Margaret Beaufort was a pious woman. Holy even. Fervent in her beliefs. A zealot beyond measure. Yeah, she was about as devout as one could be. But what about her son, eh? What was Henry Tudor really like behind the scenes? And why did it take so long for him to marry Elizabeth of York? What was he doing? The answer is as old as time. A male tradition long held and considered sacred. A stag party.
Henry VII was a party animal. Records from medieval strip clubs show he ran extensive tabs, some of which remain unpaid to this very day (not surprising). Journals kept by two different strippers show that he was a poor tipper, and very difficult to handle. Says Saucy Bessie of Ye Olde Teats and Arse, “The new king never tosses coin, but gives coupons for a free horseshoeing at the smith!” and Wanda the Wench describes him thus, ” A meager tipper, but a lecherous kyng indeed.”
So how did a stag party last for months you might ask? It didn’t. The stag party lasted until word of the king’s failure to pay his bar tab got around, about 3-4 weeks. But one of the purveyors of these establishments, one John Goodgrabber, turned up on the doorstep of Coldharbour, the residence of Margaret Beaufort. It so happens that Elizabeth of York was the one to open the door.
Now, Elizabeth was really not all that shocked by Henry’s behavior. She was the daughter of Edward IV, and everyone knows that the only thing larger than his codpiece was his libido. What concerned Elizabeth the most was that Henry would be such a cheapskate as to not pay for services rendered. History has showed us that she was right to be concerned about this. Elizabeth misjudged the situation and, indignant, went to the king’s mother to seek payment for the man. Lady Margaret fainted dead away, and when revived went into such a fury that Mr Goodgrabber reported her “as one enraged, casting holy water and curses in Latin”. The poor man ran, his account unpaid.
Word got to Henry that Lady Margaret knew of his misadventure and Elizabeth of his miserly ways. He did his best to avoid the two for as long as he could, seeking redundant dispositions from the pope and asking him if he knew of any cheaper strippers. Finally, his excuses wore out, as had his welcome in the various establishments. He returned to Coldharbour, where he was promptly grounded. When the term of his punishment was ended, the marriage followed.
Jeff “the wiz” Berlin
“The Life and Times of Wanda the Wench”
The Pussycat Lounge around the corner from my office
author’s note: In search of Dewars, I stumbled into a rather charming establishment called the Pussycat Lounge. Extensive research for this article has led me to the same unfortunate fate of Henry VII. I am now grounded.