Monday, November 26, 2012

Read of the Week

Every once in a while I take a break from the believable historical  fiction writers and piles of biographies that cover my desk and read something outrageous and fun. This week that was The Secret History of Elizabeth Tudor, Vampire Slayer. The book is written as if it is a secret diary of Elizabeth coming into her own as a slayer following her coronation. It contains many of the actual players in Elizabeth's court including William Cecil and Robert Dudley; but puts a spin on the characters and their roles in her life. The plot of the book is very interesting, Elizabeth must choose between fighting a powerful vampire King and joining him as an undead queen who will rule England together. It is a fun, fast read but obviously take it for what it is a sci-fi book set in Tudor England that lacks grounded facts and often strays from period language structure and social norms.

"...and I have a little neck..."

I happened upon this letter while reading a book by Eric Ives. It is a letter from Sir W. Kingston, who was the Constable of the Tower at the time of Anne's death to Thomas Cromwell. It is dated May 19th, 1536 and it references Anne's state of mind as her execution approached.

This morning she sent for me, that I might be with her at such time as she received the good Lord, to the intent I should hear her speak as touching her innocency alway [sic] to be clear. And in the writing of this she sent for me, and at my coming she said, "Mr. Kingston, I hear I shall not die afore noon, and I am very sorry therefore, for I thought to be dead by this time and past my pain ". I told her it should be no pain, it was so little. And then she said, "I heard say the executioner was very good, and I have a little neck", and then put her hands about it, laughing heartily. I have seen many men and also women executed, and that they have been in great sorrow, and to my knowledge this lady has much joy in death. Sir, her almoner is continually with her, and had been since two o'clock after midnight.

What do you think followers? Did Anne have "...much joy in death..." or were her words and actions a manifestation of fear?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

This Day in Tudor History

On this day in Tudor history in 1559 Lady Frances Grey, Duchess of Suffolk died. Lady Grey was the mother of nine day queen Jane Grey and the daughter of Mary Tudor and Charles Brandon. The duchess is not a character I am extrememly familiar with but I greatly enjoyed reading this post on her at the Anne Boleyn Files. It is interesting and references her life as a mother and courtier! Check it out today!

Lady Frances Grey (Nee Brandon)
Circa 1552
Artist Unknown

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The {Tuth} About Thomas Boleyn

         Hollywood and most historical novelists would have us believe that Thomas Boleyn, father of Anne, was a ruthless, unloving man who cared only for the advancement of his career. He is portrayed in "The Other Boleyn Girl" and "The Tudors" as a man who felt no love towards his children, nor remorse when his scheming led to their downfall. Is this image accurate? Was he a man with no concern for his childrens' wellbeing? In this article we will explore the nature of Thomas Boleyn's rise to power and his interactions with his children to uncover who the "real" Boleyn patriarch was.
     Thomas Boleyn was born in 1477, probably at Hever Castle. He rose quickly in court politics serving in positions such as Controller of the Household, the King's Treasurer and Knight Bearer at Prince Henry's funeral. Thomas married well to Elizabeth Howard, sponsored the Christening of the Duke of Orleans and was knighted before the age of thirty. He was liked by the French royal family, whom he served as the English ambassador to and trusted by the both Wolsey and Henry VIII with sensitive diplomatic missions.
      He was desribed as "...timid..." and "...not of a war-like disposition" by his brother in law, the Duke of Norfolk. There is also evidence that Henry had to intervene with the Boleyns to provide a more comfortable life-style for Mary Boleyn following the death of her husband William Carey. It is safe to assume that this lack of financial support was a direct effect of Mary's scandalous affair with the King, which contrary to popular belief, made the Boleyns disliked by many at court. Not only did Thomas and his household distance themselves from Mary following her extra-marital relationship with Henry, but according to historian William Dean, Thomas also tried to dissuade Henry from his intended marriage to Anne.
      Popular culture paints a picture of Thomas Boleyn as cunning and cruel; an unrelenting self-promoter who cared nothing for his children or their futures. Thomas Boleyn was already a trusted and close advisor prior to the 1522 sexual relationship of Mary and King Henry, suggesting that his favor was due more to his own actions and qualifications than the preferment of his daughters. It is obvious that while there might have been some perks to having his daughters be high in the King's favor, it was also an expensive and precarious position to be in, one a timid man would not have enjoyed.
    Like many Tudor characters, we may never know the absolute truth about Thomas Boleyn and how was acted as a father, but that does not mean that we should let the novelists and screen-writers formulate our ideas about him. I encourage an open-mind and research as opposed to unfounded condemnation.

Portrait thought to be Thomas Boleyn. Circa 1525.
Lucas Hornebolte

Zoho Chat Capability

Hey Followers!
I am excited to announce the addition of Zoho chat to Confessions. Here you can interact with other followers and myself to ask all your burning Anne Boleyn questions! Give it a try today!


A Writer's Block

Hello followers!
You have undoubtedly noticed my absense from Confessions for over three weeks. I have been suffering from an intense writer's block, due in part to being ill and not having the energy to access information to write about. I apologize for this delay; today have served as an inspiration and I have several posts already planned! Enjoy!