Women of History: Catherine Trastámara

Out of Henry VIII’s six wives, the ones that are most remembered are his first three.

Catherine of Aragon: His first queen and mother of Queen Mary.

Anne Boleyn: mother of Queen Elizabeth, and a woman who is also known for helping cause a religious revolution in England and her tragic end.

Jane Seymour: the young woman who gave birth to his only son. To be fair, Jane is often forgotten and limited as “mother of Edward” then anything else.

I will admit that I am biased against Henry VIII who I felt was a bit of a bastard towards his wives in more ways than one. I also feel that general history has basically reduced these women to just being one of the six wives, without a sense of individuality. There has to be so much more to them then just their spouse.  In that respect, I have decided to learn more about these six women, starting with the first, Catherine of Aragon.

Catherine aragon Continue reading

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Happy Veterans Day

Today is Vetran’s day.  While yesterday was the day that most Americans “observed” the holiday, this is one of the holidays that has a particular date set.  November 11 is Veterans day for a particular reason.

Veterans Day is a day to honor all veterans, living or dead, who have fought for their country.  Usually it focuses more on those living, as Memorial Day focuses more on those who died during their service.

It was started in 1919 on the first anniversary of the armistice, or the end of World War 2.  At the time it was called Armistice day.  In 1927, Congress passed a resolution to make it an annual event, and in 1938 it officially became a US holiday. After World War II, however, it was clear that the ‘War to End All Wars’ was unfortunately not the truth. In 1954, Congress passed HR 7786, which renamed it from Armistice Day to Veterans day to honor the veterans of all wars.  The US is not the only country to celebrate a Veterans Day, although in many countries it is still known as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day.

The first world war ended on June 28, 1919 but Veterans day is set upon the armistice between the nations that took place on November 11, 1918.  It did not officially end the war, but it ended the fighting.  The agreement was to end hostilities on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.  Thus, at 11am (Paris time – so 5am in New York) on November 11, 1918 the actual fighting stopped.  It took till June to formulate and sign the Treaty that would formally end the war.

For a brief period of time starting in 1971 Veterans Day was on a Monday to create a 3 day weekend, and would end up at various times depending on who designed the holiday calendar that year.  However, in 1975, Veterans Day returned to its home on November 11, which has historical significance. Still, while the official day is still November 11, regardless of when it falls during the week, the closing of federal offices occurs the friday or Monday closest to the actual observance.  (This year that being Friday the 10th).  This is why you will sometimes see Veterans Day twice on your calendar.  One will say Observed (i.e. The three day weekend) and one will simply say Veterans Day.

I have several veterans in my family.  Both my grandfathers served.  My paternal Grandfather Henry served with the Navy during the last year or so of World War II.  He actually lied to get into service, being only 16 when he enlisted.  He would find out later that he was actually one of the guards doing duty during the transport of the Hydrogen bomb that would be tested.

My other Grandfather served briefly during Korea, and I have an Uncle, Aunt, and several cousins who served or continue to serve in various branches of the Armed Services.  So today I thank them and all other veterans for the time they spent serving our country.

TV Review: The Six Wives of Henry XIII (4 of 4)

Title: The Six Wives of Henry XIII (Via Amazon Prime)
Episode: Katherine Howard and Catherine Parr (4 of 4)
Released: 2001

So we reach the end with the last two of Henry’s wives, both named Katherine.  Although I have to wonder how he felt that half his wives had the same first name for all intents and purposes.  The first Katherine is a bit weird, really.  At least her story.  She’s `is 16-17 when she marries Henry, whose 50+.  It’s hard to tell if the story is attempting to be sympatric or not, but it comes across as Starkey (who I assume directs the content of the piece) didn’t think highly of her.   She seems like she was just a typical teenager, perhaps too willing to fall in love and not quite understanding the consequences of her actions.  I also want to find out more about her, because there has to be more to the Queen then her at least emotional affairs.

Actually, while looking stuff up about this mini-series I found out that it is based on the book by Starkey, so I can confidently say that the tone of this miniseries is set by him, both as narrator and as the basis of the show itself.   His views on the Queen are apparent, although there are a few times where its close.

Catherine Parr seemed to be very well liked by Starkey, and his portrayal of her tended not to show any flaws she might have other than being overly zealous in her education (which isn’t really a flaw in any case).  She is published, so it might be interesting to read what she wrote.

The final episode gets an B, (so overall B-).  The epilogue sentence confuses me and I don’t understand it in context of the show, or history in general.  How is Elizabeth the greatest rumor?  Design wise I’m still bothered by the fonts used in the credit sequences, finding them not all easy to read.  But in general the mini-series was enjoyable, and worth the time even though it does require more looking into things if you really want to know the Queens.  However, as an overview, it’s not too bad.

TV Review: The Six Wives of Henry XIII (3 of 4)

Title: The Six Wives of Henry XIII  (Via Amazon Prime)
Episode: Jane Seymour and Anne of Cleves
Released:  2001

So the mini-series is only four episodes long, with the last four wives having the pair up for their episodes.  I’m kind of disappointed, but I can understand why they might want to use less time.  After all, with the exception of Jane Seymour, the last wives of Henry had less of an impact on Henry, England and history in general.  Still, part of me wishes they could have spent the same amount of time on these women.

I have to admit though, that the section on Jane Seymour was perhaps the most I’ve seen on her.  Most documentaries on the Tudors seem to pass her by as simply Edward’s mother.  This goes a little more in-depth.  I still think more could have been said.  Especially during her time as Catherine of Aragon’s lady-in-waiting and her relationship with Mary.

Anne of Cleves story just made me feel sorry for her.  Again, not much is usually said about Anne other than the fact that she and Harry annulled their marriage quickly out of displeasure with each other.  This documentary segment makes me wonder about it.  She’s another one of the Queens I wish I knew more of, and may add to my list of people to research and read about.

THis episode gets an B, as I feel it doesn’t really do justice to these two women, but it does a better job then the last at making you want to know more about them.

TV Review: The Six Wives of Henry XIII (2 of 4)

Title: The Six Wives of Henry XIII (Via Amazon Prime)
Episode Title:  Anne Boleyn (2 of 4)
Release date 2001

This episode was rather odd for me, because it was not very sympathetic towards Anne, and describes her as pretty much someone who manipulated Henry to get power.   Given how the first episode seemed sympathetic towards Catherine I was surprised, expected this to be the same for the second Queen, who, from all accounts I know of, was falsely accused because of her inability to give Henry a son.

I also wonder that they had no mention that one of Anne’s miscarriages was around the same time Henry had an accident.  Perhaps that was not a widely accepted connection.  I also feel that this episode didn’t really go much into Anne but those around her being mad that she was Queen, or being happy for the same reason.  Perhaps it is because Anne is often the most known of the Queens in pop culture due to her death, and the fact that she was Queen Elizabeth’s mother.

This episode gets a C, as it felt rather unbalanced in its reporting of Anne, but the overall series still gets an A.

TV Review: The Six Wives of Henry XIII (1 of 4)

Title: The Six Wives of Henry XIII (Via Amazon Prime)
Episode Title: Catherine of Aragon.
Release Date: 2001

This mini-series was a misdirection on my part, as I thought I was watching a program my friend had recommended to be, but it was the wrong one with the same title.   However, I decided to continue my plans of watching it and reviewing the various episodes (there are four) that I watched.

The premise of the series is a focus on the wives of King Henry XIII.  The first episode deals with the wife he had first and longest, Catherine of Aragon. He was married to her from 1509-1533 (24 years).  She died in 1536. Continue reading

Women of History: Emmeline Pankhurst

Today’s Woman of history topic is one that was requested, and I actually was not aware of till it was mentioned.  I found out quite a bit from my minor looking into her life. Emmeline Pankhurst was an early 19th century political activist in Great Britain. In particular she is known for her strong militant ways of promoting her cause and for helping bring along the vote for women in the UK as well as improve various other social problems she discovered through out her life.

Emmeline was born Emmeline Goulden on July 15, 1858 (according to her birth certificate, she always claimed the 14th) in a Manchester suburb. She was born into a family familiar with political activism for several generations. Her parents were active in their community and passed that down to their children. This included their interest in woman’s suffrage.

Her education was not as involved as her brothers, as at the time it was felt it was better she learn to be an attractive prospect as a wife rather than be educated on the scale of her brothers. However, she was an avid reader, and her time at Ecole Nomale de Neuilly helped her expand her influences and knowledge base. Continue reading