To Hunsdon House, Mary’s home, where Elizabeth is also staying.
Where we find Mary, marching positively down the hall to Elizabeth’s rooms.
When she gets there she finds that the process of Elizabeth getting dressed has been derailed by Elizabeth finding something interesting in a book, and is delighted to deliver some very good news.
This is happening at least 18 months too early. Henry’s third Succession Act (The original Act of Succession made Mary illegitimate, the sequel did the same to Elizabeth) went through parliament at the end of 1543, and became law in early 1544.
They both take this in their different ways, Mary is delighted because she identifies them both being restored to the succession as a signal that their father loves them. Elizabeth points out the power possibilities.
Elizabeth identifies Mary as being the one most likely to have any practical benefit from this law change, and that’s appropriate, Elizabeth succeeding to the Crown was very much the long shot at this age with two siblings and all their potential children in front of her.
I’m glad The Tudors got to include the third Act of Succession, and also gave us a look at a loving, easy relationship between Mary and Elizabeth when they were young, but in doing so it takes the Third AoS out of context, and misses out some important detail.
The Third AoS was passed when Henry was doing the ground work for his invasion of France, and Catherine Parr had been Queen for six months, in late 1543-early 1544. Catherine Parr’s influence therefore tends to get some credit for it. Henry got this act passed as a practical measure as he was planning to go to war with his army and in his age and condition that was riskier business than usual for a monarch.
Henry also still kept control of the succession process. This Act was the one that gave Henry the power to dictate the succession to the Crown (beyond Edward) using his Will. So Mary and Elizabeth were restored to the succession, but they weren’t declared legitimate, and Henry could always write them out again if he ended up wanting to do that.
Elizabeth is still distant, and Mary asks her what is wrong.
Variations on this moment pop up again and again in adaptation, and it has its roots in something Actual Historical, but it’s also relying on a lot of inferences. The influence of Katherine Howard’s execution on young Elizabeth and her whole ‘ No Marriage’ policy comes from some common sense guesswork, and a 1562 conversation between the love of her life – Robert Dudley, and the French Ambassador of the time. She was 4 years into her reign, still under 30 and the speculation about her marriage was feverish. Robert Dudley told the French Ambassador that he had known Elizabeth since she was eight and that from that age she had always said she would never marry. (1)
And Elizabeth was 8 years old when Katherine Howard was executed.
Elizabeth is not known to have claimed such personal significance for Katherine Howard’s execution, though it has often been presented as a turning point for her. Elizabeth R gives her a short monologue about her memory of seeing Katherine’s (fictional) run at Hampton Court, and how that brought up memories of her own mother. It was more likely just one piece of evidence in a large heap, that was going to continue to grow for the young Elizabeth that for someone in her position, love and marriage could often equal death.
Henry Goes Shopping
Henry shows himself a real traditionalist when it comes to alliance shopping, which he was doing in the summer of 1542.
Chapuys’ gout is progressing, and it’s harder for him to move. Henry has thought ahead and has a chair waiting for him, and motions that he should sit, accommodating Chapuys’ illness and bypassing a lot of important royal protocol. Chapuys acknowledges the accommodation with gratitude.
Chapuys gets right down to business and catches Henry up with the latest turn of continental events. Charles HRE and Francis I are back at war again. Chapuys gives him the Imperial spin on why that’s happened and emphasizes one thing and one thing alone, the French alliance with Suleiman the Magnificent of the Ottoman Empire.
That’s a rich offer, rich enough to be unrealistic and an offer of territory that no one in this room actually has possession of yet. But it’s signalling Imperial intent for the direction Henry wants: they want war with France and they want to take territory. And that’s just the kind of war Henry’s after.
When we last dropped in on Charles HRE and Francis I, they were giving up on the ‘friends and allies’ experiment of 1540, making it much more possible for Henry to nullify marriage number 4 to Anne of Cleves. What made war basically inevitable once the amity broke down was Charles deciding to settle the ‘Milan’ question by giving it to his son, Philip. (2)
But Francis did not leap into a declaration of war right away. He gave himself time to get supplied and organized.
Charles then lost huge amounts of men and supplies in a disastrous and unsuccessful campaign to take Algiers in Autumn 1541 (3).
A little earlier, on 1st July 1541, Charles’ Governor of Lombardy (Governor Vasto) had Francis’ ambassador to the Ottoman Empire (Antonio Rincon) and his traveling party murdered as they passed through Lombardy.
This was against Charles’ standing orders. Oh, he’d put a price on Rincon’s head before but he had since removed that, sent orders to stop any further assassination attempts and ordered ‘If you’ve already got him, let him go’, and Governor Vasto got those orders before Ambassador Rincon tried to cross his territory and he had Rincon killed (4). Still once it happened the Imperial Court was very pleased, thought it was all to the good and Charles didn’t punish Governor Vasto, but instead helped cover it up.
Francis managed to put together an impressive alliance, including Cleves, the Ottoman Empire and Denmark, while the details of the murder of Ambassador Rincon came out over the next 12 months, Watergate style, scandalised the continent, and gave Francis the perfect reason to declare war. Which he did in July 1542.
Chapuys walks out right past the French Ambassador, so we’re not keeping this secret at all, and the mystery of why the curtains are shut continues to deepen.
For Marillac the atmosphere is quite different. It looks like the Imperials asked for their meeting, while the French got summoned to one. There’s less promises of military glory and a lot more of them complaining about the Emperor, followed by a shakedown by Henry.
That’s a huge amount of money that’s fantastically unlikely to be written into any treaty Francis would have signed with Henry to date. Henry’s being courted so Henry’s getting to go in the direction he wants to or Henry’s getting paid. Francis is never going to pay that because it’s looking pretty good for him, ally wise, right now and one of those allies is the reliable check to counter English involvement: Scotland
As long as England also has to face the Scots en masse should England invade France, they’re not going to do it. Which is where Henry’s mind goes once he he has dismissed the French Ambassador.
I think The Tudors introduces Henry’s actions against the Scots here to get all Henry’s 1542 foreign relations maneuvers in the one scene but that little set of outrageous demands (Just acknowledge me as your overlord and let me dictate your foreign policy) was sent as Henry’s troops were being gathered on the Scottish border late in 1542. (5)
We go to a card game at court, where Surrey starts by underlining that he is a bit of a dick. He doesn’t appear happy with his hand, and says that his opponent plays well…
When his opponent points out that they have more in common than Henry Howard might be aware of.
This is taking a bit of historical evidence that’s right and spinning a tale out of it, but that’s how a lot of family history goes. St Mary’s Parish in Stockwell was in Lambeth, which was the Howard family’s London base. John Leigh’s Uncle or Grandfather had a family chapel built at St Mary’s (6) which was completed before his death in 1523. The Howards also had a chapel there, Anne Boleyn’s mother Elizabeth and Katherine Howard’s Dowager Duchess (Agnes) are buried there (7) (The church became derelict in the 20th century and is now the Garden Museum).
But as for both families originating there, that’s not right. The earliest known Howard family ancestor was from Lynn in Norfolk, and the Howard family mainly used Thetford Priory , Norfolk and Framlingham Church, Suffolk for their significant burials (Elizabeth Boleyn being a woman that married out, and Agnes being a woman that married in, they just got buried in the nice chapel the Howards had in London).
So, no it did not make them equals, as Surrey immediately points out.
However, John has one more thing that connects them. Both of their families are related-
And they Actually Historically were. The man was John Leigh (or Legh), whom Surrey was actually historically arrested for challenging to a duel in July 1542 (8), and he was either Katherine’s cousin or her half brother. He was more likely the cousin(9). And given that he talks about the Howard family ‘covering up her despicable wantoness’, it looks like that’s what Hirst wrote him to be (You like to think a half brother would be nicer, and if not, he wouldn’t be quite so keen to throw stones around his glass house).
We don’t know what actually historically caused the dispute, but given that they were both related to her it’s a reasonable guess. And in the scene Surrey isn’t bothered by the ugly language Leigh uses against Katherine. He bothered by this upstart Mr implying any form of equality between them, leading to his feeling comfortable enough to openly criticize Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, and most of all by the wretch’s use of the phrase “You Howards.”
Surrey repeats it, and takes a long drink. And then asks for clarification that he just heard what he heard.
And then Surrey chooses the route not of blasting the man vocally, but of showing his displeasure and disagreement in the way that best showcases the talents that made the early nobility what they were.
Not the Old Nursemaid
Let’s start with this – they get her in the right place.
All those rooftops on the right indicate we’re still in London, as Tom Seymour goes visiting, and Lord and Lady Latimer, while northern nobility, lived primarily in London after all the upset they went through during the Pilgrimage of Grace.(10)
At their London home Thomas Seymour meets a very ill Lord Latimer.
Tom expresses his hope that Lord Latimer will recover, but Lord Latimer seems sure that his time is close to being up. He brightens up when his wife enters the room.
As well he might. Because Lord Latimer wasn’t married to an older, somewhat plain, dutiful and educated nurse. He was married to comparatively young, reasonably hot proto-politician, who wasn’t actually going to be made particularly rich by his death.
So a lot of what you’ve been told about Catherine Parr is wrong. We stop just short of a Luke Skywalker meme because she was a Protestant and a really great Step-mother.
We like to put people in boxes, make comparisons the better to understand us and them, but with several centuries difference, our boxes are a different shape now to the ones the Tudors lived in. The early biographers of Henry’s Queens rather assumed that ‘older husbands, no children and Henry was chronically ill now’ meant that Catherine was chosen for and performed the role of a nurse. But no, that wasn’t her (11), that also wasn’t the role of aristocratic wives and Queens in the 16th Century.
It might well have been her role to be comforting, or a distraction at times of illness, but actually caring for the noble sick was done by a team of physicians to direct treatment and servants for the practical tasks.
She was a courtier, from a family of courtiers. The Parrs were a solid, wealthy family, just short of nobility, very much like the Boleyns, and Thomas Boleyn was a similar ranked contemporary of her father, actually Thomas Parr was doing rather better than Thomas Boleyn until Anne caught Henry’s eye(12).
Like the Boleyns, the Parrs married well, but it was still a leap when Catherine married John Neville, Baron Latimer, becoming nobility by marrying into a branch of the Neville family, which at its height had produced Richard ‘Kingmaker’ Neville, Earl of Warwick who had at points actually decided the course of the Wars of the Roses.
As Catherine serves her husband and Tom some wine (and lets hope there’s some opiate in her husband’s goblet, Lord Latimer is in a distressing amount of pain- he perhaps has a highly advanced cancer), he tells Thomas Seymour why he’s asked him over.
Which is broadly right, although Lord Latimer and Catherine’s time of greatest concern for Henry’s wrath was in Autumn 1537, right after the rebellion. It took a bribe to Cromwell, an annual payment to the same and the lease of their London home, and what was sure to be a sale on very advantageous terms of one of Latimer’s southern manors to secure his release(13). And even that deal was only made possible by the unimpeachable loyalty to Henry during the crisis of his wife’s family.
Still, it’s a good idea for The Tudors to have him review it in the light of his impending death. It introduces everyone with an accurate backstory and a legitimate concern.
An attack of pain takes Lord Latimer’s voice from him as he concludes his ‘Please talk to the King for me and my family’ pitch to Thomas Seymour, and Catherine comforts him as he falls into sleep in his chair.
It is worth noting that we might, from what we’ve been told about Catherine being a Nurse, have assumed that this has been a long term issue. It wasn’t. Lord Latimer was still on active duty and able to travel in summer 1542, when he got sent to the Scottish Borders, but was feeling the effects of illness by September the same year when he made his will, and he died before March 1543 (13). So he was ill for 6-8 months, it’s not like a sick husband was her life for years.
She and Sir Thomas then go to a side room where we find out they’re having a rather intense emotional affair.
We don’t know that there was any involvement between them before Lord Latimer’s death, but Henry started showing interest pretty quickly, and sent Thomas Seymour away to become an ambassador in May 1543. So there wasn’t a huge amount of time for this connection between Thomas and Catherine to have happened after Lord Latimer’s death, but we know it did happen because of a letter Catherine wrote to Thomas after Henry died, which The Tudors borrows a bit of phrasing from.
“For as truly as God is God, my mind was fully bent the other time I was at liberty to marry you before any man I knew.” (14)
Which brings us to another misconception about Catherine Parr. She wasn’t relatively older and relatively plain, she was reasonably young and she was reasonably hot.
Catherine Parr was 31 when she married Henry. She was named after his first wife (her mother was a lady in waiting to Katherine of Aragon) who was Queen when she was born. She was, at most, 3 years older than Anne of Cleves, and when she married Henry she was just 3 years older than Jane Seymour was when she married Henry, she might actually have been younger than Anne Boleyn was when she got married to Henry (although Henry and Anne were together for nearly a decade first). She was about 5 years younger than Thomas Seymour.
And sure, we age much more slowly now, and Joely Richardson was looking really great for her 44 years when she played Catherine Parr, but Catherine Parr remains a woman from history that keeps getting cast to appear older than she actually was.
At least part of that has to be due to the contrast she makes with Katherine Howard, who was breathtakingly young and immature. Catherine Parr was mature, capable, twice widowed and a little bit (but only a little bit) older than most of his previous wives when she married him.
Also, for decades this was the standard reference portrait for her.
This image of Catherine Parr was the book standard when I was growing up and she looks a bit older, a bit plain and tired (there’s something a little off with the facial angles and the facial lines are drawn clearly) and very, very pale. She is the prim Protestant matron of our imaginations but according to The National Gallery, this was painted in the late 16th Century, probably around 1570, well into Elizabeth’s reign and 20 years after Catherine Parr’s death.
The necklace looks familiar but the colours of the jewels are the opposite way around from the Jane Seymour/Katherine Howard jewel.
Still, the jewel in the necklace detail seems to be the same as the portrait below. This has now been identified as the only surviving portrait of Catherine Parr painted from life, showing a woman so apparently young, pretty and delicate and so unlike the prevailing Catherine Parr myth that for decades she was misidentified as Lady Jane Grey, who died at 17, and was only 8 when it was painted.
Where she’s looking a lot warmer, and finally there’s the painting known as the Melton Constable or Hastings portrait of Catherine Parr , a 17th or possibly early 18th century copy of a lost original from the Royal Collection.
Surrey Gets Out
Meanwhile in Whitehall two love affairs are going on. Henry and food…
And Gardiner and jailing Surrey.
Surrey is imprisoned for the affray with Mr Leigh, and has written to request that he be released. This is all news to Henry and he’s curious and at times quite amused by Surreys actions and predicament.
He’s given John Barlow’s famous line about Surrey:
But he gets thoughtful when he hears about Surrey’s keeness for military service. He sets a high level of bail but orders Surrey released, he needs good men in Scotland.
The Battle of Solway Moss
Wasn’t that much of a battle really. It was more of a Scottish Army collapse provoked by a much smaller English force, and the rest was all Geography.
James V wasn’t present. He’d already reported being ill to his wife in late October 1541, and this wasn’t the army he wanted to be leading, and not the mission he wanted to go on. He had mobilised his army at the time of the Henry’s threat in October, but sizable proportion of his nobles didn’t want to march into England (15).
Scotland had just the kind of social structure Surrey was always hankering for, a powerful nobility in comparison to the King, certainly when compared to English society. But that powerful nobility made it harder to field a cohesive national army and would be responsible for the failure to invade England when under threat and the defeat at Solway Moss.
Surrey wasn’t there (He was busy burning Kelso), and nor was Hertford, who was more the general commander of Henry’s armies in the North. The hero of Solway Moss was Thomas Wharton, who we haven’t heard of because he wasn’t one of the court elite, but he was made a Baron for his efforts, and he was supported in command by Sir William and John Musgrave.
Wharton’s actions were brave, actually pretty foolhardy, but he backed them up with a great tactical use of the battlefield.
Having failed to get his invasion army moving, and having already reported to his wife being ill at the end of October, James V was not there, and did not accompany his 15,000 to 18,000 strong army on what it appears to be the thing he could get his nobles to agree on, a large scale raiding expedition.
Hertford deserves credit for getting his commanders in Cumbria the intelligence that a large scale border raid was imminent in late November. This got confirmed by English scouts as the Scots approached. (16)
On 24th November 1542, the Scottish army were just over the English Border and on a marshland site in between two rivers – the Esk and the Lyne. They had come into contact with Wharton’s ‘prickers’ or skirmishers who harried them, and were moving back toward the marshland, putting the skirmishers under pressure. To give his skirmishing force some relief Wharton pushed his relatively small (3,000 man) army forward up Hosepike Hill, and put all 6 standards he had on display.
The Scots had not been expecting to face another army at all, and at this point, on terrible ground with a river in front of them and a ‘Moss’ everywhere but the hill Wharton was on and other ground the English held, it turns out that the Scots hadn’t actually agreed on an army commander. Sir Oliver Sinclair announced that James V had appointed him army commander, but half the officers refused to follow him (17).
All this indicates that it wasn’t really an army the James had fielded, but a mass raiding party. I’m no military historian, but I say it wasn’t much of a battle, because of the at least 15,000 Scots and 3,000 English present, 27 men were killed in the fighting: 20 Scots, and 7 English (18).
But hundreds of Scots drowned in the disordered retreat, and around 1200 were taken as prisoners, including a lot of the officer class and the three Earls the Earl of Surrey captures in The Tudors, Lords Casillis, Clencarin and Maxwell (19), with whom he proves that as long as you’re members of the right class, be you a different nationality, or even an enemy combatant, and him covered in blood, it doesn’t matter, Surrey is the epitome of politeness.
He’s got a very specific kind of prejudice, Surrey.
The Aftermath of Solway Moss
It was bad, but none of this was irretrievable for the Scots/French cause of 1542-45. It was a rout, but they hadn’t lost a huge amount of men, or their ability to field another army, what made it irretrievable was that James V died two weeks later.
There’s been a tradition that it was grief due to the loss of the battle, but he’d reported being ill that winter, and calling it grief was a way for the English to link his death to his armies’ defeat. Henry says James and Marie’s daughter was born on the day he died, but Mary Stuart entered the game on 8th December 1541, and became Mary Queen of Scots on the 14th December 1541.
Aaand after a brief period of having an adult monarch as ruler again, Scotland was back to what had become its standard state in the 16th Century, an infant monarch and a series of regents. The main difference being that this time, the infant monarch was a girl.
Ahhh, when it happens to Scotland it’s Divine Providence, but for the 21 years in Henry’s reign when it was England that had first one and then another young female heir, it was terribly bad luck and the fault of whoever the King was married to. Got it.
James had been the main pro-France force in Scottish government and the new regent, the Earl of Arran, was Protestant and pro England at this stage of his life. So France, Scotland and England were suddenly facing a very different situation.
Henry dismisses the council, and asks Thomas Seymour to stay behind. Actually Historically, Henry got on pretty well with Thomas Seymour, he liked him. But it’s not inconceivable that their relationship got a bit colder in the year they were both interested in the same woman. We get our first oblique reference to Henry’s possible interest in Catherine Parr, as he reinforces his dominance and tears Thomas off a strip for disagreeing with him about Surrey’s punishment.
Oh why, as you watch the later seasons, does it always seem to be Christmas?
Well, time is moving pretty quickly for The Tudors at the moment. Katherine Howard died a little over 18 months after marrying Henry, and we spent 5 episodes on that period. Now, we’ve advanced 10 months in half an episode.
We enter the court with Catherine Parr, and see that Princess Mary is hosting this year, as she did, actually historically (20). We see her greeting Surrey and then it’s Catherine’s turn. We see their warm and friendly relationship, which starts as Mary greets Catherine informally by her first name, and then comes from their expressions and body language throughout their conversation.
It’s a reasonable hypothesis that they were friends before Catherine married Henry, and one shared by quite a few historians. They got on very well after the marriage, Catherine was a courtier in London for most of the previous five years, so Mary and Catherine would have been in the same spaces quite frequently, and they may well have had an earlier connection on which to base a friendship, as Catherine’s mother was Lady in Waiting to Mary’s mother, and Mary was only 4 or 5 years younger than Catherine.
We also get to see Thomas Seymour, watching over them from a distance.
Then Mary greets the French Ambassador.
That was the plan the French were still pursuing with Mary, marriage to Charles, Duke of Orleans. He’s just promised Mary the young Duke’s portrait when Edward runs in, hotly pursued by Elizabeth, and given the way Lady Bryan and Kat Ashley come in close to jogging speed with skirt edges raised and concerned expressions, and even Edward and Anne Seymour bustle in before trying to nonchalantly gear down to ‘stately walk’, I think about everyone was chasing Prince Edward down the corridor before he made it in.
To where, BTW, Catherine and Thomas Seymour were already talking together before Edward charmingly interrupts them. Catherine in particular looks delighted to see the little chaos sowing 5 year old, while his uncle bows.
It’s a great little moment.
Edward, Anne and Elizabeth all accompany Edward as he gets to the task he’s been given. Edward is there to formally greet the captured Scottish Lords.
The Scottish Lords are polite and charmed to have met the young Prince, Edward says his little welcome speech very well, and its smiles all around as Elizabeth steers Edward away, and the Seymours get down to what this has all been about. You’ve got an infant Queen and Protestant Regent, we’ve got a five year old Prince and you’ve just had a big military defeat. How about we get these kids betrothed, huh?
The Scots done’ exactly leap at the suggestion.
OK. You’re technically currently our prisoners, we bet you’d really like to be free, and we’ve always kind of fancied your country. Now, how about we get these kids betrothed?
It was actual historical offer, which a lot of them took up. (21)
At the end, Hertford points out how, particularly in this season, families should be together.
While Anne, presumably as the only words coming to mind are “Wow, He is full of shit today”, keeps herself to diplomatic facial expressions in response.
Hey, Brandon’s back.
She asks where the Duchess is and Brandon delicately broaches the fact that they are (historically inaccurately) separated. Mary reacts in a very Mary way.
And Brandon asks how the King is. Mary confides that he has been somewhat melancholy.
She does not know why. But we might just be getting an idea. They end their conversation as the King is announced, comes in accompanied by a small crew of Councillors, and greets his guests.
Time for the entertainment to begin, and he, and we, and the court are treated to 1542 Cirque de Soleil.
There’s a third music change as Thomas Seymour leaves Catherine, and comes forward to petition the King for her, with an air of determination.
Which he’s going to need, because King Henry is suddenly not that keen to see Thomas Seymour. He gets a tut and a glare, and to wait below the dais for a few seconds before Henry asks what he wants, with a bit of tone.
Thomas is petitioning about the whole Lord Latimer and the Pilgrimage of Grace deal, and Henry asks where Lady Latimer is, like he wouldn’t know her by sight. Except that his reaction to Thomas’ claim, that he’s involved as a friend of the family, his irritation at Tom, open appreciation of Catherine, and just happening to know her financial circumstances all speak to an interest Henry’s been nursing for a while.
About that last one, by the way. Not really true. Lord Latimer left her guardianship of her stepdaughter, and some money for that, and income from two of his manors. She was to be left quite comfortable and financially independent in her widowhood, but not rich.(22)
Henry spots Brandon talking to the French Ambassador, and motions to him. Brandon excuses himself from the conversation immediately and comes over. Henry says he’s been away a while, and Brandon out of politeness as much as anything, pretends it’s been to care for his estates. Henry calls him out on that, and lets Brandon know, in his own way that he’s forgiven for whatever Henry thinks he did in the whole Katherine Howard thing, and he’s missed him.
Oh, and he’s got a job for him.
Happy New Imperial Year
The job is to go see Chapuys. Chapuys is in bed with gout, in considerable pain, but he overrides his servant and agrees to see the Duke of Suffolk.
Brandon has brought the outline to the secret treaty that the Empire and England would enter into in February 1543 (23).
It’s 1543 and a whole new Europe.
Edit : Cleanup done and Brandon’s meeting w/Chapuys added as more appropriate now than start of next recap, done about an hour after posting 15/09/2021