Gruelling Facts About Henry VIII – An (embarrassing) Infographic

Courtesy of The London Dungeon:

Henry VIII infographic - london dungeon

Unfortunately, there are several inaccuracies, they published it as VIII Gruelling Facts and there are 8, but the code says 10. Could they not find two more — since they were making them up anyway? Plus, if you visit the website there are embarrassing misspelling and mistakes there too. C’mon Dungeon, get it together!!!
I’d correct them all in this post, but I have work to do.

Katherine of Aragon? DUH!

There’s an article in today’s Telegraph that folks from the National Portrait Gallery in London have identified a portrait at Lambeth Palace, believed by scholars to be Katryn Parr, as actually portraying Katherine of Aragon.

My question is, Who are these scholars and did they ever even study Tudor portraiture???

This portrait looks so much like Katherine of Aragon as portrayed in other paintings that I can hardly believe anyone would ever make that mistake. The woman in the painting is also dressed in a far more old fashioned way than Kateryn Parr was ever shown to dress. I’m astounded it took so long to identify it, but I am happy they have. It will be paired with a portrait of Henry VIII of the same time period in an exhibition called Henry and Catherine Reunited, opening tomorrow in London.

Here are the portraits in question…



What’s On

If you are in or around England, there’s a new permanent display at Hampton Court Palace of interest to my fellow Tudor-ists.

Replica of the crown Henry VIII would have worn (and possibly his father, Henry VII)

According to their website:
You will be able to see a re-creation of Henry VIII’s crown displayed in the Royal Pew at Hampton Court Palace.

Made for either Henry VII or Henry VIII, the original was worn by Henry VIII at Hampton Court, particularly on the feast of Epiphany on 6 January, when he would process to the Chapel Royal in full regalia to offer gold, frankincense and myrrh, celebrating the visit of the three kings to the newborn Jesus. The crown was later used at the coronations of each of Henry VIII’s children.

As a potent symbol of power and religious authority, the original was melted down at the Tower of London in 1649 on the orders of Oliver Cromwell, following the abolition of the monarchy.

This new permanent display is in the Royal Pew which is opening for the first time in seven years, allowing visitors to walk in the footsteps of Henry VIII, looking out across the magnificent Tudor ceiling as he did and seeing the spectacular crown displayed where Henry himself would have worn it.

We have been able to re-create this object, so powerfully and personally associated with Henry VIII, thanks to very detailed inventories, written by his servants, which documented the construction of the crown and the size and position of each of the 344 rubies, sapphires, emeralds, diamonds and pearls and the five sculptures that decorate it. The Crown Jeweller and his team of skilled goldsmiths were able to take our research and, largely using the same techniques as their Tudor predecessors, have created a very accurate replica of the Tudor Crown Imperial.

SO cool! And incredibly fitting as today is the anniversary of the crowning of King Henry VII of England in 1485.

2013 Will be a Busy Year for Mary Stuart

While looking around online for more on a story I saw on Facebook about a TV series coming to the CW based on Mary Queen of Scots, I found this juicy little tid-bit that somehow escaped my attention:

Saoirse Ronan will play Mary Stuart in the upcoming film, Mary Queen of Scots

Actress Saoirse Ronan, probably best known as Briony in Atonement, is set to play the title role in “Mary, Queen of Scots,” written by Michael Hirst. “Mary, Queen of Scots” is in pre-production and will shoot next year; the producers are currently looking for a director.

Being an unabashed fan of Michael Hirst’s historical dramas, I am WAY thrilled by this news.

Mary Queen of Scots is about to have a very busy 2013.

Back to the other Mary Stuart project: This has the potential to either be really awesome or really awful. According to the Deadline article:

The CW bought a project called Reign, from writers/executive producers Laurie McCarthy (CSI: Miami) and Stephanie SenGupta (Outlaw). It is described as a fantastical reimagining of the teenage Mary Queen of Scots.

The CW’s project is described as Game Of Thrones meets Marie Antoinette — if Marie Antoinette had a girl posse and was coming of age as a warrior queen. It’s about the secret history of survival at French Court amidst fierce foes, dark forces, and a world of sexual intrigue.

This is the first joint project for McCarthy and SenGupta, who have been good friends since they met working on CBS’ The Ghost Whisperer.


The Death of Wife Number 3 (the TRUE One)

On this day in 1537, Jane Seymour, third wife of King Henry VIII, died of “childbed” or puerperal fever.

She was the only one of Henry’s wives to receive a queen’s funeral, and is the consort buried beside him in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, as he declared her to be his ONLY true wife. (That’s what winning the baby gender lottery buys you in the 16th century!)

Not one of the more popular or charismatic of Henry’s wives, we should still give her some props. In her very short time as queen consort, Jane achieved everything she set out to do: she gave the king the son he so desperately needed, helped to restore Lady Mary to the succession and her father’s affections, and secured the advancement of her family. It certainly wasn’t her fault both brothers were naughty and ended up headless!

Jane gave birth to Edward at two o’clock in the morning on October 12, 1537, at Hampton Court Palace after a grueling three days in labor. Some authors (and Wikipedia) have tales of a Caesarean section or episiotomy being the source of her subsequent fatal infection¹, but I hold with those who point out that neither were used at that time. And I  certainly doubt that any doctor would try something so experimental on a queen. But again, that’s my opinion, and there are books on the debate if you are interested.

The Royal Arms flanking the doors of the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace containing the heraldic achievements of King Henry VIII and Queen Jane Seymour.
Photo: Kris Gamble 2008

Edward was christened on 15 October 1537, without his mother in attendance, as was the custom. Both of the King’s daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, were present and carried the infant’s train during the ceremony. After the christening, it became clear that Jane was seriously ill. She died on October 24, 1537, at Hampton Court Palace.

¹DeMolen, Richard. The Birth of Edward VI and the Death of Queen Jane: the arguments for and against Caesarean Section. pp. 360-361, 363.

The Softer-Side of Henry VIII?

Painting from a manuscript believed to depict the Tudors after the death of Elizabeth of York.

A long lost painting–believed to be one of the earliest of Henry VIII–has been discovered at the National Library of Wales.

It’s one of 34 pictures within a manuscript that was donated to the Aberystwyth library in 1921, but officials say they have only just discovered its true significance.

Close-up of a boy–believed to be an 11 year-old Henry VIII–weeping on a bed draped in black.

In the painting, Henry VII is depicted as receiving the manuscript, Princesses Margaret and Mary are sitting nearby, and an 11-year-old Henry Tudor is shown weeping at the death bed of his mother, Elizabeth of York.

Bound in wooden boards and covered with crimson velvet, the manuscript contains a late 15th Century passional – a book recounting the sufferings of saints and martyrs – depicting Jesus Christ’s last days on earth through a series of images and text, written in medieval French. It is believed the manuscript was presented to Henry VII, Henry’s father, after the death of his wife Elizabeth.

It was originally owned by Lady Joan Guildford, who served in the household of Elizabeth of York and acted as governess to the royal princesses Margaret and Mary Tudor.

The library said the manuscript could be worth more than £1m.

For more on the provenance of the manuscript: