On Marital Age During Tudor Times.
One thing I am absolutely tired of hearing is that EVERYONE common folk to royalty married while still children or at least the early teens. This is simply not true. First of all, the marital age was almost exactly the same age as we do now, roughly 24 for women and 27 for men.
We also confuse the fact that though ROYALS and other Nobility did marry at a young age, they knew as well as we do that a child as young as twelve could safely carry a child. For example, Margaret Beaufort (Henry VIII’s grandmother) was married at twelve and gave birth at thirteen. Most historians agree that the reason she only had one child is because giving birth at such a young age left her unable to have any more. Plus the age of menarche was usually fourteen to sixteen then, which is when they could tell if a young lady was fertile (yes I know you can get pregnant before your first period but they most likely didn’t make the connection). So it was pointless to have a girl as young as twelve (another Fact in the Other Boleyn Girl I absolutely want to tear my hair out over) consumate her marriage without extreme circumstances, such as her husband finally becoming into his own money or going to war or their parents were dead and they needed an heir quickly. At twelve a girl was married but most likely stayed in her parents until her first period. So PG’s Mary would actually be still a virgin at fourteen (considering her period hasn’t started).
On the other hand, common folks had reasons NOT to marry so young. A wife had to at least be old enough to support her household as well as be strong enough to carry a child while also doing manual labour. Her husband may also have to earn enough money to pay for her dowery or wait for his father to die and leave him some money, which could take years.
Another thing I hated about the Other Boleyn Girl DVD (special Feature: on being a tudor lady) PG got yet another fact wrong. Becoming a widow numerous times was NOT the only way for a woman to gain wealth. Women held plenty of jobs on their own, such as midwives and herbalists, as well as inherit land from their father providing that they are spinsters and have no brothers to take it. There were even female apothecaries and other high paying trades.
Rant from a History Major: Please stop saying that Henry VIII was obese and unattractive for his entire life
Please pick up an actual historical non-fiction book and see this for yourself. In his youth Henry was known as being extremely attractive, talented, and energetic man. Yes, he got obese later in life. We have the famous portraits of that. Most historians believe that it was around 1544 (three years before his death) or so that Henry got out of shape. This means during his marriage to his last wife, Catherine Parr. I’ve also seen it dated by a couple historians as during his marriage to the fifth wife, Katherine Howard (somewhere between 1540 and 1542). Both these dates all have the same statement that it goes back to a jousting accident he had late in his life, they simply disagree on when it happened within a few years rage. So no, Henry VIII was not unattractive and obese for his entire life. It is actually quite far from it. Whichever historically accurate account you to choose to believe, Henry was a hell of man for at least 38 or so years of his life. At least his first three wives, Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, and Jane Seymour, all got to enjoy Henry during a time that their are numerous historical accounts of what a prized man the King was. He played many sports, wrote both politically and for entertainment, composed music, and a great deal more. He was young, vivacious, and just loved women.