A Brief History: Jane the Fool

Guest article by Stephanie Stohrer

The earliest references to what we know as court jesters, or fools, date back to the 5th dynasty of Egypt, whose Pharaohs employed Pygmies as dancers and buffoons. For centuries, royalty and nobility have hired comic entertainers whose perceived madness or imbecility (whether real or pretended, as I will explain shortly) provided amusement to their superiors.

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Catherine of Aragon and Elizabeth I (Guest Post)

Guest article by Samantha K Cohen

Catherine of Aragon was born on December 16th 1485, the year Henry VII established the Tudor dynasty. Elizabeth I died March 24th 1603, the year James VI of Scotland became James I of England.  

As a child of three, Catherine of Aragon, the youngest daughter of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile was betrothed to Henry VII’s heir, three year old Prince Arthur. In 1501, Catherine and Arthur both fifteen, were married. In 1502 Arthur died. The marriage lasted less than six months.

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Tudor Etiquette (Guest Post)

Guest article by Rose Rylotte

The Tudors are often depicted as messy or ill-mannered ruffians.  However, they were impeccably dressed and carried themselves with honor and dignity.

Starting off with personal hygiene, since they believed disease entered the body through open pores of the skin they did not bathe as regularly but thought it important to rinse their hands and face before every meal.  This was done in clean cold water to wash off surface dirt.

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“Divers Children,” The Many Pregnancies of Katharine of Aragon

Guest article by Lissa Bryan

On June 21, 1529 Katharine of Aragon entered a courtroom at Blackfriars. A hearing had been convened by papal agents to rule on the question of the legitimacy of her marriage to King Henry VIII. Henry claimed he had sinned by marrying his brother’s widow and was enduring the curse in Leviticus 20:21:  And if a man shall take his brother’s wife, it is an unclean thing: he hath uncovered his brother’s nakedness; they shall be childless.

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Illegitimate Daughter of Charles V: Margaret of Parma (Guest Post)

Part One by Heather R. Darsie

Margaret of Parma was born 5 July 1522 to the twenty-two-year-old holy Roman Emperor Charles V and his paramour, Johanna van der Gheenst. She was born in Oudenaarde, Netherlands.  Margaret was the eldest of all of Charles’ children. Charles met Johanna during a six week-long visit to Charles de Lalaing, Count of Lalaing’s home in late 1521. There, Charles met Johanna, and their daughter Margaret was born the following summer.

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The Marriages Of Alice Chaucer (Guest Post)

Guest post by Michéle Schindler

Alice Chaucer was a formidable lady. Living to nearly 71 years of age, she was a royal confidante and friend, mother-in-law to a king`s sister, a politican and a reviled widow in her time. Though born a commoner, she moved in royal circles, her approval sought after and her opinion considered even by her king and queen. 

Though this rise was in large parts due to Alice herself, and her reportedly witty and charming personality, it was made possible through her connections, partly inherited from her father and partly gained through marriage. 

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