The Tudor Weirdness

I have always been interested in the Tudor Dynasty especially Anne Boleyn. I remember reading books about her when I was a child. (That’s why the next book I’m planning will be all about her!)A few years ago, my husband took us all to England and I got to walk where Anne Boleyn walked. I saw where she lived and where she died. It was quite an emotional experience for me. While we were on tour with our guide John, he told us so many things that I had no idea about even though I have been consistently obsessed with the Tudor Dynasty.

Here are ten of my favorite and weird facts from the Tudor Dynasty.

10) Margaret Beaufort: The Original Teen MomWhile Margaret was heavily pregnant with the future king of England, Henry VII, her husband Edmond Tudor was captured by Yorkist forces in the War of the Roses.  On Nov. 13, 1456, Edmond died of the plague while in captivity. Margaret was just 13. Single mom, raising a future king, she must have been a remarkable woman.

9) A Wedding Present? Who’s the Bastard Here? Let’s talk about Elizabeth of York’s wedding present from her soon-to-be-husband Henry II.  Elizabeth was the oldest living heir of Edward IV, the heir to the Yorkists. But when Richard III decided he wanted the throne, he bastardized Elizabeth of York and all her siblings, severing their rights and rendering them peasants.  Illegitimate people could not sit upon the throne of England. In order for him to secure his hold on the throne, Henry II had to marry and his wife must be legitimate. He solved this problem by declaring Elizabeth’s legitimacy. So basically he gave himself one hell of a present disguised as a present for his betrothed. It’s kind of like getting a vacuum cleaner from your husband as a wedding gift. Argh!.

8) Anne Boleyn’s MottoDuring the winter of 1530, Anne Boleyn used the motto  ‘Ainsi sera, groigne qui groigne’,  clearly announcing her intention to marry Henry VIII.  For those of us who don’t speak French, her motto pretty much translates to “Haters gonna hate,.” proving she was ahead of her time. I can’t wait to write the book about her that I have planned for next year.

7) Coerced Confession?  In the 1490s Henry VII went to war with a ghost…sort of. A man named Perkin Warbeck marched into London claiming to be the long-lost Richard of Shrewsbury, one of the lost princes that disappeared from the Tower of London. Warbeck insisted he was the queen’s brother. He was backed by the reigning king of Scotland and led many invasions of England and Ireland over the course of several years. Warbeck was becoming a royal pain in the ass to the monarchy until he was captured. Before his execution, he signed a confession stating that he was, in fact, an imposter. But seeing how the tower guards got confessions from prisoners, I am sure that his confession would be inadmissible in today’s courts. Regardless of whether or not the confession was valid, by having this confession, it took all “He killed his brother-in-law” rumors about Henry VII out of the equation.

6) Medieval DetentionIf you went to a Tudor school, you best behave yourself because teachers back then were very strict. They would punish children with 50 smacks with a cane. However, if you were from a wealthy family you could hire an alternative child to take the beating for your child. These “whipping-boys” would receive the punishment and they wouldn’t receive any payment for it, their teachers would..

5) London Muddy LondonImagine the horror that fell over Andreas Franciscius in 1497 when he visited London and the smell of mud and filth assaulted his olfactory organ. Franciscuis, while impressed with the architecture, could not get past the “vast amount of evil-smelling mud,” and the  “fierce tempers and wicked dispositions” of the Londoners that surrounded him. Apparently, Andreas was not a fan.

4) Fat Shaming the King? Did it kill him?At the time of his death, Henry VIII weighed 400 pounds. The cause of his weight is up to dispute since medical historians and medical examiners have come up with very different reasons why.  Some of the things they have to choose from smallpox, diabetes, syphilis, and chronic malaria. Not to mention the jousting injury that never healed. All of these, combined with the presence of heart disease and high blood pressure, added up to a ticking time bomb. With so many mental health and illnesses that cause of death may never be found.

3) Family DramaIn 1554, a group of Englishmen attempted to overthrow Mary I, the only living child of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon, fearing foreign domination if she wed Spain’s Prince Philip and anxious about the monarch’s restoration of Catholicism. Referred to by historians as the Wyatt Rebellion, for one of the conspirators, Sir Thomas Wyatt, the uprising quickly failed. Afterward, around 100 people involved in the action were executed. Although Lady Jane Grey, the so-called Nine-Day Queen, had not been involved in the plot, her father was, and Jane subsequently was beheaded. Additionally, Mary’s sister, Elizabeth, was imprisoned in the Tower of London for several months and later placed under house arrest for a year, although there was no conclusive evidence she had any role in the rebellion either.

2) Dressing up with Mum’s Jewelry Queen Elizabeth I, inherited her mother’s jewels. She often wore her mother’s iconic initial pendant: It is thought that she wore this to remind her court that she was well aware of what they did to her mother.  She also had fabric with embroidered eyes made into dresses and over skirts. She was smart, and these designs always made the people around her feel like they were being watched.

1) Familial GenocideHenry VIII, King of England, beheaded his wives, Anne Boleyn, and Katherine Howard. He also ordered the deaths of George Boleyn, Henry Howard, Thomas Howard, and another Thomas Howard died in the Tower of London…but Henry wasn’t finished yet. He ordered the execution of the entire Howard and Boleyn families. Lucky for them, he never got to carry out this heinous plan.

Those were my top 10…..For more weird and entertaining sh*t from Alex, sign up for my newsletter!