Archaeologists are DNA testing some bones they've found to see if they might be the remains of Richard III. Are there any other members of the Royal Family....

(747 Posts)
seeker Wed 12-Sep-12 13:19:56

where DNA testing might produce interesting results?

BlackberryIce Wed 12-Sep-12 13:22:26

I saw something about this recently. Didn't they dig up a car park in Leicester?

BurlingtonBertieFromBow Wed 12-Sep-12 13:22:31

It is said that no one listed in Burke's peerage would undertake DNA testing for fear of what it might reveal

seeker Wed 12-Sep-12 13:24:40

Doing it as we speak, blackberry ice!

combinearvester Wed 12-Sep-12 13:26:46

At the risk of sounding like a total idiot, who are they going to test the results against? How will they prove the DNA from those bones is him or not?

Also I thought they were digging that car park up because they thought it was a priory, surely there would be loads of old bones under there?

seeker Wed 12-Sep-12 13:30:34

Apparently there are living descendants the DNA can be tested against. Joking apart- it is incredibly interesting. The bones show a spinal deformity and a damaged skull.

kim147 Wed 12-Sep-12 13:36:10

Are you suggesting that there might be problems with the DNA of some of our Royals and they might not be linked to their parents smile

Surely not.

mrstiggywinklethehappyhedgehog Wed 12-Sep-12 13:43:07

They are talking about this on radio 4 now, fascinating! I'm sure there would be no suspicious results in today's royals at all...!

sleepyhead Wed 12-Sep-12 13:48:37

I think they managed to find a woman in Canada who was a direct descendent on the female line? Apparently there were a lot of false starts along the way though.

When my dad was researching our family tree he was working from a really detailed version that my grandfather had done which went back 200 years. Unfortunately, it's easier to fact check these things now and my dad discovered that an ancestor 5 generations back was born 2 years after his father died. So we had lots of info about people from the 1800s but none of them were actually related to us...

sleepyhead Wed 12-Sep-12 13:50:23

I don't think today's royals are particularly direct descendents of the Plantagenets are they? So they wouldn't go for them anyway.

TunipTheVegemal Wed 12-Sep-12 13:52:29

A spinal deformity? So Horrible Histories will have to rewrite their Richard III song! (They are firmly in the 'all the hunchback stuff was Tudor propaganda' camp.)

quoteunquote Wed 12-Sep-12 13:55:11
TunipTheVegemal Wed 12-Sep-12 13:55:19
MeanAndMeaslyMiddleAges Wed 12-Sep-12 13:55:27

I'm a nice guy!

seeker Wed 12-Sep-12 13:56:59

I think the "hunchback" thing is Tudor propaganda, but isn't the fact that he had one shoulder higher than the other pretty well documented?

LaQueen Wed 12-Sep-12 13:57:16

Richard III did have a slightly crooked shoulder - however, he was an expert horseman, and an accomplished swordsman (he fought shoulder to shoulder with his men at many of the battles of the Wars of the Roses) so it can't have been disabling in any way.

The myth of him being a hunchback, with a withered arm, it's just a silly Shakepsearean construct, to please Elizabeth I (whose grandfather usurped the throne from Richard III, and for which he had virtually zero claim).

Whereas, Richard was a true plantagenet prince...and, actually it's incredibly unlikely he kiiled his nephews in the Tower. The Duke of Buckingham, or Henry VII were far more likely culprits.

And, breathe...

seeker Wed 12-Sep-12 13:59:28

Cf The Daughter of Time.

Alan Grant was my first love.

TunipTheVegemal Wed 12-Sep-12 13:59:56

I always thought Henry VII did in the princes. He looks shifty in the paintings (whereas RIII looks lovely).

Is that the official historical verdict Tunip grin

The Daughter of Time - that brings back memories!

SloeFarSloeGood Wed 12-Sep-12 16:06:04

Watching with interest.

Themumsnot Wed 12-Sep-12 16:11:52

However much one might wish it to be so, it isn't really likely that Henry VII did for the Princes. They were declared illegitimate by Richard, imprisoned in the Tower by Richard and the last known sighting of them was in 1483, and rumours of their death were in widespread circulation by the end of the year.
Having said that, if Richard hadn't had them killed, Henry would have had to.

SheelaNeGoldGig Wed 12-Sep-12 16:12:49

Is this going to be the prrgnant polar bear or the norwegian parcel unwrapping sll over again?

Waiting with bated breath for DNA results.

trixie123 Wed 12-Sep-12 16:22:36

It was Buckingham most likely. Henry didn't have the opportunity (though actually his massively overbearing mother, Margaret Beaufort was in London at the time and was in moving in court circles). Buckingham had a very tenuous claim to the throne (though actually slightly better than Henry's) and rebelled against Richard shortly after the princes were missed. Theory is that he was after the throne himself, and the princes' illegitimacy was spurious so they needed to be dead for him to claim. Richard however, was widely thought to be the culprit at the time. Contemporary sources (not Tudor) point the finger at him.

MyNeighbourIsStrange Wed 12-Sep-12 16:23:58

To be fair Elizabeths Grandmother was sister to those Princes in the Tower.

Yohoahoy Wed 12-Sep-12 19:29:17

If the belief that Richard III had the Princes killed had been widespread at the time, how likely is it that Elizabeth Woodville would have released her daughters from their safe sanctuary into Richard's keeping?

The timing of the Princes' disappearance was not useful to Richard, who was promoting his claim to the throne as a matter of legitimacy - he was very keen not to be seen as a usurper.

Keeping the Princes alive and visible and in comfort (they were in the Royal apartments at the Tower, not in a dungeon) would have been a help to him. Their deaths made it a lot easier for his enemies to stir up support.

Can you tell I'm a bit of a Richard fan? :D

Themumsnot Wed 12-Sep-12 19:31:22

It was widespread at the time, though, as evidenced in several contemporary documents. And he had a very powerful motive for killing them, because as long as they were alive they would inevitably have been the focus of attempts to remove him from power.

Saltire Wed 12-Sep-12 19:37:51

Was Margaret Beufort's son Henry, Henry the 7th. Was he the father of Henry the 8th and grandfather of Elizabeth the first ? and they were Tudors, not Plantagenets?

and Richard the 3rd was the brother of Elizabeth's Woodvilles husband (who's name I forget, was it Edward)


Yohoahoy Wed 12-Sep-12 19:41:21

I don't know that there are many documents contemporary to him that do suggest that though. Once Henry Tudor came to the throne he was very swift to discredit Richard, and any support from him was stamped out. There is some record from York where themayor/guildsmen (can't remember exactly) expressed their sadness at his death.

There are very records surviving from that exact period. Many were later destroyed by the Tudors. If you discount the Tudor propaganda, there seems to be a reasonable mix of anti and pro-Richard sentiment, which is more what you'd expect.

Most of his evil reputation comes straight from Thomas More & Shakespeare. Certainly in the Midlands/North he was generally well thought of.

But back to the Princes. Quite possibly he would at some point have disposed of them. It was pretty common practice during the preceding centuries, so no reason to think he would have been any different.

It's just the timing doesn't sit well, plus Elizabeth Woodville's actions. Would any mother really give her daughters to the man she thought had killed her sons?

MrsGuyOfGisbourne Wed 12-Sep-12 19:55:00

ooh, this is brilliant - mumsletters know so much stuff. And I am so glad that in this time of austerity the council lets 'em dig up the car park rather than grimly refusing.

MeanAndMeaslyMiddleAges Wed 12-Sep-12 20:15:25

When are results likely to come through? Watching with great interest. I am another one who prefers Richard to Henry Tulip.

Now, oh wise mnetters, was there any truth in the rumours that 2 kids' skeletons were found under a staircase at the Tower very recently? Yes, I know I could Google it but I'm enjoying the discussion!

tiredemma Wed 12-Sep-12 20:17:56

This is so fascinating.

DD is about to start studying Archaeology and History at Leicester. She is thrilled about this. <Geek> grin

Yohoahoy Wed 12-Sep-12 20:28:32

2 bodies were found under a staircase in the Tower in the mid 1600's I think, and placed in Westminster Abbey. It was in the 1930s they were taken out and examined, with the ages possibly matching that of the Princes, but one might have been completely the wrong age.

There were also some other bones found near Edward IV's tomb I think. They've not done DNA testing on any of them though. I think Royal permission would be needed, but I don't know if permission has ever been sought and refused, or if no one's actually asked.

Will be interesting to see if interest is revived after the car park bones!

TunipTheVegemal Wed 12-Sep-12 20:34:01

Woollybackswife - it is a terrific department with a lot of very good (and nice) people in it. She's made a good choice. I hope she has a fantastic time.

Thank you Tunip. She is very excited and we are thrilled for her. Having accompanied her for a visit (and stayed quietly in the background - thank you MN) I'm sure she has made a fantastic choice. smile

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 12-Sep-12 20:43:04

Richard didnt need to murder his nephews. He had them safe in the tower, and had had them declared illegitimate. He was crowned king in their place. If he had them in his custody, he could have produced them at any time to discredit any pretenders. he could even have released them eventually if their claim was invalid.
Henry VII needed to marry their sister Elizabeth in order to strengthen his hold on the throne. If they were illegitimate, then so was she, thus invalidating her claims. If they were declared legitmate when alive, then the crown belonged to them. If they were dead, but legitimate, then so was Elizabeth, making her useful.
It makes far more sense for Henry to have killed them. And his ruthless mother was more than capable!

Themumsnot Wed 12-Sep-12 21:00:50

Saggy - he did need to kill them as they would have been the focus of attempts to depose him. You are quite right though that Henry Tudor had even more reason to dispose of them, but they disappeared from view almost two years before the Battle of Bosworth. The French ambassador to England, Mancini, reported to France before the end of 1483 that it was widely believed that Richard had killed them.

LaQueen Wed 12-Sep-12 21:33:54

There simply wasn't a strong enough motive for Richard III to have his nephews murdered. Both of them, (and their sisters) had already been declared illegitimate, by an Act of Parliament - so legally they couldn't ever inherit their father's throne.

No one batted any eye when Richard III took the throne. Most people were hugely relieved, in fact. He was a grown man, known to be fair-minded and with integrity, as proven over and again with his governship of the North. He'd been fanatically loyal to his brother, Edward IV.

But...the fact was, Edward IV was a bigamist. He'd been secretly married, before secretly marrying Elizabeth Woodville, who became his Queen. Which made all their children illegitimate. Richard III had no choice, but to take the throne.

Henry VII was forced to invalidate the Act of Parliament, in order to marry the boy's sister, Elizabeth of York. But, of course the second she became legitimate once more, so would her brothers...and their claim to the throne infinitely stronger than Henry VII's. So, they had to be dead.

Buckingham also had motive, a good one. He was a plantagent also, and he wanted the throne for himself. By secretly having the boys murdered, without Richard III's knowledge, he knew he could frame Richard, and the public outcry could be enough to help Buckingham usurp the throne...Buckingham actually went on to stage a failed bid to take the throne.

LaQueen Wed 12-Sep-12 21:42:40

Totally agree with Yohoay by the way.

Also, there's no way Elizabeth Woodville would have released her younger son, Richard, Duke of York, into his uncle's keeping, if she thought for one second he would be in danger. Edward V (her elder son) had already been in his uncle's keeping for several months, before his brother Richard joined him.

Elizabeth Woodville was a master schemer, and very politically astute. She knew it wasn't even remotely in Richard III's interests to have his nephews murdered. It would have been a ridiculously stupid thing for Richard to do. And, he'd already proved 101 times over that he was far from stupid.

And, there was simply no need to murder them. They were already declared illegitimate by law. The population were perfectly happy to have Richard on the throne. Everything was calm and stable. Everything was rosy.

Am a huge Richard III fan, too. We Speak No Treason, by Rosemary Hawley Jarman is in my top 5 books of all time wink

cory Wed 12-Sep-12 21:44:12

"Most of his evil reputation comes straight from Thomas More & Shakespeare. Certainly in the Midlands/North he was generally well thought of."

This is a view that is often trotted out without much actual evidence to support it. Professor Michael Hicks has written a book about his early career and the evidence he has amassed seems to suggest that greed was Richard's predominant characteristic long before he came within sight of the throne.

trixie123 Wed 12-Sep-12 21:44:22

There's also an argument that the dwindling of support for Richard that made Bosworth an even fight and not a rout for Henry Tudor was due to the belief that he murdered his nephews (though this may be accrediting too much sentimentality to the noblemen of the period who were a pretty hard headed bunch). Ultimately the sides were fairly evenly matched and it was only the Stanleys (one of whom was married to Henry's mother) who won the day for Henry, hanging back from battle until a crucial moment. Richard got within yards of Henry on the field but was overwhelmed. Also I think it is a red herring to protest Richard's innocence on the strength of the actions of Elizabeth Woodville. She was nothing if not a politician, she had numerous children and noble families were not Boden-catalogue material. The princes had had their own separate household from a very young age, they were not going to the medieval equivalent of soft play and waking her up at four in the morning. It served her and her daughters' continuing interest to come to terms with Richard after the death of Edward IV by coming out of sanctuary at Westminster. I don't think it implies her belief in his innocence.

LaQueen Wed 12-Sep-12 21:45:32

"There is some record from York where themayor/guildsmen (can't remember exactly) expressed their sadness at his death."

Yoho the record stated 'On this day, August 24th, the great and good King Richard III was unjustly slain at Redmore Plain, much to the great sadness of this city' (paraphrasing slightly)

Henry VII was furious with York, and fined the city heavily, as I recall hmm

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 12-Sep-12 21:48:31

He didnt need to kill them, just keep them locked up.
richard was his brother Edwards biggest supporter. I find it crazy that he would kill his brothers children, when he already had what he wanted.
And surely, if that was the case, wouldnt their sisters have been equally dangerous? Especially with their mother behind them?

LaQueen Wed 12-Sep-12 21:48:39

cory greed was a predominant characterristc for many nobles in the 15th century.

However, Richard was happy to forgo much of his wife's vast inheritance, in order to be able to marry her quickly and in order for his brother George, Duke of Clarence, to agree to the marriage.

So, at that time he chose love over money smile

LaQueen Wed 12-Sep-12 21:50:58

I think Elizabeth Woodville came out of Sanctuary, because she knew Richard III had won, he held all the cards, he had all the power. London, and the rest of the country was more than happy for him to be king.

There was nothing left for her to fight for.

TunipTheVegemal Wed 12-Sep-12 21:53:28

I don't think the sisters would have been seen as as dangerous as their brothers at that point - England had never had a proper queen regnant so they wouldn't be as obvious as heirs, surely?

LaQueen Wed 12-Sep-12 21:54:38

Also, Cory at the Treaty of Picquiny, Richard was disgusted by how his brother Edward IV let Louis basically pay him to leave France, and pay him to stay out of France.

Government had raised huge taxes to pay for a war with France, and Edward IV kept the money, didn't fight the war, and kept Louis's money, too. It's recorded how disgusted Richard was, and how he refused Louis's gifts, and refused to join in the celebratory banquet.

Not that greedy hmm

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 12-Sep-12 21:55:59

Can see the MN version of the Battle of Bosworth brewing!......

LaQueen Wed 12-Sep-12 21:58:52

Edward's IV's daughters weren't dangerous, in and of themselves, but hugely dangerous if married to a wealthy, ambitious nobleman.

Henry VII's own claim to the throne was very tenuous, but it was massively strengthened by him marrying a plantagenenet princess.

Henry VII deliberately married his wife's younger sister, Margaret (?) to a mere knight, so she wouldn't have a husband powerful enough to fight her corner.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 12-Sep-12 22:00:40

No, there hadnt been a Queen Regnant, but there had been many women used as rallying points. Many powerful women, who caused lots of trouble, and the daughters of Edward IV had their mother behind them.
She had made many enemies, and wouldnt have left sanctuary unless her family was safe.

Themumsnot Wed 12-Sep-12 22:03:07

So all of you who think 'Enery did it, how do you explain where the Princes were for the more than two years that elapsed between the last sighting of them and the Battle of Bosworth? Rumours that they had been done away with were rife, as Richard well knew, but yet he didn't produce them and nobody at all had seen them. That, to me, is the strongest evidence in favour of his guilt.

LaQueen Wed 12-Sep-12 22:04:42

Exactly Saggy ...look at Matilda, look at Margaret of Anjou, look at Isabella of France - they wielded huge power, and caused civil war.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 12-Sep-12 22:05:15

They could have been anywhere. Out of sight, out of mind.

LaQueen Wed 12-Sep-12 22:07:47

I think either, Richard had them secretly removed from the Tower and sent to one of his Northern castles, to keep them safe from becoming politcial puppets in the future. Then when Henry VII became king, he had them found and murdered.

Or, more likely, Buckingham had them murdered whilst Richard was away on progress. When Richard returned, the boys hadn't been seen for months, he couldn't produce them, he didn't know where their bodies were - he'd been framed.

Themumsnot Wed 12-Sep-12 22:09:00

Not buying it. They had disappeared. People were saying that they were dead. For two whole years. The simplest explanation is usually the true one.
<Pokes tongue out and runs away.>

Themumsnot Wed 12-Sep-12 22:09:38

I'll buy your second explanation LeQ, but not the first one grin

LaQueen Wed 12-Sep-12 22:11:06

I actually think Buckingham had them murdered. He had motive, and opportunity (he was Constable of the Tower).

There'd already been at least one attempted abduction/murder of the boys prior to them disappearing, as I recall.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 12-Sep-12 22:11:49

Right you... OUTSIDE! <<saddles up destrier, buckles on armour, grabs lance>>

Themumsnot Wed 12-Sep-12 22:13:26

You can't fight me, I'm a girl. <<waves hankie>>

LaQueen Wed 12-Sep-12 22:13:51

[Joins Saggy ...dons hauberk, adjusts visor, swings morning-star, ominously...]

TunipTheVegemal Wed 12-Sep-12 22:15:39

<hides at Westminster>

EdithWeston Wed 12-Sep-12 22:17:11

The DNA results are going to take ages - presumably as it is hard, though no longer impossible, to process remains so old to produce a useable sample. Once they have got that, it should be fairly straightforward but does indeed rest on an assumption that there is an unbroken matriarchal line in the family (I'm pretty sure it's the female line that they have to look for down the Xs). Any adopted children could invalidate the whole testing hypothesis.

nipersvest Wed 12-Sep-12 22:17:47

i went to bosworth last week with dd's class on a school trip. was a very interesting day out, the guides were good at explaining it all and got the kids to act out the battle.

MattSmithIsMine Wed 12-Sep-12 22:18:34

Are we strictly talking about dead people?

<innocent expression>

LaQueen Wed 12-Sep-12 22:20:49

Have just been chatting over the maternal line with my Mum (another history buff).

The Plantagenet line did continue - ignoring the Tudor line which died out. Another of Edward IV's daughters married, and had at least one child.

But, can't quite figure it on from there? Obviously our current royal family have no connection.

LaQueen Wed 12-Sep-12 22:24:33

Anyone know what happend to the children of Lady Catherine Grey - the matriarchal line would have led from Elizabeth of York, to her?

kim147 Wed 12-Sep-12 22:24:54

Boring science fact - you can trace the maternal line through mitochondrial DNA. Both your DS and DC have the same mitochondrial DNA as it comes from the egg.

ALittleScatterOfRain Wed 12-Sep-12 22:26:30

Just backing up a little (well, jumping forward in history) to the Queen Regnant bit, am I right in thinking that Anne Boleyn was actually crowned as a Queen Regnant rather than a Queen Consort?

SorrelForbes Wed 12-Sep-12 22:27:05

LaQueen - I read We Speak No Treason at the age of 14 and developed a huge crush on Richard which continues to this day grin. I really must buy a new copy...

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 12-Sep-12 22:38:40

Im fairly sure it has been suggested that the bones thought to be the princes be DNA tested, so there must be a match.
Can men and women pass on matenal DNA, or is it just mother to daughter?
There is a constant familial link through to present day. If its either sex, then surely the DNA could be tested?

LineRunner Wed 12-Sep-12 22:40:59

This is about Harry, right?

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 12-Sep-12 22:49:22

??? @ Linerunner? hmm

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 12-Sep-12 22:50:26

Isnt dentine a good source of DNA in very old bones?

LineRunner Wed 12-Sep-12 22:50:28

<hangs head>

seeker Wed 12-Sep-12 22:51:23

Whatever gave you that idea, liner runner? <whistles innocently>

Vagaceratops Wed 12-Sep-12 22:51:44

You should all go to Bosworth - its brilliant grin

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 12-Sep-12 22:51:49

grin @ Linerunner! You are about 600 years too late!

TunipTheVegemal Wed 12-Sep-12 22:52:16

Not on Mumsnet, LineRunner, no. No-one discusses that kind of thing here. It is all erudite and scholarly don't you know.

LineRunner Wed 12-Sep-12 22:52:35

No, Saggy, you are 600 years too early. grin

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 12-Sep-12 22:53:24

OOPS! Ive just actually read the OP! blush

And Prince Harry is a windsor. He couldnt look more like one if he tried!

seeker Wed 12-Sep-12 22:54:59

But the history bit is more interesting then the gossip bit. Although the gossip bit is interesting too......

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 12-Sep-12 22:55:30
TunipTheVegemal Wed 12-Sep-12 22:55:40

He does look like a Windsor but he looks like a Hewitt too. It's most confusing.

JumpingThroughMoreHoops Wed 12-Sep-12 22:58:23

I don't think today's royals are particularly direct descendents of the Plantagenets are they? So they wouldn't go for them anyway.

William and Harry are Plantaganet through Diana

Vagaceratops Wed 12-Sep-12 22:58:36

Maybe the Perkin Warbeck story was true and Richard survived.

MyNeighbourIsStrange Wed 12-Sep-12 22:58:37

He has matured into a Windsor, red hair comes from the spencers. Dirty Dianna planted a seed of doubt, which I think is now gone.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 12-Sep-12 23:02:04

Harry looks like the spencers too. He has red hair like Hewitt. Thats all, and he gets that from his mother.

Vagaceratops Wed 12-Sep-12 23:05:58

Catherine of York married and had children Henry, Edward and Margaret.

Vagaceratops Wed 12-Sep-12 23:07:35

<casts a beady eye over those spoiling our grown up discussion>

Colyngbourne Wed 12-Sep-12 23:16:13

Bit stunned by the sudden discovery of remains possibly Richard, but glad it's stirred up lots of interest in him, and hopefully got some people joining the RIII Society.

It could have been Buckingham, and Richard did call him "the most untrue creature living" but IMO, was more likely Margaret Beaufort or the boys survived in some way. Henry - Henry didn't know what happened to the princes, or he wouldn't have been so nervous about pretenders all his life and bribing Tyrrel into a forced confession 20 odd years later.

If it turns out to be him, the scoliosis is neither here nor there: he was a capable swordsman and general in his brother's army. He led a terrific charge at Bosworth and nearly - sadly not - got as far as eliminating Tudor himself.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 12-Sep-12 23:25:16

Elizabeth Woodville had children from her first marriage. Their descendents would be candidates for a maternal match.
Im another who thinks Margaret Beaufort could also have done it. She was pretty ruthless where her son was concerned.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 12-Sep-12 23:26:45

Id love to join the Richard III society...
Ive got a friend who is a Yorkist Archer. We have some fantastic discussions!

TwoIfBySea Wed 12-Sep-12 23:35:17

Ok English historians, fill in the gaps here for me please!

Queen Elizabeth II is of what lineage? I find it fascinating but slightly confusing. Was she from the Tudor line, Plantaganet? Pity history focusses entirely on Henry VIII and not on this era, have read Phillipa Gregory's books on Elizabeth Woodville and had to keep referring to the family tree in the front cover to keep myself correct!

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 12-Sep-12 23:42:09

Waasnt EW from french aristocracy? House of Burgundy?

LineRunner Wed 12-Sep-12 23:56:07

Doesn't Earl Spencer put one in mind of David Cameron?

MyNeighbourIsStrange Thu 13-Sep-12 00:02:06

It all gets messy after Charles II, James I was grandson of Henry VIII sister so a bit of Tudor was there too.

Fuchzia Thu 13-Sep-12 00:08:00

aLittle I think you are right about Anne Boleyn. Not sure QEII could be said to be either Tudor or Plantagenet twoif they had to skip over a lot of people to find some non-Catholics in Grrmany.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 13-Sep-12 00:14:18

All the houses are linked by blood, its just that the name changes when there is a sideways jump through the female line.
the Tudor name did die out, but Mary Queen of Scots (Mother of James I (Stuart)) was the G Granddaughter of Henry VII.
Henry VIIIs sister Margaret married the King of Scotland, so both descended from Henry VII.
George I (Hanover) was G grandson of James I, through his daughter.
Queen Victoria was a Hanover, who changed her name to Saxe Coburg Gotha when she married Albert. Our queen is a direct descendent of Victoria.
So, through Victoria, The Georges and James of Scotland, our royals have Tudor blood, it just been married off and had its name changed.
Elizabeth II (windsor)- GGG GD of Victoria (hanover)- GGGGG GD of George I (Hanover)- G GS of James I (Stewart)- GG GS of Henry VII (Tudor) and Elizabeth of York (Plantagenet)

washngo Thu 13-Sep-12 07:41:39

Michael phelps has Scoliosis doesn't he? So that wouldn't have stopped RIII being physically strong.

Yohoahoy Thu 13-Sep-12 07:43:36

Just have to say thankyou LaQueen - that's a book I don't know! My Richard-love came from Sharon Penman's "The Sunne in Splendour". Sigh.

saffronwblue Thu 13-Sep-12 07:50:59

I think they are testing the DNA against a Canadian guy whose mother is a direct Plantagenet descendant. Another Josephine Tey fan here!

I just wanted to say that whilst I loved The Sunne in Splendour and The Daughter of Time and We Speak no Treason they are all just novels based in fact not history books. grin

Ooh, I'm so excited by this, despite being late to the party.

As I understand it, scoliosis is actually pretty common (it's kyphosis that isn't - if I've spelt that right). Most people develop a bit as they get older, in modern society, because we sit for too long and with bad posture. Carrying things that are too heavy wouldn't help, either. So I think it wouldn't be surprising if he did have it, and yet it wasn't much mentioned - I mean, you're not going to go up to the king and say 'ooh, mate, bit deformed aren't you?'

He was a very pious man, though. Something I find slightly creepy is that he had a Book of Hours (and legend has it he was praying with it before the battle), and after he died Margaret Beaufort nicked it. She's always seen as this really pious, devout woman but I think she must have been a battleaxe! She didn't even bother to cross out his name properly, so it must have been like a trophy.

I love all the rumours/conspiracy theories about who the body might be, whether it's him. I grew up near Leicester, it'd be good to think he was there!

trixie123 Thu 13-Sep-12 08:18:25

hear hear Leonie!

trixie123 Thu 13-Sep-12 08:21:25

love that this debate is on here smile all the other history teachers at my school are modernists, I'm the only medieval nerd buff!

Do you actually get to teach much medieval stuff Trixie? When I was at school long ago we did nothing before 1485, I loved getting to University and being able to study a much wider range of periods.

TwoIfBySea Thu 13-Sep-12 08:45:53

Saggy that was the clearest explanation of a very complicated lineage I've ever heard, thank you!

We were even further back in high school history, learning about Skara Brae! I've history as part of my degree yet never chose any modules that would have covered whom descended from whom. Deliberately steered away from English history as sick of going over Tudors. There is so much more to learn, the war of the Roses is utterly compelling.

So Lady Jane Grey must have been a Plantagenet? Hence her beheading?

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 13-Sep-12 08:53:58

Jane grey was descended from Henry VIII sister Mary. G GD of Henry VII. She had a Tudor claim to the throne. She was beheaded because she was used as a figure head by opponents of Mary Tudor.

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 08:55:02

Don't think Anne Boleyn was crowned Queen Regnant, in the end?

I do know that Henry VIII made her the Marquis of Pembroke, in her own right, with the ability to pass on the title - which I think was a first in British nobility?

When she knew she was going to be executed, she tried to pass the title to her daughter Elizabeth, but Henry stopped her.


kweggie Thu 13-Sep-12 08:56:14

just come straight from the thread on slugs and poo(lol) to this thread,fascinating, my head hurts, but isn't mumsnet wunnerful?!!!

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 08:57:18

It was tragic about Lady Jane Grey. She was a brilliant scholar, and desperately didn't want the throne, because she knew what would happen to her, if she claimed it. Neither did she want to marry Guildford Dudley, to strengthen her claim - but both her parents beat her bloody, until she gave in and married him. On her wedding day she was visibly bruised and barely able to stand.

Poor lass sad

All the 'legitimate claim' stuff unravels pretty fast when you go back far enough. Mary and Elizabeth I had competing claims, but Henry legitimized both of them in the end; the Tudor claim is shaky, but then the Yorkist claim is also based on illegitimate children subsequently legitimized.

Lady Jane Grey had a tutor (Roger Ascham) who used to pick her up and carry her around in his arms when she was a child. I like to think he was her father-substitute because her parents were pretty horrific.

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 09:00:31

I actually have slight scoliosis, you can see my my collar bone isn't symmetrical - but it hasn't hampered my physical, daily life at all.

My Mum's oldest friend had it too, and she was a trained ballet dancer, who danced professionally.

Richard III was a very accomplished swordsman, and rider etc - I expect that whilst it was perhaps visible, it barely impacted on his life at all?

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 09:02:18

But, did Henry legitimize them? I know he put them back in the line of succession, but he never actually declared them legitimate again, through an Act of Parliament, though.

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 09:06:13

The Tudor claim is stupidly tenuous...the Beauforts, were the children of John of gaunt, and his mistress Katherine Swynford. They were all illegitimate - until legitimized by Richard II in 1399, I think. But...but...although he declared them now legitimate, they were expressly forbidden from ever exercising a claim to the throne.

And, Henry Tudor...pah, his line was also illegitimate. His father was the illegitimate half brother to Henry VI, and his mother was a Beaufort, forbidden to claim the throne. Big deal.

half the nobilty of England had a stronger claim to the throne, than that.

But if they're in the line of succession, they're legitimate. You can't inherit the throne otherwise. IIRC. Not a Tudors person.

It is different, I know - it's awkward to know how you would legitimize someone at that point, because prior to the split with Rome, the only way to do it was by papal decree. So Henry was writing a new rule book, and pretty much whatever he said, went.

I have mild scoliosis. It's painful sometimes but mostly not an issue.

This is now going waaaay off topic (but maybe it's ok?). There's mahooosive amounts of conspiracy theory about Richard II, that he wasn't dead, or that he was going to return, or that his ghost would come back to haunt Henry IV. It's thought it was Thomas Swynford (Katharine's son from her first marriage) who killed Richard.

Oddly enough, there's a story with a cryptic plot about a deposed king who mysteriously returns to re-claim his throne which became very popular around the time Richard disappeared, and it was also being copied around the time Richard III was defeated at Bosworth field ... the manuscript that dates from this time is written in a dialect that you can localize to the area around Market Bosworth itself. So I would like to think someone was telling stories about a king returning from the dead to reclaim his thone. And if this body is Richard III, I suppose in a way it's true! grin

DinosaursOnASpaceship Thu 13-Sep-12 09:15:45

This is such an interesting thread, we only did a basic out line of Henry V111 at school so this is fascinating for me.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 13-Sep-12 09:53:39

Only on MN can you get threads about bumsex, bestiality and Richard III! grin

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 10:03:41

LRD technically no, just because Mary and Elizabeth were named in the Act of Succession by Henry VIII, this didn't automatically mean they were also legitimized. That took a separate Act of Parliament, which Henry VIII never bothered to order.

Yes, I've read about Richard II not actually being murdered, but actually escaped from Pontefract castle etc. Very interesting stuff.

My scoliosis has never caused me any pain - in fact I didn't even know I had it, until I had DD2, and the consultant examining me remarked on it.

Ahh, ok. Thanks LaQ.

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 10:06:12

Of course, Henry VIII probably didn't see the point in having Mary and Elizabeth legitimized by an Act of Parliament, because he probably assumed they'd never actually claim the throne - he thought (hoped) Edward VI would have his own heirs.

MrsGuyOfGisbourne Thu 13-Sep-12 10:15:48

kweggie, agress the wonder of mumsnet - amazing variety of interesting topics - this is one I'd never have expected and has given me a lovely warm glow.. grin For those interested in medieval history, please read Barbara Tuchman's 'The Distant Mirror (re the 14 century,so a bit earlier) - she beigns the people to life - masses of scholarship, easily digestible.

Colyngbourne Thu 13-Sep-12 10:20:55

The announcement about the possible scoliotic condition of the spinal bones implies in the public mind both visible deformity and incapacity, but Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps, to name but two athletes, both have scoliosis, as does Sarah Michelle Gellar, and numerous others. I am unimpressed by the way that because there is an indication of this condition in the bones, it appears to verify the Tudor "visibly physically deformed" description. And considering we have just finished the Paralympics, we should be less than happy with the descriptors being used.

MyNeighbourIsStrange Thu 13-Sep-12 10:23:30

The Telegraph state it was severe scolosis. DNA to take 12 weeks.

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 10:40:09

The story I really love about this period, is how when Henry V died, his widow Queen Katherine was only about 22 (?). She conducted a secret affair with a young squire at Court, Owen Tudor - and, eventually left Court, to set up home with him (all still very secret).

They were together for 10 years, before she died, and had 3 children. Very romantic smile

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 10:44:43

Back then, people were so ignorant about disability and assumed a physical deformity was indication of a spiritual/moral corruption, too hmm

Richard III might well have suffered with scoliosis, but it wouldn't have affected his physical ability/prowess at all.

Elsqueak Thu 13-Sep-12 10:55:16

This thread has been an absolutely fascinating read. You lot are so knowledgable!
I've grown up with Richard III history/conspiracy theories courtesy of my mother (avid member of the society and receiver of The Ricardian) and taken on countless visits to Bosworth, Middleham castle, Leicester.

I was in Leicester in 1985 watching the re-enactment society on the anniversary of the battle of Bosworth and have a picture of me and my sister giving the Richard III actor white roses - had no clue what was going on at the time, mind you but mum was dead proud!

We have a house in our town with one of those blue plaques that says Margaret Beaufort once lived there and mum gave it a good sneer. Didn't really know who she was but thanks to this thread I know.

As others have said, Mumsnet can be so diverse!

trixie123 Thu 13-Sep-12 10:56:38

I teach at a private school so the whole of the first two years is Celts, Romans, Saxons, Vikings, Normans and so on up to the civil war. I love it. Some of the teachers do a lot of social history, typical village life, day in the life of a peasant etc and while I know it was 95% of he population, I much prefer the kings and battles! What 12 year boy old doesn't want to know that Edward II died by having a hot poker up his bum smile? Now there's a good example of how values and understanding of diversity have changed!

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 10:58:19

You have to feel some sympathy for Margaret Beaufort, she was only 12 (ouch) when she gave birth to Henry Tudor.

Elsqueak Thu 13-Sep-12 11:01:05

Yes, childbirth must have been terrifying anyway, let alone at that age!

I don't know that's fair about disability, LaQ. Some people thought like that I'm sure (though broadly, IMO it's a view more prevalent in the High Medieval period and then also later, not so much in the fifteenth century). There's a historian called Chris Baswell who does brilliant work on this stuff, and I heard a paper where he argued from some medieval iconography that there was actually a association of disability with kingliness, oddly enough.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 13-Sep-12 11:03:56

Yes, and never had another child. sad God only knows the mess her insides were left in!

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 11:09:38

I assume she was so damaged after the birth, that she was never able to conceive again?


I guess so, poor her. sad

Or maybe she didn't want to, and avoided sex. I think you might, after that.

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 11:12:17

LRD I assumed the link was that royalty could sometimes cure disability? For example, the supposed ability of medieval kings to cure scrofula?

And that his screams could be heard in 5 counties Trixie, having been to Berkeley Castle it is plausible.

I feel quite a lot of sympathy for Margaret Beaufort actually, we can judge her actions but much of her life is undocumented so we can't really judge her. Like most women of the time she was largely a pawn in men's affairs.

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 11:14:17

She was deeply pious, and desperately wanted to be professed as a nun. But, was forced into marrying Edmund Tudor. When she married Lord Stanley, I think it was very much a political marriage, and they kept separate households, as I recall?

No, it wasn't, I forget the details, but it wasn't to do with curing disease, it genuinely was an idea that being disabled was kingly. There was some link to the Biblical iconography of great leaders and them being imagined to be disabled.

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 11:16:35

Ooooh, very interesting LRD - will research that smile

Sorry, but I do hate 'Like most women of the time she was largely a pawn in men's affairs.'

Really? Most women? Like who?

When she was married she was a child. When she was a grown woman she proved to be exceptionally able at propping up the myth of her dynasty as divinely sanctioned. She and Cecily Neville are constantly put up as being unworldly, pious women who just did what their men said, and I really do not believe it's true.

I take it you've read Crown in Candlelight LaQ? I think it's largely fiction but I used to love that book.

I hope he's published it, LaQ - I'm sorry I can't remember more, but his paper was back in 2009 or so.

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 11:21:19

Agree with LRD the medieval period is filled with very assertive women, who took centre stage - Isabella of France, successfully deposed her husband Edward II and became regent for her son, with the aid of her lover.

The Empress Matilda fought King Stephen to a stand still, and successfully claimed the throne for her son, Henry II.

Margate of Anjou came within a gnat's whisker of routing the entire Yorkist army and reclaming the throne for her son.

They were at the very centre of affairs.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 13-Sep-12 11:21:19

Most women back then. You were a mans property. Your father, your husband, your lord...
It was a strong woman who went against convention. And how many of those paid the price? Look at Joan of Arc, and all the spinster midwives hanged for witchcraft...

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 13-Sep-12 11:24:19

Yes, but those mainly were Queens and nobles, who had families and supporters and were able to pay for and command others to do what they wanted.

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 11:25:04

But, of course Leonie. Love, love, love that book.

Very romanticisd, but plenty of truth, too smile

But it's not what she 'was', though, is it? That's reducing her to a thing. It's daft, but I do care about it.

Besides which, there are plenty of women who were not property. Nuns weren't (though you can certainly argue they were trapped in a system), and windows weren't. Lots of widows racketing around having a great time. And nuns didn't just sit closed up in monasteries, either - so much so there was a law passed ('de periculoso') warning them about the dangers of journeying around, and it was regularly broken.

I'm interested in the midwives hanged for witchcraft, though? Witches can be men as well as women, FWIW.

And just look at Lollard women preachers if you want strong women.

But LRD it's true, at least for public lives and as far as we know obviously. Women did have little autonomy, at least post Norman conquest, in terms of who they married, what happened to them, their children and their money. They often may have had significant influence and this may have put them in positions of power and of course they occasionally had legal position, regencies etc but in general they were subject to the laws and decisions of men.

TunipTheVegemal Thu 13-Sep-12 11:34:29

Tell us more about the woman Lollard preachers, LRD. I didn't know about them!

I really do not think that is true.

A significant proportion of women were not legally under male control as adults.

Also, I think it matters that a lot of men did not have much autonomy and were, especially before 1348, effectively slaves.

I am not denying that things were extremely bad for women and it was a deeply patriarchial, misogynistic society. But I think it matters to appreciate what women did manage to do.

Oh, they're fab tunip.

Wycliffism (the academic theology from which Lollardy, the popular heresy, derives) reckons that every person should be able to read the Bible for him or herself, and every person can be a 'priest' for themselves. It's similar to Lutheranism in that way. There were men and women who interpreted this by making women into priests, and having them preach and teach. The authorities were livid. But it's a big debate even in orthodox circles, whether it was really acceptable to restrict women's learning and authority so much.

Claire Cross writes on Lollard women, if you wanted a name. They were known as 'great reasoners in Scripture' (not always in a complimentary way I think!).

Women taught everyone to read, btw. That was your normal way of learning - so much so it was a truism, 'a woman teaches a child with books'. So in that sense they had a lot of power within that sphere.

You see I feel that to focus on the achievements of the few belittles the vast majority of women who did not have that autonomy. But I do agree that for many men and women the ultimate power and control was generally in the hands of a few lords and nobles at the top of the heap. The lives of noble women would have been a significant improvement on the lives of many men.

What happened in private lives would, of course, have been far more diverse.

I do take your point leonie. sad

It's a balance.

I just feel, here are these women, some of them are not aristocratic or even gentry-level, some of them did not have easy lives at all, and yet they were doing things, and they should be remembered for that.

TunipTheVegemal Thu 13-Sep-12 11:40:57

Thank you LRD! So interesting smile
I hadn't realised there were any woman preachers before the 17th century Quakers etc.

Btw, did you lot notice there's a version of A Man For All Seasons up on Iplayer at the moment? Not quite the right period but nice. And Margaret Roper was a fantastic woman.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 13-Sep-12 11:42:11

I know plenty about witches thanks. Matthew Hopkins lived about half a mile up the road.
Lollards were a minority, and were persecuted. Plenty of widows were also forced to marry again by their families. I think you are romanticising the roles of a few lucky, clever women, amongst the many millions who were posessions of their menfolk, forced to marry who they were told and bear child after child, and do exactly what they were told. It was even permissible at one point to sell your wife!

Vagaceratops Thu 13-Sep-12 11:42:37

Anne Boleyn was never crowned Queen Regent, however she was crowned in her own right (Catherine of Aragon was crowned alongside Henry, and none of the other wives had coronations).

tunip - oh, yes. And in the early church, too, some people think. My impression is that it was really tightened up in around the 11th/12th century - I reckon Hild of Whitby was doing preaching along with everything else (she's certainly credited as an inspiration and was in charge of men as well as women), and then you get those queens who preached to their husbands to convert them. It's not public, but you could still argue it as preaching.

And Pope Joan, natch. grin

saggy - yes, but I don't! Sorry, I didn't mean to sound rude, I genuinely wanted to know.

I know Lollards were a persecuted minority. Maybe I am romanticizing. I just feel so strongly that these women worked bloody hard to do what they did. Isn't it another form of romanticizing to look back on the 'bad old days' and pretend that all women were uniformly oppressed? Because that makes us feel as if today we've made huge strides, and although we truly have, I don't think they're as huge as this version of 'bad old days' makes us think.

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 12:25:31

Childbirth, and midwifery had always been recognised as a female preserve. Men were banned from the birthing chamber, to all intents and purposes.

However, gradually male doctors realised that they were missing out on a very lucrative revenue stream (midwives were paid for their services)- so they began to muscle in on the midwives act. Which led to the accusations of witchcraft etc, to discredit them in the eyes of the population. Nice.

Male witches were usually called warlocks I think?

That is so sad, I always think. Because there must have been women who knew a lot about what they were doing and I just can't see how a man could know so much about it in the days before you could dissect a body or know about anatomy.

Witches are male or female for my period of time, not sure why really.

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 12:29:38

In medieval times, the general population, both male and female suffered under the oppressive rule of the gentry/nobles. Not much difference between a male serf, and a female one.

However, with the rise of trade, and the middle classes, women very often ran their own business, especially widows. And King John passed a law stating a widow could not be re-married, against her will etc.

Often female nobility had much less control and power over their every day lives, than the every day widow on the street.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 13-Sep-12 12:30:35

LR, which period of time are you from then? hmm grin grin

grin Whoops! Yeah, I'm ancient, me.

Sorry. I work on stuff from around 1250-1550, but mostly the middle years of that.

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 12:32:36

Very sad, and much knowledge and experience was lost, because midwives were unable to use their skills, passed down from generation to generation.

But, similarly with the vastly superior Arabic knowledge about medicine, surgery, anatomy, hygiene...this knowledge was available from the Crusades onwards - but people refused to use it, because they were filthy infidels hmm

There are Arabic and Arabic-translated books after the Crusades, but they're fairly rare. Europe has it better (broadly) because Jewish medics were pretty good and read Arabic texts. But England expelled its Jewish population, which is pretty horrible.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 13-Sep-12 12:37:02

I agree. Look at Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, when the Moor does a cesarean on that bird, and shes up shooting arrows in a week! grin <<flippant>> I agree though, much information was wasted. I did History of Medicine GCSE. aeons ago fascinating.

Oh, I'm jealous. We did WWII. Again. hmm

I love Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. grin

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TunipTheVegemal Thu 13-Sep-12 12:43:23

We were camping last w/e near the waterfall where the Robin Hood/Little John fight scene was filmed and there was a sign warning people that it was filmed at a time of exceptionally low water flow and not to try and re-enact it.
I wonder how many accidents there were before they put that sign up....

Vagaceratops Thu 13-Sep-12 12:43:56

We did WWI GCSE, and the great depression.

At A-level we did the Civil War (which is a bit rubbish IMO)

RichardsBird Thu 13-Sep-12 12:58:50

Re the Scoliosis - I was fortunate to be at the press conference yesterday, and the bone expert was quite clear that the bones belong to an individual who had severe scoliosis and whose right shoulder would have been noticeable higher than his left. She also said that that nevertheless, he was a physically strong man who probably died in battle (from the evidence of head injury and the barbed arrow they found in his back area).

I work in a closely related organisation and the dig has been planned and discussed for a long time. I was very sceptical that they would find Richard III but I have to say, from the evidence they presented yesterday I will be amazed if it doesn't turn out to be him.

That is so cool.

RichardsBird Thu 13-Sep-12 13:03:16

I know, I've been desperate to tell someone - hence finding this thread! I am quite surprised that the media haven't reported all the details they were offered yesterday.

Ooh ... do tell! grin

Is there more?

I think it's so exciting.

As an aside, can I just say how thrilled I am that other people have read Crown In Candlelight?

Ridiculously, disporportionally thrilled, actually.

I have never read anything else RHJ wrote, just in case she was actually a rubbish writer and that I had been too in love with the story of Katherine and Owen to notice. It is my favourite book and I have two copies which I would never lend.

If her other books are good I might have a look. I feel an Amazon order coming on.

ffs disproportionally (I think)

RichardsBird Thu 13-Sep-12 13:18:17

I think it is too. I'm trying to remember all the stuff they said. They were very careful to say that it is early days yet though and they have only done a preliminary examination. The geneticist said that she was quite hopeful of finding mytochonditrial DNA and that it would take around 12 weeks for the results.

The bits I can remember are:
1) They located the quire by digging several trenches and ensuring that the church followed the usual plan, which it did, and then digging new trenches in a different car park which is where the quire would have been. They presented evidence for this (size and location of wall, and impressions of where tiles would have been)
2) They found a female skeleton first- obviously not Richard!
3) The reason they were looking for the quire is that the historical source they were using (Hamber? Sorry wasn't paying enough attention) said that is where Richard was buried...and that is where they found this skeleton
4) It was a modest but respectful burial apparently (I assume this means by the position they found him in)
5) There is evidence of a head injury which would have been caused by a sharp blade - but they haven't done work yet to establish whether it killed him or indeed was a battle wound
6) They found a barbed arrow in the area of his back but can't be sure where exactly it would have entered his body
7) The scoliosis stuff I said earlier

I'll try and remember the rest.

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 13:18:19

In Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, the Moor performs an episiostmy, I think? Not a c-section.

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 13:19:37

Laura trust me, everything she wrote (which wasn't much sadly), was just as good. Infact, We Speak No Treason is actually better, IMO.

RichardsBird Thu 13-Sep-12 13:20:45

Oh they found small fragments of artefact but wouldn't expand on that.

Oh, damn, that's so tantalizing.

Mmm, I wonder if I can do that seven degrees of separation thing with my mates and find someone who knows what the 'artefact' was.

Thank you LaQ - three new RHJ books are winging their way to my address now.

I have tea, new books on order and half an hour to read through a thread about Richard III


Mirage Thu 13-Sep-12 13:34:54

This is all so interesting,every year on the anniversary of the battle of Bosworth,there is an announcement in the newspapers commerorating the death of Richard III,the last of the Plantagenets.I always find it incredibly sad and moving.

RichardsBird Thu 13-Sep-12 13:37:20

I could easily find out on Monday whistles

RichardsBird Thu 13-Sep-12 13:40:08

If you get in there quicker, do tell! But the whole thing is being kept under very close wraps. Even if I did find out I'd have to shoot myself before I posted it on MN.

Oh, no, I doubt I will. I can only think of a couple of people I ever knew at Leicester, and they're not there any more. But I'm sure eventually it will all come out ... I am really looking forward to hearing more about it.

Vagaceratops Thu 13-Sep-12 13:45:10

I always think how terribly sad it is that everyone thinks he was a monster.

RichardsBird Thu 13-Sep-12 13:45:26

I am wondering what they will do with his remains if it does turn out to be Richard - and what they will do if the don't get DNA proof, or if the DNA doesn't match that of the Canadian chap.

It would be very interesting if it is him although it doesn't really answer many other questions does it. Like what happened to the princes in the tower!

Mirage he was the last Plantagenet king though not the last of the Plantagenets. And he and his brother took their crowns by force rather than through straight inheritance. I can't get too sentimental about it.

<<needs a red rose emoticon>>

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 13:50:02

I'm so excited. I don't live that far from Leicester, and really want to go to the dig. DH thinks I'm insane...I spent last night detailing to him all the different matriarchal birth lines which could apply be used for the DNA.

Then, again he's just bored me shitless explaining how his new phone gadget works.

We live in two different worlds grin

Vagaceratops Thu 13-Sep-12 13:50:19

4) It was a modest but respectful burial apparently At Bosworth field I am sure it says his body was given to the Greyfriar monks and they buried it, so that would fit.

5) There is evidence of a head injury which would have been caused by a sharp blade - but they haven't done work yet to establish whether it killed him or indeed was a battle wound Which could back up accounts that he was killed with a poleaxe and that the blows were so heavy that his helmet was pushed into his skull.

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 13:52:23

Fact is the Yorkists had an equally strong claim to the throne, as the Lancastrians.

RichardsBird Thu 13-Sep-12 14:01:48

That's true Vagaceratops but I think they said at the conference (though it may have just been us chatting afterwards) that there is no reliable source for how Richard died...I think there is only The Ballad of Richard III or similar, written ages afterwards. Still, it would be even more interesting if the ballad turned out to be right wouldn't it?

LaQueen you can see the trenches through the railings of one of the carparks. They had an open day on Saturday - I would imagine they will have another one very soon.

It would be interesting richard. I'd also like it if this prompted a bit more general chat about him as a person, not just the 'evil king' stuff, which we got taught at school.

Anyone on here listening to Radio 4 atm, rather apt play on just now!

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 14:28:15

I've always wondered why Richard III was touted as being so evil, when actually most medieval kings were equally, if not more, cruel.

What I mean to say, is that what Shakespeare claims Richard III did, wasn't actually all that evil, compared to some of the actual, factual stuff other kings did.

Edward I had his little nieces blinded, as I recall? King John had Maude de Braose and her son, starved to death. John also had several child hostages hanged at Nottingham Castle - the youngest was only 7.

And, yet it's Richard III that everyone remembers hmm

Vagaceratops Thu 13-Sep-12 14:32:06

And Henry Viii had Richard Rice boiled in oil.

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 14:35:03

Oh, Henry was a right bastard.

happybirthdayHiggs Thu 13-Sep-12 14:36:28

What a joy to find this discussion today, so sorry to have missed it yesterday.
Eleanor of Aquitaine is my absolute heroine, talking of powerful medieval women. Queen of France to one king and Queen of England with another. Went on crusade, Duchess in her own right and crossed the Pyrenees in winter to fetch a bride for her son, Richard the Lionheart, at the age of 68 (or possibly 67)
What a woman.

Vagaceratops Thu 13-Sep-12 14:40:03

The boiled in oil thing always makes me feel squirmy, and gives me the shivers.

Someone explained further up the thread - Shakespeare was writing propaganda for Elizabeth I.

Boiled in oil is horrible.

happy - ooh, yes! smile

Vagaceratops Thu 13-Sep-12 14:42:34

And if you want a strong medieval women - Isabella of France gets my vote.

Vagaceratops Thu 13-Sep-12 14:44:41

But how did one play by Shakespeare manage to cloud the view of so many people?

happybirthdayHiggs Thu 13-Sep-12 14:50:22

He was the Spielberg of his day Vaga. Just look at how many people believe Braveheart is historically accurate. (Not that Spielberg directed Braveheart but you know what I mean.)

I think partly because it is such a brilliant play. King John is a lot more shite, for example.

I think as well, it fits well with that very nineteenth-century, Empire and Queen view of history where you study kings as distinctive heroes or villains, never anything much in between. He's a 'baddie' partly because he's seen as the end of the medieval era, the end of the 'dark ages', whereas Henry VII's dynasty saw the founding of the Church of England and all sorts of Good Things.

happybirthdayHiggs Thu 13-Sep-12 15:04:25

But in reality, John was a better king for England than the Lionheart ever was, don't you think LRD?

Oh, yes.

Vagaceratops Thu 13-Sep-12 15:07:23

At least John was here I suppose.

kitstwins Thu 13-Sep-12 15:20:20

Can I recommend the most fabulous book, which I have just read:
'Winter King' by Thomas Penn. It's biographical but absolutely gripping and paints a vivid picture of Henry VII. I studied his reign at university and thought I knew my stuff but this really did bring him to life, beyond pastiche and folklore. At times it felt like I was walking through his head.

I'm of the view that short reigns are usually unfairly viewed as 'bad reigns' (RIII, Mary Tudor, etc.) by dint of the fact that they are so transient and fleeting. It's very hard to get an overall view of policy and ability, not least when it's 500 or so years down the line and with limited primary sources at one's disposal. It's interesting how, even now, we pit Richard III and Henry Tudor against one another and slug it out over who had the strongest claim to the throne. Essentially it came down to the fact that, at Bosworth that day, Henry Tudor won the battle. And that came down to tactics and luck as battles always do (Wellington spoke of Waterloo as "a damn close run thing". Both Richard and Henry were brave and tactical soldiers and leaders. They were also hungry for the crown. You could argue (and I do) that this isn't the first example of a lesser claimant winning the throne on the toss of a battle. Harald and William 'The Conquerer' spring to mind.

This is the power of history - when you can still hear the battle and the blood thudding, centuries on.

On an aside, Mary Tudor! Fascinating woman. Kathy Burke's portrayal of her in the Elizabeth (that film was so factually incorrect it made my brain boil) was the stuff of pantomime.

TunipTheVegemal Thu 13-Sep-12 15:23:04

How do you feel about this portrayal of Mary, Kitstwins?

He did win at Stoke Field too, though.

I like the idea of short=bad, I need to sit down and think about that. What about George VI, though? Less than 20 years, but I don't think I've ever heard anyone say anything bad about him. Or maybe it is too close to the present.

I'll look out that book. smile

happybirthdayHiggs Thu 13-Sep-12 15:34:07

Granted he was a cruel, lying bastard who managed to lose vast swathes of the Angevin empire, but he was an excellent administrator, involving the royal court in local justice up and down the country and introducing the first professionial borough coroners.

Scheherezade Thu 13-Sep-12 15:34:50

Surely saying women weren't oppressed/secondary to men in the middle ages because a handful did great things, is like saying apartheid never happened and blacks weren't oppressed because a few stood up to authority, became famous politicians/singers/sports stars.

happybirthdayHiggs Thu 13-Sep-12 15:35:23

Oops, sorry, the conversation has moved on. That reply was to Vaga regarding King John.

But I never said anything like that, scheherezade. Nor did anyone else so far as I can see. I just objected to someone summing up what a woman 'is' as property. That might have been her legal status but it doesn't make it what she was.

I think the opposite view, if we're using an apartheid analogy, would be someone saying 'oh, well, that poor man Nelson Mandela, sadly he was just a pawn in the white people's world'. It would be an awful thing to say and disrespectful to his immense achievements.

Triggles Thu 13-Sep-12 15:41:14

Another side note, re Robin Hood Prince of Thieves.. I thought he turned the baby so it could be born - he mentioned the baby was turned the wrong way, then said he had seen a procedure done to horses - so it sounded to me like the baby was breech and he turned it.

anyway... as you were... I'm enjoying reading all this information grin

kitstwins Thu 13-Sep-12 15:47:45

Turnip it's marvellous! But a bit sensationalist. Jane Grey was initially incarcerated in the tower and, even when convicted of high treason, was not executed until Wyatt's failed rebellion a few months later when it became clear that she was going to be a continuing danger to the safety of Mary's reign as the focal point for Protestant plots. I think Mary reluctantly signed her death warrant. There is evidence that she stalled on signing it. Interestingly, Mary also chucked Elizabeth in the tower during her reign and I think she came within a whisper of having her death warrant signed. Certainly, members of Mary's privy council were pushing her towards it, but again she resisted. History is so nearly something else, but for a waver, a chance, a change of mind and moment, a disease.

LRD I think George VI's reign, whilst shorter than expected (he died relatively young, in his fifties?) could not be classed as brief. Plus, Kingship was different then; more figurehead than actual ruler so maybe it has less of an impact;

Yes, fair point, that makes sense.

ticklemyboobsofsteel Thu 13-Sep-12 16:01:40

This is my most favourite thread in the history of forever smile

<huge six wives/Tudor nerd - particularly Anne Boleyn>

History rules <gavel>

SorrelForbes Thu 13-Sep-12 16:12:20

LRD Your post "He's a 'baddie' partly because he's seen as the end of the medieval era, the end of the 'dark ages', whereas Henry VII's dynasty saw the founding of the Church of England and all sorts of Good Things" reminded me of 1066 and All That wink.

Vagaceratops Thu 13-Sep-12 16:12:49

See Henry V only reigned for 9 years, and is regarded as a good king, but I do agree there seems to be a general idea that long = good.

Edward III is regarded by many to be the greatest king of England (if you discount the 'Good Parliament; right at the very end) and he reigned for 50 years.

Ooh, I am flattered sorrel! grin I like your name, too.

I am in heaven reading this thread.

What I still don't understand is how Henry V111 was so venerated?

He was a monster, yet Elizabeth 1 was proud to be his descendant, referred to it several times in her speeches to parliament, etc.

TunipTheVegemal Thu 13-Sep-12 16:37:55

Good question KatieScarlett. I mean, he was appalling.

But imagine ... she grew up knowing her father had had her mother killed, and either it was true her mother had slept around with several people including her own brother, or it was true her dad had had the charges trumped up in order to kill her mother for not giving him boys.

I think it might almost be easier to fall back on deciding he was a hero and she'd always talk about him that way. Good propaganda, as well, but I think it would be fairly natural too, to do that to survive.

Booboobedoo Thu 13-Sep-12 16:41:45

Isn't it because he established the CofE?

That must be a contributing factor, I think.

Although he did it entirely for his own ends, I think he's seen as liberating us from the Pope and Catholic Oppression.

Proud islanders and all that.

Great thread.

The most sympathetic portrayal of Henry V111 I have ever read was in Margaret George's (excellent) Bio of Henry V111. And even then his justification for executing Anne B was madness (she was a witch?).

Are there any other books I've missed that attempt to get inside the mind of Henry?

I think Elizabeth did that more than Henry, really, though. But I agree he's seen as the founder.

Booboobedoo Thu 13-Sep-12 16:46:20

He was obviously immensely charismatic: I'm sure that helps too.

Clytaemnestra Thu 13-Sep-12 16:47:09

I think if you have a system based entirely on inherited power not a meritocracy, you're going to be quick to emphasise links to prove your legitimate right to power, whether your Dad was an vicious deranged old lunatic who chopped your mum's head off or not.

Can't believe no one has mentioned The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Penman yet, that's my favourite of books about Richard III

Elizabeth was only 3 when her mother was executed, she then was old enough to know about a bewildering array of new "mothers". One died in childbirth, the next one was allegedly precontracted, the one after that (her cousin?) was executed and the last one was saved by the old tyrant dying. As was mentioned upthread, Henry had her declared a bastard and divorced her mother in addition to beheading her by dredging up the fact that he had an affinity with Anne via Mary Boleyn. Which he knew about beforehand, obviously.

And wasn't Henry essentially a catholic in his beliefs? He only split from Rome because Anne was upduffed and he wanted a legitimatemale heir. Had Clement been a bit more amenable (and less afraid of Catherines nephew) it would never have happened.

Vagaceratops Thu 13-Sep-12 16:50:09

But no-one liked Anne Boleyn in the first place, so (as horrid as it is) most were glad she was gone.

I feel sorry for her poor brother and the other people executed at the same time.

Vagaceratops Thu 13-Sep-12 16:51:40

I also hate the fact that is was okay for Henry to get his jollies with other people, yet when Anne was suspected (and it was never really proven, unlike with Katherine Howard) he was outraged.

katie - yes, he was essentially Catholic.

I wonder who he'd have married next, if he hadn't died.

Wan't Katherine Howard's problem that she admitted to sex ^ before^ she even met Henry ?

Culpepper denied having had sex with her, although I have read somewhere he admitted he would have liked to...

There was no evidence against Anne, except Mark Smeatons dubious confession. The rest was hearsay made up by Cromwell.

LRD I think he would have had Katherine Parr executed for being a Lutheran and would have moved on to yet another poor victim.

Katherine Willoughby?

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 17:00:40

Richard I was a shite king. He was barely in England, and viewed it as one of his lesser kingdoms. He was always far more interested inthe rest of his Angevin Empire, and was absolutely obsessed with reclaming Jerusalem. He bled England dry to finance his crusades.

Most of the time he was away on crusade, Eleanor of Acquitaine, ruled (very competently) in his place.

John was actually far better suited to be king in our eyes today - he was a brilliant administrator, and very keen on tidying up the laws of the land etc. But, in medieval eyes he was a joke, because he avoided battle and conquest where possible, and lost most of the Angevin empire as a result.

As an aside, he married and bedded a 12 year old girl, Isabella of Angloueme - when he was well into his 30s...ick confused

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 17:03:19

I think it's pretty clear that Elizabeth had an Electra complex about her father, and worshipped him.

Observers at the time, noted that she always favoured athletic, broad shouldered men, with chestnut brown hair and beards and flamboyant domineering personalities...just like her father hmm

happybirthdayHiggs Thu 13-Sep-12 17:03:28

Clytaemnestra I think someone did mention Penman's "The Sunne in Splendour" somewhere upthread. I loved it too, as I do most of her work, although I have to say I struggled with her latest, "Lionheart". Too much telling, not enough story.

Themumsnot Thu 13-Sep-12 17:05:13

I see Phillipa Gregory has a book about Anne Neville just out. Has anyone read it yet? Any good?
On the topic of Richard I, I read Sharon Penman's Lionheart on my holiday this year. I loved it.

Themumsnot Thu 13-Sep-12 17:05:46

Funny xpost there!

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 17:06:35

The sad, sad, sad truth about Anne Boleyn's trial, and the accusations she'd had sex with her brother, and various other courtiers, is that the official Court Lists (detailed records of who went where, and what was happening day-to-day at Court) clearly show it would have been logistically and physically impossible for Anne to have been unfaithful, with these men, on the days specified.

Often they weren't even within 5 miles of each other shock

happybirthdayHiggs Thu 13-Sep-12 17:06:56

...and he lost all the crown jewels and treasure in the Wash quicksand LaQueen. That's not gonna go down well, is it.grin

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 17:08:02

I've read it TheMumsNot and it's weak, very weak sad

Infact, I have found her last few novels quite light-weight, compared to her Tudor series. I think she's short-changing her audience, now she's got so popular.

ticklemyboobsofsteel Thu 13-Sep-12 17:12:15

I find that really upsetting as well LaQueen sad I have a bit of a girl crush on Anne Boleyn. She wasn't perfect, by any stretch of the imagination. But what a woman.

happybirthdayHiggs Thu 13-Sep-12 17:12:30

Hi Themum, great minds, eh.
I just felt she was recouching the history book for pages on end rather than telling me a story.
I've got Kingmakers Daughter waiting for me on my bedside table for tonight. , Fresh sheets on the bed, glass of wine, new book,

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 17:12:40

Poor Katherine Howard was only 15...and, yes, she more than likely had had sex before marrying Henry, but at the time, there was no law against that. It was considered immoral, and shocking in a girl of her class...but, it certainly wasn't illegal.

An experienced man like Henry, would have known she wasn't a virgin on their wedding night...but, her real crime was failing to get pregnant within the first year of their marriage, and the fact that Henry wanted the Howard family brought down, and weakened.

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 17:14:33

Not sure if 100% true...but, Katherine Howard reportedly ran through the Court screaming in terror, when she heard she was to be taken to the Tower. She tried desperately to reach Henry - but he refused to allow her into his presence.

She was only 15 FFS sad

I read it too TheMumsNot and I'm with LeQ

Dire, as was The Lady of the Rivers (don't care about all the sex you had with your dull husband Jacquetta), The Red and White Queen books were very disappointing given the subject matter.

happybirthdayHiggs Thu 13-Sep-12 17:14:43

Oh, LaQueen! shock
<stomps upstairs to take the fresh sheets off the bed>

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 17:17:34

I love her Tickle she was a brilliant scholar, spoke and wrote 3 languages fluently. She allegedly insisted on BF-ding Elizabeth, though very frowned upon, and objected to Elizabeth being rmoved from Cort, and given her own household, when she was 3 months old.

Yes, she did. Poor lass (Katharine Howard, who I don't think anyone has ever accused of being a brilliant scholar).

I am really sad Anya Seton didn't write about Henry VIII and that era. Would have been great.

I think there's a danger with Elizabeth I and Henry VIII or confusing personal and public views. She was the queen, she worked hard to get the throne and to keep it and she got her claim from her father, she was hardly going to start being over critical of him what she may have thought personally is another matter. Also she would not have known her mother in any real sense and was not likely to have been bought up to think kindly of her.

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 17:20:09

Yes, Lady of the Rivers equally weak and shallow...poorly sketched characters, hurrid plot lines. I felt she was on a deadline for the publisher sad

Same with The White Queen, and The Red Queen...very shallow...history written for 14 year olds, basically hmm

OK, so Sharon Penman.

Which books, and in which order should I get?

(Has Amazon ready and waiting)

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 17:21:01

I don't think Katherine was even literate, was she grin

LeQ, fornication was against church law. I don't know what the civil penalty was or how it was enforced, but I can check.

The note to Culpepper shows she was barely literate. Poor thing.

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 17:23:19


Sunne in Splendour & Here Be Dragons are her best works.

I disliked The Reckoning

When Christ and His Saints Slept, was okay

Time & Chance was alright...

Just read Lionheart - not enough narrative, too many dates and figures.

happybirthdayHiggs Thu 13-Sep-12 17:23:48

Oh, oh, The Welsh Trilogy first!

Here Be Dragons
Falls the Shadow
The Reckoning

Then The Sunne in Splendour.

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 17:24:06

I don't think it was a civil law, though?

No, me either, trying to find out.

This is pretty cool, btw:

katie - do you have a link to what it said/looks like? I'd really like to know.

I always feel she gets such a raw deal - she was really young, and she gets painted as so empty-headed, but I wonder if she was or if it just suited people better to believe it was stupidity that got her killed rather than Henry being a vicious bastard.

Cheers, all ordered.

Thanks katie!

So would that be considered poor literacy at that point? To me it looks pretty good, and her handwriting is beautiful, but I don't know enough about Tudor spelling to know if that's off.

I am surprised if that counts as barely literate, though?

Wasn't Katherine Howard allegedly married to her despoiler (sorry, love that word) Dereham. Which should have led to an annullment, not treason and beheading.

Another reason why Henry was a bad, bad man.

In comparison to the other wives, she was seen as a poor scholar. In comparison to other women of that time I suspect she was better educated than most.

Ah, I see. Poor lass. I suppose it's not surprising really, Catharine of Aragon must have been fantastically well educated.

She had a fabulous mother wink

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 17:45:58

Yes, compared to Henry's other wives (apart from Anne of Cleves and Jane Seymour) Katherine wasn't in their league intellectually. But, compared to your average woman, she was educated, of course.

Anne of Cleves was educated the Erasmian way I read somewhere. All about preparing for wifedom. She seemed to be intelligent though, certainly in the way she handled Henry and the speed in which she learned English. The irony was that Erasmus praised learned women, e.g. Margaret More but did not advocate learning for women in general.

Jane was not well educated, I agree, if not a bit dim. I have an irrational dislike of Jane, mostly I suspect due to her haste in marrying Henry. Anne's body was not even cold....

I have just googled some massively patronizing shite about Anne's education. DH must think I've been sucking lemons.

Apparently, she can't have been very educated because 'all' she learned about was household management.

That comment was written by someone who clearly has no clue about household management for a big house, wasn't it?!

Oh, and apparently she wasn't very good at music, and was good at needlework. So she must have been dim. hmm

I find it hard to warm to Jane, too. I think it's the portrait - she looks so butter-wouldn't-melt.

ticklemyboobsofsteel Thu 13-Sep-12 18:05:56

Katie Same here...

SloeFarSloeGood Thu 13-Sep-12 18:08:40

Henry VIII was a serial killer pyschopath. Discuss.

Also Jane had a bum chin.

<mean and shallow but true>

Anne of Cleves managed not only her house but her own estates that she cleverly wangled out of Henry after the separation. Flanders Mare indeed! She got Hever too and was popular with her <almost> step-children. Elizabeth and Mary would not have had much time for a dullard. I suspect Anne was very smart indeed.


He was a madman. A case study in how absolute power corrupts. He started out well and went downhill into tyranny the moment he didn't get his own way over Anne B. And went on from there...

I think you may be right katie. grin

I always rather liked the fact she made it so very clear that she preferred to be the king's 'good sister'! I think I read that her brother at home was no barrell of laughs so probably a nice house of her own to do as she pleased in was just what she fancied.

CassandraApprentice Thu 13-Sep-12 18:16:30

I didn't think Katerine Howard was innocent as she was basically caught in flagrante with Tomas Culpeper - her accomplice was Lady Rochford, who previously been married to Ann Bolyns brother, lost her head and confessed to all the previous meeting straight away.

I also though the fraction at court trying to bring the Howard's down were worried Henry would over look her actions. Well that is how Alsion weir and that Stark guy portray it.

Though as the confusion about her birth date she may have been much younger than 15.

She did also employ Francis Dereham who she'd slept with prior to marriage mainly as they planned to marry before she was thrown in Henry's path. There was no evidence of sexual relationship with him after her marriage to Henry but it was made to look bad but she was condemned for it though previously sex behave marrying king wasn't an issue.

Hadn't read that Ann of Cleves was considered poorly educated - perhaps not taught some skills considered standard by English Court - like music but her English Ladies in waiting did leave accounts that suggest they were very concerned she didn't know anything about sex so wasn't aware Henry wasn't performing.

poetsarepoor Thu 13-Sep-12 18:16:32

I love this thread! best mumsnet thread ever grin

I have just spent the last two years writing a poetry collection about Queens of England and Britain, one for each of them from Judith of Flanders to our Queen Liz, seeking out a first person voice for each with hints of the changing styles of poetry as you read through the collection, quite an epic task but extremely satisfying! Love all this history chat.

TunipTheVegemal Thu 13-Sep-12 18:18:03

Are there any historical novels that really get into Jane Seymour? I enjoyed Gregory's Tudor ones (The White Queen less so, as others have said) but Jane never really features.

poets that sounds great stuff, I would really enjoy reading that.

cassandra - noooo, I'd forgotten all about Starkey's existance, don't remind me! wink

Before I read the blurb I assumed Wolf Hall would be about Jane. I'd like to read about her. I have a dim memory of reading a novel about her childhood but can't now remember ... will try to think.

TunipTheVegemal Thu 13-Sep-12 18:22:00

I thought Catharine Howard was 19 not 15 when she married Henry?

LRD, that an interesting thought, about her maybe not being as dim as she's always painted.

Well, she can't have been very dim, tunip. Her syntax in that letter is good, and I think syntax is something that's fairly telling, don't you think? I would like to know more about her, actually, I wonder ...

<catches self and goes back to writing real postdoc proposals not MN-oh-i-wish postdoc proposals>

Vagaceratops Thu 13-Sep-12 18:29:37

I love David Starkey. I know he is a bit of a twit but he has a way of explaining History that is so passionate you cant help but feel excited. Ditto the Scottish guy from Coast.

I did too LRD, about Wolf Hall. I spent the whole book thinking when Wolf Hall would appear, and its was the last two words.

I have bringing up the bodies but have not really got into it. Is it as good?

CassandraApprentice Thu 13-Sep-12 18:32:42

It not clear when she was born TunipTheVegemal - father was a second son of Norfolk line who married about 3 times I think - at least one wife with previous DC. Her mother and other DC died when she was small - father buggered off married again went abroad all a bit confused and records and which DC she was not really clear.

She was left in Step Grandmothers care or none care.

Basically she wasn't important to care about till her uncle Duck of Norfolk was looking round for a replacement to Ann of Cleaves to depower the fraction behind Ann at court.

Contemporary accounts refer to her as 'very young' - went she met Henry.

happybirthdayHiggs Thu 13-Sep-12 18:33:14

Can't do "Wolf Hall"
All that "he said" first person POV.

kerrygrey Thu 13-Sep-12 18:33:35

Going back to Richard III's mtDNA - the full story of how it was obtained, and what else might usefully be done in the future, can be found in John Ashdown-Hill's book 'The Last Days of Richard III". Absolutely fascinating! Have just re-read it since getting excited about the Leicester discovery.

A must read is 'she wolves' its all about strong medeival queens. Matilda, elenor, catherine, isabella, and how because of them we had mary and elizabeth.

I agree this is the best thread!

poetsarepoor Thu 13-Sep-12 18:35:29

I should be writing my MA thesis not reading about history and writing poems but hey ho!

I did love Wolf Hall and got BUTB to start next.

Thanks LRDtheFeministDragon I am in the process of tidying up the contents and trimmings of the book, the poems are finished, then I have to send the manuscript off to a publisher that has been suggested might go for it, exciting! I know all the Queens so well after getting inside each head to get their voice and perspective, so fascinating!

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 18:38:56

Hah...I reckon Anne of Cleves was the smartest of the lot. She was granted the title of The King's Most Beloved Sister, and she became a very wealthy woman, when she agreed to the annulment...she was always warmly welcomed at Court, and lived the Life of Riley, as an independent woman of wealth.

Nice one, Anne wink

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 18:41:47

Have just read She Wolves for the second time, and they're re-showing it on BBC Four at the moment smile

poetsarepoor Thu 13-Sep-12 18:41:53

Yes, I think she had the right idea! She had a comfortable life and escaped the gross tyrant!


When was she caught in flagrante with Culpepper, I missed that!

And wasn't she asked to employ Dereham by her step-Grandmother? I suspect that the Howards wanted her up-duffed and figured that putting Dereham under her nose would increase their chances, so to speak... Also, given that Dereham knew Katherines past, she didn't have much choice in giving him a place, had she said no he could have blabbed.

<In my head given that I dwell on this far too much>


Ohhh, I love Bringing up the Bodies. It had me from the first paragraph.

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 18:43:45

On the day of Anne Boleyn's execution, the Court Lists recorded that Jane Seymour was busy choosing her coronation robes hmm

But, to be honest, she had no choice in the matter. The Seymour family were determined to bring down the power of the Howards. Jane was just a pawn in the great game.

poets - best of luck! You'll come and post on MN when it's out?

I have been trying to work out how educated/clever Catherine might have been. Her granddad certainly was, he was grammar-school educated which is relatively good for someone who wasn't going to be a cleric. But he died either just before, or just after she was born. So I'm none the wiser really.

Vagaceratops Thu 13-Sep-12 18:46:22

Have just read She Wolves for the second time, and they're re-showing it on BBC Four at the moment

Oh when? Its one of my favourite non-fiction books.

Vagaceratops Thu 13-Sep-12 18:47:22

They only have episode 3 on Iplayer sad

poetsarepoor Thu 13-Sep-12 18:49:44

Thank you! I'm scared about sending the poems into the big bad world of publishing but fingers crossed. At least this thread proves lots of people are mad on history like me grin

Oooh!! This is really cool, though totally irrelevant and totally niche.

But, I just noticed that the manuscript I've been working on has a name scribbled in the top margin in sixteenth-century writing, which doesn't seem to have been mentioned in the catalogue - it's Thomas Knyvet. Now I wonder if that's Catharine's uncle? (There's a couple of other TK's it could be).

Sorry, I am rambling but to me it's exciting ... if it is, he owned a book that was nearly 200 years old.

TunipTheVegemal Thu 13-Sep-12 18:50:44

Poetsarepoor - good luck. It sounds great and I would definitely buy it as long as it wasn't too expensive.

I listen to Wolfhall and BUTB on my i-pod constantly.

Can't wait for the next one, even though Cromwell has to die.

poets - fingers crossed indeed!

poetsarepoor Thu 13-Sep-12 18:55:38

TunipTheVegemal I don't think it would be too expensive, I am only a very minor poet! Not poet laureate...!!

LRDtheFeministDragon your manuscript sounds fascinating, I too would be getting excited!

Mirage Thu 13-Sep-12 18:55:40

Been out all afternoon,but did make a phone call to DH.He has contacts so have asked him if he can find out what the mysterious artefact is.He is on the case.
Now I shall settle down and read this thread at my leisure.I have also recommended it to my mother,who was a member of the Richard III Society,thus outing myself.

LeeCoakley Thu 13-Sep-12 19:09:17

This is so exciting! I was at Bosworth in 1985 celebrating and there was lots of speculation about whether his body would ever be located. can't wait for news.

ticklemyboobsofsteel Thu 13-Sep-12 19:12:49

I struggled a little with reading Wolf Hall - loved it, but the 'he said' device threw me a bit. I would highly recommend the audiobook (the unabridged version of course). The guy reading it - Simon Slater - is just amazing and really brings it to life. It is an amazing story.

Currently reading BUTB...


BUTB is great on audible too.

happybirthdayHiggs Thu 13-Sep-12 19:23:39

I've been told listening to Wolf Hall bypasses the POV problem. I'll have to download it and give it a go. Theoretically, I should love it.

Poets do you have an agent or are you approaching the publisher yourself?

meditrina Thu 13-Sep-12 19:23:55

I think it might be time to go and re-read "Warrior Queens" by Antonia Fraser.

And, as mentioned upthread in reference to all the Good Things and Bad Things, "1066 and All That".

CassandraApprentice Thu 13-Sep-12 19:26:55

no your right KatieScarlett - my memory is playing tricks making it more salacious.

I remembered a door bared from the king by Lady Rochford- picked up nearest relevant book and its only subsequently with additional testimony from other that many suspicious meetings with Lady Rochford facilitating that this goes from off to very suspicious and it assumed its Culpeper. Though I think Cromell goes looking for proff and then people start confessing.

I always think it odd Lady Rochford- involved with it as she helped bring her husband and Ann Boleyn down.

CassandraApprentice Thu 13-Sep-12 19:33:31

sorry Cranmer not cromwell who was dead by then hmm.

happybirthdayHiggs Thu 13-Sep-12 19:36:11

LRD. I was in the British Library a few months ago, studying a 10C manuscript (The Lacnunga). They feel almost warm, like they have a life of their own.

I want to study old manuscripts!!!!!

<well jel>


LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 19:44:37

It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest, if Kathrine's family positively encouraged her to shag Culpepper, or any other virile young man in her long as they could keep it quiet.

They needed her pregnant, by someone, anyone - and chances are that Henry, now middle-aged, very overweight and suffering with an agonising ulcerated leg didn't have much lead in his pencil (ahem)

Lady Rochford, was a loyal, trusted and known Howard family member. Very well versed in Court life, and politically minded...she was probably pimping Katherine out to any passing male.

Indeed LeQ (what's with the NC BTW?)

In the George Boleyn trial, Henry's potency was instrumental in getting him a date with the executioner.

LaQueen Thu 13-Sep-12 19:55:48

Yes, didn't George dare question the king's potency shock which was a treasomnable offence.

Hawise Thu 13-Sep-12 20:00:27

TunipTheVegemal - If you are interested in a novel about Lady Jane Grey, I enjoyed: Innocent Traitor: Alison Weir.
Really enjoyed reading this thread and adding books to my Amazon wish list!

Hawise Thu 13-Sep-12 20:02:31

Sorry just seen you meant Jane Seymour, you wouldn't be interested in my recommendation then blush

Innocent Traitor was good though.

As was The Lady Elizabeth.

Her factual books on Elizabeth 1 and Mary Queen of Scots are my favourites though.

TunipTheVegemal Thu 13-Sep-12 20:06:33

Thanks Hawise.
Yes, I don't think I could handle a book about poor Lady Jane Grey - I'd be sobbing all the way through.
The last one about her that I read was the novelisation of that Helena Bonham Carter film in the 80s, which may not have been 100% historically accurate - I seem to remember it had her falling in love with Guildford Dudley and them planning to wipe out poverty and disease together.

I would love to learn more about Queen Matilda our real first Queen, any recommendations?

kim147 Thu 13-Sep-12 20:12:49

There was a really good history series on the female Queens or the wives behind the King. Was on recently - but can't remember who did it. Queen Matilda was on it.

happy - ooh, lovely! I don't get anything that early, that must be exciting. Did you find what you wanted in it?

Btw, skip this if you're not as much of a geek as me, but I was just working out who my manuscripts belonged to (and it was in other catalogues, as he was keen on his books). I think he's this fantastic petulent looking bloke:,_4th_Baron_Berners

Anyway, I was looking at his family tree and I found that his cousin. The info about her was so utterly MN I had to come and post:

'ELIZABETH KNYVETT (c.1574-c.1630)&#8232;

Elizabeth Knyvett was the daughter of Sir Henry Knyvett of Charlton, Wiltshire (1539-1598) and Elizabeth Stumpe (d.1585). She married Thomas, Lord Clinton (1567/8-1619), heir to the earl of Lincoln, although he did not inherit the title until 1616.

They had eighteen children—Elizabeth (c.1591-July 20, 1624), Anne (1595/6-December 26, 1632), Theophilus (c.1600-May 21, 1667), Dorcas, Frances (c.1603-1626+), Sara, Susan, Arabella (1603-c.1630), Henry, Thomas, Catherine (d. January 7, 1618), Lucy, Edward (c.1604-by 1616), Charles, Robert, Knyvett, John, and James. Five daughters and four sons survived infancy.

In 1622, as a widow and with a great deal of knowledge of her subject, Elizabeth published a tract on breastfeeding called “The Countesse of Lincolnes Nurserie.” She dedicated it to Theophilus’s wife. All was not well between them, however. In 1625, Theophilus brought suit against his mother in chancery, attempting to take away from her the guardianship of his three younger brothers. Biography: Oxford DNB entry under “Clinton [née Knevitt], Elizabeth.”

Gotta love a good MIL/breastfeeding debate!

yeah I have 'she wolves' but wanted a bit more, I am a bit obsessed with her I think.

shes our first queen there must be a book about her.

CassandraApprentice Thu 13-Sep-12 20:17:21

I've seen that film as well.

One of her actual quotes to him was something along the line of I have no use for you in my bed but by day your place in by my side.

I'm just surprised in an age where personal privacy was non existence in a court riven by intrigue and having seen close family fall from power to execution bring my own status and money into jeopardy - Lady Rochford went anywhere near a Queen and adultery again.

happybirthdayHiggs Thu 13-Sep-12 20:30:41

LDR I'm very surprised, I thought infants were still handed off to wet nurses at this time in high born families. There's the bones of a great story rattling around there don't you think?
What are you researching? Work or pleasure?

MooncupGoddess Thu 13-Sep-12 20:36:30

Interesting points about Katherine Howard. In Bring Up the Bodies (which is amazing) Mantel suggests the possibility, based on the work of George Bernard, that Anne may have been shagging around to get pregnant because Henry wasn't really up to it any more. Until I read that I'd always assumed Anne was 100% framed.

Well, it sounds as if she was very unusual. I think there have always been women who insisted on breastfeeding, even when it was very unusual. But I thought it was lovely to hear of someone actually writing something to defend it, at such an early time.

You can just imagine her DIL, though, right? 'pray, gentlewomen of the Net of Mothers, doth my MIL exceed the bounds of reason in her schemes for my nourishing the babe from mine own pap? May I call her 'crone' or will seeker rightly chastise me?'

I like to imagine it.

The research on this was just me googling for fun, but I am doing a PhD on medieval reading culture and that bit is work.

TunipTheVegemal Thu 13-Sep-12 20:40:15

Doesn't Philippa Gregory have her doing that in The Other Boleyn Girl, too?

RaisinDEtre Thu 13-Sep-12 20:41:23

What a totally fab thread, chock full of knowledge


poetsarepoor Thu 13-Sep-12 20:43:01

happybirthdayHiggs I don't have an agent, I wish! I have been writing stories 'all my life' (well, since about age 9!) but the last few years have been focusing on poetry. I have read at lots of open mics and had some poems published but not a collection yet.

I have been working on the the Queens for two years and I went on an Arvon course earlier in the year with two 'famous' grin poets who were kind enough to read the manuscript and were very enthusiastic, they seemed to believe it would get published and they gave me some good advice, including where to send it...but now I am quite scared about doing it, because it means so much to me I suppose!

MooncupGoddess Thu 13-Sep-12 20:43:14

Oh, I don't remember that, Tunip, but it's years since I read TOBG.

I've always assumed Hilary Mantel is much better at reading the original sources and historiography than Philippa Gregory, but perhaps I'm being unfair.

just found this historical novel on Queen Matilda 'lady of the english' by elizabeth chadwick. Anyone read it?

poetsarepoor Thu 13-Sep-12 20:46:31

I think the idea of trying to get pregnant by anyone would have been too risky for Anne, she was in such a dangerous position with all the enemies at court, also she was very religious. Catherine Howard was such a young girl who was already used to having lovers, I think she just continued.

Vagaceratops Thu 13-Sep-12 20:47:06

fanjodisfunction - Tracey Borman has a book on Matilda - its one of my favourites too.

happybirthdayHiggs Thu 13-Sep-12 20:47:29

Well, strictly speaking, a crone was a woman past menopause, usually one who lived alone. In pagan tradition this is no insult though, being associated with the triple goddess, wisdom and knowledge.
AIBVerilyU? grin

Vagaceratops Thu 13-Sep-12 20:47:59
MadBusLady Thu 13-Sep-12 20:48:24

That is awesome LRD! Never come across anything like that before. Although there is a medieval penitential tract that always made me smile just because the title sounds so much like a modern self-help book: Handlyng Synne. Honest, it's 14thC, that's what it's called.

("Yea, poster the original, thy MIL exceeds the bounds of reason quite! Let her take her busyboddie's nose out of it! Dost she practice witchcraft against you? Beware, for she is toxic and a follower of Narcissus!")

TunipTheVegemal Thu 13-Sep-12 20:49:45

Philippa Gregory did do a history PhD but her historical imagination seems to me a bit shallow sometimes - the characters seem like modern people transplanted. Whereas Mantel seems to be better at capturing the strangeness of the past.

Sorry, happy, that was sort of an aside to seeker as I'm assuming she is reading her own thread. She was making the point on another thread that it's annoying when people on MN start insulting mothers-in-law on threads.

But yes, true, not a good insult really!

poets - ah, but you have to go for it now, you've told us about it! grin

No way, mad?!

Oh, god, I am excited and now paranoid. Do you know me?

A chapter of my PhD is on Handlyng Synne. I love it to bits.

tunip - yes, completely agree about Mantel vs. Gregory.

CassandraApprentice Thu 13-Sep-12 20:52:22

Its in the The Other Boleyn Girl - with her brother.

I though most had been proven to be false so its assumed the rest are?

No hint before Henry had enough - she'd lost a series of babies last one late enough to know it was a boy so she was conceiving, Katerine was dead so new Queen and new DC would have no legitimacy problems like Ann DC could have, Jane Seymore was around playing hard to get, Ann was difficult and Henry found her increasingly annoying.

So very convenient to Henry.

happybirthdayHiggs Thu 13-Sep-12 20:54:33

poets Seems to me you've done the hardest bit, letting your 'famous' peers see your work. Well done you!
I don't know anything about poetry publication. Do they prefer you submit to only one publishing house at a time?
Come on. Summon up that courage and get it sent off. We'll be here to hold your hand.

thanks vagaceratops i will have a look but I think thats about her grandmother, I mean Matilda Henry II 's child. But I will probably read this one too, love this period of history.

usualsuspect3 Thu 13-Sep-12 20:56:26

I live in Leicester, I might go and have a nose at the site after work on Monday.

This thread is very interesting.

Vagaceratops Thu 13-Sep-12 20:58:58

One of the other things I always wonder about is why Henry part recognised Henry FitzRoy but none of his other illegitimate children.

Was it just that he had real feelings for Bessie Blount, or because he was a boy?

Vagaceratops Thu 13-Sep-12 21:01:38

Sorry Fanjo.

I think because he was a boy. sad

I read somewhere he was really sad when he died. I wonder what would have happened if he'd lived, if Henry would have legitimized him in the end? Or even if he could have?

happybirthdayHiggs Thu 13-Sep-12 21:04:04

I've read Lady of the English fanjo. It's a good read, although Matilda (Maude) isn't a very likeable character, it's hard to feel much sympathy for her dilemma.
I prefer Chadwick to either Penman or Gregory to be honest. The Greatest Knight and The Scarlet Lion are among my all time rave about books.

agedknees Thu 13-Sep-12 21:04:07

Why did Edward 1 have his nieces blinded? Was it to do with succession?
Just loving this thread.

TunipTheVegemal Thu 13-Sep-12 21:04:39

I assumed because Fitzroy was his first son to live and so the one that proved he was capable of fathering healthy boys.

ProphetOfDoom Thu 13-Sep-12 21:09:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Socknickingpixie Thu 13-Sep-12 21:09:39

ive been lurking reading this with almost manic intrest, but now have to reveal my lurking to say lrd that has got to be the funnyest post ive seen in ages grin

I'll say thanks on behalf of Elizabeth Knyvett, then! grin

Hawise Thu 13-Sep-12 21:23:48

fanjodisfunction - I read Lady of the English and would recommend it. I am now working my way through all of Elizabeth Chadwick's books and am really loving them.

CassandraApprentice Thu 13-Sep-12 21:28:23

I'm intrigue to about Edward I nieces google search didn't being anything related up.

CassandraApprentice Thu 13-Sep-12 21:29:13

Well it brought up who they married and the DC they had but nothing about him blinding them.

ProphetOfDoom Thu 13-Sep-12 21:37:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ProphetOfDoom Thu 13-Sep-12 21:40:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CassandraApprentice Thu 13-Sep-12 21:41:26

I've found an obscure reference to Edward I keeping Robert the Bruce sister in a cage which had privies, and him and his cronies biting of a man's ear when he was young - but he also forgave his daughter and husband when the eloped and seems to have been kind to his wives.

CassandraApprentice Thu 13-Sep-12 21:43:08

Wow - I really don't blame Juliane.

MadBusLady Thu 13-Sep-12 21:50:04

LRD grin No I doubt it, I've been out of that whole world a while now and I was always more into the constitutional/political side of things. Don't actually know anything much about Handlyng Synne beyond the title!

schmaltzing - that reminds me of the dramatic bit in Braveheart where Wallace storms down from Scotland and takes York by nightfall - all of which comes as a great shock to Edward Longshanks, whose crack team of spies somehow failed to notice the large army of Scots making their way down more than 150 miles of Northern England and past several large towns ...

I have realized that lots of non-British people who've seen the film but wouldn't know UK geography think that York is a town on the Scottish border.

I cross posted with you mad. Whew! It always occurs to me, just too late, that if my supervisor stumbles over this thread she will tease me mercilessly.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 13-Sep-12 21:56:49

God, I LOVE this thread! grin

poetsarepoor Thu 13-Sep-12 22:09:33

Edward the Confessor's brother, Alfred Aetheling was blinded, 'Alfred was tied to a horse and then conveyed by boat to the monastery of Ely. As the boat reached land, his eyes were put out. For a while he was looked after by the monks, who were fond of him, but soon after he died, probably on February 5, 1036.'

kitstwins Thu 13-Sep-12 22:50:28

Vagaceratops Henry VIII only had one illigitimate child - Henry Fitzroy, son of Bessie Blount, born during his marriage to Katherine of Aragon.

It was Katherine's downfall really - Henry was faced with the reality that his wife was unable to provide him with a living male heir and yet his mistress could. In an era of great piety and a belief in the power and judgement of God, Henry perceived that God was showing to him that his marriage to Katherine was unlawful. In fact, Leviticus (20:21) implied as such:
"And if a man shall take his brother's wife, it is an unclean thing: he hath uncovered his brother's nakedness; they shall be childless". Henry conveniently chose to ignore the passage in Deuteronomy (25:5) that contradicted this: "If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her" but although Henry was extremely pious - he was given the title 'Defender of the Faith' by the Pope after his 'Defense of the Seven Sacraments', a title which British monarchs have held ever since - he was also imbued with kingly arrogance and able to ride roughshod over any scriptural potholes.

One of the many sadnesses of Katherine of Aragon's life is that she had a son with Henry VIII. He lived a month and died suddenly and unexpectedly, as infants in the 16th Century often did. Had he lived it is very unlikely that a man as pious and sanctimonius as Henry would have divorced Katherine. Which means there would have been no Edward VI, Mary Tudor, Elizabeth I.

There have been rumours about others, including IIRC Mary Boleyn's children. But I guess, by definition, if he didn't acknowledge them we can't know for sure what he thought (which isn't necessarily the same as the truth, even, is it?).

Katherine had three sons who died, poor woman. sad

kitstwins Thu 13-Sep-12 23:04:03

Oh, there are some mutterings that Mary Boleyn had an illigitimate daughter with Henry VIII, which was passed off as her husband's (Carey? Carew?) child. The dates don't stack up though. And Henry was a bit of a showboat so undoubtedly would have claimed an illigitimate child as his own, even if it was 'only' a girl.
Fitzroy was his only one. And he died of consumption not long after Anne Boleyn's execution.

The BEST bit of intrigue is a bit further down the line; the rumours that Elizabeth I had an illigitimate child by Thomas Seymour. There's circumstantial evidence but it's pretty flimsy and could be read both ways. I can't remember the dates off the top of my head but it tallies with a period that Elizabeth laid low with 'dropsy' and a 'sickness'. There's also a quote from Jane Dormer, who was part of Mary's household (and so was undoubtedly anti-Elizabeth) which I've managed to find: "“There was a bruit of a child born and miserably destroyed, but could not be discovered
whose it was; only the report of the mid-wife, who was brought from her house blindfold thither, and so returned, saw nothing in the house while she was there, but candle light;only, she said, it was the child of a very fair young lady. There was muttering of the Admiral and this lady, who was then between fifteen and sixteen years of age.” As I said, it's pretty tenuous. Personally I think it's unlikely. Instead it's propaganda to tarnish Elizabeth's reputation whilst Mary was on the throne.

There's a fantastic bonk-buster about Elizabeth and Thomas Seymour, kits. I read it when I was 13 or so and it was a revelation. blush grin

I doubt we'll ever know with any of them, but it's fun to speculate. I tend to reckon you're right Fitzroy was his only one.

fridascruffs Thu 13-Sep-12 23:29:41

Alison Weir's book 'The Princes in the Tower' is very good- but she concludes that Richard did it, apologies to all the Ricardians. I am also a Richard fan, have read RHJ, Penman, Tey etc (RHJ is still the best, don't particularly like the other novels about him except for Tey who is good fun). I prefer non-fiction for finding out what really happened though, and Weir details all the original sources and why she gives more weight to some sources than others. She explains in some detail why she thinks it wasn't Henry VII and why it wasn't Buckingham. As someone said upthread, the easiest explanation is probably the right one. I now think he probably did it.

happybirthdayHiggs Thu 13-Sep-12 23:46:46

Here's an interesting theory regarding Henry VIII and his lack of progeny (legitimate or otherwise. Off to bed now. Will be back tomorrow. /henry_viii_and_miscarriages_was_it_kell_antigen-76877HenryVIIIKellssyndrome

happybirthdayHiggs Thu 13-Sep-12 23:47:35
CheerfulYank Fri 14-Sep-12 01:57:31

Totally (or at least a lot) OT but I know nothing about Richard III or any of them really, being American and all. blush But I would really like to; it's enormous bits of history that I'm missing.

Where should I start? Is there a good book that's sort of all-encompassing?

LeftyLucy Fri 14-Sep-12 04:34:19

Nothing to add except what an absolutely lovely thread.

cheerful - this may be too basic, or too complete if you only want the tudors, but I've heard it goes down well (you can get audio as well).

That would definitely be all-encompassing. The problem with finding good books that do Richard III and the Tudors is that the way history used to be taught (sometimes still is), is with a period boundary between them.

I would really like to know too, if anyone has a good rec for the basic history across that time period, from maybe 1450-1600, I haven't found one.

(Not what you asked, but I do think google/wiki are quite good and, obviously, free ... there must be loads of history buffs out there who are really keen.)

happy - ooh, that's interesting.

It is tragic, isn't it, though.

kerrygrey Fri 14-Sep-12 06:56:09

Been on the Richardiii Society Facebook this morning (I know, I know - get a life) and some are speculating that the wounds on the Leicester skelly argue against it being Richard. For instance, A slice to the back of the head - a man in a helmet would have a crush trauma; and an arrow-head couldn't have pieced armour. It's even suggested that it's the skeleton of an archer running away from the battle. But why would he have been buried in Greyfriars? Suppose we must wait for the experts pronouncement.

Ooh, the thick plottens.

Btw, I think 'getting a life' is not within the ethos of this fine thread. grin

poetsarepoor Fri 14-Sep-12 08:00:22

LRDtheFeministDragon It's funny about the connection between the Plantagenet house and Tudor, because of studying the females it means to me they all seem very connected.

Because the claim to the throne for the Tudors through the female line: Katherine of Valois and her marriage with Owen Tudor, a tenuous royal link, made stronger by Margeret Beaufort through her connection to Edward III and then sealed by Elizabeth of York. So in my view they were the same family with two names!

MadBusLady Fri 14-Sep-12 08:09:52

I'd be amazed if it isn't him - or at least, isn't the body that was buried as being Richard's. I mostly read about prehistoric archaeology now, and to be able to map a church nave onto the ground and read a written account of what was buried there, and then start digging and find something broadly correspondent sounds enviably secure to me!

If the DNA isn't a match, what would that prove and not prove I wonder? Depends what kind of tests they're doing.

MadBusLady Fri 14-Sep-12 08:12:40

Hm ok it's mitochondrial, so that ought AFAIK to rule out non-identification on the basis of any illegitimacy...

That's so true - I hadn't thought of it like that. I guess doing your work, you would notice it so much.

I read one time that for a family to produce an unbroken line of boy children in each generation (like the Capetian house), without ever ending up going back through the maternal line, is vanishingly unlikely to happen over more than a few generations. So it does feel as if male kingship is setting itself up for a fail, really.

MadBusLady Fri 14-Sep-12 08:28:45

Yy, and it's also next to impossible without testing to really know that a child is the son of his official father! Anywhere along the line somebody could have had an affair, whatever the conventions of the day say about it. This worries me about genealogy too. How on earth would you know? Seems a very odd way to go about maintaining political stability, doesn't it.

Re Kitstwins post about Elizabeth I and a possible child, it's ringing bells about visiting a manor house somewhere (anyone help?) where they found the skeleton of a newborn under a fireplace during building work and linked it to that story above. However, IIRC, they thought it was improbable that the mother was really Elizabeth and had another candidate. V. Good and creepy story though. Sorry cant remember any more.

In a funny way, genealogies and so on only make sense if you understand them the way we understand parenting now - that the child you bring up as your own, is your own child, even if there isn't a biological connection.

It is bizarre, though, to go to such lengths to preserve female 'chastity' in paranoia, rather than strategize so as to put less emphasis on who's biologically related to whom.

I would like to know about that leonie!

However, I'm sure I have also been told that on limited gynecological evidence Elizabeth was probably infertile and knew it hence never marrying. And I'm sure the suggestion for the cause was congenital syphilis. But I have no evidence for those statements grin

Hm, I'm sure I can track it down LRD but it'll take a while, have to spend my morning at toddler music group shock <- yawning face

I have the excellent evidence of the bonkbuster I mentioned above, which goes with that theory. And with the brilliantly-named 'Dr Butts' (who is real, just great name), who tells her she's messed up her insides getting pregnant by Thomas Seymour and is consequently infertile.

Or there's that theory she was a hermaphrodite. Of course. Because that would naturally explain how she was all brave and manly, too.

kerrygrey Fri 14-Sep-12 08:37:37

Or Richard was such a hero that he was fighting without armour and with his breakfast butty in one hand?

Oh ... is it possible to say 'enjoy' toddlers' music? If so, enjoy. Or at least, I hope it's tolerable and the toddler(s) in question have a ball. grin

MadBusLady Fri 14-Sep-12 08:43:09

Somebody way upthread mentioned the two skeletons found near Edward IV's tomb at Windsor. This is what Wiki says:

In 1789, workmen carrying out repairs in St. George's Chapel, Windsor, rediscovered and accidentally broke into the vault of Edward IV and Queen Elizabeth Woodville, discovering in the process what appeared to be a small adjoining vault. This vault was found to contain the coffins of two mysterious, unidentified children. However, no inspection or examination was carried out and the tomb was resealed. The tomb was inscribed with the names of two of Edward IV's children: George, 1st Duke of Bedford who had died at the age of 2, and Mary of York who had died at the age of 14; both had predeceased the King.[16] During the excavation for the royal tomb house for King George III under the Wolsey tomb-house in 1810-1813 two lead coffins clearly labelled as George Plantagenet and Mary Plantagenet were discovered and moved into the adjoining vault of Edward IV's but at the time no effort was made to identify the two lead coffins already in the vault.[17]

It goes on to say this area was being worked on again in the late 1990s and a request was put in to open the vault and examine the two unknown occupants, but the royal household turned it down. I wonder if (assuming the Leicester skeleton is Richard) another request will be made again now?

I can see why this kind of thing is only done very occasionally though, the royal household has a duty of care and it's not massively respectful is it, digging up skellies to test every time we have a scientific advance! Would be a very interesting one though.

MadBusLady Fri 14-Sep-12 08:44:20

grin kerrygrey

MadBusLady Fri 14-Sep-12 08:45:06

Sorry, this is the link for that long quote.

happybirthdayHiggs Fri 14-Sep-12 08:46:33

Just a quicky - surely, given the determination to slander Anne Boleyn at the time of her execution, they would have shouted it from the rooftops if she had had syphilis?
But then again, that would intimate that Henry must have it and they wouldn't want that, would they.

Ah, toddler music, I remember that grin <mwa-ha-ha-ha>

There used to be a theory (may still be) that Henry had syphilis. Does it pass from father to child? I think so.

Loving Richard III and the bacon butty. grin

MadBusLady Fri 14-Sep-12 08:51:28

BTW, if anyone wants to read a great background colour book about the Wars of the Roses, written by an academic historian, I can totally recommend Helen Castor's Blood and Roses, which is based on the Paston letters and brings in a lot of the wider political history too.

happybirthdayHiggs Fri 14-Sep-12 08:51:52

Also, wasn't Richard's body supposed to have been mutilated after death. That could account to blows to the back of the head.

MadBusLady Fri 14-Sep-12 08:53:23

I thought he was supposed to have been chucked into the River Soar actually. Is that not true, or was he retrieved from there for burial?

And if so, did they retrieve the right body? shock

Ooh, I'll look that up, thanks mad. I love the Pastons.

There's a lovely bit in one of the letters where the wife is writing to her husband and they're joking about how she's got such a 'shapely' figure now, she really needs a new dress (she's in her third trimester). It just feels very affectionate and homely.

(This is why I'd be a terrible historian ... I always go off into the anecdotes.)

happybirthdayHiggs Fri 14-Sep-12 08:58:26

As far as I remember, Richard's body was thrown into the river Soar after the dissolution of the monasteries.
I really ought to get some work done but this thread is just so alluring.

MadBusLady Fri 14-Sep-12 08:58:55

Oh no, scratch that. The River Soar legend is about what supposedly happened to his tomb when the Priory was broken up at Dissolution.

The DNA tests will take 12 weeks! shock

Want to know NOW! <cries, drums fists>

MadBusLady Fri 14-Sep-12 08:59:27


We're just going to have to keep pressing refresh for 12 weeks!

happybirthdayHiggs Fri 14-Sep-12 09:00:18

Were we channeling Mad ? grin

There must have been something wrong with Henry as none of his male children survived into adult hood, also his brother died very young. Could Elizabeth have thought there was something wrong with her as her brother had died and her sister had a phantom pregnancy and died.

MadBusLady Fri 14-Sep-12 09:01:20

<spooky noise>

That's a point fanjo - or she might have been terrified of the idea of having a baby after seeing all of that (although I suppose you could argue that for most of the population!).

happybirthdayHiggs Fri 14-Sep-12 09:06:27

shock you're right LRD , syphilis can pass from father to child too.
There's a pleasant new thought to accompany my breakfast bagel (cream cheese and bacon if anyone's interested).


Sorry, happy.

happybirthdayHiggs Fri 14-Sep-12 09:10:05

Arthur (Henry VIII's older brother) was supposed to have died from TB wasn't he. I think Catherine (of Aragon) caught it too but survived. Couldn't swear to that. I'd need to check it out.

MadBusLady Fri 14-Sep-12 09:15:51

She lived a pretty long time for someone with congenital syphilis, I think it usually results in infant death.

Don't know the Tudors at all, but Fanjo yes that sounds possible, maybe she was aware that something was wrong with the family's fertility, in a non-specific way (perhaps that Kell positive thing someone linked to) and never married because she didn't want to pass on whatever it was.

Some babies with congenital syphilis must survive a fair time, since it's associated with learning disabilities and so they must live long enough for that to become apparent. sad

Though, if it were that, Elizabeth must have had it very mildly since she was hardly struggling to be clever!

seeker Fri 14-Sep-12 09:32:43

Talk on the radio this morning about a state funeral if it turns out to be him. Wouldn't that just be fantastic!

It'd have to be Catholic, obviously- can you have a Catholic state funeral? And where?

That would be fantastic!

If it were Catholic, it'd be fascinating - would they dig out the old medieval guidelines for state funerals? I would absolutely love to see that.

MadBusLady Fri 14-Sep-12 09:35:12

Gosh, that would be ALL SORTS of protocol difficulties, wouldn't it.

I can't see it. I know he's a monarch but I think it would just be surreal. Small ceremony at Windsor alongside his brother probably more likely. And what we want if it also involves re-examination of the two mystery bodies in there.

I feel a complete ghoul.

Oh, but it would be so interesting to do.

I know someone who adapted a medieval liturgy to be sung in her local church during a special Mass, and she had to do loads of work to find out exactly how to make it all authentic with the lighting and the clothes and the music. So I'm sure someone could do the same for a state funeral, although it'd be much more lavish, obviously. And maybe having it as a reproduction would make it feel less of a protocol issue? I don't know.

seeker Fri 14-Sep-12 09:40:11

"I can't see it. I know he's a monarch but I think it would just be surreal. Small ceremony at Windsor alongside his brother probably more likely. And what we want if it also involves re-examination of the two mystery bodies in there."
sad at small ceremony
smile at re-examination.

ticklemyboobsofsteel Fri 14-Sep-12 09:41:10

MadBusLady I know how you feel - I'm like that with the remains of the executed under the floor of the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula in the Tower of London - those of Anne Boleyn, Jane Rochford, Katherine Howard and so on. I find it fascinating what they found when the chapel was renovated during Queen Victoria's reign and, as much as I believe that the souls there should be left in peace, a small, morbid part of me wishes there was a way, with the wonders of technology/science now, that we could find out more about those resting there.

TunipTheVegemal Fri 14-Sep-12 09:42:17

Well if they have a state funeral I hope they send some invites to the Richard III Society, seeing as how they've stayed loyal to him all these years.

People do all sorts of fancy scanning with mummies and wooden coffins, don't they? Presumably nothing gets through lead/stone, but maybe one day?

Mirage Fri 14-Sep-12 09:50:59

There is an old story from Leicester and I don't know how well known it is outside of the area,but my mum told me when I was little.It states that Richard stayed at the White Boar Inn in Highcross St the night before Bosworth and as he rode out to battle,his spur knocked against the bridge over the river Soar.An old woman,presumed to be Black Annis predicted that he'd return over the bridge and that it would be his head knocking against the bridge instead of his spur.After the battle,his body was slung over the back of a horse and his head did indeed knock against the bridge as it was brought back to the city.The landlord of the White Boar changed its name to the Blue Boar,and that was demolished during the 19th century.We have a photo of it before it was knocked down.

MadBusLady Fri 14-Sep-12 09:59:17

Never heard that before, Mirage. I love old stories like that. I wonder if there is some study of how reliable they typically are/are not IYSWIM. Lots of stuff gets embroidered, but then other things you think, why would anyone embroider/invent that?

Lexilicious Fri 14-Sep-12 09:59:23

if it's going to take 12 weeks for the DNA, this thread will be gone. I'm going to suggest Classics. <weak pun>

RaisinDEtre Fri 14-Sep-12 10:09:17

Seeker would you be alright with having this thread moved somewhere permanent?

Can we recommend it for Classics? I go browse in there when I need a good laugh or I'm bored, and it'd be nice to have it go there.

mirage - I love that story - so spooky!

Isn't our history brilliant.

I remember being taught about richard III at school and being told that his portrait was probably tampered with to make him look like he had a deformity with his shoulders. (Think teacher was a secret member of richard III society)

It will always be a mystery what happened to the princes in the tower.

seeker Fri 14-Sep-12 10:14:19

Absolutely- it's my favourite thread ever!

happybirthdayHiggs Fri 14-Sep-12 10:15:03

I've heard the legend of the crone on the bridge too Mirage. I live in the Midlands as well, so perhaps it's a local thing.

I hope we can find a permanent home for this thread and its inevitable babies.

TunipTheVegemal Fri 14-Sep-12 10:18:45

Seeker if you like historical threads were you on the Ways of Dying In 1667 (or whatever year it was) one? That was fantastic too.
<happy sigh>

I was just thinking of Ways of Dying. They could cuddle up in classics together, both hilarious and ghoulish in equal measure.

Ah, what a lot of time I spend on MN, and none of it is wasted deludes self.

happybirthdayHiggs Fri 14-Sep-12 10:22:33

I don't post on many threads, too much sniping, but may I say, ladies, it has been a joy to contribute to this thread.

happybirthdayHiggs Fri 14-Sep-12 10:25:27

I know what you mean, LDR, and working from home doesn't help. The temptation to pop in to MN when a thread like this is alive does nothing for my deadline.

When's the deadline? Can we helpfully shout at you when we see you here until it's passed?

I've just had two weeks off (I got MNHQ to ban me so I couldn't even be tempted to browse), and it was probably a very good idea. But it's nice to have a place to chat, as well, I think in the end it does help with other work. What are you working on?

I've enjoyed this thread so much, too, thank you seeker.

LineRunner Fri 14-Sep-12 10:28:23

I remember Ways of Dying. It was a tremendous thread. Didn't someone die of tiredness? (Not on the thread, in 1667.)

Maybe we should create our own mumsnet histocial society? Lol

LineRunner Fri 14-Sep-12 10:30:37

I'd like that, fanjodisfunction. But could we have prehistory as well? Me and prehistoric caves, we've got a thing going on. I could be a sub-group.

MadBusLady Fri 14-Sep-12 10:30:46

Yy thankyou Seeker.

Lol at what an epitaph that would be: "Died of tiredness on Mumsnet"

I'm also very interested in that 16th C sweating sickness thing wot no-one actually knows what disease was, although there are competing theories.

Ooh, I like prehistoric caves too (in an ignorant but enthusiastic way).

I love 'died of tiredness on Mumsnet'. grin

MadBusLady Fri 14-Sep-12 10:34:03

Probably the key risk group there is MNHQ on a late night bunfight thread!

Oh, yes.

'Here lieth Olivia, late of Mumsnet, who died of a surfeit of jenniver and the unkind attentions of her many dependants. Rest in Peace.'

ticklemyboobsofsteel Fri 14-Sep-12 10:37:01

Ooo ooo I wonder if we could have our own section!

The sweating sickness was terrifying. Relentless.

No, I'd never work again tickle!

MadBusLady Fri 14-Sep-12 10:39:13

grin LRD

How prehistoric are we talking, LineRunner? I could be a Neolithic/bronze age sub-sub-group.

We should I love history, celtic history, saxon, dark ages. We need our own section so we can discuss all this at leisure.

I'm a bit of a bernard cornwell fan love his books, love the battle scenes. Love the guts and gore.

Must read up on Alfred the Great.

Also very interrested in the stone and bronze age, actually interrested in anything before WW1.

ticklemyboobsofsteel Fri 14-Sep-12 10:44:07


MadBusLady Fri 14-Sep-12 10:45:19

Yes, I basically love All The Shit from the Upper Palaeolithic to about 1500, with certain exceptions for historical pathology, social and local history, folklore history etc up to 1900. Other than that it is all boring. wink

I love Bernard Cornwell too. I have a bit of a thing for Uhtred, I like to imagine him played by Sean Bean too.

I annoy DH by picking holes in the Thomas of Hookton medieval ones though. We've got the audio version which has a bizarre male narrator putting on a cod-French accept and high voice for the women, it's most disconcerting.

kerrygrey Fri 14-Sep-12 10:46:16

Love the idea of a state funeral! Can I be first in the queue for a ticket, please?
Catholic? Well, he was, of course, because everyone was. But if he'd had to choose between the Pope or the King of England as head of the Church, which way would he have gone? It'd better be a concelebrated requiem. Medieval liturgy. In Latin

mad - if you like folklore you might like this blog? It's quite new but good stuff so far and lovely pictures.

ticklemyboobsofsteel Fri 14-Sep-12 10:48:14

One thing I'd love is a true image of Anne Boleyn. I secretly hope that there is a portrait of her stashed somewhere that escaped the fate that most other things connected with her met when she fell.

I always picture her as she is depicted in the Hever painting, holding a rose.

<annoying pedantry alert>

Everyone wasn't Catholic. Some people were heretics (eg. Lollards), though from their own point of view they were still Catholic I think, and half of Christian Europe (ish?) was Orthodox.

I always feel the need to say this because DH is Orthodox and it always feels peculiar when people ask if it's a really recent religion. It's the same age as Catholicism, they split in the 11th century.

<here endeth annoying pedantry alert>

MadBusLady Fri 14-Sep-12 10:53:33

I'd love it if the lost books of Livy's history of Rome turned up, buried in some fragment of an old aristocratic library that hasn't been catalogued properly for 300 years.

Things do turn up, don't they?

It's not anything like as old, but do you remember in the news a few years back when they found the Macclesfield Psalter (gorgeous illuminated prayerbook from the early fourteenth century) just lying around in the Earl of Macclesfield's uncatalogued library?

And a mate of mine found a manuscript in Wadham college library that hadn't been in the catalogues IIRC (or had been thought lost, I forget which).

MadBusLady Fri 14-Sep-12 10:59:08

Ooh yes, I do remember that. I'm quite excited by your uncatalogued "Thomas Knyvett" too (doesn't take much!)

ticklemyboobsofsteel Fri 14-Sep-12 11:03:02

There was that mural of Henry VIII in Somerset as well last year. Couple renovating their house (which used to belong to Thomas Cranmer).

kitstwins Fri 14-Sep-12 11:03:26

May this thread live forever!

Leonie I too remember the manor house and the buried infant. I will have a search and see what I can find as it’s far too thrilling to ignore.

There was some speculation that Henry VIII was syphilitic. However, he didn’t present standard symptoms or rather none have been recorded. It’s not to say he wasn’t syphilitic as I understand that the disease doesn’t manifest itself in everybody but it does cast it in doubt. Especially since other aspects of his health problems were recorded (his ulcerated leg, for example).

Elizabeth I made the famous quote that “I would rather be a beggar and single than a queen and married” and there’s an apocryphal quote that she would never marry for reasons that she “would not divulge to a twin soul”. The former quote could probably be tempered by the fact that it was spoken in ire to some ambassador, pressing the suit of some Duke or Prince in marriage. The latter, if it’s true, hints at a darker view of marriage. To be fair I don’t think we can read too much into Elizabeth’s reluctance/refusal to marry. She had her sister’s example before her to show that Queens were damned whichever route they took. Marry an English nobleman and you set up dangerous factions and incite jealousy amongst the rest of the nobility; choose a foreign husband and you manage to annoy everyone. If you didn’t marry you had the problem of succession, although in Elizabeth’s case she did have her cousin, Mary of Scotland’s son. She could be fairly confident towards the second half of her reign that the throne would pass to him with some measure of stability.

I don’t think Elizabeth had syphilis. She was unusual in an age of poor personal hygiene in that she bathed monthly (records when she travelled about court show that she took a bath with her!). There is also some quote I recall reading that mentioned that she had irregular ‘courses’ (It may have been the Spanish Ambassador, digging around for dirt as usual) which could hint at fertility problems. But this wouldn’t have been that unusual for the time. The only reason it is recorded about Elizabeth was because her fertility was of specific interest rather than the fact that irregular periods were stand-out unusual.

If Elizabeth I knew that half a millennia later people were discussing the regularity of her menstrual cycle she would probably raise an overplucked eyebrow.

mad - ah, sadly, I don't think it is uncatalogued, it's just not in the rather crappy catalogue I was using. A Thomas Knyvett in the sixteenth century was a known antiquarian book collector, so I would be it's him.

It never ceases to irritate me massively that more catalogues aren't available online or in updated forms - some of the old ones are useless.

But I am still excited to see it because I love the idea that someone was reading the book 200 years after it was written.

I have found genuinely uncatalogued references to owners of books before, though, and it made me very happy. smile

*I would guess, not 'I would be'. Oops.

ticklemyboobsofsteel Fri 14-Sep-12 11:08:09

Kitstwins Wasn't there also something about Francis I of France having to take the 'mercury cure' because of syphillis, but no mention at all of anything like that recorded in Henry's health records such as they are...

tickle that is awesome!

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Fri 14-Sep-12 11:09:56

Going back to the Tudors and their offspring, I watched a tv documentary once, discussing why so many royals lost pregnancies and young children. IIRC, one theory was that Anne Boleyn was blood type Rhesus Negative. Meaning that she would carry her first child to term, but not any subsequent pregnancies! Such a simple problem! It's awful to think that her blood type lead might have lead to her death! sad

happybirthdayHiggs Fri 14-Sep-12 11:14:30

LDR Oh, shouting might help, although I might just return to lurking so you won't know I'm here. Not much chance of me only lurking on this thread, though, there's just so many fascinating things to discuss.
My deadline was to finish the final revision of my book by the end of September. I'm not a published writer yet, but (fingers crossed emoticon) watch this space smile. I've written a YA novel and have been signed by a New York agent with it. He gave it to lots of publishing houses, and they loved it, but didn't think my writing style was YA. They want me to offer it again as adult historical, which basically means another 50,000 words and a bit more meat on the bones.
The deadline is the end of September. It's self imposed, but I'm going to the Historical Novel Society conference (last weekend in Sept) and I was hoping to be able to say it was finished.
I'd love to be part of a MN Historical Society.

ticklemyboobsofsteel Fri 14-Sep-12 11:15:20

LRD Isn't it beautiful! There's a more recent restoration pic here - if you look at the image upside down, there's supposedly a 'hidden image' of what the artist maybe really thought of Henry...

saggy, oh, that is so sad.

It seems quite plausible. A friend of mine has recently had her baby and is O neg, and she had to come home from the country she was staying in because the medical care there is not good at all, and she could not have got the injection if she'd stayed there. So it is really scary to think this is still a reality for women in parts of the world. sad

happy - oh, good luck! That sounds brilliant ... I would love to read it, and the conference sounds like so much fun.

tickle - wow. shock That hidden image is hilarious. You'd have to have balls, though, right?!

Ahem. Or the non-gender-specific equivalent thereof. blush

That's interresting about anne boleyn, but what about catherine of aragon? Why did she loose so many babies? Would be a horrid coincidence if she suffered the same.

happybirthdayHiggs Fri 14-Sep-12 11:28:47

Don't know if you saw the link to the theory that Henry VIII might have been suffering from Kells fanjo
Here's the link again to save you time looking for it if not.

happybirthdayHiggs Fri 14-Sep-12 11:32:31

Wow! What a find! The upside down image looks like spiderman to me.

She miscarried quite a lot and lost a lot of babies just after birth, so I think it presumably wasn't the same, or she herself would have died too, after giving birth to them all?

A lot of small babies just did die. The woman I mentioned further up this thread, who lived nearly a century later, had 18 children of whom 9 survived.

Maybe Catherine was just terribly unlucky. sad

ticklemyboobsofsteel Fri 14-Sep-12 11:34:07

Hehe happy I'm torn between a devil spitting him out, and a uterus...

But perhaps he was the original friendly neighbourhood Spiderman in his spare time...!

Oh - and it doesn't help that you're meant to have a child baptised on the third day, and when you think of draughty, unheated houses and cold, unheated churches (often with dead bodies lying around rather ineffectively buried), I think it's maybe not surprising babies died. They wouldn't have known all sorts of things we know.


There's a brilliant niche comic somewhere in that: 'Henry VII: Spiderman!!"

PrincessFiorimonde Fri 14-Sep-12 11:38:42

Great thread. I too hope it gets moved somewhere more permanent.

Just to add - I know it was ages ago, but someone asked about a book about Matilda, Henry II's mother. There's a biography by Marjorie Chibnall.

details here

ticklemyboobsofsteel Fri 14-Sep-12 11:44:16

LRD If only I could draw, that would be such a fun idea for a project grin

I remember reading that Katherine of Aragon had some gynaecological issues - but that probably resulted from the near-constant childbearing and miscarriage more than being the cause of it sad Poor lady. I am a big Anne Boleyn fan, but I have just as much respect for KoA. Such a strong woman, with an awesome mother!

Thanks happybirthdayhiggs will have a look at that when I get in from work.

Wish this was my job, to sit and chat a bout history on mumsnet.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 14-Sep-12 12:05:26

I have been fascinated with this thread and the wealth of knowledge out there. We never learned any of this at school, and I'm wondering if the knowledgable ones on here have History degrees or learned this at school. I hope too that the thread is moved to more permanent location.

happybirthdayHiggs Fri 14-Sep-12 12:10:00

No degrees here morethan Not even an A level.
Just a voracious reading habit and then research for my own writing.

No history degree, though I did do A Level.

I just love reading about it all and I can hear my old history teacher's voice in my head - she told us lots of anecdotes, it was history in that very traditional 'now here is a story about King so-and-so' style.

I am technically doing a history/literature/art history mix in my degree now as its official title is medieval studies.

I absolutely love historical novels for info though - I find it so much easier to make things stick in my mind when I've read them in a narrative or seen the real places or objects they're about.

ticklemyboobsofsteel Fri 14-Sep-12 12:14:49

A degree in journalism and contemporary history here - with a focus on American history.

My Tudor interest is just for fun (but I'm much more passionate about that than I ever was about anything that was in my degree syllabus...) sadly, there wasn't a journalism and 16th century history joint honours course sad

happybirthdayHiggs Fri 14-Sep-12 12:16:57

DS1 is doing a history degree now though. smile

poetsarepoor Fri 14-Sep-12 12:38:14

I'm sure many of the babies died from not getting the right milk; they were taken from the Queen so she could return to royal duties (get pregnant again) and given to wetnurse who was probably nursing a much older baby, therefore the milk not especially suited to newborn.

LineRunner Fri 14-Sep-12 12:38:15

MadBusLady Fri 14-Sep-12 10:45:19
Yes, I basically love All The Shit from the Upper Palaeolithic

Yep, that's my time period.

MyNeighbourIsStrange Fri 14-Sep-12 12:44:33

Another vote for classics.

I have a history degree - was a really fantastic way to spend 3 years smile

When I'm old and rich I want to do a masters in something historical, not sure what though. I specialised in medieval history in my final year though we had to do broader study for the first two years.

Saltire Fri 14-Sep-12 12:50:50

This thread is great. I love history just wish I knew more than the basics sad

happybirthdayHiggs Fri 14-Sep-12 13:03:08

Oh, Lord!
I'm loath to do this for fear of starting a breastfeeding row on our lovely thread, but there were a million and one reasons why far fewer babies survived infancy in times past. I seriously doubt not getting specifically their own mothers milk was one of the major risks. Wet nurses were the norm for millennia and not just for the royal family.

Oh, I was just starting to wonder if it might explain some things, happy ... I mean, wouldn't colestrum be much more important in the times before modern medicine?

I do think wet-nursing would historically have been massively the safer option than anything other than the mother breastfeeding.

Though you do later on (eighteenth century IIRC) get those horrible stories about wet nurses who were paid by charities to take on orphaned or abandoned babies in huge numbers, and the mortality rate was grim. There's a lovely children's book about it called Coram Boy.

happybirthdayHiggs Fri 14-Sep-12 13:19:36

Yes but human colostrum is human colostrum, it's valued for passing on antibodies etc. etc. against illnesses common to all folk of the time. Come to think about it, wouldn't a wetnurse be likely to have better, stronger antibodies than a cossetted high born woman? They're hardly likely to select a syphalitic, pox ridden whore to feed the heir to the throne, are they?
(I have no expert knowledge here you understand, just thinking outloud.)

But - forgive me, not a mum - isn't colostrum the bit that's only produced early on? So she's right that a wet nurse with, say, a one-year-old of her own would not be producing it?

I think there are differences in the antibodies in different women's milk, too, but I may be wrong.

Someone on MN a while back mentioned some research that was being done into the components of breastmilk, and apparently there are all sorts of things in it we didn't know about before, but I forget the details.

Btw, I'm absolutely not arguing this from a modern BF/FF debate point of view as I honestly couldn't give a toss, so please don't feel I'm commenting on anyone's current choices.

TunipTheVegemal Fri 14-Sep-12 13:23:38

There are lots of bits of advice out there about how to select a suitable wet nurse - you're right they were selected carefully.
However I do remember reading some statistics in Lawrence Stone that suggested wetnursed children were likely to do worse than children nursed by their own mothers.

LRD - the Jacqueline Wilson book about a Victorian orphan at the Foundling Hospital, Hetty Feather, is great. It's dd's favourite book and I took her to the Foundling Museum in the summer.

happybirthdayHiggs Fri 14-Sep-12 13:25:18

Oh, sorry, I see what you're saying now. I just assumed the wet nurse would be a new mother too, but then again, they wouldn't have known that it even existed would they.

Thanks tunip, I'll put it on my list of 'books to buy for the poor unsuspecting children of my friends who must be sick of it'. grin

It'd be difficult to prove whether children did worse because of the breastmilk, or because the wetnurse was an employee and didn't care so much as the mother. Or because she was feeding two children. I know some wetnurses had babies who died, or were weaned, but if they were feeding two, you'd have to compare to mothers of twins and twins do not have great life expectancy in pre-modern times.

happy - there was a wet nurse (C17th?) who kept working into her 70s and could produce pints of the stuff. I must remember who she was.

Phacelia Fri 14-Sep-12 13:28:51

Fabulous thread, love how knowledgable so many mners are.

happybirthdayHiggs Fri 14-Sep-12 13:30:44

Good Lord LRD, she must have been able to warm her feet with 'em! grin
Titles noted with thanks.

Colostrum is wonderful stuff but it isn't essential. Babies now bottle fed from birth don't get it and thrive. It's not that long ago that the medical profession believed colostrum was nothing and new babies were not fed at all initially - waiting for the milk to come in hmm

Babies were incredibly vulnerable from so many causes I too doubt that the milk they received, providing they received enough, made much difference.

As an aside does anyone else know the story from the French royal family (15/16 th century I think) where the nursemaid is flirting with a male servant, throws the baby prince, fully swaddled, out of a window to be caught by the man who drops the baby. They shove the baby back in its cradle but it's discovered soon after with multiple broken bones and dies. The girl confessed which is how they found out.

I doubt that was a common occurrence though!

kerrygrey Fri 14-Sep-12 13:34:56

I know that "everyone" wasn't actually a catholic - I have an ancestor who was a lollard and condemned to be branded - but everyone who mattered in society in England would practise catholicism. Eastern Orthodoxy was scarcely known then in this neck of the woods.

Sorry, kerry, I did say it was an annoying bit of pedantry! blush It's just kneejerk because lots of people are funny about DH's religion.

I am soooo jealous about your ancestor (I don't know mine back more than a couple of generations). How did you find out about him/her? Or do you have a family that keeps records well?

Oh, god, leonie, I just saw that. sad

That is awful.

snapespeare Fri 14-Sep-12 13:48:45

I just wanted to delurk briefly to thank you all for such fascinating posts, it's truly lovely to be able to read such intelligent and interesting posts and to not feel quite so alone in my love of tudor/plantagenent history. I don't know anyone irl who shares this passion and it's lovely to not feel quite so...odd! <relurks>

kerrygrey Fri 14-Sep-12 13:49:12

Actually I didn't find out. A clever 12th cousin did - we have a very unusual surname - and contacted me with all the information. My tracing of family got back to mid-18th century but his continued back to mid 15th. I was very impressed! His branch of the family was of a higher status than mine, but we managed to join them up. Ancestor Alice was shopped by her maid who reported that she had said she could pray as well in her room as at Mass, and that folk "went on pilgrimages to show their garments and take pleasure in the green way" Shocking eh?
You're a medievalist, I see. Me too!

Oh, lucky you kerry ... I have boring names on both sides of my family, so no hope there!

I love that quotation ... you have some sympathy with the people Alice was criticizing, don't you, why not enjoy a nice jolly if you can!

I am indeed a medievalist (or a very beginning would-be one). Nice to meet another one.

snape - don't relurk! Especially if we're about to get our own section for history chat!

LaQueen Fri 14-Sep-12 13:53:22

English degree here, but have A Level History, and actually wish I'd studied it at university now.

But, I'm passionate about medieval history, in particular the Plantagenets, and read, read, read about them all the time smile

As regards the high child mortality rates with Catherine of Aragon (she had several child, none who survived more than a few weeks) it was sadly, often the case in those times.

As I recall, Queen Anne had 17 children, none of which survived her shock And, as Queen she would have access to the most sophisticated medicine of the day, and the most experienced midwives and doctors.

LaQueen Fri 14-Sep-12 13:56:08

Leonie what a shocking tale shock

As I recall, it was a French queen (not sure which one) who was enouraged to give birth lying on her back (very unusual for those times, because common snese dictated that gravity will be working against you, and so labouring women were encouraged to walk and squat) so that several official witnesses could see the birth.

And, that led to a fashion in women giving birth lying down.

kerrygrey Fri 14-Sep-12 13:56:39

Well, I AM going with friends to Walsingham next year and fully intend to enjoy the green way. Though I do wonder if Alice is somewhere disapproving of me...

poetsarepoor Fri 14-Sep-12 13:59:43

I didn't want to start any breastfeeding row, honestly! Just something I have often thought might have not helped the newborn to develop full strength because of the antibodies in the first milk compared to the later milk. Obviously so many other reasons including cleanliness and general medical advice being so suspect and superstitious.

MadBusLady Fri 14-Sep-12 14:01:05

Here's a great 18thC birthing chair. I love the curved arms which are plainly designed for gripping!

MyNeighbourIsStrange Fri 14-Sep-12 14:05:02

Where does one rest on that chair? Does it hold the Mother to be on her outer thigh? Does she use it only when pushing? Is the midwife on her knees?

poetsarepoor Fri 14-Sep-12 14:15:08

I thought the baby thrown from the window was Jeanne of Navarre's (mother of Henri IV) but my memory is vague about it.

I hope this link works but it's a woodcut of a mother using a birthing chair, she's sits, supported from behind, midwife in front, lots on similar images on google.

LaQ did I read that the French queens gave birth in public to ensure no substitutions could be made?

poets I thought Jeanne of Navarre too and she did have 3 babies die in infancy but I can't find any evidence. Annoyingly I gave away most of my books when we last moved so I can no longer check anything.

MadBusLady Fri 14-Sep-12 14:18:09

Yes, I think the idea was that in the final stages you sit on it like a normal chair and the midwife crouches down. Can you still get anything like this? (have not given birth, so no idea! But I'd like something like this, it looks the business, you could very usefully arch and squirm against the straight back)

CagneyNLacey Fri 14-Sep-12 14:21:26

This thread is fantastic!

poetsarepoor Fri 14-Sep-12 14:27:53

I have consumed so many history books over the years the facts begin to blur!

ProphetOfDoom Fri 14-Sep-12 14:37:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Top thread!

What I don't understand is that if Richard did kill his nephews, why would he not show the bodies?

I mean it would be the sensible thing to do, and he was a very sensible man.

You would have a public showing, "Oh Lawks, they have died of some childhood disease"

Then everyone would have gone about their business, jobo doneo, whether they believed the lie or not.

The last thing he needed was a mystery.

MrsGuyOfGisbourne Fri 14-Sep-12 14:57:15

Interesting article today in the Times by Ben MacIntyre ( who is my hero anyway for his fab books about spied in the 2WW). Goven that Elixabeth Woodville and Ed IV are buried in the Abbey, they could have been provided DNA