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Did Henry love his kids?
October 31, 2010
8:25 pm
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MegC
Georgia, US
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I mean, besides Edward?  Seems to me that he wanted a son so badly that he probably loved Edward in a princely sort of way, but what about Mary and Elizabeth?  Even though he didn't particularly WANT girls, do you think he felt any kind of love or devotion for his daughters?

I only ask this because I see how my husband is with my 3-month old daughter and how she's got him completely wrapped around her finger, and I have to wonder if Henry was ever that way with his girls.

For all his faults, Henry was still human and though immensely screwed up must have had some capacity for love.

"We mustn't let our passions destroy our dreams…"

November 1, 2010
5:42 am
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DuchessofBrittany
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MegC,

I've always felt that Henry loved his children as long as they served some purpose for his endgame, and were willing to be pawns in it. Take the Princess Mary for instance. When she was a child, and Henry still married to Katherine of Aragon, Mary was the apple of Henry's eye. Sh was his heiress presumptive and spoiled by her father. That treatment last for years until Katherine and Henry had a falling out, and their marriage was over. I believe this drastic change in treatment of Mary by her father lead to her latter issues with self-confidence, emotional insecurity, etc. But, I digress.

Princess Elizabeth was never treated the same a Mary. She was carried around naked, as a baby, by Henry who showed her off to his fellow courtiers and diplomats, but that only lasted until he and Anne feel out, and their marriage ended. I've always felt that Henry never felt the same about Elizabeth because she was a constant reminder to Henry of Anne Boleyn. (BTW, The Tudors do a great job of this in season four).

It seems that Henry's two daughters, when obedient and agreeing to their father's terms, were treated with the respect their brithright guaranteeded them, but they were not the longed for son. Girls were needed to help improve diplomatic situations, but their value was much less than a son, and their was no indication nor belief by Henry that women were capable of ruling as Queen in their own name.

Edward, while the longed for son, was treated more like a breakable piece of glass than a child. No wonder he grew to be an unemotional child-king. While Henry loved him like his future heir, I cannot imagine a Henry being the lovable father.

Henry's children, like his wives, friends, and courtiers, were pawns in Henry's game. Being friends with Henry was good; being his enemy was deadly.

"By daily proof you shall find me to be to you both loving and kind" Anne Boleyn

November 1, 2010
12:08 pm
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Sharon
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Wecome to the site MegC.  What a great question.

I agree with Duchess. 

Edward was the heir apparent and treated as such.  He would not have encountered his Father's wrath yet.  Henry died before we could learn what he would have been like with an older Edward. Maybe Edward would have continued to be the apple of Dad's eye, but I doubt it. 

Henry never gave his love completely or unconditionally.  Nor for that matter, forever. At some point he always found fault with the people he loved. No one could attain the high standard that Henry set for everyone close to him.  Hence, the disaster he made of Elizabeth and Mary's childhood.

November 1, 2010
1:27 pm
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MegC
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Thanks, guys!  I kind of always felt the same way, but I've never read much about the prince and princesses childhoods so I wasn't sure.  I agree, Sharon, Henry certainly was never “free” with his love…there were always strings attached, but I guess I had hoped on some level that he was a little different with his children.

"We mustn't let our passions destroy our dreams…"

November 2, 2010
5:34 am
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DuchessofBrittany
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MegC,

 If you are interested, there are two biographies that I've read which do focus on aspects of Mary, Elizabeth and Edward's childhoods. You can find the citations below. In recent years, there have been more biographies written on Queen Mary Tudor. You can often find them on Amazon or at your local libraries.

Loades, David. (1989).  Mary Tudor: A Life.

Skidmore, Chris. (2007). Edward VI: the lost King of England.

Starkey, David. (2000). Elizabeth: The Struggle for the Throne.

Weir, Alison. (2008). Children of England: The Heirs of King Henry VIII 1547-1558.

"By daily proof you shall find me to be to you both loving and kind" Anne Boleyn

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