In today’s post I am going to be discussing some strange facts about the Tudor Dynasty. I thought it would be fun to use the same concept I did with our facts from U.S History post by inviting the group Everything Tudor Era to help compile this list. They were amazing and didn’t let me down with their strange facts from Tudor history!
I asked the group what they knew and thought about this fascinating time in history. It was filled with turmoil, extravagance, religious upheaval, deadly court antics, and intrigue. The Tudor era also was filled with a long golden age filled with progress for England under the reign of Elizabeth I. The Tudors reigned for many years starting with King Henry VII and ending with Queen Elizabeth I. The monarchs of the Tudor age were King Henry VII, King Henry VIII, King Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I. It is worth noting that Lady Jane Grey was queen of England for nine days after the death of King Edward VI before Mary I took her rightful place as queen. After the death of Elizabeth I died, then James VI of Scotland became king of England as her heir. He was the son of Mary, Queen of Scots. Mary was the cousin of Elizabeth I and daughter of James V of Scotland, a nephew of King Henry VIII through his mother, Henry’s sister Margaret Tudor.
Fact One: A Flushing toilet!
Queen Elizabeth I had a truly inventive god-son who built a flush toilet for her own personal use! The very first modern flush-able toilet was described in 1596 by Sir John Harington, an English courtier and the godson of Queen Elizabeth I. Harington’s device called for a long 2-foot-deep oval bowl that was specially waterproofed with pitch, resin and wax. It was fed by water from an upstairs cistern. — Renee C. Spring
Fact Two: Monkey! Monkey! Monkey!
Henry VII had a pet monkey. As well as lions and other dangerous animals, which he kept at the Tower of London, Henry kept a pet monkey, thought to be a marmoset, in his private chambers. One day he discovered it had torn up his detailed diary, so there is a gap in his meticulous records. This monkey was supposedly sold off by Henry VIII later after his father’s death — Jennifer Lehman
Fact Three: Tudor Nakedness – A Status Symbol?
Upper class women in the Tudor era exposed their breast for fashion. Even Elizabeth was known to greet the French ambassador with her entire breast exposed. According to an article by Louis Montrose called “Shaping Fantasies” it was customary for women until they were married and Queen Elizabeth used it to assert her status as ‘Virgin Queen’. It is even documented she would sometimes have her belly exposed as well! — Debbie Ruiz
Fact Four: Better To Laugh Than Cry!
Some of Sir Thomas More’s last words before his beheading were jokes and cheerfulness. ” He repeated the Miserere Psalm with much Devotion; and, rising up the Executioner asked him Forgiveness. He kissed him, and said, Pick up thy Spirits, Man, and be not afraid to do thine Office; my Neck is very short, take heed therefore thou strike not awry for having thine Honesty. Laying his Head upon the Block, he bid the Executioner stay till he had put his Beard aside, for that had committed no Treason. Thus he suffered with much Cheerfulness” — Cayla Muguira
Fact Five: A Martys Death and Botched Beheading!
Mary Queen of Scots : Her dress started moving after she was beheaded. Turned out it was her little dog who had been under her skirt. When her executioner held up her head to show the crowd she was wearing a wig! She was executed in a red petticoat—the color for martyrs. Mary, Queen of Scots had a bad axe man at her execution and he botched it. He only partially decapitated her and she was still conscious and said “oh God” and he had to take another whack with the axe. It was a horrible death. And a horrible profession. Lots of executioners had to drink heavily to follow through and it made their ability to cleanly do their job a lot more challenging. — Diane Rice Andersen & Patience Miles
Fact Six: Ghastly Consequences During A Funeral
At Henry VIII funeral his coffin exploded. He was large and heavy and all the gassed just built up. Not the after death care we have now a days to prevent this.There was a prophesy about this. A prophesy by a Franciscan Friar. Here’s a quote: “Apparently, some liquid leaked out of it on to the floor at Syon, and this was thought to fulfill the prophecy made by Franciscan friar William Peto in 1532.* He had preached in front of the King at Greenwich that “God’s judgement were ready to fall upon his head and that dogs would lick his blood, as they had done to Ahab”. — Lynn A Hawkeye & Amanda Register
Fact Seven: True Love Of Henry VIII – Lady Jane Seymour
Henry VIII is buried at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor. In his tomb are his 3rd wife, Jane Seymour, Charles I and an infant son of Queen Anne. King Henry VIII died on January 28, 1547. Henry had previously commanded he be buried with his beloved wife Jane Seymour. She was the only one of his six wives to give birth to a surviving legitimate male heir. Henry had given her a magnificent funeral after which she was buried in a vault under the quire of St. George’s Chapel in Windsor. — Rene Rotzenberg
Fact Eight: The False Death Of A Queen!
When Queen Anne Boleyn’s head was removed and held up to the crowd at her execution in 1536, It is said her mouth kept moving. She had been found guilty of charges including adultery, incest and conspiracy against the king, on May 19, 1536 Anne Boleyn was beheaded by a French swordsman with a sword. — Melvin Brenda Geloneck
Queen Anne stated the following words before being beheaded:
“Good Christian people, I have not come here to preach a sermon; I have come here to die. For according to the law and by the law I am judged to die, and therefore I will speak nothing against it. I am come hither to accuse no man, nor to speak of that whereof I am accused and condemned to die, but I pray God save the King and send him long to reign over you, for a gentler nor a more merciful prince was there never, and to me he was ever a good, a gentle, and sovereign lord. And if any person will meddle of my cause, I require them to judge the best. And thus I take my leave of the world and of you all, and I heartily desire you all to pray for me.”
Fact Nine:Jewels Fit For A Queen!
Elizabeth outbid Catherine de Medici for Mary Queen of Scots black pearls after Mary was imprisoned in England. These pearls are in the Armada portrait and are still present in Queen Elizabeth II’s crown, although only a few remain. It is also known that Richard Burton bought Elizabeth Taylor a pearl which was originally almost 56 carats, “la perigrina” and it was originally owned by Mary I. Phillip II of Spain gave it to Mary I as a wedding gift. It once was the largest pearl ever found. — Amanda Register
Fact Ten: Sisters Forever!
Queen Mary I and her sister Queen Elizabeth I are buried in the same tomb in Westminster Abbey. Queen Elizabeth is buried on top of Queen Mary. Elizabeth was buried at Westminster Abbey in the vault of her grandfather, Henry VII, until she was moved in 1606 to her present resting place, a tomb in the Lady Chapel of Westminster Abbey which she shares with her half-sister Mary I. — Rene Rotzenberg
Fact Eleven: Queen Elizabeth’s Pet Nicknames!
Elizabeth liked to give nicknames to her courtiers. She used her femininity to bring a male-dominated court to its knees, and gave playful nicknames to her favorites. Her chief minister, Burghley, was called her ‘spirit’, and Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, was her ‘eyes’. Robert Cecile was known as her “ears”. — Tiffany Lynn G. Pariseau
Fact Twelve: Every Inch A Queen!
Mary, Queen of Scots was very tall! Once grown, Mary was exceptionally tall – almost 6ft, but she remained light and graceful, and, before the long years of imprisonment, she was trim and athletic – riding, hawking, playing real tennis, and dancing. Her hands were thought particularly fine – long, white and graceful. — Sierra Cheshire
Fact Thirteen: Those Poor Horses!
In 1540 Henry ordered the destruction of any stallion rounded up from the commons under 15 hands to be destroyed, along with mares and foals under 13 hands.
He thought the horses in England were becoming scraggly. The Breed of Horses Act 1535 and the Horses Act 1540 were pieces of legislation passed by the Parliament of England … Annual round-ups of the commons were enforced, and any stallion under the height limit was ordered to be destroyed. — Rebekah Ladnier
Fact Fourteen: Oh That Robert Dudley!
Robert Dudley used to go to the Tower of London to visit and feed the porcupines in the royal menagerie there. He had been a prisoner there (in the Tower) only a few years before. Robert Dudley was imprisoned in the Tower of London, attained, and condemned to death, as were his father and four brothers. His father went to the scaffold. In the Tower, Dudley’s stay coincided with the imprisonment of his childhood friend, Edward and Mary’s half-sister Elizabeth, who was sent there on suspicion of involvement in Wyatt’s rebellion. — Christine Hartweg
Fact Fifteen: Henry VIII Loved Disguises!
King Henry VIII once that said that he had been walking the streets with a very large weapon. Surprisingly enough he wasn’t recognized by his own men and was arrested for carrying a weapon in the streets. Not only did he not punish the men who arrested him, he gifted the prisoners and the jailers better rations for their comfort. — Rachael Loren
BOOK PICK OF THE DAY
For the first time in decades, here, in a single volume, is a fresh look at the fabled Tudor dynasty, comprising some of the most enigmatic figures ever to rule a country. Acclaimed historian G. J. Meyer reveals the flesh-and-bone reality in all its wild excess.
In 1485, young Henry Tudor, whose claim to the throne was so weak as to be almost laughable, crossed the English Channel from France at the head of a ragtag little army and took the crown from the family that had ruled England for almost four hundred years. Half a century later his son, Henry VIII, desperate to rid himself of his first wife in order to marry a second, launched a reign of terror aimed at taking powers no previous monarch had even dreamed of possessing. In the process he plunged his kingdom into generations of division and disorder, creating a legacy of blood and betrayal that would blight the lives of his children and the destiny of his country.
The boy king Edward VI, a fervent believer in reforming the English church, died before bringing to fruition his dream of a second English Reformation. Mary I, the disgraced daughter of Catherine of Aragon, tried and failed to reestablish the Catholic Church and produce an heir. And finally came Elizabeth I, who devoted her life to creating an image of herself as Gloriana the Virgin Queen but, behind that mask, sacrificed all chance of personal happiness in order to survive.
The Tudors weaves together all the sinners and saints, the tragedies and triumphs, the high dreams and dark crimes, that reveal the Tudor era to be, in its enthralling, notorious truth, as momentous and as fascinating as the fictions audiences have come to love.
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