Throughout history the rich, especially royalty have used the medium of stained glass to promote their image. The relationship between monarch and stained glass is explored in depth in The King’s Glass: A Story of Tudor Power and Secret Art (2007) by Carola Hicks if you are interested in such things. It’s a genuinely interesting read about the secret messages woven into public stained glass to spread particular images of the monarch, propaganda almost. I, of course, am interested in the queens who rarely feature as much as their husbands in the public image. So I have collated this gallery of lovers for your viewing pleasure… Continue reading
It’s almost Halloween! Therefore break out the ghost stories! Yay!
Given that Henry VIII and his six wives are still immensely popular centuries after their deaths, it is hardly surprising that people still claim to have seen them, haunting various palaces and castles. Ghosts are thought to remain in places of importance, especially if a person died in particularly emotional, violent or neglectful circumstances which accounts for most of Henry VIII’s wives. It is something of a coincidence that Anne of Cleves, who lived a relatively peaceful, drama free life (divorce notwithstanding) and who died of natural causes at old age is apparently resting in peace with no ghostly sightings of her ever reported.
Of all the residences, Hampton Court Palace supposedly houses the most restless royals with apparent sightings of Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour and Catherine Howard (not in the same room I might add). Most of the ghosts apparently move around together with Henry and Anne Boleyn appearing at Windsor, while yet another Anne Boleyn stalks a ‘repentant’ Jane Seymour at the latter’s home of Marwell Hall.
Recently I watched The Last Days of Anne Boleyn, part of the BBC Tudor season. It is a documentary but also a debate between historians and authors of historical fiction, trying to piece together what happened to cause Anne Boleyn’s downfall and the events of her last days. While looking at the hows, whys and whats of this event, those who appear never actually speak to each other. The result was interesting, though what was most fascinating to me was the utter relegation of Jane Seymour as a non entity during Anne’s fall from favour.
The Tudor Wife by Emily Purdy as it was released in the UK, has been released under a couple of other titles too. It began life as ‘Vengeance is Mine’ under the name Brandy Purdy then as ‘The Boleyn Wife’ again as Brandy Purdy before I picked it up in it’s current incarnation. The story is about Lady Rochford, Jane Boleyn, the wife of Anne Boleyn’s brother George. I quite like Jane Boleyn as a character, mostly because, despite being one of the more reviled women in history, the evidence suggests that she didn’t actually do anything. The testimony she supposedly gave to Cromwell has quite recently been attributed to another lady at court. With this in mind I am always keen to read anything about Jane Boleyn to see what new light she is cast in.