Perkin Warbeck

Do you know what happened when someone got a little too big for his britches in 15th century England? Of course you do, you watched The Tudors. Unfortunately, Perkin Warbeck failed to get the memo that Tudor monarchs tended to execute first and ask questions later and went ahead and tried to claim the throne for himself, swearing he was the supposed-dead son of King … Continue reading Perkin Warbeck

Better Luck Next Time

The fourth time was not a charm for Henry VIII, who annulled his marriage to Anne of Cleves on July 9, 1540 on the grounds of non-consummation. Even as royal arranged marriages go, this one is famous for being a disaster. Henry agreed to the marriage before even meeting Anne face-to-face, instead relying on a portrait by Hans Holbein the Younger. Although popularly thought to … Continue reading Better Luck Next Time

The Beginning of the End

May 15 was the beginning of the end for a pair of 16th century queens. First, in 1536, Anne Boleyn was brought to trial on (almost certainly) bogus charges of adultery and incest and found guilty. Her brother, George Boleyn, who was accused of having a sexual relationship with her, was tried separately the same day and also found guilty. The trials came a day … Continue reading The Beginning of the End

A Very Harry Christmas

Trees, turkey, wrapped presents, and crackers—most of today’s holiday traditions actually stem from the Victorian period (Prince Albert brought the tradition of a decorated Christmas tree over from Germany when he married Victoria, and together they made it popular). Curious about how Christmas was celebrated at the court of Henry VIII? There’s some great info to be found here and here. Amongst the tidbits:

Those lucky Tudors got to party for 12 days (hence the 12 Days of Christmas). Their celebrations went on straight through to January 5, the day before the Feast of the Epiphany. During those 12 days, commoners and nobles alike would take some time off, visit friends, and share minced pies, which typically included 13 ingredients to represent Christ and his apostles. A little chopped mutton would be thrown in to remember the shepherds.

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