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.

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

Shadow of Persephone: The Story of Catherine Howard

February 1542
A young woman awaits her execution in the Tower of London, sent to death on the orders of her husband, Henry VIII.

Daughter of the nobility, cousin to a fallen Queen, Catherine Howard rose from the cluttered ranks of courtiers at the court of Henry VIII to become the King’s fifth wife. But hers is a tale that starts long before the crown was placed on her head. A tale of tragedy and challenges, predators and prey; the story of a young girl growing up in a perilous time, facing dangers untold.

The fifth wife of Henry VIII would end her life on the block, like her cousin Anne Boleyn… But where did her story begin?

Shadow of Persephone is Book One in the series The Story of Catherine Howard, by G. Lawrence (Gemma Lawrence)

Purchase here:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

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 

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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

Social Media Links:

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Available Now!

Magic & Mystery in Tudor England

The magic and superstition of Tudor England, with the biggest mystery of all – what happened to change the fate of Anne Boleyn? Court intrigue, revenge and all the secrets are revealed as one queen falls and another rises to take her place on destiny’s stage. 

A young Anne Boleyn captures the heart of the king. What begins as his distraction becomes his obsession and leads to her destruction.

Love, hate, loyalty and betrayal come together in a single dramatic moment… the execution of a queen. The history of England will be changed forever.

The best-selling author of PHOENIX RISING presents a story based on historical fact mingled with fiction. It’s already a best-seller on Amazon. Get your copy now!

The past is brought to life. Her characters speak to me.Jenn Henry, actress

An intriguing concept.” Dr Beth Lynne, Ph.D 

“I have known the author for many years and can attest to her diligence in researching a topic. This book is a fresh look at history.” Professor W.D. Pickett, Ph.D

Only 99c for a limited time!

getbook.at/TudorMagic

Henry VIII’s Wives Have Their Say

Try Me, Good King

Tudor ensemble comes to venues across the UK in York, Cambridge and London

Classical music ensemble Transposed are bringing Tudor history to life in concert this autumn. The concerts will take place in exclusively Tudor and Elizabethan buildings around the UK and will be performed in specially tailored Tudor dress. British Soprano Eleanor Penfold and Pianist Eleanor Kornas will launch their UK tour in York at the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall on 24th October and Holy Trinity Church, Goodramgate on 26th October.

The Merchant Adventurers’ Hall is one of the ‘finest Medieval guild halls in the world’ and dates back as early as 1357. Just a stone’s throw from the York Minster stands York’s Holy Trinity on Goodramgate, where you can marvel at stained glass dating as far back at the 1470’s and be whisked back to Medieval times in magical candlelight.

On 1st November Transposed will perform at Trinity College Chapel, Cambridge University, a beautiful and historic site founded by Henry VIII himself. Their final performance will be at the only remaining Elizabethan Church in London, Old Church in Stoke Newington, on 23rd November.

Try Me, Good King

The concert is centred around a powerful set of songs called Try Me, Good King by American composer Libby Larsen. Each song is a musical setting of words that were addressed to Henry VIII by his wives. The evening will feature a feast of fiery females including a haunting encounter with Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth.

Penfold has performed in the BBC Proms as well as the Paris Opera House. ‘This tour is a real celebration of music, Shakespearean theatre and the Tudor period’, said Penfold. ‘Performing within exclusively Tudor buildings in a tailor-made Tudor dress brings audiences the spectacle of the operatic stage or the Globe in completely unique settings’.

Penfold first discovered the song cycle Try Me, Good King during her time at the Royal College of Music in London. ‘I was completely blown away by the power of the work’, said Penfold. ‘The work breathes life into the letters and speeches of Katherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves and Catherine Howard.  Far from the well known list, ‘divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived,’ these songs give visceral energy and humanity to each woman’s testament and individual voice.’

Transposed was recently founded to celebrate the incredible spaces we have across the UK and the unique impact they have on performances of Classical music.

Costume Designer and recent graduate of Wimbledon College of Arts, Victoria Rodriguez, says she ‘grew up idolising historical feminist figures and being taught the power they had that’s been written out by men and forgotten over the centuries. I fell in love with the Tudors and specifically the female courtiers and wives of Henry VIII; how they flourished and fell during this iconic monarchy and I couldn’t help but find out more and more information to the point where my obsession took me into my career.’ The incredible costume design of Victoria Rodriguez and fellow Wimbledon College graduate Brontë McFadyean can been seen in the beautiful Tudor dress and specially designed headpieces worn by Penfold throughout the performance.

Having recently performed the notorious role of the Queen of the Night at Waterperry Opera Festival this summer, Penfold says ‘we can’t wait to bring audiences the thrill of a period drama with the passion and beauty of this Classical music’.

How to buy tickets

Tickets for the show cost £15 for adults, £12.50 for under 18, students and disabled audience members. They are now available to purchase online from www.transposed-ensemble.com/events via EventBrite or on the door. 

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