Alice’s Restaurant

August 28, 2007

Tudor Follies: the End of Henry

Filed under: Henry VIII, History, History with Mr. Al — aliceaudrey @ 12:33 am

Just when we thought Katherine was bound for execution, she stop screaming and got smart.  Lets see if Wriothesley faired as well.  Take it away, Mr. Al.                                                                   ****Henry, Katherine and assorted hangers-on were gambolling in the royal gardens when Wriothesley showed up with forty Tower guards in tow. Most likely Katherine and the ladies were gambolling. Henry’s gambolling days were a very distant memory by then. Henry took the Lord Chancellor aside and read him the riot act. Trick me into believing my loving wife was a heretic, eh? Bamboozle me into burning my Queen at the stake, huh? You never did like her; you and Gardiner. Get the hell out of my garden and take these goons with you or I’ll give ’em a new set of orders!

Wriothesley dropped to his knees and begged Henry’s forgiveness. Fat chance! Lord Chancellor Wriothesley scurried away with his tail between his legs. Katherine was the picture of innocent astonishment when Henry returned. “Golly Snookems, what was THAT all about? How come the Lord Chancellor had all those Tower guys with him?” As angry as Henry was, the warrant DID have his signature on it. Tricked or not, it was kinda hard to explain. Henry decided the best explanation was none at all. He said nothing about the warrant. He told her it was all a misunderstanding. It was a guy thing and as the Head Guy, he’d deal with it. Katherine and the ladies could go back to gambolling. Which they did with joyous hearts.

In the end, no action was taken by Henry against either Wriothesley or Gardiner. And these gentlemen never bothered the Queen again either. More importantly, the Queen never argued with Henry again. Her ladies were forbidden to own, disseminate, acknowledge, discuss or even whisper about ANYTHING even vaguely heretical. Upon pain of instant dismissal. Everyone conformed, with a capital “C” to Henry’s church. She was still a closet Lutheran, of course. But she was so far back in the closet that no one would openly suspect her. Till the day Henry died, she was the Dutiful Wife Extraordinaire.

As the summer of 1546 moved into autumn, Henry’s health began to seriously deteriorate. Between the pustular ulcer on his leg and his great weight, Henry couldn’t move without the use of a specially designed chair with a built in crane, Henry knew he was dying. He wasn’t afraid to face it. He made out a detailed will and set up Edward’s Regency Council. Henry had always been a realist when it came to politics. He saw how England was changing, how it was moving in an undeniably Protestant direction. The Protestants would change his church, but the Catholics would destroy it utterly. Accordingly, he appointed men to the Council who held Protestant sympathies. He also took care to appoint Protestant tutors for Edward.

Wriothesley and Gardiner were appointed. Henry knew them well enough to know what they wanted above all else was power. They would amend their religious beliefs once they realized they might loose their jobs if they didn’t. This would also protect Katherine. Henry knew what she really believed, even though everyone had to pretend otherwise. In as much as Henry was capable of loving anyone, he seemed to have truly loved Katherine. For her part, Henry’s approaching demise genuinely upset Katherine.

He left Katherine something to remember him by. Jewels, plate and household goods for the rest of her life. He also left her his entire wardrobe. While this might seem odd to the modern reader, it should be remembered that fancy clothing in those days often had jewels sewn into them. They also had much embroidery work with gold and silver thread. The satin and silk fabrics were worth a considerable sum by themselves. She also received 1,000 pounds cash, the return of her dowry and whatever properties Parliament saw fit to bestow upon her. They were very generous.

Henry had done about all he could do to be prepared. The fact that the Regency Council would ignore some of Henry’s wishes before his body was cold should not be surprising. With Wriothesley and Gardiner on the Council, Katherine was  banished from the court. She received her due, but they did not want her around Edward. They didn’t seem to care if Mary and Elizabeth hung out with her. They should have.

Eventually Elizabeth would enter Katherine’s household. She was thirteen. Elizabeth and Katherine would both live to regret this, but Katherine’s new hubby, Lord High Admiral Sir Thomas Seymour, would not. It is still a matter of debate how much Sir Thomas’s “attentions” toward Elizabeth affected her as concerns men and marriage; But that’s another story altogether. Suffice it to say that the Tudor follies continued. Edward was king and the Protestant reformation, begun in secret, was now moving into the open. Unfortunately for the Protestant cause, Edward would not be long on the throne.

With his death, his half-sister Mary would become Supreme Monarch. Mary moved with an implacable will to restore the Catholic Church. It would be a very dark period in England’s history. Much else in Henry’s will was ignored by the Council in the power struggle that followed his death. They fought over who would have the most access to nine year old Edward. More importantly, they fought over who would give orders in the King’s name. It became an unholy mess.

One thing was clear however; the people of London were grief stricken at Henry’s passing. As displeased as they were with Henry from time to time, they loved him all the same. Henry was a Londoner, one of them. He spent much of his time there and was proud to call it his city. When Henry died, quietly and in bed, on January 28, 1547, the city was plunged into mourning. It most certainly was not the end of the Tudor follies, but it was the end of the man. And with his passing, the end of an age.

                               Le Roi Est Mort! Vive Le Roi! 


And thus ends Mr. Al’s take on the wives of Henry the Eighth.

Mr. Al assures me he will be ready to start up his take on the Georges very soon.  I’d like to start them in September, but that’s only a few days away.  If I can, I’ll be posting them in Wednesdays.

August 23, 2007

Fw: Folks from Texas

Filed under: From the Mail Bag, Jokes — aliceaudrey @ 1:01 am

Forget Rednecks, here is what Jeff Foxworthy has to say about folks from
Texas …

If someone in a Lowe’s store offers you assistance and they don’t work
there, you may live in Texas

If you’ve worn shorts and a parka at the same time, you may live in Texas .

If you’ve had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed a
wrong number, you may live in Texas .

If “Vacation” means going anywhere south of Dallas for the weekend, you may
live in Texas .

If you measure distance in hours, you may live in Texas .

If you know several people who have hit a deer more than once, you may live
in Texas .

If you install security lights on your house and garage, but leave both
unlocked, you may live in Texas .

If you carry jumper cables in your car and your wife knows how to use them,
you may live in Texas .

If the speed limit on the highway is 55 mph — you’re going 80 and
everybody s passing you, you may live in Texas .

If you find 60 degrees “a little chilly”, you may live in Texas .

If you actually understand these jokes, and forward them to all your Texas
friends & others, you definitely live in Texas .

August 21, 2007

Tudor Follies: Arm Chair Theologians

Filed under: Henry VIII, History, History with Mr. Al, Research — aliceaudrey @ 1:01 am

When we left off Katherine was behaving the same way so many of Henry’s other wives did when finding out how blood thirsty Henry could be.  She had a royal hissy fit.  Let’s see if she fairs any better than the others.***

So sayeth the doctor to Katherine; “First, don’t say anything to anybody else about the warrant! When you talk to Henry, tell him that you could sense that he was upset about something. That after much soul searching you concluded he was upset because you were such a smart-ass know it all. Tell his Royal Husbandness that you will never, EVER do or say ANYTHING that will EVER contradict or upset His Most Benign and Forgiving Royal Self EVER AGAIN! Cross your heart and hope to die!

And tell your servant to put that frick’n warrant back where she found it! Without being seen! If Henry knows you know what he knows, you’re toast. Um…Your majesty will forgive me that last bit. Just a figure of speech.” Katherine continued to carry on as loudly as before, but now she had a plan. The doctor returned to Henry shaking his head. Henry decided to pop in and see what was upsetting his little armchair theologian.

He stayed with Katherine for about an hour, them returned to his rooms. As soon as he was gone Katherine ordered her ladies to gather up any books, pamphlets, letters, anything that might be considered heretical and burn them. Then, in deep remorse mode, she went to Henry’s room for a little chat. Henry was there with some chaps, discussing…religion! Henry invited Katherine in. Perhaps she’d care to add her two shillings on the subject.

Katherine answered Henry’s questions very carefully. She then stated that, as the supreme head of the One True Church, she would never dream of contradicting him on matters of doctrine. Henry was having none of that.
He said, “Not so, by St. Mary! Ye are become a doctor, Kate, to instruct us, as often time we have seen, and not to be instructed or directed by us.”

Katherine had to proceed with the utmost care. If she couldn’t convince Henry she was behind him on matters of the church… She started by saying she had been misunderstood. She was a woman! How could she possibly know as much as her vastly superior husband? If she argued with him it was only for the sake of taking his mind off the cares and burdens of being a king! If she played the devil’s advocate it was for entertainment purposes only! She truly believed she was making her beloved husbands life more pleasant by giving his brain cells a run for their money.

Henry’s heart melted. His little Kate had only noble intentions from the very beginning. He knew it all along. Said Henry,
“Is it so, sweetheart? And tended your arguments to no worse end? Then we are perfect friends, as ever at any time heretofore.”
He bought it all. He hugged her and kissed her and told her he would never doubt her again. After she left, he turned his attention to those who had badmouthed her. The scales had fallen from his eyes. He could see the plans of Wriothesley and Gardiner plain as day. Something would have to be done about those two. 

Meanwhile, the butterfingered councilor had found the warrant right where he dropped it. Yowza! That was a close one! His relief can only be imagined. At some point in the evening Wriothesly became aware of the document’s existence. Since it bore Henry’s signature, he decided not to wait for Henry to make up his mind. He was going to move in for the kill the next day. Lord Chancellor Wriothesley was about to discover how mercurial a prince Henry could be.


What a foolish, foolish man.  Wriothesly, I mean.

No, this does not end the Tudor Follies.  Mr. Al has one last episode ready to go.  I couldn’t resist; I went ahead and read it.  I promise, next Tuesday we will end the series with a great post.

Thank you Mr. Al, both for today’s episode, and for your willingness to continue your history lessons after you are done with Henry VIII.


August 14, 2007

And even more Tudor stuff

Filed under: Henry VIII, History, History with Mr. Al, Research — aliceaudrey @ 12:03 am

We’re back for another installment of Mr. Al’s take on Henry the VIII.  Warning, there is some rough language in this one. 


One of the things I love about history are those moments when I put down a history book and exclaim, “What the hell was he thinking? How could he be that stupid?” Katherine’s story takes just such a turn. Soon after his conversation with Henry, Gardiner ordered the arrest of three of Katherine’s most important ladies-in-waiting; Lady Tyrwhitte, Lady Lane and Katherine’s sister, Lady Herbert. No rough stuff, but they were taken to the Tower for questioning. While there, their rooms were searched for banned reading materials.

The ladies were asked about their conversations with the Queen. Discuss religion much? How about that Martin Luther guy? Anything nice to say about him? Apparently nothing was found because the ladies were released without being charged with anything. Before all this happened Katherine knew she had to be careful. If she suspected that she had enemies in her husband’s court before, she knew it for a fact now. The arrest of her ladies-in waiting should have been a red flag the size of a mainsail to her.

Bishop Gardiner’s signature was on the arrest warrants. Katherine should have known that Gardiner didn’t have the juice to pull a stunt like that on his own dime. Henry would never have allowed it! Unless… So what did this very intelligent, common senseical woman do? She continued her theological debates with Henry. What in God’s name was she thinking? She KNEW they were looking for closet Protestants. She KNEW they suspected her. She should have known that Henry was supporting the investigation. Katherine Parr was a snow white bunny rabbit in the middle of a very large, very empty field and the sky overhead was filled with hungry hawks. And she continued to debate religion with Henry.

Henry listened very carefully to his wife’s arguments. He noted anything that might be suspicious. She prattled on and he listened. She prattled some more and he listened. Then, one day, he decided he had heard enough. He had a warrant for her arrest drawn up. The charge? Heresy. Which meant that she would be burned at the stake rather than beheaded. That Henry! He sure knew how to put on a show!

With the warrant before him, Henry signed it and handed it over to a trusted member of his Privy Council. This fellow was told to keep it under wraps until it was called for. No one was to know about it. This fellow was told to guard the document with his life. This fellow swore mighty oaths and promised to do as the king wished. No doubt fantasizing about the rich rewards that would come his way for being so loyal, this unnamed person allowed himself to become distracted enough to lose the warrant. He dropped it in a hallway where it was promptly found by one of the Queens servants.

Apparently this servant didn’t stop to consider the price she might pay for her loyalty to Katherine, because she took it strait to the Queen. Whatever illusions Katherine harbored regarding Henry’s tolerance of her unorthodox views went right out the window, along with her composure, upon reading the warrant. Henry was going to burn her at the stake as a heretic! She was way too smart to think she stood a snowball’s chance in hell of being found innocent. When Henry Tudor had a wife arrested, there was only one outcome.

How could she have misjudged him so badly? There was only one thing to be done, talk to Henry. But first, she’d take a moment or so to collapse on her bed, a screaming, hysterical mass of quivering royal jelly. Katherine lost it completely. So loud were her lamentations that Henry could hear them in his private rooms. Having no idea what was wrong, he sent his personal doctors to check it out.

One of them, Doctor Wendy, was the only other person, aside from the Privy Councilor, that Henry had confided in regarding the warrant. Some how or another, the good doctor figured out what was troubling Katherine. Without tipping off his colleague, Wendy sent him and everyone else out of the room so he could have a heart to heart with the Queen. She told him about the warrant. Oh dear. What was she going to do? The good doctor was completely on Katherine’s side. First and foremost, she had to pull herself together! They only had minutes to come up with a plan so she had to stop freaking out NOW!


This kind of behavior really brings home the realization that kings and queens are only people too.  Good thing you’ve got another blog planned, Mr. Al.  No way I’d let you quit here.


August 6, 2007

Tudor Follies: A Conversational Gambit

Filed under: Henry VIII, History, History with Mr. Al, Research — aliceaudrey @ 11:50 pm

Put your breakfast down before you read today’s installment of Henry’s life and wives.  Mr. Al is in rare form today! 


 In the summer of 1546, a woman, Anne Askew, was imprisoned in the Tower on charges of heresy. For some reason Wriothesley considered this a golden opportunity to gather evidence against the Queen. Under questioning she denied knowing any members of the Queen’s household, let alone the Queen herself. Wroithesley ordered her racked. When no information was forthcoming, Wriothesley took over, turning the wheel himself. Once her arms and legs had been pulled from their sockets, Wriothesley had Anne dumped on the floor, where she was kicked and beaten for another two hours. She would not deny her faith nor admit to knowing any member of the Queen’s household. Wriothesley ordered her to be burned at the stake. Occasionally, a prisoner sentenced to be burned would be strangled with a cord before the fire was lit; an act of mercy the executioner was not allowed to do for Anne. So, apparently on his own initiative, he tied a bag of gunpowder around her neck. It exploded almost as soon as the fire was lit. That execution was the talk of London. If Katherine needed any evidence as to how far the anti-Protestant crowd would go, she need look no further than Anne Askew. Wriothesley returned to biding his time and hoping that the Queen would slip up.It was becoming more difficult for Katherine to hide her true beliefs. Especially since she loved theological debates. So did Henry. This would have been fine but for the fact Henry DID NOT like to be contradicted. Katherine did it constantly. Perhaps this would have been acceptable on a very limited basis with a man like Archbishop Cranmer, perhaps not. It was not acceptable from a mere woman, Queen or no queen. Katherine didn’t get that memo.

Worse yet, it was becoming clear that she was pushing church reform much further than Henry was willing to go; and in an undeniably Protestant direction. This wasn’t sitting well with Henry. Nor was the fact that after three years of marriage there were no kids, male or female. Edward’s health as well as the changing situation in Scotland convinced Henry that more princes were required. Three whole years and no rug rats. What the hell?!

Since any problems in a Henry marriage were automatically the woman’s fault, Katherine would have to, um…take the bull by the horns, so to speak, and do something about it. She didn’t seem to be aware that there was a problem. She really should have. Kids aside, she continued to push for greater church reforms and continued to contradict Henry. Wriothesley, (Say that name really fast five times.) and Gardinier were delighted to give her all the rope she wanted. It was only a matter of time before she hung herself. And then, one evening at the dinner table, she did.

What point they were debating is not known. Considering Henry’s reaction it was probably religious. In any event, in the middle of making a point, Henry told Katherine to shut the hell up and change the subject. Shocked, Katherine did as she was told. After dinner, she rose, bid His Majesty a good night and left the room. Bishop Gardiner was at that meal. As soon as Katherine was gone, he went to work.

Henry grumbled about uppity women daring to contradict their husbands. What was the world coming to? It broke the good bishops heart to have to report to Henry that the Queen’s views were not hers alone. No, there was an entire Protestant faction within the Queen’s household that was promoting a brand of heresy that would be an automatic death sentence for anyone of lesser rank.

Worse, these members of the Queen’s household were planning the overthrow of Henry’s government, the destruction of his church and the imposition of a radically heretical sect in its place! Worse than Lutherans, maybe. Although in Gardiner’s book, it would be pretty hard to sink lower than a Lutheran. Henry was stunned. What in heavens name was his little Kate getting up to? Sure, she was lippy and opinionated, but this? Henry wasn’t sure what to think. These charges were about as serious as it gets.

Henry had known Gardiner a lot longer than he had known Katherine. If a man of his caliber was making such claims, he’d better have the matter investigated. Besides, Gardiner must have known the price he would pay for lying about such a thing. He would never risk it unless at least some of it was true. Henry and the bishop had a long conversation that night. When it ended, Henry was in a very bad mood. He ordered Gardiner to find the proof. Leave no stone unturned.


Uh oh.  Poor Katherine. How dare she be a real person!  Mr. Al, tell me this ends well.  I’m tempted to skip ahead to next week.


Book Room

Filed under: Linkyness, Quick Quotes — aliceaudrey @ 9:59 pm

Get a load of this!


August 5, 2007

Deathly Hallows

Filed under: What Are You Reading? — aliceaudrey @ 10:48 am

 I just finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  Wouldn’t you know, I want to talk about it and everybody else has already done their talking!

 Darn.  Now I’ll have to go back through my blogroll’s old posts and see if I can figure out who might still want to talk.


edited:  Spoiler warning in the comments!!

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