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Henry VIII, eh? What a bastard.

(383 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.)

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.

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 24-Sep-12 21:34:21

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:'

(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..

ItsMeYourCathy Mon 24-Sep-12 21:35:00

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>

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 24-Sep-12 21:36:00

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.

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 24-Sep-12 21:37:19

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.

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 24-Sep-12 21:39:48

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.

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 24-Sep-12 21:40:56

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?

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 24-Sep-12 21:46:54

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.

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