On this day in 1526 – Henry Carey, Baron Hundson, born

Henry Carey was born on 4th March 1526 to William Carey and Mary Boleyn.

His father died when he was just two years old. With the death her husband Mary found herself in financial difficulty. As Mary’s husband was a close courtier of Henry VIII and herself the King’s former mistress she wrote to the King for help. Henry did what he could and ensured that Mary received financial support from her father and helped further by granting her sister, Anne, wardship of her son Henry. Anne was chosen as she was in a position of financial security that she could help her struggling sister. Anne provided her nephew with the best education with him studying under Nicholas Bourbon, a renowned French poet and a fellow reformer. Anne was beheaded when Carey was only 10 years old.

Henry Carey received many royal appointments during adulthood. It began at the age of 21, in 1547, when he became a Member of Parliament for Buckinghamshire a role he repeated in 1554. Carey was highly honoured when his cousin, Elizabeth, ascended the throne. Elizabeth treated her Boleyn relatives well with Carey’s sister, Catherine, as one of Elizabeth’s closest ladies-in-waiting.

In 1558 Elizabeth created Carey Baron Hundson and he was granted properties in Herfordshire as well as Kent. In 1560 she appointed Carey to the role of Master of the Queen’s Hawks followed a year later by his induction to the Knights of the Garter.

In 1564 Elizabeth appointed Carey Captain of the Gentlemen Pensioners, which essentially meant that the four years that he spent in this role he was the Queen’s personal bodyguard. A role that helped his next appointment in 1568, when he was appointed Governor of Berwick-upon-Tweed in Northumberland. The role of Governor was not an easy one as less than a year in the position the nobles in the North were preparing to rise up against the crown. In February 1560 Carey defeated Lord Dacre, an event that helped bring an end to the rebellion.

As reward for his success Carey was awarded more prestigious positions on 31st July 1574 he became the Keeper of Somerset House, London, Elizabeth’s former residence. In 1577 he became a member of the Privy Council, advising Elizabeth on the politics and running of the country.

In 1585 Carey was granted the role of Lord Chamberlain of the Household, the most senior office in the Royal household. Whilst in this role he became the patron of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, the acting company that was the home of William Shakespeare.

Henry Carey died at Somerset House on 23rd July 1596 and was buried in Westminster Abbey on the 12th August. Upon his death he left his family with debt that was acquired at the expense of serving the Queen. Due to this and the love she showed her relatives Elizabeth covered the costs of Carey’s funeral and granted his widow a one off payment along with a yearly pension from her Exchequer along with the keepership of Somerset House for the remainder of her life.

Henry Carey had a life having honours bestowed upon him by his cousin. His life has always been highly talked about from the moment he was born with constant rumours that his father was not William Carey but in fact Henry VIII’s illegitimate son with Mary Boleyn. It is known that Mary was the King’s mistress before he married her sister; Henry had to get a papal dispensation to marry Anne due to his previous relationship with Mary. Historians continue to argue for each side about the paternity of the Carey children. What do you think? Is Henry and his sister Catherine the children of Henry VIII or are they the children of a loving marriage between Mary and her husband William? Comment below with your thoughts.

Henry Carey

On this day in 1500 – Cardinal Reginald Pole born

It is widely accepted that Cardinal Reginald Pole was born on 3rd March 1500. He was born in Stourton Castle in Staffordshire to Sir Richard Pole and his wife Margaret. Margaret was the daughter of George, Duke of Clarence, which made Margaret the niece of King Edward IV and Richard III. Therefore Reginald would have had a strong Plantagenet claim to the throne had it not been for the Bill of Attainder that was passed against his grandfather when he was found guilty of treason.

Pole studied at Oxford from the age of 12 and completed his degree just after the age of 15. It looks like Pole was always destining for a life within the clergy.

Henry VIII bestowed many honours on Pole including the deanery of Wimborne Minister in Dorest, the Prebendary of Salisbury and the Dean of Exeter, despite never being ordained into the church. In 1521, with Henry’s blessing, Pole set off to the University of Padua where he quickly became popular and was highly regarded amongst scholars like Erasmus and Thomas More. Henry paid half of Pole’s fees whilst he was studying abroad.

Pole remained in Padua until 1527 when he returned home. Henry at this time was desperate for Pole’s support and his written opinion on ‘The Great Matter’, his divorce with Katherine of Aragon. In exchange for his support Henry offered Pole the role of Archbishop of York or the Diocese of Winchester in return for his loyalty. Pole wanted to avoid being dragged into the situation instead seeked permission to leave for France to further his studying. In effect he went into self imposed exile to avoid answering Henry’s demands. Despite this Henry was still covering Pole’s allowances abroad.

In May 1536, Pole eventually spoke out against Henry’s marriage to Anne Boleyn. Henry called Pole back to England to answer questions on his writings. Pole disobeyed Henry’s orders and instead headed to Rome after receiving a Papal invitation to stay at the Vatican from Pope Paul III. This was a blow to Henry as it was clear for all to see that the once close relationship that they shared was over as Pole sided with Rome against Henry and England.

Despite never being ordained Pole, in 1537, was created a Cardinal and was charged with organising a march on London to replace Henry’s current government with a Roman Catholic one to bring the country back in line with Rome.

In retaliation to Pole’s betrayal Henry arrested members of the Pole family including his brother, nephew and mother, the Countess of Salisbury and charged each of them with treason and aiding Reginald Pole and his cause. All but one was found guilty and Bills of Attainders were passed against them all stripping of their titles and land and eventually they were executed for Pole’s betrayal.

Pope Paul III died in 1549 and a conclave was held to find his successor, at one point Pole had nearly two – thirds of the votes required to become Pope, however, Pole didn’t want to campaign to become Pope and so support began to slip away from him.

Reginald Pole remained a Cardinal and was quietly dedicated to his work. That is until the death of Edward VI in 1553. With the Catholic Mary I taking the throne Pole’s life was once again an active one. He instantly wrote to the newly anointed Queen and successfully returned to England from exile as Papal Legate in 1554.

Under Mary I, Pole saw the attainder against his family reversed and was finally ordained as a Priest in 1556. Two days later on 22nd March Pole was consecrated as the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Pole was the last Roman Catholic to hold this position. Alongside this he also acted as chief minister and advisor to the Queen.

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Reginald Pole died on 17th Nov 1558, most likely for the influenza which had gripped London in an epidemic. He died just a few short hours after Queen Mary I. He is buried at Canterbury Cathedral.

Theatre Review – Love’s Labour’s Lost at The Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

Love’s Labour’s Lost – RSC, Stratford upon Avon, 28th February 2015

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What happens if four men sign an oath swearing to not see a woman and commit to three years of studying and fasting? What if those four men forget that a Princess of France and her ladies are due to visit the court in just a few days? The answer hilarious consequences and hijinks.

The Royal Shakespeare Company has teamed up the slap stick comedy with Much Ado About Nothing, playing under the name of the highly rumoured missing play Love’s Labour’s Won. Love’s Labour’s Lost is set pre World War I in the Edwardian era.

The King of Navarre and his fellow companions in study Berowne, Dumaine and Longaville played by Sam Alexander, Edward Bennett, Tunji Kasim and William Belchambers respectively fall into their roles as the opening scenes see them debating and discussing the oath that they are about to sign. Just as soon as the oath is signed and the punishment for breaking the oath is declared the men are reminded that the Princess of France is due to visit the court, this surely means that they will instantly break their oaths. Instead meet lodge the ladies outside the court in a field and meet them there, ensuring that the oath remains intact. Well that is until they see them!

Berowne and Rosaline’s first meeting, in a play where language is powerful and conveys double meanings, are a meeting of wits. However, Michelle Terry’s Rosaline in harsher in her words than I have ever interpreted before and is almost mocking Edward Bennett’s Berowne for showing an interest in her. I personally imagined that Berowne and Rosaline’s conversations were more flirtatious and jovial than they come across on stage.

John Hodgkinson’s passionate Spainiard Don Armando provides many laughs alongside his brilliantly underpraised page, Peter McGovern and when they are combined with Nick Haverson’s Costard it is a case of amazing casting. Nick Haverson as Costard completely steals every scene he is in, his comedic timing is spot on and he plays the hapless fool to many laughs from the audience. Haverson was very nearly the star of the show had it not been for the Dumaine’s teddy during the scene whether they each learn that the others have broken their oath almost as soon as they had made it. Set atop an elaborate rooftop each of the men reveal through letters, sonnets and talking to their teddy just how they feel about the ladies who have entered their court. Bennett’s Berowne shines here throwing in his quips as each man talks whilst concealing his own feelings. However, it is teddy, in his dressing gown to match his owner that gets the loudest laughs. Why replicas were not being sold in the shop is beyond me, the RSC would have a queue of people wanting to buy the adorable little bear!

Loves-Labours-Lost-2014-13-541x361                            Photo courtesy of Manuel Harlan and The RSC

With Berowne’s quick thinking talking them out of their oaths, the men decide to dress as Muscavites and visit the ladies. Along with this is the most elaborate song and dance that praises the women and their beauty. It was good to see so much effort go into the Russian entertainment with past productions just having the men doing a little jig on stage before carrying on with the scene, you can tell that a lot of effort went into getting this right and as such it really pays off. Jamie Newell’s wonderfully elegant and sometimes sarcastic Boyet, having informed the ladies of the impending imposters help them trick the haplessly in love men into declaring intents to the wrong women. When they return as themselves Leah Whitaker’s highly intelligent Princess of France and her ladies openly mock and exposes the men. The men apologise and all is righted with them learning that they have been tricked themselves. They settle down to watch a very amateur production of the Nine Worthies put on by Don Armado, Costard and companions. Full of wonderful costumes, forgotten lines and a fight between Costard and Don Armado, the play within a play could almost be staged independently.

The leisurely entertainment is interrupted by news that the Princess’ father has died and they must return to France. An unusual end to what is often portrayed as a comedy. The men are told to wait a year and a day to prove their love and that they will not break it as easily as their oaths to study. A harsh ending made worse when the King and his men return in full soldier uniforms as they head off to fight in World War I. A reminder that promises were broken at that time and that love was a difficult emotion to contain.

For a play that is about love, emotion and broken oaths the language is as important as the ideas behind the play. Misunderstanding and double meanings turn situations on their heads. The verbal jousting between lovers can be interpreted as jovial courtly love or the women mocking the men and accusing them of being false, which is how it felt at times in this production.

The impressive set, based on nearly Charlecote Park, looks like it could be straight out of Downton Abbey, really adds to the feel of the play, four gentlemen relaxing and shutting themselves away in a sumptuous house to understand the world in which they live in. The costumes as well were dazzling, in particular the ladies during the Muscavites scene, the sparkling jewel encrusted dresses and large statement pieces of jewellery kept catching my eye throughout the scene. Love’s Labour’s Lost and Love’s Labour’s Won compliment each other perfectly and that is down, I think, to the marvellous direction of Christopher Luscombe who has put on the two plays in a beautiful tribute to the centenery of the Great War.

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Love’s Labour’s Lost is running at the RST in Stratford upon Avon until 14th March and special encore screenings are taking place in selected cinemas, with a dvd release most likely scheduled for later in the year.

On this day in 1535 – Sir Robert Drury died

Sir Robert Drury died on 2nd March 1535.

Born in Suffolk in 1456, Drury entered Lincoln’s Inn, where he became a barrister in 1473. He later became a prominent figure at the Tudor court. Drury was elected as a Member of Parliament for Suffolk in 1491, 1495 and 1510 and acted as Speaker of the House in 1495. During the battle of Blackheath in 1497 he was knighted by Henry VII. Drury is listed as a mourner at Prince Henry’s funeral in 1511 where he helped bear the canopy during the procession.

In his later life Drury was named as executor of the will for John De Vere, Earl of Oxford, in 1513.

In his own will, written on 1st May 1531, Drury requested to be buried in the Chancel of St Mary’s Church, Bury St. Edmunds alongside his first wife, Anne Calthorpe. They lie together under a stone monument which bears the inscription “Such as ye be, sometimes were we, such as we are, such shall ye be. Miserere nostril.”

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The origins of the Tudor dynasty.

The Tudor’s are one of history’s most famous families and their association with Wales stems back to their origins all the way to Henry Tudor landing in Dale to begin his march towards Bosworth and the crown.

The earliest Tudors date back to 1240 where they were landowners in Four Cantrels (later Denbigh) and later served Llywelyn ab lorwerth. Ednyfed Fychan, steward to the Prince, married a daughter of Lord Rhys and his sons also followed into representing the Prince of Gwynedd. One of these sons was Tudur ap Ednyfed (Tudur son of Ednyfed) whose service was rewarded with land in North Wales, where the Tudor dynasties origins begin.

When Edward I successes the English throne in 1272 he set his sights on conquering Wales and the descendants of Ednyfed saw that it would be more beneficial for them to support the new King. Their decision to switch sides paid off when Edward I took control of the country. However, not everyone in the family was happy with the new King and they joined a failed rebellion against the monarch. One of these rebels was Tudur Hen, Lord of Penmyndd, who quickly swore his allegiance to Edward of Caernarfon and when he died his land passed to his son Goronwy ap Tudur (Goronwy son of Tudur).

Tudur Hen had five sons, they all held positions of importance in North Wales. They were all loyal to the current King, Richard II and two of the brothers Rhys and Gwilym served the King in Ireland whilst on campaign. Richard II was deposed in 1399 by his cousin Henry Bolingbroke, Henry IV. Unhappy with Richard II being usurped the Tudur’s cousin Owain Glyndwr initiated a Welsh uprising against the new King. At first the rebellion was a success with many Welsh lands gained, however in 1401 Henry Percy issued an amnesty to all Welsh rebels except Owain Glyndwr, Rhys ap Tudur and Gwilym ap Tudur. The Tudur brothers were later pardoned after they were captured at Conwy castle. The third Tudur brother Maredydd had his land confiscated and was removed from his positions.

Maredydd ap Tudur married Margaret ferch Thomas and they had a son named Owen ap Tudur ap Maredydd. In an attempt to turn the Tudur families fortunes around they moved to London and Owen, aged seven, was sent to the English court of Henry IV acting as a page. Owen now also went by the name Owen Tudor to make his sound more anglicised by having a surname. Owen also went on the serve Henry V and fought at Agincourt in 1415.

After the death of Henry V in 1422 Owen was appointed the keeper of the wardrobe to the Dowager Queen, Catherine of Valois. The story goes that they met and fell in love when he tripped over and fell into her lap, although this is unproven. The soon married, however it broke a law that stated that the King’s permission was required. Owen and Catherine had two sons, Edmund and Jasper who grew up in the court of their half brother Henry VI. They were granted the Earldoms of Richmond and Pembroke respectively and in return they remained loyal to the King and the House of Lancaster. Owen Tudor went on to lead Lancastrian armies during the Wars of the Roses and was ultimately captured during the Battle of Mortimer’s Cross by Edward, Earl of March (later Edward IV).

His sons Edmund and Jasper continued to fight for Henry VI. In 1455 Edmund was married to Lady Margaret Beaufort, descendant of John of Gaunt through his illegitimate children. Edmund Tudor died from the plague two months before his son was born. This child would grow up to become King Henry VII.

Henry VIII Margaret Beaufort

         Henry Tudor as King Henry VII and his mother Margaret Beaufort

During Henry VI’s reign, Jasper was charged with maintaining Lancastrian ties in Wales and also looked after his widowed sister in law and her infant, Henry. Upon Edward IV’s ascension and the rise of the House of York, Jasper remained loyal to Henry VI and his Queen Margaret of Anjou. Once Henry VI was captured and murdered and the Lancastrian cause temporarily lost. Jasper fled from Tenby, Wales with the young Henry and they fled to Brittany in order to keep Henry safe. Jasper taught and trained Henry. Jasper was always gaining support for the Lancastrian claim to the throne whilst Henry’s mother was promoting her son as the heir to the Lancastrian throne.

Jasper, Henry and 2000 men set sail from Harfleur, France on 1st August 1485 and landed in Dale on the west coast of Wales. They marched towards Richard III’s army capturing town and gaining more and more supporters as they went finally meeting on Bosworth battlefield on the 22nd August. Where Richard III was killed in battle and it saw the end of the Plantagenet rule and the rise of the Tudors to the throne.

403           The winning Lancastrian army kneel down to their new King.

On this day in 1522 – Anne Boleyn played Perseverance

On the evening of 1st March 1522, Shrove Tuesday, Anne Boleyn made her first recorded appearance at court. Anne appeared as Perseverance in a pageant of ‘The Château Vert’ at York Palace.

The pageant was part of the Shrovetide celebrations, where the court put on entertainment to celebrate the event of Shrove. Entertainment consisted of plays, masques, music and jousting tournaments.

Alongside Anne as Perseverance was Mary Tudor, the Kings sister, as Beauty, the Countess of Devonshire as Honour, Jane Parker, Anne’s future sister in law as Constancy and Mary Boleyn as Kindness as well as three unknown females playing Bounty, Mercy and Pity. Anne and her companions were dressed in white satin with their virtues sewn onto yellow satin and upon their heads were Venetian gold with Milan bonnets.

Opposite the eight ladies of the court were eight courtiers playing the parts of Amoress, Nobleness, Youth, Attendance, Loyalty, Pleasure, Gentleness and Liberty. The men were led by a masked King Henry VIII. It was the courtier’s role in the pageant to rescue the eight virtuous ladies from the eight feminine vices of; Disdain Jealousy, Danger, Scorn, Unkindness, Malebouche and Strangeness, who were guarding the captive ladies.

The male courtiers attacked the castle where the virtuous ladies were being ‘held’ and rescued them from the evil vices. The men triumphed and led the women away where they were unmasked and revealed to the court before leading a dance.

Edward Hall recorded the events of the pageant in his chronicles;

“On shrouetewesdaie at night, the said Cardinall to the kyng and ambassadors made another supper, and after supper thei came into a great chamber hanged with Arras, and there was a clothe of estate, and many braunches, and on euery braunche. xxxii. torchettes of waxe, and in the nether ende of thesame chamber was a castle, in which was a principall Tower, in which was a Cresset burning: and two other lesse Towers stode on euery side, warded
and embattailed, and on euery Tower was a banner, one banner was of iii. rent hartes, the other was a ladies hand gripyng a mans harte, the third banner was a ladies hand turnyng a mannes hart: this castle was kept with ladies of straunge names, the first Beautie, the second Honor, the third Perseueraunce, the fourth Kyndnes, the fifth Constance, the sixte Bountie, the seuenthe Mercie, and the eight Pitie: these eight ladies had Millian gounes of white sattin, euery Lady had her name embraudered with golde, on their heddes calles, and Millein bonettes of gold, with Iwelles. Vnder nethe the basse fortresse of the castle were other eight ladies, whose names were, Dangier, Disdain, Gelousie, Vnkyndenes, Scorne, Malebouche, Straungenes, these ladies were tired like to women of Inde.

Then entered eight Lordes in clothe of golde cappes and all, and great mantell clokes of blewe sattin, these lordes were named. Amorus, Noblenes, Youth, Attendance, Loyaltie, Pleasure, Gentlenes, and Libertie, the kyng was chief of this compaignie, this compainie was led by one all in crimosin sattin with burnyng flames of gold, called Ardent
Desire, whiche so moued the Ladies to geue ouer the Castle, but Scorne and Disdain saied they would holde the place, then Desire saied the ladies should be wonne and came and encoraged the knightes, then the lordes ranne to the castle, (at whiche tyme without was shot a greate peale of gunnes) and the ladies defended the castle with Rose water and Comfittes and the lordes threwe in Dates and Orenges, and other fruites made for pleasure but at the last the place was wonne, but Lady Scorne and her compaignie stubbernely defended them with boows and balles, till they were dnuen out of the place and fled. Then the lordes toke the ladies of honor as prisoners by the handes, and brought them doune, and daunced together verie pleasauntly, which much pleased the straungers, and when thei had
daunced their fill then all these disuisered themselfes and wer knowen: and then was there a costlv banket, and when all was done, the straungiers tooke their leaue of the king and the Cardinal and so departed into Flaunders, geuyng to the kyng muche commendacion.”

It is unknown if Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII had any contact during the evenings proceedings but it is highly unlikely this is where the future royal couple first met.Tudors pagaent     Natalie Domer and Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII at The Château Vert pagaent as portrayed in ‘The Tudors’