Video – 26 August 1533 – Queen Anne Boleyn prepares for childbirth

On this day in Tudor history, 26th August 1533, Queen Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII, prepared for the birth of her first child by “taking her chamber” at Greenwich Palace. This child was of course the future Queen Elizabeth I.

“Taking her chamber” was common practice in Tudor England, and in today’s talk, I explain all of the rituals and traditions involved, as well as describing what Anne Boleyn’s chamber would have been like.

As I sit here working in a rather hot and stuffy office, I’m thankful that I can get up, go out of the room and get some fresh air, while all Queen Anne Boleyn could do is put her face to the slightly open window – poor woman!

This video is one of my “on this day in Tudor history” videos which I upload to my YouTube channel on a daily basis. I also have a “Questions about Anne Boleyn” series of videos, and lots of other videos, including my “Tudor Cooking with Claire” series. You can view them at

If you prefer audio to video, you can listen to my podcast here.

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85 thoughts on “Video – 26 August 1533 – Queen Anne Boleyn prepares for childbirth”
  1. I agree August is considered the hottest month in Britain and normal temperatures are generally in the 80’s, I am tempted to believe that Anne was full aware when her baby was due but kept it secret so she would not have to undergo a lengthy stay in the birthing chamber, highly intelligent she thrived on conversations relating to her favourite subject – theology, as well as others,and she was very much a mans woman, she loved being the centre of attention and because she was witty as well as charming and musical she often was, as indeed since the moment she had arrived at court, she was like a rare dark exotic bird next to the pale English misses and had created quite a stir, I cannot see such a woman having to be cooped up with members of her own sex for a month or longer without going slightly insane, I think their endless prattle would have irked her therefore I think she cleverly construed the situation to her advantage, cannot say I blame her, Claire says she finds the idea of the birthing chamber stifling and I think many modern women would agree with her, and although it was the norm since Lady Margaret Beaufort had decided it was the best for mother and child, having her own hellish experience as a very good example, for the queens that followed they must have dreaded being cut of from their husbands for weeks on end, Elizabeth of York quite possibly loved her spouse and Henrys first queen, both of them endured the birthing chamber many times over, how did they feel never being able to touch or kiss their beloved husbands good morning or goodnight even? I am sure the presence of these men would have given the queens some comfort but it was what the law decreed, Lady Beauforts law and it was something which Henry V11’s queen followed and those of his son, possibly it was not as bad as we think, the curtains pulled across the huge windows keeps the light out, but on hot days they serve to make it cool and Anne would have had everything at her disposal, she would have had a lady to place a cool linen kerchief on her brow when she was hot or suffered from a headache, she would have had wine poured for her and sweetmeats and other delicacies at her disposal, soft music would have been played and if she wanted a bath she would have been able to soothe her bulky body in some sweetened water, her ladies would have read to her and she would have been pampered, her surroundings were luxurious and no doubt the room would have been large enough, but she must have felt like she was in some kind of prison and when her labour pains started, she must have felt huge relief, her mother and sister were possibly with her, especially her mother whom Anne loved dearly and was very close to, her mothers presence would have helped her considerably, giving birth is entirely natural but things do go wrong, today we have the best medical equipment to help Mother Nature if something occurs, but in those days of medical ignorance superstition and fear when a woman’s life was at a very high risk through the perils of childbirth, all they had to sustain them was hope in God and pray that they gave birth to a healthy baby, and that they to would survive, it was a perilous time for both mother and child and Henry V111 had endured this situation many times over with his first wife, Annes pregnancy has been described as quite easy, she endured the river pageant in her honour then afterwards the long tedious hours of her coronation, there are no sources that say she was unwell that she fainted or had to retire early from the feasting that took place afterwards, she was radiantly happy when she found she was pregnant and could not resist dropping hints about her craving for apples, she must have thought her labour would run smoothly as well, we do not know how long she was in labour but between three and four in the afternoon just twelve days later on September 7th, she gave birth to her only living child the future Queen Elizabeth 1st, there probably was disappointment coming from Henrys angle over her sex, but as he said she was healthy and so was her mother who recovered well, with death so near in childbed the first thoughts must have been gratitude that they had both survived the ordeal, however death was still not far away and as in Jane Seymours case she caught an infection and died soon after, there was still time for the grim reaper to put in an appearance, for precarious to was the life of the helpless infant who was at the mercy of infection herself, Henry must have thought of his first born with Katherine many years before, little Prince Henry who had only survived several weeks after his birth, the soothsayers had all predicted Annes child would be a prince hardly surprising since appeasing their royal master was all that mattered, Anne herself thought next time she would have a son and in the next few days she developed very strong maternal feelings for her little daughter, she was healthy and grew into a pretty little girl with red hair and pale ivory skin, it was noted how fair she was compared to the dusky gypsy looks of her mother, sadly this would be the only time Anne would endure a lying in as she was fated to miscarry her next babies, and her last infant would be born dead prematurely, but this first time as she prepared to enter her chamber that long ago hot August day, she must have prayed with her ladies for a safe delivery and for that most precious of all gifts – a son.

  2. Bizarrely they did get something right. Biologically speaking the presence of men when giving birth hinders labour, it doesn’t help it. The husband is perhaps the only exception, as long as husband and wife have a loving relationship.

    As does removing all possibility of the mother being scared or frightened. That too slows down labour. It doesn’t cause birth defects but it does slow down labour.

    Darkened rooms also relax mothers (giving birth at night is safer than birthing during the day from an evolutionary stand point) making labour quicker.

    All in all, they didn’t hit too far off the mark. Man free, dark room that felt safe to the mother. All of which would’ve sped up labour.

    Not sure about the queen needing reminding of her status. My suspicion is that was mainly for others to remember her station – after all, it’s a very humbling thing to have ones legs spread and all your bits on display to other women. Maybe they were there to remind the others that this was a queen even though while in that position she wasn’t exactly regal?

    1. Yes Jenny they must have felt humbled whilst in childbirth as it was not exactly a queenly position to be in, having as you said all their bits on display, but what about the fact that the King had his groom of the stool present in his privy? Imagine knowing that ones bottom was in full view of the gentlemen as he sat himself on his Royal loo, how could one hope to command respect afterwards, it’s a bit like seeing your boss today with his trousers round his ankles caught In an uncompromising position with his secretary, although it was a highly valued position in the court it could not have been very nice as the King done his number twos, and also the effects were studied by his doctors as one put it, ‘the King had a goodly seige’, the lives of the monarchy were never private and so Anne and her fellow queens those before and who came after, knew it was just part of their Royal lot, of course they had to be assisted in childbirth and we can ascertain they had the most valued experienced midwives there were, in the case of the unfortunate Jane Seymour her labour went on for several days and in despair the King sent his doctors in to assist with the delivery, that was a grave mistake as their rough handling possibly caused the queens demise, they were not aware of the need for hygiene and infection quickly set in, also it is surmised Jane had some of the placenta inside her which is fatal if it is not removed, the Royal midwives knew this but they were probably dismissed when the King sent his doctors in, in the birthing chamber there were beautiful tapestries depicting calming scenes nothing frightening which could have alarmed the expectant mother and child, possibly the scenes were of the Virgin Mary and the Christ child, Angels and cherubs, Jane would have been subjected to the utmost in luxury like her predecessors but as her labour went on for the second night, she herself along with her ladies and midwives must have began to feel increasingly frightened, it has been suggested that Edward was in a breech position and today all that was needed was for the midwife to put her hand in and turn the baby round, maybe she examined the queen and found that Edward was in the proper position, but today she would have undergone a caesarean as the longer labour endures, there is a risk to both mother and child, Katherines pregnancies went well but sadly all her children died except Mary, Mary herself believed she was pregnant twice but it was possibly just her body deceiving her into thinking she was, after Janes death Henrys wives that followed after never became pregnant, so they had no need to endure what must have been a very uncomfortable and painful experience, it was all very well having your lying in in sumptuous surroundings waited on hand and foot, and indeed they did fare a lot better than their poorer sisters, but in those days it must have been ones own health and sheer good luck that women survived childbirth at all, as said it is natural but it is also natural for things to go wrong, and a lot of so called medical knowledge had its basis in old wives tales which was carried down through the generations.

    2. I agree, a lot of what they did makes sense but we would also arrange for a mother to take exercise and for light and air, not for the room to be overbearing and stifling. However, we have always given birth with women only and with a calming and darkened and spiritual and the air filled with spices and perfumes and a lot of the past things are still elementary in labour. I think somewhere along the line of our sterile world we have lost the natural part of birth.

      It would definitely be very embarrassing revealing all as you say to a room full of women, so I agree having the symbols of noble Queenship around would remind the ladies, this is a Queen, a person whose royal status made them sacred, extra care must be taken and the child is an heir to the crown. I believe the fact that people had to be so careful touching the person of the Queen is what contributed to the death of Queen Jane Seymour because for the first time, men aka doctors came into the birthing chambers. The female midwives saw her through a very difficult birth and the male doctors were there for advice and to take over if needed, if the Queen died and they had to perform an emergency caesarean section which was only done in such cases as the mother would not live through it. This is how we know Jane didn’t have one as she was fine for a few days at least afterwards. Infection spread in afterwards and a number of theories exist about what caused her sceptic infection, but the male doctors would be reluctant to touch the Queen and that contributed to the problem. It must have been a,frightening ordeal since one third of women died during or as a result of child birth and numerous children were still born, died within days or before they were five years old.

      Children were still loved and cherished though with verses about loss and personal memories and stories of loss and grief, poems, graffiti, letters all show how much children were loved and missed. I remember being told in school that they didn’t value children or mourn them because they lost so many of them, but Tudor people had the same emotions as us and they hurt and cried and felt grief just as we do. Some of the toys children had are well loved and worn and not all that different from many of ours. I love that they had baby walkers, wooden ones with little wooden wheels and they had hobby horses and ball games and hoops and sticks and even dolls and all kinds of games. When you see how well preserved some are but with years of use on them, you see how loved these toys were, passed down the generations. You can’t do that with a video game lol.

  3. Anne and Henry finally slept together in the Biblical sense from the end of October 1532 and it is very likely that Elizabeth was conceived at the end of November or December and Anne was well aware that she was carrying a child born out of wedlock. She and Henry were married in secret with a few witnesses about 25th January 1533 or according to Hall in November 1532, although the latter was more likely a promise to marry. In Tudor times marriage or the promise of marriage, followed by consummation was considered a lawful marriage in the eyes of even the Church authorities. This didn’t always bode well, however, without a more public declaration as partners tried to get out of such marriages and parents with bigger ambitions tried to declare their marriage invalid. However, Henry Viii never did anything without a string of complications. To be legally married you also had to freely consent and actually be free to marry. Henry might be willing and able, but he wasn’t free to marry. As for any children born as a result of such escapades, the marriage technically rendered them legitimate and any complications might be ironed out afterwards by Rome and Parliament. Henry might believe he was free to marry Anne Boleyn and as far as we know she didn’t have any hidden husbands and so was free to marry him, but he wasn’t. There was still the little matter of wife no one, the woman living in the East Midlands, Katherine of Aragon, to whom he was still legally married, because the suit in Rome had not been resolved. It was not until May that the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, at a hearing in Donstable, decided his marriage to Katherine was null and void and Anne was his one and only lawful wife. Henry had believed that he wasn’t married to Katherine for a long time, but that didn’t make his belief a reality.

    If Henry and Anne married before they consummated their union, then Elizabeth was legitimate, but if he was still married to Katherine, she wasn’t, although the Church could make that right. Mary should have remained legitimate as Henry and Katherine married in good faith but Henry broke from Rome and had Parliament declare his children illegitimate. In 1536 both of his daughters would be made illegitimate and his illegitimate son was almost made his heir. Regardless of when Elizabeth was conceived, Henry and Anne committed bigamy, so their union was not lawful before May 1533 and may never have been lawful, even after the death of Katherine. It is recognised today for simplicity and Henry made certain she was recognised as Queen through her elaborate and beautiful coronation, something else Anne had to endure in the heat. Anne knew her marriage was complicated when she went late into confinement.

    The mostly accepted date of marriage is 25th January 1533 at Whitehall Palace and therefore Elizabeth had to be either very early or conceived well before that date. I believe the evidence points to the latter as Henry brought everything forward to accommodate his pregnant mistress. Anne and Henry were in love but he was concerned about his public image and wanted to do everything right, a marriage, a coronation, a declaration of legitimacy and a birth within the legal bonds of marriage. Anne was having his son and heir, or so they believed, nothing should get in the way of his delivery being open and public and his public recognition as the true heir. Parliament should also prepare suitable laws to protect this marriage and the rights of Henry and Anne’s children only. To question this new marriage or the legitimacy of their children was high treason, punishable by a horrible death.

    Anne went into confinement now to keep up the public assertions that her baby was to be born in wedlock and had been conceived in wedlock. The taking to her chambers was meant to support and surround the mother with luxury and comfort, to keep her safe and rested, she had female friends, relatives and attention and warm drinks and spiced foods and wines, sweetmeats, everything she needed for a safe delivery and before and after the birth. However, it was also dark and hot and being August, very hot, just as it has been this last weekend, with little light and air. Exercise wasn’t encouraged, so the woman may not have had the physical energies for the ordeal to come. Anne had to endure this in the natural heat and if she did decide to wait a couple of weeks before going into this womb of a room, really, who can blame her? Now all she could do was wait, hope and pray.

  4. Also there was no suspicion that Elizabeth was a premature baby she was a normal weight and healthy, there were no complications that accompany premature births, the belief amongst her ladies and the midwifes must have been that their mistress had allowed the king what he had desired for so long, the midwife especially would not have been fooled, childbirth must have been sheer agony before the arrival of chloroform two centuries later, Queen Victoria was the first woman in Britain to try it and declared it so marvellous she went onto use it with the later births of her ever increasing brood, the fact that childbirth for so long was hazardous to both mother and child is testament to the endurance of the human race to overcome such natural perils.

    1. Really I was not aware of that, thank you Michael I must admit that would suit me better had I been a queen in early times, one should have a certain amount of privacy, in fact there was gossip about Elizabeth amongst her laundresse’s, as it was noted she had such few periods it was wondered whether she would ever be able to conceive, maybe one of the reasons she chose to live in her ‘virgin’ state was because she had a natural fear of her ability to become a mother herself, considering her own mothers sad obstetric history.

      1. Picked up that tid-bit from Tracy Borman’s book ‘The Private Lives of the Tudors’. Worth a read. Covers many aspects of everyday life of all 5 monarchs.

      2. That’s interesting, Michael, at least someone had some privacy. The groom of the stool had the most unique access to the monarch because he or she was alone and had time to chat to them, asking favours for example. I doubt they actually wiped the royal bum but they did hand them the cloths to do so. They also more or less controlled access to the King and organised his wardrobe for the day. Louis xiv apparently had the entire Court watching. He was even painted on the throne, if you excuse the pun. Everything for him was done with great ceremonial and in public, even having a poo.

        What I particularly find odd is that their poo and urine were examined, not just if they were ill, but every day by a physician. The results of that examination were made public. Everyone knew the King was well or ill or in pain, even if they didn’t know the extent and only if his life was in danger was it kept a secret. Imagine your doctor going into the reception of the hospital or surgery and declaring what your urine results told them! How embarrassing! Hear ye, hear ye, Mrs so and so has a mild kidney infection but it will be gone in a few days. She must drink plenty of fluids, hear ye! O.K it wasn’t quite like that but it wasn’t private either. It is little wonder that by the time we get to William and Mary the rooms have become more intimate and life much more private through a complete redesign of Hampton Court Palace. Not that there weren’t Kings who didn’t relish this attention, such as King Charles Ii and his brother, King James ii, who had spent years in exile at the Courts of France and the Hague and were influenced by the displays of dressing and undressing in front of their nobles as a form of control and etiquette.

        Victoria and Albert withdrew as much as possible to be alone with their families and Buckingham Palace was redesigned to make that possible. Victoria also spent as little time as possible taking to her chambers, with very few people in the birthing chambers and had an early Churching in order to get back to her duties as soon as she felt physically able. As a sovereign, rather than a consort, obviously this was more important, much to the annoyance of Albert who wanted to take over most of her administration duties and did so during the laying in period and Victoria took full advantage of her status to control everything. However, as she had nine children from ten pregnancies, all of whom survived, she became more and more reliant on her husband. Their lives became more intimate with the creation of Balmoral and Osborne House, the latter being on the Isle of White.

        1. When we elect a new president he/she must have a complete physical before taking office and I believe annually ad long as long as they are in that position and the results are released to the public although I’m sure not in as much detail as those of the monarchs. I’m not sure but I think the practice here started because not long after the First World War President Woodrow Wilson had a stroke while still in president and some tried to keep it secret.

        2. Yes I find that odd examining the Royal poo – yuk! They did not know anything in those days but they sought to find an answer in studying the poo and urine so they were getting there, as we know today a lot of illnesses show up in faeces and urine, just as illnesse’s are detected in ones eyes by an optician, look at the way poor Henry suffered with his badly ulcerated legs, they did not know about poor circulation as it was to be another several hundred years before a Dr. William Harvey discovered that blood circulates around the body, his legs were so restricted because of the tight garters he wore that his ulcers were made much worse, the concoctions poor Edward V1 had to take as he lie dying made one contemporary exclaim, ‘ God save us from physicians’, the deathbed of Charles 11 was also full of strange and bizzare ideas to help the King to recover, one doctor had a human skull brought in and placed at the foot of his bed, it was meant to shock the King into newly regenerated life, poor little King Edward was very ill and yet he was advised to stand up at his window so the crowds outside could see he was fine, as there were rumours circulating about his health, as we know they were not rumours and it was Dudley ( who else) who told him he must show his smiling face to his people, for centuries also salt was the only antiseptic and when later in the early part of the 18th c surgeons decided they had to amputate limbs, the poor unfortunate patient had to drink copious amounts of spirits and bite very very hard on rags stuffed in his mouth, hardly surprising many died and surgeons were considered rough rascally fellow’s, it was not the honoured respected profession it is today, in fact the patient was not even given the date of his due operation but had to wait for the ominous knock on the door, as the surgeons would appear at their house armed with their instruments of torture, and to think we worry today when we have to go into hospital or see the dentist, think what our poor ancestors had to go through.

        3. I have never been particularly fond of Queen Victoria I think it’s to do with the later portraits of her that show her as a dumpy sour faced woman dressed all in gloomy widows weeds, she looks unapproachable and bad tempered, even stuffy and yet I do feel sympathy for her as she grieved all her life for her beloved husband, the famous ‘we are not amused’ is attributed to her but did she actually say it? She was queen over a vast empire and has been called a most successful monarch but that was merely due to her life span, she took great pride in being Empress of India even though she never visited that far off continent, in her youth she was attractive and slender and had a stifled upbringing, it was said she had no companions her own age and she must have had to grow up quickly, being aware of her own importance from an early age, she must have been very strong to have had the amount of children she had, also she was tiny, I have seen her mourning gown that is housed in the museum of costume in Bath, that she took to wearing after the death of Albert and she was only about four foot ten to twelve, how was it possibly such a tiny little creature could give birth to such a brood and survive well into old age and her offspring too, some who went onto marry the crowned heads of Europe, she carried the blood disorder haemophilia which is passed from mother to son and although she did not suffer from porphyria one of her daughters did, a genetic disease that George 111 had and which was inherited from their distant Stuart ancestors, in the Mail yesterday I read an article that made me laugh, Sarah Ferguson is behind the plans for a programme on the life of Queen Victoria gushing that she has always admired her, oh dear that woman will do absolutely anything to ingratiate herself with her ex in laws, and at the same time there’s that furore about Andrew being involved with Epstein, he may deny any knowledge of his activities but I think he knows more than he’s letting on, time will tell however as the truth always does have a habit of coming out!

        4. Hi Christine, the doctors who treated Charles II for the last time didn’t know how to treat him because nothing was working, so they came out with every bizarre thing they can think off. Three days before he died they gave up. Charles still needed something to help him because he doesn’t accept he is dying. Then he had the priest who had hidden him in 1651 brought to him, Father John Huddleston, and he is formally but secretly accepted into the Catholic Church. His last few hours he asked the doctors for something to help him. They had nothing to give him, nothing to do and they didn’t want to inflict any more pain on him. He was according to one story given an egg to hold, a rare egg that is, told it will heal him and he was left to pass in peace. Over the previous few weeks the number of things which he suffered included some kind of hot poultice being applied to his head, which had been shaved against lice, that caused blistering. Rather than reducing inflammation he was in agony. It was probably a relief to finally slip away into unconsciousness.

  5. Was it Roosevelt who was in a wheelchair when the attack on Pearl Harbour occurred? I love that film with Kate Beckinsale, the bit when the President is consulting with his men and they try to dissuade him from taking military action against the Japs, with great difficulty he gets out of his wheelchair and leans against the huge table and mutters to them ‘ don’t tell me it can’t be done ‘, he was a good President.

    1. Yes. I love that scene too although it never happened. Roosevelt had polio that he got from swimming as an adult.

      1. When I was at school we had a geography teacher who had caught polio when she was a teenager, it was tragic because she used to play tennis at Wimbledon, her promising career was cut short and she was quite bent and could not talk properly, her parents had been wealthy and were able to get her the best treatment else she would have had to live out her life in an iron lung, I have seen pics on tv with the poor victims trapped in those machines taken from the 1930’s and 40’s and it was like a living death, Roosevelt must have been pretty lucky he escaped that but really that was a most dreadful illness, TB also was a killer in Victorian and Edwardian times before they developed the vaccine, it killed of many a young adult and child usually from the poorer part of society, overcrowding was rife in the slums and what is alarming now, are a few cases being detected in Britain in recent years, TB could well have killed Prince Arthur his nephew Edward V1 and young Henry Fitzroy, in early times before the huge medical advancements of today people had no choice but to endure, their trust was put mostly in the wise woman of the village, and as I said before their belief in the almighty.

        1. A positive thing that happened due to Roosevelt’s contracting polio is a natural spa I the state of Georgia called Warm Springs was opened by him for children suffering from polio. It was also staffed with medical personnel. Roosevelt would sometimes take advantage of the spa along with the kids. I’m sure they thought thatvwad pretty cool.

        2. Hi Michael, yes, the story of Roosevelt was an inspiration and he was probably your best president or at least one of the top best. He was a great man.

          Today we have confidentiality of course so this would not happen normally; I would imagine they only publish the briefest of details with his consent. I can’t understand how anyone can consent to being filmed in the doctors office, but we have a huge GP Practice which is on TV GP Behind Closed Doors and the patients are filmed in the consultation. Obviously they have to agree. They must, I assume put them off of you objected. I am not sure I would trust them, I don’t trust my doctor as it is.

          I apparently had polio or a reaction to the jab which resulted in my getting some complications when I was a baby. I only found out on a review of my medical records. I wasn’t happy that I was never told by my parents. I remember going to the children’s hospital for a number of years, walking up and down and never knowing why. It came to the point that I was missing too much school with these appointments which were twice a month for three consecutive days. I did other tests as well, nothing invasive but it all had to do with my legs. One day I asked why, nobody told me so I refused to go. Nobody told me again but I still refused to go and that was my last time. Parents can be ridiculous at times.

        3. Hi BQ,
          It is weird that your parents never told you. I remember having the anti-polio drops on a cube of sugar when I was little. I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve had ongoing issues because of something you didn’t actually know about.

  6. Yes I’m sure they did today all the kids would be asking him if they could take selfies! Poor guy wouldn’t get a minutes peace.

  7. The poor man all that hot poultice did was scorch his head, King Charles was heard to say he was a long time a dying, it is believed now he died from renal failure maybe he sipped wine and brandy, to aid him to sleep, drink too much alcohol and it does give oblivion but it’s only temporary, yet really that’s all they had and it’s awful when we think of how they suffered and the daft treatments they had to endure, I am very fond of Charles 11 for a monarch he was tolerant and benovelent and that was something of a rarity in the olden days, his great weakness was women and yet he was never unkind to any of them, and like his ancestor Henry V111, he was never blessed with a surviving legitimate heir, though he sired plenty of bastards on numerous women, some of their descendants are alive today, his most famous son was the handsome reckless James Duke of Monmouth who was executed for high treason, he had married the rather plain Catherine of Braganza and it was said she adored him but suffered greatly through his infidelities, Charles was half French and in some ways he was more like a French monarch then an English one, he also was not fussy when it came to his mistresse’s and Nell Gywnn the most famous of all, was born into a very poor family yet found her way into the Royal bed, good for her !

    1. Something that impressed me about Charles II was during the fire of 1666 he was working one of the bucket brigades alongside other citizens. I can’t imagine Henry viii doing that.

      1. Yes I loved that story when I heard about it, he got down and mucked in with the ordinary citizens of London, I can just see him rolling his shirt sleeves up and giving encouragement to the others, a king who was used to luxury and eating and dining the finest fare off gold and silver plates and goblets, who like his fellow monarchs wore only satin and silk and velvet and had everyone fawning over him, who resided in beautiful palaces with beautiful gardens, who lived in great state yet he helped put out the great fire whilst the flames raged around him and the wind blew the acrid black smoke in his eyes, he at the end was as dirty and dishevelled as everyone else yet that day he had a special place in the people of London’s hearts, it was well deserved.

  8. I didn’t know about Charles II suffering through all that. I did know about his conversion however.
    Hi BQ. Since you didn’t find out about having polio until years later I assume ther were no lasting effects. I think it’s wrong you were never told. They probably didn’t want to frighten you or maybe didn’t want to hear the words out loud but it wasn’t helpful.

    1. No, I don’t think there were any long term affects, at least until my accident in 1994 which caused long term problems with both knees and ultimately the rest of my legs and feet because it was soon afterwards, during a referral that it came to light in the letters sent to the specialist. I confronted my doctor as I was very surprised and it emerged I was two and it was due to the inoculation, not an outbreak. I do have something not right with my feet, something to do with a slight difference in length with my legs, which is negligible. That was actually discovered by a foot doctor. I have special insoles now which solves a number of physical discomforts. I was more annoyed about missing so much school and I wasn’t going to miss out anymore. It’s a bit of a game when you go to hospital as a kid and just walk up and down and get a lollipop, but as you get older you want to know why.

      In the end I think my dad may have told me, but I probably forgot and didn’t really know until years later, but they should have told me earlier. I think parents put their own nonsense on their kids, their own fears, which is disrespectful and children are far more intelligent than adults give them and today parents and doctors are trained to be honest with children in medical matters. Parents are being well meaning in not wanting to frighten children, but if they ask you should tell them the truth. I was twelve and still going to ridiculous meaningless appointments twice a month, in a new school, yeap, I had plenty of questions. Well at least I didn’t have to go anymore. No lasting damage that I know off, but really annoying I wasn’t told. Oh well it was years ago.

      Charles Ii and his brother, James, Duke of York really were heroes during those four day that London burned, keeping the peace and giving the orders which finally broke the fire. James patrolled the streets and saved a number of lives, especially Flemish people who were attacked by frightened Londoners, he and Charles gave the orders to use double fire breaks from every four houses, two were felled to save the Tower going boom. This was where the gunpowder was kept and the city defence arms so the rest of the place would have exploded for miles around if the fire got that far. The Mayor of London had refused to give the fire break orders and now the King and his brother took control. They also arranged for central places serving food and markets for temporary provisions and shelter. The Fire Courts took testimony from people of their claims and losses but it is doubtful that they got anything near what they had lost and of course some people probably exaggerated.

      Of course in an era when people were at war with just about everyone around them and Catholic Londoners and Flemish and Swedish tradesmen were suspicious for just breathing, there had to be someone to blame, even though the evidence points to an accident. It began just off London Bridge, on Bakers Lane in a bakery where the bread had been left in the burning oven too long. Thomas Fariner and his family barely escaped, their servant, Mary being killed in the escape. The fire jumped from house to house because the houses were so close and the streets narrow and the upper floors built outwards to overhang the streets so the homes were even closer. The fires leapt across and then across the rooftops and quickly through the entire quarter, down the river and so on. Even Saint Paul’s Cathedral burnt down because the undercroft had wooden beams and other structures melted with the heat. The stonework collapsed. Only the original stone foundations remained and under ground you can actually pay for a tour of the Medieval foundation. Many old buildings and churches went. The slums were cleared, seen as a good thing but ordinary people demanded the Fire Courts rebuilt their homes. So the modern London, spacious and slum free would have to wait because the Government was skint. That was a feature of Stuart Government. They lavished money on palaces and parks and the arts but their treasury was always empty. There was a grand plan for a new London, but simply no money to build it.

      Back to the need for someone to blame. A lot of testimonials were taken, everything was based on gossip and hearsay. Everyone had someone different to blame. Nobody even considered the fact it was an accident. Some how a sailor, a mentally delayed man with French and Flemish blood came to the attention of the authorities. Robert Hubert was a watchmaker and he was arrested and claimed he had started the fire as part of a Catholic or Popish Plot. He later changed his story and pointed out the bakery in Pudding Lane where it actually did start. However, disposition statements were signed against him, three of those signings being Thomas Farainer and his two sons and his sister. He was hung but after his death it was found that he was on a ship in the North Sea at the time of the fire. His name was not cleared by the Government.

      The Monument near the site of Pudding Lane has some 300 steps up to the top and you can go up and there is a golden flame at the top. A plaque is there which for more than 300 years stated the fire was started by a demonic plot of Catholics and Flemish and by Robert Hubert. However, the Government knew the truth and eventually a new plaque on the other side cleared his name. This stated the truth that the fire started in a bakery in Pudding Lane. The Guild of Bakers apologised to the family of Hubert and to the Guide of Watchmakers about 100 years ago and another plaque on the pavement and we now have a good idea of exactly what historically happened. Recently we also know the exact spot of the old bakery as well and the three part minute by minute, hour by hour reconstruction by Dr Susanne Lipscomb and Dan Jones is worth a look.

      Historians mostly agree that the death toll was low, mainly because the official death toll registered as three people only, which I admit seems rather low. James stopped people from being battered to death, although one man was hung by the mob, another was an old widow who refused to leave and two more people caught in the smoke filled hell. Porter agreed with these figures but a local history expert, Hanson put the death toll and many thousands. There isn’t any actual evidence to back up his claim but his point that many poor people lived in huts and rough shacks along the docks and these were unofficial homes and overcrowded. Many of them lost everything and it was very narrow and much a place to avoid. Anyone who became trapped there or overcome by smoke had little chance of rescue and survival. There was no way the Government would have investigated any reported of missing persons there and even with Bills of Mortality being required on death, many simply remained unreported and unofficial. Bodies could end up in the Thames and reappeared many weeks later upstream or tangled in nets. The Thames is of course tidal like the Hudson and Mersey so bodies could float for miles. The Government would not have reported the full numbers because that would cause panic and revenge killings. Nobody would care about the clearance of these shacks and slums either as they were centres of crime and disease as well as regular disorder. I don’t believe the estimated numbers in the thousands is correct but certainly the death toll in these dockland areas was probably a lot higher than the three official deaths recorded for the city. This seems to be an area ripe for further research.

  9. I developed kyphosis when I was about five and had to wear a back brace, I hated it and there were trips to and from the hospital and doctors, I had to do physiotherapy for about a year which bored me and all my life I have suffered from back and neck pain, which meant I was off sick a lot from work, kyphosis is an abnormal curved vertebrae and I think it’s similar to scoliosis, I do not know why I got that as my parents and elder sister are all straight backed but I did some research and it can be caused by illness or genetics, I have to sleep on a flat pillow which helps and have had sciatica several times, I saw a doctor who deals in the skeleton and he said as I get older I will have to expect things like that, sciatica is helped by excercise and anti inflammatory medicines, of course when I was younger I did wear high heeled shoes and sandals which did not help so I think I contributed a bit to it, but in recent years I have found that my right leg seems to drag a little, I often go off balance and cannot turn round quickly as my neck or back can be stiff for days, years ago I had my kidneys and bladder X rayed as I kept getting cystitis and was shocked to see my vertebrae on the board in front of me, it was the first time I had seen it and it was curved so much, and yet when I stand in front of the mirror it hardly shows, clothes do conceal a lot and yet it is something I have always been conscious of, I could stand for long hours when I was younger yet now my back aches after a hour or so, one doctor told me the back brace aligned the spine as I grew and without that I would have had quite a hump, yet I have weak neck muscles, I have to keep my weight down as my spine is so delicate but that’s not a bad thing, I never knew my condition was kyphosis as my parents never said anything, just that I couldn’t stand properly when I was younger, they must have been given the details yet I was kept in the dark but maybe they thought it was not important, it was only some years ago my new family doctor told me what it was and I asked if I could have an operation, she said it was not possible, thanks to the Internet iv found out more about it and realise it’s just something you have to live with but on the whole I’m fine, just not physically strong, but I’m not planning on doing weight lifting going in for Miss Universe or anything like that, the doctor examined my reflexes and said there ok but the lower base of my spine continually aches, only a slight ache but gardening and hoovering makes it worse, but it’s just something you get used to and I always have an excuse not to do the housework more often ha!

    1. Hi Christine, wow that’s a lot to live with. I have heard that there is a new surgical procedure but it has to be done in childhood or adolescence. It is very new but it was on television when they did the first corrective surgery so maybe there is hope for the future.

      Thanks for sharing your story. It is good to share as it helps others as well as the person who shares. It must have been difficult knowing that a diagnosis which affected your whole life when maybe something could have helped earlier. It may not have made any difference but the earlier you have a diagnosis, the sooner you can adapt and move on. Scoliosis does not necessarily restrict people, but it still affects them and although I don’t know that much, I believe it can be very painful. I am sorry to hear you suffer regularly from pain. I really feel for you.

      1. Hi that’s ok it doesn’t stop me enjoying life it’s just I have to be careful, I’m not crippled with rheumatism or arthritis which can be very painful and debilitating, I have friends who really suffer, one has had an aneurysm and was given a 50/50 chance of survival, she has coils in her head and a spinal injury. She cannot wear high heels anymore only boots.The other has arthritis in her hips and has to walk with a stick they frequently topple over,
        i so wanted ballet lessons when I was little but my mum wouldn’t allow it, but I have often thought it would have done me some good after all, it may have strengthened my spine and you learn correct posture, I think she thought it was just a phase and I only wanted to wear a little frilly tutu, last year I had a metatarsal injury and was advised to wear trainers, I think if you have a dodgy back it somehow affects the rest of your skeleton, I take a cod liver supplement every day and include fish in my diet whenever I can, as it does help keep bones supple, thanks for your concern anyway and I’m glad your ok goodnight

        1. Goodnight. We have just installed a Lifeline fall detector for my mum as she has had a few falls, although far less since a new four wheel walker was given to her, so hopefully she will be o.k. She is 91.

          I have to be careful with my knees and dodgy feet but I also find diet and aids help. Anyway, goodnight.

    2. Ouch, I had sciatic after a sporting injury and that was only temporary! I think skin and clothes hide so much and sometimes you just don’t realise that there’s a problem under there, or the extent of it. Do you think your parents were just trying to protect you, that they didn’t want to worry you?

      1. Maybe they didn’t want to worry me but I suffered no ill effects from my condition, and my childhood was happy and secure I think parents keep a lot of things from their children perhaps because they think your too young to understand fully, as in Bq’s cases and maybe they don’t want you to feel different from your friends, the pain from sciatica is awful and I remember I was just about to start my new job the following week, I wanted the doc to give me prescription drugs but he said to exercise is the best remedy, I had to do cycle exercises and the pain did go, but you cannot stand for very long and the pain goes all down the one side reaching the feet as well, I know the pain you must have been in Claire it’s rotton and it made my leg numb so one day I fell sprawling on the pavement, I had just left my house and all I recall is my leg went dead I could not feel it then next I knew I was on the ground covered in cuts and bleeding, I have had sciatica twice so now I no what to do if it strikes again, I was told not to take disprin as it makes the stomach bleed, being so young the bones are soft and it was only when I got older I have stiffened up, I had no neck or back pain till I reached my mid twenties then swopped my plump pillow for a flat one, in fact flat pillows are best for healthy spines as well as a higher one puts pressure on the neck muscles which cause muscle tension, it certainly helped me and maybe later I might invest in an orthopaedic mattress, what I have to make sure of is that I don’t get overweight as extra fat puts pressure on my frame, so I’m forever on a diet !

  10. Wow so mums 91 good for her, yes we have to look after ourselves the best we can, keeping the weight down and light excercise helps, eating properly etc, every person has something wrong with them it’s not natural to be perfect, what I cannot understand is all these women who have bum lifts and breast implants, lip fillers and face lifts etc, I’m sure it does the body no good to be pulled about like that, as for breast implants some have been known to leak and cause cancer, I think nature should be left alone, if one is ill then operations are necessary but celebrity women today don’t look like real women anymore, their faces resemble masks with huge oversized lips, frankly I think they look ridiculous, but it’s their choice.

    1. Celebrity success = breast implants. It is because they have to look as young and skinny as possible for as long as possible. Give me good old Dame Judy Dench any day, growing old the natural way and looking good. A smashing Queen Bess and M in James Bond.

      I suppose when you have too much money, a lot more than you have sense, this is what you spend it on.

      Give me my Clarins any day, light, natural, not too expensive and lasting a long time. No filling, puffing, stretching, injection, pouting, pulling or fish lips needed. Thanks, yes, she is not good on her feet, but not bad for her age.

      1. I ran across an old interview online with Alex Kingston where she talked about trying out for ‘Desperate Housewives’. She was denied because she was too fat. Really? I don’t get it. These overly skinny actresses do not look real or healthy. Hollywood needs to change it’s standards.

        1. So true when I look at old movies the stars looked fine, the women are slim but not gaunt with collar bones sticking out and orange tanned skin, they have natural chests and not a pair of beach balls bobbing up and down, and the men didn’t look too muscly like they’d been on steroids no bleach in the hair, just attractive and normal looking, there was no endless gym sessions as there was no need to be thin just a nice healthy weight, to look too thin is just as unattractive as being too fat and when I see the latest pics of Anjelina Jolie I think she looks dreadful, as you say Michael, Hollywood only gives roles to thin actors so there’s a lot of pressure put on them to be really underweight, the health issues that arise because of that can be long lasting, it can cause osteoporisis don’t think iv spelt that right, as not enough calcium gets into the blood, these actors are silly, I think ones health is more important than adding a few more millions to the bank account.

        2. Remember Ernest Borgnine? A great actor but by means of of the best looking men on the planet. I can’t imagine him being cast today.

        3. Yes I remember him and Spencer Tracey he wasn’t very good looking but could he act! in Dr. Jekyll and Mr.Hyde he was brilliant, sometimes I google my favourite old stars to see if they are still around and what happened to them, I loved Keiran Mathews he was so good looking I remember feeling sad that he had died and not only that, but he was gay what a waste! And Jeffrey Hunter he was gorgeous to I was not aware he had died way back in the 60’s, he had such a lovely face and he was great in ‘The Searchers’ with John Wayne, that film was my parents favourite, most of them are dead now but they live on in the silver screen, I don’t think sometimes you can beat the old movies.

      2. Hi Bq yes Judi is wonderful I love it when they look natural, clarins is good and the queen uses it in fact, a dermatologist was saying that they do use good ingredients and do help against ageing so it must be good, I love my nivea and of course we all know the sun is no good for skin as well as smoking, drinking lots of water does help to, when I see lots of young people sunbathing I think they are prematurely ageing their skin, I have sunbathed myself we all have at one time, but I always kept my face covered as once the lines are there they don’t go away.

  11. Hi Claire, first of all great to see you back, very much missed, so lovely to see you again.

    Thanks for your kind comments, but it’s one of those things. I am sure mum was just doing what the doctor thought best, but dad disagreed and actually told me at the match. A bit weird, but it was a rare time alone. To be honest I have never been close to my mother for a lot of reasons, we get on fine now but I make sure she is doing fine. I have a variety of things to help now and just got awarded PIP and a blue badge, so that helps as well.

    Thanks ever so much for your kindness.

    1. Thank you! We had to hire someone to get the site back working as Tim was far too busy with his other work and I just couldn’t get into the admin side of things. I’m back! Just a few more issues to sort out (the shop isn’t working – grrrr!). All that and I’ve got terrible vertigo again – I have episodes of it.

      I’m glad that you have support and have a blue badge too. I hope Steve is doing ok.

      1. Oh dear, Steve has tablets for vertigo because it was a side affect of his other medical conditions, it is quite a worrying thing. You need to do things slowly. Yes, he has been given the o.k on his last cancer screening so he is waiting now for his stoma reversal, which is a big operation but he is probably in the best shape for it about now.

        Hope you feel better soon, take care.

        1. Thank you, yes, I just have to do things slowly and think before I move my head.
          That’s brilliant news about Steve, what a relief!

      2. It’s great to have our Claire back again as we were all missing you so much, and yes vertigo is a nuisance, I never used to get that but now if I reach up to put the washing on the line or change a light bulb I feel giddy, I remember my mum couldn’t go to the top deck of the buses as she had vertigo, I think it’s quite common as we get older.

        1. Wow, I am so Lucky. When I was 6yrs old I was in a car accident that bruised my heart, cut my forehead and caused a compound fracture of my right femur about (as an adult) 5 inches from my hip.
          Because of this fracture my right leg was 1/4″ shorter than my left. I never noticed it and still don’t. I also had chicken pox but not until I was 15. That sucked. I’ve also got type 2 diabetes but that’s under control.

        2. The first time I had vertigo was awful, I was being sick and just couldn’t move my head, and when I walked it felt like I was walking on marshmallows and I felt seasick the whole time. Since then, I’ve learned how to handle it and just make sure I limit head movements and plan moving in advance, but this attack is being a bit more of a pain and had me retching this morning. I managed to do some video-recording, got through that and then felt awful. It’ll pass, it’s just a pain. It is weird, isn’t it?

        3. Vertigo is awful when it hits; you must try to take it easy, Claire. It’s very good of you to do these videos when you are feeling poorly.

          We knew Stephen had it after he came home from the hospital because he was being unusually dizzy and wobbly and felt nausea. That was it, doctors, don’t wait for an appointment. He had only come out of a coma a few weeks earlier, so the district nurse actually called him out. He was very thorough and he said he had dizziness and vertigo and his neurological problems had increased. He was on three new tablets and he still has to take them, but the doses have dropped. Yes, he has to watch his head movements as well. It must be a horrible feeling, like swimming through a fog. Hope it dies down.

  12. Oh poor you Claire I think nausea is the worst feeling in the world, I have trouble sleeping sometimes and that always leaves me feeling sick, last Friday I felt sick as I hadn’t slept the night before and was sipping ginger beer and lemonade all day, alka seltzer didn’t help and it was not till the evening I felt better, we all have our problems don’t we, it’s nice to share them on here, chicken pox is rotton and measles too I was off school about two weeks with that, your right Michael childhood ailments do suck!

  13. I love Spencer Tracy. Didn’t matter what he was playing he was so natural you never saw him acting

    1. He was fantastic and Katherine Hepburn, I loved her in The Lion In Winter I think she and Tracey were married in real life? I loved Whatever Happened To Baby Jane, two Hollywood stars acting their best, Joan Crawford was the crippled sister and she was tormented by Bette Davis, but it was Crawford who was said to be a right cow in real life, she looked hard to, Bette Davis was brilliant one of my favourite films of all time.

      1. I googled this to confirm it. Spencer Tracy & Katherine Hepburn were together for 25yrs but never married. Tracy married a woman named Louise Treadwell in 1923 and remained married to her. Hepburn married in 1933 and divorced in 1934. Interesting situation!

        1. Thanks Michael I did know they had quite a tempestuous relationship but I had assumed they were married, in those days it was not the done thing to sleep together unless they were, but then Hepburn was quite an unconventional woman, she also had a good head on her shoulders, I believe she came from a wealthy family and her father was a professor or doctor, I never liked Burton and Taylor they got on my nerves.

      2. Bette Davis had the most wonderful eyes. A bit like Anne Boleyn, she knew how to use them.

        Was it the original Philadelphia Story that Hepburn and Tracey were in as the dysfunctional parents?

        What wonderful, sincere actors they all were and not one set of fake white nashes between them ha.

        1. I loved Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. He was the ultimate heart throb, sexy and well you don’t want to know what I am thinking right now. Elizabeth Taylor was annoying but beautiful. Another great actress was…oh dear, what was that famous Italian actress? Sophia Loren was outrageous in some ways, always in some kind of minor demonstration or trouble, but a beautiful actress and a lovely person. Then there was my husband’s favourite, Gina Lollobrigida, one of the most famous and sensual actresses of her time. Ingrid Bergman was another favourite of mine and I loved the actor Tony Curtis. Audrey Hepburn was the angel of the silver screen and was also famous for her personal humanitarian work in many far parts of this troubled world. The world of film has been blessed with beauty and talent and we should continue to enjoy for decades to come.

  14. Although there are actors/actresses today who I enjoy none can hold a candle to any that you mentioned.

    1. I liked Charlton Heston too he was gorgeous and Burt Lancaster, I love ‘Trapeze’ and have seen it several times, Gina Lollobrigida is of course still alive and was very very beautiful, recently there was news of her toy boy scamming her out of millions, I remember when ‘Gone With The Wind’ was first shown in Britain on television back in the 80’s and we all watched it, we loved it, my mum having watched it at the cinema back in the 40’s when it was first released, the only star who was alive then was Olivia De Havilland and I believe she’s still alive now, Vivian Leigh sadly descended into alcoholism and of course she was married to our own wonderful Lautence Olivier, it’s true Michael I do like a lot of actors / actresses now but I find none of them can hold a candle to the old Hollywood royalty.

  15. The Ten Commandments I love that film, Heston was wonderful in that, but I preferred him when he was still the prince of Eygpt and not after he became the disciple of God, because he had that long white beard, and I know that’s how Moses is depicted in illustrations from the bible stories and prophets always are depicted like men with beards, but he was much more sexy when he was clean shaven.

    1. I can’t speak to his sexiness but he was someone I really enjoyed. I never thought he was a great actor but had such screen presence and could dominate a scene that I didn’t notice or care. I too love The ten Commandments and the cast assembed for that movie was phenomenal. For decades one of the TV networks would broadcast it every Easter Sunday but I believe that is no longer the case due to political correctness.

  16. I know it’s ridiculous now, the royal mint has decided not to put Enid Blyton on the stamps this month because she’s considered a ‘racist’, the world I knew is fast disappearing.

    1. There are places taking down photos of past recipients of Nobel prizes because too many are ‘old white men’. This is a scary time world wide

  17. Back to Anne and her laying in for a moment. The woman would I assume be able to pace around her chambers, not just stay in bed for 40 days, although her chambers probably were not massive and others were there as well. I wonder about getting enough exercise.

    Did the woman have access to an outdoor space or was that also forbidden?
    Did the ladies suffer from cramps and thrombosis or other conditions in their legs during this restrictive practice and do we know if this had a long term affect on their ability to have healthy children in the future?

    I think I read in a post a few years ago by a fellow commentator that Anne may have had something called ” restless leg syndrome “. What is this and can anyone shred any light on how Anne might have been affected by it.



    1. I think restless leg syndrome is where the legs have spasms during the night they twitch and I think it’s to do with an iron or vitamin deficiency? I have often wondered about the spaciousness of the queens chamber, would she have access to other rooms where she could partake of light exercise as I cannot imagine her lying in bed continuously for that length of time, apart from tedium she would develop bed sores and the lack of fresh air and exercise would leave her with no appetite, it would be a very miserable time for her, so I imagine her lying in chamber would maybe consist of several rooms, we can really only imagine how it must have been for them and hope it wasn’t as stifling as it sounds.

    2. H I BQ. Christine is right. I had a couple of elderly friends, both female who suffered from this. Their remedy wad to put a bar of Dove soap under the sheets by their knees. This actually worked. No scientific reason or explaination. I even read a few years ago in a Dr.’s advice column where someone asked about this and he said yes, it appears to work but didn’t know why. It has to be Dove though. No other kind works.

        1. Michael, Dove is extremely moisturizing, which helps with healing and healthy skin. It is one third more so than any other moisturiser or soaps and obviously skin is rejuvenated by moisture. Our skin is more susceptible to moisture at night, so I can only guess the moisture soaking through the sheet on which the leg was resting did the natural thing and helped bring relief. I certainly find it helps with all kinds of skin problems and soars and even tired legs and feet. I don’t really know why, but the moisture restores the PH balance, so that maybe something which has an effect. Maybe we should go back in time and make a fortune selling Dove to these poor ladies in confinement.

    1. Hi Christine and Michael, thanks for the interesting information. I have revisited the article from 2010 and on another site and it was milk legs, sorry, not restless legs. The comments were made that Anne had milk legs and thrombosis but of course no evidence quoted and no reference. I haven’t come across this before in contemporary documents and as the comments are several years old, they probably won’t have an answer now. I did find another article last night but lost the link from 2017 so I am going to ask the contributors if they have a contemporary reference, rather than a present authority. I believe they were actually talking about a reference in Alison Weir, but it would be interesting to find a better reference for research purposes. This article got me thinking all the way back to that discussion on Anne and the theories around her being Rhesus negative and the difficulty this can have in childbirth, but I couldn’t absorb the arguments last night. But it’s an interesting theory, unproven of course as we cannot prove it without examining DNA or some other scientific analysis from her blood and reproductive health, but it is one among a dozen such theories around Henry and his wives. Unfortunately we cannot currently test any of them using science as we don’t have access to the organic materials or blood tests and other specimens from the subjects concerned who died 500 plus years ago. For example there is a well researched theory around Henry Viii having McLeod Syndrome and K cells which might have explained many of his troubles and his personality swings in the 1530s onwards. There are a number of genetic problems which can possibly explain the lack of healthy children with Katherine of Aragon, including something called Cushing Syndrome and I have no idea what that is. Was Katherine of Aragon anorexic? This was another article from 2010 or 2012 on her fasting and pregnancy, which was obviously not a good idea and nobody would have advised her to do this and in fact pregnancy and fasting was frowned upon even for religious reasons, but it doesn’t mean that someone with an eating disorder would not have a fast in any case. Holy Anorexics did fast even against the advice of their spiritual supervisors. Again this is all speculative as is my original question, but if anyone has any ideas if Anne had thrombosis in her legs or anything which contributed to later miscarriages, I would be delighted to know any helpful references.

      1. My mother’s cousin died of coronary thrombosis when she was only about 28, this was in about 1962, she had three miscarriages in a row and my mum always used to say she often complained she never felt really well often lethargic, she died on holiday after going out for a short walk with my uncle, it was devastating for all the family and her doctor told my uncle they could never have saved her, however now I think they can test for blood clots so had she been born in this age they could well have, that is interesting about Anne having thrombosis because that could explain the reason for her inability to carry children like my mums cousin, there was a happy ending because my uncle went onto marry my mums younger sister, and they were happily married for many years, but knowing what he went through with his first wife my aunt decided not to have any children, it was something they were in agreement with, of course Anne could have been rhesus but it is strange both she and Katherine had several miscarriages between them, that was why doctors in Edinburgh in Victorian times put forward the theory that Henry V111 suffered from syphilis, that has been debunked however as his medical records testify he was never treated for it, what caused both first and second wives miscarriages is a mystery and there have been numerous theories down the centuries, I have heard Henry could have been kell positive which can explain his descent into paranoia and tyranny, also Cushing syndrome I have heard of that but not sure what it actually is, it could just be that Henry had nothing wrong with him at all, just that Katherine of Aragon had something which killed her babies whilst they were inside her, some disorder maybe and Anne could have had an incompatible blood group, was he just unlucky in his wives? Bessie Blount carried her son full term and if Mary Boleyn’s daughter Catherine was Henry’s then she also was born without any problems, there was Gertrude I cannot remember her second name and she was also a full term baby, some historians are convinced she was Henry’s daughter to, again the mother had no miscarriage no problems with the pregnancy and she was probably born full term to, so was it Anne Boleyn and Henry’s first queen who were at fault here? Medical advancement is marvellous and on television there was a programme on some years ago about royal illnesses, the Stuart Queen Anne had many children though none survived, her grief was easily avoidable as modern doctors have said the common aspirin could saved them, aspirin is a blood thinner and it was obvious her children died because of blood clots, her eldest died at the age of twelve, so much misery people suffered before medical breakthroughs occurred.

        1. Yes, it’s a very odd history and although historians studying the medical history have “traced” and I use that word with care some of these things back to Jacquette Wydeville aka the Duchess of Bedford, mother of Elizabeth Wydeville and forward to Queen Anne, the links don’t make a lot of sense. Queen Anne certainly makes sense with an inheritance of poor reproductive health, because the poor woman had fifteen children die under one or two, amidst several miscarriages and three more die prematurely. Out of eighteen pregnancies only one, her son, lived to be eleven, only to pass with smallpox. She also suffered from a long list of infirmities and had mental health problems. George iii suffered later in life from porphyria which attacks the nervous system and the body and is very unpleasant as well as being mistaken as it was then for insanity. However, Jacquette of Luxembourg, Duchess of Bedford, however, produced a whole breed of healthy sons and daughters with her second husband, Sir Richard Wydeville. Elizabeth herself had two healthy sons by her husband and several children of both sexes by Edward iv. Her first two daughters were certainly healthy, as were some of her younger daughters, but at least one child died soon after birth and another when she was two. The majority of her children actually developed bone diseases in their teens and a few died in their teens. Edward V had some kind of bone disease or a disease of the jaws and one theory about his disappearance says he simply died. Richard most probably would have developed it as well at some point, but again his ultimate fate was unknown. The children of her eldest daughter Elizabeth of York met a similar pattern of survival. She had four sons and five daughters, so no immediate obvious problems, but as we know Prince Arthur was fine until he was fifteen and then died at sixteen of one of four things, the sweating sickness, plague, pneumonia or cancer of the testicles. Tuberculosis is also a possibility and his father had respiratory problems which killed him. Katherine was ill at the same time but survived, so the possibility of a genetic disorder may be ruled out. His son Edmund died aged three and the last baby followed her mother to the grave in 1503. Henry Vii now had three children, one son and two daughters, the others also dying young. These three thrived and lived more or less the normal life span of a Tudor adult. Both Margaret and Mary, however, appeared to die of tuberculosis. Henry escaped this and died of what we today would call life style ill health. On the face of it Henry Viii was a robust individual who brushed off and lived through a variety of occasional illnesses that would have killed most people, including malaria and smallpox. He didn’t, as you say, Christine have syphilis. This was debunked many years ago. I still remember a friend of mine in school writing an essay with the ending “Henry Viii was a womanizer who died of V.D” and the class could not stop laughing. Not that a thirteen year old knew anything more than we were taught. As I was never a teenager I didn’t believe anything I was taught. However, a series of accidents took their toll after 1536,_when his leg injury made him immobile and his over eating resulted in his extreme weight. Henry may have developed diabetes, may have developed any number of things associated with obesity. His eyes went into decline, he walked with great difficulty, he had extreme mood swings and he was in a lot of pain through the ulcers on his legs. Any number of blood related problems could also have applied.

          As for Henry’s children, he seems to have had the most tragic of reproductive histories and it is very strange that the pattern was repeated with both of his first wives, the two daughters alone survived. All of the questions you asked above about Anne and Katherine are most relevant because either or both unfortunate ladies could have had specified genetic or personal disorders which made giving birth to healthy children almost impossible. Both women were fertile because they conceived well enough, they carried their children for several months, but then something went wrong, the children were lost at birth or miscarried. Henry too was clearly fertile as his wives conceived regularly. However, something went wrong with almost every pregnancy. Yet, he had a son by Jane Seymour and by Bessie Blount who appeared to be healthy. However, both sons developed some killer diseases aged fifteen and seventeen and died within months. The question is what exactly did they die off? Was it genetic or had they previously been ill with something which subdued their immune system? It used to be accepted that Prince Arthur, Henry Fitzroy and Edward vi all died of tuberculosis, the Tudor family illness. However, it isn’t as simple as all that. Margaret and Mary had TB for years. All three Tudor family males here died within a few months of being noticeably ill. However, all three had vastly different symptoms and in the case of Edward vi he was hit by a double whammy of smallpox and pneumonia the previous year and lived but his infections began afterwards. So maybe genetic traits are merely coincidence because just about anything could see you off in the sixteenth century. For more information on these theories in Henry Viii Health in a Nutshell and Edward vi in a Nutshell give a good breakdown. It is very difficult to determine, though, as we can’t examine or run tests which would solve the problem.

          Anne and Katherine may have been just unlucky, they both could have had personal health problems which lay dormant and only affected their ability to have healthy children or Henry may have contributed to their reproductive tragedies. Sadly we don’t know, but it is an interesting area of speculation and research. Henry Viii may or may not have had healthy adult illegitimate children as well as too relatively healthy daughters. In that I mean they survived into adulthood. Mary herself later in life developed some form of cancer which she mistook for pregnancy and which probably killed her in her mid forties. She may also have had problems with her ovaries which caused painful and heavy periods and quite possibly endometriosis. Elizabeth appeared to be healthy, although she too did have bouts of illness and fought off smallpox, which left her scared for life and she lived to be 70. We have no idea what her reproductive health was like as she remained unmarried. Although rumours abounded about Elizabeth having a son with Robert Dudley, this is highly unlikely and as it was started by the Spanish when one “Arthur Dudley” was shipwrecked there, it is more likely to be Spanish propaganda.

        2. Sad to hear that about your mum’s cousin, very sad for your mum and family. We now know about the causes of a thrombosis, how important it is to walk and move around on long journeys and so on, how to prevent and test for blood clots and that we need to be careful with people in hospital and bed bound, turning them and the need to wear those special socks and to move their legs. Keeping the blood circulation going is vital and it is very interesting that there is a possibility that Anne and others may have had a thrombosis after being confined for weeks in a restricted area. The information that your mum’s cousin had one and miscarried three times shreds curious light on her own later reproductive history. Anne’s history of pregnancy is very much the subject of debate as it isn’t clear how many she had.

          We know for certain Anne was pregnant during 1533 because she gave birth to her first child, Princess Elizabeth on 7th September and she remained in her chambers until some time in November.

          There are contemporary references to Anne having a “goodly belly” in the Spring and in July 1534. A contemporary portrait in the Black Book of the Garter is now believed to be Anne Boleyn and dated from the same period and it shows a heavily pregnant woman. There is no evidence of her taking to her chambers and we hear nothing about any confirmed miscarriage, but that doesn’t rule on out. Anne may well have had a very sudden loss and the miscarriage simply kept quiet. There are rumours about her losing a child and also not being pregnant. This has caused historians to debate about this being a true pregnancy or a mistaken pregnancy. There is also at least one historian who claimed Anne had several miscarriages during 1534 and earlier in 1535.

          Autumn 1535 Anne and Henry returning from a successful progress are expecting another child, this time Anne is carrying a son. Tragedy strikes some 15 to 20 weeks later on 26/7/8/9th January 1536 when Anne has the fatal miscarriage of a normal baby, who looks male. We have no idea why but the theories this time following the contemporary evidence point to two causes, the shock of hearing her husband has had a great fall from his horse and may have been killed, this news being carried to her by Norfolk and a few days finding Henry, who obviously wasn’t killed, with a new mistress on his knees. In shock Anne miscarried and both Henry and the King have a public row about who is to blame and are visibly distraught over the loss of this child. Henry ordered a post mortem and the child is reported to him to have been a son. He is furious, although the couple appeared to have made up afterwards. Within weeks, however, Henry has consulted with lawyers about ending his marriage, but then the marriage carried on. Anne was now very vulnerable.
          We don’t have any evidence for many miscarriages, but the possibility of at least two lost babies before full term. Anne may have had a healthy son at some time, but she was now in her mid thirties, an age when children were less likely and childbirth much more risky. She probably didn’t have many childbearing years ahead of her. However, it is also possible that her patterns of loss may continue. This pattern matches a diagnosis of a thrombosis and also rhesus blood incompatibility. It was a sad and tragic thing in any event for all mothers and I really feel for both Katherine and Anne at the loss of so many children.

        3. I Imeant Ethelreda Malte not Gertrude don’t know where I got that from, Malte was said to be the daughter of a laundress and surprisingly she was found a husband in the form of a knight, unusual for a mere washerwoman, and he was awarded several grants from the King, this led to speculation that his wifes child was his and not her husband, she attended Elizabeth in the Tower during her incarceration and it is possible they knew they were half sisters, there was also a John Perrot who was said to bear an uncanny likeness to the King and another called Thomas Stukeley, had these two lads been Henrys then I am sure he would have acknowledged them like Fitzroy but maybe he did not want to cause Katherine his wife any more distress, as she had been unhappy when Fitzroy was born and later received at court, and showered with honours, there is a portrait of Perrot and he does possess the same long hooked nose as Henry V111, he looks out rather arrogantly at us from the canvas, there is no mention of who his mother was, as I mentioned earlier about Anne and Katherine they had all the worry of giving the King a son, these mistresse’s of his however did not, as the sex of their child was not important and they all gave birth to their children full term, Bessie Blount esconced in the calm solitude of her country mansion could whilst away the days merely looking forward to when her baby arrived, her position as Henrys queen did not matter, it did not matter if she had an Adam or Eve, she had been a most successful mistress to Henry V111 lasting several years, the King was said to be quite in love with her, and she had many of the attributes that Anne Boleyn had, she was a good dancer and maybe could play the lute or the virginals
          well, she was fair and pretty and she could well have been in love with Henry as he was with her, recently it has been suggested that her daughter born not long after her marriage to Gilbert Tailboys could have been the Kings to, but as with Ethelreda and maybe with Catherine Cary there was no need to broadcast it, the birth of daughters were nothing to crow about, old King Henry V111 may have sired quite a few bastards in his lifetime that history is silent on.

  18. Hi BQ. I dont understand how it could work. The soap is directly out of the package and remains dry. No water is used but who knows, maybe you’re right someone about it works.

  19. Agree about Elizabeth and Dudley having a son as nothing but lies put about by the Spanish to discredit the Queen, Edward V had osteomyelitis in the lower jaw which must have been quite miserable for him and it is suggested Henry V111 could have suffered that in one or possibly two legs, hence the reasons for his agony although we know he had ulcers to, it is very sad for this king who placed such store on the survival of the Tudor
    dynasty that he was not blessed with more sons or even daughters, as the latter while deemed unfit to govern, would have been useful in cementing foreign alliances by marriage, God may have been on the side of Henry V11 at Bosworth, yet his dynasty was fated to be but a brief movement in history, glorious though it undoubtedly was, due to a lack of male progeny and unexplained medical illnesses.

    1. Indeed, this was very painful and explained why Edward V was visited by the royal doctor every day while housed in the Kings Apartments in the Tower of London, which was very distressing for this young boy. Remember he was only about thirteen and that pain also caused him some considerable mental distress as well.

      Yes, the lies about Elizabeth and Dudley were simply to discredit her as they didn’t have a high opinion of her as Queen in any case. To King Philip of Spain Elizabeth was a heretic and illegitimate and she had been excommunicated as well so it was his duty as a very devoted Catholic King to actually remove Elizabeth from her throne. Anne Boleyn, unfortunately, would have been seen as a wh*re and a traitorous adulterous woman who was rightly executed by Philip and that scar stuck to her daughter as well. The fact that this Dudley was making himself a celebrity in Spain only encouraged them to push forward with the Armada and to publish anything which would discredit the English Queen.

      Anyway I am now going to read some of these articles so I may find out more about Anne and her milk legs and how it affected women laying in after childbirth, if at all.

  20. It was dreadful for my mum as she was her best friend as well as being her cousin, she said she would lie down for a bit and when my uncle went into see her she looked awful, they were in holiday with other friends and they called the doctor who at once knew she was seriously ill, she died in the ambulance and they had only been on holiday for a few days, her family doctor had said it is normal for a woman to miscarry her first child and her second, however if she has three in a row it could point to an underlying condition and with each miscarriage, blood clots occur, she had a sister who had children but had a bad heart, she lived for much longer, it was very sad as any death of a young person is, Henry V111 as we know did blame his wives for his lack of children and we have all derailed him as it is sexist but problems in childbirth were inevitably blamed on the woman, when we look at Anne’s mother, she also was fertile but her two older sons Thomas and Henry died in infancy and there could have been another infant death to, for all we know she could have miscarried, someone mentioned in a much earlier post about the amount of alcohol they consumed, drink is a no go for pregnant women and yet they all drank it as the water was not drinkable, at banquets they must have drunk more than plenty and Henry V111 was said to get quite ‘merry’ at times, the women would not have known about the dangers of alcohol yet they knew it killed if taken in large quantities, could alcohol consumption really have been the reason why Anne and Katherine miscarried? But then that does not explain the babies who were born surviving just a few weeks, days hours even, iy has been suggested that Queen Anne Stuart contributed to her babies deaths by drinking excessively, he sister Queen Mary remained barren, after the death of her last son Anne wrote a letter to her father the exiled King James 11, begging his forgiveness for siding with William of Orange, believing that the sad deaths of her children was punishment from an angry god at such unnatural behaviour, she believed that was why she lost all her children and Mary was barren, certainly both sisters behaviour had raised eyebrows at court and the public were quite disgusted with them, they were both called in turn Goneril the wicked daughter of King Lear, Anne’s childless state gave way to the Hanoverians and its bevy of Gernan rulers

  21. I don’t think we can make a fair assessment of Jane Seymour/Henry’s ability to have children. First off she didn’t get pregnant right away and the fact that when she did she successfully carried to term a healthy son could just be a luck of the draw just as with Anne/Henry. Also didn’t KofA successfully carry her first pregnancy to term and the baby died weeks later? And I’m not sure but didn’t Henry end his relationship with Bessie Blount after she became pregnant with Fitzroy? If so that is also not a good indicator unless the relationship continued. The only way that in my mind we can judge Jane/Henry is if Jane had survived and additional pregnancies had or had not occurred and what their outcomes were.

    Please correct me on anything I got wrong.

    1. Yes you are right Michael Katherine’s first baby called Henry was full term and Jane Seymour’s son, but it did take Jane some time before she fell pregnant, I think Henry could well have had a low sperm count as he grew older if such a thing is possible, his reputation as a good lover we have to remember had taken a bit of a nose dive at Anne Boleyn’s trial, it is possible with his eagerness to get his third wife pregnant he had actually rendered himself unable to do so, couples who want a child desperately are advised by doctors to just sleep together when they want without the woman thinking of trying to get pregnant, this has happened to a lot of couples, and when we consider the amount of stress all Henry V111s wives were under to conceive, is it any wonder things had a habit of going wrong with both Katherine his first wife and then with Anne, we discussed the fact that both women may have had a disorder that rendered them incapable of bearing a healthy child, maybe it was merely stress, a silent killer that is recognised today yet in Henry’s time was unknown, the pressure to give birth to a healthy male child may have been the cause of Anne’s sad childbearing history, it was worse for her than Katherine she had promised him a son or so we suppose, the king had married her because she was young and fertile, apart from the fact he had been full of desire for her, he had married her for the sons she could give him, Anne had put herself in the position of being a brood mare, all the onus all the pressure was on her to present the king with a son, and she knew it the king had overturned the country for her now she had to deliver, her very nature was not calm and placid she was highly strung bad tempered and given to hysteria, traits she passed onto her daughter, such a nature cannot deal with stress very well and at the back of her mind was the worry that she would be abandoned like Katherine if she too failed to give the king a son, taking all this into account it is hardly surprising she did sadly miscarry, when she first found herself to be pregnant with Elizabeth she was basking in the love of the king, she was his darling he only had eyes for her, she carried her full term as she felt secure and well loved, but with her other pregnancies there was a difference she had a girl now Henry wanted a boy, his eye wandered and he took a mistress, Anne was upset she could not handle it and they quarrelled, worse she was not his enchanting mistress now she was his wife, which meant she must ‘shut up and endure as her betters had before her’ as he brutally told her, in the three years they were married she possibly lost three more children, one was a mystery as Bq mentioned, maybe she had made an error and found she was not pregnant, wishful thinking as in Mary 1sts case, whatever was the cause of Anne’s Boleyn’s failure to carry a child full term after her first child we cannot rule out that stress may have played some part in it.

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