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The story of Anne Boleyn goes to the root of all history; what makes an individual or event memorable to later generations? Anne is an exceptional case for her life was a double helix intertwining extraordinary human drama with profound historical crisis. A young lady of no particular importance or talents - she was neither a great beauty nor a captivating charmer - married a man who turned out to be England's most notorious monarch, and then three years later she was publically executed for treason, accused of quadruple adultery and incest. Mistress Boleyn was the crucial catalyst for three of the most important events in modern history: the break with Rome and the English Reformation, the advent of the nation state, and the birth of a daughter whose forty-three years on the throne stand as England's most spectacular literary and political success story. Remove Anne and the Reformation as we know it today would not have taken place; remove Anne and Elizabeth I would not have existed at all. Anne Boleyn stands as a monument to the truth that there is nothing consistent in history except the unexpected.
Ever since she first appeared in the Tudor court, Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's second queen, has been a mystery and a source of controversy. Even her birth is shrouded in obscurity; both year and place are the subject of debate. Was she beautiful, as those who fell under her spell believed, or was she a rather plain girl blessed with striking eyes and a wealth of black hair? More mysterious still is the nature of her role in one of the most turbulent times in British history. Henry, who wrote her impassioned love letters and composed songs in her praise, honoured her as no woman was ever honoured before, and finally defied the Pope in order to marry her. Her enemies at the time believed she owed her success to witchcraft, and indeed she bore two 'devil's marks'. But was she, in fact, only a hapless pawn, subject to the passions of a notoriously mercurial autocrat? Why was her fall from favour so sudden and complete? Henry's love changed to a hatred so vicious that he conspired with his chief minister to have her accused of adultery with five men - one her own brother. Four of them went to the block protesting her innocence - and their own.Includes 80 Illustrations (40 in colour)
The first major biography of Henry VIII least favourite wife - but the one who outlived them all. 'I like her not!' was the verdict of Henry VIII on meeting his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, for the first time. Anne could have said something similar on meeting Henry and, having been promised the most handsome prince in Europe, she was destined to be disappointed in the elderly and corpulent king. Henry also felt that Anne was not as she had been described, complaining that he had been sent a Flander's mare. Forced to proceed with their wedding for diplomatic reasons, Henry and Anne tried to make the best of the situation, but attempts to consummate the match were farcical. Henry could not bring himself to touch his new bride and Anne, entirely ignorant of such matters, did not even notice that there was a problem. After only seven months of marriage Henry was so desperate to rid himself of Anne that he declared himself impotent in order to secure a divorce. Anne was also eager to end her marriage and, with her clever handling of Henry obtained one of the biggest divorce settlements in English history. Following her divorce, Anne made good use of her many properties, including Richmond Palace, Hever Castle and the house at Lewes now known as 'Anne of Cleves' House'. Anne of Cleves is often portrayed as a stupid and comical figure. The real Anne was both intelligent and practical, ensuring that, whilst she was queen for the shortest period, she was the last of all Henry VIII's wives to survive. Henry's chief minister, Thomas Cromwell lost his head for his role in the Cleves marriage, but Anne's shrewdness ensured she kept hers. Even after Henry's death, Anne managed to work to her own advancement, attempting to annul her divorce in order to ensure her financial security as a dowager queen. Anne of Cleves led a dramatic and often dangerous life but, for all this, of Henry VIII's six wives, she is truly the wife that survived.
On the morning of 22 August 1485, in fields several miles from Bosworth, two armies faced each other, ready for battle. The might of Richard III's army was pitted against the inferior forces of the upstart pretender to the crown, Henry Tudor, a 28-year-old Welshman who had just arrived back on British soil after 14 years in exile. Yet this was to be a fight to the death - only one man could survive; only one could claim the throne.It would become one of the most legendary battles in English history: the only successful invasion since Hastings, it was the last time a king died on the battlefield. But BOSWORTH is much more than the account of the dramatic events of that fateful day in August. It is a tale of brutal feuds and deadly civil wars, and the remarkable rise of the Tudor family from obscure Welsh gentry to the throne of England - a story that began 60 years earlier with Owen Tudor's affair with Henry V's widow, Katherine of Valois.Drawing on eyewitness reports, newly discovered manuscripts and the latest archaeological evidence, Chris Skidmore vividly recreates this battle-scarred world in an epic saga of treachery and ruthlessness, death and deception and the birth of the Tudor dynasty.
In 1485 the Battle of Bosworth marked an epoch in the lives of two great houses: the house of York fell to the ground when Richard III died on the field of battle; and the house of Tudor rose from the massacre to reign for the next hundred years. Michael Jones, co-author of The King's Grave: The Search for Richard III, rewrites this landmark event in English history. He shifts our perspective of its heroes and villains and puts Richard firmly back into the context of his family and his times.
Henry VIII changed the course of English life more completely than any monarch since the Conquest. In the portraits of Holbein, Henry Tudor stands proud as one of the powerful figures in renaissance Europe. But is the portrait just a bluff? This book explores the myths behind the image of the Tudor Lion.
Beginning with the arrival of Henry Tudor and his army, at Milford in 1485, and ending with the death of the great Queen Elizabeth I, in 1603, this is a vivid account of a hugely eventful and contradictory age
Henry's fifth queen is best known to history as the stupid adolescent who got herself fatally entangled with lovers, and ended up on the block. However, there was more to her than that. She was a symptom of the power struggle which was going on in the court in 1539-40 between Thomas Cromwell and his conservative rivals, among whom the Howard family figured prominently. The Howards were an ambitious clan, and Catherine's marriage to Henry appeared to signify their triumph. However, her weakness ruined them in the short term, and undermined Thomas Howard, the 3rd Duke of Norfolk's power permanently. Catherine's advent has to be seen against the background of the failed Cleves marriage and the policy which that represented. Her downfall similarly should be seen in terms of the reformers fighting back against the Howards, and bringing down Jane Rochford with her. Politics and sexuality were inextricably mixed, especially when the king's potency was called in question. It is time to have another look at her brief but important reign.
Wife, widow, mother, survivor, the story of the last queen of Henry VIII. Catherine Parr was enjoying her freedom after her first two arranged marriages when she caught the attention of the elderly Henry VIII. The most reluctant of all Henry's wives, she offered to become his mistress rather than submit herself to the dangers of becoming Henry's queen. This only increased Henry's enthusiasm for the vibrant, intelligent young widow and Catherine was forced to abandon her handsome lover, Thomas Seymour, for the decrepit king. She quickly made her role as queen a success, providing Henry VIII with a domestic tranquillity that he had not known since the early days of his first marriage. For Henry, Catherine was a satisfactory choice but he never stopped considering a new marriage, much to Catherine's terror. Catherine is remembered as the wife who survived but, without her strength of character it could have been very different. It was a relief for Catherine when Henry finally died and she could secretly marry Thomas Seymour. Left with no role in government affairs in her widowhood, she retired to the country, spending time at her manors at Chelsea and Sudeley. It was here that her heart was broken by her discovery of a love affair between her stepdaughter, the future Elizabeth I, and her husband. She died in childbirth accusing her husband of plotting her death. Traditionally portrayed as a matronly and dutiful figure, Elizabeth Norton's new biography shows another side to Catherine. Her life was indeed one of duty but, throughout, she attempted to escape her destiny and find happiness for herself. Ultimately, Catherine was betrayed and her great love affair with Thomas Seymour turned sour.
Henry, desperate to marry Anne Boleyn and ensure the Tudor line asks Pope Clement VII to grant him a divorce. Enter Gregorio Casali, an Italian diplomat hired to represent Henry's interests in the Vatican. This book combines a gripping family saga with a charged political battle between the Tudors and the Vatican.
On the death of Henry VIII, the crown passed to his nine-year-old son, Edward. However, real power went to the Protector, Edward's uncle, the Duke of Somerset. The court had been a hotbed of intrigue since the last days of Henry VIII. Without an adult monarch, the stakes were even higher. The first challenger was the duke's own brother: he seduced Henry VIII's former queen, Katherine Parr; having married her, he pursued Princess Elizabeth and later was accused of trying to kidnap the boy king at gunpoint. He was beheaded. Somerset ultimately met the same fate, after a coup d'etat organized by the Duke of Warwick. Chris Skidmore reveals how the countrywide rebellions of 1549 were orchestrated by the plotters at court and were all connected to the (literally) burning issue of religion: Henry VIII had left England in religious limbo. Court intrigue, deceit and treason very nearly plunged the country into civil war. Edward was a precocious child, as his letters in French and Latin demonstrate. He kept a secret diary, written partly in Greek, which few of his courtiers could read. In 1551, at the age of 14, he took part in his first jousting tournament, an essential demonstration of physical prowess in a very physical age. Within a year it is his signature we find at the bottom of the Council minutes, yet in early 1553 he contracted a chest infection and later died, rumours circulating that he might have been poisoned. Mary, Edward's eldest sister, and devoted Catholic, was proclaimed Queen. This is more than just a story of bloodthirsty power struggles, but how the Church moved so far along Protestant lines that Mary would be unable to turn the clock back. It is also the story of a boy born to absolute power, whose own writings and letters offer a compelling picture of a life full of promise, but tragically cut short.
As Tudors go, Elizabeth of York is relatively unknown. Yet she was the mother of the dynasty, with her children becoming King of England (Henry VIII) and Queens of Scotland (Margaret) and France (Mary Rose) and her direct descendants included three Tudor monarchs, two executed queens and, ultimately, the Stuart royal family. Although her offspring took England into the early modern era, Elizabeth's upbringing was rooted firmly in the medieval world. The pivotal moment was 1485. Before then, her future was uncertain amid the turbulent Wars of the Roses, Elizabeth being promised first to one man and then another, and witnessing the humiliation and murder of her family. Surviving the bloodbath of the reign of her uncle, Richard III, she slipped easily into the roles of devoted wife and queen to Henry VII and mother to his children, and has been venerated ever since for her docility and beauty. But was she as placid as history has suggested? In fact, she may have been a deeply cultured and intelligent survivor who learned to walk a difficult path through the twists and turns of fortune. Perhaps she was more of a modern woman than historians have given her credit for.
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