You: “Men were men and women were women in the 17th century”
Philippe d’Orleans, brother of Louis XIV, flagrantly gay and dandy, in a long term relationship with the Chevalier de Lorraine, and loved to dress in female clothing too.
Hortense Mancini, royal mistress and female libertine, flagrantly bisexual and enjoyed to dress as a man on the odd occasion.
Aphra Behn, poet and playwright, general libertine, most probably a lesbian and defied gender roles by managing to make it big in a man’s world some 200 years before feminism was a thing. Also advocated racial equality and denounced slavery.
James I, King of England (and Scotland), VERY VERY GAY. Boyfriends included the 1st Duke of Buckingham and Esme Stewart.
John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, one of the greatest soldiers in history but also “irresistible to either men or women”
John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, a poet and libertine who was defying ideas about masculinity anyway but who, on the good authroity of @thepurposeofplaying, was probably not cisgender.
Anne, Queen of Great Britain who was most probably gay and had romantic relationships with Sarah Churchill and Abigail Masham.
It was extremely in vogue for women to dress up as gentlemen, mainly for the pleasure of men, but also because they damn well wanted to because THEY LOOKED GOOD. Here is Elisabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate, Duchess of Orleans, in her male attire:
Mary of Modena, Queen of England, in her attire:
And here is Lady Frances Stewart (who, incidentally, was the model for Britannia, the personfication of Great Britain) in her attire:
Here’s what contemporaries have to say about the fashion styles of the age:
John Sheffield, 1st Duke of Buckingham and Normanby, KG, PC (7 April 1648 – 24 February 1721)
English poet and Tory politician of the late Stuart period who served as Lord Privy Seal and Lord President of the Council. He was also known by his original title, Lord Mulgrave.
Buckingham was the author of An Account of the Revolution and some other essays, and of numerous poems, among them the Essay on Poetry and the Essay on Satire. It is probable that the Essay on Satire, which attacked many notable persons, “sauntering Charles” amongst others, was circulated in MS. It was often attributed at the time to Dryden, who accordingly suffered a thrashing at the hands of Rochester’s bravoes for the reflections it contained upon the earl. Mulgrave was a patron of Dryden, who may possibly have revised it, but was certainly not responsible, although it is commonly printed with his works. Mulgrave adapted Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, breaking it up into two plays, Julius Caesar and Marcus Brutus. He introduced choruses between the acts, two of these being written by Pope, and an incongruous love scene between Brutus and Portia. He was a constant friend and patron of Pope, who expressed a flattering opinion of his Essay on Poetry.
In 1721 Edmund Curl published a pirated edition of his works, and was brought before the bar of the House of Lords for breach of privilege accordingly. An authorized edition under the superintendence of Pope appeared in 1723, but the authorities cut out the Account of the Revolution and The Feast of the Gods on account of their alleged Jacobite tendencies. These were printed at the Hague in 1727. Pope disingenuously repudiated any knowledge of the contents. Other editions reappeared in 1723, 1726, 1729, 1740 and 1753. His Poems were included in Johnson’s and other editions of the British poets. (Wikipedia)
From our stacks: The Works of John Sheffield, Earl of Mulgrave, Marquis of Normanby, and Duke of Buckingham. Vol. II. The Third Edition, Corrected. London: Printed for T. Wotton, against St. Dunstan’s Church, Fleet-Street; D. Browne, without Temple-Bar; T. Astley, in St. Paul’s Church-yard; A. Millar, against St. Clement’s Church, in the Strand; J. Stagg, in Westminster-Hall; and S. Williamson. 1740.
On this day in history, 31st of May 1443, birth of Lady Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby, and matriarch of the Tudor dynasty, at Bletsoe Castle in Bedfordshire.Her parents were Margaret Beauchamp of Bletsoe and John Beaufort, 1st Duke of Somerset, grandson of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, and his mistress (and eventual wife) Katherine Swynford, and Margaret was their only child. Margaret was married four times: c 1450 to John de la Pole, a marriage which was dissolved in 1453 (some say that the marriage never happened and was just a betrothal); 1453 to Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond, eldest son of Owen Tudor and Catherine of Valois and half-brother of Henry VI, which whom she had a son, Henry Tudor, future Henry VII; 1462 to Henry Stafford, son of the 1st Duke of Buckingham; and finally in 1472 to Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby and the Lord High Constable and King of Mann.Margaret was a powerful lady and was a key figure in the Wars of the Roses between the Houses of York and Lancaster. She actively supported her son Henry Tudor’s claim to the throne and was able to persuade her then husband, Thomas Stanley, and his brother to swap sides and support Henry at the Battle of Bosworth Field. Together with Elizabeth Woodville, queen dowager of Edward IV, Margaret arranged the marriage of Henry, Margaret’s son, and Elizabeth of York, Elizabeth Woodville’s daughter by Edward IV.Margaret was the Countess of Richmond and Derby but, after her son’s victory at Bosworth, was referred to as “My Lady the King’s Mother”. She took an active interest in education and she established the Lady Margaret’s Professorship of Divinity at Cambridge University, refounded and added to God’s House, Cambridge, turning it into Christ’s College, and her estate founded St John’s College, Cambridge. The Queen Elizabeth’s School, formally Wimborne Grammar School, came about as a result of her intention to build a free school in Wimborne, Dorset.The Beaufort motto was “Souvent me souviens”, “I remember often”.She died on 29th June 1509 at the age of 66, a great age for a Tudor. Margaret died just four days after enjoying the coronation celebrations of her grandson, Henry VIII, and Henry Parker, Lord Morley, who acted as her cupbearer at the coronation ceremonies, reported that “she took her infirmity with eating of a cygnet”.
Pictured: Lady Margaret Beaufort by anonymous, 16th century.
Thou mad misleader of thy brainsick son! What, wilt thou on thy deathbed play the ruffian And seek for sorrow with thy spectacles? O, where is faith? O, where is loyalty?
Henry VI, Part 2 (5.1.167-170)
KEY LANCASTRIAN MALE FIGURES DURING THIS PERIOD:
❁ Henry VI of England - formally deposed in 1461 ❁ Humphrey Stafford, 1st Duke of Buckingham - killed at the Battle of Northampton ❁ Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset - killed at the First Battle of St Albans ❁ Henry Beaufort, 3rd Duke of Somerset - executed after the Battle of Hexham ❁ Henry Percy, 2nd Earl of Northumberland - killed at the First Battle of St Albans ❁ Henry Percy, 3rd Earl of Northumberland - killed at the Second Battle of St Albans ❁ John Clifford, 9th Baron de Clifford - killed at Dintingdale on 28 March 1461 ❁ James Tuchet, 5th Baron Audley - killed at the Battle of Blore Heath
♔ First Battle of St Albans - 22nd of May 1455 ♔ Battle of Blore Heath - 23rd of September 1459 ♔ Battle of Ludford Bridge - 12th of October 1459 ♔ Battle of Sandwich - January 1460 ♔ Battle of Northampton - 10th of July 1460 ♔ Battle of Wakefield - 30th of December 1460 ♔ Battle of Mortimer’s Cross - 2nd of February 1461 ♔ Second Battle of St Albans - 17th of February 1461 ♔ Battle of Ferrybridge - 28th of March 1461 ♔ Battle of Towton - 29th of March 1461
England hath long been mad, and scarr’d herself; The brother blindly shed the brother’s blood, The father rashly slaughter’d his own son, The son, compell’d, been butcher to the sire: All this divided York and Lancaster, Divided in their dire division
Richard III (5.8.3)
KEY LANCASTRIAN MALE FIGURES DURING THIS PERIOD:
❁ Henry VII of England - Fled to Brittany in 1471 due to Edward IV’s restoration to the throne; was then actively promoted as the Lancastrian alternative to Richard III in 1483; defeated the Yorkists and Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth in August 1485; then married Elizabeth of York, Edward IV’s daughter to add weight to his claim to the throne; defeated some of the last Yorkist resistance to Tudor rule in 1487 at the Battle of Stoke Field ❁ Jasper Tudor, 1st Duke of Bedford - Uncle to Henry VII of England; fled to Brittany with other Lancastrians following the restoration of Edward IV in 1471; attainder lifted after victory at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 and restored to his title as Earl of Pembroke as well as being created Duke of Bedford; married Catherine Woodville, sister to dowager queen Elizabeth Woodville and widow of Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham in 1485 ❁ Thomas Grey, 1st Marquess of Dorset - son of Queen Elizabeth Woodville from her first marriage to John Grey of Groby; joined Buckingham’s rebellion following the usurpation of Richard III in 1483; subsequently fled to Brittany to join Henry Tudor and the Lancastrians; was then persuaded to attempt to return to England by his mother prior to Bosworth; did not take part in the overthrow of the Yorkist regime as he remained surety to the French for their loan to the Lancastrians; was then kept on a tight leash by Henry VII and imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1487 during the Lambert Simnel rebellion and the Battle of Stoke Field to ensure he did not commit treason against the Tudors ❁ Edward Woodville, Lord Scales - joined Richard of Gloucester in his invasion of Scotland and was subsequently made a knight banneret by him on the 24th of July 1482; appointed admiral to a fleet of ships under the guise of repelling the French during the power struggle between Richard III and the Woodvilles; he then escaped with some of his fleet and money allegedly belonging to Richard III in 1483 and joined Henry Tudor in exile in Brittany; fought at the Battle of Bosworth in August 1485; then went to Spain and fought for Ferdinand and Isabella at the siege of Loja in their crusade against the Moors; commanded light cavalry against the Lambert Simnel rebellion and played a key role at the Battle of Stoke Field ❁ Rhys ap Thomas - refused to support Buckingham’s rebellion in 1483 and was made principal lieutenant in south west Wales by Richard III; did not surrender his son, Gruffydd ap Rhys ap Thomas, as a hostage to Richard III at Nottingham as ordered; he joined the Tudors at the Battle of Bosworth; is rumoured to have killed Richard III himself with his pollaxe; subsequently proved loyal to the Tudors by quashing several Yorkist rebellions including one at Brecon in 1486 as well as the Lambert Simnel rebellion and the Battle of Stoke Field in 1487 ❁ Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby - married to Margaret Beaufort, Henry VII of England’s mother; was wounded and imprisoned following the council meeting after which William Hastings was summarily executed in 1483; flourished under Richard’s rule and was given all of his wife’s titles and possessions following her suspicion of treason and compliance in Buckingham’s rebellion; conspired with the Lancastrians prior to the Battle of Bosworth and manoeuvred himself so as to be successful and valuable for either side regardless of the outcome; decided the battle by choosing Tudor over York and subsequently crowned Henry VII on the field of battle ❁ John de Vere, 13th Earl of Oxford - escaped to the continent after the Battle of Barnet in an attempt to join the Lancastrians in exile in Brittany; was imprisoned before this could be so and scaled the walls of Hammes and leapt into the moat in an attempt to escape or suicide; was ordered transferred to England on 28 October 1484, but escaped before the transfer could be effected, having persuaded the captain of Hammes, Sir James Blount, to go with him to join the Lancastrians; was principal commander at the Battle of Bosworth where he commanded the archers and held the vanguard; following the beginning of the Tudor dynasty his attainder was removed and he gained several important offices in the new government; he also commanded the vanguard at the Battle of Stoke Field in 1487 ❁ Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham - was married to Queen Elizabeth Woodville’s sister, Catherine; he was instrumental in Richard III’s rise to power and took possession of Edward V at Stony Stratford in April 1483; through his loyalty to Richard he gained the Bohun estates and much more power than had he chosen the Woodvilles; rebelled against Richard III in 1483 with John Morton, Bishop of Ely and proposed that Henry Tudor return from exile and take the throne; the rebellion was thwarted by poor weather and he attempted to escape in disguise following his failure; publicly beheaded at Salisbury on the 2nd of November 1483 on the orders of Richard III
♔ Buckingham’s rebellion - 24th of September 1483 ♔ Battle of Bosworth Field - 22nd of August 1485 ♔ Battle of Stoke Field - 16th of June 1487