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The Tudor Tournament

Anne Stanhope vs. Simon Renard

Yesterday’s match-up featured two 16th century competitors with strong fan support behind each base. At the end of the day, John Dudley was victorious. Today’s competition is between two lesser celebrated, but no less forceful, personalities. In a face-off between Anne Stanhope and Simon Renard, who will you choose?

Anne's resting place in Westminster Abbey

Anne Stanhope (better known as Anne Seymour)

Date: ?? 1510 – April 16, 1587

Brief blurb: Anne is best known as Edward Seymour’s wife. Her sister-in-law was Jane Seymour, the third queen (but according to a certain someone, the first true wife) of Henry VIII. When her husband became a duke in 1547, Anne became the Duchess of Somerset.

Strengths: According to numerous persons and accounts, Anne possessed a fearsome personality. When her husband became Lord Protector, she believed this entitled her to the status of most important lady in the land. Catherine Parr would, however, disagree. Indeed, she invoked Henry VIII’s Third Succession Act, which not only assured that Catherine was the highest lady in the land, but that Anne was merely the fifth most important lady in the land, coming after the Princesses Mary and Elizabeth, and King Henry VIII’s “sister”, Anne of Cleves.

Weaknesses: As stated above, most of Anne’s fortune depended on her husband. When he was thrown into the Tower of London, she was thrown along behind him. Her husband was executed on January 22, 1552, but Anne was spared. She did, however, remain imprisoned until Mary I came to the throne.

Manner of Death: (Natural, and a fairly old lady she was!)

Simon Renard

Simon Renard

Date: ?? – August 8, 1573

Brief blurb: But why is a Spanish ambassador with no marriage ties to the Tudors entered into the Tournament? For the simple reason that he (supposedly) held a large amount of influence over Mary I. Prior to his arrival at the English court, Renard  had an active diplomatic life in both France and Spain. He served both Charles V and Philip II.

Strengths: Renard had a keen mind and good diplomatic skills. Indeed, he is thought to have used these talents to sway many of Mary I’s decisions in the early days of her reign. It was Renard who brokered Mary I’s and Philip II’s marriage.

Weaknesses: It has also been demonstrated that Mary went against his advice – Mary, it seems, was a greater believer in mercy as a personal policy and as a political tool than many give her credit for. Thus, she did not initially follow his advice where either Jane Grey or her sister, Elizabeth, was concerned. Renard was also accused of giving the Queen advice on matters that he had no business discussing. Some historians have accused Renard of being behind Mary’s poorer decisions, although it must also be noted that these same scholars did not view Mary as being capable of making firm decisions without strong male guidance (such histories being written before credit was given to gender analysis).

Manner of Death: Natural

Now, vote!

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