Anna of Cleves’ Early Life and Court Culture

by Heather R. Darsie, JD Anna von der Mark was born on 28 June 1515 as the second daughter and second child of Johann III of Cleves-Mark and Maria of Jülich-Berg. She followed another daughter, Sybylla, who was born 17 July 1512. Anna was named after her paternal aunt Anna, the only legitimate daughter of Duke Johann II of Cleves-Mark. Anna’s place of birth is … Continue reading Anna of Cleves’ Early Life and Court Culture

Anne Boleyn’s Coronation

by Heather R. Darsie, J.D. Anne Boleyn’s coronation, like those of her predecessors, took into account aspects of her personality and future ideological role. As the first Renaissance English queen, Anne was not only seen as an intercessor between the public and the king, but also as part of Henry VIII’s body politic. This idea was established in the 15th century, most firmly so with … Continue reading Anne Boleyn’s Coronation

Tudor Currency and the Great Debasement: An Overview

by Heather R. Darsie, JD At the beginning of Henry VIII’s reign in 1509, there were three different coins used as currency. The coins and their value were roughly as follows: silver penny, the lowest; a silver groat (worth four pennies/pence); gold angel (worth 120 pence/10 shillings); and gold half-angel (worth 60 pence/10 shillings). The value of these coins remained the same from 1509 to … Continue reading Tudor Currency and the Great Debasement: An Overview

Why Did the Mary Rose Sink?

In 1509, Henry VIII came to the throne when he was not quite eighteen years old. One of Henry’s earlier acts was to order the building of the war-carracks Mary Rose and Henry Grace a Dieu, or Great Henry, in 1510. Mary Rose served Henry VIII for thirty-five years, fighting in numerous battles. On 19 July 1545, Mary Rose sank into the Solent during a battle with the French. There is no one answer as to why she sank, but there are several theories. Continue reading Why Did the Mary Rose Sink?

Iconoclasm in 16th Century Western Europe

by Heather R. Darsie, J.D. The sixteenth century saw massive changes in the spiritual and visual culture of Western Europe. In the first half the sixteenth century, government-sanctioned iconoclasms during the German and English Reformations changed not only how people worshipped, but also what they saw. In the second half of the sixteenth century, religious revolts in France and the Netherlands violently changed the religious … Continue reading Iconoclasm in 16th Century Western Europe

1520: A Tudor Year in Review

by Heather R. Darsie, J.D. 19 January — King Christian II of Denmark, Christina and Dorothea of Denmark’s father, defeats the Swedes during the Danish invasion of Sweden. Christina of Denmark c. 1533 by Anon. 30 January — Birth of Sir William More, whom Henry VIII elected to Parliament in 1539. More served Elizabeth I in every single one of her parliaments, as well. More … Continue reading 1520: A Tudor Year in Review

Martin Luther, Henry VIII, and the Papacy

by Heather R. Darsie, J.D. Most people familiar with Tudor history are aware that Henry VIII of England published in 1521 a tract defending the seven sacraments, which was a response to Martin Luther’s ideas being spread on the Continent. As a result, Pope Leo X awarded Henry the title of, “Fidei Defensor,” Defender of the Faith. The controversy between the two men did not … Continue reading Martin Luther, Henry VIII, and the Papacy

New Decade, New Bride: Henry VIII and Anna of Cleves

by Heather R. Darsie, J. D. Anna von der Mark, Hereditary Duchess of Jülich-Cleves-Berg, had been on English terra firma for about a week when she married her husband, Henry VIII of England. Henry was exactly twice Anna’s age, her being twenty-four and he, forty-eight. Perhaps the couple thought about celebrating their joint 28 June birthday together. According to the German account, Anna and Henry … Continue reading New Decade, New Bride: Henry VIII and Anna of Cleves

Henry VIII Orders Medicine for Anna of Cleves

by Heather R. Darsie In the British Library, there is a collection of pharmaceutical recipes created by Henry VIII and four of his physicians. Henry and his doctors seemed to prefer herbal remedies for a lot of the recipes. It is believed that the manuscript was compiled between late 1540 and 1545. Important to dating the manuscript, there is a recipe for a plaster to … Continue reading Henry VIII Orders Medicine for Anna of Cleves

Margaret Douglas, Tudor Poetess & Henry VIII’s Niece

by Heather R. Darsie On 7 or 8 October 1515, Margaret Douglas was born to Margaret Tudor and Margaret Tudor’s second husband, Archibald Douglas. Margaret Douglas’ mother fled into England over trouble between Margaret’s half-brother James V of Scotland and Margaret’s father Archibald. Margaret was born at Harbottle Castle in Northumbria. She joined Cardinal Wolsey’s household around 1528, when she was roughly twelve years old. … Continue reading Margaret Douglas, Tudor Poetess & Henry VIII’s Niece