Henry VIII, eh? What a bastard.

(343 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.)

And I am still going to like Thomas More a little bit. He educated his daughter and he loved her. Good man for that, at least.

I think people cared about feelings just the same amount as we do now, though maybe they thought about them differently.

LaQueen Mon 24-Sep-12 22:07:17

Agree with bertie. Thomas More was very sanctimonious in his actions, and thought himself untouchable.

margerykemp Mon 24-Sep-12 22:08:13

I think Anne Boleyn has had the last laugh.

500 years on she is a household name. Everyone knows her and most people are 'on her side'.

Plus she had the most painless death possible in Tudor times.

Chubfuddler Mon 24-Sep-12 22:08:19

But she was a queen. It was shocking, executing her. Queens had been packed off to convents before, marriages had been annulled before, but never executed.

LaQueen Mon 24-Sep-12 22:08:31

Thomas More always reminds me of Thomas A Beckett, actually.

And, had a very similar close relationship with the king, which then went sour hmm

Chubfuddler Mon 24-Sep-12 22:09:42

A sanctimonious pain in the arse, you mean? Totally agree.

Wouldn't her 'committing treason' (as I suspect people thought) have been equally shocking though? Maybe?

I dunno .. I can just imagine people sitting around after Henry died, and they'd be talking about his wives like people on here talk about Kate Middleton, but probably talking at least as much about how he ruined this or that bit of the economy, and took away the support systems of ordinary people, and this and that and the other. I think probably people always complain more about what affects them directly. Whereas we look at it, and we think about the human relationships amongst the aristocracy, because that is what we know best, right?

Vagaceratops Mon 24-Sep-12 22:15:11

More really did think that the King would change his mind.

One of my favourite parts in Wolf Hall is the questioning of Elizabeth Barton (The Maid of Kent). I want to imagine that it was actually like that and they were all shocked and outraged by what she said.

But again she was another pawn in a bigger game, and she met a similar fate.

Chubfuddler Mon 24-Sep-12 22:17:07

I think Ann Boleyns only "crime" was miscarrying a male baby. That did for her.

BurlingtonBertieFromBow Mon 24-Sep-12 22:18:45

During my degree I had to read practically everything Thomas More ever wrote (it's a lot). Towards the end it just got completely mental, basically comparing himself to Christ etc.

Can we have, as polar opposite to Henry VIII, the biggest legend ever to be king, namely Charles II? Basically just liked a laugh and a good time. Brought back Christmas. Didn't really execute anyone. Was so unbothered about not having a legitimate heir that he left the throne to his slightly dodgy brother (who then lost the whole thing). Found out that his mistress, Barbara Castlemaine, had an affair with his son the Duke of Monmouth and not a shit did he give. Played Parliament off against the French for most of his reign, in order to get subsidy off both of them and kept making excuses for not going to war with France. SO much better, imo, than being vindictive, insecure and moralising which was Henry VIII's real problem. The difference is probably that Charles was getting regular shags.

Comparing yourself to Christ like Imitatio Christi, or what?

But you're probably right, I really want to like him and it's biasing me.

I am loving your account of Charles II. grin

RustyBear Mon 24-Sep-12 22:20:46

But Mary wasn't Henry's firstborn with Catherine, she was his fifth. His first was a stillborn daughter, his second (a boy) lived almost two months. Then there were two more boys, one lived less than a month and the other died the same day. After Mary, there was one more daughter who died the day she was born.

Chubfuddler Mon 24-Sep-12 22:21:15

Now that interesting because I've always thought Charles II and Henry Viii make an interesting comparison - two kings, same problem (no son). Could not be more different. Charles II a Good Egg on my view (apart from all the adultery).

Anne was pregnant more than once, too, wasn't she? And I think Jane Seymour was too. Not sure.

Chubfuddler Mon 24-Sep-12 22:25:56

Ann had at least two mcs including a son at five or six months in late 1535 or early 1536. At that point Henry decided his marriage was cursed.

Vagaceratops Mon 24-Sep-12 22:26:16

Charles II was much more liberal - probably helped by the 9 years he spent in France.

If him and AB had got together - that would have been fun!

grin You need to write the historical fantasty novel, vaga!

Which reminds me, I know someone who once planned to write historical fantasy about Anne of Cleaves settling down as a lesbian after she got away from Henry and having fantastic high jinks all through sixteenth century London.

confused grin

BurlingtonBertieFromBow Mon 24-Sep-12 22:28:09

Adultery was completely normal though. You marry someone in order to get some colonies for Britain (Charles got Tangiers from Catherine of Braganza). Then you have heirs. That's the entire point of the marriage. At least Charles was kind to Catherine and didn't divorce her even though he would easily have been able to, because he knew no one else would have married her as it had been proven she couldn't have a child.

LRD - I can't quite remember the details, but he was subtly comparing himself to Christ as in, no one listened to Christ and he was right, and no one's listening to me even though I am right too. And I'm sacrificing my life for my conscience just like JEEEESUS. By the end I thought, just take the Oath of Supremacy and get over yourself, mate. He did get a lot of warnings and he could have avoided being executed if he wanted (probably the only person who could) because Henry did really like him.

Moln Mon 24-Sep-12 22:29:56

I just read something about the posible genetic disease Henry had, it was something negative - bit like Rhesus negatve but not that. It followed through the births, with Catherine As firstborn effecting the following early births and miscarriages. Her firstborn was stillborn, but that wasn't that unusal for the time.

Will try to recall it's name now!

RustyBear Mon 24-Sep-12 22:30:26

Anne had four pregnancies, Elizabeth, a stillborn child in August/September 1534, a miscarriage in summer 1535 and a stillborn son in January 1536.

As far as I know, there's no record of Jane having been pregnant before Edward, but she might have had a miscarriage.

'take the Oath of Supremacy and get over yourself, mate'

grin

Indeed.

He does sound like a bit of a sanctimonious tosser from what you say, but I reckon if we had the diaries of everyone alive back then, roughly half would have some kind of 'me and Christ, no one gets us' kind of emo rants going on. It's just a habit of speech.

Vagaceratops Mon 24-Sep-12 22:32:09

Charles II stood up for Catherine during the Popish Plot, rather than throwing her to the wolves. So adultery aside he must have really cared for he.

rusty - I may well be misremembering about JS. Half my knowledge of this stuff comes from Philippa Gregory/the Tudors kind of shite, read a long time ago and half remembered cos I'd never read it now oh no.

JugglingWithPossibilities Mon 24-Sep-12 22:32:45

History really should remember better things like Mary being the fifth baby born to Henry and Catherine as RustyBear describes. Perhaps that's the problem with history so often written and passed down by men ? It must have been so hard to bear all those tragedies.

Chubfuddler Mon 24-Sep-12 22:33:18

McLeod syndrome. It's a blood disorder a bit like a rhesus mismatch.

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