Friday, October 30, 2015

GLORIANA! The ABC's of Our Most Gracious Sovereign, Elizabeth M is for Mary I, Half-sister and Half-conflicted

Pinchas: There were never such devoted sisters
"Sisters, sisters
There were never such devoted sisters,
Never had to have a chaperone, no sir,

I'm there to keep my eye on her. . . " 

While her half-sister sat on the throne of England and Ireland (France? Not so much, lol Calais) from 1553 - 1558, Elizabeth so wished her half-sister, Mary, kept less of an eye on her.
Much, much less of an eye on her.

The eyes Mary had on Elizabeth were not just her own - Mary had many eyes on Elizabeth.

Wherever Elizabeth traveled within England (which she did, a lot, lol phrase of the day - 'peripatetic lifestyle') people from dukes to scullions
Wrong century, right idea.
in the kitchen were spying on her.

It was enough to make a girl want to shriek:

Leave Me Alone Wallpaper 240x320 alone, angry, baby, comedy,
"Isn't it bad enough you're making me go to church all the time and carry a Rosary?" 

Princess Mary, daughter to Catherine of Aragon and Henry VIII got to ripe old age of seventeen when the rug of her royal life was pulled rudely out from under her.
 If Only Workplace Culture Warnings Were Available | Due by Monday
Her father 'distanced' both Mary and her mother from court; Catherine of Aragon was shifted from one uncomfortable moldy old palace/manor house/hall to another even more uncomfortable palace/manor house/hall - and frequently. 
In Tudor England, monarchs believed in letting Nature take her course with people they now found 'inconvenient' or 'a threat'  - chilly, damp, mildew and moldy lodgings out where Jesus lost his sandals did a fair job of grinding down the inconvenient or threatening person.
Toss in not-at-all generous portions of lousy food, seclusion, and denial of visits from children/family, then replace trusted servants with unfriendly spies and thick blankets with thin, cut back on the firewood and - voila! 
Inconvenient people dropped like flies; victims of neglect and genteel starvation.

Mary lived through some of the neglect, but even worse  was having seen her mother, England's queen, tossed away so her father, the king, could take up with a dark-haired creature, fresh from France, named Anne Boleyn.
Life for Mary went from bad to worse; the more she and her mother insisted they were the rightful queen and princess of England, the more privileges that got yanked.

Both Catherine and Mary were stubborn as hell in a "I keep shooting myself in the foot, but I will NOT give up" kind of way.
Such tenacity; when Henry VIII hauled Catherine into court over their divorce, Catherine dissed the court in every possible way.
She walked in late, got down on her knees in front of Henry and begged him to do the the right thing by her.
Henry was horribly mortified - he'd expected Mary's mother to simply cave and give in.
After Catherine had her say in court, she walked toward the door, and when told she did NOT have permission to leave, she told them all there was no justice in the room for her, so "F.O.A.D. to all of you."
Mary displayed a lot of the same type of fire when she was crossed.

When Catherine of Aragon died of neglect, a broken heart,  and what was likely a type of cancer, it was January of 1535.
Mary was nineteen.
Downgraded from Princess Mary to Lady Mary, bastard daughter of the king, and adding insult to injury, she shared her household with Anne Boleyn's daughter, Elizabeth.
Her sister.
And Anne Boleyn? 
"You must bow to me!" - to which Mary replied:
"Bow THIS, Anne Boleyn."

In spite of having every reason to despise her half-sister, Mary seemed unable to bring herself to hate the baby girl.
Either Elizabeth was an awfully engaging baby, or Mary didn't have it in her to hate the innocent little one, or more likely, it was a combination of both.

Their sisterhood was cemented during Elizabeth's infancy and Mary, regardless of how her attitude toward her half-sister changed over the years, walked her talk when it came to blood ties and keeping to her word.
After Henry VIII disposed of Elizabeth's mother,
Beheading: Anne Boleyn, on herway to be executed, played by the actor ...
"LOL!! I can still see you, Mr. Swordsman!"

both his daughters were motherless - another similarity shared between them - and when their father married Jane Seymour, a little bit of 'fun' surfaced in the 'dysfunction' of their family.
Jane not only gave Henry VIII a boy (and thank God for that, the king very much needed to relax his crack on that topic) but also influenced Henry VIII to lighten up on Mary. 
Once Mary was forced into willing to put her signature on a document naming her as a bastard (ouch!) Henry VIII warmed up a little towards her.

Meanwhile, Mary stood godmother to Jane and Henry's son, Prince Edward, while little Elizabeth also participated in his very elaborate christening at Hampton Court Palace.
... christening of Prince Edward, later Edward VI, at Hampton Court - 15
That's one heck of a long train on that christening gown. No expense spared!

Jane Seymour fell victim to post childbirth complications and died within days of delivering little Prince Edward, and with her death, Mary lost one of the few people in the world who, since 1535, had ever showed her any kindness at all.

Think about how that would feel; dead mother, father married to trophy wife who made a point of making Mary feel like subservient shit most of the time, father has trophy wife's  head cut off  

Mary I
'Holy shit, I know I prayed for that, but I never expected it to actually happen!"
and immediately marries again.
That's a lot of family transitioning. 

Fortunately for Mary and Elizabeth, their father's next wife was pragmatic and kind; Anne of Cleves was Wife #4.
Anne of Cleves and Henry VIII didn't meet until a few days before their wedding.
Henry VIII did NOT care for her; Anne of Cleves had a major clutch moment, imagining an Anne Boleyn-type of ending - and that fear no doubt drove her to agree to a divorce.
Her pragmatism and kindness stood her in good favor with the king; he was delighted that she caved so completely in agreeing to a divorce and rewarded her good sense with a generous income and several places to call home.

Henry VIII moved on to a short and disastrous marriage to the very young, very dishy, very round-ankled Catherine Howard.
Mary was kindergarten-aged by the time Catherine Howard was born.
Really, Dad?
She had to be younger than me?
When Catherine Howard's infidelities, both before and during her marriage to the king came out, blinking, into the bright light of day, Henry VIII was crushed, hurt and then angry.
Very angry.
Catherine Howard got the chop but not before leaving behind a visage of herself on auto-repeat, running screaming down a Gallery at Hampton Court Palace - totally true, if you believe that sort of thing. 
 Image result for ghost woman screaming
You can look it up. 

Henry VIII, shattered at the sudden loss of the pretty, flirty, sweet young thing who'd let him stick his hand up her skirt whenever he wanted, stayed down in the dumps for months.
Then he got married for the last time, to the very decent and smart Catherine Parr.
Henry was often out-of-sorts; chronic pain issues and other complaints that came from eating a meat-based diet; also the aches and pains of a grossly obese elderly man.
Catherine was was the wife who ushered the old rascal out of this life on 28 January, 1547.
She was the wife who outlived Henry VIII.

Nine year old Prince Edward became nine year old Edward VI.
He was a smart kid, very academic and very sure his realm was a Protestant realm.
Mary, raised in 'the old (pre-Anne Boleyn) Catholic faith' disagreed most heartily.
She'd always been an observant Catholic but not remarkably so; but all of a sudden she made it her business to get awfully vocal about religion.
Mary sounded off on Edward's age as too young to make decisions of any kind.
And by decisions, she meant religion. 
She simply would not shut up about it.

Edward VI argued with her constantly: her disregard for laws  in his kingdom led to at least one ruined family holiday.
One Christmas, their differences on religion led to screaming, led to tears (his) and more tears (hers,) and more screaming.
Edward VI had to accept that agree with her or not, Mary said what she meant, and she meant what she said.
And that strength of conviction was her legacy, although it gets a negative spin if it's mentioned at all - but I believe her personal integrity is what ultimately saved Elizabeth during the Wyatt rebellion's fallout.
Mary promised Elizabeth at some point that Elizabeth would never be punished as a traitor without proof.
Mary was a woman whose word was her deed.

After Edward VI died young (15) of a lung ailment, he'd left instructions for his Protestant cousin, Lady Jane Grey, to succeed him.
Mary's answer to that was a very clear, "As if!"
She rode into London with an army of her supporters - the woman was fearless.
If the people wanted Lady Jane Grey as queen, Mary would be putting her life on the line.
Mary was in a 'go big, or go home' mood, though - and Parliament bought her claim to the throne.
She flicked her cousin, Lady Jane Grey, into the Tower.

Eventually, she had to have her executed, but it was not Mary's wish - until she had to make a stand for her throne.
Then she signed her cousin's death warrant.
But that left Mary with a terrible idea - what she'd done to Lady Jane Grey, her sister might do to her.

That was when Mary really kept her eye(s) on Elizabeth.
Mary's spies were always around; listening to what Elizabeth said, reading her correspondence, reporting if Elizabeth did, or did not, observe the Catholic Mass as she'd promised Mary she would.
 Image result for I hate church
 When Thomas Wyatt the Younger brought a fight to Mary, one aimed at replacing her with Elizabeth, Mary finally went ham on her half-sister.
With orders to round her up and bring her to face the queen, Mary was livid when Elizabeth shilly-shallied and wrote a l-o-n-g letter to Mary, reminding Mary that she'd once given her a promise that she'd never punish without proof.

Mary kept her word.

She did not punish Elizabeth for treason (although she certainly could have; no one would have been surprised - monarchs were notoriously paranoid in Tudor England.)

Mary did not have a long life; she died just forty-two years old.
She'd made her own devise for succession for the throne of England after her death.
She named her half-sister, whose Tudor red-gold hair was just like their father's Tudor red-gold hair; the best imaginable visual reminder to the people of England of the continuity of the Tudor bloodline 

Keeping England Catholic was less important to Mary than keeping England's crown in her father's bloodline.
All the humiliations thrown at her when her father ditched her mother and married Anne Boleyn still counted - but Mary's actions reflected her words.
Elizabeth's life depended on that - and Mary did not go back on her word.


Sunday, October 25, 2015

GLORIANA! The ABC's of the Reign of Our Most Gracious Sovereign, Elizabeth. L is for Lord and Lady

Shortly after the execution of Anne Boleyn in May of 1533, the crown's representative in the household where Anne Boleyn's daughter lived, an uptight and tight-fisted type of guy, addressed the toddler Elizabeth 'as befitting the child's new, lowered status.'
Her answer to the man was reported to be as follows:
"How haps it, governor, that yesterday my lady princess, yet today but my lady Elizabeth?" - Elizabeth I, age 2 yrs/8 mos (guesswork.)*
Image result for wait, what?
That's not my name, you know.

The kid got it in one.
"What'd you just call me?"
It's not a stretch to imagine the precocious youngster pushing the buttons of the man who informed her of her drop in status by using a 'lesser' form of address.
It's cause to wonder if the buzzing swarm of energy over the execution of the queen, Elizabeth's mother, had seeped through whatever protection her day-to-day carers took to keep the information from their royal charge king's newly-demoted from royalty to member of his little bastard's club.

The dawning horror that something involving her mother, and not in a good way, likely made the little girl hyper-vigilant to every tiny little thing in what she saw, heard, smelled, tasted, or touched.
Kids raised in dysfunctional families have always developed super-sensitive awareness to their environment and especially to the emotional states of the people surrounding them. 
I believe we can agree that Elizabeth's family life qualifies as dysfunctional - and when it came to the form used to address her by the governor of the estate, Elizabeth smelled something, and what she smelled was her recent bastardization.

Being called Lady + Christian name was an entirely different place than when called Lady + Princess + Christian name.
The 'Lady' title meant she could have been anyone - as low in the pecking order of the peerage as daughter of an earl. 
When acclimated to the idea of having as father the king of England, the drop to 'could be the daughter of one of any number of courtiers' rankled Elizabeth.
The 'Lady Elizabeth' vs. the "Lady Princess" issue was the unwelcome background music to every single one of her bigger problems in her lifetime.

For a person addressing you to drop to a lower form of address was to know the sting of having been denied previous access and favors.

As young children will do, Elizabeth I surely picked up on the emotional temperature of those caring for her in the days before her mother was executed.
Or perhaps not; if those caring for her were a little distracted during the pre- and actual-execution days she may not have taken much notice; no doubt the court was rocked by shocking scandal several times a year, if not a month.

Still - regardless if the little girl was querying in the peremptory manner of an entitled kid 

who had to know everything, or in the "uh-oh-I-think-something-bad-happened" way, it demonstrates her acute awareness of the leaving out of that one little word, 'princess' when she was spoken to by the man who ran her household.

Elizabeth's precocious response made at just under three years old proves a theory held by mothers everywhere: a person is born as smart or dumb as they're going to be; how fast they use what they have to probe their world is a direct result of their intelligence or lack thereof.

Tide Letter - Page Two
The Tide Letter from Elizabeth to her half-sister, Mary - demonstrates her smarts and her inheritance of suspicion from her grandfather, Henry VII.
Elizabeth I was very, very, very intelligent indeed.
* Disclaimer: some say she didn't utter that phrase, but it sounds too good to not be true. To me, at least.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

GLORIANA! The ABC's of the Reign of Our Most Gracious Sovereign, Elizabeth K is for Kirby Hall

Elizabeth I had no problem with the filter between her brain and her mouth; she just acted that way.
Image result for no filter
"I just said that out loud, didn't I. . . "
Her comment to a courtier, upon visiting his house, was pithy and insulting; 'My Lord, what a little house you've gotten!" 
(That gem comes courtesy of Suzannah Lipscomb from her book,  A Visitor's Guide to Tudor England .) 

Elizabeth returned, however, to that 'little house' some years later - something she never got around to doing when one of her favorite loverboys from court built this pile named Kirby Hall: 
Kirby Hall - Northhamptonshire
Sir Christopher Hatton 
Sir Christopher Hatton was Elizabeth I's on-the-down-low boyfriend. Or one of them, anyway.
was a man in the Elizabethan court, desperately in love with the queen, and she, if not as desperately in love with him, never failed to send him silver-gilt plate - which is silver covered with a layer of gold - in amounts up to 10X as much by weight as anyone else received.
As a young man, Sir Christopher Hatton got Elizabeth's attention while strutting his stuff to the music at court.

He was a handsome devil, and moved like a dream on the dance floor. 
Elizabeth I had him on her personal security squad 
Wrong Elizabeth's security team - but right idea. .. . 
faster than you can say kevlar vest - and soon after that, he was in charge of it.

Hatton, an orphan from the time he was a little kid, had a sweet nature and although he had every reason not to be modest because he had it all; good looks, money, the favor of the queen, snappy dresser and good dancer, he was very modest about his good fortune. 
Naturally, many of the courtiers hated him.
"Hey, Orphan Boy, quit being so LIKABLE!"
Hatton was also a great guy who helped out the artistic community by serving as the benefactor/angel to keep the creativity alive.
Not just creativity, either, but also discovery.
Sir Francis Drake, whose ship was called The Golden Hind after the golden hind:

 associated with the Hatton family, received backing from Christopher Hatton to explore the oceans and exploitable lands of the earth. 

As Hatton had so much love for the queen that he wrote the soppiest of love letters to her 
every single time they were apart, he wanted to please her.
And how best to please Elizabeth I? 
By taking on the expense of a visit from her, her people, her servants, her animals, her furniture and wall hangings (all transportable) 

- feeding all those mouths, entertaining the queen, feeding the mouths of those entertaining the queen - the list goes on forever.
A visit from Elizabeth was the kind of favor she expected asked of her favorite people.
If you're thinking it sounds like the kind of favor that could drive a person to bankruptcy, you are absolutely right.


Here's the inside courtyard of the site of Hatton's longed-for visit from his queen (above.) 

Looks decent enough, don't you think?

After working on his home improvement project for ten years, and going broke as a result, Hatton's thanks was this: she never even showed up.
Not happening, Hatton. 
And then Hatton, with his love and his hopes dashed, got another ugly surprise.
Every single penny he owed the crown (meaning Elizabeth) was due at that instant and not in that instant plus even a single second,

 he went from hopes dashed to man destroyed.

Heartbroken by the avarice and just plain meanness of Elizabeth I, he responded with such dignified hurt that for perhaps the first time in her life, she regretted her cavalier treatment she'd shown her very loyal servant.
"I thought you liked me?"
A crushed Hatton whose health was destroyed got busy dying.

Hatton, on a serious downward spiral was visited by the queen who fed him and comforted him, and generally tried to make up for the shit way she'd treated him.

Too little, too late, and she'd shown him a capricious nature she'd inherited from her father, and the parsimonious genes from her grandfather, Henry VII.
It destroyed the sweet-natured Hatton.
He died, ill and only fifty-one years old - his massive building project having never fulfilled his purpose, and no doubt his faith in love smashed beyond repair.
The legend around his death is that heartbreak at the sting of Elizabeth's unforgivable treatment actually *did* break his heart, his spirit, and ultimately killed him.
Not a nice ending to the story.
Not nice at all.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

GLORIANA! The ABC's of the Reign of Our Most Gracious Sovereign Elizabeth. J is for Jewels

Do you believe this was Henry III's first 'love token' given to Anne Boleyn? It's a combination whistle, toothpick, ear cleaner (okaaayyyy. . . ) and salt spoon.

You'll never worry about crud caught in your smile with this snazzy gift! 
I've written to the Victoria and Albert Museum, where this is supposed to be housed, asking for more information.
The picture of the piece shows up in a lot of online blogs and Pinterest boards, but not in any museum collection searches I've done online. 
When I get a response, I'll share it.

Jewelry was a key ingredient in the game of one-upmanship at the monarch's court in Tudor England.
What was worn differed depending on the gender and rank of the wearer.
If you were royalty, the expectation was that jewelry and other trinkets made of gold and precious stones, set in unique designs full of meaning were given freely to you by anyone who ever expected to get your attention again.
If you wanted a royal favor, you'd begin by sending a jewel with your letter.
The bigger, the better.
Image result for "you shouldn't have!"
". . . actually, you SHOULD have spent more . . . I'm just sayin. . . " 
Elizabeth I famously 'meh'd' the jewels sent to her by Mary Queen of Scots as well as Elizabeth's love-rival
Lettice Knollys. 
She once let Lettice stand for hours, waiting for a quick word with the queen.
Elizabeth finally deigned to send a minion to tell Lettice the queen was 'unavailable' - and that was after Lettice sent 'a jewel' along with a letter to Elizabeth.
. . . And it never will be, Lettice. 

Jewelry also sent out messages, read loud and clear, by the Tudor court.
Pearls were  worn to advertise the purity of the wearer.
No surprise, then, that Elizabeth I had pearls attached to her clothes, her hair, her necklaces, her fan's handle - pearls all over the place.
Yes, Captain Obvious, we get it. Purity. Virgin Queen.
Back when she answered to Lady Elizabeth, the queen was painted wearing a couple of monogram-style pieces that appear to have belonged to her disgraced mother.
Monograms were displayed so nobody forgot family names.
Elizabeth's A pendant
"A" is for "Anne" - is this Lady Elizabeth's teen-aged rebellious phase? 

"I dunno, it's probably her mothers' but between this sore on my leg and her bitchy sister, I just don't have the strength to argue with her." - what Henry VIII maybe thought, but never said, about Elizabeth wearing her mother's jewelry. 
Monogrammed anything never goes out of style:
Nice girls wear monograms, and Mary the Quene is no exception to that rule. 
Tudor men at court liked their jewels too.
Here in no particular order are details of some of the men's accessories, taken two weeks ago in the National Portrait Gallery: Tudor and Elizabethan.

St. George slaying Puff the Magic Dragon. . .Not really. 
Henry Carey wore his chain of state on his very Henry VIII-looking corpulent magnificence. 
Thomas Howard, who famously yanked the seal from the thick neck of this guy:
Thomas Cromwell - right before Cromwell got to cool his heels in the Tower of London, pre-axe. 

Jewelry also made statements about the beliefs of the wearer.
Just in case anyone had their doubts about the Roman Catholic faith of Mary Queen of Scots, in this portrait she lets her jewelry do the talking: 

Mary, Queen of Scots, after Nicholas Hilliard, late 16th century (1578?) - NPG 429 - © National Portrait Gallery, London
"Do you see where my left hand is pointing? No, not your left, MY left. Yes. Right at the crucifix. Sign of the One True Faith. Heaven is not for Haters!"  
For a very fine article about jewelry at the time of the Elizabethan court, click here:

You'll find a treasure trove of information. 
Thank you, Leed, Drea. Jewelry in Elizabethan England [Article] ©2010. Dayton, OH: Author. Retrieved Jan 13 2010 from the World Wide Web: !!!

Wonderful cross choker-style necklace on Mary I; but she's painted to look like a scold. 

Prince Edward, painted shortly before ascending the throne in 1547 - some bling, but not as much as he'd wear later, as king. 

Thomas Cromwell - at his arrest his chain of state was rudely torn from him by this guy: (see next picture.)

Duke of Norfolk, noted pool-hall hustler. (Not really.) Notice his manly chain of state. 

NPG Anne Boleyn - like all nice girls, she wore proudly wore her monogram.