6. Henry VIII had six wives – and half of them were executed. This is false. He did have six wives – but only two were executed. The sequence I learned at school went – divorced – beheaded – died – divorced – beheaded – survived. The ladies in question were:
Catherine of Aragon who was divorced and died while detained under guard at Kimbolton Castle; she was the mother of Mary who became Queen Mary 1st
Anne Boleyn was executed but not before giving birth to another daughter; that daughter would become Queen Elizabeth I.
Next in line was Jane Seymour. She gave birth to what Henry wanted – a son who became King Edward VI. Unfortunetly Jane died a few days after giving birth caused, it is believed, by birth complications.
Henry’s next Queen was Anne of Cleaves. She was not what Henry expected; not what Henry wanted and was divorced. However, she would outlive them all!
Next in line was Catherine Howard. The story of this Catherine is too complex to tell here. She married Henry secretly in July 1540; it was acknowledged in August; things started to go wrong in 1541; she was arrested in early 1542; taken to the Tower of London on 10th February 1542 and was beheaded three days later.
Marriage 6 was to Catherine Parr on 12th July 1543 – a marriage she was not too pleased about it seems.
Henry died in January 1547 and our story of his wives can come to a close – but not before we record that his first marriage lasted nearly 24 years; the remaining five totalled less than 10 years combined.
7. During the reign of Henry VIII some 50,000 beggars were hanged. This is a bit of an understatement it seems. Following the dissolution of the monasteries the poor had little choice but to beg. Estimates put the figure nearer 70,000 in the time of Henry. It did not change much in the time of Henry’s successors to the Crown.
8. Mary Tudor was thought cruel because she had many people executed. This is very true. During her five-year reign, she threw all England into chaos. Mary beheaded traitors, murdered heretics and had pregnant women burnt to death in the name of her religious fanaticism. The entire nation lived in fear of her. The burning of somebody at the stake takes a long time for them to die. It is estimated that around 300 individuals were executed in this way during her Mary’s reign. It has been calculated that this was more than the Spanish Inquisition and the French Chambre Ardente put together in the same period. Thousands fled into hiding and the streets of English cities were polluted with the putrid smell of burning flesh. She created such terror that she became known as ‘Bloody Mary’.
9. Queen Elizabeth never married. This is very true. Many asked her to marry them – she declined them all.
10. Wealthy Tudors preferred to eat fruit and vegatables at their table. This depends on where you are in the hierarchy. The poor ate vegetables, and fruit when in season, and little else; the nobility ate meat – up to 4 pounds (2 kilos) per day! That’s why we always see Henry as a ‘substantial’ figure.
The questions for the next seven days True or False challenge
11. Tudors drank water with their meals
12. Queen Elizabeth had bad teeth from consuming too much sugar
13. Town streets were kept clean and tidy in the Tudor times
14. Queen Elizabeth always paid for the food she and her servants ate when visiting
15. Rich Tudors put glass windows in to show off their wealth.
Have fun in the week ahead. Answers to the above and five more questions will arrive next Friday.