Isabella and Joanna of Castile: The Fight for the Throne

Isabella, mother of Katharine of Aragon and one of the Catholic Monarchs, did not easily come to the throne of Castile. Isabella’s older half-brother ruled as Henry IV, known as the Impotent, of Castile. Whether Henry IV was truly impotent became an issue for his daughter and Isabella’s niece, Joanna of Castile. Joanna was Henry IV’s heir until a rebellious faction at court wanted to … Continue reading Isabella and Joanna of Castile: The Fight for the Throne

Arthur Plantagenet, Viscount Lisle

by Heather R. Darsie Arthur Plantagenet was born in the late 1460’s in English-held Calais. He was the illegitimate son of King Edward IV o England. His mother’s identity is unknown. Up until Edward IV’s death in 1483, Arthur was raised at court. It is not known how his teenage years were spent after Edward’s death and during the reigns of Richard III or Henry … Continue reading Arthur Plantagenet, Viscount Lisle

Massacre at Vassy? A Skirmish with Mary, Queen of Scots’ Uncle and the Huguenots

Tensions over religion rose throughout the 16th century in France, culminating in the French Wars of Religion (1562-1598). The Vassy Massacre on 1 March 1562 is frequently seen as the first major incident which sparked the Wars of Religion. The Catholic Francis, Duke of Guise, entered the small town of Vassy and was present for the massacre. A group of Huguenots were attacked and slaughtered, … Continue reading Massacre at Vassy? A Skirmish with Mary, Queen of Scots’ Uncle and the Huguenots

The First Cracks in Anna of Cleves’ Marriage to Henry VIII

By late February 1540, it was already obvious to Henry VIII that the political situation between Anna of Cleves brother, the young Duke Wilhelm, and Holy Roman Emperor Charles V was serious. Most members of Anna’s German party who came with her across Imperial and French territory to England had left for the United Duchies of Juelich-Cleves-Berg. Henry faced the very real concern that his … Continue reading The First Cracks in Anna of Cleves’ Marriage to Henry VIII

Death of Johann III of Cleves and Ascension of Wilhelm V: Anna of Cleves’ Future Changes

On 6 February 1539, Anna of Cleves’ father Johann III von der Mark, Duke of the United Duchies of Jülich-Cleves-Berg died from an illness. He tuned 48 years old the November before. It was erroneously reported at Henry VIII’s court that it was Wilhelm, who was still only 22 years old, had died. Johann’s death allowed Wilhelm to pursue his clever-but-reckless political agenda, which included … Continue reading Death of Johann III of Cleves and Ascension of Wilhelm V: Anna of Cleves’ Future Changes

Poor Relief in Reformation England, Germany, and the Netherlands

by Heather R. Darsie** Attempts at providing poor relief increased in the late 16th century. Some of the more overt changes happened in Elizabethan England, and in the Netherlands and Germany. This is in part due to religious changes.  In this essay, trends in charitable giving and social changes in poor relief due to the Reformation in England, Germany, and the Netherlands are explored. Poverty … Continue reading Poor Relief in Reformation England, Germany, and the Netherlands

Elizabeth I’s Coronation: A Perspective

by Heather R. Darsie On Sunday 15 January 1559, Elizabeth Tudor became Elizabeth I, Queen of England, Ireland, and France, Defender of the Faith. Elizabeth had just turned 25 years old that past September. She picked that date under the advice of the court astrologer, John Dee, By the time of her coronation, Elizabeth had outlived her mother, father, legitimate and confirmed illegitimate half-siblings, her … Continue reading Elizabeth I’s Coronation: A Perspective

When Henry Met Anna: The German Account

by Heather R. Darsie On 1 January 1540, Henry VIII surprised his new bride, Anna of Cleves. For centuries, it was believed that Henry VIII found Anna of Cleves ugly at worst and was not attracted to her at best. The main sources for this rumor were depositions specifically created for the annulment of their marriage. The depositions were taken in June and July 1540, … Continue reading When Henry Met Anna: The German Account

1519: A Tudor Year in Review

by Heather R. Darsie The year 1519 was a year of massive changes, important births, and important deaths in Western Europe. Some of these impacted Henry VIII’s reign, whilst others did not come meaningfully into play until the reigns of Henry’s daughters. Henry VIII turned 28 years old in 1519, and was still young-minded. Births and Deaths Maximilian I von Habsburg, Holy Roman Emperor, died … Continue reading 1519: A Tudor Year in Review

Of Dwarves, Pet Elk, and Gold Noses: Tycho Brahe, Danish Astronomer

by Heather R. Darsie Tyge Ottensen Brahe, or Tycho Brahe as he is usually known to English speakers, was born on 14 December 1546 on the Danish peninsula of Skania. Tycho was born into a noble family and benefited from an excellent education. He was very passionate about mathematics, which caused him grave disfigurement. How, exactly, does one become disfigured because of mathematics? Why, by … Continue reading Of Dwarves, Pet Elk, and Gold Noses: Tycho Brahe, Danish Astronomer