Sunday, April 18, 2010

Enter the Tudors

So Richard, Duke of Gloucester backhandedly became King of England, & he was a rather decent one when compared to some of his predecessors. Didja know he invented trial by jury? Yes, when you get that jury duty summons, you know who to cuss out now LOL   He & his queen endowed Kings College & Queens College at Cambridge, plus a large chantry at York Minster.  A chantry is where ya pay priests to pray for your immortal souls in perpetuity (or as long as your groats last).  He did lots of re-codifying of English common law, kept frowning at the Scots & making them eat haggis, didn't get into any foreign wars, & probably would've been a quite splendid king if he'd gotten more than 2 lousy yrs to play w/ the concept. 

Richard III

Alas, he had a run of bad luck. 1st, his 9 yo son Edward died of an acute stomach thing, tis reckoned maybe appendicitis, poor lad. His wife Anne, like her mother b4, her wasn't much of a breeder, & that was the only kidlet they had, & not a yr after the kid demised she keeled over of the consump.

Richard made his sister Elizabeth's son John de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln, heir presumptive, whilst his peeps negotiated for a nice princess. He was getting set to close the deal on marrying Joanna of Portugal.  There's a nice creepy story about that.  Joanna supposedly just wanted to be a nun but her brother wanted her on the marriage mart.  When twas brought up that she was going to marry Richard, she asked his council if she could have the night to pray & meditate upon it b4 they came to a final decision.  Joanna supposedly had a vision that Richard was demised & was so confident that it was real, come the morn she told the council that if Richard still lived, she would wed him, but if he did not, they would cease pestering her to take a DH already & let her go join a convent.  Her bro rolled his eyes at her & agreed.  Weren't they surprised when a cpl wks later they got word from England that Joanna was right & Richard was freshly demised when she had her vision!  In awe of her mystical powers, she got to go join her convent & is now Portugal's patron saint.

Joanna of Portugal

Despite these negotiations, there was rumors flying that Richard was going to line the Pope's pockets w/ lots of coin for a dispensation to wed his NIECE, Elizabeth! The queen finally came out of Sanctuary & to court w/ her girls BTW.

Then the Lancastrians decided to crawl out of the woodwork. What Lancastrians are left, ya might be asking? Remember Margaret Beaufort's lad, Henry Tudor? There was plotting afoot for Henry to come invade & usurp Richard's throne, but there was bad weather HA HA & he couldn't land & had to turn around & go away.  Surprisingly, this plot was plotted by Richard's new BFF, Buckingham, who natch got the axe for it.  Those ticked off dukes can't be trusted & in this realm, neither can your rellies, mostly. The Plantagenets were a backstabbing lot at times, but their time of troublemaking was rapidly drawing to a close.  And of course, Margaret Beaufort was all GO TEAM SONNY BOY! & in the thick of it.

Richard was stupidly lenient w/ Margaret & merely put her under house arrest w/ her new hubby, William, Lord Stanley as her jailer. Dunno what he was thinkin' there. The Stanley peeps were Yorkists from way back so maybe he thought it was OK. And even tho Richard II legitimicized Gaunt's Beaufort offspring, old Henry the Leper there altered the document some. Henry IV got along well w/ his Beaufort sibs but he was thinking maybe future generations wouldn't be so loyal (they were decimated for their loyalty to the Lancastrians in the WOTR so he was wrong), so he changed it say they were legit in all things EXCEPT the right to the throne. Didn't seem to bother Margaret Beaufort none when it came to her precious Sonny Boy.

Margaret Beaufort
one scary-looking broad if you ask me

In fact, Margaret was now plotting behind Richard's back w/ Elizabeth Woodville! The 2 mamas decided that if Henry was successful in toppling Richard off the throne, then Princess Elizabeth would be his bride to cement the deal & unite the warring houses of Lancaster & York.

Henry Tudor gave it another shot & landed in his native Wales (shades of Bolingbroke) at Milford Haven, along w/ Uncle Jasper & lots of mercenaries, & commenced marching to take down Richard.

The opposing armies met at Bosworth Field on Scarlet's Official Day of Mourning, August 22nd (1485). It was going quite well for Richard, actually. He wasn't no sniveling coward hanging out in his tent like Henry Tudor was. He was armed & armoured & on his snorting destrier hacking his way thru Lancastrian peeps like butter & advancing inexorably on Henry's pavilion. He slashed his sword right thru Henry's standard bearer, Sir William Brandon, & sent the Tudor dragon banner tumbling to the dirt.

And then the Stanleys turned their coats. I still don't get why Richard was dumb enough to trust them peeps! As soon as it became alarmingly evident that Richard's charge at Henry was going to be successful & result in getting rid of the last of the Lancastrians, all the Stanley peeps who were supposed to have his back jumped on it instead. Richard was literally within less than a minute of sending Henry to Hell. He went down flailing his sword at the traitors, crying, "Treason! Treason!", whilst Henry's peeps hustled him off to safety.  Even Tudor peeps had to admit Richard did a hell of a job there at Bosworth.

Richard's corpse was stripped, mutilated, slung over the back of a mule, paraded around for peeps to gawk at the earthly remains of a slain king, & then dumped off unceremoniously at the nearest abbey, Greyfriars, for burial.  He was the last English king to die in battle & the 1st since Harold Godwineson allegedly took that arrow in the eye at Hastings. Richard is the only king of England whose final resting place is not known. Tis said when Henry VIII was busy dissolving the monasteries, Richard's bones were unceremoniously dumped into the nearest river!  Just recently they think they found his coffin being used as a garden planter in Leicester; tis the right age for it once they dug it up & had a look-see.

Peeps was all gobsmacked that Henry Tudor won against the mighty warrior Richard, & most didn't realize what a close shave it was. They looked to the left & looked to the right & there was nary another Yorkist nor a Lancastrian to be seen standing after all these Wars of the Roses battles, so they shrugged & said hiya Hank WB have a nice crown b/c really, there was nobody left but kidlets at this pt.  And thus ended 11dy6 yrs of the Plantagenet dynasty.

Henry VII
he just looks shifty, don't he? LOL

Henry Tudor was a greedy little sneak. Do you know he attempted to date his reign from August 21st so that he could charge everyone who'd fought for their rightful king w/ treason, hold mass executions, & confiscate their goodies? Parliament looked at this & went um NO & made him change it pffft. That just wasn't done. Practically the 1st thing Henry did was hie off to the treasury & likely roll around in it. This might be where the nursery rhyme about the king was in his counting house counting all his money comes from. Henry sure loved his coin & quickly gained a rep as a notorious cheeseparer. If he could save a ha'penny he'd leap on it. But being a Momma's Boy, he sighed & unclutched his fist just enough to throw himself a splendid coronation. Margaret Beaufort drilled into him the importance of good PR & the necessary evil of parting w/ a groat now & then to achieve such.

La Diva Woodville & her daughters waited anxiously, b/c Henry had himself crowned posthaste & never said a word about marrying Elizabeth. They thought Elizabeth should've been crowned w/ him, but MB was all no no no, that would imply Sonny Boy was only the king b/c he married the rightful heiress & he had to stand on his own merit. Besides there was that whole bastardy thing to take care of 1st. Making Elizabeth legit again also meant that should the PITT surface, THEY were legit, too, & Henry's shiny new crown would be in trouble. So hmmm, who had a really good motive to permanently remove the lads?  The Tudors made it a policy to rid themselves of their rellies, who were all potential throne-squatters, whenever they could get away w/ it.

Henry made sure he collected & destroyed every single copy of Titilus Regius (he missed one HA HA so we know what it says) so that there'd be no question that he was wedding a king's bastard brat instead of a real princess. It took him 5 mos after Bosworth to get around to saying his I dos w/ Elizabeth of York.

Elizabeth of York

Imagine the sweat stains on those unwashable brocaded gowns from the tension of waiting. None of EWs girls had any value on the marriage mart being still illegitimate, but even after they were legitted again Henry didn't go out of his way to make splendid marriages for them as Edward had done for EWs sisters; he just gave them to his pals as a reward for helping him out, except for Bridget, who was sent to a convent. Henry likely got tired of paying out fat dowries by the time he got to the youngest Plantagenet.

Henry & Elizabeth were barely married 8 mos when she triumphantly produced the Tudor heir, Arthur (so premarital hanky-panky?). EW was mighty irked b/c MB was given precedence over her & MB wasn't even a queen, just the Queen Mother. MB ruled the royal roost & made all the rules & she expected peeps to follow them or else. She was noted for her extreme piety & shrimpiness, not even being 5 ft tall, & her smallness was likely why she never had anymore kids after birthing Henry at age 13 b/c twas allegedly touch & go there. And Henry was all yes Mummy & whatever you want Mummy & made it clear Mummy was his #1 girl.

Margaret Beaufort being pious

After counting all his money & such, Henry's 1st order of bidness was to establish English supremacy, & what better way to announce that he was an up & comer than to contract a nice alliance w/ one of the big boys in European politics? He betrothed Arthur whilst he was still in nappies to Catherine of Aragon, the youngest daughter of Ferdinand & Isabella of Spain. Since Gaunt's marriage to Constance of Castile made him an ancestor of Isabella, the Pope likely got a fat purse for the dispensation. There were lots of those b/c the royal houses intermarried so much everybody was related somehow by then.

Sometimes a child princess would be sent over to the country of her betrothed to be raised there, but F & I said um NO b/c they wanted to see how this Tudor upstart would get along b4 committing their 3 yo prematurely.....

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