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Posts Tagged ‘Queen Elizabeth I’

  
I could just stare at these paintings: Anne Boleyn by Frans Porbus the Younger and Elizabeth Tudor, her daughter, by William Scots. I discovered the one to the left in “Elizabeth & Mary – Cousins, Rivals, Queens” by Jane Dunn.

I read online that there is no certainty that Porbus’ painting is of Anne, but the resemblance to Elizabeth seems evident in the eyes, lips and chin. (I want to put images like this in the book, but I’m worried about expense to the reader; I may make two versions.) 

A person could easily have mixed feelings about “our cousin” Anne Boleyn, but not her daughter. Not me, anyway. As a young girl she saw the women who loved her fall to the blade and went on to develop a backbone of steel. She knew when and how to reinvent herself as necessary. She is an inspiration.

I haven’t posted in a while, I have been buried in books. Nothing I have read confirms that Sir Thomas Wyatt had an affair with Ann; it is clear that he loved her.    

When Henry VIII let it be known that Anne was his, Sir Thomas started up with another – Elizabeth Darrel, who was Maid of Honor to Katherine of Aragon; Elizabeth was steadfast to the end and was in the queen’s will.

There’s another lady worthy of respect – Katherine of Aragon.  

Elizabeth had three children by Sir Tom – one who died with his half-brother as a result of Wyatt’s Rebellion. So, Wyatt cousins … there are more of us than I thought. 

Burning questions? Oh, heck yeah.

How did Sir Thomas feel about Katherine of Aragon?
How did he genuinely feel about the king’s Great Matter?
When (and why) did Cromwell develop such a deep affection for Sir Thomas? 
How did Sir Thomas maintain respect for a king who grew increasingly violent towards those he loved? 
How did he maintain relationships with friends who hated each other?

THE BIG QUESTION: Why was Anne Boleyn so important to the Wyatts that – several generations after her death – George Wyatt would become her first biographer? Was it because she was a reformer, or was it more than that?  

So many mysteries, so little time.  If anyone has clues – or has contact information for our esteemed “cousin” the Earl of Romney, let me know! 

Meanwhile, I’m workin’ on it as best I can.

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Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger

Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger

I apologize for the lapses between blogs, I am deep into my research. These blogs are previews of my book as a work in progress.  This is very difficult work, so please honor my copyright – mickisuzanne©

Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger made history by affecting the lives of three queens. He threatened one, hastened the death of the second and quite possibly saved the third.

Thomas Wyatt the Younger was born in 1521 at the Wyatt family home – Allington Castle.

Young Tom’s father – Sir Thomas Wyatt the Poet, a.k.a. Thomas the Elder

History describes Sir Thomas Wyatt the Poet as friend and diplomat of Henry VIII. He also had very close ties to his father Henry’s dearest friends – Sir Thomas More and Cromwell. Tom is best remembered for being in love with Anne Boleyn. He wisely stepped aside when Henry VIII expressed interest.

When Henry lost interest, young Tom’s Aunt Mary accompanied Anne to the scaffold; Anne gave Mary her prayer book and whispered her last words for Henry. Anne accepted her fate with grace and forgiveness.  

Young Tom’s mother – Lady Elizabeth Brooke

Lady Elizabeth Brooke was a woman whose pedigree was vastly superior to her husband’s. She descended from William the Conqueror, the dukes of Normandy and the epic Vikings of legend who preceded them. He was the third generation of Wyatts to live in the castle once owned by William’s half-brother Bishop Odo.

Elizabeth was a descendant of John of Gaunt, Plantagenet duke – as were Henry VIII and Queen Katherine of Aragon.  Most royal houses of Europe are connected through this line.

Most notably for her times, Elizabeth’s husband was in love with her second-cousin Anne.  Tom Senior was not alone in his indiscretions, Elizabeth is said to have lived with another man, although it was never proven. Elizabeth’s husband filed for separation on grounds of adultery in 1525. While that type of blatant immorality was a disgrace among common folk, it was acceptable among the nobles.

It’s even said that Henry VIII was eyeing Elizabeth as a potential sixth wife.

Young Tom’s Grandfather – Sir Henry Wyatt Knight

The Wyatt family’s fate was tied to their relationships with the crown.  It was as it had been for generations.

Young Tom’s grandfather, Sir Henry Wyatt Knight, had loyally helped Henry Tudor wrest the crown from the notoriously evil Richard III. He had even endured two years of torture, including the infamous rack.  Henry was steadfast through all of it. According to tradition, Richard III lamented that his own servants “had not such fidelity.”

When Henry finally vanquished Richard at Bosworth, one of the first things he did was release his friend. Then it’s said he told Henry Wyatt “Study to serve me and I will study to enrich you.” And that’s exactly what happened.  One of his most important purchases was Allington Castle, which was in need of restoration.

I will talk about Sir Henry Wyatt in another post. I’m trying to remain invisible throughout this book-writing process, but at this point I have to say that the pitifully unattractive Sir Henry is my favorite ancestor. Well, some of that probably has to do with “the barnacles” – a medieval torture that nearly twisted your upper lip off your face. That and the rack – two tortures he’s said to have endured.   

Henry nearly died in prison. Have you heard the legend of the cat? While imprisoned by Richard III, he was befriended a cat who eventually brought him birds that were cooked by a “compassionate jailer.” He was essentially starving, so the cat saved his life. After that, Henry would “ever make much of cats”.

Henry suffered medieval torture on behalf of Henry Tudor and was generously rewarded for his loyalty and ongoing service for the rest of his life.

When Henry VII died, the gratitude and riches continued to flow through his son. Henry VII had named Wyatt his son’s guardian and upon Henry VIII’s coronation, Wyatt was created Knight of the Bath. 

My impression is that his son Sir Thomas the Poet was frivolous and overly romantic; and that his son, Thomas the Younger was the typical over privileged rebellious kid there for a time; but he finally leaned to righteous causes as an adult.

Thomas Wyatt the Younger

Like his father before him, Young Tom grew up in Allington castle. At 15 he was appointed Esquire of the Body to Henry VIII, and Joint Constable of Conysborough Castle in Yorkshire, a post that was previously held by both his father and grandfather.

His grandfather died when he was 15 years of age. I haven’t done the research yet, but it’s possible Henry had more influence on young Tom than his father. Henry was old and tired by then, while Sir Thomas was still traveling on behalf of the king.

Thomas the Elder died “on the king’s business” when Young Tom was 21; he inherited substantial properties, including Allington and Boxley in Kent. His father was a bit of a gambler and a rogue, so some of the lands went to payment of debt.

In the 1540s Tom served in the wars against France and was given command of his own troops. In 1547 he was knighted. Henry VIII died that same year, but there was little drama as his crown passed seamlessly to his 15-year-old son, Edward VI. Protestants guided the court and all was well – until the young king got sick. Some say he had TB – others suspect his death was hastened by the Duke of Northumberland who “had an agenda”.

Edward had two older sisters. Mary, Catholic daughter of Katherine of Aragon, was a pious pain in the ass. The protestant Elizabeth was daughter of that whore Anne Boleyn; Edward loved her dearly.

Before his death, Henry VIII had recorded an Act of Succession that preserved his daughters’ access to the throne – but John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland had a better idea. He wanted more power. He convinced the young king to exclude both sisters from the line of succession and replace them with his son’s 16 year old wife, the Lady Jane Grey.

Jane’s pedigree was questionable. She was the granddaughter of Henry VIII’s younger sister Mary Tudor, Queen of France.  She was also Mary’s cousin.

Edward died at 15 of a pulmonary infection – poison – or some combination of the two. Lady Jane Grey ruled for less than two weeks before being overthrown by Mary. Young Tom had been part of the movement to put Jane on the throne, but he managed to convince Mary of his loyalty.  

Jane was also spared … for a time. She had two things in her favor. She was Mary’s cousin and Mary realized she had been a powerless victim. Mary had played that role most of her life. Only now she finally had the power she dreamed of. Power to right personal wrongs and return the country to the true religion; Catholicism.

She treated her cousin with kindness. Jane was given decent lodging at the tower and allowed to roam the queen’s gardens. Mary even gave her a generous allowance.  All was well for a time.

Thomas and his Protestant friends watched passively until Mary made it clear she intended to marry Felipe of Spain – described on a Wyatt family site as “that other gloomy bigot.”

The combination of Roman Catholic AND flesh and blood Spanish influence in England was just too much for some.  Understand that Mary’s grandparents were behind Spain’s bloody inquisition.

Young Tom accepted an invitation by Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devon, to rise up against Mary.  Thomas held a meeting at Allington and ultimately managed to raise 4000 men. They marched on London in late January, 1554, but the English people rose in support of Henry’s oldest daughter.  The rebellion failed and Thomas was imprisoned.

Some say his wife, Jane Hawte, was told Thomas would be spared if he would implicate Elizabeth; he refused. He was sentenced to a traitor’s death on 4/11/1554. He used to scaffold speech to exonerate Elizabeth and some say he may have saved her life. In the face of a violent death he said: 

“And whereas it is said and whistled abroad that I should accuse my lady Elizabeth’s grace and my lord Courtenay; it is not so, good people. For I assure you neither they nor any other now in yonder hold or durance was privy of my rising or commotion before I began. As I have declared no less to the queen’s council. And this is most true.”

In the years to come, Elizabeth would not forget his loyalty.

Wyatt’s head was severed, his body was quartered and his bowels and genitals burned. His head and body quarters were parboiled and nailed up. His head was placed on a post – and later stolen.

Mary didn’t stop at that. She confiscated his estates and titles, causing severe hardships for his widow and children

Shortly thereafter Wyatt’s Rebellion caused the death of Lady Jane Grey. Mary knew Jane was innocent, but she took advice from Charles V of Spain. She made an example of Lady Jane and her husband Guilford Dudley.

Lady Jane’s husband was taken from the tower and beheaded in public at Tower Hill. Despite the fact that theirs was an arranged political marriage, Jane watched in tears as Guilford passed below her window to the tower.

Mary had Jane taken to The Tower Green, within the Tower. This private execution was seen as a gesture of respect.

This account of her execution is from Wikipedia: “The executioner asked her forgiveness, and she gave it. She pleaded the axeman, ‘I pray you dispatch me quickly’. Referring to her head, she asked, ‘Will you take it off before I lay me down?’ and the axeman answered, ‘No, madam’. She then blindfolded herself. Jane had resolved to go to her death with dignity, but once blindfolded, failing to find the block with her hands, began to panic and cried, ‘What shall I do? Where is it?’ An unknown hand, possibly Feckenham’s, then helped her find her way and retain her dignity at the end. With her head on the block, Jane spoke the last words of Jesus as recounted by Luke: “Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit!” 
 
With Thomas, Guilford and Jane gone, Mary still had to decide what to do with that other threat; Elizabeth. 

***
Please contact me if you find any flaws in my research. Thanks so much – Micki.

 

 

 

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Bloody Mary

Queen Mary, a.k.a. "Bloody Mary"

Why did our ancestor Thomas Wyatt the Younger lead a revolution against Queen Mary, Henry VIII’s oldest daughter?  Watching “Elizabeth” (the Special Edition version) was an entertaining way to get some sense for it.

I believe the portrayal of Queen Mary was accurate; the actress who played her even looked like paintings of the real queen.  From what I’ve read of Mary, her health was never good and my God, what a miserable childhood.   When you think about the family dynamics, this beats anything you’d see on Springer.

Henry VIII thought little of discarding his first wife (Catherine of Aragon) when she was beyond her ability to produce live sons – just as he thought very little of declaring their daughter Mary a bastard.

Henry married Anne and had her crowned Queen of England. Per Wikipedia – “Anne had been crowned with St. Edward’s crown, unlike any other queen consort, while carrying Elizabeth. Historian Alice Hunt has suggested that this was done because Anne’s pregnancy was visible at the moment of coronation and she was carrying an heir who was presumed to be male.”

I wrote about King Edward – St. Edward – in a previous blog. he is another fascinating distant relative. He was succeeded by William the Conqueror – our immediate ancestor through Lady Elizabeth Brooke’s line. 

After Anne Boleyn gave birth to Elizabeth, Mary was forced to SERVE her little sister while being denied access to her own mother. When Catherine of Aragon died, Mary was not allowed to attend the funeral.

Elizabeth’s childhood would be even more extreme. Her mother Anne Boleyn was beheaded when Elizabeth was less than three years old.

Imagine the adult dynamic of Mary and Elizabeth – half sisters, daughters of a violent father who wanted sons.

Henry finally had a son after his third marriage to Jane Seymour – Edward VI.

Thomas Wyatt had served Henry VIII as a volunteer in wars against France between 1543 and 1550. One governor wrote Henry VIII praising Wyatt’s "hardiness, painfulness, circumspection, and natural disposition to the war".  He was given command of troops and knighted in 1547. Somewhere along the line he developed a true hatred of the Spanish.

When Henry died and was succeeded by Edward VI, Thomas returned to England and stopped taking part in public affairs.  Edward was still a child when Henry died, so Protestants ruled the court on his behalf. As Edward grew, he and his half-sister Mary got into it over religion; one record talks about an instance where Mary left an event crying. While it seems Edward had a good relationship with Elizabeth, he didn’t want Mary anywhere near the throne.

John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland, convinced Edward to exclude both of his sisters from the line of succession. (This was against Henry VIII’s Act of Succession.) Dudley recommended his daughter-in-law, Lady Jane Grey, instead. She was the granddaughter of Henry VIII’s younger sister Mary Tudor, Queen of France.

Sir Thomas Wyatt was part of the movement to put Jane on the throne.

Edward died at 15 of a pulmonary infection – and/or poison. Lady Jane Grey – only 16 years old – ruled for less than two weeks before being overthrown by Mary.

Jane was Mary’s cousin and Mary knew she was an innocent pawn in a power play. Her initial treatment was kind. She was kept in decent lodging at the Tower and allowed to roam the queen’s gardens. Mary even gave her a generous allowance.

Thomas and his Protestant friends watched from the sidelines UNTIL Mary made it known that she intended to marry Felipe of Spain. The combination of Roman Catholic AND Spanish influence in England was too much for Thomas.

He accepted an invitation by Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devon, to rise up against Mary.  Thomas held a meeting at Allington Castle and ultimately managed to raise  4000 men. They marched on London in late January, 1554.

This event is known as “Wyatt’s Rebellion.”

The rebellion failed and Thomas was imprisoned. Some say his wife, Jane Hawte, was approached and told he would be spared if he would implicate Elizabeth; he refused. He was beheaded and dismembered, with his limbs spread across the countryside. His head was stolen; Mary confiscated his estates and titles and his family struggled to survive.

Wikipedia puts the times into one fairly neat package. I don’t always trust the information either, but I do enjoy the squabbling under the “Discussion” tab.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_I_of_England

Mary didn’t listen to experienced members of her English court; she took her advice from Charles V of Spain. Within five days of Sir Thomas’ rebellion, she did as he suggested; she made an example of Lady Jane and her husband. Mary had Jane beheaded in private at The Tower Green, within the Tower of London. This was seen as a gesture of respect.

This account of her execution is from Wikipedia: “The executioner asked her forgiveness, and she gave it. She pleaded the axeman, ‘I pray you dispatch me quickly’. Referring to her head, she asked, ‘Will you take it off before I lay me down?’ and the axeman answered, ‘No, madam’. She then blindfolded herself. Jane had resolved to go to her death with dignity, but once blindfolded, failing to find the block with her hands, began to panic and cried, ‘What shall I do? Where is it?’ An unknown hand, possibly Feckenham’s, then helped her find her way and retain her dignity at the end. With her head on the block, Jane spoke the last words of Jesus as recounted by Luke: “Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit!”

Lady Jane’s husband was taken from the tower and beheaded in public at Tower Hill.

With Jane gone, Mary still had to decide what to do with Elizabeth. Mary sent her to the tower for two months under the assumption she was in cahoots with Thomas.

Mary burned nearly 300 Protestants at the stake, sought the love of a husband who “wasn’t that into her” and endured the humiliation of two phantom pregnancies.

Bloody Mary died at 42 years of age and Elizabeth was crowned.  “Good Bess” started turning that sinking ship. Per Wikipedia “Elizabeth set out to rule by good counsel, and she depended heavily on a group of trusted advisers led by William Cecil,  Baron Burghley. One of her first moves as queen was to support the establishment of an English Protestant church, of which she became the Supreme Governor. This Elizabethan Religious Settlement held firm throughout her reign and later evolved into today’s Church of England.”

During the time of our ancestor George Wyatt, Queen Elizabeth restored some of the Wyatt estate.

Some say Queen Elizabeth never married because of what she remembered of her mother and father from childhood.  The movie implies she was far more noble than that. Whatever the case, Anne Boleyn’s daughter achieved some wonderful things.

Unbelievably, Mary and Elizabeth were reunited in death. Per Wikipedia we learn … “The Latin inscription on a marble plaque on their tomb (affixed there by James VI of Scotland when he succeeded Elizabeth to the throne of England as James I) translates to “Consorts in realm and in tomb, here we sleep, Elizabeth and Mary, sisters, in hope of resurrection”.

Queen Mary was a descendant of John of Gaunt – as are we.

Anne Boleyn was Lady Elizabeth Brooke’s cousin. We are descended through Lady Elizabeth Brooke, so her daughter Queen Elizabeth would have been our … cousin once removed?

Our first ancestor to set foot in America – Hawte Wyatt – was named after Lady Hawte Wyatt, daughter and heiress of Sir William Hawte of Bishop’s Borne.

This stuff just fascinates me beyond all reason.  While it barely touches on the Wyatt connection, I felt like I was there. I watched the movie three times.

Request Elizabeth, Special Edition from Netflix or order from Amazon: 

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