Historically INACCURATE Characters on "The Tudors"

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Historically Inaccurate Characters on " The Tudors"
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One of the Creators of The Tudors , Writer, Michael Hirst has a knack for adding characters
into the historical storyline of Henry VIII's court which are not always historically accurate.
Here is a list of those figments of Hirst's imagination.
Click the highlighted links to view character and actor profiles in more detail

Season One
Backstory/Role in court
Hirst's reason for writing them in.
Anthony Knivert blue collar
Anthony Knivert
played by Callum Blue
This fictional character is possibly based on a young English nobleman called Sir Thomas Knyvett who was a close associate of King Henry VIII shortly after he came to the throne. He was related to the Howards by marriage to Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk's sister Muriel. As Henry's master of the horse, he was a frequent participant in the jousts and pageants. However, he was given command of the Royal Flagship when Henry declared war on France in 1512, and died on board on August 10, 1512. This predates the period of time that the series starts which is approximately 1519.
Hirst's portrayal of the King as leader of his own "rat pack" needed some young bloods and this character fits the bill.
Margaret Tudor
This character is an amalgamation of two historical characters. Princess Margaret Tudor was King Henry VIII's elder sister, who became Queen consort of Scotland. However, on the show, the character combines Margaret Tudor's name with the actions of Henry's younger sister, Princess Mary, Queen consort of France Tudor.

* Princess Mary married the Louis XII, the King of France, not the King of Portugal. He died of natural causes within a few months and was not murdered at her hands.
Michael HIirst stated:"I didn't want two Princess Marys on the call sheet," he said, because it might have confused the crew. "Which one do you mean, Michael? Who do we dress?"
Thomas Tallis as played by Joe Van Moyland

Season 1 covers the period from 1519 - 1530 and Thomas Tallis only came to Court as Gentleman of the Chapel Royal in 1543 where he composed and performed for Henry and after his death, for his son Edward (1547–1553), and daughters Mary (1553–1558), and finally Elizabeth (1558 until Tallis died in 1585). There was no record of him being homosexual, although there likely never would be as it was outlawed and he was married to a woman named Joan around 1552.
In the series he is shown as having a homosexual affair with WIlliam Compton who died in 1528, 15 years before Tallis came to court.
Throughout history many of the world's greatest artists and musicians have been gay so this fabrication could have been the truth and added another dimension of intrigue.
William Compton as played by Kris Holden Reid
Historically, William Compton was one of Henry's closest friends and had the position of Groom of the Stool. However, in 1519 when the series starts, he was involved in a love affair with Anne Stafford, Lady Hastings (Anna Buckingham in the series) after the King (and not Charles Brandon as shown) was rumoured to have slept with her. This makes nonsense of the affair with Tallis. The series then shows him living with another woman named Anne Hastings when it would have been the same woman. He was also married at the time which is never shown. The rest of his actions are pretty accurate to history including his death.

Anna Buckingham
In reality, this character was Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham's sister, not daughter as portrayed in the series. Her name was Anne Stafford, Lady Hastings and it was heavily rumoured that she had had a dalliance with the king (not Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk). However, she then became involved with William Compton. He saw to it in his will that she inherited an estate and paid to have prayers said for her after her death which is something one only did for close family members.
* see also the page Mistresses of the King
The character was probably used to show Charles Brandon's promiscuity that he was known for in his early years.
Princess Marguerite as played by Sara Brown
Princess Marguerite
played by Sara James
This portrayal is a fictional character and VERY loosely based on an historical one. The series shows Marguerite & Henry VIII having a dalliance which is totally fictitious. The real Princess Marguerite of Navarre (sister of the French King Francis I) was considered one of the most brilliant female minds in France. Known as the "first modern woman", she was an outstanding figure of the french renaissance and known for her "chastity".
Lady Jane Howard played by Slaine Kelly
Lady Jane Howard
played by Slaine Kelly
This fictional character may have been based on Jane Popyngcort, a french woman and friend of Mary Tudors (Princess Margaret Tudor in the series) from her days in France & briefly Maid of honour to Queen Katherine of Aragon.It was rumoured that she had a breif affair with the King before Bessie Blount.

See also : Mistresses of the King

Season Two
CharacterBackstory/Role in courtHirst's reason for writing them in.
Nan Saville Played by Serena Brabazon
Nan Saville
played by Serena Brabazon
While there was a lady in waiting called Nan Saville, this character is an amalgamation of several ladies such as:
- Nan Gainsford who Anne Boleyn spoke to about the picture of her head cut off
- Nan Cobham who gave evidence against Anne and
- Mary Wyatt, Lady Lee , sister of Thomas Wyatt, who was Anne's chief Lady and good friend.
Expediency since it would be easier to have one lady do the actions of all 4.
Although an actual historical character, the series has totally fictionalized William Brereton. He was not a Jesuit and was not commissioned by the Pope through Ambassador Chapuys to assassinate Anne Boleyn. He also never confessed to adultery with the Queen, He was likely collateral damage when Cromwell moved against the Boleyn Faction and decided to get rid of him at the same time.

The Kennedy- esque type of assassination attempt purely added more drama and intrigue to the plot.

Season Three
CharacterBackstory/Role in courtHirst's reason for writing them in.
Ursula Misseldon
played by Charlotte Salt
This is a totally fictional character who the series creators promoted as "Holbein's Muse". She was one of Jane Seymour's ladies in waiting and both Henry's and Francis Bryan's mistress in the series. Apparently since Anne Boleyn was the "sex" object for the last two seasons and Jane didn't ooze the "sex" vibe, Ursula was created to fufill the role of seductress of the first half of season three untill a young Katherine Howard came into the picture. (It seems Henry's court needed more sex.)
Although an actual historical character, this character has been completely fictionalized. In 1536, Cardinal Von Waldburg was 22 years old and not close to 80 as portrayed by esteemed actor Max Von Sydow.
Robert Aske played by Gerard McSorley
Robert Aske
played by Gerard McSorley

This is an historical character whose actions were fairly well documented in the series with some fictional changes. The historical Aske was in his mid 30's unlike the actor who portrays him in the series who is in his 50's. He was not married and had no children.

Charlie Raw as played by Diarmuid Noyes
Charlie Raw
played by Diarmid Noyes
Fictional Character who portrays a young man who enlists to join the rebellion of the Pilgrimage of the Grace. We see his head finally on a spike with John Constable and Lord Darcy.This gives a face to the type of pilgrims who were joining up in rebellion.
Anne Stanhope as played by Emma Hamilton
This one starts in season 3 but goes through season 4. An actual historical character, Anne Stanhope seems to have been a composite of her historical self and Edward Seymour's first wife, Catherine Filliol. It was Catherine Filliol who was unfaithful (quite possibly with her own father-in-law; likely the basis for the Anne and Thomas Seymour affair) and had two children who were declared bastards, that may not have been Edward's. The historical Anne Stanhope seems to have been faithful, no affairs with Francis Bryan; she and Edward appear to have enjoyed a good, even loving marriage, unlike what we see on the show. Still not entirely sure... Most likely part of her role in season 3 was to add to the sex appeal, like Ursula Misseldon above. There's also the fact that no marriages on the show appear to be functional, so this keeps to a pattern Hirst seems to like. The Edward Seymour/Catherine Filiol story is also good drama, so they may have transferred it to Anne in order to keep it in.
Charles Brandon - Season 4
Charles Brandon
played by Henry Cavill
He's a historical Character, though his character has been fictionalized from Season 1 on. Charles Brandon has been Prince Henry's Tutor and had lived with him at Eltham Palace something like as his "Male Governess" to a certain extent. He was not stupid ["I don't always think"], was not playing with women and their hearts as much as it is shown in the series, and was way older than in the show. From Season 2 on Hirst merged the Duke of Suffolk with the Duke of Norfolk to one Person, still with very 'made-up' aspects to his Character from the beginning, that gave a complete false impression on the historical Character to the viewers.

Season Four
CharacterBackstory/Role in courtHirst's reason for writing them in.
Brigitte Rousselot as played by Selma Brook
Brigitte RousselotThis is a featured page
played by Selma Brook
Fictional mistress of Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk in season four. Charles meets Brigitte while fighting in France after almost killing her father. He holds her captive for awhile and eventually they fall in love and he invites her back to court as his full time mistress.Most likely for the sex appeal as Catherine Parr and Henry are not shown being intimate.
Henry Brandon
Henry Brandon
played by
Charles did not have any surviving sons by his wives. They all died young. Charles' son by Princess Mary Rose Tudor (in the series Princess Margaret Tudor) died in infancy. Charles' sons by Catherine Willoughby (Catherine Brandon) died at age 14 and 16 in 1551, during the sweating sickness.Perhaps Hirst did not want to go into the complicated explanation of Charles' many wives and the extra characters it would add to the story line seeing how Charles had two very important daughters by Princess Mary Rose Tudor (Princess Margaret in the series)
Henry Howard as played by David O'Hara
Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey played by David O'Hara
Historically accurate character who was executed at 30 years of age but played by a wonderful actor who is actually 45 years old. He has been called "the most foolish BOY in England" for a reason. His age.

Hirst changed the character from being Katherine Howard's cousin to her uncle to accommodate the age discrepancy.

There are many other issues with the historical accuracy of this character, see Season 4 Inaccuracies.
Hirst's reason must have been that the actor was too amazing to not include in the series and the age* was not that important to the storyline.

*Be sure to check out our page: Age and The Tudors, as The Tudors team has taken much liberties with the ages of actors and their counterparts.