The treatment of women during the Tudor period vs. Current day I. Introduction: This paper examines the treatment of Royal women in England during the Tudor period, in particular the wives of King Henry VIII. This is more in depth than just the wives of Henry VIII, but compares their treatment with that of modern day England. I am going to perform in-depth research into the wives of King Henry VII and that of the current Royal family. Today’s Royals have much more freedom and are treated better than during the Tudor period.
The women of today’s royal family are able to be heirs to the crown along with marry who they love. II. Tudor Period Women were believed to be the weaker sex, not only physically, but also emotionally. From a young age girls were taught that their sole purpose in life was to marry, have children, raise their children, take care of their home and husband. After all they were ordered by God to obey men. The church at the time also taught that women were inferior to men. They used the Bible to justify this teaching. They take a Bible verse out of context that says “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.
For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. ” (Ephesians 5:22-24). If you read the previous verse it says “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. ” (Ephesians 5:21) Both men and women were taught this by the church, so the entire society believed that women were inferior to men. Girls were taught from a young age that according to God they were to obey men, whether it was their father, husband, brother, uncle or cousin.
Most girls received no form of education unless they were from wealthy families and even then it was usually on how to manage a household, prepare meals or to do needlework. It was believed then that it was a waste of time to teach girls to read and write. Even two of King Henry VIII wives (Jane Seymour and Catherine Howard) were barely able to read and write. They were actually both from financially well to do and even royal families. (Reference 1) Women along with men were also required to marry whoever would benefit the crown the most. Young women were told who they would marry and this was based on what marriage would enefit the family the most. They did not marry for love; whether they loved the man they were to marry was irrelevant. A lot of times the first time a couple would meet was at the wedding ceremony. This was the case when King Henry VIII married his 4th wife Anne of Cleves. (Reference 1) ‘Anne of Cleves was not what Henry expected. “I like her not! ” he told all and sundry. King Henry VIII is also reputed to have described Anne of Cleves as ‘a fat Flanders Mare. ’ (Reference 2) After marrying women had one main purpose and that was to produce a male heir to continue the family line.
During this time period giving birth very dangerous for the mother. It was unusual the mother that died while giving birth. For this reason many women would get the nursery ready for the child before giving birth. The way women dressed was strictly controlled. For instance, women that were unmarried could wear their hair loose. While married women were required to cover their hair with a veil or a hood. The dresses they wore would come all the way down to her wrists and the length was to the floor. It did not matter how hot it was, this is how women were to dress period.
After marriage a women became the property of her husband. Women that committed adultery or killed their husband were burned at the stake, unless the King or Queen at the time disagreed. (Reference 1) III. Third act of succession Before almost the end of King Henry VIII’s reign during the Tudor period women were not allowed to be the heir to the crown of England. This changed because of the third act of succession made by King Henry VIII at the end of his life. (Reference 2) Third Act of Succession of 1543 is that briefly an act by King Henry VII giving the succession order of his crown.
He put his only son Edward or his heirs if he was not alive first in line to the crown. The second in line to the crown he put his first daughter Mary or her heirs if she is not alive. This was the first time that a women was able to be a successor to the crown of England. Third in line was his second daughter Elizabeth or her heirs if she was not alive. (Reference 2) As history would come to show all three of Henry VIII’s children would be crowned the King or Queen of England. In 1553 after the death of King Edward VI his sister Mary became the Queen, since King Edward VI had no heirs.
This was the first time in history that a Woman was the successor to the crown of England. (Reference 4) IV. The wives of King Henry VIII Henry VIII further proves my point that women were treated as secondary citizens. King Henry VIII changed wives like people now change cars. He used them for what he wanted and then got rid of them by either divorce or even by having them beheaded. King Henry VIII had six wives listed as follows: His first wife was Catherine of Aragon. He married her for power and a political alliance with Spain. She was originally married to Henry’s brother Arthur who died six months after they married.
King Henry VIII after about 24 years became unhappy and bored in his marriage. Catherine was unable to give him a male heir to his Kingdom, but did give birth to his daughter Mary. Catherine of Aragon refused to give Henry a divorce and Pope Clement VII also refused to give him a divorce. King Henry already had plans to marry one of the Queen’s lady-in-waiting, Anne Boleyn. Three years later Anne Boleyn became pregnant with King Henry’s child. “Deserting the Catholic faith Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury grants the annulment of the marriage between Catharine of Aragon and Henry VIII in 1533.
In the same year King Henry married Anne Boleyn and was excommunicated by Pope Clement VII. ” Because of her refusal to divorce the King, Queen Catharine was banished from the court and from seeing her daughter Mary. The King moved them to other castles in England, separated from one another. On the 7th of January in 1536 Queen Catherine of Aragon died at the Kimbolton Castle at the age of fifty. (Reference 3) His second wife Anne Boleyn has well educated at home by a French governess and as a young teenage went to France to finish her education. In France she was educated in music, dance and poetry.
She then returned to England where she was a lady-in waiting to Queen Catherine of Aragon. This is where she caught the eye of King Henry VIII and he pursued her. Late in 1532 she became pregnant with King Henry’s child. She married King Henry VIII in January of 1533, while she was still pregnant. Anne Boleyn gave birth to King Henry’s daughter Elizabeth on the 7th of September in 1533. In 1534 Queen Anne became pregnant again which was short-lived when she miscarried a baby boy. She became pregnant again in1535 and also miscarried the baby. The relationship between Anne and Henry quickly deteriorated.
His one-time overwhelming lust for her had turned into hate. By late 1535 another lady-in-waiting to Queen Anne (Jane Seymour) had caught the King’s eye. On the 2nd of May in 1536 Queen Anne Boleyn was arrested and taken to the Tower of London. On the 15th of May in 1536 Anne Boleyn was tried for treason, adultery and incest in the Great Hall of the Tower of London along with her brother George Boleyn. The Beheading of the Queen of England Anne Boleyn took place on the 19th of May in 1536. King Henry was now free to marry whoever he would like with Queen Anne out of the way. Reference 3) King Henry VIII third wife was Jane Seymour. Within 24 hours of Queen Anne Boleyn’s execution, Jane Seymour and King Henry VIII were formally betrothed on the 20th of May in 1536. The King and Jane were married with haste ten days later, because Jane Seymour was pregnant. She probably married King Henry because she was in love with him and was also urged to by her ambitious brothers. Jane Seymour was well educated at home and was sent to France to finish her education as a young girl. When Jane returned to England and she first entered the service of King Henry VIII’s daughter Mary.
Jane Seymour then was appointed as a lady-in-waiting to Catherine of Aragon to whom she became a loyal servant. This is where Jane caught the eye of the king. On the 12th of October in 1537 Queen Jane Seymour gave birth to the male heir son that King Henry VIII had been waiting for. His name was Edward and later became the King of England at the age of 10. On the 24th of October in 1537, just twelve days after giving birth to Prince Edward, Queen Jane Seymour died. Her death was from lack of care after the child birth of Prince Edward. Anne of Cleves was the 4th wife of King Henry VIII.
He married her for a political Protestant alliance in Europe. Anne was considered to be intelligent, but was never educated in music, literature, languages or dance. She was from Germany and the two did not meet until their wedding. King Henry VIII only agreed to marry her after seeing a painting of her where she looked pretty that didn’t include the scars she had from small pox. He could not cancel the wedding since the marriage treaty with Cleves was finalized, so he went through with it and never consummated the marriage. They were married the 6th of January in 1540 and then divorced on the 9th of July in 1540.
Queen Anne of Cleves agreed to the divorce, which made King Henry very happy. He treated her like he would his Royal sister, then gave her a settlement of 4,000 English pounds per year and gave Anne of Cleves a number of homes including Hever Castle the former home of Anne Boleyn. Part of the agreement was that Anne of Cleves would make here permanent residence in England. The English Parliament declared the marriage null and void since Anne was once engaged to the son of the Duke of Lorraine. Again King Henry VIII once again divorced a wife because she was not what he wanted.
Anne of Cleves emerged from her marriage with the King happier than she entered it. She was also the last of the King’s wives to die. (Reference 3) Catherine Howard the fifth wife of King Henry VIII was the cousin of the former Queen Anne Boleyn one of Henry’s wives. Catherine was uneducated and could barely read and write, even though she was of royal blood. She was a beautiful girl of noble birth and she useful to the fortunes of the Howard dynasty. Catherine was sent to the court of King Henry VIII as a lady-in-waiting and just as the Duke of Norfolk had planned she caught the eye of King Henry VIII.
King Henry was obsessed with Catherine, after all she was beautiful and thirty years younger than him. The obsession was described as a “pathetic infatuation”. Henry thought of her as a young, innocent and virginal young woman she was in his words a “Rose without a thorn”. Catherine Howard was a kind and sweet natured girl. Catherine and King Henry married on the 28th of July in 1540, only 21 days after his divorce from Anne of Cleves. Catherine was described as young, pretty, curvaceous, kind, flirtatious, impetuous, promiscuous and foolish.
The foolish young Catherine Howard then fell in love with a young man who worked for the English court called Thomas Culpepper and started a sexual relationship with him. King Henry VIII was truly devastated by the behavior of his “Rose without a thorn. ” He banned Catherine Howard from his presence and ordered her arrest. Catherine Howard was arrested by the Hampton Court for adultery. She was dragged screaming from her apartments. The lovers of Catherine Howard (Henry Mannox, Francis Dereham and Thomas Culpepper) were all tortured and then beheaded.
She passed the gruesome heads of her lovers on London Bridge on her way to Traitor’s gate, the entry to the Tower of London. The Beheading of Queen Catherine Howard took place on the 13th of February in 1542. Legend has it that Catherine’s last words were: “I die a queen, but would rather die the wife of Culpepper. ” (Reference 3) Catherine Parr was the sixth and final wife of King Henry VIII of England. King Henry VIII met his last and sixth wife, Catherine Parr, at the English court. She did not marry him because she loved him, but she was forced into the marriage with the King through duty and obligation.
King Henry VIII saw the educated Catherine Parr, Lady Latimer, as an ideal wife who had already been married, nursed her elderly husbands and had cared for her step children. They were married on the 12th of July in 1543. Her true affections were with Sir Thomas Seymour the brother of the former Queen Jane Seymour, she later married him after the death of King Henry VIII. She was a respectable, well educated, a wealthy widower known as Lady Latimer. Her previous arranged marriages to Edward, Lord Borough and John Neville, Lord Latimer were much older men who she had nursed until their deaths.
King Henry VIII died on the 28th of January in 1547 at the age of 56. Henry VIII was buried in Saint George’s Chapel in the Windsor Castle, next to his third wife Jane Seymour, the mother of his son and heir Edward VI. Catherine Parr became the guardian of Elizabeth after the death of King Henry VIII and they lived at Whitehall and Chelsea. (Reference 3) V. Windsor Period In contrast to how women were treated during the Tudor period, the Windsor period changed the way women were treated. Unlike the Tudor period were marriages were all arranged by the families of the bride and groom, to best position both of their Kingdoms.
The modern Windsor family allows their Royal’s in some cases to marry for love. Even if they were unpermitted to marry by the British government they did any ways. Women are given their right to vote for the first time during the Windsor period. King George V was born was born at Marlborough House on the 3rd June in 1865. He has the second son to King Edward VII and was not to become King. That was until his older brother Prince Edward died of pneumonia in January of 1892. At the time of his death Prince Edward was engaged to his German cousin Princes Mary of Teck.
It was the decided that she should marry George instead of his brother Edward. George the Duke of York married Princess Mary in 1893. Mary had six children: Edward VIII born in 1894, George VI born in 1895, Mary born in 1897, Henry born in 1900, George born in 1902 and John born in 1905. He died of influenza on the 20th of January in 1936. (Reference 9) During his reign King George V in 1928 made it legal for everyone over the age of 21 to vote, which included women for the first time. The only people excluded from this law were prisoners, madmen and the House of Lords. Reference 4) King Edward VIII had a very short reign as King. He wanted to marry a divorced American woman named Wallace Simson, but the British government opposed the marriage. He decided to hand over the crown to his younger brother George VI, so he could marry the women he loved. He is the only King in English history to voluntarily hand over his crown. Edward and his new wife became the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. (Reference 4) King George VI married Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon a commoner by law on the 26th of April in 1923. The reason he married Elizabeth was because he was in love with her.
She refused his proposals two times before saying yes, because she was “afraid never, never again to be free to think, speak and act as I feel I really ought to” and had misgivings about royal life. (Reference 5) The couple had 2 daughters Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary born on the 21st of April in 1926 and Princess Margaret Rose of York in 1930. King George VI died on the 15th of August in 1950. (Reference 6) Queen Elizabeth II first met her husband Prince Philip at the age of 8. They met again at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, England in July of 1939.
The 13-year-old princess fell in love with the 18 year old prince. They exchanged letters for years and on the 20th of November in 1947 they were married. They went on to have three sons and a daughter. First was Charles Philip Arthur George born on the 14th of November in 1948, second was their daughter Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise born on the 15th of August in 1950, third was Andrew Albert Christian Edward born on the 19th of February in 1960, and fourth was Edward Anthony Richard Louis born on the 10th of March in 1964. Elizabeth and Philip were touring Australia and New Zealand when her father King George VI died.
Elizabeth quickly returned home when she was told of his death. In 1952 she was crowned Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Abbey in a televised ceremony. Queen Elizabeth II turned 85 years old this year and will have ruled over the monarchy for 58 years on this June the 2nd. (Reference 7) Prince Charles as the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh is the next in line to the throne. He became Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay, the traditional titles for the heir to the throne, when his mother became Queen Elizabeth II. He attended his mother’s coronation in 1952.
Prince Charles met Diana Frances Spencer in 1977 while visiting her house in Althorp. Prince Charles was allowed to marry Diana Frances Spencer a commoner for love on the 29th of July in 1981. She became Diana the Princess of Wales. (Reference 8) She gave birth to two sons Prince William Arthur Philip Louis born on the 21st of June in 1982 and Prince Henry Charles Albert David (also known as Prince Harry) was born on the 15th of September in 1984. Princess Diana divorced Prince Charles on the 28 of August in 1996 due to the infidelity of Prince Charles with Camilla Shand Parker Bowles.
Princess Diana kept her title of the Princess of Wales after their’ divorce. After his divorce with Princess Diana was finalized he married Camilla on the 9th of April in 2005. Camilla was given the title of Duchess of Cornwall. (Reference 9) Prince William is second in line to the throne after his father Prince Charles. On the 29th of April in 2011 he married Catherine Middleton a commoner because they love each other, not out of obligation. One of my other team mates will go into great depth about their wedding.
The same day the title of The Duke of Cambridge was conferred on him by Queen Elizabeth II. (Reference 9) VI. Discussions: While during the Tudor period women were treated and thought of as a secondary citizen and inferior to men, I do not agree with this position. I am the father of two daughters and they are very much as intelligent as the boys their age, if not smarter. I have also heard many times that if it was up to men to give birth, we would go instinct. I was there for the birth of both of my daughters and I would never purposely put myself in that position.
I think the reason I picked this theme is because I am the father of 2 girls before anything else. I always think about how they will be treated or perceived by others. When it comes to the way women were treated during the Tudor period compared to the Windsor period they are totally opposites. King Henry VIII was in my opinion a bad thing for the Tudor period. This in part is because he was a womanizer that used women as he pleased. While he did create the third act of succession in 1543, I believe he did this to ensure the crown would stay in his blood line.
This is another example of his selfishness. The change in the Windsor period I believe has a lot to do with the fact that open elections of 1915 did not determine a clear winner. King George V had to change the way the Windsor house was perceived by the common people. One of the things he did was passing a law in 1928 allowing women to vote. VII. Conclusion: Women even royal women during the Tudor period were treated as secondary citizens and discarded when they no long served a purpose. The way King Henry VIII treated women is a good example of how they were treated.
Women during this period could be beaten by their husband and they would be blamed for the beating. As is proof by Queen Elizabeth II’s almost six decade reign over the monarchy, women are treated much better than in the past. England like most of the world has changed the belief of society that women are equal to men. References: 1. History Learning Site. Chris Trueman. 2000. ;www. historylearningsite. co. uk; 2. England Constitution. King Henry VIII. 1543. ;www. constitution. org; 3. The Wives of King Henry VIII. The Tudor Organization. ;www. he-tudors. org. uk; 4. The Kings and Queens of England. Jo Edkins. 2008. ;gwydir. demon. co. ok; 5. Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. Wikipedia Organization. 1990. ;en. wikipedia. org; 6. Spartacus Educational website. John Simkin. 1997. ;www. spartacus. schoolnet. co. uk; 7. The history of the Royal family: Prince Charles. ;www. britroyals. com; 8. The British Royal Monarchy: Her Majesty the Queen. ;www. royal. gov. uk; 9. Spartacus Educational website. John Simkin. 1997. ;www. spartacus. schoolnet. co. uk;