… is another excellent series on the “Yesterday” Channel. Last night I watched the fourth episode, about Kensington, the influence of architects such as Wren and Hawksmoor, the evolution of the building, the creation of the Serpentine Lake and the monarchs and their relatives who have lived there. These include William III and Mary II, Anne, George II, Victoria and Elizabeth II.
The contributors included the consistently good Kate Williams and several royal curators such as Tracy Borman. Much was made of Anne’s reproductive difficulties and her longest-lived child, William Duke of Gloucester (left) was frequently mentioned, except that Borman called him “George”. George was, of course, his father’s name. Victoria’s cloistered childhood was detailed, as well as the story of how Elizabeth II met Prince Phillip of Greece.
Television history is rarely focused upon Anne (left), except as the final act of the Stuart drama like this or her unfortunate reproductive history in this series. Discussion is, therefore, reduced to the cliches of her fragile family, her weight and her fondness for brandy. She is also omitted from most dramatisations of the time, such as Lorna Doone or By the Sword Divided. Anne was the first Queen Regnant of England to have given birth, albeit through the reigns of her uncle, father, sister and brother-in-law but not her own. She was also the first Queen Regnant of England to be widowed, (except by a few minutes).
The Favourite, a rather bawdy film with Olivia Colman (below left), Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone that is very appropriately named from the awards point of view, ought to be very refreshing from this perspective. To become pregnant on fifteen to twenty occasions requires a husband, George of Denmark, the Oldenburg great-nephew of her great-grandmother and Duke of Cumberland who shared half of her reign. However, he seems to have been omitted from the film, which concentrates on Anne’s friendships with Sarah Churchill and Abigail Hill, the latter’s cousin, whilst implying rather more about their friendships than the evidence bears out.
Although she was, as she knew before succeeding, the last eligible Stuart, Anne oversaw the formal Acts of Union that crystallised her great-grandfather’s plans, the Act of Settlement that excluded her half-brother and other Catholic claimants and the last refusal of Royal Assent to a Bill. Jeremiah Clarke composed a march for George in 1707, the year before the Consort died, a piece now known as the Trumpet Voluntary. Despite the good will that seemed to flow from the “Glorious Revolution”, William III was widowed for about eight years and failed to remarry – it was this, together with the Duke of Gloucester’s death in 1700, that surely led to the inevitable Hanoverian succession to Anne in August 1714.
This link is to a brief article about a book about where our kings and queens are buried. I have not read the book, British Royal Tombs by Aiden Dodson, so cannot comment upon it. You’ll find it here on Amazon
I believe the image below is taken from the book.
This is Anthony William Hall, a former Shropshire police inspector. In 1931, he claimed to be the rightful King of England, descended from an illegitimate son of Henry VIII whilst James VI/I had been an impostor, thereby disqualifying all of his descendents down to George V, whom Hall sought to supplant.
The chief obstacles to this claim were:
1) A lack of evidence – in particular, Thomas Hall may not have existed and is not numbered among Henry’s offspring.
2) Henry VIII’s own will, specifying the descendants of his sister Mary after those of his “marriages”, but not his bastards, as his successors. Even though this was superseded in 1603, when the “Tudor” line expired, Lady Jane Grey’s mother Frances had not been attainted and her descendants are Dukes of Somerset today.
3) The 1701 Act of Settlement excluded all claimants not descended from Anne, whose last child had just died, or the Electress Sophia from the British throne and Hall is not thought to have had additional Hanoverian descent. If he did, he would have been junior to George V in that respect.
UPDATED POST AT sparkypus.com A Medieval Potpourri https://sparkypus.com/2020/07/19/was-henry-vii-mean-his-funeral-and-other-expenses/
Effigies of Henry Vll and Elizabeth of York by Torrigiano
Henry died on 21 April 1509. Henry has come down through history as something of a miser, a tightwad. Whether this is undeserved or otherwise , I do not know, although his Privy Purse Expenses make very interesting reading. He certainly enjoyed gambling, frequently incurring debts (1) as did Elizabeth, his wife, whose debts often Henry paid (2), although on one occasion £100 was given as a loan and to be repaid (3). An astonishing £30 pounds was paid to a ‘young damoysell that daunceth’ (4)..really, Henry! although the ‘little feloo of Shaftesbury’ only received £1 (5), presumably the poor little blighter was not half as attractive as the damoysell. But I digress, because what I wanted to discuss here, are the expenses incurred from Henry’s funeral and tomb, an area in which Henry clearly did not wish to rein in.
I am grateful for the following information which I have gleaned from The Royal Tombs of Medieval England by Mark Duffy – a marvellous book which I can thoroughly recommend.
‘The costs of building the new chapel at Westminster are estimated at around £14,856. The chapel was conceived as Henry’s personal chantry, and there was to be no room for any doubt. Henry’s will instructed that ‘the Walles , Doores, Windows, Archies and Vaults, and Ymages of the same our chappel, wittin and without, be painted, garnished and adorned with our Armes, Bagies, Cognoissants, and other convenient painting, in as goodly and riche maner as suche a work requireth, and as to a Kings wek apperteigneth'(6).
The pendant fan vaulted roof of the Henry Vll chapel adorned with Beaufort portcullis and Tudor Rose ‘Bagies’.
‘The tomb commissioned by Henry itself, featured gilt effigies of himself and Elizabeth, plus figures of himself and 4 kneeling lords and a tomb chest of black and white marble housing 12 small images of saints to be crafted by a group of craftsmen. The cost of this tomb was estimated at £1257.6s.8d of which the gilt metal amounted to £1050(7).’
‘The funeral expenses exceeded an unprecedented £7,000 including £ 1,000 pounds of black cloth supplied by 56 merchants and 3,606 lbs of candle wax (8)’
‘The bronze screen enclosing the tomb was supplied by a Thomas Ducheman who was paid £51.8s and housed 32 bronze statues of saints (of which only 6 survive).'(9)
Chantry screen of Henry Vll and Elizabeth of York
‘The tomb chest contains an epitaph in bronze recording the achievements of the couple, not least the procreation of Henry Vlll, suggesting his role in the detailing of the monument’ (10)
Tomb of Henry Vll and Elizabeth of York
It is ironic that Henry Vlll’s design for his and Jane Seymour’s tomb never came to fruition and only a slab covers the vault which he shares with Charles l. But that is another story.
Slab covering the burial vault of Henry Vlll, St Georges Chapel, Windsor.
Entrance to the tomb of Henry Vll as seen on the opening of the vault in 1869. Drawing by George Scarf.
How did James I come to be interred in Henry Vll’s vault? Unfortunately it’s not known, but we do know how it was discovered to be the case. In 1868, Dean Stanley’s attention was drawn to conflicting reports of the whereabouts of James’ and his Queen, Anne of Denmark’s vault. Recognising the importance of ‘the knowledge of the exact spots where the illustrious dead repose’ (1) Dean Stanley resolved to get to the bottom of it.
Although it had been noted by one brief line in the Abbey’s register that James had been buried in Henry’s vault, ‘This was not enough for Dean Stanley. He loved exploring and he pursuaded himself that he must first eliminate all other possible places by opening up each of the Royal vaults in turn’ (2). Vault after vault was opened, some were empty, some crammed full. The coffins were discovered of a multitude of royal and noble personages including Mary, Queen of Scots (Dean Stanley thought James might have been interred with his mother), Mary Tudor and her sister Elizabeth, the latter ‘s coffin on top of the other, Edward Vl, the numerous children of James II and of Queen Anne, and many others too numerous to mention here. The vault of Anne of Denmark was also found, her coffin standing alone besides the empty space where James, her husband, should have been. Where was he?
James lst painted by Daniel Mytens
Laurence Tanner, Keeper of the Muniments and Librarian, Westminster Abbey, wrote ‘Night after night the Dean with a few of the Abbey staff was able to carry out his self-imposed task undisturbed. On one occasion the historian Froude was present. Speaking of it afterward he said ‘it was the weirdest scene – the flaming torches, the banners waving from the draught of air, and the Dean’s keen, eager face seen in profile had the very strangest effect. He asked me to return with him the next night, but my nerves had had enough of it’. (3)
At last, with nowhere else left to look, the actual vault of Henry was opened and to the Dean’s surprise, if not perhaps to that of others, James was found! It was discovered on examination of the lead coffins therein , that Elizabeth’s had been slightly damaged at the top, possibly when it was removed to allow James’ in and then she was replaced, being rather squashed into the space between the two kings. Its easy to imagine Henry spinning in his coffin, as, after the enormous expense of his funeral, he and his Queen are now sharing their tomb with a gooseberry, albeit a royal one. And here they are…
To find out more about the costs of Henry’s funeral see my post https://sparkypus.com/2020/07/19/was-henry-vii-mean-his-funeral-and-other-expenses/
You might also like https://sparkypus.com/2020/05/14/the-privy-purse-accounts-of-henry-vii-1491-to-1505-2/ and
Edward of Caernarvon, who was born in 1284, was king of England for nearly twenty years from 1307 as Edward II. What of his childhood?
In about October 1289, he was contracted to Margaret, known as the Maid of Norway and Queen of Scotland since 1286 when her grandfather Alexander III died. She was a year older than Edward and then travelled towards her own realm but died of seasickness in the Orkneys during September 1290 and was buried in Bergen. Negotiations took place under the Treaty of Salisbury, signed by Edward I, Robert Bruce and some other Guardians of the Realm for Scotland. A dispensation was issued by Nicholas IV, because Margaret’s grandmother was Henry III’s daughter, Henry also being Prince Edward’s grandfather.
Let us examine some of the circumstances:
i) Edward and Margaret were both under fourteen, but so were Richard of Shrewsbury and Anne Mowbray, Duchess of Norfolk and “The Princess in the Police Station”, when they married. She also died under that age of majority. Such a marriage was valid, however, although it could not yet be consummated.
ii) Edward and Margaret never actually met, but Mary I and Phillip II married by proxy before he moved to England.
iii) As late as the sixteenth century in England or Scotland, a male consort was styled as “King”. Phillip II was such, as was Henry Lord Darnley, as the contemporary coinage attests. After this, William III was a joint monarch, as James VII/II’s nephew, but George of Denmark was not.
So, if the Treaty of Salisbury included an actual contract of marriage, Edward of Caernarvon had already been King of Scotland for a year before he succeeded his father in England. Between summer 1284 and 1300, he was Edward I’s only surviving legitimate son, so the treaty would have united the two kingdoms three centuries earlier than actually happened.
This post explains a little more about the Maid, among others, emphasising that Alexander saw Edward as a future grandson-in-law almost from birth.