The Tudor family ruled England from 1458 to 1603, an era that was full of surprising events and cultural practices. Here are 13 pretty shocking facts about the Tudors. We just can’t get over number nine.
1. For some reason, Henry VIII did not allow people to play sports. In 1512, sports were banned. You could only play sports at Christmas.
2. William Shakespeare was born and became famous during the reign of the Tudor family.
3. Sugar was expensive during Tudor times and only the rich could afford it. Because the wealthy ate so much sugar, their teeth went bad and turned black. If you wanted to show how wealthy you were, you had black teeth.
4. Henry VII created the Tudor rose when the Wars of the Roses ended. He combined the White Rose of York with the Red Rose of Lancaster to make the Tudor Rose or Union Rose. This emblem is still used today.
5. During Henry VIII’s reign, only 4 men were named the ‘Groom of the Stool.’ In this intimate and honored position, the men helped him dress and undress when using the bathroom. They also controlled access to the King, his finances, and a stamp of his signature.
6. Henry VIII had a decent tenor voice, could sight-read, and perform duets. Henry played the lute and the virginals (an old-school harpsichord). He also had 154 recorders and 19 violas.
7. During the Tudor times, Scotland and Wales were their own countries. They did not become part of Britain until 1536.
8. The first Tudor monarch had a very weak claim to the throne. Henry VII was the only Lancastrian candidate for the throne because those who had better claims had been killed during the war.
9. Historians are realizing “Bloody” Mary may not truly deserve the nickname. While she had many people killed during her reign, other Tudor monarchs killed many more. Henry VIII supposedly killed over 70,000 people and Elizabeth I had 600 executed.
10. Elizabeth I was not as popular as history makes it look. There were three different uprisings during Elizabeth’s reign.
11. While growing up Elizabeth lived in very poor conditions. As she outgrew clothing, her servant would have to write letters begging for money for new clothes. When Elizabeth became queen she had more than 2,000 dresses.
12. During the Tudor reign, there was often a thick oozing mass on the ground most of the year. The mud smelled so horrible that at least two different recorded visitors to London remarked on the filthy condition.
13. Lady Jane Grey was possibly the first queen of England. But some say that Empress Matilda was the first queen of England in the 12th century. Other historians claim that Lady Jane was never actually queen and that the first queen was Mary I.
There’s much more to the Tudor time period and monarchs than the facts listed here. For good or ill, the Tudors certainly dealt with a lot during their historic reign.