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

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

The Meeting of Katharine of Aragon and Arthur Tudor

by Heather R. Darsie On 4 November 1501, a fifteen-year-old girl made her entrance into England to marry the fifteen-year-old prince of that kingdom. Their parents, especially the boy’s, hoped that the dynastic marriage would secure the future of their family on the throne. Much excitement surrounded the safe arrival of Katharine of Aragon from Spain to England. She and her husband-to-be, Arthur Tudor, were … Continue reading The Meeting of Katharine of Aragon and Arthur Tudor

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

The Gregorian Calendar is Adopted in 1582

by Heather R. Darsie On 15 October 1582, the Gregorian calendar was decreed via papal bull. Pope Gregory XIII, under the bull Inter gravissimas or Of Great Importance, corrected calculation of a year from 365.25 days in the Julian calendar to 365.2422 days in Gregorian. Also, the Julian calendar had 100 leap days over 400 years, whereas the proposed Gregorian would have only 97. Most centennial … Continue reading The Gregorian Calendar is Adopted in 1582

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!