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Monday, April 4, 2016

The Early Tudors--Where Was I?

effigy of Katherine de Valois
Hank Cinq
So where was I? Oh, yeah. Katherine de Valois--her mother a possible debauched spendthrift who alternately neglected her children or treated little Katherine like a favorite pet, and who was probably having an affair with her brother-in-law. Her father in and out of psychosis, all while fighting the Hundred Years War. Given in marriage to the conquering hero, Henry V, a six-foot-three hunk with a decided nose, an interesting haircut, a bit of brutality, and some father issues of his own. (Which is a completely different story, and one that Shakespeare explored in interesting ways, though you can never count on Shakespeare to be historically accurate.)

Anyway, Katherine and Hank Cinq got married, and it seems to have been a happy one. At least, she went with him on his campaigns, which most wives did not do. 
They had a baby, who they named--imagine that--Henry. VI. But by the time VI was born, Hank Cinq had headed back to France to knock down some rebellions in his new lands there, caught dysentery, and died. Henry VI was nine months old and had never seen his daddy. VI's other granddaddy, the one in France, died soon after, so baby Henry VI was now king of both lands. Mama Katherine, then twenty and lovely, was kept at court, but away from her son. It is highly possible that she got hot and heavy with her husband's half-cousin, a Beaufort--meaning a grandson of John of Gaunt and his sometime mistress, possible wife, originally governess of Gaunt's daughter. (Yes, just like in a Gothic Romance or the tabloid pages of rich folks lives' today.) 

At any rate, enough people thought she and Beaufort, Edmund, were getting it on that Parliament passed a law declaring that the Queen had to have permission from the King (her son) before marrying. And he had to be of age. Meaning, this could take a few years, right? 

But--at some point, the Queen was sent far away from prying court eyes. And while she was there, she gave birth to three other sons, with a guy named Owain Tudor, who was maybe her head of horse, or her taster, or something. Or with Edmund Beaufort, as mentioned above. In fact, several historians think that her oldest son, Edmund Tudor, was likely a Beaufort and maybe one or two more. 
I think Beaufort is the guy with the hair and the book, but I am honestly not sure. 

Whichever man was papa, wouldn't you think this whole story would make the start of a fabulous miniseries? Let's start with Katherine and Henry V's childhoods, and go all the way through the battle of Agincourt, the royal wedding, the dysentery, and on into the Beaufort/Tudor mystery--i.e. who was the real grandpapa of Henry VII? 

At any rate, Edmund Tudor married a Beaufort--niece of Edmund Beaufort. She had a baby at the age of thirteen, who was named, (of course, Henry. Though Edmund Tudor died right away, Margaret was a formidable woman, and one of the main reasons why Henry Tudor became Henry VII. (part 4 in the mini-series, right?) 


  1. Pretty good mini-series of how the Tudors came to be, leading up to Henry VIII as a child. The White Queen

    1. Thanks for the suggestion. I have to say I am honored that you are reading my blog! The White Queen must be based on Philippa Gregory's novel. I get irritated by Gregory, whose history is often so passionately wrong, but what a terrific cast. And just look at those English, Tudor, Lancaster and York noses!

      I cannot find anything much about Henry VIII's childhood. More research.