On July 19, 1545, Henry VIII had a pretty bad day: his flagship, the Mary Rose, keeled over and sank in the Channel during the Battle of the Solent, taking with her almost 400 men. The Mary Rose was one of the first big ships Henry VIII commissioned, only a few months after his reign began in 1509. She, along with several other large ships … Continue reading Keel Over
On July 10, 1553, 16-year-old Jane Grey was proclaimed Queen of England, four days after the death of her cousin, Edward VI. The reign, as I’m sure you all know, didn’t go well. Jane’s claim to the throne was through her grandmother, Mary Tudor, the sister of Henry VIII. Mary married Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, and one of their daughters was Jane’s mother. Her … Continue reading Queen for a Week
When most people embark on DIY projects, the most they come across is termite damage or a long-lost tool or something. A couple renovating their historic home in Milverton, Somerset, however, found a bit more: a mural dating back to the 1530s, depicting Henry VIII. Here’s what londonhistorians.org had to say: Rhodri and Angie Powell, who live in an old building once used by Thomas … Continue reading DIY Project Yields Tudor Discovery
Katherine Porter, author of a biography of Henry VIII’s sixth wife, Katherine Parr, recently wrote an article about this particular queen for BBC History Magazine’s website. In the article, she breaks down the relationship between Henry and his last wife and suggests the union was far more of a love match than many others believe. At the time of his final marriage, Henry was old, … Continue reading A Royal Love Match?
Today, we remember one of England’s most tragic (and shortest reigning) monarchs: Lady Jane Grey, also known as the Nine Days’ Queen, who ruled England for just over a week and was executed at the age of 16 in 1554.
As the granddaughter of Mary Tudor (sister to Henry VIII) and Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, Jane was in the direct line of succession. According to Henry VIII’s will, the crown would pass to Jane’s mother, Lady Frances Brandon, if all three of his children died without issue. The crown would then go down through Frances’s family, of which Jane was the eldest child. Jane received an excellent education, and she was highly intelligent. Her studies were one of the few things in her life that made her happy: her parents were difficult, scheming social climbers who bullied and abused their daughter when they weren’t using her to get ahead in the world.
Jane’s ambitious parents first schemed to marry her to her cousin, King Edward VI. This came to nothing, and Jane was instead betrothed to Guilford Dudley, a younger son of the 1st Duke of Northumberland, one of the most powerful men in England. Although Jane had no interest in marriage, the ceremony went ahead in 1553.