Mary, her reign, the conflicts she faced her own and those of a society just about ready to fully embrace the new religion and upon whom Mary wanted to impose the old ways of Rome are also dealt with here, and you get a clear picture of how good a ruler she could have been if fate AND HER FAITH hadn t dominated her in such a strong way.
For those interested in Mary specifically i would recommend after this one The first Queen of England by Linda Porter it does a great job of deconstructing the myth and showing the woman behind the Bloody Mary.
Then of course, just about anyone who has read a book or watched the movies knows this then Mary sadly dies and Elizabeth is crowned Queen of England About her and her long reign much as been written so i wont go into details here, after all like i have said this isn t a full biography on any of these characters its of a general portrait of what happened with each and every one in the years between Henry and his daughter Elizabeth.
My one pet peeve and the reason why i don t give it a 5 maybe its silly to you but it confused me somewhat the absence of footnotes, for me personally they make the reading flow better because i don t have to stop and go double check some piece of informationtiny detail that doesn t take the enjoyment out of it, but stillyou are warned Like i said, not a scholarly in depth biography but still, a great starting point to introduce characters, times and events in a very easy, engaging and approachable way If you love this one, go ahead and researchThe Tudors make any of today s royal families look like the Brady Bunchhonest Happy Readings The title of this book is a bit misleading While Weir does her usual fine job of elucidating characters and their times, calling this The Children of Henry VIII is a bit misleading, since Lady Jane Grey s nine day reign is included Her story as a child until her brief reign is also told This makes a great deal of sense historically, since she was labeled sovereign by some lords upon the death of Edward VI and before Mary s supporters drove Grey s handlers from power.
The book does a nice job of outlining the personalities, experiences, and beliefs of Edward, Mary, and Elizabeth, the children of Henry VIII as well as Lady Jane Grey, also of royal blood Edward s reign after his father s death was brief, with his death from tuberculosis in his middle teens Weir outlines his personality and his positions on issues of the day He never ruled as full sovereign because of his age, but many thought him promising material He was strongly supportive of a radical religious stance, moving further from the Catholic Church The story of efforts by his Council members to manipulate him and compete with one another for influence through him is well told When his health began deteriorating, with Mary the heir to the throne, some of the nobles realized that they could be in serious trouble, given her know adherence to Catholicism and to her anger at her poor treatment by some of those nobles.
Hence, the coup that placed Grey on the throne, even if only for a short while It was an effort surely doomed to fail When troops flocked to Mary to support her claim on the throne, the conspirators were defeated The sad ending of Jane s life is spelled out Mary did not want her death, but she served as a symbol for those who did not want the return of the Catholic religion Thus, she was disposed of as an effort to defuse unrest.
Far troublesome, as discussed here, was the prickly relationship between the sisters Mary and Elizabeth The latter ended up in the Tower of London for awhile, sometimes sure that she was to experience her mother s fate Anne Boleyn was her mother Mary s marriage to Philip of Spain and her inability to produce an heir her efforts to return England to Catholicism and the ensuing burnings at the stake for heresy she was later referred to as Bloody Mary.
And, with her death, the book ends with Elizabeth learning that she was now Queen.
This is a standard Alison Weir work, which for me means a well written story, with plenty of details of the main focal characters and the contexts in which they found themselves There is a nice genealogical table at the end, to see how Jane was related to Edward, Mary, and Elizabeth Another good product from Weir s pen.
At His Death In , King Henry VIII Left Four Heirs To The English Throne His Only Son, The Nine Year Old Prince Edward The Lady Mary, The Adult Daughter Of His First Wife, Catherine Of Aragon The Lady Elizabeth, The Daughter Of His Second Wife, Anne Boleyn, And His Young Great Niece, The Lady Jane Grey These Are The Players In A Royal Drama That Ultimate Led To Elizabeth S Ascension To The Throne One Of The Most Spectacularly Successful Reigns In English History Although I wouldn t say I m a Tudor Expert okay maybe I would I do like to think I am well versed on the topic I first read Alison Weir s The Children of Henry VIII almost a decade ago before I was as acquainted with the Tudor dynasty Although both are far different experiences, re reading this history piece still brought enjoyment once again.
Immediately in the first sentence of the Preface, Weir states that The Children of Henry VIII is not a history of England during the troubles reigns of Edward VI, Jane Grey let s stress for the beginner Tudor reader that Jane was NOT Henry s daughter , Mary I, and Elizabeth I, but a chronicle of the personal lives of four English sovereigns and the relationships between them While this is true that Weir does not dive too deeply into the political landscape of the aforementioned individuals and focuses on the social and personal aspects of these leaders the text still doesn t give the desired look into the psyche of these sovereigns as perhaps expected Rather then REALLY getting to know theses individuals and experiencing their histories, Weir basically just tells their stories Despite this, Weir keeps a smooth chronological sequence of events and instead of sectioning off chapters for each king queen she intertwines events in order to show equal time incidents in various lives I.
E While Mary was fill in the blank , Elizabeth was doing This creates a full picture of the Tudors which is especially insightful to those readers newer to the topic at hand For those familiar, The Children of Henry VIII is a terrific refresher course plus, it has some details which you may have not read elsewhere As usual with Weir, her research is extensive and annotated while also including quotes and chunks of letters documents while presenting a text which is well paced and smooth versus overly scholarly One of the positives is that Weir did not demonstrate an overly biased view towards any of the sovereigns, telling their domestic affairs with equal validity Another optimistic feature were the biographical snippets on other influential figures which provided insight into in the lives of well known but lesser written about personages As The Children of Henry VIII progressed, it became increasingly detailed, and for lack of a better description, entertaining while being accompanied by strong sources such as Edward s diary entries and Elizabeth s household account books Even having read this book in the past, I still eagerly turned the pages and was engaged by Weir s storytelling although, she was at times repetitive and would reiterate phrases The majority of the book followed Mary s reign, helping bring her to life and almost read like a single Mary biography which may deter some readers but was welcomed by me, as a fan of Mary Even though I know a great deal about Mary Tudor there were some details and statistics I was unaware of It is always riveting to learn something new The Children of Henry VIII is a rather solid look into the heirs to Henry VIII s throne and the events which connected them Although the book could have presented details on the other sovereigns aside from Mary Weir ends the book at Elizabeth s accession to the throne this glimpse into the Tudor world is engaging and certainly worth reading about.
The Royals of England always seem to get a lot of publicity, than most others Queen Victoria s reign, the abdication of Edward VIII, the family of Elizabeth II, Princess Dianna, Princess Margaret, Prince Charles, Wills and Kate It wasn t that much different in Tudor EnglandAs we who have read Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies learned, it wasn t easy to be at Court or a Tudor child Hopes, plots and fortunes were constantly changing Weir has a firm grasp of that period and gives us a good narrative and great deal of detail about each of the four children and how their lives were directed and influenced It answered some questions and gave me a much better perspective on all the elements influencing decisions at the Tudor Court.
Alison Weir always delivers, and it s a pleasure to have one of her books in my greedy for history hands Here, she focuses on Mary I, Elizabeth I, and Edward VI, the Tudor Children She paints the picture of papa Henry and how his lust for power, and women, led him to be father to three different children from three different mothers.
There is even a biographical portrait of Lady Jane Grey, the unfortunate girl caught between avaricious parents and power hungry opponents Believe me, you will not want to put the book down, as you flow from Henry s death through physically weak Edward, then through Bloody Mary s reign, and then to Elizabeth s ascension and the beginning of the global empire for England.
It always amazes me that so small an island can have produced such magnificent historical figures Get your Tudor groove on with this great read.
Book Season Summer second verse same as the first I m copying this from other posts I made on the Tudor group but thought I d share here, as well July 15 09I m really enjoying learning about Jane in The Children of England, also by AW Thought I d share a little for anyone who, like me, doesn t know much about her The first part of the book takes place directly after the death of Henry VIII and goes into a lot of detail regarding Jane s feelings toward her parents and her preference to learning above all else, as learning was the only thing she could do safely, without fear of punishment It also speaks of her betrothal to Lord Hertford being broken in favor of her parents desire for higher position, as well as to fit the Duke of Northumberland s schemes to raise his family s stature by marry his own son, Guilford Dudley younger brother of Robert to Jane AW states that Jane would have preferred to never marry at all but accepted that marriage was a part of her role as an one in line to inherit the throne She did, however, hate the Dudleys and refused to marry Guilford on the grounds of her previous betrothal Her parents finally won that argument when they flogged Jane into submission When reading about Jane, you can t help but feel for the sweet girl who would have preferred to sit with a book than sit on a throne She was incredibly Protestant and very intelligent It would have been interesting to see what sort of Queen she would have made or what sort of life she would have lived had she been able to follow through on either of these paths The second part of the book focuses on Jane and Mary after the death of Edward VI I ll be reading that in about 10 pages or so I ll write when I learn it I highly recommend reading the book July 17, 2009From what I ve just finished reading, Edward s Lord Protector at the time of this death was the Duke of Northumberland, who was Robert Dudley s father He overthrew Edward s uncle, Lord Somerset Edward Seymour Jane Seymour s brother and took total control of the ruling Northumberland convinced Edward to change the line of succession set forth in Henry VIII s will to skip over Mary, Elizabeth and Frances Brandon Henry s niece by his sister Mary , which was illegal and traitorous to defy However, Northumberland had so much power that the other advisors felt that they could not go against him for fear of their lives The doctors all deemed that nothing could be done for Edward, who was incredibly sick at the end He was coughing up blood, he had boils, ulcers and bedsores to name a few and could barely get out of bed, write letters or even speak Northumberland was not yet prepared to let him die He needed time to set affairs into order in a way that would benefit him by getting Jane on the throne, who was married to his youngest son, Guilford Dudley Northumberland hired what AW calls a female quack a woman who fed aresenic to Edward, which apparently prolonged his life though to great suffering on Edward s part When the new line of succession was agreed upon unwillingly and sworn to by all advisors in front of Edward himself, Northumberland no longer had a need to keep him alive and got rid of the quack , ending the poisoning Interestingly, this woman was never seen or heard from again and some think that she was murdered I have no doubt that Northumberland would not be above getting rid of a woman who helped him to poison a King Anyway, Edward, pre illness, was really trying to participate and do by way of ruling He attempted to emmulate his father in all ways If you look at pictures of him, he even stands like Henry did, feet apart and hands on hips He wasn t as athletic as Henry but enjoyed watching sport and loves the masques, etc When his uncle was Lord Protector he did not let Edward take part in many decisions This led Edward to hate his uncle Northumberland was smart even to realize that he needed to at least make Edward believe that decisions were his to make but was also smart enough to know how to make Edward s decisions mirror his own July 22 09Mary, for all of her good qualities, of which she apparently possessed many, was a brutal queen, relentless in her persecution of the Protestant heretics She was very much a maternal figure She acted as mother to Elizabeth at a young age and wanted nothing than to be a mother and provide a son for Phillip and for England Obviously, this was not destined to happen Mary was older when she married Phillip and probably in the beginning stages of menopause She probably suffered from what is known as a phantom pregnancy wanting so badly to be pregnant that she convinced herself and her body that she was The worst part of this section of the book was reading about the burnings So many men and women died as a result of heresy During Mary s pregnancy , she convinced herself that in order to safely deliver a child, she must first rid England of all the heretics and she increased the persecution at this time One woman was burned when she was 8 months pregnant While burning, she delivered the baby The executioner picked up the baby and threw it back in the fire I can t imagine what it must have been like to have lived during a time like this, always in fear of your life and the lives of your friends and family Fresh off her earlier work, Henry VIII, I dove headfirst into this follow up that recounts the tumultuous period between the great monarch s death and the ascension of his second daughter, Elizabeth The title, as many have observed, is a tad misleading as only three out of the four monarchs featured were actually children of the late Henry the teenage Lady Jane Grey, who reigned for a mere three months after the death of the equally young Edward VI and before being deposed by Mary and her allies, being technically his grand niece Despite this slight error, The Children of Henry VIII is a work of remarkable scholarship that shed light on a period of Tudor history that is often fast forwarded over in popular scholarship, if not the popular imagination through the cinematic and television mediums.
One interesting theory that Weir plays with is in regards to Elizabeth s refusal to marry, which has long been a juicy gossip and rumor mill by both professional and lay historians alike with the executions of Anne Boleyn, Katherine Howard and Thomas Seymour in mind, she had come to equate marriage with death This did not affect her desire to flirt and court male interest, but it prevented her from ever making the final commitment in any emotional relationship Of course, it is just as likely that Elizabeth s aversion to marriage stemmed from the very real fear that if she married a Continental monarch, she would be putting the control of her realm and her English subjects under potential foreign dominion in the event of her death Combine that with the unsuitability of marrying any of her supposed lovers Robert Dudley and Walter Raleigh, to name but a few and it is easy to imagine just how hard it was being in her position Then again, there are those who speculate that she was barren, or even that she chose to proclaim her status as a Virgin Queen in order to appease and persuade Catholics to her accept her Protestant reign Whatever the reason s , Elizabeth s reign is the remarkable for ushering in the Golden Age Before Elizabeth, Mary was the second woman to reign from the English throne The first being the Empress Matilda, who reigned during a turbulent time in the twelfth century And for this very reason, many were wary of a woman holding the reigns of power which was best expressed by Mary of Hungary when she remarked to Emperor Charles V, A woman is never feared or respected as a man is, whatever the rank In time of war it is entirely impossible for a woman to govern satisfactorily All she can do is should responsibility for mistakes committed by others Of course, Elizabeth s long and remarkable reign proved them completely wrong on all counts.
Sandwiched between the reigns of the commanding personalities and the politically and socially astute minds of Henry VIII and his second daughter, Elizabeth, the short lived reigns of Edward VI, Jane, and Mary are often overlooked as a result of their political na vet and lack of genuine leadership skills the first two being mere pawns of powerful forces in the end But it is precisely because of these short comings of these ill fated monarchs that reading about them becomes absolutely absorbing and fascinating.
On that day a dead dog with clipped ears, a rope around its neck, and its head tonsured like a priest s was hurled into the Queen s chamber at Whitehall.
This is history at its best, with utterly intense soap opera plots and weird glamorous characters and all of it true This book picks up where Henry VIII and his collection of calamitous chorines left off and tells the story of the next eleven years And what eleven years they were Heads rolled, the stench of burning flesh hung in the air, and there was a coup d etat, and in the middle of it all, three unfortunate children, one of whom was beheaded.
When Henry expired of it is thought type II diabetes he d already laid down what should happen to the crown It should go to his only son Edward, then if he died without any heirs to his first daughter Mary, then if she died without any heirs to his second daughter Elizabeth No one paid too much attention to the back up plan with the girls, since the likelihood of them succeeding was thought remote, but that is exactly what happened The Tudors were really bad at having kids There s a woman at my office who had two sons in quick succession recently I said you would have made a great wife for Henry VIII and she said No, I would have been dead, they were both C section, and one was breech Being pregnant was often a death sentence Extract from Mary s will, 1557 I, Mary Queen of England, thinking myself to be with child in lawful marriage and being at this present thanks be unto Almighty God otherwise in good health, yet foreseeing the great danger which, by God s ordinance, remains to all women in the travail of children, have thought to declare my last will and testament.
So Edward VI became King aged 9 in 1547 He sounds like a precocious spiteful arrogant brat, God rest his soul The big shot lords who ran the government were pushing through a religious revolution in his name, and this was the big issue of the day Henry VIII as we know had told the Pope to go chastise himself, and declared Henry himself to be Supreme Head of the Church of England, but that didn t mean he was a Protestant no sir But Edward s handlers, they were.
Meanwhile, half sister Mary, aged 31, was a hardcore Catholic she was half Spanish and half sister Elizabeth, aged 14, was becoming a hardcore Protestant The salty English soup was coming to the boil.
Edward VI started to die when he was around 14 and completed the job aged 15 He probably had tuberculosis For lurid descriptions of lingering vile fatal illnesses, Alison Weir is hard to beat here.
After this teenage death the salty soup boiled over THE NINE DAY QUEENThe guy running the government at that point was one John Dudley Duke of Northumberland, Lord High Admiral, blah blah He went just a little bit completely crazy He saw his meal ticket subsided into the arms of Lethe, and his mind was racing if Mary is Queen, I ll be for the chop She ll throw out all the Protestants and bring in Catholics I ll lose everything What can I do to rescue this damnable situation So he came up with a Plan 1 Persuade the dying 15 year old King to disinherit both his sisters2 Persuade him to nominate another child as his successor3 Persuade the regency council and the entire country to accept this insane plan Then I can carry on running the country.
The hapless girl he fixed on was a 15 year old called Jane Grey, a cousin of the king and a great grand daughter of Henry VII John Dudley bullied her parents, bullied the council, and bullied her His line was, it s either Jane Grey or the Pope, by which he meant, it s either me or the Pope For a few days after Edward died it looked like the whole thing might work Dudley was like a chessplayer on crack move this here, block this there, swap those off, get that and that round to here but then his great plan began to unravel just like in my chess games As soon as they announced the succession of Queen Jane through England people the nobles and the hoi polloi started spontaneously drifting to Mary s residence in Framlingham to declare support for her Dudley got an army together to go and take Mary prisoner, he realised that would be essential, and he was running around bribing the solders and they were melting away, deserting, shamed by the nastiness of the enterprise Yes, Mary was a Catholic, but she was Harry s daughter Everyone knew that So Dudley was left with a melting posse, not an army, a loutish gang, and Mary arrested him, not the other way round, and that was the end of that.
QUEEN MARY S TO DO LIST1 Suppress rivals to the throne by force of arms2 Imprison Elizabeth in The Tower we can t prove anything but just let s make her sweat a little bit 3 Behead Jane 4 Get married to Catholic toy boy5 Convert the whole country back to Catholicism6 Give birth to boy7 Burn heretics by the scoreQueen Jane Approximately was clapped in the Tower of London with her immediate family and fianc Mary was Queen, the nation rejoiced How quickly their songs of love and celebration turned to tears and gnashing of teeth As Catherine of Aragon is the agonised heroine of Henry VIII s reign, so her daughter Mary is the agonised antiheroine of the following ten years.
At first Mary was all sweetness and mercy and didn t want to execute Jane or her family Until there was another rebellion, also feeble, which also melted away That convinced her to remove her rivals, so she threw her sister into the Tower, and Jane, aged 16, went to the block.
After that, no Mrs Nice Mary She got married to a Spanish Catholic prince She was 38, he was 27.
Description of Mary by Ruy Gomez, her husband s best mate rather older than we had been told She is not at all beautiful and is small and flabby rather than fat She is of white complexion and fair, and has no eyebrows Philip treats the Queen very kindly and well knows how to pass over the fact that she is no good from the point of view of fleshly sensuality.
Anonymous Spanish courtier What shall the king do with such an old bitch After the wedding and the honeymoon came the serious business of burning human beings alive, however Back to work It turned out that this sweet woman, who pretty much everyone liked personally, who had been sorely mistreated most of her life, called a bastard, rejected and imprisoned by her father and brother, who everyone had such sympathy for, when by a simple twist of fate she broke free from this wretched life and became queen, the first ever English queen to reign in her own name, the thing she really wanted to do was burn people alive if they disagreed with her.
HERETICS BURNINGS PER MONARCHElizabeth 5 in 45 years 0.
11 per year Henry VII 10 in 24 years 0.
41 per year Henry VIII 81 in 38 years 2.
3 per year Mary 295 in 4 years 74 per year ENGLAND UNDER MARY I never saw England weaker in strength, money, men and riches As much affectionate as you know me to be to my country and countrymen, I assure you I was ashamed of both Here was nothing but fining, heading, hanging, quartering and burning taxing, levying and beggaring, and losing our strongholds abroad A few priests ruled all, who, with setting up of six foot roods, thought to make all cocksure.
Thomas Smith, 1560IN CONCLUSIONMy kind of history book, a great story told with meticulous detail Alison Weir isn t the most personal writer, she keeps her own counsel, refrains from comment, and I would have liked of that, but really, I ain t complaining none, this was hair raising.
There isn t any earth shattering information contained in this tome, no new facts unearthed but Weir has such mastery of her research that it s always a pleasure to read her works This is the first time I ve read about all four I suppose you could call them junior Tudor monarchs in succinct, consecutive order I ve always been partial to the nine days queen since I saw the movie starring Helena Bonham Carter in the 80s I think she s been shortchanged by history Here she is given a healthy discourse Overall a great discussion of these rulers