Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Regency Fun

During the time of the religious upheaval, one Friar Peto had gotten trouble for preaching that "dogs will lick his bones". Well, almost. Henry took a leaf from the Conqueror's book. He was doing the usual lying in state at St George's Chapel, Windsor, where Jane was already having her eternal snooze, b/c he wanted to be buried w/ the chick that had given him the heir. His coffin started to leak. A dog wandered in & began to lick it up. EEEEUUUUWWWW. Henry prolly thunk he was immortal b/c he'd never gotten round to having his tomb built, so under the floor w/ Jane he was dumped. Anne Boleyn & Cathy Howard were under the floor at the Tower chapel, but Cath had a reasonably nice tomb HA HA.

The bros Seymour, as the new king's unks, were now the power behind the throne. Edward Seymour was elevated to Duke of Somerset, irking Tom more, & appointed Lord Protector by the council. Tom was given the sop of being created Baron Sudeley.

Cat retired from court & took up residence in a nice manor at Chelsea that Henry had left her. Mary went back to her own household, but Cat kept Elizabeth w/ her. Her scholarly cuz Jane Grey also came to live there & share tutors. Jane was the daughter of Princess Mary's daughter Frances Brandon & Henry Grey, who inherited the Duke of Suffolk title that had been Charles Brandon's. Charles & Mary's son Henry died at 16, & while Charles went on to breed 2 more boys, Henry & Charles, on Catherine Willoughby, the bride he'd snagged from the elder son Henry, those are the 2 Dukes of Suffolk I mentioned earlier who died of the sweating sickness, aged 17 & 16, within half an hr of each other, the oldest 1st natch.

Catherine Willoughby, Dowager Duchess of Suffolk

So the title went to the eldest surviving daughter & hence her hubby. All was serene until it was discovered what Cat Parr & Tom Seymour did.

Henry hadn't even been snuggled up to Jane for 2 mos when Cat & Tom secretly got hitched. This was a HUGE NO-NO b/c peeps in the royal family had to have the king's permission to so much as make eyes at someone, let alone get married. Plus, they was sayin, what if Cat was breeding up Henry's brat? No one could ever be sure now if she turned up preggers. The Tudor Tatler done a full-size article w/ pix, twas so scandalous an act.

Even more goss was what Tom had been up to whilst wooing Cat. He petitioned the council to be given MARY as his bride! Bro Somerset said um NO. Tom was undeterred & said OK she's a dried-up old Catholic spinster nigh on 30 anyhow, no great loss, so how about we forget that idea & I wed ELIZABETH? Elizabeth was barely 13 & this wasn't Margaret Beaufort's day. An even more resounding NO met this proposal. Tom shrugged & hied off to charm Cat into marrying him w/o asking. Edward was not amused & dashed off reproving letters. Can you imagine being told off by a 9 yo? LOL

Little Edward VI
tryin' to look all tough like Daddy LOL

Edward was busy w/ those pesky blue peeps. See, Henry'd had this brainfart of really taking over Scotland by betrothing the kid to the baby Queen of Scots, Mary. MQOS got to be queen when she was only a wk old so she beat out Henry VI by miles. There was a nice battle called Solway Moss where the English hammered the Scots, so James V went to bed & turned his face to the wall all depressedlike. That yr he'd also lost his 2 legit sons so I reckon he had stuff to whinge about. When they told him his queen, Mary of Guise, had a girl this time, he sighed & dourly predicted, in ref to the Stewart line, "it came wi' a lass & 'twill pass w/ a lass". He was sorta right, but the last lass wasn't MQOS. Then he sighed again & demised.

The Scots rethunk this whole betrothal thing & said pffft to Henry. So for the last 3 yrs of Henry's reign & now into Edward's there was warfare to get them to pony up the baby queen. This was known as the Rough Wooing LOL The Scots reignited their Auld Alliance w/ the Frenchies & sent MQOS off to Gay Paree, ostensibly to keep her safe whilst her mother was regent, but really b/c the Scots loved a good regency for the fine pickin's.

Mary of Guise
Regent of Scotland
mummy to MQOS

Somerset trounced the Scots at the battle of Pinkie Cleugh, but twas too late to snag little MQOS & the cost of garrisoning Scotland got to be ruinious esp when the Frenchies sent over peeps to help Mary of Guise out. Guise is a Frenchie place & she had lots of important rellies to nudge the new king. Francis demised & his son (tiresomely) Henry was now king.

Henry II, King of France
do enlarge this un;
I swear the dude's wearing lace knickers LOL

Henry was married to Catherine de Medici & didn't no one like her. She was squat & ugly & dabbled in sorcery & you know all Italians were like automatically suspected of being rampant poisoners.

Catherine de Medici, Queen of France

Their son (tediously) Francis was betrothed to MQOS, so the English were more unamused. Tho they did get to pt & mock b/c Henry had a smokin' hot GF even if she was 20 yrs older than him, Diane de Poitiers, who kept that Italian serpent in her place. Henry had the bestest court now b/c Leonardo da Vinci & Nostradamus (who creepily predicted the manner of Henry's demise) came to hang out in it.

Meanwhile, Tom Seymour began getting even more peculiar. Elizabeth's governess, (sigh) Catherine Ashley,

Catherine Ashley

started looking at him sideways b/c he kept popping in wearing naught but his jammies (& they had no pants in them days) to jump on Elizabeth's bed & tickle her awake. Cat A complained to Cat S & the ex-queen just thunk he was being playful & joined in. Cat A thunk Tom was far too familiar w/ Elizabeth. Once Mr & Mrs Seymour were playing hide n seek w/ the kidlets & Cat held Elizabeth pinioned while Tom slashed her gown to ribbons w/ his dagger. Cat A was appalled but Cat S just wasn't getting it.

Almost a yr after their marriage, everyone was amazed when Cat S turned up pregnant. She was 35 & peeps were thinking she had lousy eggs as she was on hubby #4 (Cat is the most-married Queen of England) w/ no kidlets. Twas too far past Henry's demise to matter so meh. They moved to Tom's fabby manor of Sudeley to await the birth of the new Seymour.

Sudeley Manor

Cat was hugely pregnant when the penny finally dropped & she saw what her DH was REALLY up to.

Cat waddled across Tom & Elizabeth making out! To up the YUCK factor, Elizabeth was 14 & Tom was 40. Merrie olde England was just crawling w/ dirty old men.

Elizabeth as a teenager

Natch Cat was unamused w/ this esp as Cat A poked her & said SEE? WHAT DID I TELL YA? Tom tried throwing Elizabeth under the bus claiming twas all her fault, but wasn't nobody buying it. The 2 Cats decided twould be best if Elizabeth left. Elizabeth threw herself on her step's mercy, to no avail. She was packed off to Sir Anthony Denny's household (his wife Joan was a cuz to Cat A) & since one can never stop servants' goss, the rumor mill was grinding. Peeps was saying Tom had gotten Elizabeth pregnant, too! Every time she went out she had to make sure to wear a really tight dress so peeps could see she wasn't.

Cat had her baby & twas a girl, Mary. OUCH ya think that was meant as a nice slap in the face at Elizabeth?  Cat got one of those pesky childbed fevers & demised. Tom put on a nice show of mourning & had a splendid tomb erected for her at Sudeley's church. Then he decided to see if maybe Richmond's widow, Mary Howard, would marry him. She said NO. Then he wrote to Mary suggesting they get hitched. Mary wrote him a polite refusal. Then he started sniffing round Elizabeth again, but this time she heeded her governess's advice. Frustrated, Tom decided to get REALLY stupid.

He'd been trying to butter up Edward by slipping him goodies & extra pocket change, hoping to win the Fav Unks Stakes & grab the power from his bro. So far twas all for naught. Edward needed Somerset, a good military peep, for that irksome Scots mess. So Tom conceived a half-baked plan whereby he was going to kidnap the king, figuring whoever was in possession of his person would run the joint.

Edward was slumbering blissfully at Hampton Court when Uncle Tommy sneaked in. Peeps didn't pay him no mind despite the hr, him being a regular n all. Kings didn't just have plain old bedrooms nosiree. Their rms were buried. 1st they had sort of an anteroom where most any peeps could mix & mingle. That opened onto the presence chamber, where the peeps who were granted an official audience w/ the king got to go. That opened onto the privy apts of the king. Yknow, he'd have his basic office for kingly work, mayhap a library since Anthony Woodville managed to coax William Caxton over to introduce the English to the printed word (AW FYI is the author of the 1st book printed in English, The Sayings & Dictes of the Philosophers; now dontcha feel kinda bad that a smart peep like that had his brains separated from the rest of him?), a dining rm, a lollygagging rm, a billiards rm (yes they did shoot pool back then), a music rm, etc, & most of em just was a matter of opening doors to get from one to the next, so you can see why old Henry sighed & made peeps hoist him around. There was a state bedchamber where privileged peeps could be recv'd by the king in his jammies (queens did this more b / c they were 4ever spawning) & the VERY last rm in the privy chambers was the bedroom where the king actually slept. This was done on purpose for security reasons, b/c anyone wandering thru all those rms who didn't belong would surely come to notice.

But Tom Seymour DID belong & he was a really glib liar, so he managed to get all the way to the state bedchamber, just one door away from Edward. The king's pack of spaniels slept in this rm & commenced barking at the intrusion as dogs will. Ooops. Unlike his bro, Tom hadn't been near the Scots border of late, so alas, whilst his pockets were full of weapons, there wasn't a steak or a burger to be found to make pals w/ the royal mutts. So he decided he'd have to kill them to shut them up. Only there were too many of them & so not just Edward but his peeps (kings always had some flunkey on a trundle sleeping in the same rm w/ them) woke up.

Tom had only managed to demise one dog, but wouldntcha know, it happened to be Edward's fav. This irked the 11 yo king more than Uncle Tommy skulking round his privy apts & he roared in his bestest imitation of Daddy's bellowing TAKE HIM TO THE TOWER NOW!

Well, he went, but he done it kicking & screaming as ya might b/c now the Tower was The Bad Place. And rotted there for nigh on a yr. Besides committing royal dog-icide & sneaking round the king's apts & coming armed into the king's presence (swords were left at the door TYVM & all peeps was allowed in palaces was their eating knives, which they needed b/c forks wasn't invented yet in England, tho they were coming into vogue in Italy), a little digging discovered he was not only trying to cozy up to all the royal ladies in the land, but he'd also been involved in an embezzlement scheme at the Bristol mint. Peeps was gobsmacked that the king's unk was stealing from the royal treasury to pass along pocket change to supplement the stingy allowance the kid was on. The pregnancy rumors about Elizabeth began anew. And Tom had been in secret correspondence w/ the Duke & Duchess of Suffolk, scheming to betroth their daughter Jane Grey to Edward. His fingers were in lotsa pies & none of em savoury. Catherine Willoughby, the Dowager Duchess of Suffolk, got custody of little Mary Seymour. This was called a wardship & the nobility liked these. For a fee to the crown they got to take in rich orphans or kids of disgraced peeps & mismanage their estates to skim a profit until said kid came of age. It was how CW herself ended up in the Suffolk household to catch lech Charles's eye. The most profitable thing to do w/ a ward was to marry them to a rellie for neverending profits.

Anyway, there was lots of head-shaking at what a jerk Tom was & a nice Bill of Attainder was passed against him in Parliament.

So Tom Seymour's head (& mayhap his trashy beard) got whacked off on Tower Hill, arrogant & defiant to the end & really ticked that his snot of a nephew refused to pardon him. If you got executed on Tower Hill it was a party for London b/c anyone could come see & the vendors made a killing selling drinks & food. A good execution was like going to the movies for Tudor peeps. Executions on Tower Green were more elite & attendance was by invitation only. So Tom was also prolly ticked he didn't fall into the classier grp. Nobody even bothered to write down his speech.

One of Lady Denny's peeps, all agog, gave Elizabeth the news that her 1st BF was now slightly shorter. All the ladies were waiting to goss about Elizabeth's reaction & prolly hoping she'd have the swoons or such. Elizabeth was way cooler a cuke than that. She merely replied "Today died a man of much wit but litle judgment".

Peeps began to hmmm that if one of the king's unks could go down, maybe they could get rid of the other. Somerset was known as the Good Duke & common folk liked him & he tried to run the joint nice & fair. Peeps hated his wife, Anne Stanhope, who was said to be unspeakably arrogant even for a duchess & insisted she took precedence over Mary & Elizabeth b/c they were illegit. Somerset didn't have much matrimonial luck. His 1st marriage was annulled & its offspring bastardized b/c woe is me shame & scandal in de family, twas discovered his father, Sir John Seymour, was carrying on w/ his wife, Catherine Filliol! Yuck factor x 11dy6! I mean, how do ya sit down to Christmas dinner after sumfin like THAT comes out? The kids were Seymours, all right, but whose? At any rate, Somerset wasn't a dummy like his bro (save when it came to chicks), but thru no real fault of his own stuff happened that was good enough to start hmmm'ing louder about the Lord Protector.

1st, twas far too expensive to maintain military presence in Scotland, so Somerset had to withdraw whilst the blue peeps no doubt raised their kilts & mooned the departing troops like they done in Braveheart. They promptly went back to steak & burger raids. Then there was not one but 2 rebellions against little Edward. The 1st was called the Prayer Book Rebellion. This is b/c Edward, who leaned more Protestant due to Cranmer's influence, decreed that all church stuff should now be in English instead of Latin. Even tho only the rich peeps ever even learned Latin, peeps just don't take kindly to change. Besides, they liked all that sing-song-y dominus vobiscum stuff. Tis way less fun in English.

The 2nd was called Kett's Rebellion & this occurred b/c of enclosures. Previously every landholder had common land & his peeps used it to grow veggies & graze their livestock. This is why towns have commons. But Edward IV & his sis Margaret had made a sweet deal w/ the Low Countries regarding the export of fine English wool to be spun into cloth there, so the nobles were running out of places to keep their profitable sheep & began fencing in the common land & telling the peasants to take a hike. Somerset was actually on the side of the little ppl, so the big ppl were unamused. W/ all this stuff coming one after the other, twas regarded as a failure of Somerset's governing & peeps started muttering that he needed to be removed as Protector.

His peeps were getting nervous as the grumbling grew louder & said DO SOMETHING, NED! So he took the king & holed up at Windsor Castle whilst sending out appeals for help.

The council came storming over & promptly arrested Somerset & sent Edward to Richmond. Edward was pleased b/c just being a kidlet didn't make ya so stupid as to not realize this was Unk #2 who tried to keep ya a prisoner. John Dudley, the Earl of Warwick, was promoted to council prez & Duke of Northumberland (one of Henry Percy's nephews managed to get attainted in that Pilgrimage of Grace mess & so the Percys were in disgrace). Somerset was released, forced to beg Edward's pardon, & reinstated to the council, where he seethed about Northumberland sitting in his seat running the joint. Betcha you thunk twas OFF WITH HIS HEAD!, huh? Well, he got to keep it another yr or so, & then was ratted out for plotting to get rid of his rival. Back to the Tower he went, & this time he didn't come out. That chapel of St Peter ad Vincula was getting mighty crowded. They had a peek yonks later & the bones is all mixed up in there.

Tho Edward, now 13, was said to be in control of his majority, peeps knew he was just Northumberland's little puppet.

Edward VI
is he doing the hand jive or what? LOL

N got Wriothesley & his peeps kicked off the council & stacked it w/ his own peeps to assure good votes. He made a treaty w/ France that betrothed Edward to Henry IIs daughter Elisabeth.

Elisabeth de Valois

Since N also leaned Protestant, he let Edward & Cranmer institute a passel of religious reforms. The Book of Common Prayer came into use & priests were no more; instead, the govt appointed ministers. Bishops & such who objected got a Tower Fun Pass. Cranmer, who'd been stifled all these yrs by Henry, was really getting into being the architect of the "true church" & had lots more stuff he wanted to change, w/ Edward's enthusiastic approval & Ns public support.

But then Edward came down w/ a really bad case of the sicks.

Edward had just turned 15 & so far had been in very good health. But after Christmas he came down w/ the measles. He was quite ill w/ it & peeps began eyeing Mary anxiously. Mary & Edward didn't get along anymore b/c of his religious reforms. Mary was still a defiantly devout Catholic. But then Edward recovered & peeps sighed in relief.

Within a few wks he was sick again. He had a fever that would come & go, all his joints hurt, & he started having coughing fits & spitting up foul green loogies. He complained of pain when lying on his R side. Now ya'd think pneumonia from that, a common complication of measles, but pneumonia don't take 6 mos to kill ya....does it? His physicians physick'd him frantically. His fingernails started to fall out (makes ya wonder if any of the tonics contained arsenic). He kept losing weight & he was a skinny kid to start. The loogies started to get a pink tint to em. That ain't never good b/c that's blood. He got an unsightly rash (allergical to some quackery?). Pretty soon he had the swells all over (sign of kidney failure) & couldn't get out of bed. He coughed & coughed & had a hard time catching his breath. Finally twas determined he had a tumor squatting in his lung & there was naught to be done about it. All that fuss to get him born & now look! And he didn't even smoke!

Edward was no dummy & he knew Mary was next in line & what her religious views were. He began drafting what he titled "my devise for the succession" to override Henry's. He made Jane Grey, who was legit & a fanatic Protestant, his heir. He called his council to his bedside & said ram this thru Parliament or else, I may be dying but I ain't dead yet. Once it was passed, he made all the important peeps sign a bond to uphold it. Jane Grey was quickly married to Ns youngest son, Guildford Dudley. Jane was also 15 & being a girl made her even a better puppet.....

No comments:

Post a Comment