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:
George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham (1592-1628)
This highly ambitious son of a Leicestershire knight rose to be the favourite of James I, and of his son Charles I, on the strength of his charm and good looks. He was full of brave
schemes, but lacked the good sense to carry them out effectively. As
Lord High Admiral he bungled expeditions to Cadiz and La Rochelle, and
his diplomatic incompetence led him to become the House of Commons’
‘grievance of grievances’. At the age of 36 he was assassinated by a
fanatic while in Portsmouth. This portrait, which shows him in his
garter robes, almost certainly commemorates his installation as a Knight
of the Garter in 1616.
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
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