, either end of the Conference. All three had signed the Treaty and all parties should have been there, but that was asking too much. Anyway it was a grand occasion, tents of gold and silver, the English Palace, built from wood and painted to look like brick, two storeys tall, much longer than in the painting, tents of many bright colours, tournament grounds, tennis courts, a flying dragon fireworks, wine fountains and you can see people drinking, fighting and vomiting in the painting. Henry’s Knights took on those of Francis and won the most points, especially men like Sir Charles Brandon and the two Kings dined but with the Queen as host. Neither King could host the other as this would indicate that the guest was superior. So each Queen hosted the others King. It was a wonderful time and the intentions good, but nothing lasted forever in the sixteenth century world of Kings and rivals. Henry and Francis called each other brother but within three years Henry was trying to take Paris and the French crown. The weather won that one as Suffolk was forced to struggle back to England as his men died of frost bite at the rate of 100 a week. The idea behind this conference, however, was peace and some movement towards universal peace were achieved, but men don’t want peace and it ultimately failed.

  2. Christine says:

    I heard that Henry was so furious when Francis threw him that he tried to punch him and the two queens, Queens Katherine and Claude had to pull them apart, if that was the case then Henry acted like an ill mannered schoolboy, Francis was very tall and quite thin, not so muscular as Henry but probably lighter on his feet and such men can be incredibly strong, it could not have done much for Anglo French relations to see the English king rolling in the dust his face red with rage and humiliation, Anne and her sister Mary must have witnessed this event and it’s easy to say, they must have been dazzled by the wealth and pomp and ceremony that both kings put on, each trying to out do the other, and which the taxpayers of both countries had contributed largely towards, but in a few years England and France were at war again, so this excessive amount of wealth had achieved nothing, but it must have been spectacular to have actually witnessed it, we can see the splendour of the event depicted in the painting, yes there were mock castles and the tents were of gold and silver, there were figures of mythical beasts and ancient princes, in the top left of the painting you can see a flying dragon, Katherine took a large retinue with her which included the cream of the nobility and there were banquets which must have included only the finest of wines and clarets, the French king elegant and very tall was a Renaissance prince well educated and yet a lecher, he had mistresses a plenty and his court was the most immoral in the world, his long suffering wife Claude kept her own court where she went with her ladies mostly to keep them away from her husbands lustful eye, she lived quietly away from the noisy dissolute court of the French king, a most pleasant woman and pious, she gave Francis several children and his heir, she was small of stature and suffered from scoliosis, and sadly died young, but Francis respected her and honoured her with a fine tomb in Saint Basilica where they both lie together in eternity, Francis and Henry V111 looked on each other as rivals and the English king was always trying to out do him, he remarked on his very fine calves to the ambassador one day saying are they not better more finer than Francis rather spindly ones? Francis did have thin legs and Henry loved to boast about his more muscly ones, and these two kings were both so very different to look upon, both tall yet Francis was dark to Henry’s golden boyish looks, both men of the world yet Henry was said to be shocked at his neighbours dissolute lifestyle, in his portrait Francis stares out at us with a rather sardonic look on his face, long with high cheekbones, strong nosed with a wide mouth that seems to be smirking, you can actually see the lust in his narrow hazel coloured eyes, as if in real life he must have been mentally stripping every woman who took his fancy, he and Henry called each other brother like all monarchs, yet in reality they mistrusted each other, mistrust of the French is ingrained in the English, it has been for centuries and it’s easy to say they feel the same about us, maybe because we are so close to each other, it’s not so much these days however, the older generation still grumble about the French but it seems to have existed for centuries maybe caused partly by the conquest, much later on Henry V111 was to travel to France to seek her king in supporting his new marriage to Anne Boleyn, but there was no suitable lady who wished to meet her, so Anne stayed behind in Calais, but she did entertain him later and he rewarded her with a beautiful diamond, Anne was a Francophile she had spent her teenage years there and it’s polish had rubbed of on her, now Spain was the enemy and so Henry wished to woo Francis again, by now Katherine was going through the menopause and Francis spoke of her in rather derogatory terms when he declared she was old and deformed, not a very diplomatic choice of words, it was said he and Anne were on friendly y terms maybe because of the years she had spent in the French court, but his friendship was necessary as Henry had Spain and the Emperor Charles baying at him, there was no wrestling in the dust this time but polite friendly banter, over the decades England was either an ally of Spain or an ally of France and therefore, enemies of the other, Francis must have looked on with horror as Henry had Anne executed and married her lady in waiting two weeks later, his ambassador like Chapyus were forever scribbling on their parchment informing their masters of the English kings marital adventures, amongst other court gossip and real factual events, he lived through Anna from Cleves and when Henry married Catherine Howard, he exclaimed with a roll of his eyes, ‘this his next?’, when news of her alleged infidelity came to light, he wrote to the English king commiserating on her ‘wondrous naughty behaviour’, Francis had been lucky in the one thing that Henry was not, he had sons and he must have understood his need for a male heir, in France women were forbidden to inherit the crown, after Elizabeth was born Anne wished an engagement between her baby and the Dauphin, but it was said Francis preferred Mary because being a Catholic country, in France she was largely seen as the rightful heir, Anne was thus displeased with France but as we know, no offer of marriage ever occurred between the unhappy eldest daughter of Henry V111 and a foreign prince, he was too busy planning his own weddings, he died before his rival and within months Francis also met his maker, his body riddled no doubt with every venereal disease going, really both kings so very different in looks and character, were a legend in their own lifetime.

  3. Banditqueen says:

    Hi Christine, what a fantastic post. Its good to reflect forward from this event as to how much everyone and everything had changed. Although there is no mention of Mary or Anne Boleyn being at the event, they probably were there because Thomas was the resident English Ambassador at the time. Anne we know was still serving Queen Claude so would have been in her company and Mary was present with her husband William Carey, who took part in the jousting. This would have been the most glittering spectacle both girls had seen or would ever see. It must have felt strange for Mary, married but for a few months, to be retuning to France so soon. Francis after all had boasted that this poor girl was his mule and ruined her reputation. There is no evidence that Henry had yet taken her briefly as her mistress and her marriage to William Carey wasn’t hastily arranged as it ended. It probably didn’t occur for another two years, which is when most people assume it happened, although we don’t actually know when Henry slept with Mary Boleyn or for how long. Francis was a man and men exaggerate everything, especially their sexual conquests, often lying about them. His own affair with Mary was probably brief as well as we don’t appear to know anything more than his boasting. He was a womanizer and unlike Henry Viii, he was treated for syphilis, which isn’t called the French disease for nothing. In fact it was still relatively unknown in England but was well known in France and so Francis definitely had it.

    There’s one myth which always comes up about Anne Boleyn and for which there is no evidence whatsoever and I actually find it rather annoying. Its this: that because she spoke French well she acted as a translator between Queen Claude and Katharine of Aragon. Rubbish!!!! What makes her important enough for such an honour, absolutely nothing. She was no better than any other of the people who served Queen Claude and there were others of higher rank to act as an interpretor and they would have been named. Both Queens spoke Latin in any case so didn’t need to converse in French. There is no evidence that either had anyone translate for them. Katharine of Aragon was the most highly educated person in Europe. Claude of France was probably the next or the equivalent. No matter how many French educations she had Anne Boleyn was not as well educated as either of them. I am not saying her education wasn’t outstanding, it was, but no, she wasn’t more educated than Katharine of Aragon. Katharine was a natural linguist. She wrote in and spoke several languages, including French. She didn’t need an interpretor and I seriously doubt it was Anne Boleyn and do we really think that among Katharine’s own trusted ladies, there wasn’t someone who could speak French? An interpretor was someone who didn’t just speak both languages but who could be trusted to convey the truth and the meaning of the words spoken, so as transparency and translation were not lost. Therefore someone important had their own, because they didn’t trust anyone else. It was bad enough two Kingdoms coming together in this extraordinary way, you didn’t want something going wrong because the translator said the wrong thing. They had to be discrete as well so as not to translate hidden insults. There is no mention of Anne Boleyn or anyone acting to interpret for Katharine so that myth is untrue.

    The splendour of the field of the Cloth of Gold must have lived on in memory for many years. The dragon fireworks made the French jump and the English laughing at them must have been great fun. The event was 19 days I think, so a great time over several days. It didn’t have any long term achievements that is true but maybe the fact that it happened to begin with was an achievement. The planning to bring it all to life and the wonder of it all took some organisations on both sides. The marsh lands and lakes around the town had to be drained for one thing in order to prepare the ground. Local produce had to be sourced, trees chopped for wood, transportation on barges, local builders, then the fountains with wine made and painted, everything built and tents put up, areas laid out for sports events, the equivalent of the jousting Olympic games planned, on and on. All those nobles and their retinue, 600 for each King and Queen, they all have to be fed, the horses stabled, the servants have to be attired and fed, cooks, entertainment arrangements, travel, roads made safe, ships docked and unloaded, etc etc etc. The behind the scenes crew must have been excellent. I see it as an achievement, even if the company didn’t actually achieve anything over the years to come.

  4. Banditqueen says:

    Hi Christine, what a fantastic post. Its good to reflect forward from this event as to how much everyone and everything had changed. Although there is no mention of Mary or Anne Boleyn being at the event, they probably were there because Thomas was the resident English Ambassador at the time. Anne we know was still serving Queen Claude so would have been in her company and Mary was present with her husband William Carey, who took part in the jousting. This would have been the most glittering spectacle both girls had seen or would ever see. It must have felt strange for Mary, married but for a few months, to be retuning to France so soon. Francis after all had boasted that this poor girl was his mule and ruined her reputation. There is no evidence that Henry had yet taken her briefly as her mistress and her marriage to William Carey wasn’t hastily arranged as it ended. It probably didn’t occur for another two years, which is when most people assume it happened, although we don’t actually know when Henry slept with Mary Boleyn or for how long. Francis was a man and men exaggerate everything, especially their sexual conquests, often lying about them. His own affair with Mary was probably brief as well as we don’t appear to know anything more than his boasting. He was a womanizer and unlike Henry Viii, he was treated for syphilis, which isn’t called the French disease for nothing. In fact it was still relatively unknown in England but was well known in France and so Francis definitely had it.

    There’s one myth which always comes up about Anne Boleyn and for which there is no evidence whatsoever and I actually find it rather annoying. Its this: that because she spoke French well she acted as a translator between Queen Claude and Katharine of Aragon. Rubbish!!!! What makes her important enough for such an honour, absolutely nothing. She was no better than any other of the people who served Queen Claude and there were others of higher rank to act as an interpretor and they would have been named. Both Queens spoke Latin in any case so didn’t need to converse in French. There is no evidence that either had anyone translate for them. Katharine of Aragon was the most highly educated person in Europe. Claude of France was probably the next or the equivalent. No matter how many French educations she had Anne Boleyn was not as well educated as either of them. I am not saying her education wasn’t outstanding, it was, but no, she wasn’t more educated than Katharine of Aragon. Katharine was a natural linguist. She wrote in and spoke several languages, including French. She didn’t need an interpretor and I seriously doubt it was Anne Boleyn and do we really think that among Katharine’s own trusted ladies, there wasn’t someone who could speak French? An interpretor was someone who didn’t just speak both languages but who could be trusted to convey the truth and the meaning of the words spoken, so as transparency and translation were not lost. Therefore someone important had their own, because they didn’t trust anyone else. It was bad enough two Kingdoms coming together in this extraordinary way, you didn’t want something going wrong because the translator said the wrong thing. They had to be discrete as well so as not to translate hidden insults. There is no mention of Anne Boleyn or anyone acting to interpret for Katharine so that myth is untrue.

    The splendour of the field of the Cloth of Gold must have lived on in memory for many years. The dragon fireworks made the French jump and the English laughing at them must have been great fun. The event was 19 days I think, so a great time over several days. It didn’t have any long term achievements that is true but maybe the fact that it happened to begin with was an achievement. The planning to bring it all to life and the wonder of it all took some organisations on both sides. The marsh lands and lakes around the town had to be drained for one thing in order to prepare the ground. Local produce had to be sourced, trees chopped for wood, transportation on barges, local builders, then the fountains with wine made and painted, everything built and tents put up, areas laid out for sports events, the equivalent of the jousting Olympic games planned, on and on. All those nobles and their retinue, 600 for each King and Queen, they all have to be fed, the horses stabled, the servants have to be attired and fed, cooks, entertainment arrangements, travel, roads made safe, ships docked and unloaded, etc etc etc. The behind the scenes crew must have been excellent. I see it as an achievement, even if the company didn’t actually achieve anything over the years to come.

    Yes both Kings would go to war with each other snd Francis with Charles who wasn’t present, Henry would turn up at another spectacular event, practically divorced from Katharine, with Anne Boleyn in her place in 1532, then go on to have many wives, but here in 1520, they did feel like brothers and acted as such.

  5. Christine says:

    Thanks Bq, it’s one of those events that makes one wish they could go back in time, and see the whole dazzling display in all its colourful and decadent glory, I have never heard that myth about Anne Boleyn translating for Katherine and Claude, as you say, both ladies had been educated to the highest standard, and neither certainly did not need an interpreter, it makes you wonder how these myths arose, and you are right even though this very costly event did not do much for both countries, it was a remarkable achievement in that it was all man made, no modern sophisticated machinery to help, it was all done with hard graft, and must have taken a few years to plan and it was done marvellously, it must been talked about for years to come as well, regarding Francis and Mary Boleyn he apparently referred to her as his hackney or mule, as he rode her so often, it’s unfair when we know a few words however casually made can ruin a woman’s reputation, the fact is we do not know if there ever was anything between them, and Francis slept with so many women one wonders how he could remember all of them? The man had a virtual harem!, years later writers were to paint Mary as a harlot, a loose woman who left France not quite the blushing rose as when she had first arrived, and during Elizabeth 1sts reign her name was somehow mixed up with Anne’s, due to Sanders biased writing, and it was the younger sister not the elder who was accused of sleeping with Francis, but they say there is no smoke without fire and it could well be that Mary had a fling with Francis, yes he probably was boasting when he said he rode her often, it may have just been a few times, but if that was the case, and she did have a sexual relationship with this most dissolute of monarchs, then Mary was extremely lucky she never contracted syphilis, both her children were healthy to and they themselves had large families, children born of a syphilitic parent are often blind of poor health, and don’t live very long, Anne herself I believe was not a virgin when she slept with King Henry, years later he commented that he had had enough of French ways when he was pursuing yet another spouse, it was believed it was a reference to his second queen who had been very French in her style and manners, it is possible she had introduced French lovemaking to the marital bed which deep down, being the prude he was, he could have found quite repellent, the French court was such a licentious court, because the king himself set the moral tone amongst his courtiers, he actively encouraged free love and it was considered normal for a man to have several mistresses on the go, besides that it was also a very cultured one that attracted scholars and artists and poets, Francois was a patron of Leonardo da Vinci and held the genius in his arms as he lay dying in his bed, but the polished veneer of this most sophisticated and learned court hid a swirling pit of vice and depravity, I find it quite hard to believe that any young woman with all the sensuous temptation on offer, could ever have left this court a virgin, Queen Claude herself could well have been infected with syphilis, but lucky for them her children were healthy enough, it is a very serious disease and quite preventable, but of course with King Francis being the man he was, it was inevitable that he would some day contract it, what is dreadful is that he passed it onto his poor long suffering wife.

  6. Banditqueen says:

    Well, I don’t know about Anne introducing French ways to the marriage bed, I wasn’t there ha, but yes a few comments were apparently made, although the sources are not the most reliable and probably biased. I believe that Anne had a sexual relationship with Henry Percy because she hoped to marry him, although they didn’t make a formal promise to marry. They had a loving relationship only ended because the families didn’t agree with their union. Anne wasn’t ruined in France as the Bishop Pio remarked and whether or not Henry believed this and tried to use it against her in 1536 when he sought to annul their marriage in March, before the action to try her for adultery and treason, is really speculation based on rumours the Bishop had heard. Henry knew his wife as a sensual woman, he knew her sexual experience and desires, he couldn’t complain now after almost a decade of being involved and then married to her. Henry may not like talking about sex, but we haven’t got a clue about his sexual likes and dislikes. Anne might have excited him because she was different, because she awoke something exotic within him. He was also a passionate and outspoken man. I really can’t see him not voicing his opinion if a sexual partner, especially his wife, did something which made him feel uncomfortable. A woman had to enjoy sex in order to conceive according to the wisdom of the day and women were recognised as having greater sexual appetites than men, so if Henry wanted a male heir, his wife needed to be happy in bed. So, maybe, hard luck. No, I feel they were good lovers for each other and enjoyed each other for many years.

    Francis had an official list of his mistresses. Mary Boleyn isn’t named on this list but perhaps he couldn’t remember them all or more likely, they represent long term relationships and not his short term conquests as Mary obviously was. Then there’s the power game and sexual power being played out here. Francis was a King, a man in his mid to late 20s and Mary was fifteen at most when she came to France, being 18, 19 or 20 at most when she married. She was essentially a servant, a lady to his wife, a Knights daughter, a young woman with little life experience and he was the King of France, married and sexually experienced. Who had all the power? He did. She was a woman living in the sixteenth century with very few rights and even less power. Now I am not saying Francis raped her, it was consensual, but he was charming and powerful and he probably overwhelmed her with his wooing and promised her the moon. No doubt Mary was won over, probably very excited to be in an exotic foreign country, at a sophisticated Royal Court, susceptible to everything this had to offer, the dancing, the wine, the rich food, the sweet meats, the entertainment, the senses were all open and the King noticed her. Her heart must have missed a few beats as he took her hand and led her onto the dance floor. They danced, they ate, they talked, they laughed, he asked for her to come to his chamber, she agreed. In the low romantic lighting of his comfortable bedchamber perhaps he was even more charming, made her feel at home, brought her warm wine, more sweet meats, they talked and relaxed, the seduction began, slowly, playfully and Mary allowed the rest to happen. Francis found Mary sweet and giving and not too much trouble and continued to spend his evenings with her. She probably didn’t mind but then a King gets bored. Perhaps Anne thought she was an idiot and so she wasn’t so giving and then the relationship ran its course and Mary received some gifts and then nothing more happened. Perhaps Francis fancied another night some time later and a more sensible Mary Boleyn rejected him. Francis as a man of powerful sexual reputation and a King cannot take rejection or have it known he was rejected so he invented the story of her being his mule whom he rode often. Mary was brought home most likely before the end of 1519 and was betrothed to a distant cousin of King Henry Viii, William Carey, whom she married in February 1520. The King himself attended the wedding. Although most people put the relationship Mary had with King Henry at Shrove Tide 1522, there’s no information about when it was or how long it lasted. It could have been around the same time as her marriage or later in her marriage, we just don’t know. It was so secret, in fact, that we only know about it because Henry fell in love with her sister, Anne.

    In 1527 Henry Viii definitely wanted to end his marriage with Queen Katharine and he had a second wife in mind. He sent a proposal to Pope Clement asking for a dispensation in order to marry a woman whose sibling he had slept with. He didn’t mention the woman but it was deduced to be Mary and Anne as by now his relationship with the latter was no secret. He also admitted the relationship to another courtier, George Throgmorton. There is other evidence but its a bit dubious. Mary Carey had two children with William and despite observations that they may in fact belong to the King, there’s no real proof that either Catherine or Hrnry belonged to him. Mary was called the Great Whore because of Francis I but tis is very unfair as she at most slept with two powerful Kings, who probably charmed and persuaded her with their power and wealth and she had very brief relationships with them. She was married to two men and seems to have been quite faithful to both, save this brief affair with Henry Viii. She wanted to live away from Court and did for most of the time. Her second marriage was to William Stafford who was of lower status and this was a love match. Mary risked losing her family and disgrace over this but she married him and Cromwell had to help her. She remained on a moderate allowance and with him for the rest of her life. Mary died in 1543 and sadly we don’t know where she is buried. I believe that she found the true happiness she desired and deserved for a few years at least.

    1. Banditqueen says:

      By the way did you watch the funeral service of HRH Prince Philip?

      3.49 minutes the program was. I downloaded it as I had walked to the park this afternoon. It was fairly quiet, except for one bit. I only watched bits, more to look at the castle and the Chapel. Thank goodness the public entrance isn’t up all those steps, the side door is basically flat, maybe a couple of steps. The aerial views were fantastic. However, every time the camera focused on the centre of the Quire, the Knights Chapel, I couldn’t help but notice Henry Viii in the middle and my brain imagined him popping up to say: Don’t put him in here, there’s enough in here already. Well there’s Henry, Jane Seymour, King Charles I and a child of Queen Anne in their vault. Seeing the whole Chapel is great as you don’t get the same sense of space walking around all those nooks and crannies.

      The Medieval door is still beautiful. Windsor Castle has a disabled lift and a guide takes you down or up and then back. The quadrant is massive, especially looking from the air. The Queen looked very lonely and sad having to sit all by herself. Its a shame someone couldn’t sit near her. Stuff Covid I would have sat there to hold her hand. She’s a grieving widow and an old lady, poor ducks, I felt very sorry for her. They showed some videos from her life with Philip and one was a casual one with them on a sleigh in the snow. It looked so romantic. And can’t they dance? Wow smart movers. He literally swept her of her feet. Some really good memories there. I had to laugh at one point when the Queen was tapping Philip on the shoulder who was busy chatting to introduce him to someone important. He didn’t seem to like all of the formal stuff, yet he was an excellent organiser. Give him his due, the quiet service would have suited him. He wanted a simple affair anyway. I just watched the bits which really interested me.

      The weather has been beautiful all weekend. Two days in the different parks. I think tomorrow we might have a rest. Its weird with the cafes only outside but its nice to sit out even if one or two are in odd places. Costa have taken over the forecourt at Asda in some kinda bid at outside tables but it looks odd as its right next to the parking spaces. Bean There have put up fancy fencing to cut off the traffic noise and put flowers on them. It makes it nice and a sun trap. Not all cafes had an outside space, so there is some invention on the front.

      Some roads are totally closed to traffic and all the cafes have taken up a parking space or made a continental square and all seats and tables take up the whole street. Very odd, but very nice, like abroad. So here’s to cafe outside madness.

      1. Christine says:

        Yes I watched the funeral whilst eating chocolate hazelnut crepes and a cuppa, I enjoyed it very much and felt very proud that Windsor Castle is English, because it really is a beautiful castle, I too was thinking of Henry V111 because the old Bluebeard was buried in St George’s Chapel, there were a lot of things I felt sad about, there was something so poignant about Philips navy cap and sword on his coffin and the single wreath from the queen, the bands which played the theme music from Jerusalem and I Vow To Thee My Country, my two favourite hymns and which was played at my fathers funeral, we also had a professional choir which my sister paid for, it was very sad seeing the Dukes children and grandchildren walk slowly behind his coffin, we all said how grief stricken Charles was, Anne to looked very sad but Edward and Andrew seemed to be bearing up well, in The Mail it informed us that it was Williams idea that Peter Philips walk in the middle of him and Harry, and that Harry received a frosty greeting from the rest of the family, well hardly surprising after that disastrous Oprah interview, he’s become something of a pariah in the Royal family now, it was Kate who I thought looked exquisite, and she’s oh so slender a bit too slender some might say, I felt sorry for the queen to, sitting alone her head bowed, you could not see her face but we could feel her pain, she had known Philip since she was twelve, that’s a very long time to know someone and they had been married for seventy two years, in that moment she was not just the queen, but a grieving widow I wanted to give her a hug, it was the moment the coffin slowly slipped down into the vault below that I felt was the saddest, in that moment the queen knew he had finally gone, it’s like the cremation when you see the curtains pull across and you know then it’s final, in all it was a beautiful service dignified and low key, but still majestic and typical of Philips no nonsense style, and I was so glad it was a beautiful day because rain would have ruined it, Philip was well loved, as the Dean of Windsor said he did do his duty and service to this country, I think in that moment Harry must have winced a little.

  7. Banditqueen says:

    I am watching the most wonderful moving film called Belle, set in the eighteenth century near London, about Dido Elizabeth Belle Lindsay, daughter of Sir John Lindsey, Earl of Murray, raised by her uncle the Lord Chief Justice of England. Born in an African colony, probably Granada, in 1761, her mother was a slave Maria Belle and her father found her on board a Spanish slave ship. He fell in love and they had a daughter, Dido Belle. When Maria died she was taken home by Sir John and was taken to Kenwood House in 1765 where she was raised by the abandoned heiress Elizabeth Murray, granddaughter of Lord Mansfield. Together the two girls were raised as sisters and Belle was baptised and adopted so as she would be able to inherit wealth and property, which her status as a black illegitimate woman otherwise prevented.

    Elizabeth and Dido Belle were educated together, raised as sisters and she was treated as a family member. Things changed as she grew into a woman, however, when men of good family came to visit, to call on them in order to put their case for marriage, because both Aunt Mary and the family feared her colour would harm the family. Dido, however, had other ideas and after dinner she received and entertained guests with her very accomplished playing and her beautiful singing. This and her very obvious education won over many in society and despite her families fears and their own racism, Dido or Belle as she preferred received offers of marriage. Her father died when she was young at sea, leaving her £1000 which of course raised her status and expectations.

    Belle helped her uncle with his legal work and acted as his copiest, his translator and became acquainted with his own student who was hoping to enter the Church. She turned down several offers in marriage because of the attitude of several members of their family. Belle eventually married her father’s apprentice John Davinia, who was of French origin and travelled with him to gather evidence of the cruelty of the slave trade and the practice of disposable cargo, that is throwing overboard the slaves and claiming they were sick, just to get insurance money. They became an integral part of the Abolition Movement in England and her husband became an influential lawyer.

    The case of the Zong, one of these ships, which Lord Mansfield ruled on, moved forward this movement. Here the insurance company refused to pay up as the cargo had been unlawfully killed. The slaves were so closely packed into the ship that they died of hunger, fever and dehydration. Evidence showed that the Zong passed eight ports in which they could have found water and fed the crew and slaves, but instead they allowed them to die and then chaining them together they threw them overboard. The Lord Chief Justice ruled this was fraud and wrong and even made comments which condemned the instructions of slavery and the trade. It was a landmark in the cause of Abolition, although it took another 30 years to end the slave trade in British waters.

    What a fantastic film. Its not very well known and was made in 2014 but it was on in March during Women’s History Month and I downloaded it. I just got around to watching it because I have so much on the go. I love Georgian dramas because of the costumes and the English country houses they are filmed in. They are quite grand and imposing and always eloquent. I love seeing films I have never heard off, which are so well done. Really interesting.

    1. Christine says:

      Yes I have heard of that film and always wanted to see it, I love Georgian dramas to in fact I just love the era because of the beautiful stylish architecture and the fashions, it was not called the age of elegance for nothing, they always film these movies and dramas in the most beautiful places, one drama I loved from the early 90’s is Clarissa starring Saskia Wickham and Sean Bean, I recently bought it from Amazon, and of course I love Jane Austen dramas, thank you for the info about Belle she seemed a remarkable woman, and the fact she tried to do her best for the slave trade, the horror stories you hear about those days makes you think how can human beings do that to one another, some of my relatives had sugar and coffee plantations in Antigua and the Bahamas, and of course slaves, most of the little black skinned boys and girls running about the place had some white blood in them as well as their natural heritage, I do not know if my relatives slaves were treated well however, but I hope they were, in the paper today it said that the Jane Austen’s museum in Chawton are going to give the lady an overhaul because of her possible links to the slave trade, merely because her father was involved in cotton and tea, oh dear where do these snowflakes come from? Britain’s colonial past involving the slave trade was wrong we know that, but we cannot do anything about it now, now poor Jane one of our most loved authors is targeted because she loved to drink tea and wear cotton! Where will it all end the woke brigade are becoming a right nuisance, poor Jane is not to blame for her fathers activities, she died very young after suffering from Addison’s disease, a rare and in those days, fatal condition of the endocrine glands, let her rest in peace for heavens sake!

  8. Banditqueen says:

    Glad you enjoyed the funeral. We were all the day in the park, very beautiful day on Saturday and I took lots of pretty photos. I love my camera and my phone takes really good ones with AI. The birds have nests on the lake and the flowers are everywhere. We have three parks in easy walking distance and four if you go from one to another. I believe we have at least 11 miles of park and you can cross one end of the city to the other, well almost. I love sime of the London parks as well, especially Regency and Hyde. They were originally part of the vast hunting lands made around the many palaces of Henry Viii and the Stuarts loved them.

    Human traffic was dreadful and still is, unfortunately. So many people were kidnapped from their villages in Africa, South America and the Caribbean, packed into dark and hot and stuffy cramped holds and taken across to England or America and many were starved and treated as commodities. Then those taken to the colonies were treated terribly, beaten, tortured and punished in horrible ways. People died in the fields or of diseases and children were often sold away from their parents. Slave revolts were frequent and they were repressed with savage efficiency. Those who came to England may have a better life, especially in a country house, but even then they in peril and had no rights. Those sold to industry were badly treated. I know it must be embarrassing to find your family had slaves but our generation is not responsible for something which ended in 1807 and completely in the 1830s to 1860s. We should not apologise but only ensure we tell the full story and do not allow it to be repeated.

    Jane Austin certainly had nothing to do with slavery. In fact it was in its last years when she was writing and lived in Bath. The trade had certainly ended in British waters. It went on for several years around the world. The Spanish and French and Portuguese had slaves and moved to Cuba to by them. Some British colonies illegally brought them from Cuba and they were even enslaved there on Welsh colonial sugar farms for example. Many illegal ships transportated slaves into American waters and sold them on to Spain. This went on into the next few decades until the slave forts were destroyed and it ended in America. I really don’t understand why we need to reappraise people like Jane Austin, save just to note her father had a commercial connection to the trade, as he would have done if he traded in cotton and tea. Both commodities were bound up, although there was an alternative for tea and one could boycott sugar, as many did. A confectionery shop who made their sweets from Indian sugar paid more for it but they put up a notice to show it was slavery free. This was one of the reasons why sweets were so bold in colours, to attract customers over the cheaper colonial Government subsidised sugar. Cotton was much more difficult but again Indian cotton was slave free, even if the work force was exploited. It was difficult for anyone using most commodities as many had some connections to slavery or poorly paid workers. We were an Empire after all and our goods came from everywhere in the world. Nearly every public building in England has a connection to slavery or the slave trade. The valuation ledgers for compensation paid to slave owners in 1808 onwards list who had slaves and their value. The number of ordinary people who had at least one or two slaves is astounding. Women inherited them from husbands and many turned house slaves into paid parlour maids. However, we cannot rewrite the entire history of a person based on their parents selling cotton or tea. We can note it, but its ridiculous to say their family owned slaves if the trade in people had ended. Someone came on TV not so long ago and said Liverpool Cathedral was built on slavery. It was begun in 1902. It took until the 1980s to complete. He had been through the registry of people who gave donations to begin it and found some of their great grandparents owned slaves. How ridiculous can you get? How can someone alive in 1902 be responsible for the actions of someone alive before 1830? I do knpw of a few places built on the proceeds of the slave trade, Liverpool Cathedral isn’t one of them. Museums have a duty to the truth, but they must resist the urge to rewrite everything without real evidence and out of context. I mean why not put a notice on a Cathedral in Spain saying it was partly built from the proceeds of the exploitation of people in the New World? It probably was. But the people who gave the money may not have been involved, an ancestor might have done. The Crusaders stole loads of stuff from the Holy Land and many cities have something, like Venice and Cologne and Paris. However, we can’t turn the clock back 500 years, we can just teach people the full story. Having said that, the Venitians actually boast about the famous horses over Saint Marks Square which are booty from Constantinople in 1204. Its no secret. They aren’t sorry and no way are they going back. Everyone has stuff stolen from everyone else. We can give some back. But we can do one good thing, tell the full story, but don’t blame later generations for the greed of former ages.

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