Well, maybe not all the king’s men, but one of them at least. One of my favorite times in history is the Renaissance period. Stories of Kings and Queens and castles have always piqued my interest. As a little girl, I loved watching the swashbuckling hero duel against the villain, with swords slashing and clanking. Lovely maidens, dressed to the nines, would lure said royals into compromising situations and stories of intrigue and mystery reigned. I particularly enjoy the reign of the Tudors and all the stories that came out of it.
As I go through these daily biographies – which I intended to do just as a diversion and to try and add a little more knowledge to my old brain – I see humanity at its best and worst. It seems to me that nothing much has changed in history, except the clothing, the politics and the hairstyles. People have really only evolved to adapt to their environments. The spirit of man has pretty much stayed the same over the centuries. There will always be evil, until the day of the Lord’s return and we should be used to it by now.
Today I focus on a man who was born into royalty. Thomas Howard, the Third Duke of York was born on this day in 1473. He lived during the time of great explorers and discoveries – a contemporary of men like Christopher Columbus and Michelangelo. His long life of 81 years ended in 1554. He was filled with great challenges as he lived with kings and served them well. He witnessed the executions of two nieces – Anne Bolyen and Catherine Howard – wives of Henry VIII. He also played a major part in the ending of both those marriages.
He came from a long line of politicians, so it was fitting that he continue in that line In 1484 he was betrothed to Princess Anne of York, but the marriage didn’t occur until 1495. In the winter of 1513, Anne died of consumption. Howard didn’t waste any time in getting married that same year to Lady Elizabeth Stafford. The marriage carried much darkness and stories of infidelity. Howard took a mistress and Elizabeth moved out, but never filed for divorce. She claimed that her husband was physically abusive to her.
Howard’s goal was to take over the position of Chief Minister from then Thomas Cromwell. Cromwell had great influence in helping Henry VIII get an annulment for his first marriage.
When Cromwell faced execution for not providing a suitable wife for King Henry, Howard thought he would fill the position, but King Henry had other ideas. In fact Howard fell out of favor with the king. Cromwell was replaced by The Earl of Hertford, Edward Seymour. As the king’s health was rapidly failing, it became Hertford’s object to remove his rivals out of the way, and in 1546 Howard’s son, Henry, Earl of Surrey was accused of high treason. Howard would also be imprisoned for several years because of this. His time in the Tower of London lasted through the reign of Henry’s replacement, Edward VI and he was finally pardoned for his crimes by Queen Mary.
Recently a mini-series on the Tudors ran on public television. In that rendition, we saw a King who got what he wanted at any expense – an egotistical man who gave into the sensual side of life. Wealth doesn’t always bring happiness. We all die in the end, but for those who put their faith in God and His abounding love, we are promised eternal life.