This paper examines the treatment of Royal women in England during the Tudor period, in particular the wives of King Henry VIII. This is more in depth than just the wives of Henry VIII, but compares their treatment with that of modern day England. I am going to perform in-depth research into the wives of King Henry VII and that of the current Royal family. Today’s Royals have much more freedom and are treated better than during the Tudor period. The women of today’s royal family are able to be heirs to the crown along with marry who they love. II. Tudor Period
Women were believed to be the weaker sex, not only physically, but also emotionally. From a young age girls were taught that their sole purpose in life was to marry, have children, raise their children, take care of their home and husband. After all they were ordered by God to obey men. The church at the time also taught that women were inferior to men. They used the Bible to justify this teaching. They take a Bible verse out of context that says “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” (Ephesians 5:22-24). If you read the previous verse it says “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21) Both men and women were taught this by the church, so the entire society believed that women were inferior to men. Girls were taught from a young age that according to God they were to obey men, whether it was their father, husband, brother, uncle or cousin. Most girls received no form of education unless they were from wealthy families and even then it was usually on how to manage a household, prepare meals or to do needlework. It was believed then that it was a waste of time to teach girls to read and write. Even two of King Henry VIII wives (Jane Seymour and Catherine Howard) were barely able to read and write. They were actually both from financially well to do and even royal families. (Reference 1) Women along with men were also required to marry whoever would benefit the crown the most. Young women were told who they would marry and this was based on what marriage would benefit the family the most. They did not marry for love; whether they loved the man they were to marry was irrelevant. A lot of times the first time a couple would meet was at the wedding ceremony. This was the case when King Henry VIII married his 4th wife Anne of Cleves. (Reference 1) ‘Anne of Cleves was not what Henry expected. "I like her not!" he told all and sundry. King Henry VIII is also reputed to have described Anne of Cleves as 'a fat Flanders Mare.’ (Reference 2) After marrying women had one main purpose and that was to produce a male heir to continue the family line. During this time period giving birth very dangerous for the mother. It was unusual the mother that died while giving birth. For this reason many women would get the nursery ready for the child before giving birth. The way women dressed was strictly controlled. For instance, women that were unmarried could wear their hair loose. While married women were required to cover their hair with a veil or a hood. The dresses they wore would come all the way down to her wrists and the length was to the floor. It did not matter how hot it was, this is how women were to dress period. After marriage a women became the property of her husband. Women that committed adultery or killed their husband were burned at the stake, unless the King or Queen at the time disagreed. (Reference 1) III. Third act of succession
Before almost the end of King Henry VIII’s reign during the Tudor period women were not allowed to be the heir to the crown of England. This changed because of the third act of succession made by King Henry...