So your teacher is making you study the Tudors...
Actually, I hope that's not the case. I hope you are either researching the Tudors on your own or that you chose this topic on your own. But regardless, now that you're here, let's get down to business!
The Internet has a lot of stuff on the Tudors, and I mean A LOT of stuff! But before you dive into the wonderful mess we call the World Wide Web, you need to keep in mind that not all of the information out there is reliable. While I was researching for this site, I was amazed at the number of errors I uncovered. I found everything from listing Elizabeth I as a wife of Henry VIII to a statement claiming that Henry's marriage to Jane Seymour was annulled! There's misspellings, typos, mistakes and just regular blunders out there that can trip up a fine student such as yourself. So be careful when you get information off the web. Make sure that the page your on sites its sources, or stick with sites affiliated with reputable sources (such as the Official Homepage of the English Monarchy.) Now that that's out of the way.... let's move on!
A word on Memory
All these names and dates getting you down? Wondering if there anyone who lived in Tudor times who wasn't named Elizabeth or Henry? I know, it's pretty confusing! What was up with old H8 anyway, marrying three Katherines, two Annes and a Jane? One way to get a handle on these names is to use a little trick called a mnemonic device. A mnemonic device helps you remember something big and abstract by letting you remember something small and concrete first. Let me give you an example. Suppose you need to know the order of the Henry VIII's wives for your next test, or you just want to remember to impress your friends. So the names are Katherine of Aragon, Anne Bolyen, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Katherine Parr. That's KAJAKK, pronounced kajack. So when you think queens, you think kajack. Or you can think Kangaroos Always Jump Around Kicking Kitchens. Pretty silly, huh? But if you make up your own, you can remember it!
Okay, I can tell you're not buying this. Let's try another one. Making mnemonic devices personal helps you to remember them. Say you want to remember wh came first,. Mary or Elizabeth. Well, it's easy for me to remember, because my sister's name is Mary Elizabeth! Maybe you have a younger cousin name Eddie, and you can remember when he was six --- Edward VI. Or you keep forgetting if Henry VIII had six wives or Henry VI had eight wives? Well, having six wives is pretty gross, if you ask me-- almost sick!
Think of it as a poem --- Henry VIII isn't great, it's sick to have six!
Ideas for Papers
So your teacher wants you to write a paper, hmm? Well, maybe these few ideas can give you a suggestion for a topic.
Compare and Contrast Elizabeth I to Elizabeth II
How has the duties of the queen changed in four hundred years? Good Queen Bess lead England to glory and had people executed, Elizabeth II attends the opening of mini-malls. Discuss the change of the monrachy from Elizabeth I to her namesake.
Marriage in Tudor Times
What did marriage really mean in Tudor times? For Katherine of Aragon, it was an arrangement that began with sadness, grew into greatness, and ended in tragedy. How about Mary I and Elizabeth I, both kept from marrying because they were not good enough for foreign princes (because of their illigitiamcy) but too dangerous to marry English nobleman. How did marriage help destroy Jane Grey?
Compare and Contrast Henry VIII rule to Elizabeth I
Henry VIII was obsessed with having a son.... and he shunned the daughter that would one day bring glory to England. Compare Henry VIII and his daughter and see how the match up as monarchs. (A hint: I'd place my money on Bess any day of the week!