Page 178. " on 4 April the King and Queen moved to Hampton Court for Easter "
The Tudor Gatehouse at Hampton Court Palace
GNU Free Documentation LicenseThe Tudor Gatehouse at Hampton Court Palace - Credit: Richard James Lander 1 June 2004

A royal palace in Richmond, London, Hampton Court Palace has not been resided in by a British monarch since the 18th century.  Originally built for Cardinal Wolsey when he was at the height of his powers (c 1515), it passed to Henry in 1529, when Wolsey realised he was in danger of falling from Henry's favour.


Today, the palace is open to the public, and although parts of the Tudor building are still standing, such as the gatehouse (Anne Boleyn's Gate) with its astrological clock, the palace has been added to over the years.

Page 180. " if Mary died childless, as seemed increasingly likely, the legitimate, Catholic heir to England was Mary, Queen of Scots, the daughter of Henry VIII's elder sister Margaret "
Philip II of Spain by Sofonisba Anguissola.1564
Public DomainPhilip II of Spain by Sofonisba Anguissola.1564 - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Phillip II of Spain (15 May 1527-13 September 1598), the son of Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, was married to Mary I of England from 1554 until her death in 1558, although he had, in effect, left her before then and when it became clear she would remain childless. 


Map of the Dominion of the Habsburgs in 1547. The Cambridge Modern History Atlas 1912
Public DomainMap of the Dominion of the Habsburgs in 1547. The Cambridge Modern History Atlas 1912 - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Although it was in the interest of the Habsburgs (of which Charles was emperor) that a Catholic monarch reigned in England, Mary Queen of Scots, with her French upbringing and her betrothment to the heir of the French throne, was anyone but their choice.  As David Starkey writes: 'Her succession to England would thus be the fulfilment of the worst Habsburg nightmare: she would fuse both island-kingdoms into a joint Franco-British realm that would control the Channel and rupture sea links between the eastern and western halves of the Habsburgs' European empire.'  Once he had succeeded his father, Philip remained friendly towards England until he sent his Armada, in 1588, on an invasion attempt to England.  Unsuccessfully as it turned out.

Mary Queen of Scots Artist Unknown 1559
Public DomainMary Queen of Scots Artist Unknown 1559 - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Mary Stuart (8 December 1542 - 8 February 1587) was the daughter of King James V of Scotland.  Her father having died soon after her birth, she was crowned Queen of Scotland when only a baby.  She married Francis, the heir to the French throne in 1558 and a year later he became Francis II of France, with Mary as his Queen Consort, until his death in 1560.  Mary returned to Scotland in 1561 and married Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley.  Their marriage lasted until 1565 when, after an explosion at the house in which he was staying, he was found dead in the garden, apparently by strangulation.  Her life continued on its eventful path with her marriage, soon after, to James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell but she was soon to be imprisoned in Loch Leven Castle during an uprising and forced to abdicate her throne in favour of her son, the infant James VI.  (He became James I of England after the death of Elizabeth I).  She managed to escape imprisonment and  fled to England, there to seek protection from her cousin, Elizabeth I.  Unfortunately for Mary, because many English Catholics supported her claim over that of Elizabeth's, that queen considered it too dangerous to her own position to allow Mary the freedom to gather a threatening force around her.  Mary had also always claimed the throne of England as hers by right of descent and legitimacy.  Elizabeth had Mary imprisoned in various locations for 19 years, until Mary was eventually tried and found guilty of plotting against Elizabeth.  Reluctantly, for Mary was both Elizabeth's cousin and an anointed queen, Elizabeth signed Mary's death warrant.  Mary was beheaded at Fotheringhay Castle on 8 February 1587.


Execution of Mary Queen of Scots. Unknown Dutch artist. 1613
Public DomainExecution of Mary Queen of Scots. Unknown Dutch artist. 1613 - Credit: Wikimedia Commons


Page 187. " it soon proved Pyrrhic. "
Bust of Pyrrhus of Epirus
Public DomainBust of Pyrrhus of Epirus - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The expression Pyrrhic Victory refers to a victory which is won at too high a cost and is most probably the last sustainable victory possible.  It refers to King Pyrrhus of Epirus who led his armies against the Romans at Heraclea in 280BC and at Asculum in 279BC during the Pyrrhic War.  Although he inflicted heavy losses on the Romans, he lost many of his men, including his best warriors.  And ultimately, the Romans had far greater numbers on which to draw for future conflicts than did Pyrrhus.  So, in victory Pyrrhus was the ultimate loser. 

Page 190. " in the purefying fires of Mary's reign "
Plaque commemorating the martyrs burned to at Maidstone, Kent in 1557
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikePlaque commemorating the martyrs burned to at Maidstone, Kent in 1557 - Credit: Mjroots

Mary I, upon her succession to the throne in 1553, declared that she would not force the people to follow her own religion of Catholicism.  But within a year leading reformers and church men, including Hugh Latimer and Thomas Cranmer, were imprisoned. Mary restored the supremacy of the Roman Catholic Church, repealing the actions of her father Henry VIII and her brother Edward VI.  She also revived into law the old Heresy Acts in January 1555,  previously abolished under her two predecessors. Under these Acts, a person could be executed for not conforming to the official religion, which was, during Mary's reign, Catholic. During her reign, nearly 300 people, the majority of them men, were burned alive for their religion, earning Mary the epithet 'Bloody'.  The victims were considered martyrs by Protestants and the deep resentment against both Catholics and Spaniards, as many blamed the influence of Philip II, was to last for centuries. 

Page 193. " Perkin Warbeck, the pretender to the English throne who claimed to be the younger of the Princes in the Tower "
Drawing of Perkin Warbeck. 15th century. Artist unknown
Public DomainDrawing of Perkin Warbeck. 15th century. Artist unknown - Credit: Wikimedia Commo

Perkin Warbeck claimed, as a descendent of the royal House of York, to be the rightful King of England during the reign of Henry VII.   He was perceived as a threat to Henry during the early years of the Tudor dynasty when the country was by no means settled in the aftermath of the War of the Roses.  He made several abortive attempts to land in England and to raise forces against Henry until his eventual capture and imprisonment in 1497.  Held as a prisoner until his execution on 23 November 1499, the legend, as claimed by Warbeck himself, that he was in fact Richard, Duke of York, the younger son of Edward IV and one the Princes in the Tower, persisted in popular folklore, and in fiction.