Elizabeth I and the Plimpton Sieve Portrait

by Heather R. Darsie In 1579, when Elizabeth was around forty-five-or forty-six years old, a portrait of her holding a sieve was painted by George Gower. It is believed that Gower was born around 1540, but his early life is obscure. Along with the 1579 portrait of Elizabeth, Gower created a self-portrait. In his self-portrait, Gower emphasizes the importance of his art by having the … Continue reading Elizabeth I and the Plimpton Sieve Portrait

Henry VIII Marries Catherine Parr

Anna of Cleves’ marriage to Henry VIII ended in July 1540, scarcely six months after their official wedding took place. Swiftly after that, Henry married the very young Katheryn Howard. During Katheryn’s fall from grace, there was strong speculation that Henry would take back Anna. Dignitaries from Cleves actively tried to convince Henry to remarry Anna in early 1542. Henry refused, and Parliament would not … Continue reading Henry VIII Marries Catherine Parr

Happy Birthday, Anna of Cleves and Henry VIII!

by Heather R. Darsie On this day of 28 June in 1515, a little baby girl was born in the Holy Roman Empire whose life would be dramatically shaped by international politics. The baby was christened, “Anna,” after her paternal aunt. “Anna” was a family name on her maternal side, as well. Anna of Cleves’ great-grandmother through Maria of Juelich-Berg was Anna of Saxony. Anna … Continue reading Happy Birthday, Anna of Cleves and Henry VIII!

Henry VIII: How Many Children did He Have?

by Heather R. Darsie Henry VIII is generally viewed as a Lothario during his marriages to Katharine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn. During his lifetime, he fathered at least six children with Katharine of Aragon, two or possibly three with Anne Boleyn, one with Jane Seymour, and possibly an additional six illegitimate children. All of Henry’s children were born in or before 1537. Henry’s first … Continue reading Henry VIII: How Many Children did He Have?

Anne Boleyn Speaks to Her Court, 1533

by Heather R. Darsie After Anne Boleyn had her coronation, she was assigned her own court and officers. Per her chaplain William Latymer, she gave two speeches to her court. The first was to her temporal officers, and the second to her spiritual advisers. The accuracy of these speeches is in no way verifiable, as William Latymer’s work was written during the reign of Elizabeth … Continue reading Anne Boleyn Speaks to Her Court, 1533

Sir Thomas More: Ethics, Duty, and the Law

by Heather R. Darsie On 6 July 1535, Sir Thomas More lost his head for sticking with his legal principles. He was 57 years old. Often lauded as an important religious figure during the English Reformation, More was canonized 19 May 1935. Ironically to some, that was the 399th anniversary of the death of another famous victim from the English Reformation: Anne Boleyn. Turning back … Continue reading Sir Thomas More: Ethics, Duty, and the Law

Two Battles, Two Queens, Two Speeches: Mary I and Elizabeth I

by Heather R. Darsie Mary and Elizabeth, the two Tudor queens regnant, each faced serious military campaigns against them. In Mary’s case, Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger started an uprising which threatened Mary’s reign. There is debate amongst historians as to the cause of the uprising, however at least Mary believed it was due in part to her impending marriage with Philip II of Spain. … Continue reading Two Battles, Two Queens, Two Speeches: Mary I and Elizabeth I

Sir Francis Drake’s 1570s Adventure in Panama

by Heather R. Darsie During the Elizabethan period, English privateers careened up and down the Atlantic coast of the Americas in an attempt to capture Spanish ships. One of the more famous privateers was Sir Francis Drake. Regarded as an all-out pirate by the Spanish,  Drake harassed Spanish ships wherever he found them. This included attacks in what is now Central America. In 1572, Drake … Continue reading Sir Francis Drake’s 1570s Adventure in Panama

Mary, Queen of Scots: What a Difference Two Years Can Make

by Heather R. Darsie Mary, Queen of Scots returned to Scotland on 19 August 1561. She was not quite nineteen years old, and already a widow. Speculation swirled around whom the young Scottish queen with a claim to the English throne would wed. Mary, Queen of Scots in White Mourning after the Queens of France, after Francois Clouet, c. 1560. Via Wikimedia Commons. Mary’s next … Continue reading Mary, Queen of Scots: What a Difference Two Years Can Make

Anna of Cleves Breaks the News to Wilhelm

by Heather R. Darsie   On 21 July 1540, Anna of Cleves was no longer allowed to hide the truth from her brother Wilhelm about her marriage’s end. Henry had grown impatient waiting for Anna to write her family. Anna waited as long as she could, hoping that Henry would either directly send a letter to Duke Wilhelm in Cleves, or that one of Henry’s … Continue reading Anna of Cleves Breaks the News to Wilhelm