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Archive for September 2008


When you think “king” or “queen”, the country that would probably first pop into your mind would be England.

England’s monarchy is not the most scandalous (although it comes pretty close to being so), but it’s certainly one of the longest. It goes all the way back to AD 477 when Aelle founded the kingdom of Sussex. The very first kings and queens were Anglo-Saxons – add some Scottish blood to the mix and you get the modern British.

The Tudor Coat of Arms

The Tudor Coat of Arms

Perhaps the most famous royal family was the Tudors. The first Tudor King, Henry Tudor the VII, ascended to the throne when he won the Wars of the Roses (1455-87), a series of civil wars in England fiercely fought between the Houses of Lancaster and York. It was not an easy feat – the Wars of the Roses was an intense battle despite having a name that’s all flowery and soft. It was the turning point for England’s monarchy – who ever won it would become the new king or queen of England.

Both the House of Lancaster and the House of York had strong claims to the throne. The Wars of the Roses was made up of three stages (much like a boxing match), with all three stages featuring wealthy and important families battling it out for the throne. The Yorkists won the first round, with Edward IV coming away as the new king.

The two houses had flags with, naturally, roses on them. It was the white rose of York against the red rose of Lancaster. When the Wars of the Roses ended, Henry VII combined both flags, naming it the “Tudor Rose”. The result was the outer part of the rose was red, and the inner one white. You have to wonder that the Yorkists did not object to their rose being smaller.

The Tudor Flag

The Tudor Flag

In the second round, the Yorkists were up against the Kingmaker, also known as Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick. Once again, Edward IV of York won.

The third and final round was the beginning of a significant period of time. As it was, the most vital move was off the battle field, Henry VII married Richard III’s niece, Elizabeth of York, thus securing himself the throne. And the Tudor age had begun.

The Tudors are in the House

Things were good for the Tudors; they were now the royal family and had immense power. Henry VII had four children who survived infancy without much fuss.

Henry VII needed to form an alliance with Spain. But how? Well, much like his own marriage, Henry VII arranged a marriage for his eldest son, Arthur, Prince of Wales with Catherine of Aragon, a Spanish princess. However, after being married for four months Arthur died, leaving the throne in the hands of his brother, Henry VIII.

Henry VIII’s first wife was Catherine of Aragon, a Spanish princess. But wait, didn’t Arthur have a wife with the same name? Who also happened to be a princess? Well, Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s wife, and Catherine of Aragon, Arthur’s wife, was… the same person.

You see, Arthur’s good ol’ dad, Henry VII, had married him to Catherine of Aragon in order to ensure an alliance with Spain. But when Arthur died, Henry VII acquired a Papal dispensation that allowed the young Prince Henry (who became Henry VIII) to marry Catherine of Aragon, for how else would they maintain the alliance with Spain? However, Henry VII held back the marriage until after his death.

Henry VIII is one of the most well-known kings of British history. He is known for his tyranny, his six wives, and the fact that he divorced more than half of his wives and was about to execute the last one, Catherine Parr, when he died. Things were hard for women in Tudor times. If they were born into a rich household, their head of house (always a man) would decide who they would marry. It was a sad time, rich people never married for love (unless you were king or queen). Only the poor were lucky enough to have that privilege.

Back to Henry VIII

King Henry VII

King Henry VIII

Catherine of Aragon was the perfect wife – she assured an alliance with Spain, she was regal and an excellent queen, being from a royal family herself. So why did Henry VIII divorce her? The answer: she did not provide him with any sons. In fact all her children but one, Princess Mary (not to be confused with Mary, Queen of Scots), died as infants. The other reason was Anne Boleyn. Yes, that famous queen who stole Henry’s heart and Catherine’s throne.

Before Henry VIII, people were not allowed to divorce, and everyone followed the same religion. Well, if the church did not allow Henry to divorce his wife then he’d make his own church! Yes, Henry changed the laws to favour himself, naturally. In the process, he broke all ties with Rome, as the Pope was the head of church.

He divorced Catherine; however, things were not as smooth as he may have hoped. Catherine was adamant that she was his wife and his queen, no matter what the new laws and church said. Henry married Anne Boleyn in 1333, but until Catherine’s death in 1536 (she was 50 years old, and in much better shape than Henry when he got to that age), she was always a reminder of what Henry had done, and Anne’s rival.

Now that Henry was head of the church of England, he had absolute power, he could do anything. Anne Boleyn found that out when she was executed for treason, incest and adultery along with her brother, George Boleyn, in 1536.

While Henry was married to Catherine and Anne, he had several mistresses who bore his children. Elizabeth Blount had a son, Henry Fitzroy. Mary Boleyn, Anne Boleyn’s sister, is said to have been Henry’s mistress, and bore him two children, Catherine and Henry Carey. Catharine Carey was in Elizabeth I’s court, and her daughter, Lettice, married Robert Dudley, Liz’s master of horse and supposed love.

Once Anne was dead, Henry almost immediately married Jane Seymour. She was his favourite wife, and he was later buried beside her, as she has bore him his only legitimate son. However, she died in childbirth, and so Henry soon was, once again, a single man and free to marry.

The Last Three Wives and the Beginning of the End

At Henry’s command, Hans Holbien the Younger, an acclaimed artist, went around countries near England painting pictures of women eligible for marriage. When he painted a flattering picture of Anne of Cleves, Henry decided that she would be his wife.

This marriage would also form an alliance with a German Duke, conveniently killing two birds with one stone. By now, it was evident that marrying him was not a wise idea, but back then, women didn’t have much freedom or rights, so I suppose Anne of Cleves saw marrying the tyrant King as an opportunity to bring change to England.

Henry saw the painting of Anne and liked what he saw. Then he saw her in person and did not like what he saw. Anne of Cleves was the only wife of Henry’s that got off lucky, she agreed to a peaceful annulment and got the title of My Lady, the King’s Sister and a considerable divorce settlement that included Richmond Palace, Hever Castle, and numerous other estates around the country. Anne stayed in England for the rest of her life.

probably a copy of the portrait painted by Hans Holbein the Younger

Anne of Cleves: probably a copy of the portrait painted by Hans Holbein the Younger

Henry chose to blame Thomas Cromwell, the unlucky fellow that arranged the wedding, for the unsuccessful marriage, and Thomas was beheaded on 28 July 1540.

The Catholic Catherine Howard was his fifth victim wife. Historians cannot agree on her age, but she was either just 15 or 18 years old when he married her. Thomas Howard, the third Duke of Norfolk, was her cousin and prompted her to marry Henry with the hope that she might convince him to restore Roman Catholicism. Henry fondly called her his “rose without a thorn”. It turned out she had a thorn that cost her her life. This was an affair with the King’s handsome favourite courtier, Thomas Culpepper, while she was married to Henry.

This was typical; Henry could have affairs, but not his wives. Catherine Howard was accused of treason and was executed on February 13, 1542, when she was just either 16 or 19 years old. Her death ruined all hopes of reconciling with the Roman Catholic church.

By the time Henry married his sixth and final wife, he was humongous, the result of many plentiful feasts. A jousting accident opened up an ulcer on his leg which made him smell like he was constantly spraying Stink for Old, Fat Kings on himself. So by that time, he didn’t want someone who would excite and allure him, he wanted a patient nurse. However, Catherine Parr, Henry VIII’s sixth wife, was almost arrested for preaching Lutheran doctrines to him while he was ill. Interestingly, while Catharine Parr was Henry’s sixth wife, he was her fourth husband!

What’s interesting is that all six of Henry’s wives were related to one another. It sure stays within the family, huh?

As it went, Catherine Parr was actually in love with Thomas Seymour, Henry’s brother-in-law from his marriage to Jane Seymour. But of course, what the King says, goes. She was not free to marry Thomas Seymour until the King died. Henry VIII, the tyrant, the womanizer, the murderer and the King died on 28 January 1547 aged 55 and an old man.

After Henry

After Henry died, it was the late King’s great-niece, Lady Jane Grey who came to the throne. Edward VI, Henry’s only surviving son, died at the age of 15 and Henry had declared his eldest daughter, Mary and his second daughter Elizabeth, illegitimate.

Queen Jane’s rule was the shortest in history – she is known as “The Nine Days Queen”. During those 9 days, Princess Mary had gathered sufficient support to ride into London, and the parliament had no choice but to declare her Queen. Jane and her husband, Lord Guilford Dudley, were both charged with high treason, together with two of Dudley’s brothers. Jane was executed in 1554.

Lady Jane Grey

Lady Jane Grey

Four years after she ordered the death of her cousin, Queen Mary died. Her half-sister, Queen Elizabeth I, was her successor. As it turned out, of all three of King Henry VIII’s children, it was one of his daughters, Queen Elizabeth I, and not a son, who went on to become one of England’s greatest ruler. She died on 24 March 1603, leaving the throne to James VI of Scotland, whose mother was Elizabeth’s cousin, Mary, Queen of Scotland.

But that is a whole other story in itself.

Information on the Wars of the Roses from http://www.geocities.com/Area51/cavern/5123/faq.html

Other information about the royal family and pictures are from www.wikipedia.com and http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/Page1.asp

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No, a phenomena is not a type of fungi that teens are getting nowadays. For those of you who don’t know (like I didn’t) phenomena is the plural of phenomenon.

It’s easy to spot a phenomenon. Maybe you’ll see it on the T-shirts of the people around you. Maybe you’ll see it all on the internet. Maybe it’ll be in the newspapers. The easiest way is to mention its name to someone, anyone and when their eyes light up, you know it’s a phenomenon.

The biggest one at the moment is probably:

The Jonas Brothers

Hailing from New Jersey, a little known fact (or at least to people who aren’t fans) about Joe, 19, the lead singer, Nick, 15, vocals and guitar, and Kevin Jonas, 20, guitar, all brothers by birth, is that their dad is their voice coach. In fact, he and their mum used to be part of a singing group.

Also, the name of their band will cause most teenage girls to squeal so loud that everyone in the vicinity has to cover their ears.

“So what’s so good about them?”

Well for one thing, their songs are catchy. Some of them will make you melt just listening to them, such as Lovebug from their newest album, A Little Bit Longer.

And they’re talented, they either wrote or co-wrote all the songs on A Little Bit Longer. The album title comes from the last song on the album, written entirely by Nick, who has been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and used that as the basis for the song.

Their music videos are funny. They’re newest one, Burnin’ Up, had the Disney Channel star, Selena Gomez, appearing in it as Nick’s love interest.

Oh yeah, and they’re unbelievebly cute.

From left to right: Nick, Kevin and Joe Jonas.

Next up, is:

High School Musical (HSM)

Yeah, I know what you guys are saying, “Disney’s High School Musical is just like a modern Grease!, what’s the big deal?”

Well, I say, “What’s Grease!?”

“So what’s so good about it?”

Well, like the cast has said many times, the pre-teens, or tweens, have been hugely starved of this type of musical. Yes, that is mostly it. But then there’s the undeniable chemistry of the two actors who play Troy and Gabriella, the main characters. Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens are, like the Jonas Brothers, good looking. Actually, the whole cast is.

Senior Year

High School Musical 3: Senior Year

But the relationship between Zac and Vanessa (dubbed ‘Zanessa’ by fans) is probably what brought in many of HSM’s older fans. You may not know this, but it’s not all 9-13 year olds watching and loving High School Musical 1 and 2. No, older fans are also likely to line up outside the cinemas to watch High School Musical 3: Senior Year. Yes, it’s graduating from TV to big screen on October 24th in the US.

And moving on to the movie itself, the songs are rocking and the dance steps well choreographed by director, Kenny Ortega, who also directed The Cheetah Girls movies.

The story of boy meets girl, boy and girl torn apart by the people surrounding them, boy and girl reunite, boy and girl sing happily in school play audition has never been more appealing. At the beginning, Troy and Gabriella exchange phone numbers by keying them into each other’s cellphones. Modern enough?

And last, but not least is:

Hannah Montana

As with High School Musical it looks like the theme here is music. Hannah Montana is normal 9th grader Miley Stewart by day and transforms into not-so-normal rockstar by night.

The show also has Billy Ray Cyrus acting as Miley’s dad. Only he’s not really acting, seeing as Miley Stewart is really Miley Cyrus, Billy Ray’s daughter in real life.

“So what’s so good about it?”

That’s a good question. Is it the oh-so-charismatic Miley Cyrus herself? Or the funny and endearing script? Or is it the fact that everyone secretly wants to be a rockstar?

Hannah Montana

Miley Cyrus is Hannah Montana

Possibly all three. The thing that got me hooked was the songs. They are catchy and the lyrics are awesome. For those who like the songs that they play on the show (they play the singles reapeatedly, so you don’t have to worry about missing them), Miley now has her own album out in stores entitled Breakout.

While Miley has her fair share of haters (mostly from the Nick Jonas fangirls, seeing as she went out with him for a while. But don’t worry, they’ve stopped dating and are “just friends.” Of course, now you have to worry about fellow Disney Star Selena Gomez stealing Nick away. Oh. Em. Gee.) she still has her hardcore 8-year-old fans who can be extremely fanatical.

And those are the scariest fans of all.


http://sundaysenergy.org/catalog/poster-prints/global-warming

Copyright: sundaysenergy.org

Hey guys. So we all know what going green is, right? It’s recycling. Saving electricity. All that jazz. What you probably didn’t know is that we only have 99 months to do just that: Stop global warming. And that’s if we’re lucky. Let’s do some calculations. 99 months = 8.3 years approx. Yeah. That means you may never get to have kids. Learn to drive. Go to college. Start a business. Fall in love.

Apparently, the arctic circle, is now, indeed, a circle. But a much smaller one. An island, in fact. If it breaks, we all, to put it simply, die. And so does our planet.

So, go to this website: http://www.onehundredmonths.org/ and see how you can help out.

For a start, there’s turning off your screen saver. And sending http://www.onehundredmonths.org/ to all your friends and family and whoever you know.

Copy the text above if you want. Whatever. Just spread the word. And save the planet.


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