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.)

ParrotTulip Mon 24-Sep-12 20:58:57

He was a murderous pyschopatch even by the standards of the time.

TunipTheVegemal Mon 24-Sep-12 20:59:39

but you weren't allowed to say so because he was the king so it would be treason....

AllPastYears Mon 24-Sep-12 21:01:03

I re-watched A Man for All Seasons the other day - made me feel unexpectedly sad, even though I knew the ending already! Totally vindictive.

TunipTheVegemal Mon 24-Sep-12 21:03:36

Oh, Thomas More sigh

NellyJob Mon 24-Sep-12 21:04:02

oooh Henry VIII what a great guy! Love him <3
and Jonathan Rhys Meyers! blush

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Mon 24-Sep-12 21:05:46

History club, I had no idea there was a history club!!

Marking place to see what you all get up to!!

FWIW although a vile murderous bastard he must have had serious mental health issues. Marrying his brothers wife, killing AB, must have been all taken a toll. I think he's fascinating.

<hopes she hasn't totally missed the point of history club>

TunipTheVegemal Mon 24-Sep-12 21:09:26

<shakes head sadly at NellyJob>
There's always one.

GoingforGoingforGOLD Mon 24-Sep-12 21:13:10

Will I get kicked out of history club if I base my entire knowledge of Henry Viii on what I read in wolf hall?

I bloody love the Tudors. Me and DH got all involved in the tv series and I managed to organise about three school trips to the Tower. Gushed about it loads, eventually went with DH and they'd taken all Henry's part if the exhibition away for cleaning. How DH sulked!

And can I please be in the club? grin

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

Really evil man. Psychotic.

NellyJob Mon 24-Sep-12 21:17:27

the Tudors are a fascinating lot indeed...I wonder how historically accurate the tv series was, I loved it, it really brought history to life. Was the Anglican faith actually based on Henry's desire for a blowjob from AB?

TunipTheVegemal Mon 24-Sep-12 21:19:16

Of course you can be in the club. Have a goblet of Malmsey wine

TunipTheVegemal Mon 24-Sep-12 21:19:39

or a hot posset if you prefer brew

TunipTheVegemal Mon 24-Sep-12 21:21:26

well reading about the Pilgrimage of Grace, one of the things I came across was that when they talked about 'destroying' an aristocratic family in the 16th c they meant through attainder (so they would lose all their property and titles) whereas the tv series presented this as if Henry had all of them even the kids killed.

Herrena Mon 24-Sep-12 21:23:30

The tv series was surprisingly accurate - various little comments in the spanish ambassador's letters (what his name?!) were faithfully portrayed. Shame they merged Henry's 2 sisters into 1 though!

He was definitely guilty of having a god complex. I think he married his brother's ex-wife because he was a young romantic kid at the time and his dad treated her like crap - not sure that was due to bastardliness. His later actions, OTOH....

anniewoo Mon 24-Sep-12 21:23:51

Always amazes me that the Royal Family had a law that you could not become King or Queen if you marry a Catholic cos the split from Rome only came about cos Henry V111 didn't get his way re divorce from Catherine of Aragon. Or am i being too simplistic?

That's, erm, evocative as an OP!

I love Man for All Seasons, too, so I do not feel happy about Henry.

But a bit of me wants to explore the idea that there he was, training to be a Catholic priest, reading masses of theology and obviously not being particularly bad at it ... and suddenly his brother is dead and he's pushed into the limelight.

I wonder if he really wanted it?

I am not 'excusing' him, obviously, just thinking what sort of person he might have started off as.

Because I do get the impression (maybe wrongly?) that he didn't actually have a terribly high sex drive - or not as high as you'd think from six marriages. I wonder if he couldn't have made a better priest than a king.

(Posset does just make me think of baby sick. Hippocras?)

The TV series writes out the minor matter of the supperating ulcer, doesn't it?


Mind you, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers ... mmm ....

SomebodySaveMe Mon 24-Sep-12 21:27:06

If Henry VIII and his crimes happened today then we would be shaking out heads at the people who had failed him.

He wasn't supposed to be king, inherited the throne at 18 and had nobody around him prepared to stand up to him. It wasn't until the Boleyn whore that things got nasty (unless I'm overlooking something crucial) and it can be argued that very little of what went on was Henry's doing.

NellyBluth Mon 24-Sep-12 21:29:34

Will I get booted off the thread if I point out that, if you view Henry's actions in the wider context of the recently ended Wars of the Roses and his father's struggle to exercise authority over the country, his need for a true and unquestionable heir is really quite understandable... blush

Mmm, no, I think we can argue he was pretty nasty before.

I am feeling an unaccustomed rush of protectiveness for poor Anne Boleyn after that description!

ICutMyFootOnOccamsRazor Mon 24-Sep-12 21:32:38

Is there any evidence to back up the idea that he actually was psychotic due to syphillis?

Chubfuddler Mon 24-Sep-12 21:32:51

Boleyn whore? Wash your mouth out.

SomebodySaveMe Mon 24-Sep-12 21:33:12

Anne Boleyn purposefully broke up a marriage in her quest to be queen. She also played a game that ultimately led to many deaths including that of her own brother. And she is referred to in many history books as a whore so it wasn't just my view!

The need for an heir is fully understandable. The Tudors were widely viewed as usurpers and there had been years of unrest.

True, Nelly.

This isn't totally on-topic, I was trying to find a list of all the heretics Henry had killed and can't find one, but these stats I did find (and I remember being surprised by them doing history at school):

'"Jasper Ridley points out that whereas Henry VII ordered the burning of ten heretics in twenty four years, Henry VIII eighty one in thirty eight years, Elizabeth I five in forty four years, Mary ordered the burning of two hundred and eighty people in only five years."

So if you can track down the right Jasper Ridley book, that should be a good source - here's some info on him with a list of his works: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jasper_Ridley'

(Quoted off
some random internet site but I'm assuming accurate)

Chubfuddler Mon 24-Sep-12 21:34:22

Oh no it's entirely understandable, his father pinched the throne from the real king, the much maligned Richard. It's understandable, but all in all it didn't make him terribly nice.

NellyJob Mon 24-Sep-12 21:34:23

yes poor Anne......a mere pawn..

I will not have such talk about Anne Boleyn! I don't know why, I quite like her. If she was 'modern', I think she'd be a career WAG type though. You know, a regular in Thats Life and Closer.
<scuttles away after annoying proper Tudors buffs>

some - oh, come on, she wasn't actually a whore!

'Whore' means prostitute. She didn't sleep with him for yonks, and loads of people at the time would have done (kings had mistresses, it was normal).

I am not certain we can be sure it was her at the helm, also, so to speak. Her dad was pretty manipulative.

I dunno ... I feel uncomfortable judging people by today's standards, does anyone else? It's not rational, but I do!

SomebodySaveMe Mon 24-Sep-12 21:36:13

I start off feeling sorry for her. She was dragged into the whole thing by her family but as the years progress there is no excusing some of her actions towards Mary and Katherine.

TunipTheVegemal Mon 24-Sep-12 21:37:16

SomebodySaveMe - I think the problem with kingship as it was viewed then is that there was no-one whose job it was to stand up to him.
We'd view it differently if it happened now because we don't think our monarchs are divinely anointed and we don't risk getting executed for treason if we disagree with them.

I love the image of Anne in Closer! grin

I bet that was Jane Seymour, though. I can just imagine her as the Jen Anniston of her day, with everyone sighing over how nice she was.

Chubfuddler Mon 24-Sep-12 21:37:29

That's quite an old fashioned view of Ann Boleyn. There were concerns about the validity of Henry and Katherine's marriage from the very start, before Ann Boleyn was even born virtually. There was no living male child, Henry was desperate for an heir and he fancied her like mad. To suggest AB could break up the royal marriage at her whim is a bit fanciful.

SomebodySaveMe Mon 24-Sep-12 21:38:01

There's evidence from sources suggesting that she errmmm enlightened Henry to certain sexual acts believed to have been taught at the French court and received jewels and gowns for this.

SomebodySaveMe Mon 24-Sep-12 21:38:46

She was the only mistress to succeed though. And there were many!

Chubfuddler Mon 24-Sep-12 21:38:51

Mary was mad. Proper nutter.

How do you mean, 'succeed' though? Mary Boleyn had a great, successful career as a mistress, so did Bessie Blount. And - if we believe the gossip - Catharine Howard started out as his mistress.

Vagaceratops Mon 24-Sep-12 21:40:22

AB was a pawn of other men (her father and the Duke of Norfolk) who were absolutely power hungry and saw her as the best way to get it.

SomebodySaveMe Mon 24-Sep-12 21:40:45

Oh yes! Completely barking! I do like
Elizabeth though despite the potential wife murdering business of old Amy Dudley.

See, the rumours about 'the French fashion' suggest to me Henry was a bit of a prude really.

SomebodySaveMe Mon 24-Sep-12 21:41:31

The other mistresses did not break up a marriage. They knew their role as it were and wouldn't have dreamed of upsetting a queen.

Chubfuddler Mon 24-Sep-12 21:43:20

I think Amy Dudley was murdered by those who didn't want Elizabeth to marry Dudley. She was terminally ill and thru could have married after a respectable mourning period, instead she's found at the bottom of the stairs with a broken neck and the suspicion of foul play lingered.

Vagaceratops Mon 24-Sep-12 21:44:01

So because she didnt want to be someones Mistress she is a whore?

She played her hand well. It worked.

She wasnt the married one.

NellyBluth Mon 24-Sep-12 21:44:40

Ah, but Chubb, Richard wasn't the legitimate king. But then arguably nor was Edward 'V' or Edward IV. How far back to go to decide the legitimate king?

So much talk of Anne Boleyn, what about Anne of Cleeves and Katherine Howard?

azazello Mon 24-Sep-12 21:44:49

I think Henry would have been much nicer ( unsurprisingly) if he and Katherine had had lots of children in an Edward III style though perhaps without the subsequent warfare. It would probably have kept him married to Katherine and less overwhelmed by Anne so the reformation would have been put off for a while.

I've read (possibly in David Starkey's book) that Henry was very spoiled, especially when Arthur was sent off to Wales and that combined with fawning deference and paranoia about the future of his throne probably doesn't help someone grow up well balanced.

18wksplus Mon 24-Sep-12 21:44:58

Not sure he was a psychopath: more that he had been taught since birth that kings were God's representatives on earth, and therefore he expected to be treated thus. Kind of how our 'celebrities' develop a sense of entitlement and then throw their toys out of the pram when they're not recognised/bumped up a guest list etc, but multiplied some!!

Added to this was the fact that when he was younger he was pretty impressive by all accounts: fit (in both senses), funny etc. Losing this must have been tough (not that it excuses his behaviour).

So bastard, yes. Psychopath, not sure.

noblegiraffe Mon 24-Sep-12 21:46:21

I do feel sorry for the later wives who were obviously manipulated into position by their scheming families. Who would really want to marry someone who treated Katherine of Aragon so badly and bumped off her successor? And who in later years was so physically repulsive?

Catherine Howard, somebody?

I really don't think that you can know what they would or wouldn't have 'dreamed'.

I certainly don't think Blount/Mary Boleyn cared at all about how Catherine of Aragon felt about their babies.

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.

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'



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.

All my history teachers have been women, I've only just thought how lucky I've been. And the only male historian who's supervised me (very briefly) is a man who works on gender.

But I agree, juggling.

RustyBear Mon 24-Sep-12 22:39:09

I have a very useful book - Britain's Royal families - the Complete Genealogy by Alison Weir. It apparently took her 22 years to research and is very detailed.

One fascinating fact which I discovered by trawling through it is that, out of 41 monarchs since the Norman conquest, only 11 were the first-born son of their predecessor (and that number includes Charles II, who had Oliver Cromwell between him and his dad, as well as Edward V and Edward VIII, neither of whom were crowned)

Chubfuddler Mon 24-Sep-12 22:39:57

I want that book. I love stuff like this.

Vagaceratops Mon 24-Sep-12 22:40:41

It is a great book.

noblegiraffe Mon 24-Sep-12 22:42:21

Mary Boleyn had a daughter, Catherine Carey, supposedly with William Carey but rumoured to be by Henry VIII. Catherine Carey then had a daughter, Lettice Knollys who married Elizabeth I's beloved Robert Dudley.

What struck me when reading about this was that I looked up pictures of Lettice Knollys and Elizabeth I and you could mistake one portrait for that of the other. Elizabeth and for comparison Lettice. I'm sure that's partly because of them wearing the same fashions, but surely that's Henry's genes!

Elizabeth must have been absolutely spitting when she married Dudley, no wonder she banished her from court!

RustyBear Mon 24-Sep-12 22:43:54
DilysPrice Mon 24-Sep-12 22:50:37

Thomas More, for example, was a twat.
<heavily impressed by Wolf Hall and has little time for religious bigots>

I read somewhere that the chances of a single family producing a steady line of first-born sons who survive to adulthood for more than a few generations is actually pretty tiny. The author strongly hinted that the Capetian dynasty was either a massive anomaly or a bit of a warming-pan job.

noble that is fascinating! But, couldn't the picture painter have just made them look alike because that was 'the pretty look'?

Moln Mon 24-Sep-12 23:02:48

I think we should dig them all up and genetic test them.

Would that be wrong? We could do it in the middle of the night, less noticable.

RustyBear Mon 24-Sep-12 23:04:24

But Lettice was Elizabeth's cousin ( her aunt Mary's grand-daughter, so first cousin once removed) even if Henry wasn't her dad, so the resemblance could be due to Boleyn, rather than Tudor genes.

LineRunner Mon 24-Sep-12 23:46:00

Moln, Mumsnet Exhumations Inc.

BurlingtonBertieFromBow Mon 24-Sep-12 23:51:32

Didn't the Victorians go through a phase of digging all the Tudors and Stuarts up then reburying them? I seem to remember that when they got into Henry VIII's vault the coffin had burst - but he was just a skellington by then so it wasn't too gross. If you go into the chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula at the Tower, Anne Boleyn, Katherine Howard and Jane Grey have nice little Victorian gravestones. (apparently there are over 1000 people buried in that chapel). And Katherine Parr has a very Victorian tomb at Sudeley Castle - apparently the chapel fell into complete disrepair so some Victorians did it up. When they found Katherine's coffin, she was completely intact inside it and looked like she'd just died.

Why do I know all this crap...?

Fuchzia Mon 24-Sep-12 23:58:20

PMSL at Thomas Moore having an 'emo rant'. The dude did keep a couple of heretics chained up at the bottom of his garden for tourturing purposes. Not a saint, although confusingly actually a saint.

Moore was right about Henry being a lion who should never know his own strength. I imagine even a completely sane person would find it hard to deal with essentially being God's reresentative on earth. It would basically follow that everything he did was right because if he thought something it must be the voice of god. Although in a way I've also always though there was something oddly passive about him. He was an extremely devout man yet happy to let Cromwell get on with destroying the monasteries. Perhaps the money helped.

I think with a much more secular mindset it's hard to understand how religious belief worked as a driving force in them days. I think it is what motivated AB far more than anything else.

BurlingtonBertieFromBow Tue 25-Sep-12 00:07:23

Reading between the lines of his writing, More had sexual issues too

(nb: could be that I have sexual issues and am projecting)

laptopcomputer Tue 25-Sep-12 00:16:08

I'm always amazed that someone so awful could father someone as fab as Elizabeth 1, who was a truly amazng woman

Whisky4Tea Tue 25-Sep-12 00:23:17

Well, I am not sure that Henry VIII was the worst king by far: Edward I was forever sowing the Scottish lowlands with salt (meaning no crops could be grown). He also had a thing for keeping his political enemies' wives and daughters in cages hanging outside castle walls.

I once had a surreal conversation in Mexico with a man schooled by the Catholic Church. He basically argued that Mary Queen of Scots had been the only legitimate heir after Mary Tudor since all Henry's other children were illegitimate and heretics. It was like going back to France of the 16th century. He wouldn't be told that his "history" was a few centuries out of date. I may have been rude and ma a thing about me having a phd in history and him being an accountant. Obviously I didn't mention my qualifications were not in British history.

Smellslikecatspee Tue 25-Sep-12 00:33:21

I've always quite admired both Anne and Catherine of A, though a little more Anne. In that time and in each of their individual circumstances pretty impressive that they both stood up to and defied a King.

Catherine, at least was a princess in her own right, and though had been very badly treated by her FIL she had all that upbringing that impressed on her her God given right to be a Princess and then Queen with a big P & Q. On the other hand for a religious woman back then she would have been encouraged to believe that her husbands word was next to God. So to defy Henry must have been hard, not to mention all the tragedies she went through, not to mention the flaunting of the mistresses, and Bessie Blounts little boy Henry Fitzroy.

Anne was, depending on what historian you go with was between 18-25 when Henry started stalking her, lets be honest he wasn't taking no for an answer whether or not you want to see her a pawn in her family's schemes or as a strong minded woman who was going for the big prize.

She would have known at that point if she did give in and had a child out of wedlock, he/she would be behind Henry Fizroy and when Henry tired of her be married off as spoiled goods.

I've also always found it difficult to believe that she could have committed adultery, people's lives were so lived in public back then even the average commoner would have had little privacy, and royalty / court members were virtually never alone. To have committed any adultery never mind 5 men would have been very very difficult.

I'd say the modern equlivant would be Catherine Middleton & William visiting an NHS Obstetrician coming out laughing smiling and holding an ultrasound picture and expecting it not to be front page news all over the world.

Anne of Cleves sounds like someone who realised that she'd had a lucky escape.

Poor little Katherine Howard, well by most accounts she was an abused child who then was unlucky enough to marry an abuser.
I can't remember if it was a history book or a work of fiction but I do remember reading something where KH didn't think she had done anything wrong as Henry as the King and head of the church 'must' have known about her past indisgresions.

Henry however. . .

I want to believe that he married Catherine of Aragon for love, though as it was exactly what his father had advised against always made me think he was a contrary bugger and this was a big 'sod you' to Dad particularly as Dad had the Papal dispensation from Pope Julius II for Prince Henry to marry C of A changed so that he could also marry C of A. . . How's that for a Tudor Jeremy Kyle moment. 'After my virgin marriage to A I got engaged to his younger brother H, but now my FIL is trying his luck, what should I do? ' can you imagine that in AIBU?

I do wonder if he got so far along the lines of believing his own hype by the time he met AB that he convinced himself he was doing nothing wrong. Or was there a medical reason for his behaviour?

Though to be honest I think he was a bully who had been indulged as a child/ teen/ young adult who morphed in to a full blown abuser.

And weren't most of the wives related in some way except for C of A. Or was that just a reflection of the times?

Moln Tue 25-Sep-12 05:45:38

ME Inc. i like it, I'll get my spade.

Don't know much about Edward I, he sound like a delightful chap! Cn anyone suggest a book that's not too intense that I could start off with (only have a very small brain that is very easily overwhelmed)

I can say for all the wives, but AB and CH were cousins weren't they. I don't think AofC was related. I suppose it's possible with the other two, people in that circle were related somehow I think.

Now there's an idea for a new book/tv series a modern day version of it all, with Jeramy K appearances (give me time to figure out why royals would go on there, and how the beheadings would be got away with)

whiskey that is very, very funny. And kind of sweet, really, I think?

smells - oh, that's awful about CH. sad I am developing a soft spot for her.

I think Jane Seymour was related in, too, but I forget how. If you went back far enough there must be a connection between Henry and Catherine of Aragon, since Edward I's queen was Eleanor of Castile and Catherine's mum was queen of Castile.

BBB - do I want to know more about More's sexual issues?! It's like being told your slightly strict uncle was a bit of a pervert in his spare time. sad

Badvoc Tue 25-Sep-12 06:40:16

Eustace chapuys was the Spanish ambassador during Henry's reign.
He was a very intelligent, decent man.
Henry hated him with a passion due to his loyalty to Catherine of Aragon and Mary.
I love this period of history!

Badvoc Tue 25-Sep-12 06:42:24

Henry idolised his mother Elizabeth who died when he was 11.
He was then raised by his grandmother Margaret Beaufort who had some very odd ideas of how kids should be raised!
Then again she had Henry's father when she was only just 13....

Elizabeth died after giving birth to Katharine, didn't she? It's sad.

What did MB do that was really odd?

Moln Tue 25-Sep-12 06:51:03

It would be my opinon that just about all extreme religious people have sexual issues - to either extreme.

Badvoc Tue 25-Sep-12 06:59:45

Elizabeth died after giving birth to a daughter who also died.
She and Henry needed another male child after Arthur died....

Badvoc Tue 25-Sep-12 07:01:47

Thomas more wore a hair short and self flagellated.
He was a hard core catholic, and frankly would have made a better mink than statesman.
His one redeeming feature IMO was that he insisted his daughters were educated in the same way as his sons.
He treated his wife like crap though....

CrikeyOHare Tue 25-Sep-12 07:11:54

This may be total balls (and is NOT intended as an excuse) but his character did seem to change rather dramatically after he fell off his horse and was unconscious for two hours.

It's Catherine Howard I've always felt most sorry for. A young, pretty girl married to a bloated, diseased tyrant. Apparently, his leg ulcer was so badly infected at this point that you could smell him coming from several corridors away. Nice, huh?

Salbertina Tue 25-Sep-12 07:23:10

Love all this debate about such a colourful time in history!

For royal heir to marry older brother's widow, fairly standard at the time and strategically motivated- C of A was royal also and worth heroine those useful ties w Spain

As for Anne B, I also believe she was much more pawn than arch-manipulator, she was a woman after all and under the influence of her scheming brother/father. Certain women would commonly be labelled "whores" at the time regardless of evidence. This does not mean A was adulterous - indeed such I remember Starkey saying evidence against her was fabricated. not nice- inappropriate to call her a whore in here, IMHO...

LaQueen Tue 25-Sep-12 07:30:28

Starkey pointed out that during many of the times and days Anne Boleyn was supposedly unfaithful, the Court Lists show that she wasn't even in the same palace as her lover.

Fuchzia Tue 25-Sep-12 07:54:11

I think I've read somewhere that all of Henry's wives where descended from John of Gaunt. Smells Presumably that's with the exception of C of A tho? Not sure why that would be significant or who he was really. <looks round hopefully for a medievalist>.

You called? wink

She could well be, fuchzia, he married Constanza of Castile.

I will check.

John of Gaunt m. Constance of Castile; daughter Catherine

Catherine m. Henry III of Castile, children Maria queen of Aragon, infanta Catharine; John II of Castile

John II of Castile; children inc. Isabella of Castile

Isabella of Castile m. Ferdinand of Aragon; children inc. Catherine!

So John of Gaunt was her great-great grandfather, is that right?

Ooh. Sorry for triple post, but I wondered about Anne of Cleves and stumbled across this site, which is awesome.


Vagaceratops Tue 25-Sep-12 08:13:48

John of Gaunt is the line which Margaret Beaufort (Henry V1.I mother) descended from too isnt it.

Vagaceratops Tue 25-Sep-12 08:15:43

Thats Henry VII blush

BalloonSlayer Tue 25-Sep-12 08:17:03

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

- how can a man's genetic disease make it only be a firstborn who survives? I can just about accept that a man can have a genetic disease that means a lot of his children die but one that picks the first born? And also, Mary was not the firstborn. Prince Henry, her older brother lived for a couple of months.

Alison Weir (love her book!) wondered whether Anne Boleyn was Rhesus negative, as it was odd that she had her first baby (usually the most dfifficult) relatively easily and then could never carry another to term.

noblegiraffe I had never noticed this before Alison Weir pointed it out, and then I can see it - Elizabeth I looks exactly like Anne Boleyn facially. It's the red hair that makes you think she looks like Henry. That would explain why Lettuce Knolly's looks like her. AW also points out that Henry always acknowledged his illegitimate children, and gave them titles, married them off well. He never did with Mary's children, which suggests they were not his. However, that may have been because that would have proved he had shagged Anne's sister, and his brother having supposedly shagged Catherine was what he claimed made his marriage to Catherine unlawful . . . but then again in that case you'd think he'd have used that to get out of his marriage with Anne... aaargh!

I think John of Gaunt is basically related to everybody, isn't he? It comes of living a very long time and marrying women whose children, um, didn't tend to die.

Vagaceratops Tue 25-Sep-12 08:20:03

Earlier in history, many powerful kings would claim that consanguinity meant thier marriages should be invalidated. Mainly when the first wives could not produce a male heir.

Its this reason that Eleanor of Aquitaine used to get out of her marriage to Louis and marry Henry II. The fact that she was a woman and still managed to use this to her advantage is another reason that she is one of my absolute favourite female historical figures.

Vagaceratops Tue 25-Sep-12 08:21:10

The Beaufort line is illegitimate though iirc.

No, his children were legitimized later on.

Smellslikecatspee Tue 25-Sep-12 08:36:00

Re: C of A marring Henry after Arthur, I can see where it makes good political sense but as they had to get the papal dispensation was it that common? I know engagements were broken all the time. About the behaviour change after the fall head injury or realisation of own morality?

Vagaceratops Tue 25-Sep-12 08:37:12

Yes you are right - just went up to check.

I always think JoG is very handsome.

MadamGazelleIsMyMum Tue 25-Sep-12 08:38:18

<has found home on Mumsnet, am avid reader of historical biographies --and fiction-->

Vaga Without wanting to derail the threat, agree, she was one amazing woman.

The Antonia Fraser 6 Wives of Henry VIII has a geneological chart at the start showing how Henry was actually related to all of his wives to a greater or lesser degree, mainly on the basis that the English nobility of the time was a small section of society much intermarried. Catherine of Aragon had a dash of English Plantaganet blood from John of Gaunt.

MadamGazelleIsMyMum Tue 25-Sep-12 08:43:07

Engagements were broken all the time, Smells, Henry VIII's younger sister Mary was bethrothed something like 6 times before she actually married Louis XII of France.

I think the reasons for the marriage were partly to keep the alliance with Spain, partly to keep the dowry (although this may have been forfeit if the marriage with Arthur had been consummated, hence Henry VII's reasons for seeking the ambiguous dispensation with the word "fortisan" i.e. perhaps, the same dispensation which allowed Henry VIII many years later to challenge his wife's virgin status at the time of their marriage), partly as a two fingered gesture to his Dad who had kept him very much on a short leash, and also because Henry VIII probably did see CofA as a romantic bride he had rescued - he was obsessed with chivalry and would have known CofA since he was 10, when she arrived in England as a beautiful princess.

There are examples of marrying a younger brother much more recently as well though. May of Teck, old Queen Mary, married George V after her engagement to his elder brother ended due to the elder brother's death.

Papal dispensations are very common because everyone is related to everyone.

I think I prefer the 'realization of mortality' thing - that makes sense, I never thought of it.

TunipTheVegemal Tue 25-Sep-12 09:15:14

wow, can't believe how much this thread has grown overnight! I thought it would just be me and one or two weirdos grin

<settles down to read>

But I am a weirdo. sad


margerykemp Tue 25-Sep-12 09:38:54

Did Henry already have his ulcer when AB was executed?

Did he expect that to kill him so was in a hurry to remarry?

I'm surprised on a Tudor thread no one has mentioned poor Lady Jane Grey yet. Now she really was a pawn.

Was Margaret of Beaufort the one who tried to make a run for it during her botched execution? Was it Henry who ordered that?

Another question for you Tudorites: did Queen Mary have contact/show support for her Catholic cousin Mary, Queen of Scots during her reign?

If Mary 1 had Elizabeth executed, as she had the power to do, instead of letting Elizabeth live and then execute MQoS would Britain be a Catholic country now or would have James 1/V11 still have been protestant?

LiviaAugusta Tue 25-Sep-12 09:40:25

I've read something interesting somewhere about the year 1536 being a turning point in Henry's life and descent into tyranny. During a very short space of time CofA died (whom he'd been married to for over twenty years so it must have affected him), he had a jousting accident which left him unconscious for a time and permanently injured and in pain, and then AB delivered a son stillborn. Obviously before this he'd had his marriage annulled and married AB so it's not all stemming from there but it does make me wonder whether something 'snapped' to turn a previously vain, egocentric man who'd been raised to be a prince and not a king into what he became in his last ten years.

TunipTheVegemal Tue 25-Sep-12 09:44:00

I can't believe people have been slagging off my beloved Thomas More! Derailers! I am going to keep on believing he was exactly like he is in Man For All Seasons, no matter what anyone says <sticks candlewax in ears and sings hey nonny nonny>

Penelope1980 Tue 25-Sep-12 09:44:12

I really wonder what the everyday people actually thought of Henry VIII and his wives. I know it would have changed during his reign, but does anyone know or have there been any surviving records? I don't imagine there's anything really, but just wondering..

TunipTheVegemal Tue 25-Sep-12 09:44:42

<reports BurlingtonBertie for personal attacks on St T>

There were definitely real protests when he married Anne Boleyn. And people wrote things against him/his wives from a Catholic/Protestant POV, who weren't people who knew him personally (if that counts as ordinary).

Anne Askew - who was relatively ordinary - got cross-examined to see if she'd drop Catherine Parr or anyone else more high-born than her in it, but she refused. Which in itself says something, I guess.

Penelope1980 Tue 25-Sep-12 09:49:24

Margery it was Margaret Pole, or Margaret of Salisbury that made a run for it, I understand she could have had a strong claim for the throne if she'd tried as she was Richard III's daughter (I think ... ) (unless she was also known as Margaret Beuford?)

LiviaAugusta Tue 25-Sep-12 09:50:20

margerykemp it was Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, who was supposed to have run away during her execution, which took something like 10 goes <shudders>. She was in her 70s, and her only crime was being the mother of a man who had opposed Henry then fled abroad out of his reach. Utter, utter bastard. Margaret Beaufort was his Grandmother (I think).

LiviaAugusta Tue 25-Sep-12 09:50:52

Xpost penelope!

Penelope1980 Tue 25-Sep-12 09:52:31

Oooops, sorry, Margaret was George's daughter, Richard III's brother

TunipTheVegemal Tue 25-Sep-12 09:55:24

One thing I do find fascinating about the Pilgrimage of Grace is how ready they were to believe he was a good man who had been led astray by bad advisers.
If they really believed that and weren't just clinging to it because it was the only thing they were allowed to think given the divinely anointed monarchy plus the treason laws.

Of course, that fits with the idea of him undergoing a sudden personality change. You know how it is when someone (on Mumsnet) who you have previously liked suddenly starts being a twat. You think 'are they drunk? are they ok? have they been talking to someone offboard who's been spreading lies?' In Tudor times I guess the natural thing would be 'Has he been bewitched? Is he being badly influenced?'

Oh, livia, that is horrible.

NanBullen Tue 25-Sep-12 10:00:08

I think Henry was basically a psycopath. Women weren't treated particularly well in general in the 16th century but executing 2 of your wives because one of them didn't give u a son and the other had decided that sex with a revolting smelly bloke old enough to be your grandfather is particularly evil. I think Anne must've been ecstatic when he married her and she got pregnant. Not so much when she had a girl and then couldn't carry to term again. By convincing henry to get rid of catherine she'd really just given henry the means to get rid of her if he'd got rid of one wife, well, why not do it again? She should have just been his mistress sad.

Anne rocks, henry, not so much ....

imperialstateknickers Tue 25-Sep-12 10:05:20

Oooo a History Club, goody! I shall return...

Smellslikecatspee Tue 25-Sep-12 10:12:52

I thought it would just be me and one or two weirdos

you calling me a weirdo?

you won't be the first grin

LimeLeafLizard Tue 25-Sep-12 10:15:52

I didn't know there was a history club either. Must investigate more...

MrsGuyOfGisbourne Tue 25-Sep-12 10:16:27

Oooooh! not to say about Henry, but delighed to discover their is a history club - thank you Mumsnet!!

MrsGuyOfGisbourne Tue 25-Sep-12 10:16:47

there is a history club blush

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Tue 25-Sep-12 10:26:31

Ive posted this before, but I heard somewhere that Anne boleyn was rhesus negative. (is that the right one?) Which meant that she would have given birth to her first child, but subsequent babies would have died. How awful that her blood type made her fate inevitable! {sad}

BurlingtonBertieFromBow Tue 25-Sep-12 10:57:00

Katherine Howard is a good example of how poorly educated women could be in the 16th century. E.g. because Henry was head of the church, she got confused and thought he actually WAS God and could hear all her thoughts, which is why she thought he already knew about her past. Killing Katherine Howard was a complete male pride thing - there wasn't any need to execute her, whereas you could argue that Anne B might have been a threat if she'd been allowed to live.

NanBullen Tue 25-Sep-12 11:05:57

How would she have been a threat? Do u mean a rival court? I think anne thought she would be banished to a convent as punishment, she couldn't have done much harm there could she? Although would be nice to think that her daughter would have helped her when sha became queen grin and anne could finally given the finger to henry the serial killer!

I do want to know how poorly educated she actually was.

I think if she thought Henry was God and could hear her thoughts she was, in modern terms, mentally ill. Not poorly educated.

She can't have been massively under-educated, she writes perfectly decent, syntactically-fluent English and quite a lot of men and women couldn't read and write at all.

NanBullen Tue 25-Sep-12 11:07:31

Sorry about typing u instaed of you, am on blackberry, tis shite

Viviennemary Tue 25-Sep-12 11:09:56

On the face of it he appears an extremely cruel and ruthless man. But I think he was a product of his times. In his position he had to be ruthless or else he would have been walked over. I've never heard that Ann Boleyn was rhesus negative but that it was Henry's diseases that caused the babies to die or to be miscarried. Anne Boleyn was a trouble maker there is no doubt about it.

'no doubt'.

Well, fuck me, I best get out of this history business and go straight back to studying literature where we have good old-fashioned uncertainties again! wink

NellyJob Tue 25-Sep-12 11:26:35

to digress though - over the years I have met quite ordinary English (and West Indian) people with surnames such as Seymour, Howard, Fitzroy, among others, could we assume they are descended from these illustrious Tudor families?

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Tue 25-Sep-12 11:31:18

In my hunt for the programme I watched about AB being R-, Im watching Royal Deaths and Diseases. In terms of blood sealing your fate, they talk about the Romanovs. Alexandra carried Haemophilia. Her some had it. She was so guilt stricken apparently, that she turned to religion. Where she became involved with Rasputin.... sad

NellyJob Tue 25-Sep-12 11:32:51

my question is though, if the Romanovs carried haemophilia, why do none of the present royal family appear to be stricken with it?

BurlingtonBertieFromBow Tue 25-Sep-12 11:35:04

I thought KH could hardly write? They had a letter she wrote to one of her lovers and it was all over the place.
She'd had no real formal education at all - I suppose in that situation it could be easy to get confused about things like religion, God and politics. All this stuff about the king only being one down from God - maybe she'd been told that and concluded that as God knows everyone's thoughts so did the king. I don't think it necessarily means she was mentally ill.

Nah, I've seen that letter, someone linked to it, it was fine. Her handwriting is quite good and her syntax is fine.

Lots of people didn't have formal education, FWIW. I would love to know more about what education she did have - but purely the fact of not having formal education wouldn't mark her out as so very different from other women of a similar background.

I get what you're saying about the God thing, but I find it difficult to imagine someone like that. Which is probably a failure of my imagination.

Here: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/museum/additional_image_types.asp?item_id=13&image_id=17&extra_image_type_id=1

There's a transcription you can click on. The lovely katiescarlett linked me to it on the old Richard III thread.

Chubfuddler Tue 25-Sep-12 11:41:44

My grandmother is a Howard from oop north. I like to kid myself there is a family connection.

LiviaAugusta Tue 25-Sep-12 11:41:56

I don't doubt that AB was scheming and ruthless in her ambition to snare a king, but I also think she was a victim of the machinations of the senior male members of her family and their quest for more power. Once her ability to produce a male heir was questioned it was easier all round to paint her as the evil sorceress and adulteress as a convenient way of getting rid of her without her causing too much of a fuss. I don't think AB was arrested and accused until after CofA was dead, so one obstacle was removed for him. If Henry had then annulled his marriage to Anne or divorced her to marry someone else there would still always be questions about the validity of the next marriage and the legitimacy any children, as there had been when he married Anne. With both women dead Henry could not be deemed still married by anyone, whether Catholic or Protestant, so would be free to move on as a widower. The accusations against AB seem too over-the-top to me; but then if all this was alleged against her people must have believed at least part of it was true, she wasn't popular anyway, and who would argue with a king? I do feel sorry for AB but having said that her actions to CofA and Mary were callous and vindictive, so she was definitely no innocent pawn.

Ohhh, that would be so cool chub.

LiviaAugusta Tue 25-Sep-12 11:48:31

My DM is convinced we're descended from Mary Boleyn, as one of her grandchildren married someone with our family name and settled in our county!

Badvoc Tue 25-Sep-12 11:49:23

Even eustace chapuys who hated AB with a passion (he never referred to her by name once, he called her the concubines or the whore in all his years of dispatches) said she was convicted without a shred of evidence.
He famously said (when she mc her son) "she has miscarried of her saviour"
Jane Rochford (nee Parker) was George bolyens wife and hated both him and Anne.
Her testimony sent him to the scaffold.
She was later executed for her part in smuggling Thomas culpepper into Catherine Howard's privy for their trysts!

Badvoc Tue 25-Sep-12 11:50:27

Anne knew she was doomed after her mc...she even sent Mary conciliatory letters.
She knew Mary could help Elizabeth and to her credit she did for many years.

noblegiraffe Tue 25-Sep-12 11:53:35

Poor Katherine Howard, it always makes me sad that she was only about 20 (maybe younger) when she was executed. Silly and misguided I think, rather than any sense of what she was in for. The story of her asking for the executioner's block the night before so she could practise putting her neck on it sad

BurlingtonBertieFromBow Tue 25-Sep-12 11:54:33

Has anyone read Bring Up The Bodies? I know it's a novel rather than historical fact, but to me it seems a very plausible account of Anne's fall. That basically Henry wanted to annul the marriage and send Anne away, but when Cromwell started investigating all this gossip about Anne came out and it got to the point where he couldn't just ignore it, he had to use it.

It sort of snowballed, but no one started out with the intention of killing Anne. It ties in with some recent research, like by G W Bernard, that although Anne may not actually have been guilty, she acted in a way that left her open to those kinds of accusations - courtly love was acceptable, and it was actually OK to say you loved your queen (the same way everyone would say they loved the king - it just meant you were loyal). But this was then twisted against Anne. Plus people like Jane Rochford came forward to say that she had definitely been to bed with her lovers at specific times and places, but it looked a bit bullshit.

Badvoc Tue 25-Sep-12 11:57:09

Yes, that and wolf hall.
Both very good.

noble - that is so sad, isn't it?

BBB - I love Wolf Hall. So much.

LineRunner Tue 25-Sep-12 12:00:11

I haven't read Wolf Hall but just bought it in a charity shop for 99p. I was excited to find it, after all the MN recommendations!

mummytime Tue 25-Sep-12 12:00:22

Any surname beginning with Fitz, meant there was an ancestor who was illegitimate. Fitzroy was used for any kings by blows.
The present royal family don't have haemaphilia, because it is only passed on by women or male sufferers. It is on the X chromosome, so therefore as Edward VII wasn't a sufferer, he hadn't inherited the gene so none of his decendents inherited it. On the other hand the pophyria that George III had has apparently been seen in more recent members of the Royal family, I think Princess Margaret admitted a cousin had had it.

BurlingtonBertieFromBow Tue 25-Sep-12 12:01:27

Bring Up The Bodies is even better. Honestly. It's incredible. I've studied the sixteenth century at undergrad and masters level, and it chimes so well with what I've learned/always imagined that it's actually a bit weird

noblegiraffe Tue 25-Sep-12 12:01:43

Not sure you could blame Anne if in desperation she slept with someone else to try to get a healthy son. (hopefully not her own brother though!)

The same suspicion was voiced about Margaret of Anjou, and how she got a son from Henry VI when he was pretty much insane.

Bring up the Bodies is awesome. I know what you mean about her capturing such a real-seeming tone (though I don't do C16th really, I'm trying to work into it, partly as a result of threads on here).

I wonder if some time periods are just naturally more in sympathy with each other, or if it's a fashion to be keen on the Tudors that happened more or less randomly?

MadamGazelleIsMyMum Tue 25-Sep-12 12:07:43

I think the part about Katherine Howard believing that Henry could hear her in the confession box is less about her education/mental health and more about the importance religion played in everyday lives. Plus, she was in that generation that only knew religious life after the break with Rome, where they were taught that Henry was God's direct representative on earth and their spiritual as well as temporal leader. Add to the mix the way that the King's person was sacred and he certainly encouraged ideas of his own quaisi-god like status (Louis XIV a few generations early?!), it is not inconceivable that someone of low intelligence, without formal education, and a woman, could believe that Henry was literally aware of all that went on in every church.

More interesting really is the fact that Henry only suffered limited rebellion, despite what he did. He was definitely a tyrant to the nobility, but the people loved him - reference the Pilgrimage of Grace in which the people believed their beloved King was being led astray, rather than inherently evil.

I think we should remember that personal rule meant that the people suffered when a ruler was weak, the Wars of the Roses were not that long ago, and Henry was undoubtedly a strong ruler whose days of being Bluff King Hal were endorsed on the common mind. One of Elizabeth's greatest assets was her ability to draw a comparison between herself and Henry, and she used it very effectively to boost her popularity and the perception of her inherited strength of character and kingly qualities.

I sort of want to find that convincing, and I have an uneasy feeling I tend to over-modernize past societies, so I'm attributing things to them that they didn't feel. But I don't know about the God thing and religion in everyday life. There are people who were properly, seriously, sure they were inspired by God, but who would still, I am pretty sure, not have thought that the king or anyone else could hear their thoughts.

What I mean is, sure, religion is a huge part of people's lives and sure, Henry is God's representative on earth and the divine right of kings is a real belief - but I don't know if there is a framework for associating those things, with the something like another person being able to hear your thoughts? It sounds properly odd to me. Maybe I am just out of time-period. Is it connected to any superstitious beliefs that had sprung up?

greygirl Tue 25-Sep-12 12:14:43

I am so pleased there is a history club!

My only contribution though is to the haemophillia question.
Queen victoria's kids had the Haemophilia mutation originally (BUT VIC DIDN'T - it must have occurred in her eggs or something). Many moons ago, (before we had discovered DNA and 48 chromosomes, and x-linked inheritance etc) there was obviously some study over who had inherited what diseases in the royal family. I was told by my biology teacher (so I am uncertain how true this is)that when the queen married phillip there was a detailed study of his family tree to check he couldn't 'bring it back' to the family (which of course we now know he couldn't because they had x-linked haemophilia and it would have been obvious he had haemophilia if he had the gene on his x chromosome.)

hope that helps.

BurlingtonBertieFromBow Tue 25-Sep-12 12:18:01

Yes MadameGazelle - I'm sure that the general population minded a lot less about some distant aristocrats getting topped than they did about minor royals waging war up and down the country, dragging everyone into it and getting them slaughtered as had happened 50 years before. Although the dissolution of the monasteries did cause a lot of social problems.

Elizabeth wasn't all great, actually (even though in general I admire her). Certainly better than Henry but she made some stupid foreign policy decisions and it was only luck/Spanish incompetence/the French wars of religion that stopped England being invaded. She was very unpopular in the last years of her reign, especially after no one got paid for fighting the Armada... But the English were (and are?) incredibly xenophobic and independent and I suppose they thought she was better than a foreigner.

mummytime Tue 25-Sep-12 12:21:38

Queen Vic had two X chromosomes, one was fine and one was faulty. If she had had two faulty ones then she would have had haemaphilia.
It is thought that she got the faulty X from her father, who was quite old when she was born, so more likely to pass on a random genetic mutation.
Some of Queen Vics kids got the faulty X some got the okay X, if it was a boy it would develop haemaphilia, if a girl they would carry the disease.
If you have a healthy boy they obviously didn't have the faulty X so it wouldn't occur in their decendents. A healthy girl might or might not be a carrier.

noblegiraffe Tue 25-Sep-12 12:25:48

If Henry Fitzroy hadn't died young, as Henry recognised him, would we have been more likely to get Henry IX on the throne than a woman? Especially as both Mary and Elizabeth had been declared bastards at various times?

Vagaceratops Tue 25-Sep-12 12:26:22

Catherine must have had some education to be able to read and write, but I do fear it was probably very lax, and she probably wasnt as classically trained as some of the other wives.

Can you imagine nowadays a Law being written and passed in parliament after the offence occurred?

NellyJob Tue 25-Sep-12 12:27:47

umm...actually yes I can well imagine it...perhaps that is something to do with our fascination for the Tudors?

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Tue 25-Sep-12 12:33:08

I love Elizabeth I. She had the heart and stomach of a concrete elephant, you know! grin

Smellslikecatspee Tue 25-Sep-12 12:34:20

I've always been interested in the Tudor era. Started with Elizabeth 1st and worked back a bit.

My continuing interest comes from all the :what ifs. .

What if Arthur had lived and Henry never became King? Would he have just become some side note in history?

What if any of his and Catherine’s boys had lived?

With a boy heir, would Mary have been married off as a teenager and had a happier life (as from a lot of references was something she desperately wanted)?

What if Anne had just become a mistress? (Or been sent away permanently out of reach). Would Elizabeth ever have existed? And if she had would she ever have been acknowledged?

What if Edward had lived? Would Jane Grey never been heard of, or there was discussion around her as a potential bride for Edward, could there have been a Queen Jane?

What if Mary had managed to fall pregnant by Phillip?

So many paths etc

There is a certain amount of gender politics going on with how you characterise education, though. Some early modern protestants are really keen on educated women, and by that they mean women educated a bit more like men, and a bit more by men, not women educated by women. You know, you get into this debate about whether it's fundamentally more 'educated' to be a competent accountant and able to make your own clothes, or to be able to read a bit of Cato and talk about Martin Luther. I don't know.

This is a bit of a side-point and me getting wound up into my own interests, I know, so skip if you want. I just do sort of wonder about her education being 'lax'? Even that word implies that if she'd been better educated academically she might have had better sexual morals, doesn't it?

Vagaceratops Tue 25-Sep-12 12:38:37

What if Mary had managed to fall pregnant by Phillip?

I think the phantom pregnancies are one of the saddest things.

Vagaceratops Tue 25-Sep-12 12:41:57

I think the laxness was mainly due to the fact her grandmother was hardly ever there, preferring to spend her time at court. She had both girls and boys under her wardship.

I suppose its comparable to a foster parent today who had teenagers who she was homeschooling but instead she spent a lot of time away from home.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Tue 25-Sep-12 12:45:45

I think I get you. Educated by a woman, as in, housekeeping, management, sewing etc, essential for a medieval woman to be successful as a wife and mother, against educated by a man, in mathematics, philosophy, literature etc, essential if you want to be sucessful in doing man stuff sitting about blowing smoke out of you arse?
Id imagine that educated by women would give you a much better idea of sexual morals, as there was very little birth control, and little acceptance of women being promiscuous. Women would need to deal with theses issues first hand, and see the need to pass on their knowlwdge.

She only got them when they were 12 or so, is that right? But yes, take your point.

saggy - yes, thank you, that makes sense of what I was trying to get at in a garbled-y way.

And about birth control. Scary thought.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Tue 25-Sep-12 12:47:14

Vagaceratops, not the same era, but I think Queen Anne was more tragic. 17 pregnancies and no adult children! sad

BurlingtonBertieFromBow Tue 25-Sep-12 12:50:21

Also very sad - Katherine Parr. Everyone says she was the lucky one, but she married Thomas Seymour after Henry died, got pregnant, found out her husband was trying to get off with her 14 YEAR OLD STEP-DAUGHTER, then died of some horrible infection after childbirth. Great.

Vagaceratops Tue 25-Sep-12 12:52:51

I do agree with you LRD.

I remember reading something about LJG's education being to the standard for males at the time, which is quite sad.

Oh, yes, that's so sad.

My history teacher used to tell us these lovely, old-school anecdotes about people that really brought them to life for me. She said to us that at 17/18 we probably couldn't quite imagine this, but Katherine was 36 and having her first baby, and she must have been so excited and she must have been looking forward to it for years while she was married to people who were basically too old. And she'd been mothering other people's children for a substantial chunk of her adult life. And she died of something we could probably have sorted out with a quick course of antibiotics.

I found it really heartbreaking. I could quibble about the whole philosophy of teaching a class of teenage girls that it's natural to assume all childless 30-somethings desperately want babies (!), but I still think that is the way to teach, to put some human emotion into it and not get detached from thinking about these individuals as people with real interior lives.

I've never got that fad for saying that people before 1800, or whenever 'didn't understand emotions like us' or 'didn't have a "sense of self"'.

vaga - thank you, I'm glad I wasn't coming across as rude/overly invested.

jkklpu Tue 25-Sep-12 12:56:19

Quite a few people have commented that Elizabeth was less bloodthirsty than Henry. How about looking at Elizabethan policies in Ireland - slaughter, colonisation and famine, anyone?

Vagaceratops Tue 25-Sep-12 12:56:23

And the poor child she had (Lady Mary) - mother dies in childbirth then father executed. No-one knows what happened to her after that.

BurlingtonBertieFromBow Tue 25-Sep-12 12:58:26

jkklpu - Elizabeth just enabled bloodthirsty noble favourites (like the Earl of Essex - quite fit but an utter BASTARD) to go off and commit war crimes. TBF, not much she could have done about that. Better to let them go off and murder people in Ireland and get it out of their system than start rebellions in England (only from her point of view anyway)

Vagaceratops Tue 25-Sep-12 13:01:29

Henry made the Duke of Suffolk pay £24000 to marry Mary Tudor, even though they were friends.

Vagaceratops Tue 25-Sep-12 13:03:33

Although Brandon was a bit of a bastard anyway.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Tue 25-Sep-12 13:21:13

I've found the birth episode of RD&D. Apparently Mary very probably had a pituitary tumour. It would have caused milk production, loss of mensturation etc, whilst actually making her infertile. Today, drugs would have fixed her in weeks.
Queen Anne may well have had Hughes? Syndrome, causing her to have thick sticky blood, meaning it would be hard to get blood through the placenta to the foetus and cause her to miscarry. Aspirin would have helped. sad

Kormachameleon Tue 25-Sep-12 13:26:56

Can anyone recommend some decent reading on this subject ?

Would love to learn more

MrsjREwing Tue 25-Sep-12 13:27:23

I wonder why Katherine Parr only got pregnant by husband 3? Someone said there was a baby's body found and a mystery over a midwife blindfolded around the time Elizabeth, Katherine and Seymour were living together, and it was thought Elizabeth was the Mother.

How long was Henry's last marriage?

BurlingtonBertieFromBow Tue 25-Sep-12 13:34:58

For Anne Boleyn, Eric Ives's biography is still definitive, but Antonia Fraser/Alison Weir/David Starkey's Six Wives books are perhaps more readable

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Tue 25-Sep-12 13:35:18

I think KPs first husband was old, and I'd imagine that Henry was past it by the time she married him. He must have been a very ill man!

Vagaceratops Tue 25-Sep-12 13:35:28

Katherine Parr's (When she was Lady Latimer) life before marrying Henry. Her husband had 2 children already so its unclear why she had no children with him. He did however spend a bit of the marriage in prison.

I am surprised that Henry was well enough to actually have sex with Katherine.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Tue 25-Sep-12 13:37:29

RD&D have just got to Princess Charlotte. (daughter of Goerge IV)
She laboured for 50 hours, 2nd stage for 15 hours, gave birth to a stillborn son and died of a Heamhorrage. The doctor chose NOT to use forceps. sad

Vagaceratops Tue 25-Sep-12 13:37:42

I think KPs first husband was old

In his 40's I think.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Tue 25-Sep-12 13:40:26

Oh. Ok. DP is 40. Definitely not past it! grin

Salbertina Tue 25-Sep-12 13:49:07

Didn't think KP would have had sexual relationship s him, was more a nursemaid

Kormachameleon Tue 25-Sep-12 13:50:54

Thanks Burlington x

What's RD&D ?

MrsjREwing Tue 25-Sep-12 13:52:31

Why could Henry have sex with KH and not with KP, not that much age difference in him?

Salbertina Tue 25-Sep-12 13:55:41

He was mire or less on his deathbed by the time KP on the scene

BurlingtonBertieFromBow Tue 25-Sep-12 13:55:58

Maybe he felt emasculated by KH's affairs (if they were true) or maybe his health had just deteriorated. Although actually there's no reason why he couldn't have had sex with KP - he only got properly ill very near the end of his life, and led the army into France in 1544 or so.

BurlingtonBertieFromBow Tue 25-Sep-12 13:56:19

(he died in 1547)

Vagaceratops Tue 25-Sep-12 13:58:17

Not much about age, it was about his health.

MrsjREwing Tue 25-Sep-12 14:01:03

I wonder if the first three wives dying crushed him along with the accident and everything caught up with him, breaking with Church, killing his former religious mates etc. He couldn't get it up with AoC, KH was a young sexy thing that got him going again and he was crushed again after that fiasco that he couldn't get it up again with KP.

Fuchzia Tue 25-Sep-12 14:01:39

Elizabeth was brought up not knowing whom to trust and having to be very canny politically to survive. She'd probably seen enough bloodshed to last a lifetime and seem the country torn apart over religion. Even after she was persuaded to sign Mary Q of S death warrent. She had a meltdown after the deed was done, blaming her advisor for forcing her hand.

TunipTheVegemal Tue 25-Sep-12 14:03:21

I do love that painting of Elizabeth as a young girl. She seems so watchful, even at that age.

Chubfuddler Tue 25-Sep-12 14:13:17

The doctor who attended Princess Charlottes delivery killed himself. All v sad.

monsterchild Tue 25-Sep-12 14:18:21

They could exhume his bones. They would show damage from syphilis if he had it.

Seems to me that all the rulers from back then were nutters. Absolute power and all that.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Tue 25-Sep-12 14:18:55

Korma, Royal Deaths and Diseases. A documentary I was just watching.

kiwigirl42 Tue 25-Sep-12 14:25:30


thinks there is lots of us weirdos! I'm nodding my head as I read because I 'know' most of this stuff but just can't spout it back when required. Which is not very useful at the best of times! hmm

and yeah, THANKS for all the book recommendations, not. Bloody postman almost crippled himself with my Amazon parcels this morning. He was not impressed grin

TunipTheVegemal Tue 25-Sep-12 14:27:21

smile Kiwi.

I am in awe of the detail some people know.

MadamGazelleIsMyMum Tue 25-Sep-12 14:38:25

One of the more interesting might-have-beens is if Mary Tudor (CofA's daughter, not Henry VIII's sister) had married James V of Scotland, her first cousin. This was mooted at the point in life where Henry VIII was looking for a solution to lack of a male heir which did not involve a new wife.

The thought being, that as Ferdinand and Isabella united the crowns of Aragon and Castile, James and Mary together would have united the crowns of England and Scotland and their heir would have inherited both.

Of course, then there would have been no Elizabeth I, and no Mary Queen of Scots.

margerykemp Tue 25-Sep-12 15:11:16

How old was Queen Mary when she wed Phillip?

If she had married James she might still have not had DCs so it would have gone to Elizabeth, then who?

Does no-one still know about the relationship between the 2 Marys?

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Tue 25-Sep-12 15:14:52


Chubfuddler Tue 25-Sep-12 15:47:36

Wasn't Mary queen of scots still in France and married when Mary Tudor was on the throne? They never met. Mary Tudor died long before Mary queen of scots ran into her woes which were entirely her fault. You execute uppity lords who abduct and rape you, not marry them

MadamGazelleIsMyMum Tue 25-Sep-12 15:50:02

If she had married James she would have been an awful lot younger. This was mooted in the late 1520s I think, so considerably younger than she was on her eventual marriage after she became queen in 1553.

If she had not have had children, James V was still the senior Tudor male heir, as he was Henry VIII's nephew, so probably would still have had the best claim, particularly if in anticipation of marriage to Mary Tudor he had been placed into the care of the English Court as his uncle's heir. Who would have come after him if he had no children is more difficult, but probably Mary & Suffolk's daughter Frances.

Elizabeth wouldnt have been on the scene as a contender, as Henry would not have divorced CofA, and so while she may have arrived, she would have had the same status as Henry Fitzroy.

But the Scots were fiercely mistrustful of the English, so they were probably less than keen, and then Henry fell for Anne so a solution involving his daughter (and eventual grandson) became less attractive than getting a new wife and a son.

anniewoo Tue 25-Sep-12 16:00:47

If Elizabeth 1 was so smart how come she didn't ensure the succession by marrying and having children. Never could figure that out.

Vagaceratops Tue 25-Sep-12 16:03:52

Because in those times having children = being married, and her parents marriage and mothers death had scarred her enough.

TunipTheVegemal Tue 25-Sep-12 16:04:46

-She might have not been able to have children, and had a good idea that this was the case, eg irregular periods
-Marrying someone from England could go horribly wrong because of jealousy between the nobles, and marrying someone from abroad could go wrong as she'd just seen happen with Mary & Philip. So she was stuck.

TunipTheVegemal Tue 25-Sep-12 16:05:30

I mean she might have had a good idea that she couldn't have kids, not that this is known to have been the case. There were refs to her having irregular courses though.

Vagaceratops Tue 25-Sep-12 16:07:42

She has plenty of offers, and was serious for some time about marrying Phillip II of Spain's cousin, but I cant remember his name.

They thought you were fertile during your period back then, my history teacher told us. Not that it changes how she would have reasoned, but it's interesting, isn't it?

vaga - was he the mad one with the huge chin? Not that that narrows it down .. Charles?

MadamGazelleIsMyMum Tue 25-Sep-12 16:09:23

I think that is a very complex question annie.

My take is that it was partly because her experience of a Queen being married was not a positive one - her mother and stepmothers as Queen Consorts were (at best) cast off or (at worst) executed on the whim of a man; her sister as Queen Regnant had married a foreigner and that had not been popular, if she had married a commoner it would have caused jealousy, if she married at all there was no understanding of a man as a consort - religion taught that a wife was subservient to her husband and I think this was both personally distasteful to her and also politically an issue as whoever she married could seek to govern, she had a direct fear of having an heir of any kind on the basis when she had been the heir she had been the centre of plots and manouverings and so having an heir-apparent could have created an alternative faction, even if it was her child, childbirth was the most dangerous thing a woman faced and was a direct consequence of marriage.

MadamGazelleIsMyMum Tue 25-Sep-12 16:11:01

Think the cousin was the Duke of Savoy. The mad one was Phillip II's son, Carlos.

noblegiraffe Tue 25-Sep-12 16:25:17

Mary I marrying a foreigner is what finally got poor Lady Jane Grey executed wasn't it? Lady Jane was simply put in Tower by Mary originally but there was an uprising when Mary said she'd marry Philip and they rallied around saying they wanted Lady Jane on the throne instead of a spaniard. To avoid it happening again, Mary had to execute Lady Jane, poor girl who never even wanted to be queen,

throckenholt Tue 25-Sep-12 16:58:23

The Tudors really didn't make good breeding stock did they ? Henry was surrounded by sycophants telling him he was right about everything. When he was young man he was a good looking swashbuckler with a clever woman behind him. Then he reached his midlife crisis, his wife was too old to have kids, it was unthinkable then that the man was the cause of no children. A ruling queen was also unthinkable. He needed a male heir (and a spare given their track record).

The were huge factions in the court - too many people with nothing to do but jockey for position. Must have been a bloody awful time to be an aristocratic woman.

LaQueen Tue 25-Sep-12 17:57:36

The truly heartbreaking thing about Lady Jane Grey is that she desperately didn't want to marry Guildford Dudley, and therefore further his father's ambitions towards the throne.

She was brilliantly educated, and devout and she knew that it was highly likely that she'd end up dead, as a result of trying to claim the throne.

I've read an account, where her parents basically beat her up, until she agreed to marry Dudley, and she was visibly bruised and barely coherent during the wedding ceremony sad

LaQueen Tue 25-Sep-12 17:59:50

annie because she knew that she already had an heir, in James - plus, he was staunchly Protestant which was a definite bonus. He was fairly close, male relative which was good enough for her.

I think she wanted all the power and all the authority of being Queen, alone, sharing with no one. And, that was worth more to her than having a baby to succeed her.

Salbertina Tue 25-Sep-12 18:13:07

That c19 portrait of her in National Gallery, though a little OTT, really moves me every time. She looks so young and helpless.

Silibilimili Tue 25-Sep-12 18:19:01

I thought he was bright! To stand up to the pope and create his own religion. Clearly not a shy retiring monarch.

What a great thread.

tribpot Tue 25-Sep-12 18:23:09

I think it must have been a massive dilemma for Elizabeth, and her advisers. On the one hand, the ruler is meant to have a flock of children to secure the succession. On the other hand, after years of instability, pregnancy and childbirth was a massive risk for her to take - on top of which any husband would be hugely controversial and affect her ability to govern effectively.

Given the likelihood of her infertility and/or dying in childbirth, I can see why she ultimately opted not to risk it.

Salbertina Tue 25-Sep-12 18:25:40

She'd have lost her supremacy and royal authority ax soon as she married, simple as that IMHO.

BurlingtonBertieFromBow Tue 25-Sep-12 18:50:46

I love that Elizabeth had James I on a retainer - she paid him to stay loyal and promised him the throne once she was dead. He totally went for it, despite the fact Elizabeth had his mother executed.

Salbertina Tue 25-Sep-12 19:08:56

I know, Burlington, she was supremely cunning grin

NanBullen Tue 25-Sep-12 19:13:23

That mary Queen of Scots was no better than she ought to be was she?


<hoiks bosoom>

NanBullen Tue 25-Sep-12 19:14:49

and she was meant to be a great beauty but I really don't rate her.


Badvoc Tue 25-Sep-12 19:52:19

The only man Elizabeth would have married was Robert Dudley but after the convenient mysterious death of his wife she knew it could never happen.

Badvoc Tue 25-Sep-12 19:56:22

I think if Edward had lived he would have married Jane grey.
Who knows they may even have been happy? They were both certainly staunch Protestants and had very lonely sad upbringings.
Mary queen if scots is a fascinating character...she was imprisoned by Elizabeth near where I live at chatsworth house.
In fact the earl of Shrewsbury was said to favour her a bit too much and he and his wife (bess of hardwick) basically separated because of her!

MrsSalvoMontalbano Tue 25-Sep-12 19:59:10

nan grin

MrsSalvoMontalbano Tue 25-Sep-12 20:03:14

the 'what-ifs' in history are endlessly fascinating. In the period I am most interested - the14th C - they abound. <aside - fell in love all over again with DH after a bad patch when he (who is supremely un-interested in history) went to great lengths to buy me a the a book I had not got about 14C>

Vagaceratops Tue 25-Sep-12 20:11:40

I am a bit fan of the 12th century Salvo. Every time I talk about it my DH rolls his eyes.

tribpot Tue 25-Sep-12 20:26:21

Can we have some 14th Century what ifs, or should they be in their own thread?

RubyStolenBootyGates Tue 25-Sep-12 20:46:53

I was Henrys nursemaid you know wink. He was quite a nice man..... he gave me Ice-cream, gin and chocolate. Strangely I had to provide my own Prince Edward.

Vagaceratops Tue 25-Sep-12 20:50:22

Ooh Ruby you look Fab!

TunipTheVegemal Tue 25-Sep-12 20:50:32

Ruby are you outing yourself as a re-enactor? I think I might recognize the Swiss guard on the right. Not sure if I recognize the place, it reminds me of somewhere I spent a lot of time at one time but if so I can't figure out the orientation of the house relative to cedar trees.

RubyStolenBootyGates Tue 25-Sep-12 20:56:13

i'm not actually in that photo... DS2 is though.. (I wasn't important enough for the family snap wink ) Landesknecht is A real life Henry though and that was Blickling Hall in Norfolk last summer.
Hang on this is me (Unlikely to out myself becuase I don't look like this in real life honest)

Vagaceratops Tue 25-Sep-12 21:01:24

I went to Bosworth the other week and they had re-enactors. They looked like they were having so much fun.

NanBullen Tue 25-Sep-12 21:02:04

ooh I would like to be a re-enactor! I could wear a stomacher and a french hood!

<has no idea what a stomacher is>

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Tue 25-Sep-12 21:12:27

My friend is an archer in army of Richard Of York. If I didn't work all weekend, I'd be very tempted to join up. although the Tudors have better costumes

TunipTheVegemal Tue 25-Sep-12 21:14:16

I thought that dress looked a bit posh for a nurse!

Yes I do recognise the Henry on the right then, from many years back (though he is FB friend of friends now) but the place isn't where I thought.

I do like your royal son in his royal costume. I am unlikely to ever get to do living history with my kids because dh isn't keen and I can't face the sewing for 3 dcs but God, the kids always look so good....

RubyStolenBootyGates Tue 25-Sep-12 21:14:23

Come to the Tudory side..... Go on you know you want to!

RubyStolenBootyGates Tue 25-Sep-12 21:15:39

Tunip, I think all re-enactors are friends-of-friends...It's a small world.

TunipTheVegemal Tue 25-Sep-12 21:31:19

<gets nostalgic about being Tudor>

throckenholt Wed 26-Sep-12 08:43:37

I did Kentwell years and years ago (I was 17). I spent two weeks as a spinster - it was great fun - and much better than being gentry (all they did was gossip and fight among themselves - plus ca change ?!).

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 26-Sep-12 09:26:17

Wants to be a Tudor! Stupid job gets in the way! sad I'm not far from Kentwell either!

TunipTheVegemal Wed 26-Sep-12 09:26:29

Just before me then Throckenholt.
I was gentry. And its true there was a lot of gossip and bitching. It was better once La Volta had been invented.
Were you in the hall of the Moat House? That has to be the loveliest bit of Kentwell, the way the sun slants in through the windows.

throckenholt Wed 26-Sep-12 09:42:38

yep - I was in the upstairs room at the back of the old hall. It was great being a spinner - you could take a drop spindle and wander round the estate nattering to people - just like girls did way back when I expect.

Technically it was not Tudor the year I did it - I think it was 1610.

TunipTheVegemal Wed 26-Sep-12 09:44:54

That was the year before me - my first was 1487.

Vagaceratops Wed 26-Sep-12 09:45:58

I went to Kentwell on a school trip - we changed our money for tudor money and I got a piece of wool.

It was also boiling and under the heat of my dress I fainted blush

throckenholt Wed 26-Sep-12 10:00:18

hmm - 1487 would have been interesting historically - very uncertain times.

TunipTheVegemal Wed 26-Sep-12 10:15:19

Yes, pity the house wasn't built then!

RubyStolenBootyGates Wed 26-Sep-12 10:18:44

I've been doing it for 20 years (as it were). I wonder if we ever met? I knew there must be more Kentwellies on here!

RubyStolenBootyGates Wed 26-Sep-12 10:23:46

So which year were you there...
Here's a list.
1. 1978 - 1645
2. 1979 - 1588 (I)
3. 1980 - 1553 (I)
4. 1981 - 1600 (I)
5. 1982 - 1535 (I)
6. 1983 - 1569 (I)
7. 1984 - 1610
8. 1985 - 1487
9. 1986 - 1556 (I)
10. 1987 - 1520 (I)
11. 1988 - 1588 (II)
12. 1989 - 1605
13. 1990 - 1529
14. 1991 - 1553 (II)
15. 1992 - 1578 (I)
16. 1993 - 1593
17. 1994 - 1535 (II)
18. 1995 - 1546
19. 1996 - 1569 (II)
20. 1997 - 1588 (III)
21. 1998 - 1600 (II)
22. 1999 - 1520 (II)
23. 2000 - 1578 (II)
24. 2001 - 1539
25. 2002 - 1549
26. 2003 - 1553 (III)
27. 2004 - 1556 (II)
28. 2005 - 1569 (III)
29. 2006 - 1578 (III)
30. 2007 - 1584
31. 2008 - 1588 (IV)
32. 2009 - 1535 (III)
33. 2010 - 1538
34. 2011 - 1553 (IV)

35. 2012 - 1556 (III)

saffronwblue Wed 26-Sep-12 10:27:48

still with Henry- I think he would hate how he is remembered because of the 6 wives not for his other achievements, dubious though some of them may be. Sort of like Prince Charles only being remembered for the Diana/Camilla debacle.
Young women at court with Henry did not have a hope- if Henry's eye fell on them then all the scheming uncles and relations would set them up with no thought or respect for the women's safety or happiness. Terrible level of vulnerability and being pimped out.
I always thought Henry had syphilis which is why so many of his offspring did not live.

CastielsTrenchcoat Wed 26-Sep-12 10:35:10

I went through a phase when I was 9, of being obsessed with Ann Boleyn. Henry was an absolute a-hole with all his wives, but her in particular and her poor brother was murdered too - lets face it, it was murder.

TunipTheVegemal Wed 26-Sep-12 10:35:22

1487-1605, then I jumped ship to the 17th and 18th century.
My brothers kept on longer than I did. DB1 met SIL there. smile

TunipTheVegemal Wed 26-Sep-12 10:40:20

Saffronwblue - yes he would hate it. Ha!

RubyStolenBootyGates Wed 26-Sep-12 10:44:28

I think the Tudor court would have been a very dangerous place to be. All that politicking, and favouritism.

I wouldn't have lasted 5 minutes. Status and prestige and power a very heady mix with the whole family as pawns. horrible.

Look at poor Jane Grey beaten until she agreed to do what her parents wanted. Ditto the Howard family.

RubyStolenBootyGates Wed 26-Sep-12 10:45:41

Although I think he was genuinely fond of KofA until she failed to give him an heir. They were married for a surprisingly long time.

CrikeyOHare Wed 26-Sep-12 11:26:16

I have nothing whatsoever to add to this really interesting conversation except to say to Tunip that the title of this thread is my fave of all MN threads, I think. Makes me smile every time I see it. "Henry VIII, eh? What a bastard." Class grin.

As you were, history buffs.

throckenholt Wed 26-Sep-12 11:48:16

1984 ! God I feel old.

MadamGazelleIsMyMum Wed 26-Sep-12 13:46:35

I think that one of the things that interested me about Antonia Fraser's book on the old monster's wives was the fact that she gave some consideration to the idea that he may have been the only king who had more wives than mistresses. I'm pretty sure her conclusion was that this was not actually the case, but he was probably less promiscuous than uxorious in the sense that he always craved the perfect wife and marriage once he had embarked on his marital adventures.

I think Ruby is right, in that had CofA had a son, then he would have been content to remain married to her until one of them died, out of genuine affection if not actual love, and had mistresses etc on the side. Probably would have meant happier people all round, really.

A lot of people are very surprised at how his first marriage is longer than all the others put together, and then some.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 26-Sep-12 14:44:04

"Henry VIII, eh! What a bastard"...

well he was welsh!-


RubyStolenBootyGates Wed 26-Sep-12 16:16:11

Ah, Tunip and Throckenholt, my first year was 1578 (first time)/1992 so you both pre-date me. But I might know your brothers Tunip.

ticklemyboobsofsteel Wed 26-Sep-12 16:19:59

Oooh have just spent half an hour reading through this thread smile My favourite subject.

I'm gutted as I've just heard that Eric Ives, who wrote the amazing biography of Anne Boleyn, has died of a stroke sad Such an incredible Tudor historian. RIP Professor Ives sad

tschiffely Wed 26-Sep-12 19:15:50

Not read whole thread yet so not sure if it has been mentioned, but there will be a sequel to Bring up Bodies smile.

tschiffely Wed 26-Sep-12 20:28:38

Henry the wife killer, tschiffely the thread killer grin.

RubyStolenBootyGates Wed 26-Sep-12 20:31:44

tschiffely grin

LineRunner Wed 26-Sep-12 20:32:02

RIP Prof Ives.

Hilary Mantel's Book Club answers thread thing is on at 9pm btw.

Hi, tschifflely. I have killed more threads than you can imagine. grin

tschiffely Wed 26-Sep-12 20:53:20

RIP Prof Ives....excellent book on Jane Grey. Hilary Mantel is aweeesom in rl.

How did I miss this?


<goes back to read thread>


You missed Henry VIII being a bastard for 500 years?

Whitamakafullo Tue 09-Oct-12 20:22:54

Bringing some shallowness to the thread here, but I find it facinating that the women were so tall! Elizabeth was 5'10, mary Queen of Scots 5'11, and Mary of Guise (Mary's mum) 6'2"

I suppose I just imagine everyone being short back then, considering I'm the same height as Elizabeth and have got to be careful not to knock my head when I visit castles and suchlike!!

TunipTheVegemal Tue 09-Oct-12 20:28:40

Wow, I never knew that! I had always vaguely imagined Elizabeth as being small but with a big personality.
Perhaps I was thinking of Queen Victoria who really was tiny.

Here is an article from the Daily Mail about how tall kings and queens have been.

Whitamakafullo Tue 09-Oct-12 21:06:32

Ooh, I might have got it wrong about Elizabeth then. The Stuarts were all tall though. I remember hearing that Mary of Guise was a potential wife for Henry VIII but she refused, saying something like she may be very tall but her neck was very delicate grin

I really want to like Mary Stuart being Scottish and all and living quite near to Kinross and her other stomping grounds.

But it is hard to have sympathy for someone who was complicit in the murder of her husband, even though he was a drunken idiot who had her favourite servant murdered in front of her.

I like to imagine Mumsnet, circa 1566

"AIBU to allow my lords to kill my DH and his servants so I can marry the (married) hot border lord who will kill him for me? It sounds bad, I know but I am the Queen...."

Whitamakafullo Wed 10-Oct-12 16:32:12

KatieScarlett you must live near me! I went to LochLeven for the first time in the summer even though I've lived around here all my life......

<waves to whit>

DH and I are off to either Stirling Castle or Falkland Palace tomorrow. He has agreed to come along if I return the favour by light shopping for a new light on Friday hmm.

desertgirl Wed 10-Oct-12 21:14:10

and you both live near 'home' for me, though am now in the desert.... have enjoyed introducing the kids to Loch Leven and Stirling castles though; Falkland is waiting for another holiday....

funny, I never think of mumsnetters as potentially living in that part of Scotland!

LineRunner Thu 11-Oct-12 15:39:17

The word antidisestablishmentarianism has been used on the gay marriage thread. <proud>

Whitamakafullo Thu 11-Oct-12 21:59:44

[waves back to KatieScarlett and desertgirl]

It's amazing the amount of Scottish MNer's there are!

I love the amount of history that is around this area, Im only 30 minutes away from Edinburgh city centre, 40 minutes away from Stirling.....it's a fab place to be smile

Falkland Palace are doing a ghost tour for kids the last weekend in October, that should be good!

marmiteandhoney Fri 12-Oct-12 12:40:06

Had to pop on and say that when on pilgrimage to Walsingham (marian shrine in Norfolk), there's a special We Hate Henry VIII hymn that everyone sings, with a verse that goes like this:

But at last came a King who had greed in his eyes
And he lusted for treasure with fraud and with lies.

The order went forth; and with horror ’twas learned
That the Shrine was destroyed and the Image was burned.

And here where God’s Mother had once been enthroned
The souls that stayed faithful ‘neath tyranny groaned.

Always makes me grin!

TunipTheVegemal Fri 12-Oct-12 13:20:47

I have a question about that bastard Henry and his level of bastardness, please, if anyone can help me.

In January 1538, having executed and attainted a number of rebels from the Pilgrimage of Grace the previous year, there is a list of people who he 'holds in most benign remembrance'. It includes the widows and children of the attainted.

Soooooo, having executed their dads and removed their titles and property with the attainder, he holds them in benign remembrance? So what does this MEAN? It feels like a bit of a 'ner ner ne ner ner', unless it is accompanied by some kind of return of property. Anyone know?

It means he's more or less forgiven them, I would think, he's playing Magnanimous Sovereign and saying he forgives them for being related to nasty traitors.

ticklemyboobsofsteel Tue 23-Oct-12 14:02:52
VeritableSmorgasbord Tue 23-Oct-12 14:37:52

Re the standard of education of Tudor women, it made me think of nowadays, in the information age, where you get people in full-time education believing that the devil has put fossils in the earth to trick humans into doubting god, that sort of thing. Or the Ickeians who have 'seen' people transform back into their lizard form.
I think with the right sort of 'education' you can make otherwise normal and same people believe anything. So it doesn't sound outlandish that she might actually have believed that Henry could know her thoughts.

Anyone see the Lost Palaces of Henry V111 on Yesterday last night?

Thought I'd died and gone to TV heaven (apart from Tony R who makes me stabby). I would love to see the tapestries, etc IRL. Alison Weir was on it and I love her just a teeny bit less than Hillary.


80sbabe Wed 05-Dec-12 00:22:09

A couple of years ago I did an online course on Henry VIII. I've always been interested in The Tudor period but never had the opportunity to study it in any great detail.
The course worked as a forum between the students and the tutor with set topics each week which developed and evolved. There were also set essays which had to be submitted periodically and were marked as you went along.

Anyway, initially most of us doing the course seemed to start out with the "traditional" idea that Henry was a complete bastard. That impression though did change somewhat as through the course we debated and discussed his reign and the changes that he implemented.

Although the course didn't concentrate on his six wives and many mistresses, obviously they did crop up from time to time and I found many of my pre-conceived views had changed by the end.

I'm not saying that Henry VIII was an angel, far from it - he was a tough character who often took a hard line approach and yes, many of his actions in hindsight were cruel, selfish and appallingly violent. However they have to be viewed in the political and social climate of the time which was radically different to how we see things today.

Regarding his wives and mistresses he does seem to have been attracted to strong women who would have stood out in any era. Sadly his overwhelming obsession with producing a "legitimate" male heir led to the demise of his first two wives and pretty miserable upbringings for his daughters Mary and Elizabeth.

All of his wives were amazingly strong women in their own right. Katherine of Aragon reigned in his absence and defeated the Scots; Anne Boleyn inspired him to religious reform; Jane Seymour stood up to him over the Pilgrimage of Grace; Anne of Cleves used him for her own ends to escape her abusive family and did quite well for herself; Katherine Howard survived a neglectful upbringing but was far from the stupid flighty girl she at first appears and Katherine Parr united his family, encouraged him to restore Mary and Elizabeth to the line of succession and was the first queen to have literature published in her own name.

Henry ruled in an era where the political, religious and social environment was shifting throughout Europe. It was a complex and challenging time and he reacted to it using the intelligence and tools available to him as he went along.
Hindsight is a marvellous thing and we can't really judge him or his actions on the standards of today, it all has to be viewed in context.
Not everything he did was detrimental and among his achievements were the founding of National Identity, freedom from Rome, the development of the British Navy, the translation of the Bible into English and the promotion of parliament.

Was he a nice bloke ? - probably not; was he a good husband? - definitely not; but was he a strong and effective monarch ? - yes in many ways he was.

I just don't think you can sum him up simply as "a bastard" any more than you can describe his wives as pious, whore, submissive, ugly, flighty and a carer.

TunipTheVegedude Fri 07-Dec-12 16:12:08

Yep, strong ruler. Intelligent. Effective. And a bastard.

Smellslikecatspee Sun 03-Feb-13 23:55:50

To good a thread to let die.

Devora Mon 04-Feb-13 00:08:03

So thrilled to see this thread! Too tired to read now; looking forward to it tomorrow.

TunipTheVegedude Mon 04-Feb-13 11:05:29

Coming back to my OP, I am happy to report that I have since discovered that it was only rebels around Carlisle who got hanged in their back gardens and as we are in the East Riding, my local pilgrims are in the clear.

I also note, however, that the fact the 'dreadful execution' he asked for wasn't carried out all over the north, was not down to him but because his advisors told him he had to show mercy.

It is unclear exactly how much of a bastard he was to the rebel leader Robert Aske (though there is no doubt he was a bastard) because the description 'hanged in chains' can refer to hanging with chains or to live gibbeting. C.J. Sansom's novel Sovereign has Aske live-gibbeted but I am not entirely convinced. I cannot WAIT to see what Hilary Mantel does with it in book 3.

FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Tue 05-Feb-13 21:07:55

Ooo, just seen this thread. I love history, but am nowhere near knowledgeable enough to make a meaningful contribution grin

One thing I will ask is this: do you think Katherine of Aragon's marriage to Arthur was consummated?

MIL is a big history buff, and very knowledgeable about this period, she often talks about Anne of Cleeves getting the best deal by giving Henry what he wanted (a divorce) and becoming his "most beloved sister". But I digress, I recall MIL having a vocal disagreement with her SIL about KoA and Arthur's marriage. Her SIL was convinced that KoA lied about not consummating the marriage, but MIL was equally adamant that, as a devout Catholic, KoA would have honestly believed that she would condemn her immortal soul to burn in hell if she lied.

I'm inclined to go with MIL on this one.

Cornycabernet Sat 16-Feb-13 08:05:53

I think that they probably did consummate it. Arthur intimated that they did after the wedding night didn't he?
Her desire to be Queen was probably stronger than her faith!

TunipTheVegedude Sat 16-Feb-13 10:59:31

I don't think it was. I think she was pretty serious about her faith and Arthur would say it was, wouldn't he, rather than admitting he couldn't do it?

However I do wonder if it was a sort of halfway house - they weren't entirely sure what had happened, maybe it had been in but he hadn't come, or come before it got in properly, or something like that.

unitarian Mon 18-Feb-13 11:01:00

I once had a history tutor who reckoned you could teach the entire English Reformation without ever mentioning Ann Boleyn. (He never did even though we tried hard to trick him into it.)

I agree with him on a 'historian' level but, on the level of an avid reader of historical fiction, I think the Court was such a hothouse dedicated to satisfying his whims that I doubt if a king so desperate for an heir and so accustomed to getting his own way could see far enough to weigh the long-term consequences of divorcing Katharine and marrying Ann.

Henry subsequently tried to clamp down on the spread of Protestantism but his advancement of advisors, particularly Cromwell, who were sympathetic to Protestantism and who could see a break with Rome as a way of getting him married to Ann had already put the country on that path.
Sorry, Prof. C.

I've been looking for History Club for ages, having seen it mentioned. It's terrific!

Aftereightsarenolongermine Thu 21-Feb-13 22:09:41

Ooh just seen this thread has been revived. Lovely. Although I'm no expert I'd say that Katherine's & Arthur's marriage wasn't consummated. I think her faith would have outweighed anything even becoming Queen.

lottieandmia Sat 08-Jun-13 11:31:38

I read that Henry VIII would have been considered to have a borderline personality which would explain the massive shifts in how he regarded people. After all, it seems to me most people did not survive his court and ended up executed when he got sick of them!

Historians seem to think that if Anne had had a son she wouldn't have been executed.

TunipTheUnconquerable Tue 10-Jun-14 07:33:13

A very clever Mumsnetter who knows all about etymology told me something I didn't know last night.
Tudor is from the same root as Theodore, meaning 'God's gift'.
Couldn't be more apt....

curiousgeorgie Tue 10-Jun-14 10:26:48

This thread is fantastic... I've just read every post and am now googling all about Lady Jane Greys marriage... (Charles Brandon was her grandfather, yes?)

TunipTheUnconquerable Tue 10-Jun-14 10:31:16

Yes, that's right, her mum was Frances Brandon, his daughter with Henry VIII's little sister Mary.

QueenofallIsee Wed 16-Jul-14 19:20:43

Lottie I also saw an interesting documentary, hypothesizing that Henry had some sort of mental illness or brain damage from his fall during the joust. Nothwithstanding his ruthlessness and determination to get his way which was always the case, he did progress to tyranny, mercilessness and this was put forward using peer accounts from the time as out of character when compared with the younger man. I will try to remember the name of it - they presented an interesting timeline showing the progression and the 'peaks' of his more extreme acts. T'was a good watch..mind you, the expression 'absolute power corrupts absolutely' could also be argued. Once he broke with Rome, he was pretty much free to become a total megalomaniac without consequence

Ooh, I'd like to see that!

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