kateryn parr

lizzie0278-deactivated20170425  asked:

Hi! Did you ever do a post on Thomas Seymour's disgusting behavior with Elizabeth? I'm so sick of authors romanticizing it!

    I’ve discussed it a few times on here, but I’ve never devoted a full-fledged post to it because writing about it always makes me feel sick and angry. It’s an absolutely textbook case of child abuse, and there’s NOTHING romantic about that. Thomas Seymour attempted to prey on a vulnerable young girl, and it’s disgusting. 

    After a lifetime of neglect, Elizabeth had found a kindred soul in her stepmother Kateryn Parr, and it should have been the happiest time of her life. Kateryn not only gave Elizabeth the maternal love she craved, she also encouraged the girl’s brilliant young mind with stellar educational opportunities. Elizabeth flourished in her care.

    Unfortunately, Kateryn fell in love with a monster. She wasn’t the first woman to ever fall for an abusive man’s charms, and God knows she wouldn’t be the last, but hers was a mistake that would have dire consequences for her stepdaughter.

    Thomas Seymour started grooming Elizabeth from the moment the girl fell under his power, manipulating her and slowly escalating his advances. The arrogant ass was trying to hedge his bets in case Kateryn died in childbirth. He thought he could make Elizabeth fall in love with him and she’d throw caution to the winds and defy her brother and the council to be with him, just as Kateryn had done. Seymour seriously underestimated Elizabeth.

   I don’t believe Elizabeth ever had any “romantic” feelings for Seymour. She’d once had affection for him, I think. This man was her stepfather, and at first, he’d been good to her, but his teasing became more serious as time went by and it started making her very uncomfortable. Elizabeth didn’t want to believe badly of Seymour. At first, she probably tried to explain away and justify his behavior - until it became too egregious for her to ignore. Seymour probably also hinted to her that she shouldn’t “upset” Kateryn, whose health was in question because of her pregnancy anyway.

     He was clever. He covered his tracks by having Kateryn participate in some of the early “games.” Then, when she objected to his later conduct, he could pretend to be offended and shocked that she would would see it as nefarious. “Why, you were there! You know it was all innocent!” He probably tried to tell her it was her pregnancy making her so jealous and irrational. And, like many disgusting creatures of his ilk, he probably tried to blame his abuse on the victim.

    Kateryn was in a very difficult position. She was in love with this man, and she didn’t want to believe he could do this evil thing, but she kept clear sight of the fact that her first duty was protecting her stepdaughter. She had been taught since birth to obey the men in her life, so it couldn’t have been easy to defy her husband and send Elizabeth away. Seymour had to be enraged, and you know he had to have poured the pressure on his wife not to let his victim escape his grasp, but Kateryn held firm. She deserves some credit for that.

    The testimony afterward noted the steps Elizabeth took to try to avoid Seymour’s little “games” such as rising extra early to avoid him climbing into her bed, and running into a group of maidens when he approached to try to shield herself. Of course she “blushed and stammered” when people asked her about it. It was embarrassing, and Elizabeth was afraid people would think she had encouraged him in some way. She reacted as many abuse victims: with confusion. She likely wasn’t sure it was abuse at first because Seymour had been so careful in his escalations. But by the time Kateryn intervened, Elizabeth was clearly in distress.

    And so, Elizabeth lost the happiest home she had known, and was later publicly shamed for Seymour’s abuse of her. She had to undergo hours of brutal interrogations as though she were the criminal. Shortly thereafter, she wrote to her brother to ask him to let her come to court so she could prove she was not pregnant with Seymour’s child, to face down some of the slanderous gossip about her. The courage that would have taken reminds me of her mother’s courage when she, too, was faced with false accusations of immoral conduct. Anne Boleyn walked in to face her accusers with her head held high, and I think Elizabeth would have, too, even if inside she burned with anger and the terribly confused emotions of an abused young girl. Her brother didn’t allow her to come, but he tried to quell the gossip, at least.

    But it makes me angry on her behalf that anyone could romanticize this situation. She was fourteen, and an intensely pious young girl who adored her stepmother. Elizabeth wanted to spend her time in translating Latin, not being sexually harassed by her stepfather. But there are still those who would typify this as some sort of love affair, and that’s just so wrong on so many levels.

2

(modern ladies) tudors edition: Katherine Parr, Queen Consort of England and Ireland

Katherine Parr was Queen of England and of Ireland as the last of the six wives of King Henry VIII and the only one who outlived him. She was also the most-married English queen, with four husbands.Katherine enjoyed a close relationship with Henry’s three children and was personally involved in the education of Elizabeth and Edward, both of whom became English monarchs. She was influential in Henry’s politics, especially in the restoration of both his daughters to the line of succession to the throne. Katherine published a couple of books, her first was Psalms or Prayers (anonymously) and later Prayers or Meditations and The Lamentations of a Sinner. Katherine was an intelligent, attractive, animated woman, who enjoyed music and dancing and dressed expensively and with flair. She especially liked diamonds, and dressed herself and her household in crimson.

(feat. Joely Richardson)

6

Catherine Parr, we are sent here by the king’s Majesty to offer you, after your days of mourning for your late husband are complete, His Majesty’s hand in marriage. His Majesty esteems you above all other women in his kingdom and hopes to find you well disposed towards his offer, in which case he will be the happiest man now alive in England, and you the happiest woman.

Someone sent me an anonymous message over the long weekend about my reply to a previous comment in which I said that Anne Boleyn (and everyone else in England) had to obey any lawful order the King gave. If I recall correctly the message questioned this, as they’d heard that the Kings of England were not absolute rulers like others such as the Czar of Russia or even the King of France. The message has disappeared into the ether but I’d still like to answer it because it highlights one of the restrictions Henry had to work within, and how he was sometimes able to get around restrictions he didn’t like.

The person who asked the question is correct. An absolute ruler like Nicholas II of Russia could give any order he wanted and expect immediate obedience, while Henry could only give any *lawful* order he wanted. A king of England, even one as powerful and tyrannical as Henry VIII, had to work within the structure of the law.

This is why Henry VIII could order Anne to marry him but he couldn’t order her to be his mistress. Under English law a king could not order a woman to commit the mortal sin of fornication, one that could see her soul mortally damaged were she to die before she had a chance to confess, but he could order a never-married, unbetrothed woman who was not a significant heiress to marry whomever he pleased, including himself.

The law frequently got in Henry’s way, in fact, and although sometimes he was able to have it changed there were times when he didn’t have the political capital. He could have the succession codified, treason trials replaced with Acts of Attainder, and the usual right of the insane not to be executed waived in case of treason, but he could not change Magna Carta; the lords would never have tolerated it. This is why he could not order Kateryn Parr to marry him, and why (as is documented) she had to make the decision to accept his proposal; Magna Carta restricted the right of the King to order significant heiresses and widows to remarry. (The same could have been said of Katherine of Aragon.)

Incidentally, Henry’s various succession acts might have been meant in part to thwart the will of the people but they ended up forming one of the linchpins of Westminster democracy. Having these acts debated upon and passed by Parliament was a fundamental change as to how kings were chosen, as for the first time the people through their elected representatives had a say in who ruled them. Now obviously there were very few voters at the time and there was certainly an air of threat over the passing of the Acts, but that one decision, to rely upon to Parliament and not just the King’s word, led to the current system where the sovereign reigns at the pleasure of the people.

a moment of silence for anne boleyn, who was unjustly condemned by a jury that knew she was innocent solely because henry viii was a massive dick in a cartoonishly oversized codpiece

but also

a moment of silence for katheryn howard, who was unjustly condemned and executed as a teenager simply because she wasn’t a virgin when she married henry viii, a massive dick in a cartoonishly oversized codpiece

a moment of silence for katharine of aragon, who never surrendered and never lost the support of her people, who gave a badass mic drop speech straight in the face of henry viii, a massive dick in a cartoonishly oversized codpiece who literally had to start a new religion just to mansplain an annulment because the entirety of europe knew better than to fuck with katharine “my mom was isabel of castilla and here’s james iv’s decapitated head” of aragon

a moment of silence for jane seymour, who had to live in silence and fear because henry viii was a massive dick in a cartoonishly oversized codpiece who made it 100% clear that she was as disposable as the wife he beheaded literally the day before jane’s engagement

a moment of silence for kateryn parr, who had zero choice about marrying henry viii, a massive dick in a cartoonishly oversized codpiece with a pretty well-established record of not being a particularly fantastic husband, who only escaped with her head still attached to her shoulders thanks to her own expert ability to wordsmith and flatter her way out of heresy charges

and

a moment of inappropriately loud cheering for anne of cleves, who turned a literal nightmare into a massive payoff and made everyone love her hard-partying, never-marrying-again self…and then went on to outlive everybody in what i like to imagine as a gesture of solidarity with the other five unfortunate queens, and also as a victorious middle finger to henry viii, a massive dick in a cartoonishly oversized codpiece

long may they reign

ultrasanaposts  asked:

Why does both Elizabeth and Edward have positive or tender feelings toward their father? Especially Elizabeth? I read somewhere that when they heard the news of their father's death, the cried and it touched all those that were watching. Was it because they were raised to think their father was so great, or was it due to Catherine Parr's efforts to reunite the king to his children, and thus they all seem to have as close to tender feelings as a family should have?

    Love and respect for a parent was considered part of a person’s duty to family, and duty to God. Reading Tudor advice manuals for children gives a modern person such a creepy vibe because of the exaggerated deference people were supposed to show to their parents. Even as adults, Tudor children were expected to address their parents on their knees.

    Despite the horrific emotional abuse their father put them through, Mary and Elizabeth did have love for their father. Well, you can see the same thing in the modern era… Kids who are abused still often have strong emotional attachment to their abuser.

    All of their lives, these children had been taught that they should view their father as the embodiment of God on earth. Not only because of the rigid social structure of the day that dictated absolute deference and obedience to one’s superiors, but because he was God’s chosen ruler on earth. He could essentially do no wrong - only God could judge him.


    Mary did something very bold for a girl of her era. She refused to accept her parents’ annulment and her father’s position as Head of the Church. There is no question this girl had the strength and courage of her mother. 

    In Mary’s view, to deny the Pope was head of the church put her immortal soul in jeopardy, and saying her mother and father weren’t lawfully married was a sin - telling a lie. It must have caused her intense turmoil, because everything in her upbringing, in the world around her, told her that her first duty as a female was to obey the men in her family, especially her father. But her father was commanding her to sin! She had to obey God’s laws before that of man.

    It’s no wonder the pressure made her ill. Henry was utterly enraged by his daughter’s refusal, and said very ugly things about her to ambassadors. She was his “worst enemy in the world,” as he told Eustace Chapuys, knowing his words would get back to her.

    He intensified his abuse of her until Mary finally broke and signed a written “confession,” accepting his position as Head of the Church and that she was illegitimate. But their relationship was never as close as it was before. Henry never really forgave her because he knew he’d broken her - she hadn’t submitted willingly.

    But Mary still loved him. She had memories of the days before 1527 when she was the “pearl of her father’s kingdom,” a pampered and beloved princess. In her view, it was all Anne Boleyn’s fault. Which is understandable. (Think of how many kids today blame their “evil” stepmothers for their father’s neglect.) Emotionally, it was easier for her to hate Anne than it was for her to blame her father for what he was doing.

    It must have been especially unsettling for her when her father’s abuse only got WORSE after Anne’s death.

    The children had several stepmothers who tried to help them. Jane Seymour only cared about Mary, and tried to get her restored to the succession. Little Elizabeth was pushed off to another palace and ignored during Jane’s tenure.

    Anna von Kleefes had a little bit of a rocky start with Mary. The two had some sort of quarrel early in Anna’s tenure, but it was soon smoothed over and they got along swimmingly. She tried to bring Elizabeth to court and was told by Henry that the girl’s mother was so different from herself that Anna shouldn’t want to meet her, but Anna insisted. Elizabeth adored her.

    Katheryn Howard tried to be good to both girls. Mary wasn’t very receptive. Katheryn sent her multiple gifts, though, trying to tell Mary she was keeping her in her thoughts. Katheryn brought little Elizabeth to court and seated her right across from the queen at meals - a position of honor. She didn’t get anything out of this kindness. Elizabeth was still in “disgrace” with her father. But Katheryn had a very sweet, kind heart and showed the girl the first familial love she’d had for a long time.

    Kateryn Parr was a very kind-hearted woman, too. She saw Elizabeth’s intellectual talents and nourished them. She tried to make all of Henry’s children feel equally cared-for. Little Edward had been neglected a bit, too. He was being raised as a prince, educated and trained, but not necessarily nurtured. Kateryn gave him much-needed maternal love. (She chose tutors for him who had been given scholarships by Anne Boleyn, interestingly enough.)

    For Elizabeth, her father was probably a larger-than-life figure she saw infrequently and was by turns hostile, indifferent, and occasionally gregarious. It was terribly confusing for the girl, who was so starved for affection. It’s no wonder she fell under the spell of her new stepfather, Thomas Seymour, who started out grooming her for abuse by presenting himself as the loving father-figure she craved so badly.

ajax-daughter-of-telamon  asked:

Did Anne Boleyn not actively seek to become his queen? (not a rhetorical question; genuinely confused)

    No, Anne Boleyn did not seek to be Henry’s queen, not at the beginning, anyway.

    The first year of Henry and Anne’s relationship can be better described as sexual harassment in the workplace than a romance. Anne spent most of 1526 trying to tactfully dodge Henry’s advances. She had told him she would be no man’s mistress, but he didn’t respect that.  

    In February, he made a public declaration of his interest in Anne, hoping the fawning attention of the court would pressure her into giving into his advances. it didn’t work. Anne still would not become his mistress. Henry now spent more time in his wife’s quarters than he had in years, but it was to visit Anne where she couldn’t escape his attentions.

    In May, it got so bad that Anne actually quit her job as a lady in waiting and retreated to Hever, where she refused to answer Henry’s letters and sent back his gifts. Henry’s letters to her at this point are full of pouting complaints that she won’t write back to him.

    Henry still wouldn’t take “no” for an answer and chased after her. He went to stay with a cousin of Anne, Nicholas Carew, whose house was a convenient distance from Hever so he could ride over at his leisure. It wasn’t like Anne could refuse to receive him at the house. She refused wherever she had agency, but in this she did not. No one could refuse the king admittance.

    Anne had to walk a delicate balance. If she had offended the king, it would have put her entire family’s future in danger. She undoubtedly faced pressure from her family and friends - who were benefiting from the king’s attentions to Anne with a stream of offices, appointments, and titles - to keep the king “happy” and not anger him. And so Anne had to remain polite and friendly, smiling while she tried to duck away from his reaching hands.

    Anne wanted what every girl of the era wanted, to make a good marriage. She was intensely religious, something that’s often forgotten in her on-screen portrayals, an evangelical with a reformist zeal. No matter what the king offered her, she would not sleep with any man unless he was her lawfully-wed husband. But she couldn’t find a husband while the king was pursuing her. No man would ask for her hand and risk enraging the king. And the longer the king chased her, the less people believed Anne could still be a virgin. Her reputation was just as ruined as though she’d been the king’s mistress in truth.

    Later writers, seeing how things turned out, have posited that Anne planned the whole thing from the start, “luring” Henry away from his wife with her sexy feminine witchery. They imbue her with supernatural foresight, as if she somehow knew if she ignored him, refused him, and left court, it would drive him mad with lust and he would leave his wife for her. But that’s ridiculous.  Anne could not have possibly hoped Henry would make her his queen when he was chasing her back in 1526.

    In the past, Henry had always gracefully backed away when a lady indicated she wasn’t interested in being perused by him. Henry had a very fragile ego and was pained by being refused. His way was to sniff around and drop hints, and if the lady was cool toward his overtures, he would step back quickly and pretend the whole thing never happened. “Interested in her? Huh! Me? No way. Maybe she was interested in me, but I wasn’t into her!” 

    In Anne’s case, he wasn’t taking the hint. Anne was as blunt as she could be without being outright rude, but he kept coming back, offering her larger gifts, and promoting her family members to higher offices with greater income. Her family must have despaired when Anne left court because it put her prestigious career as a maid of honor in danger, but even that drastic move wasn’t enough to push Henry off his course.

    Thomas Wyatt, who watched the whole thing and may have been in love with Anne himself, wrote a poem about it, Whoso List to Hunt. He portrayed Anne as a deer, fleeing for her very life, with Henry and others in pursuit. But Henry has already put a collar around the deer’s neck, proclaiming the prize as his own, whether she likes it or not. And though Anne seems “tame,” she has a wild longing to be free. But later writers have portrayed it as though it was the deer luring Henry into the hunt.

    While everyone knew by 1526 that Henry wanted to divorce Katharine (he’d stopped sleeping with her years ago and had told several people he thought his marriage to her was invalid), everyone fully expected his next wife would be a princess of the blood, someone who would bring him a huge dowry and an alliance with a foreign power. A king marrying a mere gentlewoman for love? The idea was ridiculous. All the time he was trying to arrange Henry’s annulment, Wolsey was planning the king would marry a French princess. Even he, who probably knew the king better than anyone, didn’t think Henry would really marry Anne.

    In 1527, Henry asked Anne to marry him. Two things are important to note here. First of all, a royal proposal was not a request. A woman did not turn down a proposal of marriage from a king. She just couldn’t. (Ask Kateryn Parr, who was in love with another man when the king proposed.) It’s not like today, when a woman has agency in deciding her marital future. In those days, if a man of appropriate rank and wealth approached for a marriage, the girl’s father would decide if the union was good enough and if it was, the girl was expected to accept. If his rank was much higher than her own, or her father’s, the girl and her father had no little choice in the matter. They could appeal to higher authorities, such as the king or cardinal, and they might put a stop to the match, but the girl’s opinion on the matter was inconsequential. In this case, there was no higher authority to whom Anne could appeal if she didn’t want to marry Henry.

     Secondly, once Anne had accepted, they were legally bound to one another. A betrothal was almost as legally binding as a marriage itself, requiring a dispensation from the pope to dissolve. Once she had accepted, Anne had to put her effort into furthering her marriage. If the king had changed his mind at this point, Anne would have been ruined. Few men would have been willing to take the king’s discarded “mistress,” and even with a papal dispensation freeing her from the engagement, her marital prospects would have been dim.

    In short, there is no evidence whatsoever that Anne had a grand, cunning scheme to make herself queen. It would have been a ridiculous plan, and incredibly reckless. “I’m going to risk inciting the queen’s hatred, the king’s anger (potentially ruining our family), and destroying my reputation around Europe on the off chance that this time Henry won’t back away when I refuse him. Because I’m just so awesome, he won’t be able to quit me, you know.

    Humans have a tendency to look back at events once they’ve occurred and see a master plan behind it all, but there’s simply no evidence of it. Instead, what we see is a young woman harassed in her workplace to the point of quitting her job, but was still unable to shake off her boss’s attentions.

anonymous asked:

Do you think Thomas Seymour really loved Kateryn Parr?

Thomas Seymour was overambitious and power hungry- and he gave so many so much grief. However, his first relationship with Katherine was an interesting one. He first became interested in her when she was at court with her elderly husband. We know little of that first relationship. However, writer Elizabeth Norton suggests that perhaps during this first relationship, there was some genuine love there.

At the time, Katherine was ‘no great catch’ as the wife of a ‘mere baron’. Thomas was the brother-in-law of the King. The Parr’s, although a respected family, were no great political ally for the Seymour family. Nor was the family of her second husband, John Nevill, Lord Latimer. It seems that there may have been a genuine possibility for love. It might also be worthy to note that Henry felt that Thomas was enough competition to send him overseas. However, beyond this speculation it is difficult to ascertain Seymour’s true feelings for Kate. She held no promise or real power as Mary Howard, Duchess of Richmond,  whom Seymour had expressed interest in marrying. 

There is not much doubt of Katherine’s affection for Seymour, even after her marriage to the King. After Henry’s death she wrote Seymour:

“I would not have you think that this mine honest goodwill towards you to proceed of any sudden motion of passion; for, as truly as God is God, my mind was fully bent, the other time I was at liberty, to marry you before any man I know.”

 I don’t know whether Seymour was in love with Katherine during their first relationship, but it feels as if something had changed by the time Henry died. By this time, Seymour had morphed completely into the power-hungry scumbag we remember him as. It was only after expressing an interest in marrying either Mary or Elizabeth, that he proposed marriage to Katherine. He wrote to the fourteen year old Elizabeth:

“I have so much respect for you my Princess, that I dare not tell you of the fire which consumes me, and the impatience with which I yearn to show you my devotion. If it is my good fortune to inspire in you feelings of kindness, and you will consent to a marriage you may assure yourself of having made the happiness of a man who will adore you till death.”

His creepy obsession with the teenage girl would later play out publicly. After these failed marriage proposals, Thomas turned his sights to Katherine- a woman who had long held him in her affections. It is generally believed that he manipulated her into a hasty marriage in spite of the widespread disapproval of their family and friends. Within a year he had turned his attentions to Elizabeth, now his teenage stepdaughter. (I go more in depth into Katherine’s part in the situation here). Elizabeth was sent away and Katherine died due to complications arising from childbirth soon after. 

Although Thomas attempted to calm his wife on her deathbed, she made it clear that she had never gotten over his betrayal of her trust. Six months later, Thomas Seymour was executed for treason. 

It is impossible to measure the genuine affection Seymour had for Katherine, if any at all, during their marriage. Still, his behaviour indicates that his greatest love was for power- ultimately bringing Seymour to his end. 

anonymous asked:

"It’s why Jane didn’t get any sexytimez. No famous brothers to sleep with. Bummer Jane" <-- this quote was brilliant. I LOVE YOU and your valiant war against PG. i heard she just wrote a new book about kateryn parr and as a kp fan i'm terrified. protect tudor women from philippa gregory at all costs.

Aww thanks XD 

It weirds me out a little how attached she is to incest in her books. And I’m not just talking about her Tudor or War of the Roses series either (where she can try to claim that it was more acceptable in those days. When I’m pretty sure brothers having sex with their sisters (or uncles with nieces) was in fact not considered okay in Tudor society. In fact IN FACT-and correct me if I’m wrong- but I THINK that’s part of the charges laid against Anne Boleyn and her brother.) But like the series that first made her popular (some 19th century bullshit series) was also dependent on incest for its plot. 

Like okay PG calm down there. 

incorrigible-ixoreus  asked:

Could you talk a little more about what you alluded to re: Elizabeth and Edward Seymour? This is the first I've heard of it and I wouldn't know where to start looking into it to find out more.

It was Thomas Seymour (sorry, my bad, I typed Edward in the post you saw.)

I want to warn anyone reading this that this post contains an unsettling accunt of a man trying to abuse a young girl, which could be triggering for some.

    Thomas Seymour was a very ambitious man in search of a rich wife. He’d sniffed around the court, looking at several women. Mary Howard, widow of Henry FitzRoy, the king’s bastard son, was one of his potential spouses. But Mary flat-out refused to have anything to do with him. Thomas then tried seeing if the Council would be interested in giving him one of the king’s daughters, Princess Mary or Elizabeth, but was told he was barking up the wrong tree. He approached Kateryn Parr and started courting her, but the king stepped in and Thomas was dispatched on a diplomatic mission. Kateryn became Henry’s queen instead.

   After Kateryn was widowed, she was even a richer prospect - literally. She was already half in love with Thomas from his previous courtship of her. She quickly married him, and to everyone’s shock, she became pregnant. (At age 35, having never become pregnant in any of her previous three marriages, she was thought to be infertile.)

   Kateryn took custody of the king’s daughter, Elizabeth. It was a happy arrangement for the both of them.  After a lifetime of neglect, Elizabeth had found a kindred soul in her stepmother, and it should have been the happiest time of her life. Kateryn not only gave Elizabeth the maternal love she craved, she also encouraged the girl’s brilliant young mind with stellar educational opportunities. Elizabeth flourished in her care.



    But Thomas… Thomas was a predator. When you read the story of what he did to Elizabeth and Kateryn, you can see it. You can see the predation and the gaslighting. It’s a horrifying story, all around.

    Thomas Seymour started grooming Elizabeth from the moment the girl fell under his power, manipulating her and slowly escalating his advances. His plan was trying to hedge his bets in case Kateryn died in childbirth. At her age, it was thought likely. (Her friends were all terribly worried, and as it turned out, they were right to be.)

    Thomas thought he could make Elizabeth fall in love with him and she’d throw caution to the winds and defy her brother and the council to marry him, just as Kateryn had done. Thomas Seymour seriously underestimated Elizabeth.

   At first, Thomas was kind and warm to the girl, teasing her a little. Kateryn participated in some of his early games. She didn’t see the warning signs that are so obvious in retrospect. Once, they both pounced on Elizabeth in the garden. The girl was still wearing the black garb she favored, mourning for her father, she said. Kateryn thought she should start wearing colors again. She held Elizabeth still, laughing, while Seymour sliced her gown to destroy it so she’d have to replace it - hopefully with something more colorful.

  Thomas’s “teasing” became more serious as time went by and it started making her very uncomfortable. Elizabeth didn’t want to believe badly of Seymour. At first, she probably tried to explain away and justify his behavior - until it became too egregious for her to ignore. Seymour probably also hinted to her that she shouldn’t “upset” Kateryn, whose health was in question because of her pregnancy anyway.

    He started entering her room at inappropriate times, before she was dressed, in order to “tickle” her. Elizabeth’s reaction was to run into a group of her servants to protect herself. She then started rising earlier in the morning so Thomas couldn’t catch her undressed. Thomas got a little pissy about that.

    Later, poor Elizabeth was blamed for instigating these “games” or encouraging them. She was reported to have  “blushed and stammered” when people asked her about it. It was embarrassing, and Elizabeth was afraid people would think she had encouraged him in some way. She reacted as many abuse victims: with confusion. She likely wasn’t sure it was abuse at first because Thomas had been so careful in his escalations. But by the time Kateryn intervened, Elizabeth was clearly in distress.

    He was clever. He had covered his tracks by having Kateryn participate in some of the early “games.” Then, when she objected to his later conduct, he could pretend to be offended and shocked that she would would see it as nefarious. “Why, you were there! You know it was all innocent!” He probably tried to tell her it was her pregnancy making her so jealous and irrational. And, like many disgusting creatures of his ilk, he probably tried to blame his abuse on the victim.

   Kateryn was in a very difficult position. She was in love with this man, and she didn’t want to believe he could do this evil thing, but she kept clear sight of the fact that her first duty was protecting her stepdaughter. She had been taught since birth to obey the men in her life, so it couldn’t have been easy to defy her husband and send Elizabeth away. Seymour had to be enraged, and you know he had to have poured the pressure on his wife not to let his victim escape his grasp, but Kateryn held firm. She deserves some credit for that.

    She sent Elizabeth away to another home, but remained in contact with her. She didn’t blame Elizabeth. That’s important to note, but Elizabeth lost the happiest home she had known, and was later publicly shamed for Seymour’s abuse of her. 

    Elizabeth later had to undergo hours of brutal interrogations as though she was the criminal. Shortly thereafter, she wrote to her brother to ask him to let her come to court so she could prove she was not pregnant with Seymour’s child, to face down some of the slanderous gossip about her. The courage that would have taken reminds me of her mother’s courage when she, too, was faced with false accusations of immoral conduct. Anne Boleyn walked in to face her accusers with her head held high, and I think Elizabeth would have, too, even if inside she burned with anger and the terribly confused emotions of an abused young girl. Her brother didn’t allow her to come, but he tried to quell the gossip, at least.

    Fiction has had a field day with this. Some have made Elizabeth a willing participant, or “in love” with Seymour. She was fourteen, and an intensely pious young girl who adored her stepmother. Elizabeth wanted to spend her time in translating Latin, not being sexually harassed by her stepfather. But there are still those who would typify this as some sort of love affair, and that’s just so wrong on so many levels.

comfortcross-deactivated2016011  asked:

I'm glad to see someone point out what an unhealthy time it was in regards to having children! There could have been more to it, but the fact was that the Tudors did not live very well in terms of physical well being (not to mention the emotional).

    Oh, ye gods and little catfishes, it WAS a horrifically unhealthy time. Anyone descended from these folks should take comfort in the fact they come from some really hardy people. Pretty much anything your doctor would recommend today, the Tudors did the exact opposite.

     Fruits and vegetables? Best to be avoided, unless they’re cooked until mushy, and during pregnancy most of them should be avoided at all costs. A sixteenth century Italian court physician wrote this advice to pregnant women craving fruit:

“When you crave a piece of fruit, just think that the most noble and beautiful fruit in the world is the human creature in your womb, so surely you can resist the vituperative claims of your palate for a vile, ugly, bad piece of fruit that will harm what you carry inside yourself.”

    Drinking while pregnant? Consuming water was inadvisable (which wasn’t really false, given the poor sanitation standards of the day) so it’s better to stick with strong red wine, which would strengthen the fetus. One thing they suggested that might have been helpful was that if the woman was going to water down her wine (which in those days were heavy and syrupy), she should use water in which a red-hot iron had been extinguished. Likely, this would have killed some of the bacteria, and possibly increased iron content. (I’ve never seen any studies on traces of iron in quench water, but I’ve seen recommendations to use cast iron cookware to increase iron consumption in the diet, so perhaps there’s some correlation.)

    Pregnant women were advised to avoid exercise because the fetus was considered to be only lightly attached to the womb and any vigorous activity could shake it loose from its moorings. Late pregnancy would have been even more miserable, especially for women expected to follow the “lying-in” customs enshrined by Margaret Beaufort, which entombed the woman in her rooms and shut out any whiffs of fresh air.

    Birth itself was a journey into the Valley of the Shadow for women. Estimates range as high as 30 deaths per 1,000 (compare that with the modern industrialized nation rates which range of around 6 to 8 per hundred thousand). The dangers presented by the birth itself, added to the possibility of “childbed fever” afterward made for a horrifically deadly combination for young women of the era.

    That’s not to mention the poisons they put into their bodies as medicine, such as mercury and lead. Someone’s ill with fever? Best to cut them open and drain some of their blood, or apply a blistering solution to their skin to “draw out” the bad humours. There isn’t any mention in the record of what Jane Seymour, Kateryn Parr, or Elizabeth of York went through in the terrible last few days of their lives, but the king’s physicians probably would have tried everything from bleeding them, to giving them concoctions to provoke diarrhea/vomiting, to fastening dead pigeons sliced in half to the woman’s feet to draw out the fever.

    After the baby was born, he or she was given over to the care of a wet nurse. And while great care was taken to choose a nurse with what was considered to be the proper qualities, such as a good character (thought to transmit to the child through the milk) and having given birth to a boy (thought to have stronger milk as a result) the baby would often starve while a candidate was selected. Today, doctors know that the colostrum transmits vital immunities to the child, but in those days the “thin milk” was thought to be a waste product best discarded until a woman’s real milk came in. 

    Babies in those days were touched as little as possible, wrapped tightly in swaddling bands like little mummies. It was thought to be necessary for them to be tightly wrapped in order for a child to grow up with straight limbs, but being unable to wriggle deprived babies of any exercise and the important developmental aspects. Not to mention the horrible psychological impact that came from being deprived of cuddling and bonding with their caregivers.

    Henry VIII reportedly took great care with Prince Edward, insisting his rooms be scrubbed with vinegar from ceiling to floors thrice per day. But the poor little prince would have been left alone in his cradle, swaddled into immobility, handled only when it was time to feed and change him.

    Stern (corporal) discipline of children was recommended because children were seen as being in grave danger of straying from the path of righteousness.  I don’t want to get into that much, because it’s difficult to write descriptions of Tudor childhood, which is downright creepy and abusive to modern eyes, especially Lady Jane Grey’s description of how she was treated by her parents. Suffice it to say that normal affectionate bonds between parents and children were discouraged and harsh discipline was the ideal. 

    They didn’t really have a childhood, as we think of it. Education started early and was rigorous. Princess Mary could play the virginals well enough to impress ambassadors at age four, and Prince Edward wrote beautifully in Latin by the time he was nine. They were dressed like little adults, and for the most part, expected to behave like little adults. How this affected their emotional development is probably a discussion best left for scholars of psychology, but I’ve always found it a little sad that Jane Grey and Elizabeth so eagerly looked forward to their school lessons as little girls because they had a tutor who believed that gentle praise was the best way to educate children. Jane Grey later said it was the only time she was ever happy.

    Love and happiness weren’t really considerations in the Tudor era, for adults or for children. Personal aspirations weren’t encouraged: a person’s duty was to live according to their station within the rigid, God-ordained social order, and further their family’s interests. Life on earth was seen as a test or a trial to be endured in order to achieve reward in the afterlife. That’s when they would be happy, in heaven, not on earth. Those who sought happiness on earth were foolish and sinful. (Any parent could have pointed to the king’s own marital tribulations as the inevitable result of someone who married for such a foolish reason as “love.”)

    This is one of the reasons why religion probably played such a big role in the lives of the Tudors. It was an outlet for all of the emotions that had no role in their daily life. Love, passion, ambition… A person could even join “lay orders” and achieve status within the church while still living in the world. 

    Combined with a general lack of hygiene, dental care, mental health care, healthy familial bonds, and counter-productive medical care, it’s a miracle any of them survived at all.