Page 26. " Back in 1499, when he was eight, Henry had confronted the famous scholar, Erasmus. "
Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam with Renaissance Pilaster. Artist Hans Holbein the Younger (1498-1543)
Public DomainDesiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam with Renaissance Pilaster. Artist Hans Holbein the Younger (1498-1543) - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Erasmus was a renowned scholar of his day.  A humanist, Catholic priest and theologian who criticised various clerical practices while remaining committed to his  principles of reforming the Church from within, his ideas were influential to the Protestant Reformation.  He did not go far enough in his views to satisfy some Protestants, yet incurred the anger of Catholics.

Page 27. " Author of a text book on archery, he was also an amateur of the cockpit "

Roger Ascham (c 1515-1568) achieved renown as a scholar, particularly for his theories of education.  Between 1548 and 1550 he became Elizabeth's tutor in Greek and Latin, and served in the administrations of all three of Henry VIII's children upon their successions to the throne.  One of his pupils was William Grindal, Elizabeth's main tutor until his death in 1948.

A 17th century engraving of bear baiting. Artist unknown
Public DomainA 17th century engraving of bear baiting. Artist unknown - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

His text book on archery, the Toxophilus, emphasised the importance of archery within educational establishments and was influential in the inclusion of the sport in the statutes of St Albans, Harrow and other Elizabethan schools.

All forms of animal-baiting were popular with the Tudors, and indeed right up to the 19th century.  Henry VIII had a bear-pit created at Whitehall and the sport was a regular feature of Elizabeth's tours.  She was so much of a fan that she overruled parliament when an attempt was made to ban it on Sundays.

Page 28. " her father's fourth wife, Anne of Cleves "
Anne of Cleves. Artist Hans Holbein the Younger (1498-1543)
Public DomainAnne of Cleves. Artist Hans Holbein the Younger (1498-1543) - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Anne of Cleves (1515-1557), although married to Henry VIII for just six months until the annulment of their marriage in July 1540, outlived Henry and his other five wives.  She was given a generous settlement by Henry and thereafter styled the King's Beloved Sister. 

The marriage was brokered by Thomas Cromwell, and its failure contributed to his fall from grace.  Hans Holbein the Younger was commissioned to paint Anne's portrait prior to Henry's agreement to the marriage, but when he met her in the flesh Henry was not pleased by the contrast between the portrait and the real life Anne.  In view of the King's displeasure, the marriage was doomed from the start.


Page 28. " Elizabeth did meet the fifth wife, Catherine Howard. "
Catherine Howard. Artist Hans Holbein the Younger (1498-1543)
Public DomainCatherine Howard. Artist Hans Holbein the Younger (1498-1543) - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

 Henry VIII married his fifth wife, Catherine Howard, in July 1540. She was executed for treason (meaning adultery) less than two years later, in February 1542.


Page 31. " On 26 June Henry ate with all three of his children in a grand dinner at Whitehall "
The Old Palace of Whitehall by Henrik Dancketts c. 1675
Public DomainThe Old Palace of Whitehall by Henrik Dancketts c. 1675 - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Old Palace of Whitehall, principal London residence of English monarchs from 1530, was mostly destroyed by fire in 1698, leaving only the banqueting hall intact.  Henry had married both Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour at the palace and it was also the place where he died in January 1547.

On this occasion, it seems as though Henry was making a public point by introducing his children, as his heirs, to the court.  The current queen, Catherine Parr, was absent, as she is in the famous painting, now at Hampton Court, The Family of Henry VIII.  As David Starkey says, this painting, set in Whitehall, almost certainly commemorates the occasion.  It was commissioned by Elizabeth I, possibly as a way to emphasise her right to the throne through her Tudor descent, as a gift for her cousin and spy master, Sir Francis Walsingham.


The Family of Henry VIII. c. 1572 attributed to Lucas de Heere
Public DomainThe Family of Henry VIII. c. 1572 attributed to Lucas de Heere - Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Page 32. " By late June, the largest and most powerful amphibious force that England had assembled since the height of the Hundred Years War under Edward III was ready to set sail. And, as in the days of Edward III and Henry 's boyhood hero, Henry V, Henry had decided to take command in person. "


The Hundred Years War. Montage by various artists
Public DomainThe Hundred Years War. Montage by various artists - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

 This montage depicts scenes from some of the most famous of the battles of the Hundred Years War (clockwise):  The Battle of Crecy by Josef Malthauser; Battle of La Rochelle by Jean Froissart; Battle of Agincourt by John Gilbert; Siege of Orleans by Jules Eugene Lenepveu.

The name 'The Hundred Years War' was coined by later historians to cover the period 1337 to 1443 and the battles and conflicts during this time between the House of Valois and the House of Plantagenet (House of Anjou) for the French throne.  In addition, the House of Plantagenet claimed the English throne.  Apart from the Pale of Calais, the Plantagenets were eventually defeated in France by the House of Valois. They remained on the throne of England until their overthrow at the end of the Wars of the Roses by the Tudors.



Video: Henry V's speech to his troops before the Battle of Agincourt.   Kenneth Branagh plays Henry in the 1989 film of Shakespeare's Henry V. The victories of this English king over the French armies during the the Hundred Years War, especially at Agincourt (1415), must have inspired the young Henry VIII and his own dreams of glory. 

Page 33. " Despite the loss of The Mary Rose in manoeuvres in the Sound, the French were repulsed with heavy losses "

The Mary Rose was a warship in Henry VIII's navy. After serving thirty years, she sank on 19 July 1545 in the Solent during Henry's war against the French King Francis I.  After Henry's army took Boulogne, Francis retaliated by attacking the Isle of Wight. 

The discovery of the wreck in 1971 attracted much media interest, although many problems had to be overcome before it was finally raised in October 1982 by The Mary Rose Trust, providing valuable insight into the Tudor period.  The remains of the hull are now on display at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.


The Embarkation of Henry VIII at Dover 1520
Public DomainThe Embarkation of Henry VIII at Dover 1520 - Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Page 34. " she would have been a formidable Boudicea "
Statue of Boudicca by Thomas Thornycroft
GNU Free Documentation LicenseStatue of Boudicca by Thomas Thornycroft - Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Photo taken by A Brady

Boudicca (Boudicea) was a queen of the Iceni tribe in 60 or 61 AD who led a major uprising against the occupying armies of the Romans.  Upon the death of her husband, Prasutagus, a ruler of the Iceni who had enjoyed a certain degree of autonomy from the Roman empire, the terms of his will were overturned.  He had left his kingdom to be ruled jointly by his daughters and the Roman empire.  But the kingdom was annexed by the Romans, his wife flogged and his daughters raped.  In retaliation, Boudicca led the Iceni, with suppport from other tribes, into battle against the Romans, razing the Roman city of Camulodunum (Colchester) to the ground.  The Roman governor, Gaius Suetonius Paulonius, returned from a campaign in North Wales to Londinium (London) which he burned, along with Verulamiun (St Albans), fearing he would not be able to defend them.  

Boudicca's revolt ended with the defeat of the Britons at the Battle of Watling Street and Roman rule was reasserted.  At her defeat, Boudicca either killed herself or died, depending on whether Tacitus or Cassius Dio are consulted.  As the Britons did not leave written records of events at this time, we have to rely on Roman commentators for contemporary information. 

Page 38. " As usual, the court went on a progress in the early autumn, though, because of the King's absence and the plague, its extent was limited to a southern half-circuit of the capital from west to east. "

It was customary for the court to go on an annual "progress", travelling about the country, staying at royal residences.  As Queen, Elizabeth often reduced her own costs by visiting the homes of her courtiers. Although it was considered an honour to entertain the royal household, the expense was often crippling.  The expected royal style had to be maintained, and the members of the court and staff had to be housed and fed, resulting in the host frequently running up huge debts.

Nonsuch Palace. Copper engraving by Georg Braun and Franz Hogenburg 1598 based on a 1582 drawing by Joris or Georg Hoefnagel
Public DomainNonsuch Palace. Copper engraving by Georg Braun and Franz Hogenburg 1598 based on a 1582 drawing by Joris or Georg Hoefnagel - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

 Woking in Surrey was one of the places visited on this progress, as was Nonsuch Palace, also in Surrey, of which nothing remains today.  Nonsuch was one of Henry's grander building projects: a lavish palace built from scratch, unlike most of his other projects.













Leeds Castle at sunset Photo by Ron Smith
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeLeeds Castle at sunset Photo by Ron Smith - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Leeds Castle in Kent still stands, and is a popular tourist destination.  It is a particularly lovely castle, surrounded by a moat complete with white and black swans.  Originally a manor house built in the 11th century, it has been a royal castle since the 12th century.  Henry VIII redesigned and renovated the castle for Catherine of Aragon.


Page 43. " running a Tudor Open University course in religion at Henry's court. "
The Open University. Berrill Building. Estate Division of the Open University
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeThe Open University. Berrill Building. Estate Division of the Open University - Credit: The Open University Estates Liaison Division

The Open University was established in 1969, and it enrolled its first students in 1971.  Its motto is Learn and Live and it has an open policy where previous academic qualifications are not required.  Founded by Royal Charter and partly funded by central government, it now has over 18,000 students and is the largest university, by student numbers, in Europe.

Page 44. " the principal article of faith of the great German reformer Martin Luther. "
Martin Luther by Lucas the Elder. 1533
Public DomainMartin Luther by Lucas the Elder. 1533 - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Martin Luther (10 November 1483 - 18 February 1546) was a German priest and professor of theology, renowned for initiating the Protestant Reformation in Europe.  His 'justification by faith' claimed that salvation was only to be obtained by God's grace through belief in Jesus Christ as the Messiah, and not through the penances and good works prescribed by the Church, whose practices he came to consider corrupt. 

He translated the Bible into German, making it available to many more people and eliminating the authority the Church derived from reading the text only in Latin.

Catherine Parr believed that the apparatus of Catholic services was both unnecessary and an obstacle to true belief and salvation. She attempted to convert Henry to her views.

Page 46. " like the story of Queen Esther of the Old Testament "

Queen Esther by Edwin Long 1878. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Public DomainQueen Esther by Edwin Long 1878. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne - Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Queen Esther, according to the Old Testament Book of Esther, was the Jewish queen of the Persian king Ahasuerus

Brought up by her uncle Mordecai, the orphaned Esther was married to King Ahasuerus after being chosen from the harem.  When Haman, one of the most powerful princes of the realm, plotted to execute Mordecai and to kill all Jews in the kingdom, Esther intervened with Ahasuerus to save them. 

The celebration of Purim in Judaism is based on Esther and her story, in commemoration of the deliverance of the Jews.

Page 47. " her own translation into English of a French religious poem, Le Miroir de l'ame pecheresse, by Margaret of Angouleme. "

Elizabeth was only eleven years old when she produced the translation as a gift to her stepmother, Catherine Parr.  Apart from being an astonishing accomplishment for one so young, it demonstrates how in tune with Catherine's own beliefs and opinions Elizabeth was. 

Marguerite d'Angouleme by Jean Clouet c.1527
Public DomainMarguerite d'Angouleme by Jean Clouet c.1527 - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Margaret d'Angouleme (Marguerite de Navarre, 1492-1549) was the queen of Henry II of Navarre and brother of Francis I of France.  Between these two, the cult of intellectual and cultural salons in Europe flourished in the sixteenth century.  She published many poems and plays, Le Miroir de l'ame Percheresse (Mirror of the Sinful Soul) being one of the most intensely religious; it takes the form of a first-person narrative in which the soul, as a woman, calls out to Christ who has taken the form of father-brother-lover.  Margaret's previous connection with the English royal court had been with Elizabeth's mother, Anne Boleyn: Margaret had welcomed Anne and Henry on a visit to France before they were married.