Part Seventeen: Lambert Simnel & the Battle of Stoke Field

Lambert Simnel

Aaand, we’re back at it. To note, this will be my last historical post before the New Year due to travel, but we’ll reconvene the second week of January. (In the meantime, of course, if you follow the modern stuff , there will the traditional end-of-year wrap-ups next week.) Anyway. The Princes in the Tower. Henry VII. Rebellions. Before we start, if you missed the last post on evidence for the Princes’ potential survival, you can catch up here. I recommend making sure that you’ve read it since I’ve written the below on the assumption you’re clear on those events.

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Part Sixteen: Francis Lovell, Colchester & Gipping Hall

princes-in-the-tower

Ok! Part Sixteen! If you missed the most recent post in our Richard III series, then you can catch up here. Today we’re going to discuss evidence that the “Princes in the Tower” may well have survived. I feel fairly confident that the evidence for why they didn’t has been well-covered, and frankly the most glaring piece of it is that they disappeared during Richard III’s reign, so…let’s just go ahead and wade into the murkier territory.

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Part Fifteen: Richard III & the Elizabeths

Richard of York

Better late than never? Let’s hope so. In the late summer and early autumn, there were 14 blog posts dedicated to Richard III, and then…time got away from me. Apologies. But, we’re back at it, and today we’re going to pick up with the fifteenth, covering what Elizabeth Woodville and Elizabeth of York can tell us about Richard III’s reign and the fate of the “Princes in the Tower” – Edward V and Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York.

As a catch up, the first 11 posts in the series covered Richard’s life from birth until 1483, and then there were two timeline posts that laid out the events of 1483-1485 without commentary. We’re now zooming in on specific people and events, with today’s post starting to really dig into the question of the “Princes.” So, if you want to catch up, here’s a link to the first post in the series, and if you’re good to go, then here’s a link to the timeline of 1484-1485, to which I’ll be referring throughout.

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The Rise of “Bloody Mary”

Mary I

It’s easy to feel sympathy for Katherine of Aragon and her daughter, Mary I, when you know how they fared during Henry VIII’s reign – and I do. Katherine, the loyal and loving wife, was discarded after 24 years of marriage and left to die alone, separated from her only child. And Mary, the helpless daughter, saw a half-sister supplant her at age 17, had her mother die at age 20 and was then forced to watch five stepmothers pass through thanks to divorce and execution.

The tricky part about the casting Katherine and Mary as “good” where, say, Anne Boleyn was “bad” is that it dehumanizes women who were in fact very human and people utterly reflective of their times. Anne was a champion for the English Reformation, learned and incredibly powerful – yet by her own admission she showed cruelty to her husband’s adolescent daughter. Katherine was the abandoned first wife, but one whose religious extremism allowed her to think the expulsion of Muslim and Jewish populations was for the greater good. And finally Mary, who was absolutely victimized – in a truly horrifying way – by her father, went on to oversee the persecution and death of hundreds of Protestants during her reign.

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The English Reformation: 1534 – 1536

Cromwell

We wrapped up “the King’s Great Matter” several days ago now, but I do think it’s worth one more post that closes out the three years that followed. These are, of course, the years during which Anne Boleyn was queen of England, but even more, they are the years in which the Reformation built the Church of England and the maneuverings that Thomas Cromwell and Thomas Cranmer orchestrated in the final years of the divorce proceedings took effect. The end result was that the last decade or so of Henry VIII’s reign look markedly different from the first two and his consorts, who now usually take center stage, were often just a domestic sideshow to an increasingly powerful and unpredictable king and government.

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