Friday, 27 January 2012

Review of The Broadview Anthology of Sixteenth-Century Poetry and Prose by Sandra Bell, Marie Loughlin, and Patricia Brace, Chapter: Queen Katherine Parr

Review of the Chapter on Queen Katherine Parr within The Broadview Anthology of Sixteenth-Century Poetry and Prose by Sandra Bell, Marie Loughlin, and Patricia Brace

First off, the fact that this book was published in 2011 gives them no excuse for the authors to get major facts incorrect in the chapter on Queen Katherine Parr; to top it off they use Susan James as a source! After all the recent biographies and research done on her there is absolutely no excuse for it. Katherine did not marry at age 13 to the Lord Borough of Gainsborough. She married in 1529 the grandson of the 2nd Lord Borough of Gainsborough who had not even been called to Parliament as such since he was declared insane. The two shared the same name and the younger Edward would have inherited the barony after his father Thomas's death, but he died in 1533 before his father. Proof of who she really married is stated in her mother's will.

What is interesting about the chapter is that the authors state that "Parr" became a lady-in-waiting to Katherine of Aragon after the death of her first husband and that she was on her way to marry her second husband when the King married Anne Boleyn in 1533. FACT: In 1533, Katherine had just been widowed and was in no hurry to re-marry. She was never lady-in-waiting to any of Henry's other wives. Her mother and her sister were the only ones to attend upon one of the wives; her sister served all six. Maud Parr, her mother, attended Queen Katherine of Aragon until her own death in 1531.

Moving on, Lord Latimer was not the "head" of the Uprising of the North. In fact, he himself was captured by the rebels while Katherine and her step-children were held hostage. The fact that Katherine changed her views after she married King Henry is simply untrue. There is no set date as to when Parr may have converted to Protestant views, but it is thought that it might have happened after the rise of Anne Boleyn or during the time that she was held hostage. As for the undertaking of translating Erasmus, Katherine Parr encouraged the Lady Mary Tudor to translate it and when she became too sick to complete it, it was finished by Mallet. Mary and Katherine got along and were good friends through out her reign. It is known to be the happiest time of Mary's life.

I love how the author quotes using Susan James's as a source for her biographical information when it completely contradicts what she actually wrote in her book. Apparently these authors did not read the book carefully enough.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII: Account of marriage to wife no. 6

Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 18 Part 1: January-July 1543
The wedding of Henry and Katherine, Dowager Baroness Latimer as recorded
Notarial instrument witnessing that, on 12 July 1543, 35 Hen. VIII., in an upper oratory called "the Quynes Pryevey closet" within the honor of Hampton Court, Westm. dioc., in presence of the noble and gentle persons named at the foot of this instrument and of me, Ric. Watkins, the King's prothonotary, the King and lady Katharine Latymer alias Parr being met there for the purpose of solemnising matrimony between them, Stephen bp. of Winchester proclaimed in English (speech given in Latin) that they were met to join in marriage the said King and Lady Katharine, and if anyone knew any impediment thereto he should declare it. The licence for the marriage without publication of banns, sealed by Thos. abp. of Canterbury and dated 10 July 1543, being then brought in, and none opposing but all applauding the marriage, the said bp. of Winchester put the questions (recited) to which the King, hilari vultu, replied "Yea" and the lady Katharine also replied that it was her wish; and then the King taking her right hand, repeated after the Bishop the words, "I, Henry, take thee, Katharine, to my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death us depart, and thereto I plight thee my troth." Then, releasing and again clasping hands, the lady Katharine likewise said "I, Katharine, take thee Henry to my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to be bonayr and buxome in bed and at board, till death us depart, and thereto I plight unto thee my troth." The putting on of the wedding ring and proffer of gold and silver (described) followed; and the Bishop, after prayer, pronounced a benediction. The King then commanded the prothonotary to make a public instrument of the premises. Present : John lord Russell, K.G., keeper of the Privy Seal, Sir Ant. Browne, K.G., captain of the King's pensioners, and Thos. Henage, Edw. Seymer, Hen. Knyvet, Ric. Long, Thos. Darcy, Edw. Beynton, and Thos. Speke, knights, and Ant. Denny and Wm. Herbert, esquires, also the ladies Mary and Elizabeth the King's children, Margaret Douglas his niece, Katharine duchess of Suffolk, Anne countess of Hertford, and Joan lady Dudley, and Anne Herbert.
Notarial attestation by Ric. Watkins, Ll. B., King's prothonotary.
Large parchment.
James Gairdner and R. H. Brodie (editors). "Henry VIII: July 1543, 11-15." Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 18 Part 1: January-July 1543 (1901): 480-489. British History Online. Web. 10 January 2012. <>

Saturday, 7 January 2012

ON THIS DAY in 1536: The Death of Queen Katherine of Aragon

On this day in 1536, the death of Queen Katherine of Aragon.
Romanticized drawing of Katherine of Aragon at the time of her death
Katherine was the first wife and queen of King Henry VIII. She was born Infanta Catalina de Aragón on 16 December 1485, the youngest daughter of King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile; the great Catholic monarchs who united the kingdoms of Aragon and Castile. She was married to Arthur, Prince of Wales, eldest son and heir of King Henry VII of England and his consort Princess Elizabeth of York on 14 November 1501. Soon after the marriage Arthur died on 2 April 1502 in Wales.

On the 25th of June 1503, she was formally betrothed to the king's second son, Henry, now prince of Wales, and a papal dispensation for the alliance was obtained. They were married on 19 June 1509 and Katherine was crowned queen on the 24th.

Katherine's marriage to Henry was joyful and happy for more than a few years; but after "her" failure to produce a male heir, Henry started to stray from his wife. On 15 June 1519, Henry's mistress Bessie Blount had given birth to the King's illegitimate child; a boy also named Henry. As the King acknowledged the child he was given the surname Fitzroy (meaning son of a king) and was given numerous titles and estates. For awhile there was talk that Fitzroy might become the heir to the throne, but Henry already had an heir by his wife Katherine; a girl named Mary. By 1526, Katherine's health deteriorated and it was generally accepted that she could not have any more children. [for more info on this topic, click -- Childbearing; A Tale of Katherine of Aragon]

Fast forward, Henry has more affairs and falls in love with an English commoner named Anne Boleyn. Anne was the sister of Henry's former mistress Mary. Henry would go to hell and back just to divorce Katherine and marry Anne. This whole ordeal created friction at the court and abroad; Katherine's nephew was now Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor. Long story short -- after a trial it was determined that Katherine and Henry had been living in sin and the marriage was null and void.

Henry married Anne and Katherine was titled Princess Dowager while her daughter Mary was bastardized and her status as Princess was revoked. Although the marriage was never seen as valid in the Catholic Church, within Henry's Church of England the marriage was valid. She was kept in strict seclusion, separated from her daughter Mary, and from all outside communication. In December 1535 her health started to deteriorated and on 7 January 1536 she died at Kimbolton Castle. By the King's command she was buried at Peterborough Cathedral.

Tomb of Queen Katherine of Aragon, Peterborough Cathedral
 The following day, news of her death reached the king. There were rumors at the time that she was poisoned[1][2][3], possibly by Gregory di Casale.[4] Rumors also circulated that Katherine had been poisoned by Anne or Henry, or both, as Anne had threatened to murder both Katherine and Mary on several occasions. The rumors were born after the apparent discovery during her embalming that there was a black growth on her heart that might have been caused by poisoning.[7] Modern medical experts are in agreement that her heart's discoloration was due not to poisoning, but to cancer, something which was not understood at the time. According to the chronicler Edward Hall, Anne Boleyn wore yellow for the mourning, which has been interpreted in various ways; Polydore Vergil interpreted this to mean that Anne did not mourn.[5] However, Chapuys reported that it was actually King Henry who decked himself in yellow, celebrating the news and making a great show of his and Anne's daughter, Elizabeth, to his courtiers.[6] This was seen as distasteful and vulgar by many. Another theory is that the dressing in yellow was out of respect for the late queen-princess dowager as yellow was said to be the Spanish color of mourning.

Before her death, Katherine wrote a final letter to her husband the King.

Last Letter to Henry VIII, January 7, 1536 
Written shortly before her death, Katherine of Aragon's last letter to the man she still considered her husband was more a tender farewell than a bitter recrimination. 
M y most dear lord, king and husband,

The hour of my death now drawing on, the tender love I owe you forceth me, my case being such, to commend myself to you, and to put you in remembrance with a few words of the health and safeguard of your soul which you ought to prefer before all worldly matters, and before the care and pampering of your body, for the which you have cast me into many calamities and yourself into many troubles. For my part, I pardon you everything, and I wish to devoutly pray God that He will pardon you also. For the rest, I commend unto you our daughter Mary, beseeching you to be a good father unto her, as I have heretofore desired. I entreat you also, on behalf of my maids, to give them marriage portions, which is not much, they being but three. For all my other servants I solicit the wages due them, and a year more, lest they be unprovided for. Lastly, I make this vow, that mine eyes desire you above all things.

Katharine the Quene.

  1. Letters and Papers of the Reign of Henry VIII, vol. X, no. 190
  2. Letters and Papers of the Reign of Henry VIII, vol. X, no. 59
  3. Letters and Papers of the Reign of Henry VIII, vol. X, no. 230
  4. Letters and Papers of the Reign of Henry VIII, vol. X, no. 200
  5. Warnicke, p. 187.
  6. Warnicke, p. 188.
  7. Lofts, p.139.
    © 7 January 2012
    Meg McGath 

    Friday, 6 January 2012

    ON THIS DAY in 1588: The Birth of Lady Elizabeth Stanley (6 January)

    Lady Elizabeth Stanley, Countess of Huntingdon, Lady Hastings of Hungerford and Lady Botreaux (6 January 1588 – 20 January 1633)

    Lady Elizabeth was born and baptised on 6 January 1588,[1] in Knowsley, Lancashire, the third and youngest daughter, and co-heir of Ferdinando Stanley, 5th Earl of Derby, Lord of Mann, (1559-April 16, 1594) and Alice Spencer (4 May 1559 -January 1637) Her paternal great-grandmother was Lady Eleanor Brandon, Countess of Cumberland, daughter of Princess Mary Tudor, Dowager Queen of France and Sir Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk. Another paternal great-grandmother was Lady Dorothy Howard, daughter of Sir Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk and his second wife, Agnes Tilney.

    As the great-great-granddaughter of Princess Mary Tudor, Duchess of Suffolk, the younger sister of King Henry VIII, Elizabeth became, after the death of her grandmother, Lady Margaret Clifford in 1596, third in line of succession to the English throne. Her father, Ferdinando, had died before his mother. Upon the death of Queen Elizabeth I in 1603, Elizabeth and her older sisters, Lady Anne Stanley, Countess of Castlehaven, heir presumptive, and Lady Frances Stanley were passed over in favour of King James VI of Scotland, who was descended from King Henry's elder sister Margaret Tudor.

    She was one of the dancers in Ben Jonson's, The Masque of Queens performed at Whitehall Palace in 1609.

    Shortly after her 13th birthday, she married Henry Hastings (1586-1643), later the 5th Earl of Huntingdon, only son of Francis Hastings, Baron Hastings and Sarah Harrington on January 15, 1601. As his father had died in 1595, Henry was heir to the earldom of Huntingdon. On 31 December 1604, upon the death of his grandfather George Hastings, 4th Earl of Huntingdon, he succeeded as the fifth earl.

    They made their principal home at Ashby de la Zouch Castle, Leicestershire, where the earls of Huntingdon had their family seat. Together Henry and Elizabeth had four children:[2][3]
    • Lady Alice Hastings (1606–1667), married Sir Gervase Clinton; died childless.[3]
    • Ferdinando Hastings, 6th Earl of Huntingdon (18 January 1608- 13 February 1655), married Lucy Davis, by whom he had issue.[3]
    • Lord Henry Hastings, 1st Baron Loughborough of Loughborough (28 September 1610- 10 January 1667), died unmarried without issue.[3]
    • Lady Elizabeth Hastings (born ca. 1605), married Sir Hugh Calverley; died childless.[3]
    Lady Elizabeth was a patron of the arts, as well as a writer. She was the author of five Huntington Library manuscripts: four copies of prayers, biblical extracts, and meditations, and one volume of sermon notes. Forty-six of her letters (written from 1605 until late 1632), which provide a keen insight into her life and personal sentiments, survive in the Hastings Collection of the Huntington Library. In one of these letters, she described a visit to the royal court where she watched the rehearsals and final production of a masque, at which she was kissed by both King James and Queen Anne.

    Her miniature portrait by Nicholas Hilliard was painted sometime between 1601 and 1610. She was also the subject of a portrait by Paul van Somer painted in about 1614.

    Tomb of Alice Spencer, Countess of Derby which depicts her three daughters L to R: Anne, Frances and Elizabeth
    Elizabeth died on 20 January 1633 shortly after her 45th birthday at Whitefriars, London at the home of her brother-in-law, John Egerton, 1st Earl of Bridgewater. A procession took her body to the parish church of St. Helen in Ashby-de-la-Zouch where she was buried on 9 February. The minister praised her in conventional terms, but he also mentioned her literary activities. The four manuscripts of her religious writings represented her thoughts right up to her death; in three of her four manuscripts, her final meditation was Of Death. Her husband died 10 years later in 1643.