In this latest edition of my “Facts about…” series, I share 21 interesting facts about the second Tudor monarch, King Henry VIII.

Henry VIII is known for having six wives, and executing two of them, and for the break with Rome, as well as being the father of three Tudor monarchs: Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I. However, there are lots more interesting facts about Henry VIII.

And here is the Henry VIII playlist I mention:

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18 thoughts on “21 Interesting Facts about Henry VIII”
  1. Do you think the Venitian Ambassador had a crush?
    Good to have a fair description of Henry.
    Henry could have died of lead poisoning and that would have affected his mind and general health as well.
    We certainly cannot forget our Henry as he made certain by reshaping the landscape for better or ill. We see his forts, his portrait and the damage as well. He certainly made a name for himself.

  2. I can picture Henry as a youth, a round face with rosy skin and sharp blue eyes, auburn hair and a jovial pleasant manner, he was blessed by the gods it seems, he was also tall like his grandfather Edward 1V, muscled chest strong arms and legs with fine calves which he was inordinately proud of, and which he liked to call attention to quite often, yes the Venetian ambassador could have had akin to a schoolboy crush on our Henry, he was certainly a fine figure of a man, which makes his physical and mental decline very sad, lead poisoning is a good theory, it could well have contributed to his death along with diabetes and maybe a host of other problems which he had stored up for himself, by being such a glutton, he could have been a great king and some historians do think he was, he was after all, the founder of the navy and the head of the new Church of England, but his reign is stained with the blood of many, the Carthusian monks, who died terribly his cousin Lady Margaret Pole, the rebels of the pilgrimage of grace, he sent his old friend and esteemed scholar Sir Thomas More to the block and Sir Henry Norris, he was seen as a strong king in his lifetime but also a tyrant as the years progressed, he beheaded two wives one it appears on trumped up charges, the other little more than a child, his disastrous ventures into wedlock six times set him apart from European monarchy and today his story is woven around his queens tragedies and drama, he was never meant to be King, his eldest brother was reserved for that glory, had Arthur lived, the history of England would have been so different, Henry would have been resigned to a life in the church something which his athletic and vibrant personality may well have rebelled against, but life has a habit of surprising one and suddenly this prince was thrust into the limelight when Arthur breathed his last, succumbing possibly to a wasting disease not long after his marriage, to a Princess of Spain, Henry was also known as a builder of great palaces, and lavished money from the treasury, which his father had carefully built up, into a fruitless war against France, his court attracted scholars and artists from all around Europe it was called the most splendid in Europe and Henry himself, cultured and handsome epitomised that court, his tragedy was his lack of sons so many children died over the years and when he died, he left as his heir one young boy of around ten years old, and two daughters, he was the first and only monarch to cut ties with the Church of Rome in his eagerness to marry his second ill fated wife, Anne Boleyn, thus the seeds of the reformation begun with Anne who her enemies decried as the wet nurse of heresy, ever fickle he discarded that lady and went onto marry four more times, only his last marriage it seems was a success, I have seen the regal black tomb in the vaults of St Paul’s cathedral which this king had desired for himself, now it houses the body of England’s greatest navel hero Nelson, instead of the much married monarch, he lies under the vault in St George’s Chapel Windsor with his third queen Jane Seymour, ever grateful to her for giving him his only son that survived he chose to lie beside her for eternity, he never achieved great victory on the battlefield like his hero Henry V but he did manage to seize the French town of Boulogne later on in his reign, he was in his lifetime a legend and is today, no other monarch captures the fascination quite much as King Henry V111 and his wives to, are seen as equally fascinating in their own right.

  3. There is a tale that when Henry V111 made his final journey to Windsor, the coffin rested overnight at Syon House, his body exploded and fluid and blood seeped through the cracks, a dog appeared and licked it up, caretakers arrived and found the dog baying mournfully around the coffin, attempts to seize the dog was futile and it then vanished, it was said that it was caused by the melancholy wraith of the kings fifth queen who had been residing at Syon before she was taken to the Tower of London for her execution, others say it was the grim prophecy being fulfilled by Friar Peto, who declared dogs would appear and lick the kings blood if he put aside Katherine of Aragon and married Anne Boleyn, but it probably did not happen, the coffin housing Henry V111’s remains would have been incredibly strong, I have seen the magnificent black marble sarcophagus in the vaults in St Paul’s, that was commissioned by Cardinal Wolsley to house his earthly remains, yet because of his later disgrace was destined never to happen, Henry V111 desired it yet it was not completed in time, now it is the resting place of England’s greatest naval hero Horatio Lord Nelson, Henry’s remains left Syon and arrived at Windsor where he was buried beside his third queen in St George’s Chapel, a stone plaque marks his and Jane’s grave, centuries later his coffin was opened and his skeleton could be seen, it was very tall six foot two inches, we know of Henry’s great height as many observers mentioned it, he was known to be a giant of a man like many of his Plantagenet forbears, and strands of red hair was attached to his skull, Jane’s was not disturbed and Henry’s was covered up, and there this once colourful iconic sometimes terrifying and bloody monarch, yet highly gifted and once the most handsomest prince in Christendom lies to this day.

  4. You are right, Henry could have been a great monarch, he certainly had the genius to be one. He was 17, 6 foot 2 inches, well proportioned, well educated, full of energy and ideas and very charming. He had something of self determination but he also consulted a Council of men of considerable experience and expertise. He wasn’t raised to rule but that didn’t mean he had no training, but he wisely left such matters at first to those who did. He was rich, his father had left him a great deal of money and Henry intended to spend it.

    His first decision sent the message that he wasan adult. Henry declared his intention to marry, his bride was to be the lady that his father had forced him to denounce four years earlier: Katalina Princess of Aragon. Henry was going to marry the woman he wanted, his brother’s widow and the lady he had previously been promised to. Henry swiftly drew the negotiations to a close and although he really did need the treaty with Spain, Henry wanted Katalina or Katharine himself. Henry was smitten. He would be smitten for the next eighteen years.

    Katharine wanted Henry and she remained devoted to him, even after he fell in love with Anne Boleyn and banished her as Queen. She was the daughter of Queen Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand ii of Aragon. She was their youngest daughter and in the 1490s she was a great catch. She was extremely well educated and raised with the idea that women could rule and was educated with that in mind. She was betrothed as a very young child to Prince Arthur who wrote beautiful little notes and letters to hos intended. To their future marriage we now know there would be attached the terrible events around the execution of Perkin Warbeck and Edward Earl of Warwick in November 1499. Its believed that the Spanish Reyes put extreme pressure on Henry Tudor to get rid of the captured pretender and the claimant in the Tower. Katharine wouldn’t come to England unless they were executed. Once all was stable and the protracted negotiations were closed in 1501, Katharine set out from her beautiful homeland and came to the damp shores of England. Within three weeks the young couple were wed in a spectacular ceremony at Old Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London. The couple were put to bed and the night passed which had such an impact many years later.

    Arthur wasn’t ill, as far as we know at the time of his wedding but its clear he became quite ill within a short time. When Katharine and Arthur went to Ludlow they appeared the perfect couple, they attended Mass at the lovely small Chapel there, they lived at times in the Castle Lodge and others in the luxurious Royal Apartments Henry had spent money on. In April 1502, both Arthur and Katharine were taken seriously ill. Its not really known what yhey had but the Sweat or similar illness is likely. On top of this its probable that Arthur had testicular cancer and was unable to consummate their marriage, regardless of attempts to do so. Either way, Prince Arthur died and Katharine was left a widow. Katharine was not treated well as a widow as Henry and her father made ridiculous demands on her dowry and future payments. Her value as a ntide went down as her mother died in 1504. Young Prince Henry, her new betrothed was forced to withdraw from the wedding and Katharine was in limb again. Now in 1509 Henry was King and he wanted Katharine as his Queen.

    Katharine and Henry Viii were the power couple of their day and it all looked good. Katharine bore him a healthy son on 1st January 1511 and the people celebrated for weeks. We see Katharine being the centre piece of the tournament in her honour in the Westminster Tournament Roll. Henry was her knight and he loved to dress up for her. He wanted to win glory in France and in 1513 he set out to do just that, while Katharine was left as his Regent in England. It was Katharine, however, who would win the glory at home with the victory over the Scots at Flodden. Henry would share with Katharine the loss of her children, including the boy born in 1511, he would put all hopes on Mafy, their daughter, but by 1524, everything changed. Henry had consulted on the legality of his marriage and was very concerned for his inheritance if he left no son and heir. The following year he asked the clergy to look at the questions but they couldn’t find anything to end his marriage. In 1526 he met and fell in love for Anne Boleyn and his determination was raised as he needed Anne as his wife. This was the turning point and the man he was to become wpuld achieve little of the greatness he desired.

    Historians are right to point out that much of our modern nation and modern institutions were founded by Henry Viii. He did found the navy, taking it from 5 to 46 ships, he did build our coastal defences, he did set up a national Church, he did found the medical institutions we now have, he did map much of the coast, he did introduce advanced weapons and canons and he did revolutionize the state via Cromwell, but all of this came at a high price. That price was the death of two of his wives, the execution of many of his friends, the destruction of the religious houses, the execution of monks and religious martyrs, the excess damage to his own health and the banishment of his first and possibly the only wife he actually loved and his beloved daughter, Mary.

  5. I love that story about the coffin of King Henry Viii being left at Syon and the resin leaking out and the dogs licking it. Its not contemporary but much later, possibly apocryphal. However, it does fit with the prediction of Father Peto in 1531 who told the story of King Ahab who was killed for putting statues of Bahl in the Temple of Yahweh in Jerusalem and was a pagan. The priests were killed, the statues destroyed and Ahab thrown from a window. His bones shattered on the stones below, his blood was licked up by the dogs. Father Peto also told the story of Jezabel, who also paid a terrible price and was torn to pieces for leading the King and people astray. Its clear Father Peto was talking about Anne, for whom Henry was changing the religious practices of the country, leaving the unity of the Roman Catholic Church and causing the people to be led astray with him. The people were to be denied their pilgrimage, the saints, the monasteries, the festivals, the traditions and Father Peto blamed Anne. However, Henry as the head of state was responsible for the collective soul and salvation of his people and therefore it was he who was responsible for doing everything of his own will, even of Anne, the temptress, like Eve persuaded him to make those changes. Henry was doing all for the love of the Lady Anne and so Ahab has done the same for Jezabel. The prophets had warned Ahab and he had pretended to reoent but returned to the worship of Bahl and Jezabel. Now his Judgment had come. Henry’s judgment would come for him as well.

    Henry Viii may have died naturally aged 55 but he had put on weight, he had suffered with his legs and he had many diseases which plagued him for his final decade. His last wives would not bring him peace and even Jane was taken from him. Anne of Cleves was a good match but he didn’t want her and he fell for a girl barely out of her teens. Kathryn Howard turned his head and his heart and he really did indulge his young bride. Henry’s heart and soul broke when Kathryn was found to have lied about her earlier life and to have taken lovers in the nights they were married. She too was executed. Henry finally married Katherine Parr and she was his companion and nurse and his family were brought together for his final years. Henry finally died, his wife and daughters being sent from Court and only a few Councillors at his side.

    His body was washed and embalmed and here is where the fluid comes in, they probably used a good deal of it. One story was that he was stuffed into the coffin, but I doubt it. His measurements were most probably well and truly made and the best quality woods used. It was found in the nineteenth century to be burst open but that was after 400 years movement. There was also damage to the other coffins but not as much. I reckon his coffin was moved in 1649 when they put Charles I in the vault. Its entirely possible that some resin did leak as excess resin could, the dogs being stupid smelt the resin and mistook it for blood. The old story from Father Peto was then remembered and we have our tale today.

    Henry’s tomb would have been something fantastical had it been completed. There were fantastic beasts, candle stands, heraldic beasts, the grand sarcophagus now in Nelson’s tomb, which looks beautiful, there was a canopy and elaborate stonework and adornments. I think some parts ended somewhere else but I can’t remember. It was of course too expensive and these plans were never completed. The grave was left unmarked until the nineteenth century when King William iv had the black marble stone placed there. Henry had also stolen the original tomb from Cardinal Thomas Wolsey who designed it for himself.

    1. Agnes Strickland in her book cites a contemporary document in the Sloane Collection for the story. Here is the quote from the document:
      “The king, being carried to Windsor to be buried, stood all night among the broken walls of Sion, and there – the leaden coffin being cleft by the shaking of the carriage – the pavement of the church was wetted with his blood. In the morning came plumbers to solder the coffin, under whose feet — I tremble while I write it – was suddenly seen a dog creeping, and licking up the king’s blood. If you ask me how I know this, I answer William Greville, who could scarcely drive away the dog, told me, and so did the plumber also.”
      So it does appear to be true. Yuck!

        1. Horrible. In other words someone didn’t fix the coffin properly and it broke afterwards. Well, they’re sacked. Well, I never, its possible its true. Miss Strickland had old sources which no longer exist so its interesting that she made such careful notes of her sources. Her work did sometimes contain errors or later stories but she was meticulous in her research and her references. Her work was extraordinary, especially when you think nothing was digitised, nor online and you had to be very persuasive to be allowed access to archives, especially as a woman.

        2. I think its more likely it was fluid rather than blood, as it was Gilbert Burnet who first recorded the incident according to the British Library where the collection is today. Now we know he was a historian writing a History of the Reformation which is often hailed as remarkable for its sources, but its not always all it seems. A number of exaggerated stories have been identified by historians as having no contemporary basis. A nineteenth century historian may not have realised that simple fact.

          Syon wasn’t a ruin in February 1547, it was a Palace. The coffin was lined with lead and the body over two weeks old. There was no explosion and a leaking coffin is more likely than blood being all over the floor. Its more probably that it was resin leaking from a damaged coffin, rather than wet blood. Dogs will lick anything, smelling and it sounds as if the two stories have merged. Strickland is nearer the truth, because she cites the coffin was damaged, the coffin was left over night and the dogs were there when someone came to repair it. She assumed the wet floor was because of blood, but fluid is more likely, from both the body and the coffin. It certainly doesn’t equate to the legend of an exploding body. I think the coffin could very well get damaged on the journey and it would have needed a larger than usual amount of fluid to embalm Henry Viii. He was a big man. Too much fluid and the coffin would be flooded. Any damage caused might damage both coffin and fluid, causing the leaking. Embalming fluid is also explosive and its actually been known to combust believe it or not. King Tut’s body was burnt post mortem and it wasn’t thieves. It was the resin and fluid. Imagine Henry catching fire. The stories that would have triggered. I think the story is more or less true, with the coffin leaking out resin, rather than blood and the dogs just licked it up. Henry’s body didn’t explode, but the story has grown and the legend remains.

  6. It was a very demeaning thing to happen to the king and luckily he wasn’t aware of it, but yes it probably wasn’t blood that the dogs allegedly licked up, but somehow I cannot see them wanting to lick up embalming fluid either, yes we know dogs are dustbins but the smell has to be pleasant also, so what on earth did it smell like ? but it does make one feel sick to think of it, also because Henry V111 was such a big man the coffin would have been very large and made of iron extremely heavy,, he was over six foot and his girth was such it was said that two grown men could fit into his doublet when alive, so the coffin makers would have made sure his coffin was very broad and they must have been silently measuring him up in the last few years of his decline, somehow this tale with the dogs does run with the turbulence and violence that marred his reign, he killed two wives and thousands more, maybe a vengeful god decreed that for the slaughter of many his soul would not rest in peace? After one dies the body is still warm but the blood stops circulating and leaves the brain starving it of oxygen, the body is gaseous and lots of burps and noises can be heard coming from the corpse, fluid escapes from the body which is why a dead person is moved fairly quickly to the mortuary, that is interesting I didn’t know embalming fluid is combustible, and poor old King Tut he was the product of an incestous union between brother and sister, hardly surprising he did not live long, talking about explosions, it reminds me of the story of the great fire in 1666, it is believed now that the building where Thomas Farringer stored his huge vats of flour, caught alight because flour itself is combustible, and could well have been the cause that started the fire that desecrated the old city, really King Henry’s death was a blessed relief for him because he had suffered greatly, he could not joust anymore he still rode his horses but he was so heavy he had to be lifted by a very strong apparatus onto them, today they would use a crane! He also had to be wheeled about his palaces, we can see he was depressed over his lack of physical activity which made him turn to the dinner table, he also drank large amounts of wine sweetened with sugar which did his diabetes no good, his doctors kept lancing the ulcers that kept opening on his leg which did him no good, and the pain must have been agonising, they kept his leg tightly bandaged which stopped the circulation which made the problem worse, there were no pain relief in those days and no antibiotics which once given over a period of time would have aided recovery, he was incapacitated for several days at a time, he also suffered from constipation and had to have enemas thrust up his vitals regularly, today we know that a diet high in roughage keeps the bowels open, which is found in whole grains brown bread fruit and vegetables, the nobility’s diet of course did not include vegetables it was the staple of the poor, and what with Henry’s mainly meat diet, and sugary confections like marzipan desserts and buns and pastry’s, it is no wonder he became so obese in his later years, a diet high in red meat also causes high cholesterol levels and his must have been dangerously high, there are theories he was a victim of Macleod Syndrome a genetic disorder which affects the victims reproductive system and can cause physical and mental impairment, given his poor fertility record with five wives, (omitting his fourth because he never slept with her), it is a good basis for argument, both Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn suffered miscarriages and they seemed to follow a pattern, his daughter Mary never became pregnant and Elizabeth it was believed had so few periods it was believed she may have had difficulty becoming pregnant had she ever married, the kings decline into paranoia which made him execute his second queen and five known companions of his also, particularly Henry Norris whom he had known for years, was rather bizarre and his later slaughter of so many in his kingdom, he showed no pity towards his blood kin Lady Salisbury whom had been his daughters much loved governess, and his treatment of Sir Robert Aske to whom he had promised to pardon the northern rebels, they were all rounded up and butchered and Aske was left to die in chains, he stayed without will and his vengeance towards his fifth queen was dreadful, she became his second wife to lose her head, no wonder this king has champions and detractors, but if Henry V111 was indeed a sufferer of this dreadful disorder then along with his victims, he is to be pitied also, he inherited a peaceful rich nation from his father and he was like a god amongst his contemporaries yet when he left it, it was much poorer and in a state of religious strife, his son was just a child and vulnerable to the whims of greedy opportunistic men.

  7. Hi Christine, if you have been in London today or last night, not to worry, its not an invasion, its the Tartan Army, in town for the match with England tonight. A much younger Henry might have dealt more fairly with the rebels in the Midlands and North but his handling of Robert Aske was to employ deception until he had the numbers and then strike. Aske wasn’t even involved in the second rebellion which happened after a pardon had been issued, he didn’t even approve of it but he was arrested with the other leaders from the first rebellion. He had been made the rebels leader because he was the Earl of Northumberland’s layman and tax man. He was fair but he did his job and he was also an ex soldier. He was well educated and apparently he was a decent orator. These made him apt to act for the 30,000 or so who took to the field in October 1536. He was also pretty ruthless. There was nothing poor or gentle about Aske and he wasn’t universally supported. The gentry didn’t want to take part in the rising. They had too much to lose. However, Aske used certain methods and many were won over. Nor was Aske chivalrous. He didn’t hesitate to use threats in order to force men like John Neville, Lord Lambert, husband of Katharine Parr into joining him. Katherine wasn’t the first woman taken hostage by Robert Aske and she wouldn’t be the last. One unverified tale had Eleanor Brandon taken hostage as Carlisle was under seige at nearby Bolton Castle. It was Aske’s brother, Sir Christopher, who rescued the Countess and the young Sir Henry Clifford was certainly highly praised for standing firm against the rebels until reinforcements arrived. Eleanor was not harmed and returned with her baby son to the Castle that night. Within a few days a failed attempt at taking Carlisle was foiled by Shrewsbury and Suffolk and 700 rebels lay dead or in custody. The second rebellion was over.

    Henry was noted to have real mood swings during this time and the apparent incompetence of his beleaguered commanders did nothing to help. Suffolk in Lincolnshire was outnumbered and had to first of all negotiate, then tell the the King he didn’t have the numbers to attack, then he had to reluctantly armed the local gentry in exchange for their submission and he wanted instructions and more help. Norfolk was in just as much of a pickle in Yorkshire. Lord Darcy had surrendered Pontefract Castle and town to Aske and joined them. Norfolk was forced into negotiations and nothing was happening. Henry complained about the complaints of his commanders and told them in no uncertain terms what to do with the rebels. The letter is chilling. Its now notorious because basically it was an order to attack and if the rebels did not submit to kill men, women and children. Seriously, I don’t think Henry was interested in using legal proceedings, he wanted the rebels put down. However, sanity ruled in the end and protracted negotiations followed. Norfolk and Suffolk were given permission to offer a pardon and get the rebels to go home. They were also given permission to promise them the earth. A tentative agreement on many of their demands was drawn up, a general pardon was issued and the rebels went home for Christmas. Aske and other leaders were invited to Court for Christmas. They were to present their petition in person to King Henry. It was a mistake.

    Aske was at Court during Christmas and New Year, approximately twelve days and he returned to Yorkshire in good spirits. It wasn’t long, however, before it became clear all wasn’t as it seemed. Henry treated him well, gave him a beautiful fine coat as a present and promised a pardon. He met Lady Mary who gave him a diamond. Mass and many Catholic traditional festivals were held as if the Reformation had never happened. It was all a deception. Henry needed time to build up his forces and to trap anyone who rebelled after the pardon was issued. Within weeks of his return home the second rising happened. It was the excuse the King needed. The rebellion was swiftly crushed and reprisals followed. Over the next six months of 1537 executions happened right across the North of England. The Pilgrimage of Grace and Lincolnshire risings were but two such events, Lancashire had risen as well. Monks, restored to closed religious houses in Sawley, Whalley and many others were hung from their own Abbey walls, 70 people in one area, one from each village were hanged, some drawing and quartering followed death, as Norfolk was reluctant to carry out the full sentence, some 179 were executed lawfully in Lincolnshire and Lancashire and some 246 were probably executed in Yorkshire. No massacre took place, but that doesn’t mean that unofficial local roundups and reprisals did not follow. A number of nobles were beheaded, including Lord Darcy and Lord Hussey and the cousin of Norfolk was burned alive as a female traitor. Robert Aske was hanged in chains and left for three days to die of starvation on the walls of the infamous Clifford Tower, part of York Castle. Fortunately he didn’t have a wife and children to witness the gory spectacle as we saw in the Tudors.

    If the religious houses and in fact Queen Jane Seymour, who was now pregnant with the future Edward vi, had hoped that the larger establishments would be spared the fate of their smaller counterparts, they were in for a shock. The involvement of some houses in the Pilgrimage of Grace and so on was all the excuse the Government needed to proceed with the full closure and dissolution of all 900 establishments in England and Wales and Ireland. The English Reformation was ironically born from the ashes of an attempt to revive and preserve Catholic England.

  8. Yes i did see the havoc the Tartan army did to London apparently they were pouring washing up liquid into the fountains at Trafalger, and drinking themselves silly as usual, on the news I saw some drunk man stagger into the path of a motorbike he was hit, then got up and staggered away again, I find the whole thing reprehensible why act like that, heavens it’s only a match, the streets today looked a right mess with cans and bottles everywhere, in the paper it said they are angry in Scotland because the fans may well now be infected with the Delta variant and they can spread it around up there, no concern was taken over the crowds that jostled together the English fans were just as bad, but how can you keep your distance at a match? I watched it but found the game very dismal, the English were playing like girls and of course no goals were scored, a dreary unexciting game I thought and the fans are furious with the team, they labelled them English drips instead of lions ha! When you consider the amount of money they earn which is way over the top, and all for kicking a ball about, and losing anyway, Gareth Southgate was let down badly as well as the fans, now they of course still get paid and can hit the town with the wags whilst their bitterly disappointed fans commiserate themselves over endless cans of beer, in Henry’s day the rebels of the pilgrimage of Grace were deceived yes, in The Tudors which as we know did digress from the truth a lot, showed Aske as a family man and it was awful seeing his sons crying when they saw him in his cell, so I’m glad that did not happen, surely a wife and children of the condemned prisoner would not be allowed to see him in such a state anyway, surely some sympathy for the mans family would have been apparent even in those hardened days, Yorkshire, particularly Pontefract Castle was the garrison of the north and when that fell Henry V111 was perturbed, the quashing of the rebellion was bloody and further added to Henry’s reputation as a tyrant, his queen must also have begun to have misgivings about her husband and his lack of mercy, it was a dreadful thing to do to welcome a man to court and as you mention give him presents, fool him into thinking your sympathetic to his issues then clap him in irons the next, it was the second rebellion which did that which was not his fault, but it appears Aske was used as a scapegoat and Henry wanted an example to show to his people he would not tolerate rebellion, his behaviour really was typical of the way he treated many, mush loved favourites and adored wives were treated thus and abandoned, who really could trust Henry V111 at this time in his reign ? His words of loyalty and friendship were beginning to sound meaningless, he must also have been concerned about Jane who was carrying his child, his mental health as discussed before would have had a bearing on his behaviour if he was indeed a suffer of Macleod’s Syndrome, it was a fraught time for him as the summer progressed, and the queens pregnancy, she was busily tucking into the fresh quails that Lady Lisle had sent her from Calais, she appeared to have no problems during her pregnancy but her labour as we know was dreadful.

    1. According to the news and papers the fans actually behaved themselves and even cleared up any mess afterwards. No doubt a tiny minority were losing their minds and misbehaving, you always get a few, but the vast majority had a really good time, no damage was done and very few did anything more than drink and sing. The Council failed to provide a proper fan zone and yet they still remained in one area, Leicester Square and another 3000 went to the game. The only thing I saw was people acting a bit silly and rubbish, which was bagged as no bins were provided and a large group of Scots doing a clean up the next morning. You always get a few nutcases, so probably a few did misbehave, but the vast majority were reported as not doing anything to concern anyone. The police didn’t make any complaints.

      I don’t think concerns about Covid are as they were because of the Vaccine, but it’s still of concern. To attend the game you have to either be vaccinated or have two negative tests. You are supposed to have regular ones during the tournament as well. Fans are also meant to stay in restricted parts of the city, but that’s not possible. However, its much less of a risk outside. In the stadium its limited numbers and people are socially distances between them because only 12,000 are allowed in a 70,000 stadium. You have to stay in a bubble as well. You also have to wear a mask, although that often goes as the game goes on. The stands are covered but open. Its a difficult case really as fans are allowed and up to now its working. It’s more difficult outside of the stadium, but that’s true of all events. I just think people have literally had enough. The science is not even able to agree anymore. I also think people see these protests in Oxford Street every week and wonder why that’s allowed and open air events are not. Ascot was drawing criticism as well. The photos showed no social distancing and no masks. O. K. You don’t need one outside but you are advised. Some people think the event may be an experiment as we have had here. No rise in cases afterwards. The Delta varient is one of dozens of varients to be honest and its surge testing that has identified new cases, not a dramatic rise in the virus. The scientists are wrong. There isn’t any real significant change. It’s also limited to certain areas. Besides if they were that drunk, they probably killed it anyway. Alcohol kills Covid. Let’s face it, we need to get on with life sooner or later and I am one of those getting ced up with restrictions. At least now we can sit and enjoy a coffee or meal inside and outside of a cafe or restaurant. I went to Waterstones last week and practically did summa salts when I got there. It has been almost two years and it was really exciting. I am more and more confident doing stuff now thanks to the vaccination and it feels good.

  9. There certainly are a number of theories as to why Henry turned so quickly into tyranny during the 1530s, especially after his marriage to Anne Boleyn and then his accidents, including his debated jousting accident being the cause and a wide variety of health problems including McLeod Syndrome, but one thing is certain, a number of people remarked on the changes in his personality and his behaviour definitely accelerated and declined during 1536 and 1537. Yes, he had condemned men to death for their refusal to sign the Oath of Supremacy, the monks and Thomas More and John Fisher, but things became much worse after his accident. His mood swings were dangerously noticeable during these rebellions and he was completely without mercy. Jane must have wondered what kind of man she had married.

    I am sure the man she saw in private was often very different to the public thunderbolt. I suspect Henry as a man was insecure and these rebellions shook him up. We are talking about huge numbers of people, 30,000 to 50,000 people in the field in Yorkshire alone and perhaps another 20,000 from Lincolnshire and elsewhere, who if allowed to march south would have caused absolute mayhem. Henry was up the wall and his temper was felt all around. I do think Robert Aske was a scapegoat, identified leaders often were and something he wrote in a letter in January 1537 was used against him because it was after the pardon had been given, another method used by the Tudors to justify reprisals. I think he trusted the King too much because he was too respectful towards authority. He was warned not to take Henry at his word but ignored the warning. He was so impressed with the Court that he lost all focus when it came to making petitions and he was taken in by Henry’s overwhelming charisma and natural charm. On his return to Yorkshire the seeds of a second rebellion had already been planted and there wasn’t anything Aske could actually do to stop the assault on Carlisle nor did he have anything to do with the later rebellion of Sir Francis Bigod.

    Aske had asked not to be hanged, drawn and quartered, which is why he suffered such and unusual form of execution. It was also a particularly cruel one as it could have taken a long time to die. Jane had pleaded with Henry for mercy for the rebels and for him to reconsider his policies and received another rebuke from her husband, whose temper cannot have been easy at the time. Luckily she was pregnant during these horrible times and apparently withdrew much of the time, so she was very much occupied and had the King’s attention as well. Quail eggs must be a very unusual craving as she had them sent to her by Lady Lisle and Henry paid for regular deliveries. Her quickening that Spring saw public Te Deums and Henry hoped his problems were coming to an end. What could possibly go wrong?

  10. Henry did have charm he was also a persuasive speaker and he could easily seduce people into a false sense of security, I agree Aske was naive in his dealings with the king, he was not aware of how he could be your friend one minute and a foe the next, he was a very dangerous fickle man, but even in his later years when he had long lost his looks and fine physique, he was still very charming, he must have been irresistible in his youth, as a teenager he resembled his brother Arthur, his long suffering people still had a soft spot for him in their hearts, it was one of the reasons why Elizabeth 1st was so popular, she had his mannerisms as well as his fair Tudor looks, and when she ride by with her long aquiline nose and stately carriage, she reminded them of great King Harry, but his reign was bloody, I think the monasteries he destroyed was a dreadful sacrilege and many must have been horrified, the precious artefacts were stolen and beautiful diamond pained windows smashed, they were also as well as being places of worship, sanctuaries for the poor ill and homeless, Henry effectively put them out on the streets, it is to Jane Seymours credit that she did plead for them to be restored and also for the lives of the northern rebels, had she lived I feel Jane would have been a much loved queen consort for she was a champion for the underdog, she was far from being the mild mannered queen of legend, she used her position to help others which queens throughout history have done, they were often patrons and people would ask them for help in pleading their cause to the king, Anne Boleyn wanted to help the poor so she and her ladies stitched clothes for them, it could have been to win their love as she knew she was not popular with them, but she could so easily have spent her time arranging costumes for the next masque that was to take place, one of Jane’s favourite pastimes was needlework and it was said to be exquisite, she was also said to have introduced Henry to the pastime, and her work is on display today, she was sympathetic for the Lady Mary’s suffering and asked Henry to have her reinstated in the succession, but she had overstepped the mark somewhat, Henry did not like his queens to meddle in affairs of the state, he loved intelligent women, being intelligent himself he loved to debate on many subjects, but he did not like them to tell him what to do or how to think, Catherine Parr made such a mistake once, a wise woman knows when to shut her mouth, and his third and final queen both happened to be on the receiving end of his quick temper, fiery Anne Boleyn however never learnt to hold her tongue and both she and the king would have many rows, but they had fun making up, sunshine followed storm as Eric Ives wrote in his biography, he was it was noted, more merry with Anne than any of his other wives, even though he had been married to Katherine for over twenty years, only to his first queen was he married the longest, I think with Katherine his love for her was borne out of deep affection and respect, that must have increased enormously after Flodden, when she had arrived to marry Arthur, apart from his mother and governess and ladies of the court and his two sisters, he would not have known many women, and she was about five years older than him, to a young lad she would have appeared sophisticated and exotic with her Spanish accent, she was also beautiful with fair skin and long auburn hair, she had Madonna like features and was a rare prize for any bridegroom, Henry V11 had managed to snare her for his eldest son and heir, she was Henry V111’s first love they married and were the golden couple for many years, the marriage was a great success except for the lack of a male heir, over the years Katherines slender waist thickened out and she devoted herself to prayer more and more, always very pious she took to wearing a hair shirt next to her skin, the winsome slender girl had gone, Henry five years her senior was still young at heart and yet was growing ever more worried that no son had arrived, his daughter Mary was his heir but he wanted a son to succeed him, Katherine was now going through the menopause and her last child a daughter, had been born dead, unbeknown to Katherine he began to consult with Wolsley about taking another wife, he took to reading his bible, there in the book of Leviticus he found his answer to a problem which had needled him for some years…, ‘and if a man take his brothers wife to be his then he has uncovered his nakedness and they will be childless’, these ancient simple words sounded the death knell on Katherines marriage, also in her household a young woman had newly arrived from the continent, fresh faced and vivacious she caused a bit of a stir amongst the young men, she was to be the direct cause of the upheaval that was to consume England for the next decade, yet Anne Boleyn was no more more successful than Katherine of Aragon had been in giving the king an heir, within three years of marriage she also was cast out and her successor also died within a few years of marriage, his marriages that followed after Katherine were all short lived, only his sixth wife outlived him, Henry V111 thought many of his marriages were cursed but his first marriage to his brothers widow was a success for many years, any queen that can rule the country ably as regent especially when in the throes of war, was a most successful consort, Catherine Parr also was appointed regent when Henry went to France, and he respected her for her maturity as well as being a learned woman, though no sons were forthcoming, maybe by this time in his sixth venture into wedlock, he had given up hope of another son, after Jane Seymour died he mourned for a whole year which gives us an insight into how deep his feelings for her had been, certainly her sudden death elevated her to a much higher regard in his mind more than any of his other wives, even though initially his feelings towards her seemed to be lukewarm in comparison to his love for Katherine, his great passion for Anne Boleyn and the almost boyish crush he had on Catherine Howard, Henry’s V111’s marriages really tend to dominate his reign, he risked war from Spain and civil war in his own country when he abandoned his first queen, and he risked enmity from the Low Countries when he divorced Anna from Cleves, how he never managed to upset her brother Duke William I have no idea, he must have found it easier by marrying his own countrywomen, they had no foreign allies who could cause trouble, but his beheading of two queens earned him a terrible reputation abroad and at home, and made many realise just how merciless this king really was.

  11. Aye, the legend was far from the reality for so many years. Henry was like a shinning Knight who loved to dress up for his beautiful beloved Lady, Katharine. Katharine of Aragon taught Henry how to be a King. To a certain extent they competed playfully with one another. Katharine was delighted when Henry dressed up as a bandit and stormed into her apartment and pretended to abduct her. She loved it when Henry and Brandon dressed in twin outfits and outshone all challenges in the Tournai. She loved it when he tipped his lance to her for her favour. Katharine and Henry were very popular together. There was nothing it seemed could change that.

    Nothing, save the sad loss of six babies, the terrible death of three sons and the fact that only one child, a female lived. That day on 1st January 1511, when Henry, Duke of Cornwall bawled his arrival into the world at Greenwich, must have been like a golden dream. As the country drank the free wine and the Court partied at Westminster in tournaments and tennis matches and with banquets, the little boy appeared to thrive. However, terrible news came which brought those fabulous celebrations to a sudden halt. At 52 days Baby Henry was dead in his cot, no cause determined but most probably of what we now call SIDS. Katharine was *weeping as a natural woman “and Henry was visibly distraught as well. It must have been dreadful as the baby was laid to rest in Westminster Abbey. However, the young couple were still at the beginning of their married life and they knew that children often died in infancy. They could have more children. They did have more. A son believed to be healthy at birth but who died soon after, another Henry was born in 1513/14 and then Mary on 18th February 1516.

    Mary thrived and wasn’t a disappointment to either Henry or Katharine. In fact she was shown to the Ambassadors and shown how perfect she was. Henry doted on his pearl and she was treated very much as the heir to the crown. For example she was sent to Wales to rule with her own Council, just as a Prince would have been.

    However, as you said, Katharine couldn’t give Henry the son he needed to succeed him and his concerns only grew when he was introduced to the verses in Leviticus and he consulted an expert. Henry was soon convinced that his marriage to Katharine was cursed and he spent the next seven years working to to have his marriage annulled. I feel Henry was genuine in his belief that he was doing the right thing and what was best for his country but it turned him later into the tyrant of legend because of what he had to do to get his will.

    Henry’s break from Rome gave him unprecedented power, power no other King had welded and nobody dared oppose him. In order to legitimise his children with Anne Boleyn, new laws were passed making their children the only heirs and anyone who opposed these would be guilty of treason under a draconian new Treason Act. Henry didn’t anticipate the opposition would spread into his own Court with Thomas More and Fisher and several members of the religious houses amongst the victims who were killed as a result. Henry was still fairly charming at this point and active but after his accident and three more years of opposition, a wife who interfered with everything and argued with him in public and more failed pregnancies, Henry changed. He became impossible to read, he couldn’t joust any more, he became moody and paranoid, bad tempered and his health sharply declined.

    As a result of all this, England saw something unthinkable, the execution of two Queens. They also saw the banishment of their beloved Princess until her forced submission to Henry’s will. Then she had to accept that she was no longer legitimate, which must have been terrible for Mary. The young woman must have wondered why she was being treated like this by her beloved father. People who still loved their King and many did, even despite his growing cruelty must have been wondering why it had turned out like this, especially after the promise of that first June in which a golden couple were crowned.

  12. Today 24th June 1509 in Westminster Abbey Henry Viii and Katharine of Aragon his new bride were crowned at Westminster Abbey in the second joint coronation since 1308. Before the coronation of Richard iii and Anne Neville, joint coronations had only happened three times, Edward ii and Isabella of France being the last couple to be crowned together.

    Thomas More on their procession gave an oration praising Henry and the dawn of a new era, a golden age of liberty and freedom and the great future the new Prince would ussher in. The golden couple were cheered and looked beautiful together. It was a spectacular show and all seemed well indeed. It was Midsummer’s Day, the time of golden light and golden fire, of passion and desire and of Renewal. The golden red hair on the couple clad in white and gold was seen as a new sign of hope and glory to come. The handsome and tall King looked like Hercules, his beautiful and exotic Spanish beauty at his side. The couple looked extremely happy and the people were delighted.

    The coronation of Sovereign and Consort was glittering and the couple couldn’t take their eyes of each other. They were all smiles and the drawings at the time showed them looking adoringly at each other, being cheered on by those around them with great joy and enthusiasm. There must have been celebrations for days, pageants and tournaments and much eating, dancing and merry making. It was a great day for Henry and Katharine and their people and they looked forward to a wonderful future.

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