Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pastime With Good Company

Margaret was packed off to Scotland aged 14 to marry James shortly after her mother's demise, her father likely grudging every penny of her dowry.

Margaret Tudor

Henry was irked b/c all of Cath's dowry hadn't yet been pd, so his 1st brainfart was that he should marry her himself. F & I said um NO. So he kept the Dowager Princess of Wales in penurious conditions whilst they haggled. Isabella demised & Ferd was even more impertinent. Joanna's hubby died & so Henry proposed he should marry HER.

Joanna of Castile
whilst pregnant w/ son Charles

Joanna was provenly fertile as she had 6 living children, 2 boys & 4 girls. Joanna was also thought to be mad as a hatter b/c she refused to bury Philip & hauled his coffin around w/ her for yonks.  This is how she got the nick of "Juana la Loca".

Joanna of Castile
traveling round w/ DHs corpse

Ferd was busy stealing Joanna's kingdom out from under her (after Isabella's death Joanna had become Queen of Castile in her own right, reducing Ferd's cachet as King of all Spain instead of just Aragon) & he certainly didn't want another interfering greedy hubby so he said um NO to that as well.

Nobody else was interested in marrying old Henry, who was beginning to hack up a lung by this pt, so then he proposed his new heir should be betrothed to Cath in Art's place. Ferd said OK to that, as it meant Cath could stay in England & be Henry's prob, not his. The Pope got some pocket change b/c one had to get a dispensation to wed one's brother's wife. But Ferd still wouldn't hand over the rest of Cath's dowry, so Henry started having 2nd thoughts & he made Henry Jr (WHY were they not more original in naming?) secretly repudiate the betrothal agreement. Poor Cath was reduced to pawning her jewels & gold plate to maintain her household, stuck btwn a pair of stingy old farts like Hank & Ferd.

Pretty soon it was obvs Henry had a fatal case of the consump. Young Henry was just 2 mos shy of his 18th BD when Dad breathed his last, so there was really no need for a regency.

Young Henry VIII

Besides, Granny was still running the joint. Cath was 5 1/2 yrs older than Henry but she looked pretty good to a kid who'd been literally under lock & key for his own protection since Art's demise & was never allowed to have any fun at all. I mean, it must've been tough for Henry to even get a GF when he couldn't get to his own BR w/o passing thru Dad's. I'm betting his experience w/ chicks was about zero at this pt. Keep that in mind for later. So he said meh to the secret betrothal repudiation & decided to marry her posthaste. Cath must've been jumping up & down to finally get a new outfit.

They were married quietly in the chapel at Greenwich & then dived into the engorged treasury (Henry VII left an estimated worth of, in today's money, about 648 million pounds!) to party like it was 1999 for their joint coronation celebrations. Cath became immediately pregnant & then MB finally keeled over, so fun times for all. Henry spent so lavishly that it must've made his father spin in his tomb nonstop. They had tournaments where he wore Cath's favor as Sir Loyal Heart, feasts, banquets, dancing, masques, musicals, Thames barge cruises, hunting parties, whatever was cool to do, they were on it & invited all their peeps to come play. EVERYBODY wanted to be at court now that it was the swingin' venue to see & be seen. Much as I hate to credit That Travesty on Showtime w/ anything accurate, twas indeed as if Henry was the biggest baddest rock star of his time w/ an adoring entourage. The Tudors were young, good-looking, smart, rich, & knew how to have a good time.

Unfortunately, that didn't last long.

Their 1st child was a premature stillborn daughter. Cath quickly caught pregnant again & this time she produced a healthy living son, (tiresomely) Henry, Duke of York. He was known as the New Year's Boy b/c that was his BD. Well, it would've been if he hadn't inexplicably demised 7 wks later whilst the court was still partying in celebration. SIDS, perhaps?

To save money, no doubt, Cath acted as Ferd's ambassador to hubby's court & she persuaded him to help Daddy out by putting the Frenchies in their place. Henry spent lots of groats outfitting a force & then was gobsmacked when Ferd went behind his back & made a treaty w/ France & settled. That made him grumpy & he yelled at Cath for conniving w/ her father to make him look like the inexperienced fool that he was.

What was even worse was that Cath, in her tenure as regent whilst Henry was on the continent, had scored a big military victory. The blue peeps decided to leap over the wall & rustle some steaks & burgers again, this time led by their king, who was taking advantage of the English king's absence to invade & conquer. This was the battle of Flodden Field & it made Margaret Tudor a widow & regent of Scotland for her young son, (tediously) James. The English kicked the Scots all the way back to Edinburgh & Cath sent James's bloody shirt to Henry in France all proud of herself for engineering this coup. Unfortunately she was pregnant at the time & all the riding around she did made her have a miscarriage.

James IV, King of Scots

Irked, Henry's eye began to rove & settled upon the current Duke of Buckingham's married sister, Anne Hastings. Cath found out & there was a huge scene & peeps were gossiping & none of it nice, plus Buckingham (Edward Stafford) went storming round bringing his sib to heel & glaring at the king for besmirchment & remembering that he too had Plantagenet blood & a darn fine claim to the throne, too. There was banishment but only to home & not the continent. Even more irked, Henry repudiated Mary's betrothal to Cath's nevvy & engaged her to the King of France.

Well, actually, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey did it, as he pretty much ran the joint for Henry whilst Henry played.

Cardinal Thomas Wolsey

Mary was not amused. It was bad enough she was 6 yrs older than Charles at age 18, but Louis XII was 52!

Louis XII, King of France

Besides, her own eye had caught that of Charles Brandon (son of the standard bearer who saved Henry VIIs life at Bosworth). He was about 30, a tournament champeen, athletically built, a huge lech, & certainly more attractive than some dried up old Frenchie king old enough to be called Grandpa. Supposedly she wrung a promise from bro that if she married this ancient king, he'd let her choose her next hubby after Louis demised. Accounts differ, but there may have been a pair of sisters by the name of Boleyn among her retinue.

Mary got off relatively EZ, b/c old Louis was worn out & demised within 3 mos. In the meantime, Henry'd had a brainfart that Brandon should go woo the eligible Margaret of Austria, widow of Cath's bro & now Regent of Burgundy for Charles of Castile, & created him Duke of Suffolk to have a grand title to go w/ the attempt.

That didn't work out but he still got to be a duke, so fair enough. Then Brandon was sent to fetch Mary back from France b/c the new king, Francis I AKA Foxnose Francois, was a huge-r lech & despite being married to Louis's daughter Claude was giving Mary the eye & hinting he could get a nice annulment.

Francis II, King of France

Claude, Queen of France

Rumor had it that Mary Boleyn was one of his GFs. Legend has it Francis was amused to discover Mary & Brandon had a thing for each other & decided to annoy Henry by giving his blessing to a secret wedding b4 they left. Henry was mightily perturbed at losing his sister's marriage mart value & fined them 11dy6,000 groats for it that took yrs to pay off.

wedding portrait of Mary Tudor, Queen of France,
& Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk

Then Mary & Cath both turned up pregnant at the exact same time. Mary had a bouncing baby boy, but....

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