Category Archives: The Best of Other Blogs

How Could Henry Do It? Six Perspectives

An excellent post from The Creation of Anne Boleyn. Enjoy!

The Creation of Anne Boleyn

Henry Eats the Swan During the episode of The Tudors in which Anne Boleyn is executed, scenes of her suffering in the Tower are punctuated with the image of Henry, gazing contemplatively at two beautiful swans nuzzling in the pond outside the palace.  His mood and thoughts are left deliberately ambiguous; perhaps, the viewer imagines, he is thinking back over his love for Anne and the life they shared together, perhaps he is having regrets, feeling sorrow for the beauty that is about to be lost?  No.  After the execution scene, we are immediately taken to the King at his table, looking forward to his breakfast, which is being brought to him in a large gilt tureen on a silver platter.  The lid is lifted, and the servants and nobles surrounding Henry gasp and applaud in delight.  There on the platter is one of the swans, roasted and decorated with its own beautiful wings…

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An Argument for the Authenticity of Anne’s May 6th Letter to Henry

As I now can return to “The Tudors,” I find Susan’s post about this possible letter of Anne’s very fitting. Enjoy!

The Creation of Anne Boleyn

593247a6507a28554f3e1acbebff9b72 From the time she was taken to the Tower, Anne’s moods, according to Constable Kingston, vacillated wildly, from resignation to hope to anxiety. She had always had a wicked sense of humor, and no irony was ever lost on her. When taken to the Tower, she had asked, “Master Kingston, shall I die without justice?” He replied, “The poorest subject the king hath, had justice.” Hearing this, despite her fear, Anne laughed. She was too sophisticated and savvy about the dispensing of royal power to swallow the official PR.  Even the night before her execution, her sense of irony held as she wryly remarked that her enemies would remember her as “la Royne Anne Sans Tete” But until very near the end, she also seized on any glimmer of hope. She was the queen, after all, and no one in England had ever executed a queen.  Isabella of Angouleme and…

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Henry Tudor, a Proud Welshman

I gotta say, I like the way Nathen thinks!

To the average member of the public, no Royal Dynasty has come to represent England and Englishness as the Tudors, a multi-generational 16th Century force that dragged England out of the bleak and dreary middle ages and into the renaissance period that enabled the Kingdom to become a superpower on the global scene. England became a mighty nation during the reign of sequential Tudors, rapidly growing in a self-assurance and assertiveness that would later blossom into the dominant British Empire under their successors. It was under this Dynasty that England broke with Rome, that the English vanquished their aggressive Spanish foe through the defeat of the infamous Armada and that the world was given the immortal playwright William Shakespeare. Arguably the most overlooked Tudor monarch is the very man who began the dynasty, Henry Tudor, that great opportunist who is arguably one of the country’s greatest overachievers. Born fatherless and…

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Review: “Elizabeth of York: A Tudor Queen and Her World” by Alison Weir

I received this book as one of my Christmas gifts, and it’s on my list after finishing “Bosworth” and “Royal Exiles,” as part of the research for my 2nd book, which takes place after Bosworth. But that’s jumping ahead of myself. I can’t wait to read this book, and this review is well written and enticing.

The Freelance History Writer Notes and Reviews

Portrait of Elizabeth of York Portrait of Elizabeth of York

When I heard that Alison Weir was writing a biography of Elizabeth of York, I eagerly awaited its release. Having been a long time reader of Weir’s non-fiction works and knowing very little about Elizabeth of York made this book highly anticipated. And I was not disappointed!

Elizabeth of York has very much been an enigma to historians. While we still don’t know what her personality was really like, this book shines a bright spotlight on her. It starts out by explaining the circumstances into which Elizabeth was born as the eldest child of King Edward IV. The War of the Roses had been ongoing for about ten years at the time of her birth. Weir tells us of the family dynamics and how the throne of England vacillated back and forth between the members of the Houses of Lancaster and York. When Elizabeth was…

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The Lancastrian Succession after 1471

I always appreciate Nathan’s work. He’s one of my kindred spirits, in terms of the history and the stories of Henry VII and the Tudor line. Please check out the rest of his blog.

A consequence of the first half of the Wars of the Roses, or Wars of the Cousins to give its contemporary term, is that Henry Tudor was recognised as an heir of the House of Lancaster after 1471 and was able to use such an acknowledgement to help propel himself onto the throne in 1485. It is often recorded that his hereditary claim was so weak that he astutely claimed his crown through an act of conquest, ensuring he was crowned in Westminster Abbey before parliament convened and before his marriage to Elizabeth of York who was considered to hold a greater claim on behalf of her father Edward IV. The process through which Henry Tudor attained this mantle of Lancastrian heir is fascinating particularly in light of other potential claimants during the late 15th century. It is commonly believed that Henry was the only viable alternative for those of…

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Noblewomen in the Wars of the Roses: Turning Fortune’s Wheel

An excellent discussion of the part that women played in the Wars.

Lauren Johnson

Much has been written about the violence of the Wars of the Roses. Civil conflicts inevitably leave a deeper scar than international ones, and this fifteenth century combat has lived on in collective memory. However, until recently, one group whose fortunes were  closely affected by the Wars has been overlooked: the noblewomen involved. Anyone with even a passing knowledge of medieval history will know why this is. Chroniclers write about the public deeds of noblemen, surviving records document the actions and decisions of that group because they were the ones who attended Parliament and fought in battles. Finding information about women – even the richest, most influential women – is hard work. And it is only with the increasing interest in social and gender history in the late twentieth century that the difficult sleuthing necessary to unravel the lives of women was undertaken in earnest.

However, for every man directly…

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The Princes in the Tower; The Defence Case for Henry VII

An excellent piece which shows how improbable it is that Henry VII could have been the one who killed the Princes in the Tower.
I once watched a TV show that said that he was the guilty one, and that he had killed them in the Rebellion of 1483. Here’s how they explained it: Henry sailed into London right to the Tower, went in, murdered them, came back out, got back on his ship and sailed away. I wrote an angry letter to the production company, saying that they needed better fact checkers and consulting historians.

The Princes in the Tower is one of British history’s greatest tragedies and has long been a spectre looming large over the English Middle Ages in particular. Two young brothers, one 12-years-old and the other just 10, were forcibly removed from public view shortly after their father’s death and were never seen again. The reason this story has resonated through history is for the fact that these two children happened to be Royal Princes; in fact, in the case of the elder child, Edward, he was no longer a Prince but a King. As the only male children of King Edward IV, upon their father’s death at Westminster in 1483 they became the highest ranking nobles in the realm, Edward ascending to the throne as King Edward V whilst his brother becoming the Heir presumptive and maintaining his status as the dual Duke of York and Norfolk. Although still children…

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The White Queen, episode 10

This blog has the most hysterical “scripts” for the episodes of “White Queen.” Enjoy, and then check out the other ones they have done.

A Nevill Feast

Elizabeth: I’ve gone home. I expect I shall get lots of visitors!
Margaret Beaufort: My son. Rightful throne.
Stanley: Ever thought you might be wrong?
Margaret Beaufort: Me?
Stanley: I don’t think God likes you anymore.
Anne: My son is sick!
Richard: Stop fussing, woman! Henry Tudor is to marry Princess Lizzie. That means I’ll have to move quickly to satisfy my metaphorical sword-drawing lust while pretending to my wife that nothing’s going on. Hang on, wait… My brother’s daughter? Oh, God! Really?
Anne: Best not to think about it too much. I mean, I’m turning into an insufferable middle class snob. No wonder I never get invited to parties.
Prince Teddy: Bleurgh!
Anne: Just give me a moment to be a passive-aggressive bitch to the Witch Queen’s daughters and I’ll be right with you. Lizzie, Cecily. I’m Queen and you’re not. Kindly suck on that, please.
Richard: *looms ominously*

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The Maligned Margaret

Wonderful blog by Susan Higginbotham, about how Margaret of Anjou has been portrayed in fiction.

The Creation of Anne Boleyn

Susan Higginbotham is the author of five historical novels set in medieval and Tudor England, including “The Queen of Last Hopes,” a novel about Margaret of Anjou. Her first nonfiction book, “The Woodvilles,” about Edward IV’s queen and her family, was published this month. You can read more about her work at her website and her blog. This post is a part of “The Women Behind the Fictions” blog series.

In the recent series The White Queen, based on the novels of Philippa Gregory, Margaret of Anjou, queen to the unfortunate Henry VI, makes only a brief appearance. It’s an odd omission in a series that focuses on the women of this period, chiefly Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort, and Anne Neville. If the scriptwriters were looking for a formidable woman, surely Margaret, who struggled ceaselessly over the years to uphold her husband’s…

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Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire: Much Decayed Of Late

This is an excellent post about the differences between the Thomas Boleyn in our known sources and how he has been portrayed on TV and in books.

You know this guy already, don’t you? Avaricious, ambitious to the point where he would happily prostitute his daughters to the king if it helped him get ahead, a flint-hearted tyrant who sent his daughters abroad as mere children and didn’t care what kind of emotional wreckage resulted. He urged his younger daughter on while she pursued the crown, then slithered away, earldom intact, as she was judicially murdered alongside her only brother. His marriage was an unpleasant affair, undertaken only to further his financial interests and occasionally featuring abusive behavior and rape. In short, not the kind of ancestor one would wish to have a visiting acquaintance with.

Or so you’d be justified in thinking if your main source of information was the packet of fictional works in which Thomas usually plays a secondary and highly unflattering role. There’s a non-trivial number of non-fiction books which also take it…

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