Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bloody Mary

Northumberland sent msgs to Mary & Elizabeth that their 15 yo baby bro was on his deathbed, b/c he wanted the 2 disinherited heirs in his custody. Elizabeth smelt a plot & took to her bed pleading illness made her unable to travel. Mary wasn't so clever & started out for Hampton Court posthaste. On her way there a peep came & told her that Edward had demised & N was up to no good. Mary natch had her good self proclaimed queen right away & retreated to her manor of Kenninghall to rally supporters for her throne rights. Most peeps thunk she was legit anyway & she was Henry's kid & shouldn't be supplanted, so she got lots of peeps on her side.

Meanwhile, in London, Jane Grey & rellies were installed in the Tower whilst SHE was proclaimed queen & her coronation was being planned. This was 4 days after Edward died, so Jane is known as the Nine Days' Queen even tho you could technically argue for 13 b/c as soon as Edward ceased breathing she was the queen according to his devise, but tis dated from the day twas announced Edward was dead & she was officially proclaimed to the public.

Ns 1st order of bidness was to present Jane w/ docs for her sig that proclaimed his son Guildford to be king. Jane said um NO but he can be Duke of Clarence & that's it, he ain't got no royal blood, I DO & I'M THE QUEEN! N was gobsmacked to be sassed by a 15 yo kid esp since he put her on the throne in the 1st place. That wasn't the only thing that didn't go as N planned it, b/c the Londoners were muttering against Jane instead of throwing their hats in the air & yelling YAY NEW QUEEN! They thunk Mary should be the queen, not Jane. N sent his son Robert Dudley out to try & capture Mary, but Mary eluded him & got still more peeps to flock to her banner. N & his council cronies started to get nervous. Finally it was decided N himself should go out & put down Mary's challenge whilst the rest of em cowered in the Tower.

John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland

Northumberland soon realized it was hopeless. Practically the second he rode out of London's gates, Jane's own father, Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk, tore down her cloth of estate & told the Londoners ooops sorry my bad Mary's the queen after all, heh heh, just a lil mistake here. The dummies stayed in the Tower instead of running off, making Mary's job mighty EZ. Finally N himself had to proclaim Mary as queen & get down on his knees to beg her pardon. Mary's 1st official act of bidness was pffft we think not, have a nice Tower Fun Pass. All of Dudley's other sons, John Jr, Ambrose, Henry, & Robert, were rounded up & sent there as well.

Elizabeth cautiously poked her head out from under the covers, got dressed, & scampered off to present herself to the new queen & swear her fealty. This meant she got to ride behind Mary as heir apparent in her sister's triumphant entry into London. Mary was not amused that peeps also cheered for Elizabeth, too. Mary actually had grown very fond of her baby sis when she was forced to share a household w/ her & after Anne Boleyn's execution & Henry wasn't ponying up no decent amt of child support & Cat Ashley had to write letters begging the king for new clothes for a growing short peep.  Mary would send Elizabeth nice new dresses & other goodies out of her own, much bigger allowance that she got when she made her submission to Dad & pal'd around w/ Jane Seymour. But Elizabeth was smart enough to say OK to all of Edward & Cranmer's religious reforms, while Mary had to get her cuz Charles the Emperor to demand Edward let her have her Mass. So Mary was suspicious of her sis's religious leanings & she made Elizabeth go to Mass w/ her. Lots of times Elizabeth was conveniently sick & Mary was peeved.

Mary I

Mary decided Jane & Guildford were just Ns pawns & spared them, tho she kept them in the Tower. Northumberland, however, had to go, & he was the 1st of many executions in her reign.

Mary's 1st official act was to proclaim all of Edward's religious reforms invalid & hurl Cranmer into the Tower for making them up. Cranmer agreed to take Catholic instruction whilst there rather than an immediate date w/ the axe; it would be a coup for Mary if she could get the Archbishop of Canterbury to recant his heresy. Everyone had to attend Mass OR ELSE. Peeps were not amused.

However, she let 2 peeps OUT of the Tower, both of whom had been lollygagging there since Daddy's fat behind was on the throne. One was Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, who spoke out against the religious nonsense. Mary liked him b/c he was one of the few peeps w/ sufficient cojones to stick up for Cath, so she made him her council prez.

The other was the old Duke of Norfolk, who was one lucky duck. After talking himself out of any trouble as regards his 2 executed nieces, Norfolk finally got the Tower Fun Pass b/c his son, Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey & once Richmond's BFF, had been trash-talking the Tudors & saying Henry was gonna demise & the Howards should be in charge of Edward's regency.

Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey

Surrey tried to escape thru the garderobe in his apts. A garderobe is a Tudor-era toilet. Even tho they had them indoors (Henry even had built a 3-story one at Hampton Court in a separate bldg!), flushing hadn't yet been invented, so they worked on the same principle as an outhouse. This is why kings were 4ever on the move to another palace, b/c eventually w/ all those court peeps the garderobes would get full up & required "sweetening". This has to be like THE worst Tudor job! Anyway, tho covered in the usual stuff what goes into a toilet & likely gagging if not outright puking, Surrey was unsuccessful & got the axe a few days b4 Henry died. But Henry hadn't signed Norfolk's death warrant yet so the duke kept his head. Edward prolly forgot he was in there, but Mary set him free b/c the Howards leaned more to the Catholic side.

Then she decided her next order of bidness was to find a hubby to breed up little Catholic Tudors heirs.

Mary was 37 so peeps thunk her eggs were likely all expired by now, b/c Cath never got pregnant again after age 32 & Mary had the same kind of girly bits issues her mother had. There was a 3rd peep she let out of the Tower whom peeps thunk might be a good choice of hubby. This was Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devon.

Edward Courtnenay, Earl of Devon

He was the son of the executed Exeter. His mum, Gertrude Blount, had buddied up to Mary over the yrs, so she asked her to let the kid out. Courtenay had accompanied Pops to the Tower when he was 11 yrs old & peeps forgot he was in there. He was now 26 yrs old!

Since he had Plantagenet blood & was an Englishman w/ no foreign entourage to come in & start shoving peeps around, Courtenay was the front-runner in the matrimonial stakes. He actually rather fancied Elizabeth, who was 19 & prolly much cuter than Mary (Mary always looks like she just ate something disagreeable in her portraits), which gave Mary a frowny-face & made her glare at her sis, esp when peeps said if Mary wouldn't have him then maybe he should wed her heir. Twas figured Elizabeth had a better shot at getting pregnant than Mary did.

Peeps were really irked when Mary decided she wanted Emperor Charles's son, Philip of Spain.

Philip II, King of Spain

Philip was 28, a widower w/ a young son (Don Carlos, Prince of Asturias, who grew up to be so violently insane Philip had to lock him up), rather short & IMHO goofy-looking LOL, & he wasn't fussed about having to wed some dried-up old spinster pushing 40, esp when there were lots of young Frenchie princesses nigh on ready to come on the market. Despite his GF Diane, Henry II of France did his duty regularly w/ Catherine de Medici & there was a whole passel of enfants de France.

Philip prolly wailed DAAAD! DO I HAFTA? & Charles pointed at England & said get busy, that country's gonna go to the heretics if ya don't. So Philip sighed & sailed off & had a splendid wedding.  

Philip & Mary's wedding portrait

But the English peeps weren't fussed w/ some Catholic Spaniard lording it over em, esp as Mary, besotted w/ her new hubs, gave him the Crown Matrimonial, so he got to be King Philip. Even Jane Grey had the smarts not to do THAT. Twas an unpopular union all around & it wasn't long b4 peeps began arming themselves for rebellion.

This was called Wyatt's Rebellion b/c it was spearheaded by Thomas Wyatt the Younger, son of Anne Boleyn's alleged old BF. His intentions were to imprison Mary & make her behave & not marry Philip (this was b4 Philip got there for the nice wedding) or he'd maybe plonk Jane or Elizabeth on the throne instead. At 1st he got lots of support but he picked a bad time of yr (dead of winter) & peeps got cold & went home after squatting outside London's locked gates for yonks & getting nowhere. Eventually Wyatt was defeated & went to Tower Hill.

Mary suspected everyone. Jane Grey's father, Suffolk, had been involved w/ Wyatt, so he went to Tower Hill, too. Philip & Charles pointed out that the 9 Days' Queen was a threat to her throne if peeps were gonna rebel & maybe reinstate Jane, & Philip said pffft maybe I won't marry you at all if your throne's not secure. Mary, who was said to moon in front of Philip's portrait lots, sent Jane & Guildford to the block posthaste. Then she threw Courtenay back in the Tower (poor guy had only been out 6 mos) & also her sister b/c rumor had it they were involved as well. Elizabeth had actually had a letter from Wyatt, but she insisted she never replied or encouraged him & was loyal to her sis. She was supposedly terrified that Mary would regard her as an equal threat like Jane & lop off her head, too.

There's a nice tale that Elizabeth was imprisoned one tower over from Robert Dudley & this is when they began to hook up, but there's no proof it ever happened b/c they just didn't let peeps mix & mingle there sans ulterior motive (like w/ Warbeck & Warwick). Philip thought Elizabeth was hot & sighed that he was married to the wrong sister. He convinced Mary to let her out of the Tower, but she was still under house arrest at the old palace of Woodstock. Tis said she took a diamond & scratched into a window there Much suspected of me, Nothing proved can be, Quoth Elizabeth, prisoner. Philip also got Mary to release the 4 surviving Dudley boys; poor John died only a few days after he got home. Ambrose, the next oldest, got his father's old title of Earl of Warwick back, b/c the Percys were now back in favor & wanted the Northumberland one again. Courtenay was let go but he was exiled & went to Italy, where he shortly died of a fever. It wasn't until Mary announced she was pregnant w/ a little Catholic Tudor that she let Elizabeth out of house arrest & recv'd her back at court.

O Frances Brandon, Jane's mum & Suffolk's wife, got re-married to Adrian Stokes, her Master of Horse, only 3 wks after DD & DH lost their heads LOL One of Longshanks's daughters had also done that after her DH earl demised & so this was a nice scandal that hadn't been around for yonks & peeps tittered. Mary let Frances & her 2 younger daughters (tiresomely), Catherine & Mary, come to court. Twas said Frances & Mary became great chums.

Elizabeth, however, didn't want to be at court when released from house arrest & made so many excuses of illness to avoid it that Mary sent one of her own drs to see if she really was. The dr pronounced her fit enough to travel & soon regretted it, b/c if they made 5 mi a day they were lucky, what w/ all the stops Elizabeth had them make b/c she didn't feel good. When Mary saw how wretchedly sick Elizabeth really was, she forgave her & insisted she remain at court to be present for the birth of the heir. Twas customary for the old heir to do so when a new one was in the offing.

Philip said meh mission accomplished & went back to the continent for a while, after prying some coin & soldiers out of her for a little war he & his father were waging against the Frenchies. W/ no DH to dote upon, Mary began frowning at Elizabeth's clever avoidance of Mass; once she ran out just as the priest was holding up the Host b/c, she said, she thought she might puke. She pleaded w/ Mary to not have to go b/c it wasn't the faith in which she'd been raised & she didn't know nuffin about what was going on. This bought her a priest to come every day & tutor her in Catholicism.

Mary reckoned her infant was due to arrive in April or early May, & so, as was traditional for queens, retired from court right after Easter for her lying-in. Everyone awaited the outcome of this royal birth.

On March 31st (pity they didn't wait till April Fool's Day LOL), church bells all over London started ringing w/ the news that Mary had been safely delivered of a fine prince. No one knows how the rumor got started, but Mary hadn't delivered anything. April turned into May & there was still no baby & Mary's ladies were getting mighty tired of being shut up in her apts w/ her & the gents were irked that the ladies couldn't come out & play. There was an announcement that the queen had miscalculated. They didn't know too much about how to determine a due date then, so some cheating wives were able to get away w/ passing off a kid as DHs as long as a yr after DH was demised. The 7-months'-baby was also a popular trick.

But Mary'd had her Te Deums of celebration sung in the churches at the end of November, so April or May seemed about right, but June came & she still had a fat belly & naught to show for it. By now peeps were whispering that the queen wasn't pregnant at all, but sick unto death instead. Finally in July the queen's belly deflated & she emerged from seclusion all embarrassed. Historians think she prolly had what's known as an hysterical pregnancy b/c she wanted to be pregnant so badly.

Meanwhile, old Cranmer there had decided to save his neck by becoming Catholic again, but then he changed his mind & recanted the recanting. Mary was furious & gave him the usual punishment for heretics....burning at the stake. In his place she apptd her cuz Cardinal Reginald Pole as Archbishop of Canterbury & he became her premier advisor. Pole was instrumental in reconciling England w/ Rome again. Peeps were not amused b/c they were used to having that extra change jingling in their pockets from not paying Peter's Pence to the Pope. Lots of Protestants ran away b/c Pole & Philip urged Mary to start arresting & punishing the heretics. She had close to 300 peeps burnt at the stake & earned herself the nick of "Bloody Mary".

No one was fussed much over the Frenchie war Philip had dragged them into, b/c the alliance w/ Scotland kinda made England their sandwich meat (if sandwiches had been invented yet). And the last English possession in France, Calais, was lost to the Frenchies. Mary said when she died "Calais" would be engraved upon her heart, b/c she felt guilty over losing the last bit of the mighty Plantagenet empire.

Philip sighed & came back to England to do his duty, since that whole pregnancy thing hadn't panned out as it should've. Mary was now 41 & after the last fiasco, peeps didn't have much hope that she was going to produce anyone, & started secretly sucking up to Elizabeth.

Then it was announced Mary was pregnant again. Peeps regarded this cautiously. Most hoped she really wasn't, b/c they were all revolted by the heretic burnings & being Catholics & how Philip dipped into the English treasury to support his stupid Frenchie spats. Philip took off again, mission supposedly accomplished, never to return. Mary got big as a house & peeps wondered if she might be, as she certainly looked it. But the same thing happened, where the queen's due date came & went & nuffin. Only this time the swelling didn't go down. Mary got ginormous & complained of pain in her belly all the time. Tis thought she had one whopper of a tumor, prolly in her girly bits but possibly in her intestinal tract somewhere. Wonder what the odds are of 2 kids w/ same father but different mothers dying of different types of cancer? Cath had, but hers was in a weird spot.

Anyway, pretty soon Mary got weak & took to her bed, writing impassioned letters to Philip begging him to come back. He ignored them. It's not as if he regarded the marriage as anything but a political alliance & tis said he complained he tried to avoid kissing her b/c her sinus breath was so nasty. Peeps REALLY started sucking up to Elizabeth now. Mary was months past her summer due date & obvs really sick.....

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