Wednesday 26th of January 2022

the pandemic that changed the course of history...

field of goldfield of gold

Nearly 520 years ago, a pandemic changed the course of history. Arthur — the elder brother of future King Henry VIII — died suddenly in April 1502, most likely from the “English sweat sickness” (a highly dangerous pandemic infection at the time), at the age of 15, barely 20 weeks after his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Arthur was supposed to become the next king...


The death of Arthur being so swift, it is unlikely he died from Tuberculosis as some people have suggested. The “English sweat sickness” is thus the most likely culprit. Even his sister, Mary Tudor Queen of France, also caught the disease but survived, somewhat very weakened...





Eyn Regiment, wie ma sich vor der Newen Plage/ Der Englisch schweiß genant/ bewaren/ Un so man damit ergriffen wirt/ darin halten sol.


Der Englische Schweiß (auch Englische Schweißkrankheit, Englisches Schweißfieber oder Englische Schweißsucht; lateinisch: pestis sudorosa oder sudor anglicus[1]) war eine sehr ansteckende Erkrankung unklarer Ätiologie, mit meist tödlichem Ausgang, die im 15. und 16. Jahrhundert in fünf Seuchenwellen hauptsächlich in England auftrat und dann anscheinend wieder verschwand. Die Erkrankung zeichnete sich durch eine sehr kurze Krankheitsdauer und eine hohe Letalitätsrate aus. So vergingen vom Auftreten der ersten Symptome bis zum Eintritt des Todes oft nur wenige Stunden. Typisches Symptom waren starke Schweißausbrüche, die der Krankheit ihren Namen gaben.


Es ist bis heute unklar, worum es sich bei dieser Krankheit nach heutigem Verständnis handelte. Die Mutmaßungen über die Verursacher des Englischen Schweißes reichen bei den viralen Infektionen von Influenza- bis Hantaviren, bei den bakteriellen Erkrankungen werden die Leptospirose (Morbus Weil) ebenso wie der Lungenmilzbrand in Betracht gezogen.




The English sweat (also English sweat sickness, English sweat fever or English sweat addiction; Latin: pestis sudorosa or sudor anglicus) was a very contagious disease of unclear aetiology, with mostly fatal outcome, appeared in England and then apparently disappeared again, mainly in five epidemic waves in the 15th and 16th centuries. The disease was characterised by a very short infection duration and a high mortality rate. Often only a few hours passed from the appearance of the first symptoms to the onset of death. A typical symptom was heavy sweating, which gave the disease its name.


It is still unclear what this disease was according to today's medical records. In the possibility of viral infections, the cause of English sweat range from influenza (coronavirus/SARS) to hantaviruses; in the possibility of bacterial diseases, leptospirosis (Weil's disease) as well as pulmonary anthrax have also been considered.



Thus, all of Arthur’s inheritance, prospects and titles were transferred to Henry, aged ten, who became Duke of Cornwall in October, 1502, then Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester in February 1503. King Henry VII, Henry’s dad, only delegated a few minor affairs to his new heir. Young Henry's actions were closely monitored as he ascended to the throne "without training in the demanding art of royalty” — which for King Henry VII was mostly the art of filling the royal coffers, a state of affairs that displease many of his subjects...


Arthur's death, closely followed by that of Elizabeth (of York), Henry's mother — during the birth of a daughter who also died — strongly affected Henry VIII, for him to call his second daughter Elizabeth after his mother — and to call back to court his cousin, Lady Margaret Pole, upon the death of her father. He already called his first daughter after Mary Tudor, his younger sister. The death of Henry's mum was a trauma that could explain Henry's trying to find her qualities with his wives, a quest which resulted in disasters. Though according to Gus the Elder, Henry was — like many males then — just a misogynist and a full-blown psychopath. And he had supreme power. As well, Catherine (Catalina) of Aragon, the wife of Arthur, now his wife by arragement, was 6 years his senior and probably wiser (?). This could have made an uneasy marriage, as well as not bringing any “male” heir.



After years of marriage, Henry wanted to divorce Catherine. She had suffered through several still births and a handful of infant deaths and hadn't borne a son. Henry became obsessed with producing an heir to carry on the Tudor family lineage, and he finally convinced himself that his marriage to Catherine had been a sin in the eyes of God. 


He even believed the union's sin was the reason why his legitimate male children kept dying. So he set about obtaining an annulment from the church based on the edict stating that a man can never marry his brother's wife. The problem was, it was the pope who had sanctioned the marriage in the first place, on the basis of Catherine's oath that her marriage to Henry's brother was never consummated… Keep smiling...


What ensued was a political and religious fiasco. In the end, Henry cast out the Catholic Church and established himself as the head of the Church of England, God's representative on Earth. He divorced Cath­erine and married his mistress, Anne Boleyn, in the hopes of getting a son. In the process of achieving this single goal, Henry ordered the beheadings of some of the top political minds of the day, a few cardinals of the Church, at least one nun, a couple of his six wives, and countless members of the royal court who questioned the purity of his motives. Henry VIII’s motive had no purity of anything, but the power of psychopath (innate) helped along with some sociopathy (learned) added to his belief of being god’s representative.



We don’t know what sort of king, Henry’s brother, Arthur, would have made. But one can be confident to say that Henry was the most vile, deceitful, murderous psychopath that ever existed in the Kingdom of England — even if we take in consideration the generally dangerous times in which he lived. Henry increased the bad sauce of human evil ten folds. During his reign, about 75,000 people were murdered on his command and ten people close to him lost their head famously, including two of his wives. No wonder the succession to the throne of his daugthers was also mared with murderous plots, revenge and more murders...


Mary I (18 February 1516 – 17 November 1558), also known as Mary Tudor (not Mary Tudor, the Queen of France for one year), was also known as "Bloody Mary" by her Protestant opponents. As Queen of England and Ireland from July 1553 until her death in 1558, she attempted to reverse the English Reformation, which had begun during the reign of her father, Henry VIII and to restore the property confiscated to the Church in the previous two reigns. This was thwarted by Parliament. During her five-year reign, Mary had over 280 religious dissenters burned at the stake in the Marian persecutions. Lovely. Another sociopath came and went...


Mary was the only child of Henry VIII by his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, to survive to adulthood… Her younger half-brother, Edward VI — the son of Henry and Jane Seymour and England's first monarch to be raised as a Protestant — had succeeded Henry VIII in 1547 at the age of nine. When Edward became ill in 1553 (English sweat?), he attempted to delete his sister Mary from the line of succession because he thought hat she would reverse the Protestant reforms that had taken place during his short reign. 


Upon Edward’s death, leading politicians proclaimed Lady Jane Grey as queen. She became known as the "Nine Days' Queen", claimed the throne of England and Ireland from 10 July until 19 July 1553. Jane was the granddaughter of the "other Mary” (Mary Tudor Queen of France) — the yougest daughter of King Henry VII, thus the sister of Henry VIII… Mary Tudor speedily assembled a force in East Anglia and deposed Jane, who was ultimately beheaded. Mary was — excluding the disputed reigns of Jane and the Empress Matilda ( —the first queen regnant of England. In 1554, Mary married Philip of Spain, becoming queen consort of Habsburg Spain on his accession in 1556.


After Mary's death in 1558, "her re-establishment" of Roman Catholicism was reversed by her younger half-sister and successor, protestant Elizabeth I.


Soon, Queen Elizabeth I of England and Mary, Queen of Scots — Elizabeth’s cousin, were two of the greatest, most legendary rivals in recorded history — although they never met in person. In one castle was Elizabeth, the childless “virgin” queen: bawdy, brilliant, tactical and cynical. In the other, Mary: feminine, charming, romantic and reckless...


Their decades’ long verbal boxing match over the English crown would end with Mary’s beheading at Fotheringhay Castle — with Elizabeth’s blessing — in 1587. 


So to the victims:




Exec­uted 1513


King Richard III, Henry VII's pred­ecessor, was a member of England's York family. Henry Tudor, of important royal lineage on his mother's side, led a battle against the king in 1485 to take the throne. Richard III died on the battlefield, and Henry Tudor became King Henry VII.


Edmund de la Pole was of York family lineage on his mother's side: His mother was Richard III's sister. As King Richard III had died without an heir, the crown would've landed with the de la Poles if Henry VII hadn't claimed the throne -- Richard had named his nephew Edmund as his successor.


As a legitimate threat to the Tudor monarchy, de la Pole would've been in danger even if he hadn't taken the step to try to overthrow Henry VII. He left England for the Netherlands, where he temporarily gained the support of the emperor Maximilian in his quest to reclaim the thrown. But Henry VII ended up making a deal with the emperor, and Maximilian withdrew his support. Upon returning to England, de la Pole found himself branded a traitor.


In order to save his own life, de la Pole turned himself in to Henry VII's son, Prince Henry, who promised to merely imprison him. He kept his promise until he succeeded his father on the throne. To protect himself as king, Henry VIII ordered de la Pole beheaded in 1513.


But that wasn't the end of the Yorks. Henry VIII faced serious opposition from another man, a popular noble and powerful politician. Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, sealed his fate when he spoke too much of his claim to the English throne.



Executed 1521­


Ed­ward Stafford was of royal blood, a descendant of King Edward III. He was powerful in Henry VIII's court, he bore the crown at Henry's coronation and he was popular with the people. Stafford also won a battle against Cornish rebels in the English countryside in 1497 [source: Luminarium] and was considered to be a great military leader. Henry VIII was not.


However, stirrings at court ended his friendship with Henry when people began to whisper about Stafford's claim to the throne. The king put Stafford on the sidelines, and Stafford fought back. He became the central figure around which many marginalized nobles gathered, and he came to be a voice of opposition against the king.


Stafford may have been simply ignored, or imprisoned, had it not been for a rumor that surfaced in 1521. People said Stafford was speaking about the king's death. Some claimed they'd heard Stafford describe visions of Henry's demise. Henry's top advisor at the time, the powerful Cardinal Wolsey (there’s always a Cardinal in these stories) hated Stafford and encouraged the king to take the accusations seriously.


After questioning witnesses himself, Henry was convinced by the accusations because he had Stafford beheaded for treason that year. Henry VIII never faced another serious claim to his throne.


Threats to his policies, though, persisted throughout his reign. They became common practice once he started his quest to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. One source of significant protest came from an unlikely source, a young servant who claimed to have supernatural insight. Henry didn't care for her mystical visions.



Executed 1534

Elizabeth Barton was a young, lowly servant when she first made a name for herself as a mystic. At the age of nineteen, she got sick, and in her illness, she began to have visions. In 1525, with Henry VIII's pursuit to gain permission from the pope to marry Anne Boleyn in full swing, Barton's visions became supernatural evidence of God's will: Henry was not to marry Anne.


Some people thought she was simply crazy, others believed her visions were a result of her illness, and still others believed she was a conduit for God. Her master, the Archbishop of Canterbury, fell into the latter group. He got Barton into a convent, where she became a nun and so attained a degree of legitimacy. Over the course of the next 10 years, her visions became bolder and increasingly threatening to Henry's assertion that his desire to divorce Catherine was based on legitimate religious principal.


Barton's visions about the consequences of the king's pursuit eventually became so ominous that they were considered treasonous. She was arrested, and under intense interrogation, she confessed to having faked everything. (we know about interrogations techniques). She was beheaded in 1534. No consensus was ever reached on whether her visions were divinely inspired or the result of a troubled mind. To this day, the Catholic Church gives some credence to Barton's apparent mysticism [source: Catholic Encyclopedia].


Barton is just one of the many insistent Catholics who lost their heads to Henry VIII's pursuit of a divorce. (Cardinal) John Fisher became a martyr and a saint when he refused to support the Supremacy Act that made Henry VIII the head of the church and the Act of Succession that made Anne Boleyn the legitimate queen of England.




Executed 1535

Henry VIII and Cardinal Wolsey went to John Fisher when they first came up with the idea of annulling the king's marriage. Fisher was a priest, a cardinal and confessor to Henry VII's mother before her death. He founded St. John's College at Cambridge. He was widely respected in Europe as a theologian after publishing works decrying Luther's movement to reform the Catholic Church. When Henry and Wolsey approached him for advice, he was clear: An annulment would go against the will of God.


They proceeded anyway, and Fisher never relented in his opposition. He openly defended Catherine, making great trouble for Henry. When the Supremacy Act passed in 1534, Fisher, with Sir Thomas More at his side, refused to take the required oath because it was a repudiation of papal authority. They were sent to the Tower of London, the city's prison, where they waited to find out what Henry would do with them. It was after this that the pope made Fisher a cardinal. Henry took this as a slap in the face, and Fisher's fate was sealed.


Fisher was dragged in front of the king's council many times during his imprisonment, and he always refused to speak about the Supremacy Act. Finally, under the guise of questioning Fisher about the act off the record, Henry's lead council got Fisher to say that Henry could never be supreme ruler of the church. The recently passed Supremacy and Treason Act made denying the king's supremacy an act of treason. Cardinal John Fisher was beheaded in 1535. The Catholic Church made him a saint 400 years later.


The Supremacy Act that annulled Henry's marriage opened the door for him to indulge his every marital desire. He married five more women after Catherine. He had his second and fifth wives beheaded. Catherine Howard was wife number five, and her crime was far less political than Fisher’s.



Executed 1535

Thomas More was a noted humanist, lawyer, theologian, historian, philosopher, statesman and devout Catholic. He wrote "Utopia," a famous work of humanist principles that was read by every learned member of English society, and is still part of the cannon in universities. Shakespeare based his play "Richard III" on More's book "History of King Richard III." This accomplished and respected man became one of Henry VIII's advisors in 1518.


Leading up to the Supremacy Act of 1534, More tried to support the king as much as he could without betraying his religious beliefs. On at least one occasion, he was the king's spokesman in Parliament regarding the break from the Church. He did not, ultimately, stand in Henry's way, but he stayed true to his convictions. He didn't attend the coronation of Anne Boleyn, and he refused to swear to the Acts of Supremacy and Succession. The former offense angered the king, but the latter was an act of treason.


More's fall was swift. He was charged with conspiring with Elizabeth Barton, the nun whose visions so incensed the king. But a letter turned up that absolved him: He had written to Barton telling her to stay out of the king's business. When called on to swear to the Supremacy Act, More allowed that Henry was the supreme leader of the church but said he couldn't take the actual oath because it included a statement against the pope. More was taken to the Tower of London. He didn't much mind it, the prison life suiting his asceticism [source: Britannica]. In 1535, he was beheaded for treason. His head sat on display on London Bridge for a month after his death [source: Catholic Encyclopedia].


While imprisoned, More wrote the book "A Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation," viewed as a masterpiece of religious literature [source: Britannica]. More was canonized by the Catholic Church in 1935, the same year as John Fisher.


We now get to one of the most ironic executions of Henry's reign. Anne Boleyn died by the same law that allowed her to become queen.



Executed 1536

Anne Boleyn was a young lady-in-waiting to the queen when Henry first noticed her. He was married to Catherine of Aragon at the time, and displeased with his lack of a male heir. The Boleyn family pushed Anne to exploit his attention. The rest is history.


Anne most likely would've been a mere mistress were it not for the legitimate heir factor and her own ambitions: She was determined to be queen. That, and Henry VIII actually fell in love with her. His divorce from Catherine slowly became more about marrying Anne than about having a son. In 1527, Henry started speaking quietly about getting rid of Catherine. In 1534, he granted himself the annulment, but he had actually married Anne the year before.


Anne was not well liked in Henry's court, especially after she became queen and she soon lost the king's love. She didn't give him a son in their first few years of marriage (although she did produce a daughter), and another young lady-in-waiting soon caught Henry's attention. He wanted to marry Jane Seymour. In his quest to marry Anne, and in satisfying her desire to be queen, Henry had already succeeded in making himself the sole decision maker in matters of marriage and divorce. There was nothing to stand in the way when he fell out of love with Anne.


Of course, he needed a good reason for the divorce so he wouldn't lose the support of the people (any more than he already had). Thomas Cromwell produced one: Anne had committed adultery with several men, including her brother. The charge was almost certainly false. There was no evidence to support it. But Cromwell was in charge of the court, and she was found guilty. Anne Boleyn was beheaded in 1536, two years after the king removed the pope's influence from England so their marriage would be legitimate. Anne's daughter became Queen Elizabeth I.



Executed 1540

Thomas Cromwell served as the king's main advisor from 1532 to 1540. He was the one who finally succeeded in getting the king his divorce. It's possible that Cromwell was the mastermind behind the whole English Reformation [source: Britannica].


Cromwell took over after Cardinal Wolsey's fall from grace. Cromwell was a politician, brought up from Parliament to serve the king. He came to full power when he figured out a way to annul Henry's marriage to Catherine without the pope's permission: Remove the pope's power from England. Cromwell succeeded in getting Parliament to pass the Act of Supremacy that made Henry the head of the church. He disbanded monasteries and did away with the taxes paid to Rome. He effectively removed Catholicism from England, establishing England as a sovereign state.


With Cromwell's adept maneuvering, the king was able to leave Catherine and marry Anne Boleyn. Had the marriage not imploded, Cromwell may have kept his position. But as it turned out, he made a big mistake: After the death of Henry's third wife Jane Seymour, Cromwell convinced Henry to marry Anne of Cleves, of German royal lineage, for political reasons. Henry couldn't stand Anne, and he had the marriage annulled almost immediately. That was the beginning of Crowell's end.


The bad marriage separated Cromwell from the king, and Cromwell's enemies (he was a politician so he had many) set to work. While working to remove the influence of Roman Catholicism from England, Cromwell had occasionally aligned himself with the Lutherans, who were calling for reform in the Catholic Church. The Lutherans were considered heretics, and Henry had published papers denouncing them. Even after the break from the Church, Lutheranism was against English law. After Cromwell lost the king's support, his enemies used this connection to the Lutherans to convince the king that Cromwell was a heretic.


Thomas Cromwell was beheaded for heresy in 1540. He never received a trial.



Executed 1542

Henry VIII married Catherine Howard after he annulled his fourth marriage to Anne of Cleves. Henry never liked Anne of Cleves — it was a politically motivated marriage arranged by Thomas Cromwell, and she was apparently homely. Cromwell paid for his poor judgment with his career. Henry married Catherine about two weeks after Anne was out of the picture. The Howards were a powerful family in Henry's court, with influence and high standing. Catherine seemed a good fit, and it took two years for Catherine's sordid past to catch up with her.


As things so often happened at court, it started with a rumor. This one, though, was true. It seemed Catherine Howard had had lovers before Henry. The king didn't know this when he married her, and he was humiliated when the truth came out. To make matters worse, the queen had appointed one of her pre-marital lovers to be her secretary. Rumor had it the affair continued after her marriage to the king.


The adultery aspect of the charge was never proven, but it didn't matter. Upon learning that he had married a nonvirgin (how did he not know after marrying four times before?), Henry had Parliament pass an act declaring it treasonous for an unchaste woman to marry the king. Catherine Howard was promptly beheaded for treason.


Henry also had Catherine's uncle beheaded, but for entirely different reasons. Henry Howard was the victim of courtly lies, the result of a power struggle between two of the court's most powerful families, the Howards and the Seymours.



Executed 1547

Henry's court was a place of constant positioning for the king's favor. Henry's hangers-on were always vying for power, and Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, lost his life when the Seymours felt threatened.


Jane Seymour was Henry's third wife. She died soon after they married, but delivering Henry a legitimate male heir helped maintain the Seymours' power. But the Howards, too, had the king's ear. Henry Howard's father had been entrusted with the upbringing of Henrys VIII's illegitimate son by Elizabeth Blount. One sign of favor at court was an allegiance by royal marriage, and there was talk of two possible suitors for Henry's young daughter, princess Mary. One was a Seymour, Jane's brother; the other was Henry Howard. This set the stage for a battle.


The Seymours told the king that Howard had quietly supported the Catholics in a rebellion against the Supremacy Act in 1536. Howard had actually fought against the rebels, but the accusation still landed him in prison for two years. After he got out, he started making trouble for the Seymours, trying to block a marriage between his sister and one of the Seymours and making various accusations questioning the Seymours' loyalty to the king.


The Seymours struck their final blow: They again accused Howard of supporting the Catholics, but this time, they made his sister testify against him. She admitted on the stand that her brother was, in fact, a devoted Catholic. This was seen as a rejection of the king's supremacy. The Seymours combined this testimony with the fact that Henry Howard's father had had a claim to the throne before Henry VIII became king (though he never fought for it), and they convinced the king, who was by that time very ill, that the Howards intended to usurp the throne.


Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, was beheaded in 1547, the same year the king died. It was Henry VIII's last execution. Howard had written volumes of poetry while imprisoned, and ended up creating the form that eventually came to be called the Shakespearean sonnet [source: Britannica].


The Howards and the Seymours were powerful, but they were nothing compared to Thomas Cromwell, the king's chief advisor during the successful break from the Catholic Church. Cromwell had the king's ear for eight years -- a long time in the world of Henry VIII. He lost his head only after he succeeded where all others had failed.



While Henry VIII held the throne, England went through changes that would eventually lead to the creation of modern sovereignty — a nation not beholden to the church — though Henry never intended it. He was a walking contradiction, a devoted Catholic who rejected the Pope and founded his own religion; a king of the people and an educated humanist who executed tens of thousands of subjects. In the end, Henry VIII produced one male heir, Prince Edward, his son by Jane Seymour. Edward took the throne when his father died; he was 10 years old. Back to the top… He died of illness five years later, passing the crown to Henry's daughter Princess Mary. Elizabeth I succeed her older sister and reigned for 45 years.


This dynasty was the pits of power and psychopathy, and of moral corruption that still run in the veins of the present monarchical system, from a different line of inbred mongrels… Meanwhile we keep electing lying politicians who think they are the representative of god in politics, Australia included — and recently joe Biden, the Catholic, somewhat castigated by his bishops because he had to make deals with the progressives on abortion, to be elected supremo…. Unfortunately, Young Joe Biden is loosing his marbles but the US “liberal” media, forever in love with the Democrats, are glossing over Joe's declining state of mind...


 We shall soon cry.


Gus Leonisky


Rabid atheist





Picture at top: More to come…. The meeting between Henry VIII and Francis I, known as the Field of the Cloth of Gold, took place between 7 to 24 June 1520 in a valley subsequently called the Val d’Or (Valley of Gold), near Guisnes to the south of Calais.


This history has been sourced from various books, encycopaedias, including wikipedia and

the cloth of gold






















Joan of Arc (c. 1412 – 30 May 1431), nicknamed "The Maid of Orléans" or "Maid of Lorraine" (Pucelle = Virgin), is considered a heroine of France for her role during the Lancastrian phase of the Hundred Years' War, and was canonised as a saint. 

She was born into a peasant family, at Domrémy in the Vosges, northeast France. 

Joan said that she received visions of the archangel Michael, Saint Margaret, and Saint Catherine of Alexandria instructing her to support Charles VII and recover France from English domination late in the Hundred Years' War. Beaut. 

The as-yet-unanointed King Charles VII sent Joan to the siege of Orléans as part of a relief army. She gained prominence after the siege was lifted only nine days later. Several additional swift victories led to Charles VII's consecration at Reims. This long-awaited event boosted French morale and paved the way for the final French victory at Castillon in 1453. Except...


On 23 May 1430, she was captured at Compiègne by a Burgundian faction, a group of French nobles still allied with the English. She was handed over to the English and put on trial by the pro-English French bishop, Pierre Cauchon, on a variety of charges. 


Cauchon owed his appointment to his partisan support of the English Crown, which financed the trial. The low standard of evidence used in the trial also violated inquisitorial rules. Clerical notary Nicolas Bailly, who was commissioned to collect testimony against Joan, could find no adverse evidence. Without such evidence the court lacked grounds to initiate a trial. Opening a trial anyway, the court also violated ecclesiastical law by denying Joan the right to a legal adviser. In addition, stacking the tribunal entirely with pro-English clergy violated the medieval Church's requirement that heresy trials be judged by an impartial or balanced group of clerics. 


Upon the opening of the first public examination, Joan complained that those present were all partisans against her and asked for "ecclesiastics of the French side" to be invited in order to provide balance. This request was denied. She was eventually charged for CROSS-DRESSING… Obviously...


After Cauchon declared her guilty, she was burned at the stake on 30 May 1431. She was barely nineteen years of age.


adapted from and other sources


Very sad story… 


110 years later…


Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury (14 August 1473 – 27 May 1541) was the daughter of George, Duke of Clarence, and Isabel Neville and was niece of kings Edward IV and Richard III. Margaret was one of two women in 16th-century England to be a peeress in her own right with no titled husband. One of the few surviving members of the Plantagenet dynasty after the Wars of the Roses, she was executed in 1541 at the command of Henry VIII, who as we know was the son of her first cousin Elizabeth of York. Pope Leo XIII beatified her as a martyr for the Catholic Church on 29 December 1886


Very sad story… Another saint...



Here we have two women who died for nothing much, after they were betrayed by people. In the case of the French king, he was glad to see Joan of Arc out of his hair, as she could have been “troubles” for his crown supported by French male wimps. The Englanders and the Franzooses had been at each others throat until the renaissance came in and the same thing continued… It continued till the Brexit event of a few years ago, still festering because of the Irish — presently siding with the French in the EU, but against the allies during WW2 as a “neutral” country… But because the French are now a married couple with the Germans, the Irish are back together with the Germans. This is history as we know it and we have to consider that the Irish don’t like the Poms very much, except in the northern part, where the Irish whiskey has been corrupted by the Anglicans since Henry VIII... 


We are necessarily getting ahead of ourselves. In general, diplomacy is a game of mugs in which the true feelings are never exposed, except in a 100,000 pages of a Wikileaks exposé of secret communications between Ambassadors and head office. The fur flies and the comments are but complimentary. 


Studying the Field of the Cloth of Gold, we find why the Camp David or the Geneva talks of today are still producing ZERO progress along the road of human cooperation, despite “communiqués and words of praise for the meeting...


Back then in 1520, The meeting between Henry VIII and Francis I, the Field of the Cloth of Gold, took place between 7 to 24 June, in a valley subsequently called the Val d’Or (Valley of Gold), near Guisnes to the south of Calais. 


Say, the English had had their foothold on the continent until 28 years after this meeting, when bundled out after the siege of Calais in early 1558 during the Italian War of 1551–1559. The "Pale of Calais" had been ruled by England since 1347, from the Hundred Years’ War hence. 


In the 1550s, England was ruled by Mary I of England and her husband Philip II of Spain and supported a Spanish invasion of France. Henri II of France sent the Duke of Guise, against English-held Calais defended by Thomas Wentworth, 2nd Baron Wentworth. Calais was besieged until it fell. Lord Wentworth, completely overwhelmed by a lightning attack, handed the keys of the city to the French on 7 January 1558. 


The booty taken by the French was impressive: food for three months and nearly 300 guns. The English defences of Guisnes (Guînes) and Hames soon also fell. Henry II of France arrived at Calais on 23 January 1558. Isn’t this reminding us of a recent retreat in Afghanistan where weapons left by the US become those of the victors… We shall ponder. 


With Calais, France had reconquered the last bit of land it had lost in the Hundred Years' War and put an end to "two centuries of fighting between England and France". Then came Napoleon… Back in Calais, the new French administration created a new division of farmland, reorganised the parishes, and reconstructed villages and churches. No harm came to the English residents: after an uncomfortable night, they were escorted to waiting boats and given safe passage across the English Channel. A spooky reminder of Dunkirk a few centuries later, against a different adversary...


This deviation into the future from the Field of the Cloth of Gold is somewhat educational, because what happened diplomatically on the Field of the Cloth of Gold was a complete waste of time, as King Henry VIII was deceitful. While negotiating with Francis the First, Henry was doing deals with Carlos V (Charles Quint). The opulence and the festivity of the meet should have been a warning as a way to bamboozle rather than be earnest in love... 


The event derive its name from the sumptuousness of the materials used for the tents, pavilions and other furnishings. It was a spectacle of the greatest magnificence and the several artists responsible for the painting (see at top and details above) have made a fairly accurate visual summary of the various festivities that took place during the meeting of the two kings. 


The English party was based at the town of Guisnes, seen in the left half of the painting. The king entered the town on 5 June accompanied by his wife, Catherine of Aragon, who appears not to be represented in the procession. Several member of the king’s suite on horseback can be identified: Sir Thomas Wriothesley, Garter King of Arms, and Thomas Grey, Marquess of Dorset, who carries the Sword of State, precede the king. Cardinal Wolsey is alongside, with his cross-bearer riding ahead. 


Catherine of Aragon could be the woman dining in the tent at the extreme right or she may be "in the litter" behind that tent, accompanied by ladies-in-waiting. The right-hand foreground is dominated by a palace, specially erected for the occasion by six thousand men from England and Flanders sent ahead of the royal party. 


The palace was set on brickwork foundations, but the walls and roof were made of canvas painted to look like a solid structure. The framework was of timber specially imported from the Netherlands, the windows were made of real glass and the façade was adorned with 3D sculpture. All fake. 


Two fountains in front of the palace provided wine and beer for people's consumption (the over-indulgence of which leads some of the figures in the painting being sick or engaging in brawling). Behind the temporary palace are the King’s golden dining tent and the ovens and tents in which the King’s meals were prepared. 


The formal meeting between Henry VIII and Francis the First took place in the rich tent at the centre background. To the right is the tournament field where the two kings and their queens watch the events from the side. In the corner of the field stands the tree of honour. I’ve seen one of those before, when deceit is in full swing and often used by peeing dogs to mark territory.


In the top left of the painting is the dragon (salamander) firework, which was released on 23 June. The tents used by lesser members of the royal suite stretch into the background, with Calais and Ardres (where the seemingly much smaller French party were based) is seen in the distance. The painting was rendered more than 20 years after the event, while Henry VIII was still barely alive —just a few year before the English defeat in Calais.


François the First, king of France since 1515, crowned with the victory of Marignan, threw his name in the hat for the imperial crown (title of emperor of the Romans) in 1519. The election of Charles V of Spain (Charles Quint) instead push him to seek alliances in anticipation of the inevitable clash with the new emperor, the ambitions of two characters can only be opposed. An alliance with England or at least a non-aggression treaty therefore seemed a good solution. Trust? Sounds like Lord Chamberlain… 


Henry VIII, King of England since 1509, does not oppose these negotiations in order to consolidate peace with France (marriage of Louis XII with his sister Marie Tudor in 1514, Treaty of London of 1518). However, he had an inclination to get closer to Charles V, whom he had met shortly before... Henry VIII is the husband of Catherine of Aragon, aunt of Charles V, and the prudent policy of his main adviser Thomas Wolsey aims to maintain a balance between great powers. 


Henry VIII is therefore ready to meet Francis the First but isn't convinced to choose an alliance with France. He rather choose a rapprochement with the Empire. The more so as England could, if necessary, in the event of conflict with France extend its possessions in France, starting from its bridgehead Calais, while he had no starting point to gain possible territories from Charles V. Ruling Kingdoms is the business of getting real estate. 



The meeting of 1520 concluded two years of negotiations: it was delayed because of the claims by Francis the First to the imperial crown. Wolsey was in charge of choosing the place, the date and the course of the event. Everything was codified, the two kings wanting to appear on an equal footing. Wolsey's interlocutors on the French side were Galiot de Genouillac and Gilles de la Pommeraie. Despite records, the exact location isn't known. 


It was a priori the first meeting between the two men. 


Francis the First is 25 years old and Henry VIII is 28 years old. They are both princes of the Renaissance, young, brilliant, cultivated. Charles Quint is only 20 years old, but more powerful than both.



The painting, oil on canvas (1545) having been executed twenty years after the fact, the clothes of the characters are out of place and time — and not representative of the real attires...


Results of the negotiations were very very slim: there was a marriage project but it did not materialise  Diplomatic discussions took place on subjects already often discussed but nothing concrete emerged. We know.


Francis the First, already in debt during his attempt to be elected emperor, deepened France's debt a little further.


The meeting gave rise to displays of affection but antagonism remained. Less than a month later, on July 14, 1520, Henry VIII met Charles Quint, at the instigation of Cardinal Wolsey, in Gravelines. Charles V had won the support of Cardinal Wolsey by dangling his support for Wosley's accession to the Pontificate. The interview ends with a friendship treaty which in 1521 was transformed into a real alliance against France. Bugger...


The city of Ardres was one of the main beneficiaries of the Field of the Cloth of Gold meeting: the wood used was recovered to fortify the city in anticipation of a future clash with Charles V. Other wooden elements were used to reinforce the means of the French artillery.


From 1521, begins the conflict between the three powers, France against Empire and England. An English army left Calais in 1522 and besieged the French city of Ardres. These clashes lead to the Battle of Pavia in 1525, and Francis the First is taken prisoner. The ransom is hefty. The rest is history till today — a beautiful day from some...


Gus the Elder.


Historical hysteric




intimate love letters...

The steamy love letters Henry VIII sent to Anne Boleyn




Before their marriage in 1533, Henry VIII’s controversial romance with Anne Boleyn was fueled by intimate love letters.


Only the correspondence from Henry VIII’s perspective exists today and his language reveals a fervorous temperament that influenced his six marriages and 36-year reign.


Watch the full documentary on BBC Select.



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