On This Day – 28th January 1547

Henry VIII (Cornelis Metsys)

On the 28th of January 1547 Henry VIII of England died at Whitehall.

Henry had ruled England since 1509, and was only 55 when he died. He was certainly a prime candidate for NewLab’s  drive against obesity, however, one can just  imagine what he would have told them, had they dared to  mention his outrageous size!  It has long been known that Henry did not suffer from syphilis, but I was interested to read that it that he may well have suffered from Type 2 diabetes.

Much has been said about Henry’s marital adventures, but it should, perhaps, be remembered  that the succession wars, poetically named “The Wars of the Roses” , were  neither poetic nor brief. The first major battle was in 1455 and the final episode was the executions of Perkin Warbeck and Edward, Earl of Warwick, in 1499.   Continue reading “On This Day – 28th January 1547”

On This Day – 26th January 1788

View of Port Jackson (Matthew Flinders)

On the 26th of January 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip planted the British flag at Port Jackson on what is now Sydney harbour.  Phillip had arrived with 11 ships comprising 732* convicts, marines and a handful of other officers. The holds were stuffed full of goodies that the Powers-That-Be in the UK thought would be necessary to establish a penal colony.

Contrary to popular belief this was not the first land-fall for the expedition, which had left England some eight months earlier. Following the advice of Joseph Banks, who had  been part of James Cook’s expedition, Phillip had been told to set up his colony at Botany Bay where he landed on the 18th of January. Having decided that the place was unsuitable, he decided to go elsewhere. Continue reading “On This Day – 26th January 1788”

On this Day – 25th January 1533

Anne Boleyn (Holbein)

January 25th 1533 is reputed to be the day that Henry VIII married Anne Boleyn. The wedding was held in secret – hardly surprising since Henry had not had a formal notification from the Pope that  his first marriage to Catherine of Aragon had been annulled!  A notification that Henry would never get, although the Pope had earlier suggested that Henry marry Anne without having his first marriage annulled. The wedding was necessary since it is clear that Anne was already pregnant with the future queen, Elizabeth I.

Anne was an extremely intelligent and beautiful young woman, she was also ambitious. She certainly set her sights higher than marriage to an Irishman in order to resolve a family dispute over the Earldom of Ormand.  But her attempt to marry Henry Percy, the son of the Earl of Northumberland was quashed, not because Henry VIII already had his eyes on her, but because Henry Percy was already betrothed and Anne was simply not of the right ‘class’ to marry into such an illustrious family. Continue reading “On this Day – 25th January 1533”