1. I’m reading Wolf Hall and am fascinated by three things:

i) what was the truth about Henry VIII’s supposed illegitimate son and daughter, Henry Carey, 1st Baron Hunsdon, and Catherine Carey, Lady Knollys? They were rumoured to be the offspring of his adulterous affair with Mary Carey, nee Boleyn, elder sister of the Anne Boleyn who later became Queen and ultimately lost her head.

I mean, it makes so much more sense, I think, that Henry would be ragingly frustrated – enough to break with the Roman Catholic Church, declare himself Supreme Head of the Church of England and thus begin the Reformation as well as enough to lop off a few heads – by his legal wives’ seeming inability to give him a living son and heir if he knew he had successfully fathered not one but two healthy – and illegitimate – male children (he already had an acknowledged bastard, Henry Fitzroy, 1st Duke of Richmond, by Elizabeth ‘Bessie’ Blount).

What must it have been like, to grow up a royal bastard? What did the husbands think, those men who married the king’s mistresses and had to bring up his children as their own? How different would England’s history have been, had Henry VIII succeeded in passing the law allowing him to nominate his own successor, whether illegitimate or not, before Henry Fitzroy died? Possibly England would still be a Roman Catholic country.

Fascinating ‘what ifs’…

ii) what caused the sweating sickness which took so many lives so fiendishly quickly in the 15th and 16th centuries and then was never heard from again?

I can’t imagine how dreadful it must have been, for your loved ones to fall sick and die within 24 hours, and for there to be literally nothing you could do except pray for their soul.

iii) why was every male called either Thomas or Henry and every female called either Mary, Anne or Catherine? Seriously, I’m even beginning to long for a Tiffany or a J’aimee.

And when did we decide that ‘original’ names were what we wanted for our children, rather than traditional names? When did we stop automatically naming children after their parents and grandparents? And when did it stop being okay for you to give more than one of your children the same name (unless you’re Michael Jackson)? Henry VIII had no fewer than 6 sons called Henry. Admittedly, only one of them lived past infancy, but still. Odd.

2. I need to come up with a new job title. I’ve tried suggesting Empress of the World, but they thought I was joking. Which I wasn’t.

3. Here are the twins, finally. Cute, no?

This entry was posted in oh I don't know, just stuff and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Miscellany

  1. modestypress says:

    Empress of the World is fine with me, although my daughter owned (well was owned by) a British short-hair cat, nominally named “Lulu,” but whose constant expression conveyed, “I am indeed Empress of the Universe. You may worship and adore me for a few minutes until I weary of you.” Unfortunately, Lulu is no longer with us, as she could have given you lessons and demonstrations on “having your will enforced on whomever you choose with no more than a look.

  2. Well, you can be Empress of the World as long as I can keep my title of Empress of the Universe. I guess I must be Lulu’s heir. . .

    It’s a mystery to me, this need for “original” names. Even worse, in my book, are the creative spellings of the “original” names, so that you often cannot guess how the name pronounced “Melissa” is actually spelled. I’m sure the parents are trying to give their offspring a name that is uniquely “theirs”, but instead of making the child look unique it makes them look like their parents were so ignorant they didn’t know how to spell it correctly.

    That being said, when I was a little girl I went to a very small school and the class I was a member of had 15 students which grew to 21 before we graduated. It was a real hassle for the teacher that there were TWO Debbies in this class. When I read the “sports” news in our local paper, I notice that on our high school volleyball team there are no less than THREE Amandas and there are also THREE Melissas, which brings up the question of whether there is a mandatory name for volleyball players but also means that the poor coach has to find a way to differentiate her players when yelling at them. So I can see why you want your child to have a “different” name. My own name was, and still is, a rather uncommon one. I was named for a maternal aunt and she was named after Eleanor of Aquitaine, a woman whom I am proud to be named for. At no time during my school career, even college, was there another person in my class that shared my name.

    Those babies are very cute, and very pink. I’m so glad they made a safe landing.

    • Anonymous says:

      Its a deal!

      Yes, the spelling is atrocious. And why on earth do people feel the need to have an apostrophe in their child’s name? As if anyone born after 1975 knows how to use an apostrophe even under normal circumstances…

      Eleanor of Aquitaine is a name to live up to, certainly. What an extraordinary woman.

      I have to say, I did heave an enormous sigh of relief when those babies arrived safely. And so far they are being as good as gold, too, which is helping their new Mum greatly!

  3. doctordi says:

    What are the options for your new job title if Empress of the World isn’t going to fly (party poopers)? Can we workshop them?

    Oh, the twins are so perfect… Snugglepot and Cuddlepie!

    Great questions on Wolf Hall. The name maze was exhausting, agreed. And yes, the issue of acknowledged bastardry is completely fascinating. If they’re known to be the king’s offspring, well, they’re of royal blood then, aren’t they, and given all the bells and whistles they thought flowed from the heavens in that case, chosen by God and all that guff, then you’d think a few pesky laws wouldn’t overshadow the greater issue of divine ordinance. But no.

    Poor bastards.

    And what did happen to that sweating sickness?

    Personally I’m glad we don’t name our children after ourselves anymore (unless perhaps you’re a boxer who’s suffered so much brain damage in the ring that it’s the only way you can keep their names straight). Where’s the fun in that? I’m all for celebrating the individual, and maybe that starts with giving a kid his or her own name. Run, be free.

    • Norwichrocks says:

      Hmmm, well, so far the suggestions include Creative Manager (we already have a Creative Director, although I’m pretty much doing her job, so that’s out), Product Development Director (but I can’t see them giving me the word Director in my title, frankly, they’re not big on hierarchy… or the concomitant payrises), Publishing Manager (although our new Publisher should be joining us from DK in the UK soon so that might get confusing).

      Basically, my job is a bit of anything and everything that needs doing from the art, photos, design, editorial, new product/format, digital content, rights management, sales… you name it, I’m involved in it. Hence the problem.

      I keep thinking how odd it would have been to have been standing in the same room as Henry VIII and one of his bastards, especially since they all seem to have resembled him strongly, watching everyone pretend that paternity wasn’t obvious. 😉

      And lord yes, I wouldn’t name a child of mine after me. I’ve always loathed my unique name.

  4. Fugitive Pieces says:

    Well, that’s your birthday sorted. I’m getting you business cards that read “Empress of the World. No, I call YOU, serf.”
    (With Wolf Hall, I spent a lot of time thumbing back through the ‘Cast of Characters’ at the front. Much like reading Tolstoy – it was that, or build a palace-sized wall chart of helpful post-it notes.)
    Best guess for the sweating sickness is a hantavirus or haemorrhagic fever (caused by…rats, basically) and still breaking out today. However, it killed too fast, even for that. Hmm.
    If you were a Royal bastard, you weren’t divinely chosen – only offspring of a legitimate marriage was, blah blah. But you could still be on a path to influence, dragging your nominal relations with you, and the king’s yearning for offspring and evidence of his own virility could be exploited. A helpful daily reminder to everyone of your origins, in the form of the name Henry, was probably a strategic choice -especially if all the other bastards were called Henry too.
    Back then, no need for differentiation by quirky name, because in a small society, everyone knows who you are and where your family are from…No wonder Cromwell enthralled and horrified the court, when he appeared out of nowhere. Meritocracy was not exactly how the system was supposed to work.

    PS Love to the twins and their wonderful Mum. Tell her she’s my heroine.

    • Norwichrocks says:

      I’ve always rather fancied a tshirt emblazoned with the latin tag “Recedite, plebes, gero rem imperialem.” Would work wonders with the business card combo…

      Luckily for me, I’m fairly au fait with the Tudor period so most of the names of the main players and their various connections were familiar. But something I’ve always loved is how in Norfolk, where the Boleyn family are from, they are universally referred to as the ‘Bullens’. Not nearly so elegant!

      Will certainly pass on your admiration to the twins’ mum. 🙂

  5. doctordi says:

    How about Director of Development? I’m sure you *should* have ‘director’ in the title.

    Well, reading Fugitive’s points of clarification, I can only say that all those bloody inconsistencies just expose the logical fallacy of the entire notion of “divine right.” There’s simply nothing divine about a bunch of squabbling man-boys making and changing the rules. Church, State, who cares, you’ve seen one schoolyard brawl you’ve seen ’em all.

    • Norwichrocks says:

      🙂 I like Director of Development, too. Somehow, though, I can’t see the boss going for it, despite the fact that I am already performing the role at that level to all intents and purposes. I’ll try it, though, thanks!

      Mmm, all this talk of king’s “divine right” reminds me of emperor Vespasian’s words on his death bed: “Vae puto deus fio” (Alas, I think I am becoming a god), which I’ve always rather liked.

  6. OmbudsBen says:

    Norwichrocker, re your bastard question, have you ever seen the Duchess of Duke Street? A BBC series from the 70s, set late Victorian with Edward Prince of Wales taking a shine to the heroine, a maid turned cook turning caterer & hotelier, working her way up through the English strata.

    Prince Ed aranges for her to marry someone else so he can have her to play with; as a single woman in might be a scandal, but visiting a married couple provides cover. It’s breathtakingly civil on the surface and breathtakingly barbaric underneath, when you see what it does to heroine and her hub, who takes to the bottle and never recovers.

    All that happens early, we’re partway through and enjoying it very much.

    Yes, illegitimate life must have been maddening.

    re title: Manager of All Creation?

    • Norwichrocks says:

      No, haven’t seen that – sounds fascinating. I’ll have to look it out on the BBC site.

      The various Princes of Wales have had rather a lot of mistresses to answer for, over the centuries, one can’t help feeling. 😉

      • Fugitive Pieces says:

        Rumour has it that Camilla Parker Bowles’ first words to Prince Charles were: “My great-grandmother was your great-great-grandfather’s mistress, so how about it?”
        Three things about this strike me:
        1./ That is possibly the weirdest opening line I’ve ever heard. And faintly necrophiliac in undertone, although that might be just me.
        2./ These people really, really need to crowbar open their social circle.
        3./ My mind is a wrecker’s yard for trivia.

  7. azahar says:

    Happy birthday! 🙂

  8. doctordi says:

    Woo, hope you had a fantastic birthday – I was entertaining my Kiwi friends as you know, but I did think of you yesterday, and sent all my best birthday vibes your way! x

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s