Page 152. " the palace was largely the work of Henry II, who had enjoyed its rural bliss with his mistress, the fair Rosamund "


Fair Rosamund by John William Waterhouse. 1917
Public DomainFair Rosamund by John William Waterhouse. 1917 - Credit: Wikimedia Commons


Rosamund Clifford (1150-1176), also known as the Fair Rosamund, was renowned both for her beauty and for being a mistress of King Henry II.  Although legends have developed over the years little is actually known about Rosamund, other than that her relationship with Henry became public in 1174 and that it ended when she retired to a nunnery just before she died.  It is also known that she spent time at Woodstock Palace with Henry II.



Woodstock Palace in Oxfordshire was destroyed during the English Civil War, and indeed, at the time of Elizabeth's imprisonment there in 1553 it was badly in need of repair. 

Page 155. " His first instructions from the council had been to isolate Elizabeth by getting her factotum and eminence grise, Thomas Parry, as far away from Woodstock as possible. "
Sir Thomas Parry c. 1538-40. Attributed to Hans Holbein the Younger by KT Parker
Public DomainSir Thomas Parry c. 1538-40. Attributed to Hans Holbein the Younger by KT Parker - Credit: Wikimedia Commons



Sir Thomas Parry (c.1515-15 December 1560), the Comptroller of Elizabeth's household, was knighted by her upon her succession in 1558.  A loyal and long-serving official of Elizabeth's, Parry had previously worked with Thomas Cromwell and had been involved in the Dissolution of the Monasteries




Page 166. " the Magnificat, spoken by Mary, Queen of Heaven, "
The Coronation of the Virgin Mary. Peter Paul Rubens c. 1st half of 17th century
Public DomainThe Coronation of the Virgin Mary. Peter Paul Rubens c. 1st half of 17th century - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Queen of Heaven is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Christian, mainly Roman Catholic, religion.  She ascended into heaven as the mother of Jesus Christ, the King of the Hebrews and Heavenly King of the Universe.  Depictions in art of Mary as Queen of Heaven date from early times, one of the first being Roman from the 6th century.


The canticle, the Magnificat, also known as The Song of Mary, is one of the earliest known hymns of the Christian Church.  Its text is from the Gospel of Luke (1:46-55) and tells of the visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth when Elizabeth was pregnant with John the Baptist.  The child moves within Elizabeth's womb and when Elizabeth praises Mary for her faith, Mary sings the Magnificat in response.  Mary sings of the dawning of a new, righteous age.

Page 168. " He (Philip) landed at Southampton on 19 July and Mary arrived in Winchester the following day. On the 25th they were married in Gardiner's cathedral by the bishop himself. "
Interior of Wichester Cathedral. 2006
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeInterior of Wichester Cathedral. 2006 - Credit: Pam Brophy

Winchester in Hampshire, the ancient capital of Wessex and the Kingdom of England, was the setting chosen by Mary for her marriage to Philip.  Its cathedral is one of the largest in Europe with the longest nave, making it a fit and magnificent setting for a royal marriage.




Stephen Gardiner's Chantry Tomb in Winchester Cathedral
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeStephen Gardiner's Chantry Tomb in Winchester Cathedral - Credit: Ealdgyth

Stephen Gardiner, Roman Catholic Bishop of Winchester, suffered the ups and downs of changing regimes and religions that not a few others did during the Tudor period.  Imprisoned during the reign of the Protestant Edward VI, he was released when Mary ascended the throne and flourished during her reign, becoming Lord Chancellor, until his death in 1555.  He is buried in Winchester Cathedral.

Page 170. " The union of York and Lancaster entailed the demonization of Richard III. "
Richard III c.1520 (after an original)
Public DomainRichard III c.1520 (after an original) - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

After Richard III's defeat at the Battle of Bosworth Field, it proved necessary to 'forget' the Plantagent line, of which Richard III was the last.  For the new Tudor dynasty to rule with strength Henry VII had to 'demonize' Richard III.  Richard's notorious involvement in the death of the Princes in the Tower has since been questioned, as the truth of what happened to them, and by whom, is not known.  But the story, and belief in Richard's involvement, were popularly held and was capitalised upon.  Much modern popular belief in the old myth relies upon Shakespeare's play Richard III, with Richard being played both as a villian and as someone older than he actually was.  Only 32 when he died in 1485, he has invariably been played by actors considerably older.  For instance, Laurence Olivier was 47 in his 1955 film and Sir Ian McKellan was 56 in his 1995 version.

Page 171. " The new parliament was opened on 12 November and its first act was to repeal the attainder or condemnation for treason of Cardinal Reginald Pole. "

Cardinal Pole (1500-1558) was a cousin of Henry VIII and an English Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.  Having been sponsored by his boyhood friend, Henry, Reginal Pole completed his higher education at the university of Padua.  Pole assisted Henry in his negotiations to get his marriage to Catherine of Aragon annulled.  However, Pole disagreed with Henry's further actions, in particular his break with papal authority; in return Henry denounced him as a traitor and he became an exile, unable to return to England until the succession of the Roman Catholic Mary I, who authorised the reversal of his condemnation as a traitor.  Shortly after his return, the Revival of the Heresy Act of November 1554 was passed, precipitating the burnings (about 300 in total), which were to follow during Mary's reign.

The Tomb of Cardinal Reginald Pole at Canterbury Cathedral
GNU Free Documentation LicenseThe Tomb of Cardinal Reginald Pole at Canterbury Cathedral - Credit: Wikimedia Commons



In the same month, Thomas Cranmer was officially deprived of the see of Canterbury and Thomas Pole was made Archbishop of Canterbury in 1955.  He held this position until his death in  1558, outliving Mary by a mere twelve hours.  He is buried in Canterbury Cathedral in Kent.