If I had Two Coffees…

Would we drink coffee with Christina of Denmark?

Kristy: I would. First, because I think that I’m contractually obligated to have coffee with any other Christinas whenever possible within reason. Second, because of the whole “If I had two heads, one should be at the King of England’s disposal” quip when marrying Henry VIII was floated in her direction. Granted, until I started this “coffee with” that was all I knew about her. And for a long time I couldn’t remember who said it. Just that it was someone blonde named Christine who I thought might have lived in Milan. But it’s a good quip. And whether she actually said it or not, people believed it was something she would have said, which says something about her. Also, have to love a woman who wears mourning clothes to pose for her possible future husband. Nice way of saying, “Yeah, you divorced your first wife and beheaded your second. No, I will not be wife number four.” You figure this is the kind of woman who will have lots of catty commentary to make while people watching. There’s also the whole part where she led a fairly interesting life between the proxy marriage at fourteen and the part where people tried to overthrow the king of Denmark on her behalf. Figure she might have a good story or two.

Cammy:  Hey, she was painted by Hans Holbein (apparently we’re talking Hans Holbein The Younger not The Elder), which makes her cool in my eyes.  And Kristy is certainly right about her possibly having catty, snarky commentary to offer up on the people passing by (and if there’s anything that makes people worth having coffee with it’s the potential for snarky people watching).  And there’s an added cool factor of her being married by proxy.  I don’t know why, but marriage by proxy amuses me greatly.  For no really good reason, other than the vague thought in my head about how elaborate it might get and how awkward it could be to play the stand in.  But I digress.  Yes, coffee with a Danish Christina should happen.

Coffee with… Henry VIII of England

Kristy: Okay, I’m a little torn on this.  On the one hand, I’d get to say I had coffee with Henry VIII!  On the other hand, I’d have to actually have coffee with Henry VIII.  A lot of my answer depends on what stage of his life we’re talking about here:  Are we pre- or post- jousting accident?  Because I like to think of myself as open-minded and considerate, but I’m not sure I can drink coffee with someone who smells like gangrene.  Sorry.  Also, by the time he developed said gangrene he’d been king for quite a while and was probably used to people fawning all over him.  I’m sure by that point he was the kind of guy who expected you to laugh at his jokes, but probably wasn’t witty enough to make ones that were genuinely funny.  After all, by that point Henry was almost certainly suffering from some kind of brain damage either as a result of the aforementioned jousting accident or poor circulation caused by diabetes or some other condition (my half-assed research tells me the syphilis theory is generally discredited).  This all tells me he’d be lousy company.

But like a lot of maligned historical figures, Henry was to some degree a victim of circumstance.  He’s the kid who wasn’t supposed to be king.  Who was supposed to actually get to live his own life, but had that taken away from him by his brother’s death.  By most accounts in his younger days he was charming and intelligent.  Someone who, for a while at least, treated his first wife with respect and doted on his daughter Mary.  Might have been fascinating to have coffee with him.

So final answer:  Up to and through the Katherine of Aragon era: yes.  Anne Boleyn era:  No.  Someone who’s just caused a major religious schism, executed some of his closest advisers and is thinking of how to ditch his wife never makes good company.  Jane Seymour era:  Maybe.  He seems to have recovered his sanity a bit then.  Anne of Cleves onward:  Please send my regards to his majesty, but I will have to decline.

Cammy: Well, I  have to tell you, I’m abandoning you to coffee with him alone if you can get him during the correct era.  While I’m willing to grant that changes in circumstances and events can change people who were, a one time, charming and intelligent, but sometimes charming and intelligent are words that little old ladies at garden parties use in describing frat boys who–unbeknown to the little old dames–will be raging jerks who are, admittedly, quite skilled at the beer luge back at the frat house later that night.  I guess I could give him an out on a brain damage, but if that wasn’t the case, then the fact that he ever thought hookin’ up with Anne Boleyn was a good idea is proof enough that I just wouldn’t enjoy sitting down for a cuppa joe with this guy.  Props to him for respecting the first wife, and doting on Mary, but I think I’ll leave you two to chat and make my way over to chat with some German or other….

Kristy: What’s with the hatin’ on Anne Boleyn?  Yes, I know loving Anne Boleyn has become a little cliche, but I always liked her.  I liked Anne Boleyn long before she was played by Natalie Portman.  Maybe I just watched Anne of the Thousand Days too many times as a kid.  It’s possible.  But she was definitely not the typical woman of her era, and I respect her wit and her ability to scheme her way into a position of power.  Unfortunately, she underestimated the longstanding impact of said schemes (or perhaps she underestimated the impact of the king’s head hitting the ground after a fall from his horse, we’ll never know).  Anyway, we’ll have fun without you Cammy!

Cammy: I think it could be the “over sold” problem.  So much focus on Anne has made her kind of, well, trite, to me.  It’s probably not fair of me to go hatin’ on her.  But you’re still on your own with ol’ Henry.