The proof copy of my little book is on its way to me; very excited! To tide you (and me!) over, above is a peek at the front and back covers. (Cover art by Lisa Graves Design)
Well, it’s certainly gotten hot around here. There’s been a lot of bickering on history-related Facebook pages as of late regarding the Battle of Bosworth (as the 528th anniversary was last week), Richard III, Henry VII, “My dead king is better than your dead king,” and so on. Now Margaret Beaufort is feeling the wrath, and it’s related to the death of two little princes back around 1483.
The sons of Edward IV, the boys were imprisoned in the Tower of London and were occasionally seen on the grounds. Until they weren’t. Twelve-year-old Edward V and ten-year-old Richard, Duke of York were declared illegitimate, moved to the Tower, and Richard III was declared king. They were never seen again after the fall of 1483, believed to have been murdered in their beds. Bones discovered under stairs in the Tower in 1674 match the ages of the poor boys, and have been interred in Westminster Abbey, in the same room where Elizabeth I and Mary I lie.
This whodunnit has never been solved, but Henry VII and Richard III are the usual suspects. However, a certain fictional book series and its related television series have eerily coincided with a wave of accusations toward Henry VII’s mother, Margaret Beaufort. When I recently asked on my Facebook page for reasons that fingers might point at Margaret, some of the opinions on that thread (and the few threads just prior to it) were:
- “I think that crazy woman Margaret Beauford had them murdered”
- “Margaret was a little off the deep end”
- “Twisted woman, strong character fully concentrated on her only son becoming a king of England, nothing else to live for just her only son that’s why she seems capable of doing anything to full filing her lifetime dream”
- “She is the culprit”
- “I find her extreme piety really annoying.”
- “She was mad about getting henry to the throne her whole life she planned it”
- “I think Margaret Beaufort is a likely suspect, but I have not found documents to back that up.”
- “All I know is Margaret B. was vindictive b**** based on what I have read. …in today’s world when ppl talk about evil vindictive women …she would be #’s 1-100 on the list!”
- “I’ve read a couple books on Margaret and on line stuff. The woman was consumed with having her son on the throne…There was bitterness in her that ran to the core of her being. ..She became a religious nut case and based the rest of her life on Henry’s kingship. She would have any one killed to make Henry King.”
Whenever I asked about sources for these opinions, I got none. (Other than something along the lines of “I forgot.”)
I run a lighthearted and sometimes-irreverent Facebook page / blog / Twitter account / etc, but I have to be clear about something: My approach is still that of an educator. (The Tudor Tutor. See what I did there?) And most any teacher, I hope, will ask that you base your knowledge, opinions, etc on reliable information.
This may upset some of you, and in that case perhaps you are on the wrong page. Come to learn, come to share good information, come to laugh at the memes (which are created to help us remember the good information!). But please know that gossip is not what we do there.
And the bell doesn’t dismiss you; I dismiss you. =)
On Monday, 19th August, I finally was able to return to my beloved Hampton Court Palace during the tail end of my trip to London! So I thought I’d share some of that day with you. (Click on any photo to enlarge it.) Off we go!
We arrived 20 minutes before opening on a Monday, so it was blissfully peaceful as we entered and for about the first hour or so. I’m someone who moves heaven and earth to do things on off times, and the payoff is great. Before the main gate opened, we meandered around the main courtyard, where the recreation of the Tudor wine fountain sits. There are also concrete recreations of ye olde partyers enjoying some wine or having a bit of a lie-down…
as well as feeling quite ill from the festivities.
Interesting! We took some photos of the courtyard and the exterior and then went directly to the Young Henry VIII exhibit. One room holds the gorgeous painting of The Field of the Cloth of Gold, and it is here that I recognized our friends and activities from the main courtyard:
So that explains it! This exhibit also introduces us to Young, Fit Henry and his Regal and Polished Queen, Catherine of Aragon. One of the most striking visual elements of this exhibit is a York/Lancaster family tree that adorns one wall:
But I don’t want to give away the entire exhibit for you … Go and see it!
No trip to Hampton Court is complete without time spent in the impressive Great Hall, bedecked with antlers and tapestries…
and impressive stained glass and fan-vaulting…
And look, there’s Anne Boleyn wafting by a tapestry!
The palace is buzzing with costumed actors, who really lend to the atmosphere of the place. Henry and Wife #2 were kind enough to pose for a photo before continuing with their hallway bickering:
No photos are allowed in the gorgeous Chapel Royal, so this photographic tour now moves to the Secrets of the Bedchamber exhibit. No photos allowed inside this exhibit either, but here’s one from the entrance, reflecting the awesome Queen’s Staircase (and the photographer!)
Now into the gardens on this gorgeous day we go…
and a peek at the Tudor kitchens…
Then a gander at the ceiling in Anne Boleyn’s Gateway, where the intricate design holds the pesky entwined “A” and “H” that got away from Henry VIII’s efforts to destroy any reminders of his saucy second wife:
before heading back to Waterloo Station and grabbing a quick lunch from Marks and Spencer Simply Food to nosh on back in the City, with this lovely view:
(Hint: Lady Diana Spencer was here in a very poufy dress!)
Finally, another Tudor-y part to my day as Dr. Suzannah Lipscomb was kind enough to carve some time out of her day to meet me for coffee. Not only is she a brilliant historian, she is a super-nice person to chat with! (You’re following her on Facebook and Twitter, aren’t you?)
I hope you’ve enjoyed this sojourn, and keep your eyes peeled for additional posts about this recent trip to My Favourite City!
After having united the houses of York and Lancaster, Henry VII slapped this spiffy sticker onto the backside of his horse –
Wouldn’t you like one too? (Or a t-shirt or mug?) Of course you would! You can get them at my new Cafe Press shop right here.
I’m so proud to share my new logo, which was designed by the fabulous Lisa Graves. You may recognize Lisa from the groovy History Witch page on Facebook. This design will also be the artwork for the cover of my upcoming little book!
“Don’t tell me how to talk! The way I talk is who I am.”
A 12-year-old boy told me this once when I’d gently corrected his grammar. Twelve-year-old boys can be like that. But I was perfectly in line with that correction: I was his teacher.
As we get further into a time of “No one is wrong; all opinions are right,” our collective voice sounds more than a bit like that boy. “Ignore the haterz” is an all-too familiar mantra when we don’t wish to entertain that there might be something to learn.
I chose this blog’s title four years ago because of the obvious play on the two nearly-homophonic terms, combined with my love for Tudor history and my background as an educator. My favorite saying is “You learn something new every day” and I believe that. I thought it would be fun and fulfilling to pass on any knowledge I had to others, while also giving them the additional material to form further opinions on their own. After all, teaching is not pouring information into the ear of another, but facilitating that exchange of information and the development of new ideas. This is something I have tried to do in the Tudor Tutor’s various outlets as well.
Truth be told, I only began a blog because I planned on publishing a small primer on the dynasty and an online presence was highly suggested as part of a “platform.” In time, I decided it was more fun to keep up the platform for its own sake than for the sake of marketing, which can feel a bit forced. I enjoyed (and still do!) the interaction on my Facebook page, and Twitter/Pinterest accounts. I’m publishing that small primer on my own this summer, but honestly? My favorite part of this whole endeavor has been interacting with the online Tudor community.
That being said, while my shtick is the whole “cheeky” thing, I still take seriously the responsibility to include the debatable with the memes. I will absolutely put lots of different information out there to help people develop or strengthen a viewpoint, and sometimes that means sharing related news articles and other information. Lately, that’s been “The White Queen”: Links to episodes, news stories regarding [in]accuracy, and so on. Because it was written by an author whom some consider to be a history goddess and others consider a literary Lucifer, the drama level on this topic has ratcheted up to eleven.
To quote directly from my Facebook page as well as other history Facebook pages, challenging the historical accuracy of “The White Queen,” “The Tudors,” and any other dramatic representation of the real people and events depicted in historical fiction is:
- “pedantic nonsense”
- “too picky”
- “get over it!”
- “get a life”
- “who cares??”
- “not a bloody documentary FFS“
and a rather long-winded one but too venomous to leave out, misused apostrophe and all…
- “The only people who are annoyed are those so called history buff’s who no longer can impress us with their knowledge of long ago and resort to slagging off ‘inaccuracies’ in order to try to keep their snobbish intellectual noses in the air.”
I’ve mentioned more than a few times on my blog and social media outlets that it’s the responsibility of the reader/viewer to distinguish between fact and fiction. Some will say that historical fiction made them want to find out the real story, so they sought out the facts. That’s awesome. Others will insist until their faces turn blue that Anne Boleyn really did sleep with her brother because they read it in a book and that writer “is an actual historian, committed to accuracy.” Not so awesome.
What’s my point with this post? First, to clarify that I am A-OK with disagreement on my social media outlets as long as it’s done intelligently and respectfully. Otherwise I’ll be forced to whip out my “delete post” wand. (In recent weeks, I’ve had to whip out my “ban user” wand a few times as well, but that was for profane and abusive language.) Secondly, to encourage you to consider the source when forming opinions about historical people and happenings. And thirdly, to explain that I’m going to put different information out there in different ways, and our respectful discussion of that is what helps us all learn (me included, of course).
Because “ignoring the haterz” doesn’t foster anything besides ignorance. But otherwise, we can learn something new every day.