...making decisions on the basis of what seems best instead of following some single doctrine or style.
Me in a nutshell!!!

Friday, January 29, 2010

O Juliet by Robin Maxwell Giveaway!!

Don't miss out on this opportunity to win a copy of O Juliet by Robin Maxwell. Such a very good book. How to win a brand new copy:

1. One entry post your comment here with your email address

2. Two entries if you become a follower. If follower already please indicate.

3. Three entries if you tweet or post this giveaway on your side bar.

International bloggers please feel free to enter. Everyone is welcome!

Contest ends midnight Saturday February 13.


London Calling~Life & Times of Shakespeare Pt. II

Between 1585 - 1592 are the"lost years"of Shakespeare. He seems to have disappeared and shows up again in London in 1592 as an actor and playwright. Not all of his early recognition was positive. Critic Robert Greene refers to Shakespeare as an "upstart crow" in the London Theatre. Greene saw Will as an unschooled player and writer who used material written by his better educated contemporaries. This was just one man's opinion . Will made fine head way into the theatre in spite of his critics until 1593 when tragedy struck London. The plague which forced all the theatres and public places to close.

In 1594 when it was safe to return to the theatre again Will joined an acting troupe called the
Lord Chamberlain's Men sponsored by Queen Elizabeth I Chamberlin~Henry Carey, Lord Hunsdon. It was during this time that Shakespeare wrote one of my favorites, The Taming of the Shrew. By now Will had hit London like gang busters. He was the talk of the town. Both common and nobility flocked to the Blackfriars theatre to see his plays.

In Elizabethan London plays were big!!! There was money to be made. As soon as one play was produced it hit the stage. The citizens couldn't get enough and Blackfriars couldn't keep up. This prompted Shakespeare and friends to invest in the Globe Theatre built in 1597. It was a huge theatre compared to Blackfriars. It not only served as a theatre but a brothel and gambling house. All plays were done in the afternoon because there was no artificial lighting to be had. The commoners would pay 1 penny to stand and watch, gentry would be seated on the benches and nobility would have a comfortable chair in a theatre box. Shakespeare himself would receive 10% of the take in each day. He became very wealthy.

Theatres did have critics mainly the Church of England. They were very concerned with the unsavory characters surrounding the theatres and the increase in crime. In 1574 the Common Council of London issued this statement:

" great disorder rampant in the city by the inordinate haunting of great multitudes of people, especially youth, to plays, interludes, namely occasion of frays and quarrels, evil practices of incontinency in great inns having chambers and secret places adjoning to their open stages and galleries, inveigling and alluring of maids, especially of orphans and good citizens' children under age, to privy and unmeet contracts, the publishing of unchaste, uncomely, and unshamefast speeches and doings . . . uttering of popular, busy, and seditious matters, and many other corruptions of youth and other enormities . . . [Thus] from henceforth no play, comedy, tragedy, interlude, not public show shall be openly played or showed within the liberties of the City . . . and that no innkeeper, tavernkeeper, nor other person whatsoever within the liberties of this City shall openly show or play . . . any interlude, comedy, tragedy, matter, or show which shall not be first perused and allowed . . . "

Because of the outcry in 1596 the Common Council ordered that all theatres within the city limits of London be closed and relocated to the South side of the River Thames.

The Globe Theatre became number one. Some of Shakespeare's best works were first performed on the Globe Theatre's stage; Much Ado about Nothing (1598- 99); Julius Caesar (1599); and As You Like It (1599- 1600). Hamlet (1600-01); Othello (1603-04); King Lear (1605); and Macbeth (1605-06). These are just a few.
June 29, 1613 a canon loaded with gunpowder and used for special effects was fired off during the play. The canon ball hit the thatched roof and the theatre burned to the ground. Can you imagine the panic and pandemonium that occurred. It is not known if there were any casualties.

The Globe was rebuilt in 1614. The moral critics never let up and in fact increased their demands to shut down all theatres in London. In 1644 the Puritans lead by Oliver Cromwell demolished the Globe and by 1648 all play houses in London were ordered to be pulled down. All was not lost for the London Theatre. When Charles II became King he allowed the theatres to re-build and re-open. The site of the Old Globe was discovered in the 20th century and a New Globe has been re-constructed near the spot.

That is all Mr. Will for today I will continue and wrap-up The Life and Times of Shakespeare on Monday.

Have a great weekend and thanks for visiting!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

O Juliet by Robin Maxwell Book Review...

A good book will remain with you forever. You may not remember all the names or events, but you will always remember how you felt during the journey.

O Juliet is one of these books, it's a journey you take into another world, into the past that feels like the present. Ms. Maxwell transports you to 15th century Florence where you can feel the warm Italian sun on your face and smell the rich spices. You walk along the corridors and feel the hard coolness of the marble under your bare feet. You visit the Tuscan country side for dinner with Romeo's family and learn how olive oil is created through the olive press. You lay on your back on the earth's rich carpet and look up at the stars. It's earthy and sensual. You can smell the figs, the soil, the flowers. You feel young, in love and alive. Remember when you were a teenager discovering love for the first time, that is how you feel in O Juliet.

You run through the streets of Florence at night when all the dregs of society appear, you are more excited by the adventure than scared. You see things that night that you never knew about. You climb the precarious stairs to the top of the Cathedral and look out over the beautiful city and receive your first real passionate kiss. You know then that you will never feel this way kissing the man your parents have chosen for you to marry. Something must be done, you know you will die if forced to live your life with a man you find completely repulsive. That is impossible! Unthinkable! Events will happen. Heart breaking events, which will lead you to the ultimate decision to die living without freedom and love, or die with the one you love knowing you were free to make that decision.

This is what you have to look forward to reading O Juliet by Robin Maxwell. I suggest you find a quite, comfortable place and take the journey. You will not regret it. In the end you will bring the book up to your heart, close your eyes and breath out a long satisfied sigh.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Life and Times of William Shakespeare pt. 1...

To co-inside with our Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table event for Robin Maxwell's soon to be released O Juliet I have chosen to do my creative post(s) on William Shakespeare the English poet and playwright who made the story of Romeo and Juliet famous.

This summer I had the privilege of visiting Stratford-upon Avon where Shakespeare was born and raised. It is a lovely village, and of course a main tourist attraction. We visited the home on Henley st. that he was born and raised in. It was really quite overwhelming to stand in the very room of his birth. His father was a glover, he made gloves. His shop was attached to the home. I guess you could say he worked out of his home. He apparently was very good at his trade, because he was considered one of the more wealthy citizens of Staford.

Will was born in April of 1564, the third child of eight and the eldest surviving son. Not much is known about Will's education or early years, but you can be sure that he was well educated. His father being an important man in the community and having the means, would have wanted his children to have the best education available.

Staford is close to the Cotswold's which has to be some of the most beautiful country in the world and a major sheep-producing area. The town was built on the banks of the River Avon which is interesting in itself. Avon is the Welsh word for river. When the Romans invaded they kept asking the Welsh guides what the name of this and that river was and they kept responding with Avon :-).

Will was 18 when he married 26 year old Anne Hathaway. Her home was just a couple of miles walking distance over the fields from his. Nothing is much known about their courtship, except that 6 months after the couple were married, Anne delivered a healthy baby daughter, Susanna in 1583. Two years later Anne gave birth to twins Hamnet and Judith in 1585.

After the birth of the twins Shakespeare historical references seem to disappear until he shows up on the scene in London in 1592. There has been speculations that he was a school master. However, there are no records to substantiate this information. There is also a legend that the family had to flee to London because he was being prosecuted for deer poaching. Because of these "urban legends" with no fact behind them the time period between 1585 and 1592 are known as Shakespeare's "Lost Years".

My daughter and I were also able to visit Anne's home this summer as well. What a beautifully situated home. It was rather large for the period and well furnished. We were able to sit on the narrow high back bench that Will and Anne sat on while he was visiting. The gardens are breathtaking! It was easy to see how two young people could fall in love in such surroundings. Anne and Will were very much of the same social status, their father's were both well off men in trade.

I will pick up on Thursday with Will in London beginning his career. Hope you will join me. Be sure to visit HFBRT for a schedule of events on our other member blogs.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Announcing Historical Fiction Roundtable Event...

Don't miss out on our latest event featuring Robin Maxwell's new to be released O Juliet on HFBRT. For a schedule of events on our individual blogs click picture. I will be doing a 3 day feature on Will Shakepeare's life and times along with a book review and giveaway. There will be several different giveaways on our blogs so make sure you visit and sign up. Check out Ms. Maxwell's blog for creative giveaways that go along with the most famous love story of all time.


Winner of Notorious Royal Marriage by Leslie Carroll...

Congratulations Just Peachy!!! You just one a great book. I will contact you by email to get your mailing address.


Friday, January 22, 2010

A Tribute to Lord Byron...

In honor of George Gordon Lord Byron's birthday I am posting this blog. Lord Byron is considered one of Britian's greatest poets and is still influential and read in the English world today.

Some of his best known works are She Walks in Beauty, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, and Don Juan. These are just a few.
Byron was no saint and his morals and lifestyle were shocking to the British citizens. He was a rake and libertine, but had a genius for capturing the human spirit in the English prose.

22 January 1788 – 19 April 1824

Some of my favorite quotes of his are:

For truth is always strange; stranger than fiction.

Friendship may, and often does, grow into love, but love never subsides into friendship.

Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.

Be thou the rainbow in the storms of life. The evening beam that smiles the clouds away, and tints tomorrow with prophetic ray.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The French O-La-La Challenge...

This is another exciting challenge I am entering. Sponsered by Lucy at Enchanted by Josephine. Check it out. I am going for the La Princessee category. I haven't read anything much regarding French History so this will be a challenge for me. I can't seem to get out of the 15th or 16th century England.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Monday's Musing with Malcolm...

Today's Scottish trip is to Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh, Scotland. I found such interesting things about this online. Mom thought I might be interested because of Greyfriar's Bobby, a little Cairin Terrier that lived long ago in Edinburgh with his Dad, John Grey. There is a monument to Bobby in the Kirkyard. John and Bobby were very popular on their walks around the town and when John died of Tuberculous in 1858 he was buried in the Kirkyard in an unmarked grave. Bobby was so loyal that every night he would sleep on top of John's grave. He wouldn't be moved. The town took good care of him. Every afternoon at 1 p.m. when the Guards would sound the cannon from the Edinburgh Castle at the top of the hill Bobby would run up the hill into the Castle yard for his lunch. He never missed. He did this for 14 years until he died and was buried next to his beloved John. Later they made a monument to him for his courage and loyalty. The Scots are big on courage and loyalty. I once watched a movie called Brave Heart with Mom and I was impressed with how much courage it took to stand up to that stinky Edward I and the English army. Mom says I shouldn't call Edward stinky, because after all he is her 19th great grandfather. She told me that the movie Brave Heart wasn't exactly how it all happened, but I liked the movie anyway, I thought that Queen Isabella was very beautiful.

Anyway back to Greyfriars Kirkyard; I found out that Kirkyard means Church yard and that Greyfriars Kirk was built in 1602 by the Franciscan Monks~Grey Friars. It's located right outside the Old Town of Edinburgh along the Royal Mile.

Greyfriar's has a poltergeist name Mckenzie. Mom seems skeptical about this, but I believe it's real. That awful Mckenzie was in charge of the Covenanters Prison located in the Kirkyard. They were men who rebelled against the church of England and put in prison. Stinky Mckenzie tortured them and starved them before he executed them. When he died he was buried in the kirkyard. In 1999 a homeless man broke into his mausoleum and opened his casket to sleep in it, that was when Mckenzie got loose and is now haunting the Kirkyard. He attacks people when they go on the ghost tour, there have been many reports of this. Mom says I shouldn't believe everything I read. Well, whatever mom if I was there I would sound the alert and try and chase him right back into this coffin and slam the lid shut. I am sure that is what Bobby would do if he was still alive. Mom said maybe on our Scottish tour we could go on the ghost tour so I could try and catch that old stinky Mckenzie.

I hope you enjoy the pictures I found and my editorial. I have enjoyed reading my comments you left me. I want to tell D.J. that I tried your trick of running around the house alerting after Mom told me to come in, but she didn't love it like you said, she made me go up to my bed in her bedroom and I wasn't aloud to come out for awhile. Gigi I know you love me and I love you too, but you know Mom is my beloved. Miss Prodigal Wife my Mom is really enjoying Sunne in Splendour, she reads to me every night when we go to bed. And Amy Mom said you are more than welcome to go to Scotland with us. The more the merrier.

Remember I love comments and thanks for reading my musings!



Join the 2010 Grand Plaidy Challenge...

Arleigh and Lucy from Plaidy's Royal Intrigue are sponsoring a 3 level challenge for 2010. Check out their blog for more information. I was in the 2009 challenge and loved it. I look forward to the motivation to read more Plaidy this year. I am going for the Grand Plaidy reward.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Monday's Musing with Malcolm...

Allow me to introduce myself I am Crownridge Malcolm of Kilraeke, Malcolm for short. I am a purebred West Highland White Terrier better known as a Westie. I am 4.5 years old and my mother's best boy. Mom and I had a long talk last night and she agreed that I could have my own special day on her blog once a week.

I have so much to say about my beloved Scotland, well I wasn't born there or anything but my roots come from the West Highlands of Scotland. My great grand fathers were very useful to the farmers of the West Highlands. They would hunt the foxes and the badgers flush them out of their burrows, crags or cairns. That is why my legs are short and I am kind square looking so I can dig fast and squeeze into the hole. There are no badgers or foxes for me to hunt in my backyard, but there are these pesky little rascals called gophers. Well, they don't stand a chance with me on the job! When I spot one, I alert the entire neighborhood that I am on the job. I get down to business digging and squeezing in the hole. Sometimes I'm lucky and catch one, they are kind tricky little guys, but they know I'm on patrol so beware! Mom calls me the Sheriff of Bancroft (that's the street I live on ) because I take my job so seriously. Sometimes I am so good at alerting the neighborhood that mom tells me to come inside and go lay down. I can't figure out why she does that, doesn't she realize that I am passing on good doggie news to others. I think she really just wants to give the other guys in the neighborhood a chance to alert.

I often dream (I sleep a lot) about my beloved Scotland and how it must feel to run over hill and dale, through the heather with the wind on my face and my nose picking up wild scents. I can see in my minds eye me standing at the top of hill and looking down at the ancient castle Eilean Donan Castle. Such a place to be, a mighty fortress built in the 13th century to protect the land from those pesky Viking raids. I wish I would have been there. I would have alerted everyone of their approach and bit their ankles when they came ashore.
My mom is trying to figure out a way to go to Scotland and take me! We would have so much fun. She said she would even buy me my own Scottish Clan Tartan jacket for me to wear. That would be grand but I don't want to look like a sissy or anything. I told her the jacket would be cool but no booties, absolutely no booties. I do like to dress up in my Sheriff of Bancroft outfit, I feel special in that and there are no booties.

Oh, got to go Mom is telling me I've shared enough for today. I will be back next week, hope you will visit and leave me comments, I love visiting!!! I will be online this week finding out more cool things about Scotland to share.

Raise nae mair deils nor ye can lig: Don't bite off more than you can chew

Friday, January 8, 2010

GIVEAWAY of Notorious Royal Marriage by Leslie Carroll and brief book review..

This has been a fun week featuring Notorious Royal Marriages by Leslie Carroll on my blog, as well as the other blogging members of Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table. If you have been following HFBRT's bloggers with their book reviews, author interviews, creative posts and author guest posts you have been enriched by stories, art work and getting to know Ms. Carroll.

I personally have enjoyed the guest interviews with Ms. Carroll, she is a spunky, witty gal who definitely knows her royal history. I have also enjoyed reading NRM. I am a big fan of well written non-fiction and this book was like dessert a little something sweet to top off your meal. 31 luscious stories about royal couples and their marital secrets. Each chapter is a different story. I love this type of book, much like one of my favorite authors, James Herriott in his All Creatures Great and Small series. You can pick it up and begin at any chapter and it's a story with in itself. This way the book can sit by your bedside and you can read a chapter a night or week or whatever. Ms. Carroll writes in a no nonsense kind of way. She gets to the point without a lot of unnecessary fru fru.

She is a witty and charming author. From the stories that I have read so far I have learned a great deal that I didn't know. In particular about Juana (the mad) and her husband Philip the Handsome and Edward VIII and his wife Wallis Simpson. This is a great reference book as well. My daughter is working on a project concerning the French Revolution and she found the chapter in NRM about Louis XVI and Marie most interesting and informative. I have learned much about the individuals themselves, their time period as well as their marriages and families.

Here's your chance to win a copy of this great book. For my followers who are not much into royal fiction and prefer the "true facts" this really is up your ally. Don't miss out on this one. It' s a keeper in any body's library.

To enter, just leave a comment and a thank-you for Ms. Carroll's gracious participation this week. Sorry this one is good for USA residents only.

Contest ends: Jan 23, 2010

Notorious Royal Marriages by Lesile Carroll

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Leslie Carroll's Guest Post on Notorius Royal Marriages...

I want to thank Leslie personally for providing this quest post for my blog. It has been a wonderful week so far for the Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table kick off event with Leslie. There has been some awesome posts re: Ms. Carroll's Notorious Royal Marriages. If you have not had a chance to read all of the book reviews, guest and creative posts I encourage you to visit HFBRT and do so.

Now for Leslie...

Was Anne Boleyn’s greatest “failure” in fact her greatest success?

She reigned for only a thousand days, but perhaps the only other queens of England to have received so much attention over the centuries have been two women who ruled in their own rights, and for exponentially longer: Queen Victoria, and Anne’s only child, Elizabeth I.

Anne’s influence on Henry VIII shaped England’s destiny and affected the kingdom’s relationship with continental Europe as well. Over time, she has been portrayed as a schemer, an evangelical, and even as Henry’s “concubine” before their marriage. It took nearly seven years of parry and thrust (personally as well as politically) before the “I do’s” were exchanged on January 25, 1533—by which point Anne was fairly sure she was pregnant.

“Maternal” is not a word that immediately comes to mind when one thinks of Anne Boleyn. But producing an heir was at the core of her job description as queen. Although a female could by law inherit England’s throne (unlike France, where only a male could inherit), anyone who does'nt know how desperate Henry VIII was to have a son has either been living under a rock or dozed through countless history classes.

On June 1, 1533 the six-months-pregnant Anne was crowned queen at Westminster Abbey. She wore an ermine-trimmed mantle of violet-colored velvet with a high starched ruff; the folds of her gown cleverly concealed her condition.

The royal couple was in high spirits as they awaited the birth of the son they had so long desired. Anne had endured a difficult pregnancy, particularly in her final months. The king was so anxious about her health that it was said he’d welcome a miscarriage if it would save Anne’s life.

Henry had confided to François I that he had to have a son “for the quiet repose and tranquility of our realm.” He’d already chosen the baby names, expressing a preference for Edward or, of course, Henry. However, at three p.m. on September 7, 1533, Anne gave birth to a flame-haired daughter, whom the monarchs named Elizabeth after both of their mothers.

Because of Anne’s rough pregnancy, Henry’s initial reaction was relief that both mother and child were healthy, followed briefly by delight that his daughter’s coloring was identical to his own. But he could not conceal his overall disappointment at the birth of a girl.

Nor, at the outset, could Anne. Her fortune had risen as far as it ever would, reaching its zenith on September 6, 1533, the day before Elizabeth’s birth. Within the space of a year, Anne had become Marquess of Pembroke, the king’s wife, the Queen of England, and the mother of the heir to the throne—but when that heir turned out to be a girl, her star plummeted. For all Anne’s education, culture, and wit, she was already failing in the one job requirement of a royal consort: she could not bear Henry VIII a son.

Henry cancelled the joust and the other grand celebrations that had been set to take place upon the birth of his son. He had been so sure Anne would give him a boy—she had practically guaranteed it—that the formal documents had been drawn up with the word “Prince” on them. All that was lacking was the insertion of the heir’s name and date of birth. Henry seethed as “ss” was added to every announcement.

By September 1534, Anne was several months pregnant again, her “goodly belly” a subject of discussion since April 27. She was in her mid-thirties during this second pregnancy, and Henry was forty-three. To their mutual consternation, she miscarried the fetus, and both of them were desperate for her to become pregnant again as soon as possible.

Yet Anne had not utterly forgotten her daughter, Elizabeth, in her rage to give birth to a son. She doted on her little girl, and breast-fed the baby herself, scandalizing the court. Anne even forced Elizabeth’s half sister to dance attendance on her as a servant, banishing Mary (Henry VIII’s daughter by Katherine of Aragon) to a tiny, dark room and demanding that the eighteen-year-old girl’s ears be boxed by her governess “for the cursed bastard she is,” if Mary dared refer to herself as “Princess.” Henry’s elder daughter was now styled the Lady Mary, stripped of her title and birthright when Henry’s marriage to her mother was annulled.

Anne was pregnant again in October 1535, though her condition did not deter Henry from paying a visit early in the month to the Seymour family at their home of Wulfhall. There, Sir John Seymour made certain that his demure and modest daughter Jane fell under the royal gaze as much as possible. It was not long before Henry gave Jane a miniature portrait of himself, which she ostentatiously wore about her throat at court. Anne was so infuriated by Jane’s impudence that she ripped the chain from her neck.

On the day of Katherine of Aragon’s funeral on January 29, 1536, Anne lost a male fetus said to be fifteen weeks old, blaming the miscarriage on two incidents that had caused her great anxiety. Sparked by Henry’s latest flirtation, they’d had a violent quarrel, during which Anne angrily exclaimed, “I saw this harlot Jane sitting on your lap while my belly was doing its duty!” And on January 24, 1536, five days before Anne’s miscarriage, Henry’s horse had fallen heavily in the tiltyard at Greenwich, and after the king in his hundred pounds or so of armor was thrown from the saddle, the mount may have rolled on top of him. Henry had lain unconscious for two hours, and naturally his queen despaired for his life and feared for her own future, should the king die of his injuries.

But Henry was'nt buying either reason. Utterly insensitive to Anne’s grief at losing another baby, he bewailed the death of his son. “I see God will not give me male children,” he lamented, leaving his wife devastated, and terrified of losing his love.

Yet Anne may have conceived again soon after this miscarriage, because in April, Henry was very indiscreetly boasting to his ambassador in France that God might yet see fit to “send us heirs male,” averring, “You do not know all my secrets.” However, there is no mention of this pregnancy in any surviving records. As Henry would never have executed his pregnant queen, it’s likely that if Anne had been with child in the spring of 1536, she lost that fetus as well, unless Henry’s “secret” was his plan to marry Jane Seymour.

There were also international matters that were nearly as pressing as Henry’s need for a son. Charles V was willing to enter an alliance with England, and even accept the legitimacy of Henry’s marriage to Anne, if his cousin Mary were to be recognized at Henry’s heir presumptive. But Henry refused to countenance the validity of his first marriage, which meant that Mary remained illegitimate and therefore unable to succeed him. The way Henry’s Chief Minister Thomas Cromwell saw it, Henry’s allegiance to Anne was jeopardizing, if not obstructing, England’s safest and most effective foreign policy.

Therefore, Anne had to be eliminated from the picture. So Cromwell, who had once been Anne’s staunchest ally for religious reform, switched horses and allied himself with the court’s pro-Seymour faction. It took the crafty Cromwell just a month and a day to transform Anne from Henry’s beloved wife and queen to the executioner’s victim.

It was politically expedient for the minister to destroy Anne’s supporters as well, and within a brief space of time, Cromwell had all his scapegoats in the pen, awaiting slaughter.

On the weekend of April 29 and 30, Anne had an enormous spat with Henry Norris, the king’s groom of the stool, in which she accused him of being attracted to her. Norris stammered that if he ever had such a thought, “he were his head were off,” whereupon Anne threatened to undo him if she chose. Witnesses to their altercation interpreted the quarrel as a come-on from Anne to Norris. To succeed in toppling Anne from the throne, Cromwell’s commission needed to compile a dossier of Anne’s purported lovers; the contretemps between the queen and Norris (because it included a hypothetical exchange about the king’s death), allowed them to put a treasonous construct on it, thereby ensnaring Norris in their lethal net.

Anne’s argument with Norris led to another, even more volatile one with Henry. A letter sent twenty years later to Queen Elizabeth from an eyewitness to the aftermath of the royal squabble, a Scottish Lutheran clergyman named Alexander Ales, describes the mood:

Never shall I forget the sorrow which I felt when I saw the most serene queen, your most religious mother, carrying you, still a little baby, in her arms and entreating the most serene king your father, in Greenwich Palace, from the open window of which he was looking into the courtyard, when she brought you to him. I did not perfectly understand what had been going on, but the faces and gestures of the speakers plainly showed that the king was angry, although he could conceal his anger wonderfully well. Yet from the protracted conference of the council (for whom the crowd was waiting until it was quite dark, expecting that they would return to London), it was most obvious to everyone that some deep and difficult question was being discussed.

Anne was arrested on May 2, 1536, on the charges of adultery, incest with her brother George, and conspiracy to kill the king. As her barge was rowed to the Traitors’ Gate, Anne was on the verge of collapse. “I was treated with greater ceremony last time I was here,” she exclaimed woefully, referring to her coronation procession. Her trial began on May 15 in the Great Hall of the Tower of London. Her brother George, Viscount Rochford, was to be tried by the same council of peers, on the charge of committing incest with his sister. Their uncle, the Duke of Norfolk, presided over the proceedings as High Steward. Two thousand spectators watched the circus from purpose-built stands. Among the bogus charges against the queen was an allegation of statutory treason pursuant to the 1534 Succession Act: “slander, danger, detriment and derogation of the heirs” of Henry and Anne. In other words, Anne was charged with being a traitor to her own daughter, Elizabeth.

Her conviction was a foregone conclusion; and on May 19, 1536, Anne was executed on Tower Hill. It was a sad day for English justice, and for the kingdom’s history. And while it’s true that Anne lost her life—by dint of her own intellect and abilities she had managed to achieve what others could merely dream of. Although her ambitious father and uncle were seasoned courtiers whose success afforded her an entrée into the highest echelons of Tudor society, once she arrived, she was there to stay—despite her family—until an equally self-made individual, Thomas Cromwell, destroyed her.

Few question the fact that Anne Boleyn was innocent of the charges for which she forfeited her head. And although her religious views had a measurable influence on the history of Church and State, perhaps her greatest achievement was as a mother. Neither Anne’s bloodline nor her spirit perished on Tower Hill: she left behind a little redheaded daughter who would become England’s most venerated queen, and perhaps the greatest female monarch the world has ever known: Elizabeth I.

Today HFBRT events:

  • Leslie Carroll interview with Marie Burton

  • Creative Post by Heather on Peter III & Catherine the Great

  • Notorious Royal Marriages book review by Arleigh


Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves "God Send Me Well To Keep"

To coincide with our Historical Fiction Round Table event of the new release Notorious Royal Marriages by Leslie Carroll I am pleased to contribute my creative post on the marriage of Henry VII and Anne of Cleves.
It wasn't until this past year that I really knew anything about Henry's 4th wife Anne of Cleves. She was only married to Henry for four months. She was a modest, unassuming character and often overlooked in history. Certainly not the celebrities that Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard were and are still today.

I first came upon Anne while reading The Boleyn Inheritance by Phillipa Gregory. I became fascinated and began to study more. After Henry's 3rd wife, his beloved Jane Seymour died in 1537 his constant quest for another male heir and new woman in his bed led him to pursue marriage once again. He employed his Chancellor Thomas Cromwell for assistance in finding him a suitable wife, one fit for the King. Cromwell as always put his best efforts into the pursuit and began scouting all over Europe for the next Queen of England. Top of the list of candidates was Christina, the Duchess of Milan. She was 16 years old, and one very smart cookie. When approached about an engagement to the King of England she insisted that if God had given her two heads she would willingly risk one to marry the King of England, but as she only had 160 Notorious Royal Marriages.

It seems that Henry's reputation of disposing of wives created fear in possible prospects for marriage. This being the case and the fact that France and Spain, both Catholic countries were becoming quite chummy and could possibly form an alliance against England created a problem. The possible invasion was a real threat to Henry's Kingdom and Cromwell being a good protestant approached Wilhelm the Duke of Cleves in the western region of Germany. The Duke himself was a protestant and this alliance would further commit England to the new reformed religion and provide an alie in case of war with the Catholic super powers, best of all he had two unmarried sisters.

Henry saw the wisdom in this but being the egotist that he was refused to marry any woman unless he was pleased with her appearance. The King's artist Hans Holbein was commissioned to go to Cleves and paint portraits of the Anne and Amelia, the Duke's two sisters. Holbein was well like and had been commissioned many times by the King himself to paint portraits. He went to Cleves painted the portraits and returned to Henry. Henry liked very much what he saw and agreed to propose a marriage contract with Anne the eldest of the two sisters. She was twenty-four years old and that would be more suitable for a forty-eight year old King.

If you could ever imagine one of Henry's marriages to be froth with humor this would be the case. In all of his other marriages the situations were almost always tragic in someway. The joke really was on him. Ms. Carroll does a marvelous job of portraying this.
The marriage was arranged and Anne left her home and sailed for England. She was to meet the King in London, but the King being the "joker" that he was couldn't wait, arranged a party to ride with him to meet his new bride. Their first meeting was a disaster brought upon by himself. His ego was hurt, and for all of his faults his over expanded ego was his greatest. He never could lay blame to himself and true to form he began plotting ways to get out of the marriage almost immediately. Upon realizing that he could not break the contract he married her and tried to consummate the marriage and failed. Of course this couldn't be his fault he laid the blame on Anne stating that she had a loose belly and flabby breasts. Now I find this very unlikely since Anne was twenty-four and a virgin. Anne was raised in a very sheltered environment and knew very little of what was expected of her in the bedroom. She thought laying down and holding hands would be enough. She certainly wasn't one of the little vixens that the King was used to. I can imagine just how I would feel if a big, fat, hairy man with a stinking ulcerated leg, over twice my age tried to make love to me. I would be sick. She just wasn't jumping his bones.

It was during this time that Henry met Catherine Howard who knew everything about sex. Henry was determined to get rid of Anne and make Catherine his queen. He found a loop hole and Anne was set aside after 4 months of marriage. Bless her heart at first she was hysterical when she heard the news because she thought he was going to kill her. After the relief that she wasn't dying she couldn't sign the divorce settlement fast enough. She knew what a good thing she was getting: an extraordinary annual income, 3 manor houses of her own including the Hever Castle the late Queen Anne Boleyn's childhood home and the title of the "King's Sister". She would be 2nd only to the Queen of England in rank. She was one of the first independently wealthy women of the age. She loved England and never returned to Cleves.

Anne's peers always treated her with tremendous respect, complimenting her "accustomed gentleness" and her religious devotion. It might not have seemed so at first glance, but Henry's high honor of considering her his "good sister" was, in his own way, a mark of genuine esteem in which he held her character, if not, alas, her face and figure. pg 172 Notorious Royal Marriages.
This has just been one teaser post of the 31 royal marriages covered in Ms. Carroll's outstanding book Notorious Royal Marriages.
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