Love Letters

Letters written to Anne Boleyn by Henry VIII

As I work on my upcoming fiction series which is a modern day retelling of the love story of Henry VIII & Anne Boleyn, with a touch of magic, I want to get insight into Henry before he became the monster who executed his own great love. While researching, I’ve found numerous websites detailing ‘Henry’s First Letter’ yet they were all different missives. I’ve reached out for more clarification. As of this writing one Tudor expert has responded and says the order of the letters is debated. So, I’ll start with the first letter which I found in a book that is based on the letters as released in a volume which was published by Oxford in the 1700s.

If anyone can offer insight as to the chronological release of these tomes, that would be greatly appreciated. Meanwhile, enjoy Letter 1.

Look for my first story The Beckoning, to be released February 2021. 

On turning over in my mind the contents of your last letters, I have put myself into great agony, not knowing how to interpret them, whether to my disadvantage, as you show in some places, or to my advantage, as I understand them in some others, beseeching you earnestly to let me know expressly your whole mind as to the love between us two. It is absolutely necessary for me to obtain this answer, having been for above a whole year stricken with the dart of love, and not yet sure whether I shall fail of finding a place in your heart and affection, which last point has prevented me for some time past from calling you my mistress; because, if you only love me with an ordinary love, that name is not suitable for you, because it denotes a singular love, which is far from common. But if you please to do the office of a true loyal mistress and friend, and to give up yourself body and heart to me, who will be, and have been, your most loyal servant, (if your rigour does not forbid me) I promise you that not only the name shall be given you, but also that I will take you for my only mistress, casting off all others besides you out of my thoughts and affections, and serve you only. I beseech you to give an entire answer to this my rude letter, that I may know on what and how far I may depend. And if it does not please you to answer me in writing, appoint some place where I may have it by word of mouth, and I will go thither with all my heart. No more, for fear of tiring you. Written by the hand of him who would willingly remain yours,

H. R.

Do We REALLY Know These Women?

One woman surprised her contemporaries by managing one of the most favorable annulment settlements of her time. She also remained in favor with her ex, was a fixture at his court, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. The other is the most-married Queen of England, was held captive at Snape castle, and was the first English Queen to publish a book.

Who are they?

They are the wives who survived marriage to Henry VIII: Anne of Cleves and Katherine Parr.


Join Royal Oak and historian and educator Carol Ann Lloyd to meet the only two wives of Henry VIII who had lives after their marriages to the King (technically, Katherine of Aragon lived after the annulment, but she claimed she was still married until she died).

We know these women as wives of Henry VIII, but there is much more to their story. They navigated the politics of 16th century court life, in England and abroad, to leave their mark on English history. Both women, in their own way, had a considerable impact not only on Henry VIII, but on his royal children as well.

Find registration and other information available on the website of speaker Carol Ann Lloyd (www.carolannlloyd.com/events) or the Royal Oak Foundation (www.royal-oak.org/events).

Carol Ann Lloyd

Carol Ann Lloyd is a popular speaker who shares the stories of Shakespeare and English history. She is the former Manager of Visitor Education at Folger Shakespeare Library, where she gave workshops and tours about Shakespeare and Early Modern England.Carol Ann has presented programs at the Smithsonian, Folger Shakespeare Library, Agecroft Hall, and TEDx, among other venues. Ms. Lloyd is a member of the National Speakers Association

The Age of Plunder

Book Review by Samantha Yorke

Henry VIII is one of the most famous monarchs to have ruled England.

Yet, what was life like for those that he ruled?

How were they impacted by the wars with France, his marital disasters and the religious Reformation that his chief ministers implemented?

The Age of Plunder does not dwell upon the lives of political and religious leaders such as Wolsey, Cromwell and Cranmer, but instead provides a vivid depiction of Tudor England from the perspective of those who tended the crops, sat at the looms and worked in the mines.

“The scholarship is as sound, the sympathy as warm and the judgments as pugnacious as ever.” New Statesman

“This is a provocative and stimulating book, packed with statistical information, but saved from indigestibility by well-chosen and unusual examples drawn from the author’s vast knowledge of local history.” The Agricultural History Review

In this book W. G. Hoskins reveals how inhabitants of early sixteenth century England were witnesses to the greatest act of plunder since the Norman Conquest, but this time by the native governing class.

The Age of Plunder by W.G. Hoskins is a look at the economic state of the Henrican world of Tudor England. Unlike most books written about this monarch, it focuses on the lives the people in his kingdom. The stories of how Henry’s decisions effected his realm will catch your attention. The divide between privilege and poverty was obscene. The book is somewhat long, dry and academic and is aimed for a scholarly reader. If you are looking for a book about his wives and his court, this is not for you. However, if you want a book centered upon day-to-day life in the world of Henry VIII, and how his economy set the stage for his daughter Elizabeth I, eventually Great Britain and the ascent of the British Empire – the sociology of the era – then this book is for you. It is a book that can be utilised for reference and scholastic purposes, and for that reasons I rate it four stars.

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Special thanks to Net Galley and the publish for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.

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Available for purchase on Amazon:

US

UK

Katheryn Howard, The Scandalous Queen

KH2

Katheryn Howard, The Scandalous Queen: Review by Samantha Yorke

From the publisher: Bestselling author and acclaimed historian Alison Weir tells the tragic story of Henry VIII’s fifth wife, a nineteen-year-old beauty with a hidden past, in this fifth novel in the sweeping Six Tudor Queens series.

In the spring of 1540, Henry VIII, desperate to be rid of his queen, Anna of Kleve, first sets eyes on the enchanting Katheryn Howard. Although the king is now an ailing forty-nine-year-old measuring fifty-four inches around his waist, his amorous gaze lights upon the pretty teenager. Seated near him intentionally by her ambitious Catholic family, Katheryn readily succumbs to the courtship.

Henry is besotted with his bride. He tells the world she is a rose without a thorn, and extols her beauty and her virtue. Katherine delights in the pleasures of being queen and the power she has to do good to others. She comes to love the ailing, obese king and tolerate his nightly attentions. If she can bear him a son, her triumph will be complete. But Katheryn has a past of which Henry knows nothing, and which comes back increasingly to haunt her–even as she courts danger yet again.

*****

There can be little doubt that Alison Weir has made an indelible mark on the public’s fascination with Tudor History. I was hesitant to take this ARC copy at first because I generally find the author’s fiction to be difficult to read. However, there are many good points to be taken from this fictional story of Katheryn Howard.

The book begins are the death of Katheryn Howard’s mother. From there we are taken on the journey of her short, tragic life. Ms. Weir shows us a young girl who is overlooked and passed first from relative to relative, then from man to man, all the while she merely yearns for a home and a place to be loved and belong.

She catches the eye of King Henry VIII. The reader will feel the anxiety that the young queen experiences, afraid that her past lovers will come to light. We share her joy as the King spoils her and she finally appears to delight in being cherished and adored.

Then, just as quickly as she ascended, Katheryn Howard is doomed by the shadows and whispers of her past. Weir vividly paints a sympathetic, doomed young girl trapped and caged in the trappings that she has grown to love as she finally felt secure in the world the King created for her.

Weaving a novel length story about a life that we know so little takes a great amount of skill and talent.

This book is not as long as most of Ms. Weir’s fiction, which will be a bonus for some readers who may find her rambling, extensive stories tedious. The book opens with brief family trees of the Tudors, Howards, Culpepers, and Derehams-which is impressive. Her devoted following will love this book, and I believe she will garner new appreciation for the sheer volume of research she did on the life and story of this poor pawn in the machinations of a tyrannical king. This is also an ideal book to get lost in for a few days. Due to these factors, I’m giving the book four stars.

*****

Special thanks to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for an ARC of this book in exchange for a fair review. Release date is May 12, 2020.

You may purchase the book here.

KH

ANNOUNCEMENT: Field of Cloth of Gold Summit

During a blustery 18 days in June 1520, an historic event took place in the Pale of Calais. Here King Henry VIII of England and King Francis I of France met in an ostentatious display of power, wealth and status. Masterminded by Thomas Wolsey, the aim was to join the two kingdoms in a pact of solidarity and friendship, notably against the insurgence of the Ottoman Empire, which was threatening Christian Europe at the time.

It was a spectacular event that became famous in its own lifetime. Now 500 years on, over the weekend of the 9-10 May 2020, The Tudor Travel Guide is celebrating this historic event by holding a FREE two-day virtual summit. You will hear from experts in their fields talking about a range of different aspects of the event: from the social, political and cultural context, to original research to locate Henry’s celebrated temporary palace, clothing & textiles, food and more…

Speaker line up:

Saturday 9 May:  

Many of the speakers have offered to give away a copy of one of their books as part of a book bundle giveaway to one lucky winner, who will be selected at random at the end of the event. The winner will be notified by email and The Tudor Travel Guide will post the winner’s name on FB and Twitter. Books included in the bundle are:

  1. The Field of Cloth of Gold, by Glenn Richardson
  2. In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII, by Sarah Morris and Natalie Grueninger.
  3. Henry VIII and the Men who made Him, by Tracy Borman
  4. A Banquet at the Old Hall: An Invitation to participate in Historic Cooking, by Brigitte Webster
  5. Tudor London, by Natalie Grueninger
  6. The Great Wardrobe Accounts of Henry VII and Henry VIII, by Maria Heyward (tbc)
  7. A colour paper by Julian Munby of his original research on finding he location of the temporary palace at the Field of Cloth of Gold will also be included.

Yale University Press have also kindly offered to make free sample chapters available from a range of their Tudor related books (details still to be finalised) for EVERY registrant to the summit.

How to sign up:

This online summit is FREE attend. You simply need to register you name and email address. Don’t worry if you can’t make the dates and times advertised or are in a different time zone. All the videos will remain available to view until the 24 June 2020 to coincide with the final day of the actual event, 500 years ago. However only those registering for the event will have access to the videos.

How to register:

Sign up will open on Thursday 9 April 2020 and will remain open until 48 hours before the event, i.e. Midnight on Wednesday 7 May 2020.

Follow this link to the sign-up page & join today! REGISTER

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All images either Public Domain or shared courtesy of Dr Sarah Morris

Katheryn Howard, The Play

Katheryn Howard

★★★★ “Seen through fresh eyes, and particularly from a 21st century perspective, (Katheryn’s) story is not just tragic but horrifying…A strong debut production… historically interesting and emotionally impactful” -The Blog of Theatre Things

Producer: Goosebite Theatre

Playwright: Catherine Hiscock

Director: Alex Pearson 

Chorus Director: Emmanuela Lia

Casting Director: Natalie Harper 

★★★★ “Contemporary and heartbreaking….Catherine Hiscock gives an outstanding performance as Katheryn-London Pub Theatres 

An all-female cast retells the story of seventeen year old Katheryn Howard, fifth wife of King Henry VIII, in this poignant examination of power, truth and blame 

A young woman on trial 

Locked within her rooms, whilst men investigate their conduct, the young queen and her ladies await the interrogations they know will come. 

Set against the shallow and oppressive world of the Tudor court and influenced by classical Greek drama, Katheryn Howard is a new play that is both contemporary and hauntingly relevant. 

There are men talking about me now 

Talking about you but mainly about me 

Written by Catherine Hiscock, Katheryn Howard was expanded from a short monologue that first appeared at Glass Splinters-a writing night at The Pleasance Theatre, dedicated to ‘untold stories’ of women from history. Developed into a full length production, the play enjoyed sell out shows at The Brockley Jack Theatre. The show is under the direction of Alex Pearson with movement direction by Emmanuela Lia. 

Cast:

Catherine Hiscock ~ Katheryn Howard, Natalie Harper ~ Jane Boleyn, Emmanuela Lia ~ Kit Tilney, Francesca Anderson ~ Joan Bulmer, Srabani Sen ~ Isabelle Baynton 

Catherine Hisbock as Katheryn Howard

“★★★★ “An intriguing assertion of Howard’s version of events -London Theatre1

Wednesday, November 6th will be the anniversary of the day King’s men burst into Katheryn’s rooms at and informed her and her ladies that they were under house arrest. On this night the theatre will be holding an informal social. This will include a free drink from the bar and a chance to meet the cast and creatives with any questions. They will be raising money for the charity Tender that works with young people using drama and arts to end sexual abuse and domestic violence.

The all-female cast of Katheryn Howard

Theatre info here:

The Hope Theatre
207 Upper Street
London N1 1RL
29 October – 16 November
Tuesday – Saturday at 7.45pm
Tickets £15 & £12

www.thehopetheatre.com 

Follow on Social Media at these sites: 

The Hope Theatre

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Goosebite Theatre

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For more information, interviews and press bookings please contact:

Goosebite Theatre Company

Telephone: 07592459403

Email: goosebitetc@gmail.com

PRESS NIGHT:

7.45pm Friday 1st November


A Day at Hampton Court Palace

Today we had the honor of taking a private tour of Hampton Court Palace. My husband & I have been before but this was our first trip together. It’s been a magical day. Here are a few highlights.

Entry to the Tudor kitchens via the Grace & Favour apartments
Anne Boleyn’s Gateway, Tudor brickwork & ceiling
I’m so in love with this clock! ❤️
The color, symbolism & pageantry of Henry VIII
Ceiling medallions of the Tudor Rose & Royal insignias from the Henrican Court
Jane Seymour’s Phoenix Rising crest
Victorian reproductions of Tudor stained glass
The Tudor’s Great Hall & tapestries
Henry & Anne inscription
Commerative memorial to Anne Boleyn outside the Queen’s Quarters
The turret room in the Anne Boleyn quarters where she prayed for days knowing that Henry had grown tired of her.
Jane Seymour gave birth to Edward VI in the rooms on the top floor.
Selfie in the William & Mary wing of the palace.
The immortal Rainbow Portrait of Elizabeth I
Close-up of the Bacton Altar Cloth. The fabric appears to be similar, possibly the same, as the bodice of the dress worn in the Rainbow Portrait.
Henry VIII’s apartments

What a dream come true!

Janet Wertman

By day, Janet Wertman is a freelance grantwriter for impactful nonprofits. By night, she indulges a passion for the Tudor era she has harbored since she was *cough* eight years old and her parents let her stay up late to watch The Six Wives of Henry VIII and Elizabeth R.  Janet Wertman is the author of Jane the Quene and The Path to Somerset – the first two books in her Seymour Saga trilogy (the third book, The Boy King, is expected in 2020). She also runs a blog (www.janetwertman.com) where she posts interesting takes on the Tudors, and hosts a radio show, Author Notes, on the Tudor Radio Network where she talks about writing the Tudors and everything that entails.

Jane the Quene

England. 1535. Jane Seymour is 27 years old and increasingly desperate for the marriage that will provide her a real place in the world. Meanwhile, King Henry VIII is 45 and increasingly desperate for a son that will secure his legacy. He left his first wife, a princess of Spain, changing his country’s religion in the process, to marry Anne Boleyn — but she too has failed to deliver the promised heir. As Henry begins to fear he is cursed, Jane’s honesty and innocence conjure redemption.

Thomas Cromwell, an ambitious clerk with his own agenda, sees in Jane the perfect vehicle to calm the political unrest that threatens the country. He engineers the plot that ends with Jane becoming the King’s third wife. 

Jane believes herself virtuous and her actions justified, but early miscarriages shake her confidence and hopes. How can a woman who has done nothing wrong herself deal with the guilt of how she unseated her predecessor?

Reviews:

Finalist, 2016 Novel of the Year – Underground Book Reviews

Semi-Finalist, 2017 M.M. Bennetts Award for Historical Fiction

Readers’ Award, Chill With a Book; Honoree, BRAG Medallion


“Wertman describes the pageantry, gowns, and architecture of pre-Elizabethan England; presents an ample cast of nobles and ladies-in-waiting; and exposes the tense religious turmoil and malicious political machinations of the Tudor court, led by dastardly Thomas Cromwell.This enticing, historically accurate story lends immediacy to the events.”  – Publishers Weekly 
“A touching and insightful reading experience.” – Historical Novel Society

“[A] thoughtful depiction of Jane Seymour…gives readers a compelling story.” – Nancy Bilyeau, Author of The Crown, The Chalice and The Tapestry, an award-winning Tudor-mystery trilogy published by Simon and Schuster.

The Path to Somerset

After the tragic romance of Jane the Quene, the second book in The Seymour Saga trilogy, The Path to Somerset, takes a dark turn through an era in which King Henry VIII descends into cynicism, suspicion and fits of madness – and in which mistakes mean death. 

Edward Seymour’s future is uncertain. Although his sister Jane bore Henry the son he’d sought for twenty years, when she died in childbirth, Henry’s good nature died with her. Now the fiercely ambitious Edward must carve a difficult path through Henry’s shifting principles and wives. Challenged at every turn by his nemesis, Bishop Stephen Gardiner, Edward must embrace ruthlessness in order to safeguard not only his own future but England’s as well. 

This is the account of Henry’s tumultuous reign, as seen through the eyes of two opponents whose fierce disagreements over religion and common decency fuel epic struggles for the soul of the nation. And for power. 

Reviews:

“The way this story is told truly makes history come to life” and “I highly recommend ordering this book!”  – Tudors Dynasty

“The novel’s sweeping historic detail and bewitching blend of rivalries and romances will dazzle devotees of Tudor England.” – Publishers Weekly


“Author Wertman masterfully weaves the political intrigue of the Tudor court…The narrative is engaging, and characters come to life on the page…Highly recommended.”
Historical Novel Society

“Machinations behind the scenes are shown here with some exceptional dialogue. Wertman brings these people to life.” – The Freelance History Writer Notes and Reviews


“Janet Wertman does a fantastic job navigating this complex political landscape to show Edward Seymour in a new light. This may be my first time reading a book by Janet Wertman, but this will not be my last.” – Adventures of a Tudor Nerd

Amazon purchase links:

Jane the Quene

The Path to Somerset

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