In Bed With the Tudors.
In Bed With the Tudors.
Paperback, brand new, retails for £20. By the book, with personal inscription, giftwrapped for £15.
A fascinating book examining the sex lives of the Tudors in unprecedented detail', THE DAILY EXPRESS
My first published book, inspired by my pregnancy and the birth of my first child.
Learn what went on behind closed doors in the Tudor court. Illegitimate children, adulterous queens, impotent kings, and a whole dynasty resting on their shoulders. Sex and childbirth were quite literally a matter of life or death for the Tudors - Elizabeth of York died in childbirth, two of Henry VIII's queens were beheaded for infidelity, and Elizabeth I's elective virginity signalled the demise of a dynasty. Amy Licence guides the reader through the births of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York's two sons, Arthur and Henry, Catherine of Aragon's subsequent marriages to both of these men, Henry VIII's other five wives and his mistresses, and the sex lives of his daughters. This book details the experiences of all these women, from fertility, conception and pregnancy through to the delivery chamber, on to maternal and infant mortality. Each woman's story is a blend of specific personal circumstances, set against their historical moment: for some the joys were brief, for others it was a question that ultimately determined their fates.
'This is a very, very good little book. It is packed with superbly researched material which gives a vivid sense of daily life in the Tudor period, particularly female daily life with its unique challenges and pressures in relation to conception and birth. This is not, as might be inferred from the title, in any way a titillating book; rather it is quite a scholarly work which sheds a completely different light on the endlessly fascinating Tudor dynasty.
What emerges is a picture of female life in which the main business of being a woman (queen or otherwise) was the production of children. This was the destiny, indeed the career, of all but those who adopted the religious life or were barren for whatever reason, A hard destiny it was: obstetric care was rudimentary, infection control was unknown, superstition was rife, pain relief virtually non-existent and both maternal and infant mortality scarily frequent, particularly, but not exclusively amongst extremely young wives - Margaret Beaufort (mother of Henry the Seventh) was married at 13 and lucky to survive that one and only pregnancy.
For a queen, under pressure to deliver a nursery full of heirs, the constant need to conceive was simply a fact of life and took no account of personal inclination. I wonder if the pressure exerted by Henry the Eighth in this respect actually worked against him by placing his wives, particularly Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn, in such a constant state of anxiety. Of course, the woman who did follow her personal inclination, Elizabeth the First, was regarded as positively unnatural for rejecting the perils of motherhood.
Amy Licence has placed the individual women whose lives she is studying firmly in their time and place, which greatly increases our understanding of how and why things were done in what seems to us, now, as ignorant and perverse ways.
How fortunate we are to have been born in an age where social progress, personal choice, reliable contraception,and proper obstetric care have made birthing a child, if not any less daunting, then immeasurably safer for all concerned.' Amazon review.