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?