The Tudor Roses

The Tudor Roses

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This Other Eden Virtual Book Tour - Day 1

To celebrate the release of This Other Eden by Margaret Williams, The Tudor Roses are hosting the first day of her virtual book tour with an excerpt from the new book. We are also offering one lucky person the chance to win a copy of the book. All you have to do is tell us what interests you about the Pilgrimage of Grace and one of you will be chosen as the winner by us and Spartan Publishing. To enter you can leave a comment here, on our Facebook page or email us (details of both at the end of the blog). The closing date for entries is Sunday 13th December 2015 - good luck! Now on with the blog...


Margaret Williams is no stranger to adventure. She has been married for thirty three years to her Welsh husband, whom she met as result of a coach crash in Bulgaria, while they were travelling across Europe on the old Crusader route to Palestine. Margaret has always been passionate about her family history and Tudor history, and it was through her research that she realised her Bowerbank line must have lived through and witnessed the events leading up to the Pilgrimage of Grace as it affected Cumberland. She used the actual names of family members as characters, and researched how certain trades would have dominated their imagined lives. Margaret visited the Eden Valley on several occasions and was struck by the beauty of the landscape and the river there, and walked along that narrow foothold above the water leading into the gorge described in the book.


Margaret has published several short stories, and This Other Eden is her debut novel.







          Summer - Progress toYork


In February, the King's leg ulcerated again. It forced him to endure weeks of inactivity, while the pus was allowed to drain. In moments of depression, he was to reflect that Cromwell was "the most faithful servant he ever had." But with the approach of spring, his black mood shifted, the rebellious leg calmed, and mobility of sorts was restored. The idea of a royal progress was conceived. To the north then, to York, he would show himself in those rebellious parts of England he had never seen. A coronation for Katherine at York, perhaps? That was one of the suggestions that traitor Aske had made when he came to court that Christmastime of 1536. Well, the King thought wryly, in a way neither he nor those so-called Pilgrims had foreseen, circumstances had conspired to bring about one of their most pressing demands, the "expulsion of villein blood" from the Council. i.e. Cromwell's death.


And why not invite James, his sister Margaret's son, the King of Scotland, to come south and meet with him at York? There was need of talk between them. The lad seemed incapable of governing those Lowland Border Scots of his, who continued to enjoy their wild sport of conducting raiding parties over the Border into northern England, even as far as the town of Penrith.


So, it was arranged, and the great northern progress was ready to set out at the end of June. It was a magnificent display, almost on a par with that of the Field of the Cloth of Gold in France, some twenty years before. By degrees, the awe-inspiring procession made its way through towns and villages whose inhabitants had never seen their sovereign, and as intended, were suitably impressed. On roads that were sometimes little more than tracks, the glittering troupe traversed the wilder territories of the realm, until at last, in mid-September, the city of York was finally reached. It was a relief after the long journey, to enjoy the luxuriously appointed buildings of a former religious house made ready to receive the Court there, and that of King James, too, when he should arrive.


Pedlar Jack was anxious to begin his journey home. In the summer he had travelled to York to buy provisions. Now, at the summer's end, it was time to return to Carlisle, serving those villages in the remote country districts en route before the winter began. But now, with the arrival of the King, not to mention the expected arrival of the King of Scotland, how could he not linger in York awhile longer? It was news, and he would be the proud narrator of an event the north had never witnessed before.


York was packed with folk who had flocked there to see the arrival of the great cavalcade, and the stable where Jack slept with his pony train was invaded by other travellers seeking a lodging. He struck up a companionship with a travelling tinker,a fellow who, like himself, was always journeying to make a living.


"Tomorrow," his companion informed him as they ate their shared meal, "the King is to receive the public submission of those rebels he pardoned after the great rising hereabouts.  You remember - the Pilgrimage of Grace they called it."


"Aye, I remember it" Jack replied, "and so do many in York." He lowered his voice, fearing to be overheard by any in the stable where they supped.


"There was scant merriment in York then, when Robert Aske was hung here in chains."


"So I have heard," the younger man replied. "My own father saw it."


Next day they joined the jostling crowd early. It was a rare sight, the brilliant apparel of the royal entourage, the clergy and York's own city fathers, anxious that no mishap should occur to mar the proceedings.


There was a stir as the King arrived, and a roar of welcome. Jack and the tinker watched. Some two hundred men knelt down in the street before the King. These were those former rebels fortunate to have escaped the noose when the King's justice was meted out when that fateful rebellion failed.


They had already been pardoned, but now they were required to make their further submission.


"What are they giving to the King?" someone in the tightly packed crowd asked.


"Purses," another replied, "and there's gold in those purses, I'll warrant."


"Ah," an old man spoke sadly, and drew his sleeve across his eyes.


"The price of so many lives," he sighed.


King James of Scotland however, never came to meet his uncle - no message was ever received from him. At length, by the end of September, it was obvious that the King of Scots was not coming, much to his uncle of England's annoyance. However, despite the young pup's rudeness, and the fact that there had been no coronation arranged for Katherine, Henry was pleased with the majority of the enterprise, and it was especially so at York, where he was pleased to receive the abject submissions of those who had been beguiled into rising against him by the Pilgrims.


He had shown himself in his splendour, to those subjects who inhabited the wilder regions of his realm. To them, he must have seemed a distant figure, a name only. Now they had seen him in reality, and witnessed his colourful ceremonies.


He had heard their legal complaints, and dispensed justice. The King, for his part, had seen and wondered at the stern beauty of these northern regions of England, the gaunt treeless moors and dense stretches of forest where wolves were said to still roam. Here was a harshness of life that bred hardness and endurance in its people.


It bred too, he reflected, the Pilgrimage of Grace in mind, a tenacity and stubbornness that enabled them to resist any change they considered contrary to their ideals.


By the end of September, there was the threat of worsening weather, and the return journey could be delayed no longer. They packed up the tents that were pitched in the Abbey grounds intended for the accommodation of the overflow of both the English and the Scots Courts, and then they began the long journey back to the softer south.


The shock of what awaited Henry immediately upon his return to London struck him with the velocity of a thunderclap. Disbelief was his first reaction. It could not be! They were malicious lies, those allegations concerning his sweet Katherine's wanton behaviour whilst living in the household of her step Grandmother, the dowager Duchess of Norfolk. She was accused of improper relations with a certain Henry Manox, employed by the Duchess to teach her music - surely she could not have been much more than twelve or thirteen years of age at that time. But, more seriously, there was Francis Dereham, some sort of distant cousin, come recently to Court, and seeking employment in the Queen's household. He had a loose tongue, and he claimed that they were pre-contracted, and that therefore she was his wife.


That, together with the testimonies of some of the young women who shared the same bed-chamber with Katherine at the Duchess's establishment at Lambeth, made the accusations of her promiscuous past incontrovertible, The King wept. Then came rage, explosive in its intensity, following hard upon his grief. That rage spilled over too against those who had supported his intention to marry again, especially the Howards. Had not Katherine's own uncle, the Duke himself, assured the King of his niece's "pure and honest condition?"


Serious as the matter was, if it had rested there, perhaps the marriage could have been declared invalid, and Katherine herself banished in disgrace. But more, and worse, was to come, Whilst the King had lain sick in February, Katherine and his much-favoured Gentleman of the Privy Chamber, the young and handsome Thomas Culpeper, had, it seemed, entered into a secret liaison. Perhaps it was inevitable that she, shackled to an old and ailing husband, and he, rash and beguiled by her beauty, should throw discretion to the winds, and with the wild abandon of youth take so terrible a risk. Night after night, wherever the recent progress halted on the way to York and back, they contrived to meet, Lady Rochford standing guard outside the locked door of the Queen's chamber.


The situation was dire. Both Culpeper and Dereham were arrested, and Katherine, thoroughly frightened, was divested of her title of Queen, and placed under house arrest at Hampton Court. Then, she was sent under guard to Syon House.


On the first day of December, the fate of Culpeper and Dereham was sealed. They were tried and convicted of high treason, and condemned to death, though not as originally sentenced, to that most cruel death of hanging, drawing, and quartering. Perhaps it was the King's former fondness for the wild, young Culpeper that prompted him to commute the sentence to the mercy of simple beheading. On the tenth of December sentence was carried out, the two heads thereafter being impaled on spikes on London Bridge.



This Other Eden is Published by



Cover photo for This Other Eden taken and supplied by Darren Wilkins.

Tudor Heaven

Today we are posting something a little different on the Rose blog in rememberance of the death of Henry VIII.

We welcome guest blogger Katherine Marcella who has kindly allowed us to make public a one scene play she has written about Henry VIII (with a few others) on Judgement Day. It is a short and humorous piece and we hope you all enjoy it.

We now hand you over to Katherine and Tudor Heaven...

Tudor Heaven


Dramatis Personae


Henry VIII, King of England
Charles I, King of England

Jane Seymour, Queen of England

Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk

an unnamed infant child of Anne, Queen of England




St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, England. The high altar is upstage center. To stage left and right are the stalls of the Order of the Garter and doors to exit the room.






Judgment Day



scene 1


(Throughout the play, an occasional wraith-like figure makes its way from a random location at varying speeds through the chapel toward and behind the high altar or out one of the doors.  Nobody takes any notice of their presence.


A trumpet sounds loudly enough to scare the bejeezus out of the audience. The stage, pitch black at the outset is slowly suffused with a golden light to reveal a figure climbing out of a floor vault and up to the stage.  He is instantly recognizable as King Henry VIII.)

                                      HENRY VIII

(Shakes his fist and stomps his foot)


Stop that infernal racket, stop it at once!

(The trumpet gradually fades out. He turns to help Queen Jane Seymour safely up to the stage then looks back down in the vault in surprise.)


Who the devil are you?

(A headless man carrying a head under his arm climbs up to the main stage, starts to bow to Henry and Jane, thinks better of it and instead, lifts then bends his head.)

                                       CHARLES I

I am Charles, King of England, or at least I was.


                                       HENRY VIII

Was? Well, what happened?  Lose your head in battle? Those plague-ridden vermin, the Spanish?  Or was it the French this time? Or maybe those pesky Scots?


                                       CHARLES I

Alas, no.  I was parted from my head rather deliberately but not in war. By my own countrymen I fear.  At least they let me keep it.

(The head smiles)

(Before Henry can reply, Jane, who has been straightening out her gown and shaking off the dust, glances into the tomb.)

                                      JANE SEYMOUR


Henry, there's a baby down there!

(She bends down and picks it up.)

Is this Edward?

                                     HENRY VIII

No, no, no, darling.  I swear to you, Edward survived. He outlived me. (Looks around) I don't see him now. But he was certainly bigger than this the last time I did see him!

                                     JANE SEYMOUR

(A shocking thought occurs to her.)

Henry, is this one of yours?

                                     HENRY VIII

No, of course not, darling.  I swear!" (crosses himself) It must be one of his. (points to Charles I)

                                     CHARLES I

Me?  Certainly not! I'm far more careful than that...well, most of the time. (He nudges Henry with his elbow in a boys-will-be-boys gesture.  They grin at each other.)

                                     JANE SEYMOUR

(Jane has walked downstage to the marble slab that covered the vault and reads it out loud.)

In a vault beneath this marble slab are deposited the remains of Jane Seymour Queen of King Henry VIII 1537, King Henry VIII 1547, King Charles I 1648, and Infant Child of Queen Anne.

(Jane screeches) Queen Anne?  Queen Anne?  Henry, you said she was dead.  You told everybody you chopped her head off.  But you didn't, did you? And this IS one of your babes!

                                     HENRY VIII

(Sputtering) Of course she was dead!  I made certain of it.  No babe of hers would be put between you and me for eternity.  You know that, sweeting! (Smiles pleadingly)


(Before Jane can reply, the baby starts squalling.  Jane turns her attention to it, and Henry, breathing a sigh of relief, turns back to Charles I)

                                     HENRY VIII


Now, what happened? You were King of England and you let your own people behead you?  You stupid knave!  Didn't I teach you people anything at all? YOU are the one who does the beheading!  (thumps Charles I in the chest several times) Not them!  (looks around) Suffolk?  Suffolk, where the devil are you? You should be here somewhere!

(There is some stirring off stage right then Charles Brandon, the Duke of Suffolk, enters from the direction of the noise and bows to Henry.)


Here, your majesty. (looks around uncertainly) Am I late for a Garter meeting?  Or maybe a council meeting?

                                     HENRY VIII


Ah, I knew you were here somewhere.  Listen to this man. (indicates Charles I)  It's almost unbelievable how things deteriorated when you and I weren't here any longer.

                                     CHARLES I


Really, it's not all my fault. I believe it started with your daughter, Elizabeth.

                                     HENRY VIII

Elizabeth?  Did she lose her head too?  Probably Mary, wasn't it?  Always jealous of her younger sister.  At least you aren't speaking Spanish, so Mary didn't give the kingdom away. (Slaps Charles I on the back) That's a relief!

                                     CHARLES I

No, the Spanish never got us.  But this started with Elizabeth beheading her cousin Mary. That gave common people the idea that kings and queens could be executed as easily as they could be.

                                     HENRY VIII

Cousin, what cousin?

                                     CHARLES I

They called her the Queen of Scots.

                                     HENRY VIII

(Chuckling) Oh, one of Margaret's brood.  Richly deserved no doubt. Margaret always touted it too far above her station. Hardly surprising.

                                     CHARLES I

Mary, Queen of Scots was my grandmother!

                                    HENRY VIII

Oh,sorry. Bad luck.  But it happens in some of the best families.  And she was one of Margaret's brood?  How so?

(While Charles I is rattling on in the background about his pedigree, Henry pulls the Duke of Suffolk aside for a private talk.)

How did Margaret's spawn manage to snake their way on to the throne?  I thought I scotched that before it could get started in my device for the succession. I can't believe my own children couldn't produce any heirs.  Bad maternal lines, I suppose.  Except for Jane.  (He smiles fondly at Jane Seymour who is crooning softly to the infant) Anyway, if not my line, it should be yours.  I ordered that specifically.  I want you to look into this for me.  And heads are going to roll!


As your majesty wishes.

(Meanwhile, Charles I has finished his pedigree.  Henry smiles at him.)

                                   HENRY VIII

Yes, yes, I see now.

(The trumpets, which have been blowing fitfully since the beginning of the play, suddenly increase in volume. Henry swivels around toward the back of the chapel-- toward the altar and shakes both of his raised hands.)


Stop that, I say!  I command you to stop that or you'll have me to answer to, and I assure you, you do not want that!  You don't know who you are dealing with!

(The trumpets fall silent.  Henry turns around and grins.)


Now, lets go see what this is all about! Those musicians are the worst I've ever heard.  No discipline or harmony there at all. Don't they ever practice? I don't know what is happening, but there are going to be some changes made!  I can promise you that!

(Exeunt all through the altar at the rear of the stage, Henry with his arm around C1 talking earnestly, followed by the Duke of Suffolk who offers Jane Seymour his arm.  She takes it and carries the infant in her other arm.

Silence reigns for about 20 seconds, during which a couple of stray wraiths dash by hurriedly so as not to be left behind. Then as the light fades to black again, the trumpets break into a loud but expertly rendered and harmonious version of "Pastime With Good Company." )

                                     THE END
Copyright 2015 Katherine Marcella


Thank you for sharing this with us all Katherine, I know us Roses enjoyed it and we hope everyone else did too.


Please note that this play is the property of the author and is copyrighted to Katherine Marcella. It is not to be reproduced or copied in anyway without prior written permission from the author.


A Call for Intellectual Honesty

Today we host a guest article from Katherine Marcella who after reading a recent article from The Telegraph voiced her concerns over it's accuracy on our Facebook page. After reading her comments we thought why not give her a platform where she could fully explain these concerns and have her voice heard. To this end we invited her to write a guest post for our blog and this is what you will find below. Some may find it controversial but we shall never decide not to post anything that others have said as everyone is entitled to their opinions and as long as there is evidence to go with the arguements anyone puts forward we will be happy to publish them. These opinions are solely hers and we have in no way influenced her or guided her as to what to write. We hope you enjoy reading Katherine's article and appreciate her passion for Charles Brandon, the real Charles Brandon.


Charles Brandon


It's all too common to come across ridiculous articles in newspapers these days, even ones about the Tudors. But the snarky little article Jousting secret explains how Charles Brandon rose in the court of Henry VIII. by 'Science Editor' Sarah Knapton that appeared in The Telegraph last week is in a class all of its own.

The large photo of a semi-bare chested Henry Cavill pasted front and center of the article signals just what demographic this is aimed at -- and its not serious scholars of the 16th century. So I tried not to pay it too much attention.


Henry Cavill
Henry Cavill as Charles Brandon in BBC's The Tudors Photo: SONY


The article itself, not surprisingly, is full of lies and half-truths, but there is something more at work here that troubles me deeply. I will get to that, but first I want to just briefly dispel a few of the idiocies about Charles Brandon.

The article purports to be original research by one Emma Levitt, a Ph.D. student from the University of Huddersfield. She is dismissive of Charles, saying "The only thing he is any use at is jousting. This is something that has been completely overlooked."

Both sentences are lies. Let's take the last one first. Overlooked? No. This has been well-covered before, most notably in Steven Gunn's 1988 book, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, c. 1484-1545, based on his earlier Ph.D. dissertation work, which is where Levitt probably got her information and certainly where she got the idea. As this is just a short newspaper article, I will give her the benefit of the doubt on how much work, if any, she has done on her own. Whatever that may be, the topic has hardly been "completely overlooked."

Levitt goes on to claim that Brandon let Henry VIII win at jousting -- probably true -- but the headline of the article claims that is the only reason Charles rose at court -- blatantly untrue.


Duke of Suffolk

His Grace The Duke of Suffolk, detail of a double wedding portrait attributed to Jan Gossaert, c. 1516.


That takes us back to the first lie, that Charles was only good at jousting and had little or no involvement in warfare, theology or politics. That is the most blatant lie I have ever read about Charles Brandon. He was very much involved in Henry's army and was universally acknowledged as a very competent military leader. I'm not going to wade any further into that, as it could be the topic of a long book in and of itself.  He did wisely stay out of religion and politics. Those were excellent ways to lose your head as More, Cromwell, Cranmer, and more Howards than you can shake an executioner's ax at could testify.

But as I looked at this article more closely, I realized that it wasn't about Charles Brandon at all.  The main thrust of it seemed to be to ridicule Henry VIII by implying he was so vain and shallow that he rewarded sycophants, and that when injury prevented him from engaging in his favorite sport, he had to invade another country to make himself feel like a real man again.


Henry VIII

Henry VIII by Hans Liefrinck


Then a google alert I'd set for Charles Brandon popped into my inbox.  It contained a link to an article in The Huddersfield Daily Examiner. It appears The Telegraph rewrote this without attribution. Only it happens that they left out an important piece of information: the work behind what was to go into this article was sponsored by a £1,000 grant from the Richard III Society.

That explained a lot of things about this article that I had wondered about. Though the Richard III Society says that its mission is "to secure a reassessment ... of the role of this monarch in English history," judging from everything I've seen come out of that group and conversations I've had with people belonging to the group, that is double-talk that really means "We want to substitute our propaganda for your propaganda."   Part of the way they try to rehabilitate Richard is to trash the Tudors. The lies that have come out in both The Telegraph and the Examiner articles are so egregious, they cannot be attributed to mere disagreements on interpretation of facts, but have to be part of the continuing Ricardian propaganda campaign.

We have all seen articles in newspapers along the lines of  "Study shows eating more pickled kumquats will increase your lifespan and improve your sex life."  Buried in the middle of the article or at the bottom in microscopic print will be the statement, "Study sponsored by the Pickled Kumquat Producers Association."  

I hereby call for all articles that involve a sponsored study or research grant have that sponsorship prominently mentioned in the article, so the reader will be able to use that information in evaluating the truthfulness and purpose of the article.  

I am deeply saddened that academic research has sunk to this level.




Thank you Katherine for this article and it certainly gives food for thought, we look forward to hosting future articles from you!




Please note that all images in this article were inserted by The Tudor Roses

The Real Tudors: Kings and Queens Rediscovered at The National Portrait Galley

Hello everyone, sorry we have been remiss in posting our own articles for a while but we thought we would remedy that by doing one on an exhibition we recently went to. We know how some of you would love to make it to some of the exhibitions that are put on but cannot always make it, so we give you a summary of the new exhibition that is happening at The National Portrait Gallery until March 2015. It is of course a Tudor exhibition - Real Tudor Kings and Queens. In this blog I will give you a run through of some bits that are there but will endeavour not to spoil it for those planning to see it. The National Portrait Gallery houses not only their own Tudor portraits but also those owned by other organisations and individuals, plus items which are on loan.


We went to see the exhibition at the beginning of October and we were not disappointed as it was a good mix of paintings and actual Tudor objects touched and held by the monarchs of the period. The NPG (National Portrait Gallery) has taken some of the portraits and x-rayed them to see what they may be hiding beneath what we can see with the naked eye. You can see the results by the side of each of the paintings that they have worked on and it is really interesting looking at what they have discovered.


In one portrait of Henry VII (c.1505) you can see that the artist painting him was going to give him wider cuffs to his robe but changed his mind for whatever reason and gave him a smaller one. It also shows strong underlying drawing to the face whereas the fingers are more roughly sketched; maybe he did not like sitting for the painting. Henry VII’s funeral bust is on display, as is one of his book of hours, given to him by his daughter, Margaret, before she left England to marry the Scottish king James IV. I must say there was something stirring about staring into the eyes of his bust.



Henry VII Book of Hours


In a portrait of a young Henry VIII (c.1520) the infrared scan showed that the original drawing of Henry’s features were closer to images of his brother Arthur and his father Henry VII, then what we see in the final portrait. This is very interesting as did Henry have it changed so people would not compare him and his reign to that of his fathers? It also showed that the artist may have used a standard hand pattern to mark out the hands; I wonder if this was down to Henry wanting to be out and hunting instead of sitting still to be painted. Henry’s rosary is included in the exhibition which is something I have never seen and which I was shocked at how big it was - it is beautifully made though and the carving on it was so intricate with the coat of arms of England being one of the many symbols on it.



Henry VIII (c1520) NPG


There are a few paintings of Edward VI and my favourite was there to be seen, but I find one in particular very interesting. It appears that it was started before or around the time Edward became King and was then changed after the event to reflect his change in status as King of England. When the painting was started it had a window on the left hand side which was then covered by a column and the royal coat of arms put upon this column. Also his left foot was moved to a more appropriate position for a nine year old and not the wide, unnatural stance and pose of his father in the Holbein portrait that we have all come to know so well – especially Superman fans! They have Edward VI’s chronicle there too, another item I have heard so much about but never seen. It details the moment that Edward heard of his father’s death. I wonder what the young King must have been feeling at this time with both his parents now dead and he being thrown into the position of head of the county and of the church at such a young age.



Edward VI NPG



I was really pleased to see that Queen Jane Grey was included but alas no x-ray or infrared had been done on her painting. I do not know why as it would have been interesting to see if it had anything to hide like many of the others in the exhibition. That is all they had regarding her but I was glad to see her at least acknowledged in her position as one of the Tudor monarchs. People do sometimes seem to forget that she was actually ‘Queen Jane’ even if it was for just thirteen days (yes thirteen, not nine) and that she counts as a Tudor Queen – remember you do not have to go through the coronation to be ‘crowned’.


There are several portraits of Mary I along with a couple of her husband Phillip of Spain. On the infrared reflectography it shows extensive under drawing that delineates the composition and how thin the paint layer is. Why this is I am not certain, but it does allow the under drawn lines to be partly visible so maybe it was done deliberately in order to better define the features. It was lovely to see Mary’s book of prayers (c.1554) with an image of herself within it.


Now for the last Tudor monarch! There is almost a whole room dedicated to Elizabeth I. It includes portraits from the early years of her reign to those painted late in her life. With these portraits there has been both x-ray and inferred scans carried out. In the phoenix portrait the infrared showed a change in position of Elizabeth’s eye and clearly shows where it has been moved. In another of Elizabeth’s paintings it has been shown that the artist kept closely to the drawn design but did make lot of ‘sketchy’ marks to capture her left hand. The feather fan was also meant to be slightly higher than seen in the final position that we now see. Amazingly we now know that most of the paint in the portrait is original and is in good condition.





Elizabeth I NPG



Now, in my opinion, I think this is the best part of the exhibition. For me this is something that I have longed to see with my own eyes for many, many years and now I finally have! What did I see I hear you say? Well I shall tell you, it was Elizabeth I’s locket ring and it was just simply beautiful. To see those two small faces amazingly created in such a tiny space with so much intricate detail is totally breathtaking. Now one we know is Elizabeth herself but the other has something of a controversy surrounding it. Some say it is her mum, Anne Boleyn, and some say it is her last stepmother, Katherine Parr. It has even been suggested that it is a young Elizabeth. If you were to ask us we like to think it is Anne due to the fact that it was something that Elizabeth always wore and an image she obviously felt she had to keep hidden from others. Whoever it is the ring is just stunning and I never released that it had a phoenix on the back of the ring – maybe to tie in with the phoenix portrait?



Elizabeth I Locket Ring


They still had the painting of Anne Boleyn, Kathryn Parr, Thomas Cromwell and Richard III there but they are in the room after those used for the exhibition and unlike those rooms you are now allowed take photos, yay! What a difference a room or two makes.



Anne Boleyn NPG





This is just a small part of what is there and it is a must see for not just us Tudor nuts but anyone interested in art, portraits or historical objects in general. But good news after its London run The Real Tudors: Kings and Queens Rediscovered will form the core of a larger exhibition organised in partnership with Réunion des Musées Nationaux – Grand Palais at the Musée du Luxembourg, Paris, in 2015. So if you don't get to see it in London you still have the chance in Paris. If you cannot actually get to see it for yourself you do not have to miss out. The NPG has released a book to go with the exhibition that you can get from their website and also on Amazon. There is also a pretty good iPhone and iPad app available which is a nice touch and is worth checking out.

A Taster Extract of Amy Licence's Latest Book - The Six Wives and Many Mistresses of Henry VIII

The Six Wives & Many Mistresses of Henry VIII - by Amy Licence



As part of a virtual blog tour to mark the release of her new book - The Six Wives and Many Mistresses of Henry VIII - we welcome the very lovely Amy Licence onto the pages of our Rose Blog. Amy has given us a glimpse of the section covering Queen Catherine Parr and we are sure that you will all agree that it is a brilliant read and will have you wanting the book to learn more about Parr and all the other wives and mistress of Henry VIII.






An inventory of 1547 gives a glimpse into Catherine’s opulent world at Hampton Court. It lists a withdrawing chamber for the Queen, the King’s bedchamber which led to the Queen’s gallery and on to her bedchamber, from which, three more privy chambers were accessible for her use.  In addition to her ladies, her household included George Day, Bishop of Chichester as almoner and humanist scholar Sir Anthony Cope as her Vice-Chamberlain, along with her master of the horse, secretary, chaplains, physicians, apothecary, clerk of the closet and her learned council, which contained lawyers and clerks. There were fifty-one men in her immediate service, including ushers, grooms, pagers, sewers, waiters and yeomen, as well as her own messengers, goldsmith, tailor and those who cared her for animals. In addition to this, she had another set of servants for the kitchen and service of meals, which mirrored that of the King, as well as her laundresses and the menial staff who lit fires and lamps, swept the floors and carried wood or water. She also had her own jester, a woman named “Jane the Fool.”


Catherine has often been cast as the nurse of Henry’s twilight years, through his terrible afflictions with his ulcerated legs. This is far from the truth. Henry possessed sufficient nurses to tend to his health, which would have been unseemly for a woman of Catherine’s status. Instead, he wanted her to be an ornament to his court, to divert him with pleasure, to which end he happily indulged her passions for dancing and music, clothes and flowers. Daily payments were made for flowers and perfumes for her rooms and she kept a group of Italian viol players. She was also reputed to bathe in milk to soften her skin and some medical manuals of the time do recommend this, along with the use of flowers and herbs, perhaps in the new bathrooms Henry had installed at the Tower and Whitehall in the 1540s. Henry showered her with gifts: a pet spaniel named Rig, who wore a crimson velvet and gold collar, a parrot that was fed on hemp seeds and a swathe of jewels: diamond brooches, tablets with bejewelled initials and ostrich feathers and portraits of himself painted on gold.


The new queen inherited her predecessor’s wardrobe, which was customised to fit her by the royal tailor John Scut, who had served all Henry’s wives. The process must have required some additional material, perhaps panels and fringes to lengthen skirts, as Catherine Howard was reputed to be very short while Catherine Parr’s coffin would measure five foot ten inches in length. She also commissioned new clothes, sending for silks to Antwerp, and was noted by the Duke of Najera for her elegance and opulence, dressed in a robe of cloth of gold over a brocade kirtle, sleeves lined with crimson satin, a two-yard long train, a gold girdle adorned with pendants, diamonds in her headdress and more on the jewel she wore. He also noted the two crosses around her neck. Catherine may have been pious, intelligent and devout but she was also something of a sensualist.


Author Amy Licence



Thank you Amy and we wish you all the success with your latest book!


The Tudor Roses

ISBN: 9781445633671

Format: Hardback

RRP: £20 GBP or $34.95 USD.


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