After a work- and sick baby – related hiatus, the Tudor Tournament returns this week with Anne Boleyn vs. John Cheke. Don’t forget, you can check on the status of your favorite contestant in the Tudor Tournament at http://challonge.com/tudortournament
Date: Date disputed – May 19, 1536
Brief Blurb: Anne was the daughter of Thomas Boleyn and Elizabeth Howard. At a young age, she traveled abroad and received a courtly education from the continent. Upon her return home, she eventually found herself in the court of Henry VIII. It was while there that she caught the King’s attention, and one of the most famous (and controversial) wooings in Western history began. Eventually, Henry attempted to move heaven and earth in order to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon (with whom he had one surviving daughter) and marry Anne. The result would be the creation of the Church of England, a separate entity from the Roman Catholic Church (which would not grant Henry the divorce he wanted).
Strengths: Anne maintained Henry’s interest over seven long years. In 1532, she was made Marquess of Pembroke, the first-ever hereditary peerage title to be bestowed upon a woman. Late in 1532, Anne became pregnant, and on January 25, 1533, Henry and Anne were secretly married. From here on, England’s break with Rome moved swiftly. Thomas Cranmer declared Henry’s marriage to Catherine to be unlawful, and proclaimed Anne to be Henry’s true wife. Anne was also supported by a political faction with an interest in keeping her as Queen.
Weaknesses: Anne’s inability to carry a male child to full term would, perhaps, be her undoing. In September 1533, Anne gave birth to a healthy girl, the Princess Elizabeth. It would be her last successful pregnancy, however, as she suffered a number of miscarriages afterward. In addition to this, there were other political factions besides her own which were incredibly hostile towards her. When Catherine of Aragon died on January 7, 1536, Anne was left as the sole claimant to the queenship of England. This left her more vulnerable, and she experienced the miscarriage of a (supposed) male child soon after Catherine’s death. Around this time, Henry began to show an interest in one of Anne’s maids, Jane Seymour. In May 1536, charges of incest, adultery, and treason were issued against Anne, and she along with those who were accused with her were executed.
Manner of Death: Beheaded by French sword
Date: June 16, 1514 – September 13, 1557
Brief blurb: Educated at St. John’s College, Cambridge, Cheke is best known for being Edward VI’s tutor. He began his tenure while Edward was a prince, and continued to give him a proper Renaissance education (languages, philosophy, sciences, Biblical study) even after he became King of England.
Strengths: Cheke was an intelligent man. Not only did he serve as Edward’s tutor, he was Provost of King’s College, Cambridge, from 1549-1553. He maintained intellectual contacts and conversation throughout the continent, and developed a new approach to spoken Greek, which was his academic specialty.
Weaknesses: Cheke was a committed reformist, and this landed him in trouble upon Edward’s death. He supported the claim of Jane Grey and was appointed secretary of state. As one might imagine, when Mary I reclaimed the throne, she was none too pleased. Cheke was placed in the Tower of London, but he escaped the fate of Jane. He was released a year later and traveled abroad.
Manner of Death: Natural, although some romantics maintained grief was the culprit