It may not have been as bad as all that; Tudor England had standards for personal hygiene.
When Henry VIII first voiced his 'misliking' for Anne of Cleves, his quickly jettisoned fourth wife, he said she had evil airs about her.
|"Why did my new husband the king not touch me? Was it my B.O.?" - What Anne of Cleves never said.|
|That bad? Indeed.|
Changing undies was mandatory.
Not everyone could afford snowy-white underwear linens, but everyone's (discolored) underwear linens could at the very least be CLEAN.
Tub baths had the problem of hauling water inherent to them; hauling water from whichever supply was grueling, back-breaking (or back-strengthening) work, and work was something most people back then had enough of already, thank you very much.
Poor people sometimes used soot, which they wiped on their choppers with a rag.
People with more money used herbs: cloves in particular, but any aromatic herb would do.
Chewing on the end of a stick until it frayed made it a dandy toothbrush substitute.
Given the lack of daily submersion, or at the very least, a shower, as well as a Tudor-era enthusiasm for cheating on spouses, it makes me wonder: did people get so used to the smell of pong that they didn't even notice when their wife/husband smelt of someone else?
|"And you SMELL!"|
In his last few years, the smell of his never-healed leg ulcer was said to smell from three rooms away.
|Must've been the fish, your Majesty. . . apologies. . .|
Henry VIII either had an instinctive grasp of cleanliness being not only next to Godliness, but also a plague deterrent, or he'd been advised by someone who knew.
Fortunately for the future Edward VI, the King insisted on keeping his legitimate son and heir's quarters clean - it is almost certain that the baby's mother died as a direct result of dirty hands on someone attending her after she'd delivered.
Henry VIII's most famous child, the entirely fabulous Elizabeth I, was likewise concerned with cleanliness around her royal person.
The floors under her royal feet were cleaned and strewn with fresh herbs waaaaaaayyyyyy more often than had been done for her predecessors on the throne.
She bathed; she didn't suffer the stink of those in close proximity gladly, and she famously greeted a courtier who, seven years previous let one rip
while making his bow to the queen and who then fled court out of mortification, "My lord! I had quite forgotten the fart!"
Way to make him feel better, your majesty.
And kudos for your awesome memory!
Shame about the farter.