*This article was written by The Tudor Roses (a very popular and well-respected Facebook Tudor Page), we both follow one another on facebook*
Elizabeth I: The Secret Life
by The Tudor Roses on Friday, December 2, 2011 at 6:55pm
It started out looking at the Bisley Boy story. This story is based on the idea that Elizabeth contracted a childhood disease/fever at around 10 years old and she died. Her man servant and her woman servant, so scared of the retribution Henry would dish out to them forced a young boy that Elizabeth used to play with, who supposedly had more than a passing resemblance to Elizabeth ,to dress and act as her so Henry would not discover her death. The boy in this story was described as being fair red headed and 'pretty'. This deception was never discovered and he went on to become Queen Elizabeth and hence why she/he never married for fear of being discovered. For a more in-depth read on this subject please visit http://www.elizabethfiles.com/the-bisley-boy/3255/ . This story was brought to public attention by none other than Bram Stoker..yes of Dracula fame. Oh, and the reason the story is called the Bisley Boy is because the boy came from a small village called Bisley in the Cotswold’s. They even have a May Day Queen , who is male, who dresses in Elizabethan costume.
They then went on to look at the possibility that Elizabeth suffered from a rare condition called Testicular Feminization Syndrome. This is where from the outside she would have looked like a baby girl when she was born but...sufferers have internal testes. They also have missing or underdeveloped uterus and uterine tubes. At puberty they would grow breasts and continue to look female. Other characteristics would include slim hips and long slender fingers, big hands and feet and they would be fairly tall. One thing they are is infertile...this would explain Elizabeth's reluctance to marry or have sexual relationships, or rather this is what is suggested by those putting this theory forward. Sufferers of this condition also act like boys and like partaking in rough play and such things as hunting, which is something Elizabeth did and excelled in. Again, for a more in-depth look at this please visit http://www.elizabethfiles.com/elizabeth-i-a-virago-genetically-male-or-simply-a-strong-woman/3279/ .
The program also suggested that the reason she liked to wear such heavy lead make up was to cover up her stubble or bad pox marks. She liked to wear big ruffles to hide her adams apple is another theory put forward. Let's see what else did they say...oh yes, they also said that she had many love child’s with Dudley and one was washed up on the coast of Spain and presented himself at the Spanish court as Arthur Dudley. Apparently it is suspected that every time Elizabeth retreated to the country she was popping out another love child by Dudley; so as to hide her pregnancy from the world. I hate to keep referring to The Elizabeth Files, but, it is an amazing site and there is no point just repeating what is said within it's hallowed pages, but far better you read it for yourselves first hand - thank you Claire Ridgeway. So more information about the Arthur Dudley myth can be found here http://www.elizabethfiles.com/the-arthur-dudley-myth/3298/ .
Of course there was the obligatory look at her abuse at the hands of Thomas Seymour which most of you would probably know all about. Though, yes you've guessed it, you can read this article about Elizabeth and Katherine Parr on the Elizabeth Files that includes Seymour's inappropriate behaviour towards Elizabeth... http://www.elizabethfiles.com/catherine-parr-and-elizabeth/2906/ .
Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn's 'relationship' was obviously discussed and what possible effects their lives and this fiery relationship had on Elizabeth and the way she lived her life.
The main reasoning behind the program was to try and put a finger on the reason why Elizabeth never married and never had children - or at least ones the world knew about. Speculation, theories and conspiracies were abundant as were, unfortunately, many historical inaccuracies and a strange choice of historian to talk mainly about Anne's life and her influence on Elizabeth, we won't mention names as this is a personal opinion of Emma (and Darren) and may not be a true reflection of the other Roses' opinions of the man in question. In terms of historical gaffs, one that caused us a chuckle was the location they chose to depict Anne's execution in, being some random Tudorish looking building on a bit of grass, and the selection of an oriental looking lady-in-waiting to escort Anne to the 'cushion' she was to kneel on! Oh, and lets not forget the old duffer dressed as a beefeater barely standing and swaying around, only saved from toppling over by his pike, standing guard in the background.
All in all we rather enjoyed it and it did put across some interesting ideas and theories whilst at the same time, giving us a few chuckles along the way. Also it caused a few raised eyebrows and comments directed towards the poor old plasma screen that had to put up with the occasional outbursts of abuse and questioning of historical fact as they saw it.
We hope this gives you the gist of what the program was about and what it covered and you may glean some enjoyment out of reading our first ever note.
Thank you to The Tudor Dynasty for asking us to do this for their subscribers, thank you to The Elizabeth Files and Claire Ridgeway for doing such a wonderful job on documenting so many articles on all aspects of Tudor and Elizabethan times (check out http://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/ ), and finally thank you to those who take the time to read this.
The Tudor Roses.
Note: We would just like to add for clarification that this was done by Darren Wilkins (photographer of TTR) and Emma Fuery (a Tudor Rose) and their views and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Erica Young and Katherine Miller, the other two of the three Tudor Roses.