Archive for March 2012

Episode 22 : Katherine of Aragon

Posted 17 March 2012 by
Tagged As: | Categories: Episode, Podcasts | Comments Off on Episode 22 : Katherine of Aragon

Shownotes Episode 22: Katherine of Aragon

Posted 17 March 2012 by
Tagged As: , , , | Categories: Shownotes | Comments Off on Shownotes Episode 22: Katherine of Aragon

As we continue in our Tudors series, we take some time to discuss the life of  Henry VIII’s first wife, Katherine of Aragon.  She was born from royal stock, had a wicked awesome role model for Queenly duties in her Mama, and lived the life that was planned for her from a very young age. Ok, so maybe she didn’t have exactly a storybook Queen’s life, but a Queen she was born to be, and a Queen she became.

Katherine of Aragon

Born in 1485, Katherine (“Catalina”) was the youngest of five surviving children of King Ferdinand of Aragon, and Queen Isabela of Castille.  Joint rulers of Spain. (And honestly, Isabela had a bigger piece of the pie.)  Isabela was smart and fearless and lived her early years under the control of an older brother. She fought off arranged marriage after arranged marriage and eventually created a betrothal of her own on the sly, snuck out of the castle and married Ferdinand.

Mama, beautiful Queen Isabela of Castille

Once crowned joint rulers, this power couple took the fam on the on the road and began to acquire real estate all over what is modern day Spain. They tossed out Moor ( the Muslims of the area) and Jew alike in a period called, The Spanish Inquisition. We discuss what life was like during this time, the education of a young Princess, and some of the challenges of life, but young Katherine grew up not only on the road, but knowing where she would eventually put down roots. England. From the age of three she was promised to Arthur, first son of King Henry VII and the future ruler of England.

Ferdinand and Isabela of Spain: Power Couple

And, BTW, this is the same Queen Isabela who bankrolled a young startup named, Christopher Columbus. (We hear the bells going off in some of you! Nice!)

Young Katherine by Juane de Flanders

You thought she looked like this, didn't you?

Eventually, young Katherine left her warm, tropical homeland and set sail for cold, damp England. She was met with much fanfare (after a rather strenuous journey) and married her Prince.

Katherine by Michael Sittow (She was a blue eyed Ginger!)

Who died on her a few months later.

What WHAT?

But, have no fear, Dowager Princess of  Wales! King Henry has another son, you can marry him! In seven years, if we don’t find a better match for him first.  And oh, do you mind living in less than regal living conditions until then? Great, thanks.

For whatever reasons, once Papa Henry passed, and Henry VIII was crowned, he made good on his betrothal and married Katherine.  For a while they seem quite content. She is advising him on political matters, while sewing his shirts and getting on the Baby Train.

But the tracks are a little bumpy. Of seven pregnancies in nine years, they only have one living child, a daughter named Mary.

But Henry is needing that heir. And he has a woman in his sights who he thinks can provide that. But first, he has to get out of this marriage.  He thinks he has a loophole!  Katherine had been married to his brother! That makes her his sister! And, yes, the Pope had agreed to the union, but Henry thinks he is being punished by God for it. At least that is what he claims.

Yada Yada…England breaks from the Catholic church, Henry becomes Head of the Church of England and his marriage to Katherine is ended.

Except Katherine is having none of this! Oh, it’s very dramatic, she is trying to save her place with the man she sees as her husband, AND trying to keep her daughter from becoming illegitimate. She tries to holds tight to her title as Queen.  Unfortunately, she can’t hold tight enough. Henry is moving on to Wife number two, Anne Boleyn.

As always, we go into much more detail in the podcast, and answer some of the common questions of this time, introduce you to a few more key players (Wolsey) fill in a little more to this very sad, Royal Soap Opera. But Katherine is shuttled from one dark and dreary home to another and dies of a broken heart. Ok, not really, she had a massive tumor on her internal organs. (But our ending is more dramatic, right?)

On the day of her funeral, Wife Number Two, Anne Boleyn gives birth to a stillborn son.

Interestingly, only four months after THAT, Anne Boleyn’s reign as Queen ends. Badly. But that’s a story for another episode!

TIME TRAVEL WITH THE HISTORY CHICKS

We start off our recommendations with some historical fiction.

It's like we have a thing for Philippa Gregory! The Constant Princess

Non-fiction more your thing? We also liked this one:

Here is a fantastic one…that is in good condition, unlike the one Beckett brought back to the library.

The Wives of Henry VIII, by Antonia Fraser

We did tell you that you can get character tweets from  “Katherine” but she hasn’t tweeted since November, so we can’t vouch for info in your feed. Here is a  Henry VIII to fill the void.

Luminarium.org is a wonderful online resource for all things British history!

BBC’s Supersizesr Go! Elizabethan is on Youtube, here is a link to their channel.  The episodes are broken up into parts (Elizabethan is six parts) but well worth the time. Funny and educational you don’t even know you are learning something! We love that!

Music courtesy of Music Alley, visit them at music.mevio.com

Episode 21 – Tudor Grandmothers

Posted 2 March 2012 by
Tagged As: | Categories: Episode, Podcasts | 1 Comment

Episode 21 – Tudor Grandmothers – Shownotes

Posted 1 March 2012 by
Tagged As: , , , | Categories: Shownotes | Comments Off on Episode 21 – Tudor Grandmothers – Shownotes

Margaret Beaufort and Elizabeth Woodville were both strong women who lived their lives during a tumultuous time when survival was key, but looking to the future for others close to you was also extremely important. On opposing sides of The Wars of the Roses they came together at one point to join the Lancasters and the Yorks and eventually became the grandmothers of Henry VIII.

A Weather House. One figure is always going to be in the dark.

We begin our talk with Margaret Beaufort, born the only child of John Beaufort, the first Duke of Somerset in 1443. He “worked” under Henry VI, but had a very dubious reputation of missing the battles in favor of shaking down the locals. His death left an infant Margaret, and her Lancastrian blood open for a wardship. Young Margaret is a catch based solely on her really fab ” luggage”. Of course she gets married off…at 6 or 7. The marriage is never a traditional one. Come on, she is a CHILD , and the law didn’t recognize such a young marriage anyway, A few years later the marriage is dissolved.

So, young Margaret is up for a wardship again, and this time, it was given to the King’s half brothers Jasper and Edmund Tudor.  Edmund, 24,  became her first “real” husband when she was 12 years old.  But within a year, Edmund had been taken prisoner by Yorkist forces and died of the plague while in captivity at Carmarthen,  leaving young Margaret a seven-months-pregnant widow.  At 13, after an agonizing and body altering delivery, she gives birth to what would be her only child, Henry Tudor…although you may know him more by his later title: King Henry VII.

Pembroke Castle, where Margaret's son Henry Tudor was born.

Margaret Beaufort, later in life

We discuss her life, how Henry was raised, her third marriage to Henry Stafford, and her fourth marriage to Thomas Stanley. We talk about some of the other challenges she had in life but during all this time she has thought that her one son, Henry, was destined for greatness. The opening came as Richard III is knocking off those in line to the throne. This vile act brought Henry closer and closer to the top of the list, and as history ( and our previous Quaruple T podcast) reports, with a rag tag army scrapped together on the way to battle- Henry Tudor claims the crown. And Margaret? Just call her, M’lady, the King’s Mother.

This is where the stories of Margaret and Elizabeth merge. Through some behind the scenes action, their children- Henry and Elizabeth of York- marry combining the York and Lancaster lines. We would have loved to have been privy to some of the conversations happening at Court during this time. The Mothers- one the Dowager Queen, the other the King’s Mother, and then add in a third woman, now Queen Consort. Talk about your Golden Girls!

At court she has a lot of influence over her son, and we discuss all of the dynamics of this time and the rest of the lives of both Elizabeth, the White Queen (we have a thing for Philippa Gregory’s The White Queen and the Red Queen novels) and Margaret, the Red Queen.

Margaret Beaufort's tomb, with the spikey fence

Elizabeth Woodville was a bit older than Margaret Beaufort, and was born in 1437. She was the first child of Richard and Jacquetta (why couldn’t that name be passed down? So much more interesting than Elizabeth or Mary…oh, sorry, you know how we love to carry on about that!) Woodville. She was also born into a fairly wealthy family, although we like to think that this one was a marriage made from a love match. Because we are romantic like that. Elizabeth, in addition to family connections, was a very beautiful woman and by about age 15, she was married to her first husband, Sir John Grey. From this marriage she had two sons, Thomas and Richard, and they lived a fairly quiet life for the times until his death in battle nine years later.

The origins of Elizabeth’s second marriage are open to speculation. And oh, you know how much we love that! Did she wait by a tree, holding the hands of her two young sons as an advertisement that she was a boy producer, and wait for Edward IV to ride past? Was there some sort of witchcraft involved? Did she attract his attention and then use her powers as a beautiful and desirable woman to get him to wed her? Whatever the case, Elizabeth and the Take No Crap King  were married in secret.

The legend of Elizabeth Woodville meeting her future husband by the side of the road. (As seen by a Victorian artist.)

A portrait of Elizabeth Woodville, classic version

Elizabeth, as the Victorians saw her. Wait - this isn't Red Riding Hood?

The family that she married into isn’t exactly protective of their own, and not beyond mayhem. We talk about some of that, but really, you will need to research it on your own to get all the deets, there was A LOT of mayhem. Bad, meyhem. But Elizabeth did her queenly duty and began producing children, first up the child who would grow up to be Queen herself, Elizabeth of York.   Mama Elizabeth has 10 children in 14 years (who survived infancy) including two sweet young boys who will forever be known as The Princes in the Tower.

Prince Edward and Richard, the Princes in the Tower

What happens to Elizabeth and her children after her husband dies was covered by us in our QuadT podcast. And thinking about it makes us sad, so can we skip on now to the part where Elizabeth and Margaret’s lives intertwine?

Wow, that’s kinda sad too.

Ok, here it is in a nutshell: Mama Elizabeth is looking at two options for her daughter, one Richard III (Scar!) who had her family killed, or the other Henry Tudor who hasn’t really done much since he was hanging out in France most of his life, waiting in the wings. At the Battle of Bosworth Richard III is taken out. Elizabeth and Margaret support the marriage of their children after Henry took the crown. They are all living at Court now, one big dysfuntional family. But, once Elizabeth of York becomes Queen, and Mama Elizabeth has Margaret Beaufort nipping away at her Elizabeth leaves Court and takes up residence at Bermondsey Abbey. And that is pretty much the end of the tale for Elizabeth who lives out her life there. Quietly, again.

But what remained? Most notable a the grandson to both of these women: Henry VIII was the second born son of Henry Tudor and Elizabeth of York. And what Henry VIII did was legacy making indeed.

Time Travel With The History Chicks

For book recommendations, we again suggest Philippa Gregory’s The White Queen, and  The Red Queen. (Recommended on QuadT shownotes, as well). Yes, historical fiction, but will really color in the rainbow of your ideas of Margaret and Elizabeth.

Non-fiction, you say? Philippa Gregory we respond (again).

The Women of the Cousin's War

Websites? The Westminster Abbey website has a lot of interesting information, as well as bios of people that are buried there. (Link will take you to a bio of Margaret Beaufort)

If you want to get a little bit of Tudor history dropped into your twitter feed here are a couple of options:

Elizabeth Woodville

Tudor Tutor ( Barb Alexander)

And really, for some history fun, please go check out Tudor Confessions!


As always, music comes courtesy of Music Alley. Visit at music.mevio.com