[Review] In Bed With The Tudors: The Sex lives of a dynasty from Elizabeth of York to Elizabeth I by Amy Licence
Author: Amy Licence
Publisher: Amberley March 2014
Genre: 1400s, 1500s, England, Tudor History, House of Tudor, Kings and Queens of England
Pages: 256, with 35 illustrations
Rating: 5 Stars
Source: Free copy from Amberley for the purpose of review.
Link @ Amazon: In Bed With The Tudors. Paperback $13.05. Kindle $9.99.
Link @ Amberley for more information: In Bed With The Tudors.
Beginning with Elizabeth of York and Arthur's birth, through to Henry VIII's wives and mistresses, and ending with Mary and Elizabeth. Amy Licence has written a fresh, candid, and intriguing view, of the private nature of the Tudor family.
In Bed With The Tudors, is not a study of the sexual habits of the Tudor family; instead, it is a study of their: pregnancies, midwifery, infant care, diseases, infertility, post delivery customs, conception beliefs, religious practices, birthing, superstitions, miscarriages, myths, and illegitimacy.
There are several reasons why I gave this splendid book 5 Stars for excellent.
1. Licence's knowledge of the Tudor era. Throughout the book I was fascinated by the depth of information on aspects of culture and society.
A. I was not aware of the superstitions pertaining to how conception occurs. "The female body, considered to be a poor shadow or imperfectly formed version of its male counterpart, could only conceive if orgasm took place, during which a female 'seed' was emitted to mix with that of the male" Page 25-26.
B. The birth "cord" was thought to have "magical qualities of protection." Page 49.
C. Prayers to the saints during the labor process.
2. I was given strong insight into the lives of Elizabeth of York and Catherine of Aragon. Both of these women spent much of their marriages pregnant. As soon as a baby was born, the next pregnancy was soon in process.
3. "Double standard" of how men sought and had affairs, but their wives were to remain bedded to them. During the time when a woman was pregnant, the sexual act was not performed between husband and wife, thus the husband sought a willing female to take care of his business.
4. The possibility of Henry VIII's children born to his mistresses. Licence shows pros and cons to this theory.
5. Jane Seymour, the wife who gave Henry an heir. Jane has been a mystery to me thus far. I've read a small amount of information on her, the emphasis being on the baby boy she brought forth from her womb. In Bed With The Tudors, has given me a new look at Henry's wife number three.
6. Mary Queen of Scots is included in the book. She is one of my favorite historical figures. I never tire of reading about her.