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TudorCast #3
July 2006


Welcome to Tudor Cast, a podcast dedicated to Tudor History.

Hello, and welcome to Tudor Cast for July 2006. I’m your host, Lara Eakins owner of tudorhistory.org and the TudorTalk email list at YahooGroups.

Let’s get started with a recap of some of the Tudor news since the last podcast.

In June there was an announcement on Sting.com, the website of the musician, that his next album will be Elizabethan lute music where will be focusing on the music of John Dowland. The album is entitled “Songs from the Labyrinth” and is due to be released in October by Deutsche Grammophon.

During renovations to the oldest part of the Palace of Westminster sections of the medieval King’s Table were found. The table was a symbol of the monarch’s power and was broken up by Oliver Cromwell during the Commonwealth and buried beneath the floor of Westminster Hall. It was used during the feasts celebrating Henry VIII’s first two marriages.

In an update to an earlier story, the Holbein portrait of Thomas Wyatt up for auction at Sotheby’s failed to sell. Some experts have expressed doubt whether the portrait was in fact an authentic Holbein, which probably affected the sale.

Over the past few weeks there has been some news about casting for the big screen version of Philippa Gregory’s “The Other Boleyn Girl”. The latest news is that Eric Bana will be playing Henry VIII and Natalie Portman has been cast as Anne Boleyn. The title role of Mary Boleyn has been filled by Scarlett Johansson.

In more Tudors-on-film news, some of the first photos from the production of The Tudors television series have been released. A link to the photos is on the news blog.

And in further Tudor entertainment news, the Elizabeth I series starring Helen Mirren has earned 13 Emmy nominations. For those of you who might be outside the US or are unfamiliar with them, the Emmys are the awards given by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, and are basically the T.V. version of the Oscars.

For links to source articles and other past Tudor news, please see the archives of the news blog at tudorhistory.org/blog

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In this segment, I look at websites that explore aspects of Medieval, Tudor, Elizabethan or Renaissance history in depth.

Before I get to this month’s website, I forgot to mention on last month’s podcast that the UK National Archives site, in addition to their palaeography tutorial, also has one for beginning Latin. Latin was used in a lot of Tudor documents and is commonly seen on coins, paintings, buildings, mottos, etc., so it is helpful if you’re interested in dealing with primary sources. I took a year of Latin about 20 years ago, but I have forgotten most of it, so the online course was a nice refresher. The tutorial is at www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/latin/beginners/

This month’s featured website it a little off the Tudor track, isn’t completely off-topic as you’ll see in a moment. The site is Jeffrey L. Thomas’ Castles of Wales, which has been on the web for 10 years now and has been a long time favorite of mine. I mentioned that this isn’t totally off-topic, and that is because the Tudor family has its roots in Wales and Henry VII, the first Tudor monarch was born in Wales, in Pembroke Castle.

The site is organized into several different sections, including the main index of castles that the site has information on, arranged alphabetically. Pages on individual castles include photos, history and links to maps. One recent update is a virtual tour of Raglan Castle, where Henry VII spent some time as a child while in the care of the Herbert family.

In addition to the castle pages, there are essays, an illustrated reference to castle terminology and information on the people who had these castles built. There is also a section devoted to abbeys and religious sites of medieval Wales. One of the religious sites is St. Winefred’s Well in Holywell, North Wales. This site is home to a spring which has been a place of pilgrimage since at least the 12th century. Much of the current building dates from the late 15th century and has associations with the Stanleys, including the third husband of Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII.

If you’re a castle junkie, like me, or interested in Wales, then the site is definitely one to check out if you haven’t seen it already. And if you have visited before, take a look again, since there was a recent batch of updates with many additional photos. The address for the site is www.castlewales.com

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And now for This Month in Tudor History, where I feature some well known and maybe not as well known people and events that took place during this month.

July is a month that has one of the more dramatic periods of Tudor history. In 1553, following the death of Edward VI, his Protestant cousin Jane Grey Dudley was proclaimed Queen instead of Edward’s Catholic half-sister Mary and a struggle for the throne ensued.

According to the device for the succession laid out in Henry VIII’s will, he was to be succeeded by his son Edward, then his daughter Mary, and finally his daughter Elizabeth. If all three of his own children were to leave no heirs of their body, the crown was then to pass to the heirs of the daughters of Henry’s younger sister Mary - Frances and Eleanor Brandon. The descendants of Henry’s older sister Margaret were passed over since they were foreign born in Scotland.

Frances Brandon was married to Henry Grey, Earl of Dorset, who received the title of Duke of Suffolk through his wife after her brothers died and they had three daughters – Jane, Catherine and Mary. Frances’ younger sister Eleanor was married to Henry Clifford, Earl of Cumberland and the couple had a daughter named Margaret. Both Frances and Eleanor themselves were passed over in favor of their heirs, presumably in hopes they would eventually bear sons. Both Frances and Eleanor did give birth to sons, but only their daughters survived infancy.

Edward VI succeeded his father at aged nine and his uncle Edward Seymour was Lord Protector for the first part of Edward’s reign. Seymour was eventually removed in a coup and John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland quickly became the most powerful and influential person in the young king’s reign. Edward fell ill early in 1553 and began working on his own device for the succession which differed from that of his father. Perhaps on his own, or under the influence of John Dudley, Edward skipped his sisters Mary and Elizabeth on grounds of illegitimacy and the possibility that they would marry foreigners and vested the crown on his cousin Lady Jane Grey, the eldest daughter of Frances Brandon. Possibly in an attempt to keep his power and influence with the designated heir, John Dudley had his son Guilford married to Jane Grey in May 1553.

Edward VI died on July 6th and the plans for the succession went into action. Jane was proclaimed Queen according to Edward’s will, but his half-sister Mary had other plans and rallied those loyal to Henry VIII’s plan for the succession to her side. She submitted a claim to the throne that was rejected on July 10th. Thus began Jane’s short reign as the Nine Days Queen. News of Mary rallying forces in Norfolk prompted John Dudley to ride out with an army to confront Mary, but ultimately failed due to his personal unpopularity and the people’s loyalty to Mary as the rightful heir of Henry VIII. By July 19th, Mary was being proclaimed Queen throughout the country and Jane’s brief reign was over.

July was an auspicious month for Mary. In 1553, it was the month that she successfully defended her claim to the throne and in 1554, it was the month she married Philip of Spain. Although the match was unpopular with her people, Mary was determined to see it through. On July 25th, 1554, the two were wed and proclaimed: Philip and Mary, by the grace of God, King and Queen of England, France and Naples, Jerusalem and Ireland, defenders of the faith, Princes of Spain and Sicily, Archdukes of Austria, Dukes of Milan, Burgundy and Brabant, Counts of Habsburg, Flanders and the Tyrol.

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Now it’s time for a segment where I feature a text from the Tudor period.

To continue with some of the events from this month in Tudor history, I selected a description of Jane Grey written by a Genoese merchant named Baptista Spinola, who saw on July 10th, 1553.

Today I saw Lady Jane Grey walking in a grand procession to the Tower. She is now called Queen, but is not popular, for the hearts of the people are with Mary, the Spanish Queen’s daughter. This Jane is very short and thin, but prettily shaped and graceful. She has small features and a well-made nose, the mouth flexible and the lips red. The eyebrows are arched and darker than her hair, which is nearly red. Her eyes are sparkling and reddish brown in color. I stood so near her grace that I noticed her color was good but freckled. When she smiled she showed her teeth, which are white and sharp. In all a gracious and animated figure. She was a dress of green velvet stamped with gold, with large sleeves. Her headdress was a white coif with many jewels. She walked under a canopy, her mother carrying her long train, and her husband Guildford walking by her, dressed all in white and gold, a very tall strong boy with light hair, who paid her much attention.

Update: In 2009, in an interesting and convincing article in The New Criterion by Leanda de Lisle, it is argued that the Spinola account of Jane Grey's appearance is a fake. So, the "text" portion of this podcast probably not an authentic primary source text.

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And now for some closing comments and some other extraneous things!

When I first started the podcast, I had hoped to have a regular section with a review of a book, movie or t.v. show, but I think I’m going to have to put that on hold. Besides the fact that I haven’t had much time to read a Tudor book cover-to-cover, I’ve also come to the conclusion that I’m not actually very good at writing reviews. So, I’m going to try to work on those skills and will hopefully add some occasional reviews in the future.

Next, I’d like to remind everyone that the Tudor Ghost Story for 2006 is open for submissions. You can find out all the details of the website at tudorhistory.org/storycontest/

I also wanted to remind folks that I will be on vacation for three weeks in August. I will have internet access on and off, so I’m hoping to be able to keep up with things. I doubt I’ll be checking email everyday, since part of the reason to take a vacation is to unplug for a while. I’m planning on writing at my personal blog during the vacation, so if you’re interested it will be at tudorhistory.org/larablog/

At the end of this podcast, I’m going to play a promo for British History 101, a new podcast that will go through eras of British History each week. Be sure to take a listen!

If you want to comment on this podcast, you can do so at tudorhistory.org/podcast or send me an email at lara@tudorhistory.org A transcript of this and previous podcasts are also available at the website. All the music in this episode is from the group La Primavera. Logon to magnatune.com to listen to and purchase music from this and other artists.

Until next month, fare the well!