Henry VIII, eh? What a bastard.

(345 Posts)
TunipTheVegemal Mon 24-Sep-12 20:52:53

I just feel there should be an ongoing thread on what a vile piece of work Henry VIII was where people can leave their opinions on the complete and utter appallingness of Henry VIII.

Of course, this being Mumsnet someone will probably come along and say IABVU and he was actually very nice.

(What sparked this off, btw, was me discovering that the Pilgrimage of Grace marched past where my house is, having mustered troops a mile away. Now every time I have to go into the garden at night I will imagine rotting corpses swinging from the trees - he had some of the rebels hanged in their own back gardens and some women got into trouble for cutting down their husband's bodies when they were supposed to leave them there to rot as a warning. What a bastard.)

azazello Mon 24-Sep-12 21:46:57

I agree with Chub about Amy Dudley too. I certainly wouldn't put that past William Cecil.

SomebodySaveMe Mon 24-Sep-12 21:47:18

Margaret Beaufort supposedly spoilt Henry from what I remember reading (Starkey or Alison Weir I think).

nelly - I love Anne of Cleeves, I just feel she must have been such fun once she'd ditched Henry.

I'm trying to scratch together some work on KH, someone on here showed me her letters to her lover and they were absolutely fascinating.

Vagaceratops Mon 24-Sep-12 21:48:38

I like Elizabeth 1st but the whole Walter Raleigh imprisonment sours it a bit for me.

I like Mary Queen of Scots <waits to be flamed>

Chubfuddler Mon 24-Sep-12 21:48:41

I do love how quickly this thread has turned to blaming a woman. I know it's light hearted but Ann Boleyn was 20 years younger than him. He was an absolute monarch. 500 years on and a thread that starts "Henry not great eh?" Turns to "that whore Boleyn" in barely 30 posts. Depressing.

LaQueen Mon 24-Sep-12 21:49:05

Why has it taken me until now to find this place???

Surely, no one actually thinks that Anne Boleyn had all that much choice in whether she allowed Henry to pursue her, or not?

She was largely a pawn of her incredibly powerful and ambitious family, that used all its members like chess pieces, all the time. I suspect she was basically ordered to entrap Henry, and that her family guided and advised her on every step of the path towards her marrying him.

That's not to say, she didn't enjoy some of the trappings of Henry's attentions. And, I expect she enjoyed Wolsey's downfall, especially as he was the one to block her marriage to the Percy, who she supposedly genuinely loved.

SomebodySaveMe Mon 24-Sep-12 21:49:25

Katherine Howard is a little bit different to Anne Boleyn. From what I've read of her upbringing it was in a very promiscuous household and she was a great deal younger than Anne Boleyn. Not to mention Anne of Cleves came out of marriage to Henry a great deal better of than Katherine of Aragon!

azazello Mon 24-Sep-12 21:50:45

I don't think Cathetine Howard was his mistress, otherwise I don't think he would have reacted so badly to the reasonable evidence that she had had sex with other men before marriage. I think the Culpeper allegations were after she had been arrested and were based in evidence if Jsne Rochford weren't they

SomebodySaveMe Mon 24-Sep-12 21:51:54

I think it was Jane Rochford as they tricked her into giving evidence in exchange for a good marriage and then executed her too.

Tis a bit, chub.

azaz - mmm, I think it might have been 'one rule for me, one rule for everyone else'!

marriedinwhite Mon 24-Sep-12 21:53:45

I was going to say what you said nellyblush but you said it so much more simply. By the standards of the time, he wan't committing crimes though. He was also being advised and encouraged by some very powerful and disingenuous men. The Howards all but sacrified their own daughter, the fifth wife for their own power. That was a huge crime in my opinion.

azazello Mon 24-Sep-12 21:54:40

I admire Anne Boleyn. She must have been a pretty compelling role model for Elizabeth - I'm not surprised she never married. I think she was a bitch though.

Anne of Cleves was clever and sensible.

Chubfuddler Mon 24-Sep-12 21:54:42

Jane Rochford got what she deserved. She gave evidence against Ann Noleyn and her own husband. Nasty piece of work.

SomebodySaveMe Mon 24-Sep-12 21:54:49

And I didn't mean to derail the thread to AB being a woman of dubious nature, it was more that certain decisions were made after the divorce and break with Rome that have been found to be largely influenced by the Boleyn faction.

Until the break with Rome I dont think that Henry VIII was that bad. He wasn't a saint but he wasn't anywhere near the monster he became.

azazello Mon 24-Sep-12 21:56:05

Sorry Anne - not a very nice person but nowhere near Henry's league.

Does anyone have a convincing sense of how he allowed the later years of his reign, with the killing of heretics (and I think 'heretics'/political activists too), despite apparently being quite devout?

I can understand the break with Rome. It's not so far back in time that there had been two popes and maybe he thought if he stuck it out, eventually a new pope would come along and welcome England back into the fold, or maybe he just liked the idea of autonomy. But I don't get how he could have allowed so much change in the fabric of society, if he believed in it all?

JugglingWithPossibilities Mon 24-Sep-12 21:59:02

Haven't read the whole thread but IMHO it must have all started to go wrong when no-one stopped him cutting off his wife's head ie. with the beheading of Anne Boleyn.

Whether that would drive any-one to madness, or it shows how far off the rails he'd already gone to go through with such orders, I don't think there was any getting back to normality after that.

LaQueen Mon 24-Sep-12 22:00:17

By the standards of his day, Henry wasn't considered much of a monster at all.

Moln Mon 24-Sep-12 22:00:32

Ooh now this is a part of history that fasinates me (yet I know little about) keep meaning to read up more on it but i have aways found that i start reading a book i read one part of it and that leads me to need to find about something else and I never get further along (does that make sense?!)

forgive me for being thick but what exactly would the french have been doing that the english weren't? Did england not discover blow jobs until Anne B brought them over? grin

SomebodySaveMe Mon 24-Sep-12 22:01:19

I think he didn't know what to do. He'd broke with Rome and finally had a legitimate son however his marriages were a joke, he was a bloated version of the 'handsome' prince of Christendom he had once been and I can't help but feel that he had to keep up the charade of hating the pope to keep up appearances. It pretty much fell apart for him. He went from being well liked to having to rule by fear. The theory that it was all someone else's cough Cromwell policies and Henry was a pawn with little idea of what was going on could be valid here. Or the burning of heretics was used to scare people as to avoid uprisings.

SomebodySaveMe Mon 24-Sep-12 22:02:07

Anne Boleyn- thee who brought the bj to our fair land. It should be on stamps grin

BurlingtonBertieFromBow Mon 24-Sep-12 22:02:39

I read a theory that Henry only got really nasty after a jousting accident which possibly gave him frontal lobe damage in 1536. Symptoms of frontal lobe damage include erratic personality, outbursts of violence, paranoia etc...

Anyway, I quite like Anne Boleyn even though she was probably horrendous in real life. I imagine her to be how Hilary Mantel depicted her in Wolf Hall/Bring Up The Bodies. It's not as though ANYONE cared about ANYONE'S 'feelings' in the 16th century...

Also, Thomas More was not a nice man at all, he was a murdering bigot. Wolsey, on the other hand, was generally benign.

WhereMyMilk Mon 24-Sep-12 22:04:22

Think I read somewhere that Henry had some sort of genetic disease - can't remember now what, but that it a) led to him only having a living 1st born with each wife (then multiple mmc, still births etc) b) made him a very fat fucker c) sluggish blood supply, hence suppurating wounds d) made him a psychotic fucker...

LaQueen Mon 24-Sep-12 22:04:49

But, as I said above, executing Anne Boleyn wouldn't have been viewed as something so shocking. She had commited treason against the King (allegedly) so people would have expected her to be executed, as a result.

Her treason was supposedly proved in a Court of Law.

Nobles, both men and women, were often executed if they were considered to have commited treason. And, infact, Henry sometimes didn't even bother having them tried in Court, he just had them beheaded like with the Duke of Suffolk (de la Pole, not Charles Brandon) just in case de la Pole commited treason hmm

moln - I reckon it must be like condoms being 'french letters' and syphilis in France being the 'English disease' - you always think other people are being more kinky than yourself!

I once heard it was cunnilingus that she introduced him to, as well.

I am sticking to my 'a bit of a prude' theory, and I reckon possibly he just wasn't really all that sexually experienced.

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