O nascimento de Vênus: Maria Antonieta, filha de Maria Teresa

An excellent article on Marie Antoinette who was born on the 2nd of November 1755. She has gone down in history as “Madame Deficit” and for allegedly saying “let them eat cake” but as the author of this article points out, a lot of her reputation is he product of propaganda.

Rainhas Trágicas

Por: Renato Drummond Tapioca Neto

Viena, 2 de novembro de 1755. Maria Teresa, rainha de Hungria por herança e imperatriz do Sacro Império Romano por casamento, entrava em trabalho de parto pela 15ª vez em sua vida. Aos 38 anos, ela e seu marido, o imperador Francisco I, já tinham produzido quatro arquiduques e dez arquiduquesas (das quais sete sobreviveram até aquele ano, uma taxa bastante elevada, se considerarmos os padrões de mortalidade infantil da época). Dessa forma, a experiência do parto não se constituía em novidade alguma para aquela soberana. Instalada no Palácio Hofburg, onde os Habsburgo residiam desde o final do século XIII, seus aposentos ficavam no primeiro andar da conhecida ala Leopoldina, que hoje fazem parte dos escritórios do presidente austríaco. Ali nasceu uma das personalidades mais famosas da história ocidental, destinada a viver momentos de extrema alegria e outros de profunda tristeza. Quem, naquele Dia de…

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A balada de Hua Mulan – a lenda da guerreira mais famosa da China

A great article on the possible inspirations behind the legendary figure of Hua Mulan, and the power of her legend, as well as how important she has become in popular culture.

Rainhas Trágicas

Por: Renato Drummond Tapioca Neto

Em 5 de junho de 1998, milhares de crianças ao redor do mundo foram conferir nos cinemas o lançamento de “Mulan”, animação da Disney sobre a história da personagem homônima, que se travestiu de homem e foi para a batalha no lugar de seu pai e acabou salvando toda a China. Assim como o filme “Anastásia”, da Fifth Century Fox (1997), “Mulan” vem encantando gerações ao longo dos anos. Contudo, poucos sabem que, assim como a filha do czar Nicolau II, a encantadora guerreira também pode ter existido e sua verdadeira história é bem mais interessante (e triste) do que o filme da Disney nos faz acreditar. Hua Mulan é uma das guerreiras mais lendárias da China Antiga. Apesar de sua fama, não existe prova arqueológica de que ela realmente viveu. Entretanto, contos sobre suas ações heroicas se encontram preservados num texto antigo, bastante conhecido por…

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Owen Tudor; Father of a Dynasty

A great article on Owen Tudor, the father of the Tudor Dynasty whose romance, and secret marriage, with the Queen Dowager and French Princess, Catherine of Valois, changed the history of England.

Nathen Amin

Welsh and English history is littered with romantic figures, gallant and brave warriors blessed with an innate sense of chivalry and morals that ensure their name lives on in the annals of history. The embodiment of such a character is undoubtedly King Arthur, the mythical Prince whom all later Kings would strive to replicate. Scores of medieval men, inspired by the many retellings of Arthur and his chivalrous Knights, equally endeavoured to adopt such personas in an attempt fulfil their lives according to the sacrament of chivalry.  Owain ap Maredudd ap Tudur was one such 14th century man, blessed with wit, romanticism and martial talent as well as the noble background needed to be considered a chivalric knight.

Son of an Outlaw

Owain ap Maredudd was born around 1400, the same year his father Maredudd’s cousin Owain Glyndwr raised a rebellion against English rule and it is a possibility…

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What I learned from Anne Boleyn in Fiction & History

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What I learned from Anne Boleyn:

Life is hard. It will always be hard, so sometimes the best remedy is to dream, knowing that it is a dream and that when you wake up, things will go back to being shitty.

Dreams are what make life tolerable -and sometimes can motivate someone to move forward. Other times, it makes them stagnant and stuck in one place. And this happens very often when people realize that their dreams are just that: dreams. Dreams can give us a little push, but as long as we remain realistic about our goals.

Anne Boleyn Wolf Hall Purple Dress

Anne wasn’t a great person, she wasn’t a marvelous person, but neither was she the devil incarnate that Nicholas Sander wrote of.

Yet, the image that we’ve grown up with has been largely due in part to fiction and as weird as this sounds, its help me when I have to deal with angry customers, asshole managers and people who just want to give someone a bad day because their day has gone bad.

Anne Boleyn Tudors Execution

I don’t know if Anne was really a victim, and she was forced into that position after she saw that she was gaining nothing by saying ‘no’ to Henry and giving him tons of excuses. She is dead and unless her ghost were to visit me or I’d go back in time, I will never know. I can make inferences based on her actions and the primary sources available but that is it.
What I do know is that the image that I saw in TV and movies, have pushed me forward in ways I couldn’t imagine and didn’t notice until now.

It could be that as much as I didn’t like how some people took fiction seriously, I took comfort in how she was depicted, as this strong and head of her times woman. Even though she wasn’t, the lessons she taught me through her actions in fiction were valuable.

When customers want to give me a rough time and be mean, I smile and keep on smiling. Not a smile of gratitude but a mysterious smile. A smile that looks so genuinely but also so sarcastic. That says I am not going to let anyone bring me down, and even if you want to say speak behind my back (in the case of my co-workers and managers) I will keep on moving forward because that is my nature. And as the historical Anne was once reputed to say “let them grumble, that is how it is going to be”; so I shall say through my smile. My mischievous eyes, secretly glad when something doesn’t go well for them.

Anne Boleyn and Henry

“I care nothing for Catherine, I rather see her hung than acknowledge her as my mistress.” -Anne Boleyn in “The Tudors”

In reality, while she did say something along those lines, the wording was a little different. The meaning was all the same. She could lose control at times and that is how I feel at times; when I feel that things are taking too long for me, when I am looked down upon. And for a while I had a poor-me attitude of crying and whining about it, but now I could care less. Because this is how things are, and how things are likely to be until they get better, so I must make the most of it by not giving up, not crumbling down but instead show them how much I enjoy their petty games and they won’t bring me down.

Sometimes that is all we can do, and being realistic is not being conformist but rather knowing where your limitations are and working around those limitations to get what you want. And we will make mistakes along the road, that is normal; the trick is not over-thinking them too much, and get over them. Accept that we’ve screwed up and move on. Keep on trying and never fall into the poor-me syndrome because once someone falls there, it is hard to get back up.

Anne Boleyn AOAD Tudors

Having trouble in the work-place is nothing new, but rather than cry, I look at people in the eye. Give the best effort that I can give, and push myself forward to be courteous even when I don’t have to be, and as the historical Anne said in one of her mottos “let them grumble”, that doesn’t matter. Reality is what reality is. All I can do is not let myself be defeated, not fall into a poor-me attitude and instead raise my head up high like Anne (Genevive Bujold) taught her daughter in the classic Anne of a Thousand Days from 1969.

Anne Boleyn Marques of Pembroke

The second season of the Tudors had some of Natalie Dormer’s greatest one-liners for Anne, and although she appeared arrogant, she excelled in what she did. Given the position she was in, she knew that the people around her would complain no matter what. If her predecessor did the same mistakes, because she was royal, no one would say a thing. Or maybe they would but not make as much drama. Anne wasn’t the people’s favorite, she wasn’t the court’s favorite and she knew what people said (and thought) behind her back. She was a whore, stupid, she shouldn’t be there but did she let that deter her? No, she smirked, she held her head up high as if saying “F*ck you guys. I will keep on moving forward”. And the actress captured her bravery perfectly during her execution. Her speech was copied straight out of the historical records.

So remember: keep moving forward. Let the idiots grumble. It will be what they will be. You are the makers of your own destiny. Don’t let anyone hold your back, and don’t hold yourself back.

The Funerary Procession of Queen Elizabeth I

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28 APRIL 1603: Elizabeth I’s Funerary Procession took place. She was carried from Whitehall to Westminster Abbey where she was laid to rest on the Lady Chapel.

“It was an impressive occasion: the hearse was drawn by four horses hung with black velvet, surmounted by a life-sized wax effigy of the late Queen, dressed in her state robes and crown, an orb and scepter in its hands; over it was a canopy of state supported by six earls.” (Weir)

The procession was followed by a palfrey led by the Master of the Horse and the Marchioness of Northampton who acted as chief mourner. The other ladies followed her in nun-like mourning, black clothes, hoods and cloaks along with other people who were also wearing black. These included lords, councilors, courtiers, heralds, servants and 276 commons.

Elizabeth I Funeral Procession

In spite of the solemnity of the mourners, bright colors were seen in the form of colorful banners, trumpets and the Queen’s coffin which was covered in rich purple cloth topped with her effigy holding unto a scepter and with a crown on her head.

“Westminster” Chronicler John Stow wrote, “was surcharged with multitudes of all sorts of people in their streets, houses, windows, leads and gutters, that came out to see the obsequy.” After the Mass had ended, her household servants broke their white staves and tossed them at her tomb to symbolize the end of their allegiance.
Truly, it was a sight to see and also a reminder than it was the end of an era. Gone were the days of the Tudors, now it would be the Stuarts who reigned.

She was buried at the Lady Chapel where the first Tudor monarch, Elizabeth I’s grandfather, also lay with his wife and mother. Three years later, King James I decided to rebury her in a different vault and honor her memory by building a magnificent burial. Unfortunately, this monument didn’t include an effigy of the Queen’s sister, Mary I who was reburied with her.

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The plaque on her tomb reads the following:

“Consorts both in throne and grave, here we rest two sisters, Elizabeth & Mary, in hope of our resurrection.”

Bess remains one of the most celebrated monarchs in history. She became Queen when she was twenty five years old. On receiving the news of her sister’s death and given her ring, she quoted one of the psalms, stating that this was the Lord’s will and it was beautiful before her eyes. Her reign lasted forty-four years, outlasting that of her father and the other Tudors.
Known as “Glorianna”, “Good Queen Bess” and “the Virgin Queen” for her refusal to marry, she also had one colony in North America named after her. She is the third longest female monarch in English history and to some, one of the most important women in history. In his biography on Elizabeth I, David Starkey says that what differentiated her from her sister was that while Mary “aimed for a heavenly crown; Elizabeth aimed for an earthly one.”

Sources:

  • Elizabeth: The Struggle for the Throne
  • On this day in Tudor History by Claire Ridgway
  • The Life of Elizabeth I by Alison Weir

Family of Queen Katherine: The Duchess, Cecily of York

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Written by Carolina Casas and Meg McGath

Different depictions of Lady Cecily, Duchess of York.

Lady Cecily (born Neville), Duchess of York, aka “Queen by Right” was one of the leading women of the War of the Roses. Mother of Kings; she was mother to Edward IV and Richard III of the House of York. She was the youngest daughter of Sir Ralph, Earl of Westmorland and his second wife, Lady Joan Beaufort. Joan was part of the illegitimate children of Prince John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster (son of King Edward III) and his mistress, later wife, Katherine (née Röet). Katherine had been a lady-in-waiting to the Duke’s mother, Queen Philippa. Their romance started during Lancaster’s second marriage to Constanza of Castile. After Constanza’s death, Katherine and Lancaster were married. A bill in Parliament was passed to legitimise their children. However, they were barred from the Royal Succession.

wars-of-the-roses-family-tree The…

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The Death of Queen Elizabeth I

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On the 24th of March 1603, Queen Elizabeth I died at Richmond Palace at the age of sixty nine. She had ruled England for forty four years and was the longest reigning Tudor monarch, and third longest ruling Queen monarch in English history.
Elizabeth I was the daughter of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII. Born on September 7th 1533, she was bastardized three years later following her parents’ annulment and her mother’s execution.

Anne Boleyn with child

It isn’t known whether Elizabeth had any recollection of her mother.

Probably she didn’t given that she was very young at the time. But she spent a lot of time with people who did, most of whom belonged to her maternal family. During her coronation she included the personal emblems of her ancestors, including her mother’s during her coronation (the royal falcon); this small gesture along with the ring bearing Anne’s picture shows Elizabeth’s desire to know about the woman who gave birth to her.

Out of all the English monarchs, Elizabeth was unique in the sense that she never married. She refused to be tied to any nation or any house. This can be due to the emotional trauma she experienced at a such young age when she was demoted from Princess to mere “Lady”, and subsequently saw wife after wife being replaced by her father on mere whim. But there is also the pragmatic aspect that some historians deny and that is that Elizabeth had seen the troubles that a foreign marriage had brought to her half-sister, Mary I. England was not used to having female Kings, and the concept of one would mean she would have to marry someone equal to her, and for that to happen she would have to look elsewhere, beyond her English borders. This would also mean she would have to negotiate some sort of agreement where her husband would have to agree to keep himself and his councilors separate from English affairs; and the possibility of death during childbirth. England had a bad history with boy-kings. The last time, it resulted in the wars of the roses and that was something that was still fresh on the minds of many people.

Elizabeth I armada

“Her determination to preserve what was hers also turned her into a great war leader against Spain. She was not a general in the field nor an admiral … Instead, and more importantly, she was a mistress of language, thinking, in her speech at Tilbury, ‘full of scorn that Parma or Spain or any prince of Europe should dare invade the borders of my realm.’” -David Starkey

Therefore, by refusing any marriage offer –while coyly entertaining every ambassador, making all sorts of promises that she would consider- she abstained herself from such troubles and was able to be her own mistress.

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“This morning Her Majesty departed from this life, mildly like a lamb, easily like a ripe apple from a tree … Dr. Parry told me he was present, and sent his prayers before her soul; and I doubt not but she is amongst the royal saints in heaven in eternal joys.” –John Manningham

News of the Queen’s death spread like wildfire, also reaching her councilors’ preferred successor, James VI of Scotland. Weeks before on March 9th, Robert Cecil, son of her late and most trusted adviser William Cecil (Lord Burghley), wrote to George Nicholson, the English ambassador in Edinburgh, informing him that the Queen was ailing and that “her mouth and tongue” were “dry and her chest hot” and that she couldn’t sleep anymore. This is somewhat false. Elizabeth was deathly ill but she was far from helpless as Cecil’s report suggests. She was about her business, walking back and forth in her chambers, pondering on the future that awaited her country once she was gone.
Less than a week later, her condition worsened and she was no longer able to move as freely. Then on the 19th of March she gave a last audience to Sir Robert Carey (Mary Boleyn’s youngest grandson). She held Carey’s hand and confessed to him that she was not well. Sir Robert tried to cheer her up but to no avail. Elizabeth, as the rest, knew that her days were numbered and she wouldn’t live for another week.

On Tuesday, the twenty second she was brought to her bed where she stayed until her death. Her councilors visited her, insisting that she dictate her will so she could leave a successor but she refused. Like before, Elizabeth was always hesitant when it came to the issue of an heir. So many had competed for that position and so many were now gone.
Katherine Grey had married without permission and died nearly half mad in 1568, and ten years later her younger sister Mary Grey -who wasn’t allowed to see her husband because Elizabeth feared she could also produce children and rival claimants- and lastly, Mary, Queen of Scots who lost her head in 1587.
The favorite on everyone’s mind was James VI and one simple word from their queen’s mouth would give his claim even more validity but the Queen, probably not caring or in agony, remained adamant in her position. A story later circulated that Elizabeth I had indeed named James by way of her fingers when the council asked her to move her finger a certain way to mean that James was her successor and she did, but this cannot be corroborated and it is likely false.

Elizabeth I allegory
“Elizabeth was not, primarily, an exceptional woman; she was an exceptional ruler.” -Biographer Lisa Hilton

The death of Elizabeth I marked the end of an era. A bloody, tumultuous era packed with religious and social change. She was not a staunch Protestant but she did push for Protestant reformer on the Church, primarily on the Book of Common prayer, and neither was she a Catholic –though one Pope expressed admiration for her, claiming that if she wasn’t a Protestant, he would support her instead of Philip II of Spain. Elizabeth was a moderate and she took a moderate approach. That is the type of monarch she was. Her laws were just as fierce, if not fiercer in some aspects, than her father’s, grandfather’s and siblings.

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The way in which she used her image says a lot about her. In one painting she is standing next to the goddess but if one looks closely it is the goddesses who are standing next to her, leading her to her destiny. Elizabeth was in popular eyes not just an anointed sovereign, but the head of all spiritual and earthly matters.

Elizabeth I Queen tomb

 

Elizabeth I was highly honored by her successor who built a beautiful monument, at the cost of overlooking her predecessor who was placed beneath her. The two sisters lie together with Elizabeth’s effigy being the only one visible and a plaque that reads: “Consorts in realm and tomb, here we sleep, Elizabeth and Mary, sisters, in hope of resurrection.”

Sources:

  • Elizabeth: The Struggle for the Throne by David Starkey
  • Elizabeth: Renaissance Prince by Lisa Hilton
  • Tudor. Passion. Manipulation. Murder: The Story of England’s Most Notorious Royal Family by Leanda de Lisle
  • The Life of Elizabeth I by Alison Weir

The Men Who Took Power

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“It is difficult to say for how long Warwick had been casting envious eyes on supreme power, and exactly when he gave serious thought to undermining the Protector; but that former friendship of which Somerset was soon to remind him had never gone very deep, and it evaporated entirely when at the beginning of the new reign Somerset took from him the coveted post of Lord High Admiral, and gave it to Thomas Seymour. Certainly Warwick was scheming against the Protector at the time of Thomas’ nefarious deeds. He quickly realized that by stirring the brotherly quarrel to its ultimate disastrous conclusion he must weaken Somerset’s standing in the country,, for there were many who, unaware of the full extent of Thomas’s treachery, and the unenviable position into which some members of the Council had manoeuvered the elder brother, regarded the affair as little short of fratricide. More recently Warwick…

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The Coronation of the Last Tudor King: Edward VI

20 February 1547: The Coronation of Edward Tudor at Westminster Abbey. Edward VI was the last Tudor King and the first true Protestant King of England. The ceremony was a stark contrast from previous ceremonies, emphasizing the transitioning from the old religion into the new religion.

tudors & other histories

Edward VI. The last Tudor King. Edward VI. The last Tudor King.

Edward VI was the last Tudor King and the first true Protestant King of England. On the eve of his coronation, Edward made his procession from the Tower of London to Westminster. There were many pageants that greeted the boy-king as he rode horseback dressed in a jerkin of white velvet decorated with diamonds, rubies and pearls.

“His gown was a fine mesh of gold with a cape of sable, whilst the horse he rode upon was draped in crimson satin beaded with pearls.” (Skidmore)

The Imperial Ambassador Francois Van der Defelt was not impressed and when he met the king, he spoke to him in French to which his uncle, the Lord Protector and now Duke of Somerset, reproached him and told him he should speak in Latin instead because the king “understood better than French.” Defelt had no more good things to say about…

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