While we know her as the ‘Nine Day Queen’, Lady Jane Grey would probably have passed into history as an irrelevant, albeit intelligent, Tudor cousin had it not been for the ambitious machinations of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland. Having schemed his way to the position of Lord Protector during the reign of young Edward VI, Northumberland spied an opportunity to increase his power base when the young king fell ill with no signs of recovering, and it extended slightly further than sending Mary Tudor a fruit basket. Aware that his power would have been severely curtailed if the Catholic princess Mary succeeded to the throne, the fervent Protestant Northumberland executed a coup to place Jane Grey on the throne. The coup was short lived (lasting only nine days in fact) though Jane Grey is still included as a monarch of Britain despite her brief tenure. Continue reading
Conspiracy theories are a way of life, they’re everywhere. Chances are you could find a conspiracy theory about anything and the Tudors are no exception. Forget wondering whether Elizabeth and Leicester were an item, here we see how not only were they an item, but parents to, amongst others, Shakespeare himself. These are not the most believable theories, but they are
I love The Tudors, I probably shouldn’t, but I really do. The history is so ridiculous and mashed together and I wonder why at various times they make up stuff when the actual history is far more interesting and dramatic, but the acting is good and the costumes are stunning. It would take far, far too long to take apart every instance of artistic licence in this highly dramatised series, but here are some examples of the outright fictionalised aspects.
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.
A rather late review considering I read and finished the book within twenty-four hours of its release. I wish that I could say that was because it was such a compelling read. Unfortunately I just wanted to get it out of the way.
The Cousin’s War started as one of the more entertaining series I have read and I have a very high opinion of the first three books, The Lady of the Rivers is one of my favourite books. What started out as a trilogy soon became a quintology, but I find that the latter two books The Kingmaker’s Daughter, and more recently, The White Princess lack any of the appeal found in the earlier novels, and are, quite frankly, rather dull.
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.
Pssst, I’m going to let you in on a secret. Anne Boleyn was Queen of England for three years! We know, you cry! But think about it, how much of our fiction shows Anne Boleyn as a queen, performing her duties or highlights any of her achievements while she held the crown? Now compare this to what usually happens; Anne marries Henry, his affection for her cools and we hasten to the miscarriage of 1536 and her subsequent downfall, glossing over her thousand day reign.
This is hardly a surprise, as the same treatment is given to all of Henry’s wives. It is their rise and fall that interests us in fiction and so their brief tenures as queen are highlighted with any marital issues that occur, rather than anything they accomplished during this time. More recently, however, fiction has started to show some flourishes into the activities of Anne Boleyn as queen, though these are by no means frequent.
So I present a brief summary of some of Anne Boleyn’s queenly activities and where they are shown by her fictional counterparts.