Tudor History Lovers discussion

367 views
The Truth About The Tudors (According to Our Members)

Comments Showing 1-50 of 120 (120 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1 3

message 1: by Jennifer, Mod #5 (new)

Jennifer (jennifertudor) | 951 comments There's always been a healthy debate going on with our members (and Tudor-lovers in general) on Anne Boleyn's innocence vs. her guilt. In 2009, we had a bit of that debate going on under the Philippa Gregory thread and it's resurfaced, something I am excited about. I hope you'll all join in with your thoughts.

One of our wonderful members, Beth, posted parts of a paper written by an aquaintance of hers regarding Anne Boleyn and her portrayal in The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. I will copy her post below (it can also be found here http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1...) and open up the boards for your thoughts. Thanks Beth for bringing this conversation to the surface again. Hopefully we can get some of the other old threads revived as well :)


message 2: by Jennifer, Mod #5 (last edited Jul 05, 2011 07:41AM) (new)

Jennifer (jennifertudor) | 951 comments Beth's original post 1

Hi everyone, been a member of this group for some time but just now have been inspired, nay, compelled, to post. Have read through the entire thread and I apologise for bringing up something you guys were talking about back in 2009, but no one had since addressed Colleen's couple of posts about her thoughts on Anne Boleyn, and I simply must contend a good many of her points. Since it was a good couple years ago and pages ago I hope Colleen doesn't mind if I just briefly quote some of her points:

"AB was no virgin by the time she started going after the King...

She was very vocal about her hatred for Queen Catherine and Princess Mary...

AB's previous involvement with a married poet and a betrothed man (whom she is rumored to have married in secret) shows lack of morals to me, she seemed content stealing other womens' men...

As far as the incest and adultery charges I don't find either to be hard to believe in the slightest. AB would have done anything to keep her position as Queen, she had to have deduced that two women with multiple failed pregnancies from one man couldn't be at fault. Take the King's genetics out of the equation & bear a healthy son to pass off as the King's equals winning him back...

I feel bad for KH, she was a pretty & naive girl who was manipulated and shoved under the King's nose by the same damn rotten Uncle as AB..."


And, on the chastity, wardship and Henry Percy points, Jennifer if I may quote you also briefly:

"I don't believe that she would have not had sex on the grounds of religious devotion or prayer, doesn't seem to fit AB's personality.

As I said in relation to the comment about her taking wardship of MB's children, I think that everything she did would have been to her benefit and although immediate satisfaction of fulfilled desire is one thing, I think she had a longer-term plan than just a jump into bed. Even before Henry...

Who was the other guy? The one she was married to before Henry? Now, with him, I think she almost definitely had sex."


I'm afraid I have to disagree with all of these points. A while ago an acquaintance of mine, Claire, who is a Tudor specialist, wrote a paper about TOBG which, again if you'll forgive me, addresses all of these points so cogently that I'm simply going to quote her below, in a separate post as it turns out as it just barely goes over the character limit.


message 3: by Jennifer, Mod #5 (new)

Jennifer (jennifertudor) | 951 comments Beth's original post 2
On Anne's association with Henry Percy, her chastity and her faith:

I think this idea stems from books and films like “The Other Boleyn Girl”, where we see Anne purposely throwing herself at Henry VIII while Mary is pregnant so that the Boleyns still have influence. In the book, Elizabeth Boleyn says of Anne, “Thank God Anne has him in her toils. She plays with him like you might tease the queen’s dog. She has him on a thread” and we come away with the idea that Henry is powerless and that Anne’s sexuality gives her all the power, that she is calling the shots. Well, anyone who knows anything about a woman’s place in Tudor England and about Henry VIII knows that although Anne may have been an influence on Henry she certainly was not the one pulling the strings.

Author Karen Lindsey (“Divorced, Beheaded, Survived: A Feminist Reinterpretation of the Wives of Henry VIII”) goes as far as to say that Anne Boleyn could have been the victim of sexual harassment. Henry was infatuated with Anne, he wrote her 17 letters, when he usually hated writing, and he complains in those letters about Anne not replying to him and rejecting his advances:

"Today, Henry’s approach to Anne would be instantly identifiable as sexual harassment. Anne however, had no social or legal recourse against a the man who ruled the country. She continued, as so many women before and since have done, to dodge her pursuer’s advances while sparing his feelings. It didn’t work… It was a hellish position. Could she really tell the king to his face that she had no interest in him? She could reiterate her desire to keep her chastity and her honor, but clearly he didn’t respect that. She could ignore his letters and stay away from court, but he refused to take the hint. To offer him the outright insult he asked for would be to risk not only her own but her father’s and brother’s careers at court. She undoubtedly kept hoping he would tire of the chase and transfer his attentions to some newer lady-in-waiting. But he didn’t and she was trapped: there was no chance of her making a good marriage when every eligible nobleman knew the king wanted her. She began to realize she would have to give in. [as Wyatt wrote in his poem 'Whoso list to hunt'] ‘Nole me tangere, for Caesar’s I am’. Virtually every account of Anne’s story cites the poem, yet its central image is ignored. Anne was a creature being hunted, and hunted by the king — like the buck he had killed and so proudly sent to her. There could be no refuge from the royal assault; no one would risk protecting her from Henry’s chase. She could run, hide, dodge for a time, but the royal hunter would eventually track down his prey. And he would destroy her. The hunt was not an archaic metaphor in sixteenth century life, it was a vivid integral part of that life and everyone knew what happened to the wild creature at the end."

In my opinion, Anne was definitely more prey than predator. Henry fell for her and he wanted her, he was not used to someone saying no to him and did not give up, he pursued her relentlessly. Of course, we don’t know what Anne’s feelings were, as we only have his letters, but it is clear from those that he had to persuade her into the relationship. However, I don’t see Anne as a victim of sexual harassment, just the object of a very passionate man’s affections, and I think she was flattered by him and then fell in love with him. They shared many interests and they were very alike at that time, so it was a very natural partnership...

It’s easy to understand why Eustace Chapuys would label Anne “the whore” or “the concubine” because his allegiance was with Charles V, Catherine of Aragon’s nephew, and therefore with Catherine and Mary. In his opinion, Anne was the evil other woman, the woman who had led Henry VIII astray, and he did not recognise their marriage. Also, think about the general public, the people who had had Catherine as their queen for over 20 years. She was well respected and popular and Anne, in their opinion, had usurped her position. Just think about the public’s reaction to Camilla Parker-Bowles when they found out that Prince Charles had always loved her and had spent his honeymoon with Diana ringing Camilla. Also consider that the royal family are concerned that Camilla will never be recognised as queen by the British public, yet we are in the 21st century, a time where divorce is a fact of life. I know it’s not quite the same, but it does help us to understand people’s reaction to Anne Boleyn and the fact that she was labelled a whore, even though it is pretty clear that she was a virtuous woman who tried to refuse the King’s advances...

Anne may have been in love with Henry Percy and the couple may well have been planning to marry BUT Cardinal Wolsey and Percy’s father, the Earl of Northumberland, put a stop to the relationship and Percy was married off to Mary Talbot. According to a letter written by Chapuys in July 1532, Henry Percy had to deny, in front of the whole council, that there had been a pre-contract between himself and Anne Boleyn, after his wife reported that he had claimed, during a quarrel, that their marriage was not real because he had been legally contracted to Anne Boleyn. Percy also denied the pre-contract in 1536 when Archbishop Cranmer questioned him. There is, therefore, no evidence that Anne and Percy had been pre-contracted or that they had consummated their union (à la “The Other Boleyn Girl”).



On Anne's "hatred" of Katherine and Mary:

The people who label Anne as a “homewrecker” are people who look at the love triangle with 21st century eyes. What we have to remember is:-

1. There were rumours of Henry VIII annulling his marriage to Catherine in 1514, long before Anne came on the scene and he had already stopped sleeping with his wife.
2. Anne did not chase Henry, she did not initiate the affair and she actually said “no” to begin with.
3. Henry had already concluded that his marriage was not valid or legal, that it was incestuous.
4. Anne had no choice – She tried saying no and it didn’t work, she tried retreating to Hever and that didn’t work, Henry always got what he wanted and he was the King.

So, please let’s blame Henry for the deterioration and subsequent end of his marriage, not Anne Boleyn...

An understandable reaction from Catherine, she’s not exactly going to praise the woman who has caught her husband’s eye and who is the cause of all her woes. Just look at what happened to Catherine and her daughter, it’s easy to see why they held Anne accountable for the annulment, their loss of status and the cruel treatment they suffered. Once Anne was dead and gone, Mary had a rude awakening when she realised that it was her father who was ultimately responsible for her treatment, when things got worse instead of better. It is understandable that Catherine blamed Anne because she loved her husband and Mary loved her father, but it doesn’t make their assessment of Anne a true one. Now, I’m not trying to paint Anne as a angel, as she certainly was not, she said spiteful things and she flew into rages, making rash threats against Catherine and Mary, but we have to hold Henry accountable for what happened to these women really.

In “The Other Boleyn Girl” book, Mary Boleyn is told by her husband, “She [Anne] poisoned Bishop Fisher, poor sainted man, and she has the deaths of three innocent men on her conscience for that. She poisoned Cardinal Wolsey and Queen Katherine…” and in her notes on the book Philippa Gregory writes of how Anne Boleyn was guilty of at least one murder – who? There is absolutely no evidence that Anne tried to poison anyone and she was not charged with murder or attempted murder at her trial. There were rumours that Catherine of Aragon had died of poisoning after it was found that her heart was black and that her illness had worsened after drinking some Welsh ale, and, after Anne’s fall, Henry VIII led Henry Fitzroy to believe that Anne had planned to poison him and his half-sister, Mary, but there was no basis to these accusations. Catherine died of cancer and Henry VIII was just ranting and blustering – he also spoke of Anne having 100 lovers!



On Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard being "shoved under the king's nose by the same rotten uncle":
In “The Other Boleyn Girl” we see Thomas Boleyn, his wife, Elizabeth Boleyn, and her brother, the Duke of Norfolk, having family conferences and scheming, using Mary and Anne as pawns to raise the family’s status, what my good friend Rachel Fitzpatrick refers to as “Pimp Daddy Boleyn Syndrome”!

We also see them abandoning Anne to her fate at the end of the novel, with Thomas saying to Mary “Don’t you bring me into it… She went her own way, and him and you with her.”

Fact: There is no evidence that the Boleyns/Howards schemed and used the girls as pawns, or that the girls were “coached”. It is likely that Mary caught the King’s eye with her pretty looks and Anne attracted him with her style and confidence, and that the families made the most of their favour. Women were seen as second-class citizens and daughters as chattels, but there is nothing to support the view that Thomas Boleyn set out to win favour through Mary and Anne.



On Anne's wardship of Henry Carey:

Another “The Other Boleyn Girl” misrepresentation of Anne. In the book, after the death of Mary Boleyn’s first husband, Anne Boleyn adopts Mary’s son, Henry Carey, without Mary’s permission, she takes Mary’s beloved son and Mary says, “She takes everything… She has always taken everything. But I will never forgive her this.” The truth behind this accusation is that Henry VIII appointed Anne Boleyn as Henry Carey’s guardian in 1528, after the death of his father, William Carey. This was nothing unusual. Mary Boleyn Was a widow and Anne was in a position to provide for Mary’s son and to ensure that he had a good education. Rachel Fitzpatrick pointed out, in a discussion we had on Facebook, that it was standard practice for the King to grant wardships to wealthy and influential courtiers, for example, Lady Jane Grey was Thomas Seymour’s ward and Catherine Willoughby was Charles Brandon’s.


On Anne committing adultery and incest:

At her trial, on the 15th May 1536, Anne Boleyn was accused of incest, adultery, promising to marry Norris after the King’s death, conspiring the King’s death and laughing at the King and his dress. Although Anne protested her innocence, a jury of her peers (or rather her enemies!) found her guilty and she was sentenced to death. The men that she was said to have committed adultery with had already been found guilty, so her trial was completely prejudiced, and the executioner had been ordered from Calais before her trial had even taken place.

You can read more about my thoughts on why I feel that this trial was a show trial and that Anne had no hope of justice in my article “A Foregone Conclusion”, but if you consider that the dates of Anne’s offences listed in the indictment make no sense, that even the man who called her “the concubine” did not believe she was guilty, that Henry was off gallivanting with ladies (and Jane Seymour) and that Anne’s household was broken up before the trial, her guilt was definitely a foregone conclusion. The majority of historians believe that Anne was innocent and that she was framed, I agree wholeheartedly.



Phew! Long post I know, but worth it if I can dispell just one iota of misinformation.


message 4: by Jennifer, Mod #5 (last edited Jul 05, 2011 07:56AM) (new)

Jennifer (jennifertudor) | 951 comments My original response post

Wow… that WAS quite a post :)

First things first - welcome to the group, Beth! I'm so glad that you've decided to post. It's been a while since we had a decent debate on the group and your post is almost guaranteed to bring out all of the Anne supporters and the anti-Annes, of which there are many. It covered a lot of ground and a lot of issues that we're all on the fence about (or far-flung on either side of). I thought it was a great post and would love to read more of your friend's paper.

I'm personally completely pro-Anne. She is my favorite of the wives and the mother of my favorite daughter. I'm afraid that when I do post I'll contradict myself in things I said two years ago, as I've learned, or at least read, a bit more since then about the Tudors (by no means, any type of authority now though:))

I have to read your post a couple more times and gather my thoughts before I post a reply. I'll also have to go back through this thread and read what was said before as I can't remember the context completely of what was said or wasn't. I will say that while I don't disagree with everything you posted, I also don't agree with it all. I'm also not sure if 'dispelling misinformation' is entirely the correct wording. It's all supposition, isn't it? I mean sure, there is some stuff that we know from surviving letters and documents from the time but otherwise, all we can do, any of us, is look at what we've got, what we know of human nature (while considering the 21st century glasses that we're wearing) and go from there. That's what makes it so much fun though.

I'm actually going to set up a new thread for this post, rather than have it under the Philippa Gregory thread. While the paper you refer to is in response to The Other Boleyn Girl, Gregory is one of many who share some of the views in her book. Don't get me wrong… I do not think of Philippa Gregory as an authority on the actual history but in some of her thoughts, she's not alone.


message 5: by Jennifer, Mod #5 (new)

Jennifer (jennifertudor) | 951 comments To urge on the debate I'm sure will follow, I hope that members will take this opportunity to post their own comments and get a fun coversation going. To summarize the topics on hand:

1. Anne's association with Henry Percy, her chastity and her faith
2. Anne's "hatred" of Katherine of Aragon and Mary Tudor I
3. The role played (or not played) by Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk and uncle of Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard in relation to their marriages to Henry VIII
4. Anne's wardship of Henry Carey, son of Mary Boleyn
5. Anne's adultery and incest charges

Of course, feel free to talk about anything else you think fits :)


message 6: by Iset (last edited Jul 05, 2011 09:36AM) (new)

Iset Hoo boy. Before the debate begins, I feel I ought to respond to you Jennifer, in your initial response to my post!

your post is almost guaranteed to bring out all of the Anne supporters and the anti-Annes, of which there are many


I must admit I was a tad worried when you said this, and would like to urge everyone right now that my objective in my initial post was not to start a flame war or get anyone heated over this, so please, I urge people to remain calm!

I'm also not sure if 'dispelling misinformation' is entirely the correct wording. It's all supposition, isn't it?


Now I really must apologise in advance, and urge you not to take this the wrong way Jennifer, but my answer to that is no, not exactly. There are certain cold hard facts which are simply not mere supposition. For example, Anne was accused of committing incest and adultery on certain dates during her trial, but historians know for a fact that the charges are fabricated because we know that she was not where the charges said she was on those dates - we have the proof for this. We also know that wardship was an extremely common practice in Medieval and Renaissance England - Anne simply did not "steal" Henry Carey from her sister, this is not true. Other things we cannot prove but only isasmuchas how on earth can we be expected to prove that something that never happened didn't happen. Stop and think about this for a moment. How on earth are we expected to prove that an event did not happen - if it never happened and there's no evidence for it? What we can say is that there is absolutely zero evidence for the accusation that it did happen and that other evidence we have about the person, the practices of the time, and so on, indicates almost certainly that the accusation is baseless. In these cases you are technically correct by saying that it's not in stone, but honestly it's so far beyond all reasonable doubt. The accusations about Anne secretly marrying Henry Percy, for example, would fall under this.

I said on the other thread, before Jennifer created this new one, that history is mired in rumour and baseless accusations, and I really cannot emphasise this enough. People are very quick to apply their own personal biases, and repeat hearsay. It is so hard for historians to combat this cloud of myths, and I already know that people aren't going to listen to me when I say this, but I would urge everyone getting into this debate to think about a couple of things going forwards:

1) Try to set aside any personal bias. History needs to be treated with objectivity. Consider the facts and the evidence when making your own conclusions, don't just rely on your feelings.
2) In a serious debate you must support your arguments. You can't just make a claim or an accusation without backing it up - that's hearsay and that's how many of these historical myths get started. Consider where is the proof, and present your evidence.
3) Think about the provenance of your sources or evidence. Is your source reliable? Could they have a reason to be biased? Is their account firsthand or secondhand? Do other independent and reliable sources back up what they say or are they a lone voice with only their word to claim something?

These at least are the basic questions that historians ask. We're questioners, we don't accept anything without question, we're always probing, always digging. We look at all the evidence and we have to balance every single scrap of it when considering our interpretation. Finally, when we conclude we draw our conclusions based on the facts in front of us and not what we would like to have happened. If people could just do that then at least it would go some way to stemming the myth-mongering that swirls about history today. :) There will still be differences, let me assure you as everyone interprets things differently, but if proceedings could just have a basis in objectivity, reasonable probability, and be supported by hard evidence, that's what real history is about.

I'm personally completely pro-Anne.


This may surprise you, given that you actually disagreed with some of my post, but I am neither pro- nor anti-Anne. Nevertheless my objective conclusions agree with my friend whom I quoted.

I thought it was a great post and would love to read more of your friend's paper.


I can't tell you how pleased I am, reading your response was a delight, which is why I hope that you, and indeed anybody who comes along and reads this post, doesn't take it the wrong way and think I'm having a go at anyone - I'm genuinely simply devoted to clarity in history and the refutation of that mire of myth which often filters into the public consciousness about people and events in history, myths (and I'm not just talking about Anne Boleyn anymore) which are simply baseless, untrue, and occasionally utterly absurd! I hope some people at least will understand where I'm coming from.

I... would love to read more of your friend's paper.


I can talk to her and ask her to provide some even more in depth analysis of the topics at hand, if you like. The post I made was really an overview (lol, it may amaze you to learn), she has done extensive research and if required can go into a great deal considerable more detail in order to support and prove her points.


message 7: by Aly (new)

Aly (Alygator) | 854 comments I'm all for reading other people's articles and such on this topic (I love a good debate too hehe!!), but I have a really hard time reading something historical that doesn't site anything from anywhere (except Chapuys, and we should know that he wasn't a great source always either).

Beth wrote: Henry was infatuated with Anne, he wrote her 17 letters, when he usually hated writing

Not so sure he hated writing so much as he just didn't do it often. He was a high status member of society, so he would have had his own scribe at the time. It took some digging but I FINALLY found what I was looking for. I check the Tudor Q&A forum on tudorhistory.org and about threeish years ago one of the posters (whose scholarship I completely respect) commented on this "hatred of writing." The website is here: http://queryblog.tudorhistory.org/200... (the poster's name is PhD Historian)
And as Foose in the above website stated, I believe writing to Anne in his own hand shows his "regard for her was truly exceptional."

I HAVE to comment on the absolute hatred of Henry shining through in your friends writing, Beth. It's super easy to blame him for everything in this situation (he chased her! he "sexually harassed" her!! He accused her of adultery and incest and then had her killed!). Your friend mentions that he sexually harassed Anne with his letters and by pursuing her. However, later in the article your friend states that we can't look at Anne as a homewrecker because we are looking at it through the eyes of 21st century people. She falls into the same pitfall that she condemns many of us to. Being pursued by the king in such a way would not have been seen as sexual harassement back then. It was a different mindset. The highest, most powerful man in the kingdom has eyes only for you? That must be more an honor than anything. While the English didn't put quite the same importance as the French did on mistresses, they would still see the king's mistress as someone who had a certain amount of power. Anne would have known that. However, Anne would have also known that his mistresses faded in relative obscurity after their affair, and perhaps she didn't want that. Unfortunately, we will never know the motivation behind this situation. Was Anne sick of being pursued by the King? Did she perhaps lead him on so she could get power? Who knows? We don't have her letters, so we don't have proof that she hated or liked being pursued by Henry. But based on the times, I doubt she would have looked at it in a sexual harassing manner. That's definitely a concept of later times.

The people who label Anne as a “homewrecker” are people who look at the love triangle with 21st century eyes. What we have to remember is:-

1. There were rumours of Henry VIII annulling his marriage to Catherine in 1514, long before Anne came on the scene and he had already stopped sleeping with his wife.
2. Anne did not chase Henry, she did not initiate the affair and she actually said “no” to begin with.
3. Henry had already concluded that his marriage was not valid or legal, that it was incestuous.
4. Anne had no choice – She tried saying no and it didn’t work, she tried retreating to Hever and that didn’t work, Henry always got what he wanted and he was the King.

So, please let’s blame Henry for the deterioration and subsequent end of his marriage, not Anne Boleyn...


1. Henry DID NOT come up with an annulment idea in 1514. He DID NOT stop sleeping with his wife in 1514. Mary was born in 1516, so obviously they were still having relations. And she had at least two more pregnancies after this point in time. The idea of annulment, from what I have gleaned from various books (Weir's, Starkey's, Fraser's Wives, Bernard's Anne Boleyn), it seems that idea spawned somewhere around 1525-1527ish. Katherine had had several pregnancies by this point and only one child that survived past two months. She was getting on in years and he needed a male heir. So in this I will agree, yes Anne didn't have much to do with his original idea of an annulment. Henry was worried about his line, the succession, heck even civil war. Remember, his father had won his crown off of the field at Bosworth during the culmination of the War of the Roses. If Henry didn't produce a male heir, the country was at risk for being thrown back into such a civil war.

2. We don't have proof either way who started the chase. We know that Anne kept it going by continually saying no. We don't know that she didn't initiate the affair by making herself noticed at court. We don't know that Henry just randomly saw her and wanted her. However, given what we know about Anne, I will say that she made herself known at court. Whether it was to get the king's eye or to just be the center of attention, she was a noticeable figure in the English court.

3. Henry had been told it was incestuous from the beginning. Not everyone was all for the marriage between the two. There wasn't Henry "deciding" anything. He needed an heir and needed to get out of his marriage to get one. He started looking into the possibility that his marriage wasn't valid in the eyes of the Church and God.

4. Again as addressed in point 2, Anne may or may not have brought on this chase. Her "running of to Hever" may have been a way to change the game a bit in her favor. We just don't know.

I'm not going to blame Henry or Anne for the change in his marital status. But I do believe that Anne helped moved the process of the dissolution of his marriage along.

Once Anne was dead and gone, Mary had a rude awakening when she realised that it was her father who was ultimately responsible for her treatment, when things got worse instead of better.
Where is it said that her treatment got worse? After Mary signed the documents that Henry had wanted her to, she was given places at court, held in high regard as the king's daughter, was the chief mourner at Jane Seymour's funeral, was friends with Anne of Cleves during her brief marriage to Henry, and returned to the line of succession in 1543. So it would seem that Anne's "hatred" of Katherine and Mary did in fact play a role in how they were treated. Of course, like all things, it's not so black and white. Katherine and Mary were out right defying the king, something that was treasonous. No matter if you are a Katherine or Anne supporter, the fact still remains that Katherine was guilty of treason against her king. She didn't support his laws, and her daughter and her suffered for it.

Fact: There is no evidence that the Boleyns/Howards schemed and used the girls as pawns, or that the girls were “coached”. It is likely that Mary caught the King’s eye with her pretty looks and Anne attracted him with her style and confidence, and that the families made the most of their favour. Women were seen as second-class citizens and daughters as chattels, but there is nothing to support the view that Thomas Boleyn set out to win favour through Mary and Anne.

I don't know if the Duke of Norfolk had a part to play in Anne's marriage to the king. That's something that we will never know. But of course the girls would have been coached. Of course the girls were used as political pawns. With or without the king's eye, with or without the Duke of Norfolk, they would have been used as pawns to further the family.

I agree to the wardship bit of your post. Wardships weren't uncommon, in fact they were the norm. And Henry Carey would have had a better education etc. as Anne's ward.

At her trial, on the 15th May 1536, Anne Boleyn was accused of incest, adultery, promising to marry Norris after the King’s death, conspiring the King’s death and laughing at the King and his dress. Although Anne protested her innocence, a jury of her peers (or rather her enemies!) found her guilty and she was sentenced to death. The men that she was said to have committed adultery with had already been found guilty, so her trial was completely prejudiced, and the executioner had been ordered from Calais before her trial had even taken place.

I believe it was Greg (forgive me, Greg, if it wasn't you, but I know it was a conversation with you), who said that most Tudor trials were show trials. They weren't the jury type trial that we enjoy in the U.S. today. Again, we can't look at the past using 21st century goggles. Yes, for all intents and purposes, her trial was just a formality. But let's look at the evidence we do have about her infidelities. She often gave presents to men, she was often surrounded by men. That's a dangerous thing to do with a jealous lover like Henry. Whether the evidence Cromwell produced was real or not, we can't say. Several of the dates don't make sense. Weir's Lady in the Tower does a great job of talking about these dates. But there are a couple that are unaccounted for. As for the incest, I can't claim to know whether she did or didn't have incestuous relations with her brother. I don't have evidence either way. But when it comes to the charges of talking about the king's death, well, that's considered treason. Talking of the king's death was against the law. Again, not totally sure she did say anything. That's something that I don't think we can ever know. Maybe someone can prove me wrong, but I have yet to have read that the swordsmen was called for BEFORE her trial. I have actually never heard that claim.

While I enjoyed reading your post, and reading what your friend came up with, I'm a little bit miffed that you used the phrasing "worth it if I can dispell just one iota of misinformation."


message 8: by Iset (last edited Jul 05, 2011 10:44AM) (new)

Iset I'm sorry I can't respond directly to many of those points Aly as I am not my acquaintance. However I have passed this on to her and asked her if she would like to give me a response for me to post on her behalf, or even if she would like to join our group and post herself.

However, I must just stick up for Claire, because you accuse her of denouncing 21st century perspective one moment and then using it the next and cite the instance of "sexual harrassment". Claire never wrote that, please note in her article she is quoting another historian who did say that the situation could be interpreted that way - underneath Claire clearly states that she does not believe that the situation was anything like sexual harrassment.

There's nothing I can do if you want to exercise your right to be offended where no offence was meant. My aim has only ever been for clarity and the dispelling of fiction from fact in history - I don't disavow it.

EDIT: Claire has got back to me and says she will personally join the debate tomorrow and answer your points Aly. I've been at this for hours now and I'm pretty tired and all I want to do is have a hot meal and kick back for the evening, so forgive me if I also do not return until tomorrow.


message 9: by Aly (last edited Jul 05, 2011 10:51AM) (new)

Aly (Alygator) | 854 comments Forgive me for the sexual harassment bit. I got a little over excited LOL

I'm miffed because several of the key facts that you posted from Claire's article are wrong, as I addressed in my post. It's not so much that I'm offended, but that you are saying that this post was worth it if one iota of misinformation was dispelled. But the article is fraught with opinions masquerading as facts, and "facts" that aren't real. For example, the year she has labeled as when Henry supposedly stopped sleeping with Katherine simply isn't true. To me, that doesn't dispel misinformation.


message 10: by Jennifer, Mod #5 (new)

Jennifer (jennifertudor) | 951 comments Well, I'm miffed because I'm at work, it's hot and sunny outside and I can't properly respond to anything LOL

Seriously though, just a friendly reminder:

I knew what this would start when I posted the thread but this group hasn't had a good debate/conversation in a while and I figured this would get it going again. This is a good thing!

As I said initially, we're all very opinionated about the Tudors and their history. It's why we're all here… we all share that passion and that's so great! I agree with you, Beth, that we are in the minority when it comes to having any interest in history. Many people on here have had experiences with people either thinking they're insane for caring or flat-out telling us that we're wrong about the 'facts' because The Tudors show said it happened differently, or Philippa Gregory, or whatever.

As long as we all keep it civil, I think this is going to be fun.

I'm glad that your friend will be joining, Beth. It will be interesting to see her point of view from her own account.

I'll respond to both of your posts when I get home tonight and am looking forward to reading other members' thoughts.


message 11: by Kara (last edited Jul 05, 2011 05:45PM) (new)

Kara (karasmannequin) | 21 comments I'll just state my opinion. XD No hard feelings or anything, I'm kind of a mixture of pro/con Anne Boleyn. My favorite wife was always Catherine Parr even though she becomes sort of a tragic heroine with the whole Seymour marriage after being the 6th wife.

To tell you the truth, I'll state why I was never a fan of Anne based on the biographies and some of the various portrayals of her that I've witnessed (no, not Philippa's because I know that not all of it's based on true fact). I admire Catherine of Aragon and always felt bad that she had to sit by and watch her husband "snatched by love" from Anne because she refused to be his mistress right away and he wanted what he couldn't have at the time. I always resented the fact that Anne so disliked Catherine and Mary that she was at all mentioned with the possibility of poison with Catherine, even if it wasn't true. From what it seems, Catherine was devout and her only flaw in the marriage from Henry's perception (not counting the Great Matter) was her inability to hold an heir.

I kind of find it karma that Anne was unable to have a male heir for Henry despite everything it took to get Elizabeth legitimized and their marriage made official. I've always been curious to know Elizabeth's own opinion about her mother and it's a shame there aren't more records about her thoughts of such.

I always felt like the Boleyn/Howard family, especially given the Duke of Norfolk's character, manipulated Anne to a certain degree. I never had the biggest conviction that Anne was ever in love with Henry...I think that like any other girl would have been, was enchanted (which isn't necessarily love) by the persuasive and pasionate king (and the possible things that could happen for her and her family )that was writing her obsessively. I think her reasons for entering the marriage weren't as they should have been and that compounded into the disaster that became of it, unfortunately.

That's just my opinion. Sorry if it's rushed xD


I've never been a huge fan of Anne Boleyn but I do think that based on Henry's personality, the type of guy that wants something and wants it on his terms, if he even felt like he couldn't hold her completely then he wanted no one else to have her. But I doubt she cheated during the marriage ( I do think the Henry Percy argument is fairly convincing ) considering she was no Catherine Howard. What I mean by that is she was't naive and though she flaunted her own feelings for Henry around Catherine (which may have been a reason for the misconception with her courtiers), I doubt she would have been essentially unit


message 12: by Aly (new)

Aly (Alygator) | 854 comments Kara, thanks for your opinion! I too have kinda always felt that Anne's family manipulated her to point. I always like hearing (or in this case, reading) other's opinions on Anne because I've been on the fence about her. I HATED her when I first read The Other Boleyn Girl LOL but have since changed most of my feelings towards her (thank you, Ives!).


Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) I am another one that has always been on the fence about Anne, and as such, I really enjoy reading different portrayals of her. I think that she was definitely a complex personality, and therefore there is a lot to work with when writing about her. In my humble opinion, the differing portrayals of her is part of what fascinates me so much about her. She is not easy to pin down and even if I don't actually like her as person, I like the complexity of her as an historical figure.

Kara - like you I have always felt that, although Anne wasn't blameless, she was definitely manipulated by her family to some degree.

Aly - I still have to read the Ives.


message 14: by Claire (new)

Claire Ridgway (claire_ridgway) | 3 comments Aly wrote: "Forgive me for the sexual harassment bit. I got a little over excited LOL

I'm miffed because several of the key facts that you posted from Claire's article are wrong, as I addressed in my post. ..."


I'm a bit miffed too because I'm being attacked when I wasn't even part of this discussion and you obviously have not read my work. I have spent the last 2 and a half years researching Anne Boleyn on a full-time basis and I have never relied on the letters of Eustace Chapuys alone. My words are being twisted here, my work taken out of context and I don't like it. I'm going to keep my answer short as I'm really busy at the moment and just have not got the time to go into this in depth when I knew nothing about this until late last night.

To be clear

- I never said that Henry VIII stopped sleeping with Catherine of Aragon in 1514, I said that he stopped sleeping with her before Anne came on the scene. Many historians, e.g.Eric Ives, believe that Henry stopped sleeping with Catherine in 1524, 1525 at the latest when he made moves to bring Fitzroy "out of obscurity" by creating him Duke of Richmond. December 1524 was when Catherine gave birth to a stillborn boy so late 1524 makes sense, Henry had given up hope. When I spoke about 1514, I was referring to when there were rumours that Henry was considering another match, something that, according to historians Philippa Jones and Kelly Hart, Wolsey was investigating and mentioned in his peace treaty of 1514.

- Hatred of Henry VIII - I do not hate Henry VIII and never have done, I find him fascinating.

- Sexual harassment - As Beth has already pointed out, I do not believe that Henry sexually harassed Anne, I state that this is the opinion of Karen Lindsey.

- Mary's treatment - On 15th June 1536 Henry VIII sent members of his council (Norfolk, Sussex and the Bishop of Chester) to see Mary with the purpose of bullying her into submitting to him and accepting that she was not his legitimate heir. When she refused to submit, one of them said that if she were his daughter then "he would beat her to death, or strike her head against the wall until he made it as soft as a boiled apple". They then continued threatening her and "were assisted in their task by the Princess' governess". (Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 5ii. 70)
Anne Boleyn was dead by this time so Anne was not responsible for this treatment. Mary was only treated properly when she had submitted to her father.

- Re the trial, I don't believe that Anne reprimanding Norris for looking for "dead men's shoes" is quite the same as compassing the King's death which was what she and Norris, and the other men, were charged with. There was also nothing strange about her giving gifts.

- Re the executioner - Alison Weir, in The Lady in the Tower, makes the point that Anne was due to be executed on the 18th May, and it was then postponed, and her trial only took place on the 15th May. She also makes the point that there is no way that the Swordsman of Calais could have been ordered on the 15th, after Anne's trial, and got to London by the 18th. Weir suggests that he must have been ordered by the 14th at the very latest and more probably the 9th or 10th.

- Opinions - Of course I offer opinions, but they are not "masqueraded as facts". I used primary and secondary sources and offer my opinions based on what they say and how I interpret them. This is obviously a minefield because of the bias of the people who have written the letters etc. but I am always careful to offer various points of view and arguments for and against.

I'm sorry I can't go into further detail but I am drowning in work at the moment and leave for our tour next week so things are hectic and I obviously knew nothing about this discussion until Beth asked me to get involved last night. Sorry for the very rushed answer!


message 15: by Iset (last edited Jul 06, 2011 04:58AM) (new)

Iset Kara - thank you for your opinion, it was very interesting. Which biographies did you read, cause you did state which ones they were? Hopefully Eric Ives is among them, but I don't have to note that even historians can make mistakes in their works. I do recommend Ives, but don't take his word as the be all and end all, and it's best to read across a wide number of authorities on the subject in order the get the best idea of where the disputes and what points are contentious. Which portrayals? I must point out that fictional portrayals of Anne are not actual evidence of what she was really like or what actually happened in her lifetime. A lot of what you say is personal opinion and feeling; "I admire..." "I always resented..." "I've always felt.." but then you don't go on to present any evidence that has led you to conclude these things and feel this way. Same with my friend Lyn who agrees that she has "always felt" that Anne was manipulated though not entirely blameless. Interesting opinion, but what do you base this on?

Let me put a question to you, Kara. You say that you "always resented the fact that Anne so disliked Catherine and Mary that she was at all mentioned with the possibility of poison with Catherine, even if it wasn't true." Have you questioned the source? Who was it that mentioned Anne's name in connection with the possibility of poison? Let's take Henry VIII, we know that after Anne died he mentioned to Henry Fitzroy that Anne would have poisoned Fitzroy and Mary had she lived. Is there any evidence or basis for this whatsoever other than Henry's word? No. Might Henry be making it up because he's biased against her? He did ensure that the outcome of her trial was fixed, ordered her execution, and was already planning on marrying Jane Seymour before Anne had been killed. I think it's pretty clear that Henry was biased against Anne, and as a source his statement to Fitzroy about poisoning is not reliable. Who else stated it? There were rumours but do we know the names of who repeated them? Consider that Catherine of Aragon was indeed popular as queen, entrenched, and that Anne had opposition. It doesn't seem that strange that people who didn't like her would say bad things about her, and without proof it's actually more indicative of the allegiance of those who made it up than any real evidence of Anne's personality. Also, consider how rumours are passed on. When you repeat a rumour to friends or family, do you always believe it's true or do you just pass it on because it's an interesting snippet? So the fact that the rumour circulated and was repeated by others doesn't necessarily indicate that everyone thought it was true or believed that it was possible of her.

Jennifer wrote: "It's all supposition, isn't it?


Jennifer, I really wanted to return to your point here, and answer it thoroughly, and I can think of no better reply than the words of Mary Lefkowitz, who has made an intensive study of the issue:

Nowadays such practices are not at all unusual. Instructors in universities now place less emphasis on the acquisition of factual information than they did a generation ago. They are suspicious of the value of facts, or to put it another way, they think that facts are meaningless because they can be manipulated and reinterpreted. If it is true (and I think it almost always is) that no historical work can be written without bias of some sort, it follows that no historian can be trusted to give a completely accurate picture of what the writer is seeking to describe. Of course historians (and their readers) have always been aware that they can and do write with an evident bias... But recently, many historians have been concentrating on another type of bias, this time unconscious... Such beliefs, if carried to their logical extreme, make it possible to say that all history is by definition fiction. If all history is fiction, it is natural to deny or to minimize the importance of all historical data (since it can be manipulated). Instead these writers now concentrate on cultural motives... The debate has moved away from facts or evidence, to perceived motivations, and the quality of a discussion now depends on whether the participants in the discussion have good or beneficial motivations, as judged by themselves: if they believe that a person's motivations are good, then what they say will be right... Academics ought to have seen from the start that this "new historicism" has some serious shortcomings. But in fact most of us are just beginning to emerge from the fog far enough to see where history-without-facts can lead us, which is right back to fictive history of the kind developed to serve [certain groups and agendas]... Instead of relying on such extra-rational devices as cultural motivation or intuition, surely everyone will be better served by paying attention to history rather than to the historian. What is the quality of the evidence? Does it stand up to scrutiny? Discussions about evidence is what scholarship used to be about, and I would argue that we must return to debates about the evidence...

There are of course many possible interpretations of the truth, but some things are simply not true. It is not true that there was no Holocaust. There was a Holocaust, although we may disagree about the number of people killed. Likewise, it is not true that the Greeks stole their philosophy from Egypt; rather it is true that the Greeks were influenced in various ways over a long period of time by their contact with the Egyptians... In historical and scientific discussions it is possible to distinguish degrees, and to be more or less accurate... We recognize that no historian can write without some amount of bias; that is why history must always be rewritten. But not all bias amounts to distortion or is equivalent to indoctrination. If I am aware that I am likely to be biased for any number of reasons, and try to compensate for my bias, the result should be very different in quality and character from what I would say if I were consciously setting about to achieve a particular goal... When it comes to deciding what one can or cannot say in class, the question of motivations, whether personal or cultural, is or ought to be irrelevant. What matters is whether what one says is supported by facts and evidence, texts or formulae...

Are there, can there be, multiple, diverse "truths"? If there are, which "truth" should win? The one that is the most loudly argued, or most persuasively phrased? Diverse "truths" are only possible if "truth" is understood to mean something like "point of view". But even then not every point of view, no matter how persuasively it is put across, or with what intensity it is argued, can be equally valid. I may sincerely believe [something] and speak eloquently [about it], but that will not mean that what I say corresponds to any known facts... In order to be
true my assertion would need to be supported by warranted evidence. And it cannot be. The notion of diversity does not extend to the truth...

Students of the modern world may think it is a matter of indifference... But the question, and many others like it, should be of serious concern to everyone, because if you assert [a theory without basis] and are prepared to ignore or to conceal a substantial body of historical evidence that proves the contrary... Once you start doing that you can have no scientific of even social-scientific discourse, nor can you have a community, or a university... I argued that the purpose of teaching history is to try to understand the past and that present-day academicians owe it to the people of the past to preserve the memory of their accomplishments as accurately as we can. I do not imagine that we can ever know all that we want to know, but I believe that some things in the past can be shown to have happened, on the basis of existing evidence, and that other things (even though plausible) cannot be assumed to have happened just because they might have happened...

It should (but cannot) go without saying that my aim has always been to subject ideas to scrutiny, not people or personalities. But in the present climate of debate, even the most abstract and impersonal disagreements quickly tend to be redefined as political or even personal quarrels, especially if scholars find they can make a stronger or an apparently more persuasive case without much reference to evidence... The point is that [my book] is not about me but about [history], and as such it should be judged on the basis of its discussion and analysis of the evidence... If my critics "deconstruction" of my work can be considered fair and reasonable, then surely I should be allowed to adopt the same approach in my critique of their reviews. I shall refrain (as some of them have not been able to do) from speculating about the possible effect on their work of their personal lives and backgrounds. I will simply ask them some of the same questions they have asked me. How can they be so sure that
they know what they are saying? What about their hidden agendas?...

Is it possible to discuss these sorts of issues without the rancor and distrust that [such discussions] generate?... Surely the purpose of studying the past is to find out, so far as we can, what happened in the past. We owe it to the peoples [of the past] to preserve the memory of their history in as scientific a manner as possible. That is our duty and obligation.


(Lefkowitz, M., 1997, Not Out of Africa, R. Ed., New Republic/Basic Books, New York)

I hope this clarifies for you a little more the current zeitgeist to treat history as "it's all supposition", and why it's important, and I am emphasising so much and requesting that people use supporting evidence. Kara, and Lyn, I loved reading what you both said, and it really was genuinely interesting to find out your perspectives, please don't think I don't appreciate your contribution or I am against your contribution, this is all fabulously interesting stuff, but I thought it important to simply note that it was opinion and make the distinction between you guys expressing an opinion and presenting actual arguments supported by evidence - we know that sometimes people simply look at what a person has written and just walk away assuming it must be fact even though it is simply opinion (or even fiction as we all know from those people who seem to think that Philippa Gregory's TOBG is the final word). I wasn't taking issue, I just wanted to make the note - and also ask Kara what she might have based her opinion on because she does imply that she's read things and it's grounded in certain works. I also did the "consider again" exercise with reference to something you said, Kara, because it happened that that was a prime example of where different conclusions can be reached from examining the same evidence - Kara concluded that even if the rumours about Anne poisoning anyone weren't true, the fact that there were rumours must say something ugly about her personality - I was simply trying to demonstrate that you can take the same incident of the rumours and it needn't necessarily mean what we interpret it to; there are different conclusions to make.


message 16: by Jessica (new)

Jessica I absolutely cannot wait to get home and give this entire thread a thorough reading. THIS stimulation on THIS topic is exactly what I was searching for. (No wonder I am happliy single, I care more about long-dead love affairs than today's dating scene!). Thank you all for posting! I hope to provide my own well-developed thoughts when time permits!


message 17: by Iset (new)

Iset Jessica wrote: "I absolutely cannot wait to get home and give this entire thread a thorough reading. THIS stimulation on THIS topic is exactly what I was searching for. (No wonder I am happliy single, I care mor..."

And I cannot wait to see what you have to say! :) Welcome to the thread, the more the merrier!


message 18: by Claire (new)

Claire Ridgway (claire_ridgway) | 3 comments I'm just sorry I cannot contribute more, just drowning at the moment under work, quarterly accounts, tour planning and kids at home for summer break!


message 19: by Iset (new)

Iset I have no doubt this thread will still be here later in the year - the debate has always been too hot to ever be concluded.


message 20: by Jennifer, Mod #5 (last edited Jul 06, 2011 08:54AM) (new)

Jennifer (jennifertudor) | 951 comments I have to post this in two posts as I've apparently talked too much :)

Claire, welcome to the group! Please don’t take offense to anything that is said here. We’re honestly only having this conversation as a friendly debate and had/have no intention of ‘attacking’ you or your work. As you’ll notice, in fact, I stated that I would love to read more of your work and we are certainly not trying to diminish your research. (As a side note, I was being nosy and had a peek at your Goodreads profile. I noticed that you are the owner of the Anne Boleyn Files website, which is a site that we’re all familiar with and often quote and refer to.) In regards to what we did have the opportunity to read – if it is being twisted or taken out of context – in fairness, we can only respond to the pieces presented in front of us in this thread.

It’s not that there is issue being taken with your opinions and findings in your research but perhaps the approach in which the information was presented to us and yes, some of the context may well have been taken out of context. It’s easy to read something as it stands and misinterpret the writer’s thoughts and points, especially on the internet and when reading bits and pieces.

Beth, in your original post you stated that you must ‘contend a good many’ of Colleen’s points. I still haven’t had a chance to go back and read our original conversation (I really have to try to do that today) but from your given references to her points, we need to take into consideration that many of them do include statements like “she seemed”, “I don’t find”, “I feel”. The same goes for the quotes that you posted of mine, one starting with “I don’t believe” and the following quote stating “I think” twice in the same sentence. I certainly should have been more careful with my wording saying “the one she was married to before Henry” and to added in there the word “rumoured” and so on.

You stated that you have to disagree with our points, which by all means, is absolutely your right. But we weren’t stating these points as facts, merely opinions as is evident in our word choice listed above. Colleen and I greatly differ from one another on our thoughts on Anne Boleyn, as well as on Mary I and Elizabeth, as I’m sure came across in our old posts and many members here are well-aware of this. To return to what I said yesterday about being completely pro-Anne. I should point out that I’m not saying that Anne was an angel, that she’s blameless or that my views on her should, in anyway, be taken by anyone as factual. It’s a point of view and one that is continuously changing with everything that I read and learn. As the article that you posted said, history is constantly being rewritten.

I’m finding it difficult to rebuke or debate some of the information in your original post because it’s not about me believing that something did or didn’t happen. I’m not faulting Claire for stating her opinions, nor Beth for agreeing with them. My main point here is to say only that we don’t know WHAT happened.

The Lefkowitz piece was an interesting read. Thanks for posting it. Briefly, a few points that I thought were noteworthy…

“There are of course many possible interpretations of the truth, but some things are simply not true.”

“Are there, can there be, multiple, diverse “truths’? If there are, which “truth” should win?”

“If you assert [a theory without basis] and are prepared to ignore or to conceal a substantial body of historical evidence that proves the contrary… Once you start doing that you can have no scientific or even social-scientific discourse…”

“Surely the purpose of studying the past is to find out, so far as we can, what happened in the past. We owe it to the peoples [of the past] to preserve the memory of their history in as scientific a manner as possible. That is our duty and obligation.”


In my honest opinion, most things are based on interpretation. Certainly we know that there was a Holocaust. That is undeniable. We also know that Henry lived and breathed and had 6 wives (although the legalities of his 6 marriages are yet another popular debate… but that’s for another time). What we don’t, can’t, won’t know is how they interacted on a day to day basis, what their thoughts were, even the “truth” of their recorded actions, we can’t be definitively certain about. It’s not that black and white. And certainly, there can be many multiple ‘truths’ but it’s not about “winning” the argument. I agree 100% that things shouldn’t be stated as having happened without the ability to back-up it up. Colleen and I were asserting our own personal theories and shooting the s***, so to speak. But we weren’t concealing or ignoring a substantial body of historical evidence. We were taking documented ideas and ‘facts’ and having a conversation surrounding them and our impressions that we gained through said research. Again, if I’m contradicting my 2009-self, you’ll have to excuse me. My views have, I’m sure, changed drastically from my views of 2 years ago so I hope you’ll read this post as what it is.

I loved the line ‘We owe it to the peoples [of the past] to preserve the memory of their history in as scientific a manner as possible.’

We’re all here (in this group) to preserve their memories amongst one another while many people in the world just don’t care. We’re having this conversation (and many others) and ‘facts’ are and have been presented ‘in as scientific a manner as possible’ in some of those conversations. We have members ranging a broad Tudor-knowledge spectrum in this group, from the newcomers recently introduced to the Tudors by either the Showtime series or The Other Boleyn Girl novel/movie to the seasoned academic historians who offer a plethora of fascinating ‘facts’ and opinions. So, we take the given ‘facts’ and make educated guesses from what we’ve learned. And then we learn more, or someone comes in with a theory that you favor more than your own. History rewritten in the mind of the individual. We will never all agree on what happened but how great is it that we can discuss what might have?

Much of what was posted in Beth’s original post of Claire’s paper seemed to be stated as fact. Again, this definitely could have been received out of context and I apologize if that was the case but the way that it was first read, at least by me and I believe by Aly, was in a way that we were being told that anything that we stated couldn’t have happened and that everything Claire said must have. In my opinion at least (and I’m by no means an authority on the subject) we can’t regard any of it as fact. I stand by my earlier statement about it all being supposition. Beth, when you quoted me on that, you ignored the latter part of my statement following that up when I said ‘sure, there is some stuff that we know from surviving letters and documents from the time but otherwise, all we can do, any of us, is look at what we’ve got, what we know of human nature (while considering the 21st century glasses that we’re wearing) and go from there.”

Even some of the surviving information and ‘facts’ that we do have must be taken with a grain of salt. Record-keeping in the 1500’s isn’t renowned for its accuracy, nor for being unbiased. Even now, in present day, every situation, every record, every ‘truth’ is based on the writer’s interpretation of the events. The ‘truths’ existing from the time would very much differ if one writer was pro-Henry, one was pro-Anne and one was pro-Catherine, so to speak. So again, it’s supposition. It has to be. None of what we know (other than irrefutable facts like “Henry VIII was King of England”) can be looked at as gospel.

For example, take the part of Claire’s article that states ‘Catherine died of cancer’ vs. the theory of her being poisoned.

There were rumours that Catherine of Aragon had died of poisoning after it was found that her heart was black and that illness had worsened after drinking some Welsh ale, and, after Anne’s fall, Henry VIII led Henry Fitzroy to believe that Anne had planned to poison him and his half-sister, Mary, but there was no basis to these accusations. Catherine died of cancer and Henry VIII was just ranting and blustering – he also spoke of Anne having 100 lovers!

There were certainly plenty of rumors at the time of Catherine’s death that she had been poisoned. There were numerous people who would have profited from her death, certainly we can imagine Henry and Anne being at the top of that list. Others accused Gregory di Casale, a diplomat representing Henry. Catherine herself even had fears for her own safety in her later years, as was evident in her own correspondence. With all that, I can see how it would have been regarded back in the day as a plausible theory.

However, no, I don’t personally believe that Catherine was poisoned by anyone. I think she was likely sick and died from the illness, whatever that might have been. I’m not completely convinced that it was cancer either, though. At the time of Catherine’s autopsy, the “castle’s chandler” reported that there was a large, round, black growth on her heart but all other organs were healthy and normal. (Fraser’s Six Wives). I’ve also read reports, which, I can’t find to cite right now, that her heart was claimed to be ‘black through and through’. It is generally assumed today that what Catherine had was cancer and again, I’m not disputing that she might have. It’s a pretty compelling argument. What I’m disputing is the blatancy of the statement ‘Catherine died of cancer’. It’s been 475 years since her death. While we can speculate on her cause of death, we can’t perform an autopsy. We can’t diagnose her symptoms as no medical professional is able to speak to her personally. Even from any notes that remain from the time… what if there were complaints that doctors today, with today’s medical knowledge, would ask about or symptoms that they would recognize as symptoms of a specific medical disease, whereas someone in 1536 would have played it off as just an everyday thing or as nothing at all? Something that I found neat was the theory that circulated in regards to Catherine’s death being contributed to nothing but pure heartbreak. As Fraser states, no, of course it’s not medically or scientifically sound, but it’s neat. There have been reports throughout history of people dying from broken hearts. Please note that I said ‘reports’ and that I’m not claiming that this was the case, nor my belief. I’m just saying, we don’t know. And honestly, if we take away people’s rights to speculate, what are we left with? I don’t want to ever read all there is to read about the Tudors (and in this I’m speaking about surviving documents, etc.) and have that be enough. I want to continue to read research done by every author I can get my hands on and then be able to debate what I feel and interpreted from that.


message 21: by Jennifer, Mod #5 (last edited Jul 06, 2011 08:51AM) (new)

Jennifer (jennifertudor) | 951 comments We do not know ‘for a fact’ that Anne never committed adultery, or even incest. I’m sorry, Beth, but I really disagree with that. Can we safely assume that Anne was proven guilty before her trial? Possibly. I’ll even go with probably. But we do not know “for a fact” what she did or didn’t do in terms of extramarital activities. We simply don’t know.

I’ve never cheated on my boyfriend. Can I prove that I haven’t? No, and I also can’t give evidence to support that. No more than anyone can provide evidence to show that I have. You could, however, look at our relationship, take what you know of me, and from there form your own theories regarding my fidelity, or lack thereof. It doesn’t mean you’d be necessarily right in your conclusions though, does it? But you’d have taken the information that you do have on hand and come up with nothing more than a theory. That being said, what if I have cheated on my boyfriend (I really haven’t lol)? It suits me in this context to say I haven’t. Even if I had, I would say I hadn’t. Either way, there’s no way to ‘prove’ it either way. Unless, of course, someone said specifically that I was having an affair at this very moment and I have people that can speak to my whereabouts at this exact moment. There isn’t always someone with me that can speak to that though. Not every second of every day. And there wasn’t with Anne either.

On Anne and Henry Percy

(From Fraser’s Six Wives):

How far did Percy’s dalliance with Anne Boleyn actually go? As was mentioned in the case of Arthur and Catherine on the subject of pre-contracts, proper sexual consummation meant that a precontract –or formal betrothal – acquired the full validity of a marriage. On the other hand, passionate kisses, leading to even more passionate embraces, leading to something that is now termed foreplay and stopping there – meant that it did not. In such a world, technical virginity could become an important issue, long after the event. Yet nothing could be more difficult to establish one way or the other; especially in view of this propinquity of young men and women, none of whom were supervised or guarded in the way a Spanish royal princess like Catherine of Aragon had been. Unless pregnancy settled the issue, absolute certainty on this extremely private subject was impossible. The result was that, human nature being what it is, people swore to the circumstances that suited them in the present, regardless of what had actually taken place in the past.
Anne Boleyn did not get pregnant by Lord Percy, and on balance of probabilities did not completely consummate their relationship. But she did perhaps go quite a long way towards doing so and there was assuredly some kind of promise of marriage whether the promises or the embraces came first. All this took place without any kind of official sanction. So whatever the truth of its intimacies, the Percy relationship should make us envisage Anne Boleyn as a young woman of considerable resolve by the standards of the time, as well as a certain measure of secretiveness. She saw her chance and she attempted to take it. She was not content with the destiny to which society had apparently consigned her.


As I said earlier, I have no issue with recanting my statement regarding Anne marrying Henry Percy. We definitely don’t have any proof to support a secret marriage. But this leads me to Beth’s statement of “How on earth are we expected to prove that an event did not happen – if it never happened and there’s no evidence for it?” We can’t prove that any of this happened. And yes, if something didn’t happen, it’s pretty hard to prove that. But does that mean that we can totally discount that it ‘could’ have? In my opinion, it doesn’t.

I’m at work again today and have spent way too much time on this as it is when I should be working (oops lol) but I didn’t get the chance to post last night. And I apologize if my post is a convoluted mess. I know I’ve repeated myself many times but just don’t have the time to go back and edit it properly. I sincerely hope my post doesn’t cause any offense to be taken. None is meant :)

I’ll comment more as soon as I can.


message 22: by Claire (new)

Claire Ridgway (claire_ridgway) | 3 comments I think I'm going to stay out of this debate as it's hard for me to reply when I don't know the full history of the debate and, as I said, I just haven't got the time to read through everyone's posts etc. I replied simply because Beth asked me to clarify some points, I don't actually know the history of what Beth wrote.

I completely agree that there are various things we do not know and can never know for certain so we just can't say 'hand on heart' "that didn't happen" or "she was definitely 100% innocent", what we can do is make hypotheses based on the sources and evidence. What we can see is that there was no evidence that Anne Boleyn was guilty and that the nonsensical nature of the indictments, plus even Chapuys' shock at it all (when he hated Anne) lead us to believe that Anne was framed. We will never know for sure and I agree that we don't know "for a fact".
Apologies again for not having the time to go into this properly and for not knowing the history of this debate.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 1950 comments I feel like I'm back in historiography class. (I liked historiography, btw.) LOL!


message 24: by Jessica (new)

Jessica After reading some of the posts, I was mulling over the The Reformation, and Henry's role - to use in making the statement that Anne may have been more a victim than is commonly portrayed. (Henry helped change the face of religion in England, and presumably for the main goal of getting what he wanted and eventually burned an old friend at the stake for refusing to bless his decision.) In my search I found an excellent excerpt from http://socyberty.com/history/vatican-... that relates to part of this discussion.

"History is edited. Imagine you've just had an argument with your mother and you're telling a friend about it. Do you include the whole story? No, you make a judgement and you edit the details.

As a historian, you have the same problems, and more. What have the contemporary accounts forgotten, hidden or ignored? Some of the documents may be in Latin, French or Spanish, but Linguaphone won't be much use - this is official language with idioms long since lost. Are you reading a good translation or translating correctly yourself. To make life even more challenging, do you have all the documents? Are they all there? Some you know have been lost in the intervening centuries, but maybe others are lost that you never knew existed.

So before you turn up, history has already been edited, both by design and by accident. But there's still a huge amount of material, so you make priorities, you make judgements: some sources are more valuable than others. It's like reading a whodunnit when the pages aren't numbered, they're out of order, and some are missing. Then you write your thesis, article or book. You have reams of notes to analyse and not enough space for everything. Again you make professional judgements regarding their relative value. You edit.

So when the history we read is the product of a series of value judgements, some of which we know, some of which we don't, is it surprising that those judgements are questioned by others? Maybe they have their own agenda, maybe they have seen documents you have not. Either way, they disagree with your interpretation. No wonder historians disagree when there is so much to disagree on. The history of historical disagreements is so established that it even has its own word - historiography."


message 25: by Iset (last edited Jul 06, 2011 10:21AM) (new)

Iset
So before you turn up, history has already been edited, both by design and by accident. But there's still a huge amount of material, so you make priorities, you make judgements: some sources are more valuable than others. It's like reading a whodunnit when the pages aren't numbered, they're out of order, and some are missing. Then you write your thesis, article or book. You have reams of notes to analyse and not enough space for everything. Again you make professional judgements regarding their relative value. You edit.


This is exactly my point about needing to evaluate the sources.

Jennifer - as you point out in your post, and as Lefkowitz says, there's a difference between "might have happened" and "probably did happen".

By the way, I carefully scoured my previous posts because something you said in your response didn't add up, and I never said that anything in there was fact. I said that I contended certain points, and that Claire put forwards certain points which addressed the first ones. Later on I went on to say:

There are certain cold hard facts which are simply not mere supposition. For example, Anne was accused of committing incest and adultery on certain dates during her trial, but historians know for a fact that the charges are fabricated because we know that she was not where the charges said she was on those dates - we have the proof for this. We also know that wardship was an extremely common practice in Medieval and Renaissance England - Anne simply did not "steal" Henry Carey from her sister, this is not true.


I didn't actually say anywhere in there that "we know for a fact that Anne did not commit adultery or incest". I said that the charges presented at her trial were fabricated and we can prove it because certain of dates do not match up between where the charges accuse Anne of being and where the records say she was. My apologies if this was read incorrectly - my inference was that the fact was that the indictments were fabricated, not that "we know for a fact that Anne never committed adultery or incest". I don't believe she did, and I think it's extremely unlikely that she did, but I never stated it was absolute fact that she didn't.

I'm going ditto with Claire on this one. I'm out.


message 26: by Aly (last edited Jul 06, 2011 12:28PM) (new)

Aly (Alygator) | 854 comments Claire wrote: "Aly wrote: "Forgive me for the sexual harassment bit. I got a little over excited LOL

I'm miffed because several of the key facts that you posted from Claire's article are wrong, as I addressed i..."


Claire, I'm sorry, it wasn't meant as a personal attack to you. A lot of what was posted under your name, I feel, was out of context. You're right, I haven't read much of your work, and until Jen pointed it out, I didn't know that the Anne Boleyn files website was yours. So forgive me, but I didn't know who you were to have been able to read any of your work. And I do apologize again for the sexual harassment thing. Like I said, I got a little over excited when I read that bit but after rereading it, I knew I had messed up, which is why I apologized. I haven't read the rest of the comments up on this thread yet, but I just wanted to let you know that it wasn't a personal attack on you.


message 27: by Jennifer, Mod #5 (last edited Jul 06, 2011 12:07PM) (new)

Jennifer (jennifertudor) | 951 comments I’m sorry to read that neither of you of you will continue to take part in the conversation but can certainly understand time restraints and whatnot. As I said earlier, I am in no way attempting to criticize Claire or her research, nor am I discrediting her opinions. As Aly said, out of context and without the proper citation, it’s just difficult to really speak to her points. That being said, I’m sure that she (Claire) does have all of the citations and that she has done her research fully. Claire, I honestly have to say that your website is one of my favorite Tudor resources and I greatly admire your work.

Yes, Beth… as it was worded in your post “historians know for a fact that the charges were fabricated” I read that to imply that it is a fact that the charges were fabricated. I sincerely apologize if that wasn’t your point but I think my confusion on that is understandable.

What I’m having a hard time with is this. A two-year old conversation was brought up with the intention to ‘dispell just one iota of misinformation’. I genuinely appreciate the revival of the thread and am enjoying this conversation immensely. But as that post was put forth, in the context that it was, you have to expect that people are going to have opinions and responses back to that. Aly posted a detailed account of reasons why she disagreed with the post. But no one has even commented on anything in her post other than to post that your ‘aim has only ever been for clarity and the dispelling of fiction from fact in history’. Saying that you don’t disavow it at the same time as saying that you’re attempting to clarify the fact and fiction for us seems like a contradiction to me. I’m reading it still as you saying what we’ve said is incorrect vs. what you and Claire are saying (and once again – I am apologize if I’ve misinterpreted anything here). You’ve stated that you can’t respond directly to many of the points that Aly made because you’re not Claire. Great, I understand that. But it wasn’t Claire who set out to dispel the misinformation in the first place.

And something that struck me as sort of funny from the little I’ve had a chance to read of the 2009 conversation.

One of the comments that was posted from Colleen’s 2009 post was:

"AB was no virgin by the time she started going after the King...”.

A couple of posts later, Colleen also posted

“Wrong choice of words! Once I get going... By that sentence I meant she wasn't naive or completely foolish.

Granted, when we read the word virgin we tend to go with the popular definition of “the quality or condition of being a virgin” in relation to the act of sex. However, another definition of virgin is “the state of being pure, unsullied, or untouched.” As Colleen is not here to defend her words, I have to go with her post saying that she used the wrong choice of words.

Jessica said: So before you turn up, history has already been edited, both by design and by accident. But there's still a huge amount of material, so you make priorities, you make judgements: some sources are more valuable than others. It's like reading a whodunnit when the pages aren't numbered, they're out of order, and some are missing. Then you write your thesis, article or book. You have reams of notes to analyse and not enough space for everything. Again you make professional judgements regarding their relative value. You edit.

Beth said: This is exactly my point about needing to evaluate the sources.

This also speaks to my point. You definitely need to evaluate the sources but one thing that does remain is that history is edited by design and accident. By everyone. For whatever reason, no matter how valuable the source, we can’t go on the assumption that it’s a for sure thing. That’s all I’m saying. Maybe it was all just a poor choice of wording, maybe we can chalk it up to misinterpretation but honestly, when you are here to set facts straight and to inform us of the reality of the situation, you need to be able to back up YOUR sources. To me, that hasn’t been done. And I don’t expect that Claire should do it. She doesn’t have to defend herself in any of this and no one is suggesting that she should. She didn’t bring it up or call anyone out. As she says herself, “it's hard for me to reply when I don't know the full history of the debate” and she doesn’t actually “know the history of what Beth wrote”. But Beth, you do know the full history of the debate and of what you wrote.

Maybe I shouldn’t post this. I’m expecting some backlash here and I expect that offense will be taken. I’m not trying to pick on anyone or anything. It’s just a little frustrating to me that a conversation was started and that the person starting the conversation is now bowing out. I don’t understand that.


message 28: by Shirley (last edited Jul 06, 2011 02:43PM) (new)

Shirley (goodreadscomshirleyec) | 12 comments I must say straight up that I know no where as much as the members posting on this thread about Anne. I just know I like to read about her, among many others. I do it purely for entertainment. I do appreciate real facts but I also enjoy the fiction part of things, thus I like to read historical fiction.
I've been following this thread with interest, again not because I'm so informed, but because I enjoy seeing different sides to debates and/or discussions. For me, it is definately a learning tool.
Being so ignorant of the historical facts as such, I usually don't comment but prefer to just read and follow the debate.
One thing strikes me though. I can certainly understand why Claire has withdrawn from the thread. It sounds like she has her hands full. However, I am wondering about Beth. With all due respect, Beth, you started this thread. I'm not in any way taking sides in this debate but I am wondering why you have withdrawn.
Debate is healthy and viewing other's ideas is educational. One thing I do find difficult at the best of times, is posting on the internet. Unlike person to person conversations, the written work often gets miscontrued. That is unfortunate but there it is. Especially with such long posts, he said/she said gets a bit difficult to figure out at the end of the day.
From a bystander's point of view, with little to nothing to say about the actual thread, I would like to see everyone continue to pursue their points.


Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) Well said, Shirley. I totally agree. I, too, was enjoying the conversation here. I think that Jessica hit the nail on the head with her comment about how history has been edited by design and accident and that you have to make judgements. That is one of the reasons that I find history so fascinating. There is often many interpretations that can be made, and I like seeing all the different sides. I am sorry, however, that Beth and Claire felt they have to leave the conversation. I understand Claire is busy, and I do read her blog, so I can get her info there, but I would love to hear Beth's actual opinion on Aly's points.


message 30: by Christine (last edited Jul 06, 2011 02:52PM) (new)

Christine (chrisarrow) | 14 comments I'm on the fence about Anne. I don't think she was an innocent victim. I do not thinnk, either, that she would be as stupid as to commit adultery or incest. There seems to me, at least, to be a huge step from sleeping with men and then sleeping with one's brother.


I do have a question, and this is not an attack on anyone, just a question.

Was Anne really judged by a jury of her peers? As queen, would she really have any? I remember hearing or reading somewhere that it really couldn't be considered a jury of peers as in terms of her equals. Would this be considered correct?


message 31: by Shirley (new)

Shirley (goodreadscomshirleyec) | 12 comments I was just rereading Jessica's post and wanted to comment on something that struck me. Jessica wrote, "History is edited. Imagine you've just had an argument with your mother and you're telling a friend about it. Do you include the whole story? No, you make a judgement and you edit the details.
I don't want to repeat myself but like I said earlier, I'm not an authority and don't know if what I'm going to say really happened or not. I guess that is the whole point of this thread. lol.
I just finished reading Queen Hereafter by Susan Fraser King. The story says that Malcolm III of Scotland was having a book written about HIS history. If this was actually done, then chances are he would have made himself look good, thus editing history.


message 32: by Jennifer, Mod #5 (new)

Jennifer (jennifertudor) | 951 comments Shirley, thanks for your post. Following the conversations on Goodreads has been a huge educational tool for me, too, and I think a lot of what I’ve learned since I joined can be attributed to that. Whether it is members pointing out things that they themselves have read or asking questions that have gotten us all thinking and discussing, it’s been invaluable. I’m really glad that you’re enjoying the group and that you decided to post. I hope you’ll continue to join any few future conversations that interest you.

I laughed when I read your point about Queen Hereafter. I read that one, as well, for the History of Royals group read. Queen Hereafter (view spoiler)

I don’t know either how much of this documentation or history is thought to be plausible and what is totally fictional. But it’s a good example either way of how things can be altered throughout the history of time. (I’m sorry for referring to something that many people here will not have read and for referring to fiction to make a point but I’ll try to keep my point clear).

So, in the context of that story, who would have been the most reliable source?

1. Malcolm, King of Scotland
2. Grudah, wife of King MacBeth?
3. Eva, a (fictional) bard, trained in history and lore
4. Or Brother Tor, a priest (fictional? I believe he was real but I can’t find reference to him anywhere and don’t have the book anymore)

We have a King, a Queen, a bard and a priest. Whose words do you believe? Whose history is the ‘right’ truth. To me, they could all be viewed as reliable and valuable sources but at the same time, none of them should be taken at face value. They would all have hidden agendas, mixed responses to situations and just a plain case of not having the whole situation, from all sides, available to them.


message 33: by Jennifer, Mod #5 (new)

Jennifer (jennifertudor) | 951 comments Lyn M wrote: "Well said, Shirley. I totally agree. I, too, was enjoying the conversation here. I think that Jessica hit the nail on the head with her comment about how history has been edited by design and acc..."

Great comments :)


Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) Love your use of the Queen Hereafter as an example. I totally agree with you about the different viewpoints. I usually love to read a book about all the players in a historical era. I feel the differing viewpoints give me a better understanding of the history and era. The same goes for historical figures. The more different writings that I expose myself to, and thus different viewpoints, I believe the more I can understand the person being written about. Additionally, discussions such as this one help in the same way as I am able to read and discuss with others who have read more than I have, or have read the same things, but looked at them with a different eye. I find out so many things that I didn't think of myself.


message 35: by Aly (last edited Jul 06, 2011 07:17PM) (new)

Aly (Alygator) | 854 comments I'm a little upset that I was supposed to know the full context that this article or whatever came from. I (we) were never given the full article, merely snippets, and I felt that for the most part, I addressed the snippets in a thoughtful way. Someone used this writing as a way to make a point, and then when the point was refuted to a degree, they said only the original writer could comment as to what was said. When using someone else's research to write things, we need to keep in mind that we are the ones using their words as a vehicle for what we are thinking, and we need to be able to argue their points as if they are our own. Chances are, if we are using their research, we do see their points as our own. When I wrote my thesis on Nazi Germany, I didn't tell my prof to go talk to Gerhard Weinburg. I needed to be able to defend the points of his that I used. I'm sad that Beth bowed out of the conversation, because I feel like this is going to be a great learning conversation for everyone. When debates like this pop up, I'm digging through books and fact checking. I know others in the group are too. I think that's a great way to learn. So, with that said, let's get back to discussing Anne Boleyn!


message 36: by Jennifer, Mod #5 (new)

Jennifer (jennifertudor) | 951 comments Chris, I seem to be only quoting Fraser’s Wives but I’ll give you her bit on the jury and attempt to sort through my other books to find a few opinions.

“The twenty-six peers who took part in the judgement were none of them strangers to the brother and sister [George and Anne], and some of them were closely connected. Their uncle the Duke of Norfolk presided as High Stewart. Lord Rochford’s father-in-law, Lord Morely, took part. Even the Queen’s youthful swain Lord Percy, Earl of Northumberland since the death of his father, was among the peers present, although he did please sudden illness and left before the end of the proceedings.”

Does that help at all? I’ve never really given this any thought but I’ll dig a little more and see if I can find anymore references to it. Awesome question! Anyone else have a better answer on hand?



Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) I'm not sure, Jennifer and Chris. That is a good question, though. Who actually is a "peer" to a queen. That is something that I will have to look into. Hopefully we can come up with an answer for Chris.


message 38: by Shirley (new)

Shirley (goodreadscomshirleyec) | 12 comments Jennifer wrote: "Shirley, thanks for your post. Following the conversations on Goodreads has been a huge educational tool for me, too, and I think a lot of what I’ve learned since I joined can be attributed to that..."

I was sure that I read somewhere that Brother Tor was in fact Bishop Thurgot but I can't seem to find it. I, too, don't have the book to reference. I did, however, come up with this. I know it's off topic (Anne reigns!!!)

"Matilda was born around 1080 in Dunfermline, the daughter of Malcolm III of Scotland and Saint Margaret. She was christened (baptised) Edith, and Robert Curthose stood as godfather at the ceremony. Queen Matilda, the consort of William the Conqueror, was also present at the baptismal font and was her godmother. Baby Matilda pulled at Queen Matilda's headress, which was seen as an omen that the younger Matilda would be queen one day.[2]

***The Life Of St Margaret, Queen Of Scotland was later written for Matilda by Turgot of Durham. It refers to Matilda's childhood and her relationship with her mother. In it, Margaret is described as a strict but loving mother. She did not spare the rod when it came to raising her children in virtue, which Tugot supposed was the reason for the good behaviour Matilda and her siblings displayed. Margaret also stressed the importance of piety.[3]"


message 39: by Susan (last edited Jul 06, 2011 08:34PM) (new)

Susan (boswellbaxter) Chris wrote: "Was Anne really judged by a jury of her peers? As queen, would she really have any? I remember hearing or reading somewhere that it really couldn't be considered a jury of peers as in terms of her equals. Would this be considered correct? "

I found something about this in John Bellamy's The Tudor Law of Treason:

"Peers, that is to say lords of parliament, who were indicted of treason were tried in the court of the lord high steward. The jurors, who were always of noble station, numbered usually between fifteen and thirty. They were drawn from all ranks of the nobility, not just that of the accused. At the arraignment of the duke of Buckingham in 1521 there were present on the jury one other duke, one marquis, seven earls, eight lesser noblemen, and the prior of St. John of Jerusalem. At the trial of the duke of Somerset in 1551 the jury comprised one marquis, eight earls, one viscount, and seventeen lesser lords. Queen Anne Boleyn faced a jury which had on it a duke, a marquis, eight earls, and sixteen noblemen of inferior station." [my italics]


message 40: by Aly (new)

Aly (Alygator) | 854 comments Thanks, Jen and Susan!! I just had a thought that perhaps "peer" meant not peer to the queen but a peer of the realm. Susan's quote would seem to support that possibility. "Peers, that is to say lords of parliament...."


Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) Interesting insight, Aly. I never would have thought of that, but peer did mean something different back then than it does now.


message 42: by Jennifer, Mod #5 (new)

Jennifer (jennifertudor) | 951 comments @ Shirley

I remember reading that, as well, now that you mention it (about Brother Tor/Bishop Thurgot). Thanks… it was driving me nuts trying to remember! I've found (but haven't yet read) the writings of Bishop Thurgot online. I'll post the link under the Queen Hereafter thread on A History of Royals if you're interested in checking it out :)


message 43: by Jennifer, Mod #5 (new)

Jennifer (jennifertudor) | 951 comments That's a great quote, Susan. Thanks for finding/posting it. It's always been a bit of a fascination to me to look at things like words, titles and jobs that were used then and are still used now, but with a changed meaning. When I was looking through Wives in regards to the earlier conversation, there was a mention of the 'castle's chandler' performing the autopsy on Catherine of Aragon. She stated that this was one of his duties. I looked up the definition of chandler and found the following~

Chandler:
1. a person who makes or sells candles and sometimes other items of tallow or wax, as soap.
2. a dealer or trader in supplies, provisions, etc., of a specialized type: a ship chandler.
3. a retailer of provisions, groceries, etc.

Can you imagine this person performing an autopsy?? And on the Queen of England, no less.

I also looked these up ~

Peer:
1. a person of the same legal status: a jury of one's peers.
2. a person who is equal to another in abilities, qualifications, age, background, and social status.
3. something of equal worth or quality: a sky-scraper without peer.

'Peer of the Realm':
1. any of a class of peers in Great Britain and Ireland entitled by heredity to sit in the house of Lords.

With all that, I agree that it was referring to 'peer of the realm' over her peers as equals. You're right, Chris. It seems hard to find an 'equal' to the Queen of England. No one else was on the same level as she was, at least not while she was actually married to Henry.


message 44: by Christine (new)

Christine (chrisarrow) | 14 comments Thanks all for responding. I'm trying to find where I first saw it. I did find this however

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/he...


message 45: by Jennifer, Mod #5 (new)

Jennifer (jennifertudor) | 951 comments In keeping with Aly's comment of getting back to Anne Boleyn, I've put together a few more question topics that we can discuss. Please keep in mind, anything that you post will be interpreted by the readers as your own personal feelings, not beliefs or facts that you are trying to push on others. There won't be any judgements or personal attacks tolerated (sorry to sound like a tyrant) so please, everyone, keep that in mind when forming your responses and thoughts.

Let's see where we can take this conversation. This group, when I first joined, was incredibly active. Let's get back to that. Comment on one of the topics below or add your own questions or topics. This thread is about the Tudors so we can open up the discussions to any of them, from Henry VII to Elizabeth I. I've only posted about Anne because that's how this thread started :)

Have fun and can't wait to see the responses.

1. What do you believe about Anne's association with Henry Percy? A precontract? A secret marriage? Nothing at all?

2. What do you believe about Anne's chastity and her faith?

3. Thoughts on Anne's rumoured "hatred" of Katherine of Aragon and Mary Tudor?

4. What, in your opinion, was the role played (or not played) by Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk and uncle of Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard in relation to their marriages to Henry VIII?

5. What is your opinion of Anne's wardship of Henry Carey, son of her sister, Mary Boleyn? Was it just common practice? Was there more to it than that? Did she 'steal' him from Mary?

6. Anne's adultery and incest charges - innocent? guilty? somewhere in between?

7. Who do you view as ulimately responsible for the demise of Henry and Catherine's marriage? Henry? Anne? Others?

8. Do you feel that, when presued by Henry, Anne's refusals and retreat to Hever, were genuine refusals? Do you feel that she guinuinely had no interest in him? Or do you believe that Anne was likely playing hard to get to catch more of Henry than just his eye and his bed?


Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) Thanks for posting that link, Chris. I enjoyed reading it.

And Jennifer, as always, your research is great. I love the fact that a chandler did the autopsy. These days that would cause quite a scandal, huh?


message 47: by Aly (new)

Aly (Alygator) | 854 comments OOF... A candle maker doing an autopsy on the Queen of England. Gah!!

Jen, I am excited by the questions you posted. After I head to lunch, I wanna sit down and bang out a response to one (or more?) of them. I love discussions!!


message 48: by Jennifer, Mod #5 (new)

Jennifer (jennifertudor) | 951 comments Yes, thanks for the link! I looked around the site a bit and am excited to sit down and look at it further when I get home :))

I read that line about the 'chandler' five times, looked it up repeatedly and still couldn't find anything other than references to candle makers and merchants! Does anyone know of the more offical job description from that time?


message 49: by Susan (last edited Jul 07, 2011 01:21PM) (new)

Susan (boswellbaxter) Jennifer wrote: "Yes, thanks for the link! I looked around the site a bit and am excited to sit down and look at it further when I get home :))

I read that line about the 'chandler' five times, looked it up repeat..."


David Starkey in Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII writes that the "groom of the Chandlery" was actually employed to disembowel and embalm the body. He thus wasn't employed to perform an autopsy in the sense that we understand it, as looking for a cause of death, though apparently he did form an opinion that Catherine had been poisoned.

Apparently embalming could be part of the duties of a chandler (due to the waxed cloth used in the process). According to this excerpt from "The history and antiquities of Hawsted, and Hardwick, in the county of Suffolk" by Sir John Cullum and Sir Thomas Gery Cullum:

"The chandler was the person who made and applied the cere-cloth. Elizabeth Tudor, second daughter of Henry VII. was cered by the wax-chandler. And in a MS ceremonial of the funeral of queen Mary, daughter of Henry VIII. in the College of Arms, we are told that the officers of the chaundry, and the clerks of the spicery, came and cered the queen with linen cloth, wax, and with a number of spices very costly."


Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) Fascinating stuff all. WOW.


« previous 1 3
back to top