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Hero to Tyrant ...why did Henry change?
January 24, 2014
1:09 pm
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Olga
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Well if he sent her back to Cleves he would have lost the alliance.

I don’t know if Anne missed her family while Henry was alive, there’s no real evidence of it. Consider she had a huge income, I think it was £4000 which equates to 2.5 million plus these days, she had independent wealth, property and she had royal status. She was hoping Henry would consider remarrying her after Catherine was executed, she was apparently furious when he married Kat Parr. So I think in the years Henry was alive she was happy enough where she was and hoping she may be Queen after all. If she had been Queen she would have had to give up the same things, bar her letters to her brother being monitored.

After Henry’s death Edward treated her badly, I have also read that she fell out with Mary, and her wealth was reduced a great deal. I know she was at Elizabeth’s coronation but I don’t think Elizabeth restored the sort of income Henry had given her, so I assume in those years she may have been lonely and missed her family. I think she may have expressed her wish to return home during those years but my mind is drawing a complete blank at the minute.

January 24, 2014
2:34 pm
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Boleyn
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I believe AOC considered that K.P was beneath her in social standing if that makes sence.
Actually AOC wasn’t at Elizabeth Coronation she died in 1557. AOC was at Mary’s and shared Elizabeth’s coach.
Edward didn’t think it was his responsibility to pay AOC her pension, she hadn’t actually been a true wife to his father so why should he be lumbered with paying for her, so during his reign she did live in very impovished, circumstances.. She got on very well with both Elizabeth and Mary, and it was partly down to her close freindship with Mary that she converted to Catholisium, I don’t exactly know when that was but taking a wild stab in the dark possibly after H8 had died, which would perhaps expalin Little Eddy’s attitude towards her.. He and Mary didn’t really get on exactly, a tolerate but very strained relationship I would think there.
I believe her brother may have given her a smallish pension during Eddy’s life just to try and make ends meet (not too sure about this though)
Once Mary came to the throne, she came to court a few times, I believe she spent a few christmas’s there, ( again i’m unsure). On the whole though I believe she was perhaps happy if loney enough living in Hever or one of her other houses. She was buried with full honours though and I don’t believe she would have been given them if Mary had fallen out with her..

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

January 20, 2015
3:16 pm
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Hannele
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Olga said

You know I will never be convinced that Henry “changed” at all. He began his reign with the execution of two innocent men to ensure his popularity. A lot of people pinpoint 1536 as the year he changed, well he had displayed plenty of tyrannical behaviour prior to that. Buckingham, the Carthusian monks, harassing his wife of twenty years into an early grave. Henry had murdered plenty of innocent people before he turned on his second wife. He didn’t change, he just matured with age. He was always delusional, a pathological liar, envious, spiteful and had an inferiority complex to boot.

I agree with you that Henry did not basically change, but of course he could have avoided his worst deeds if all had gone well, i.e. he had got a male heir by Katherine. Yet, a man’s real nature is revealed in the tribulations: whether he really has intelligence, wisdom, courage, decisiveness, perseverance, tolerance, empathy, forgiveness etc.

That Henry was cheerful when all was well, is really no merit at all. He never could have been a hero as he could never sacrifice himself for others. Instead, he sacrificed others for himself.

March 6, 2015
10:45 am
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davetee
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Henry VIII…has apparently been described by some as a murderer, a serial killer and a psychopath. There may be some truth in it given his rages and willingness to execute on a whim. If nothing else he was certainly a control freak, drunk with power…and we all know that power corrupts.

November 15, 2017
9:14 pm
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algarve
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I have been thinking this over for years. What if someone exhibits the symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, but has a great deal of power? Can they still not have it? Well, when I asked a psychiatrist friend of mine, he said no because Henry VIII had a great deal of power, especially over life and death for others. However, since individuals only need to have five out of nine symptoms, I thought I would list them out, and my reasons for saying yes or no to each symptom. Just because someone is all powerful, does not mean that they will necessarily become a narcissist. Usually, this personality disorder also requires an individual to have been in a life or death situation in which they know that they could die (or their needs or wishes die) without appropriate care provided by the parents. But what if someone had all the outward trappings, and of course, education, which most people would want? How could they become a narcissist otherwise? Well, it also comes about when someone is given unlimited praise, and relieved of responsibility for bad behavior (excuses made, others punished). This is the bully whose parents make excuses for his behavior. And, personality changes as life events occur. So, I’m going to list out the symptoms and see how this fits in:

*In the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), [1] NPD is defined as comprising a pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), a constant need for admiration, and a lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by the presence of at least 5 of the following 9 criteria:

A grandiose sense of self-importance: Well, Henry was the King, after all. He was not the only king and he had enemies, with whom he conducted war. He would have done more if he had not been distracted by matters at home, and had the money. He did believe that what he wanted was what God wanted. And he talked himself into thinking he was correct in his judgements. He could not accept that others might know more than he at any given moment. And, of course, those who surrounded him knew better than to make themselves look better than him, because he could not stand that.

A preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love: Henry knew he had power, and he was successful at war. However, he wasn’t successful in love and especially in having male heirs to survive him. His male children were sickly and died young, if they survived the birthing process at all. I think that Henry had a fantasy about the things he could not really control: love, and birth. He needed a male heir, but I think that the continual disappointments in this area in an age when it was all considered to be the fault of women led to him discarding women who either loved and feared him, or learned to be very cautious around him.

A belief that he or she is special and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people or institutions: There was that small matter of God. Other people could not understand nor judge Henry (in his view) because he was the subject matter expert on everything whether it be his life or their lives.

A need for excessive admiration: I think that Henry knew that he was no prize (later in his life) and also knew that he was being flattered. I think that this is why he was so hurt by Catherine Howard’s behavior, because she had expressed that she loved him and others had not dared to speak up. He was publicly humiliated and that won’t do for a narcissist. That’s the worst thing anyone can do, to humiliate them in public. Think of the reaction of certain politicians, in which they are caught in lies, in ugly behavior. Most people would apologise and ensure that this does not happen again. Instead, the politicians continue the behavior because that need for admiration is so strong. They go where someone will invite only those who approve of them. They will not face the common person and see no need to do so. They denigrate those who do not agree with them, ALL THE TIME.

A sense of entitlement: Henry felt that he could decide which laws to follow (or have people follow), and how much they impacted his life. He believed that he could take anything from anyone, since anything they had came from him. He included the lives of others in this idea. For example, he promised his sister Mary that she could marry whomever she liked after her first husband, the king of France, died. When she held him to his word, and married without consulting him (relying upon his word), she and her new husband, who was an old friend of his, had to flee for their lives for a period of time, and forfeit a great deal of money to placate him. I’m surprised that he didn’t imprison them in the Tower for marrying one another. His behavior of becoming angry that they had relied upon his word, is very typical of narcissist. Even when they volunteer or promise something, they become angered that someone would expect them to follow through on their agreements. After all, they are the most important person in the room, and who else is qualified to judge them? No-one! Another example of this is in his abandonment of Queen Katherine. He was advised not to make the decisions he did, but he interpreted the Bible as he wished so that it fit his desire to rid himself of Katherine. If another person “fails” a narcissist, they are rejected completely. They can never climb up to their previous stature, and the narcissist will be contemptuous of them. They basically no longer exist as a real person, in the eyes of a narcissist. Even if the time is not yet ripe to display their contempt because they need that individual, the narcissist will think it. And contempt is just one thing people cannot return from. It’s a sense of moral superiority combined with rigidity. Even when narcissists are wrong, they don’t admit it. In their minds, they lie to themselves and insist that the fault lies with others.

Interpersonally exploitive behavior: A narcissist doesn’t mind lying, stealing, playing upon the fears of others, displaying contempt in order to obtain their goal. If they need to threaten, cajole, or remind others of their position and just why they are beholden for their very life to them, they will do this. They do not care about the sacrifices others make in their wants and desires. Why shouldn’t others deny themselves what they most truly want in order that the narcissist may be satisfied? After all, what someone else wants is as if it were nothing. Grains of sand, at most, which can be swept away.

A lack of empathy: The narcissist neither realises nor cares about the troubles of others, nor their reaction to something he/she does. The greatest/strongest example of a narcissist is a serial killer. To those individuals, a person is like a chair, or a lamp. It can be broken and that isn’t his/her fault. Yes, they may have done something which tortured the other person, but hey, that was not important. Not really. However, any negative emotion the narcissist feels is quite strong. If you look at people who go on trial today for terrible behaviors, they generally only feel sorry that they were caught. They may apologize in court, but it isn’t real. There is no real feeling towards the victim or that person’s family. That’s the same for a narcissist. They perpetually see themselves as the victim, and have no understanding or belief in in the pain of others.

Envy of others or a belief that others are envious of him or her: There was some envy towards various monarchs, especially after Henry couldn’t ride anymore, and did not have a living male child in the line of succession. He believed that the lack of a son impacted his honor and the idea of his virility.

A demonstration of arrogant and haughty behaviors or attitudes: Henry was very arrogant, but then, kings were expected to behave in such a manner at times. And, this type of behavior was facilitated by members of his court.

In a proposed alternative model cited in DSM-5, NPD is characterized by moderate or greater impairment in personality functioning, manifested by characteristic difficulties in 2 or more of the following 4 areas [2] :
Identity
Self-direction
Empathy
Intimacy

See above.

Now, how did Henry get to be a narcissist? Well, his father was a wily man, who used his skills as a sly negotiator to move Henry’s future around on England’s royal chessboard until he died. Henry married Katherine of Aragon in happiness, which he did not have to do at the time because there was no-one to force his hand to this. His father had changed his candidates for marriage at various times and played with Katherine of Aragon’s life for at least five years and Henry saw this. When someone knows that they only matter as a chess piece, and that their real desires will not be taken into consideration, it can happen. And narcissists do not always show themselves earlier in their lives. If they know that they have to behave a certain way until they have power, then they act as needed. It has now been shown that personality continues to change over a lifetime. I think that the fall from his horse, in which he was unconscious for two hours could have left him with a traumatic brain injury. Many people who have such an injury change in their behavior towards others. Many times their family members and loved ones complain about how mean those individuals can become. A calm and gentle person can become violent and hateful towards others. It’s very difficult to deal with such a person and to know that this is not the normal behavior of the person they have known for years. I also believe that chronic pain leads to depression and anger. And treatment back then was terrible. In addition, it would not surprise me in Henry did not have diabetes because his ulcerated legs never did heal. Diabetes can cause mood swings and if there is no-one who can either defuse the situation or to whom the person will listen, it’s a bad situation.

*emedicine.medcape.com/article/1519417 and the criteria listed is from the DSM-V.

So, what do you think? I think that there were only two symptoms which were not valid for Henry: Demonstration of Arrogance and Envy of Others. To me, it means that he had seven of nine symptoms (not going with the Star Trek joke, because that’s too easy!)

November 20, 2017
12:38 pm
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Boleyn
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Thank you for posting such an interesting article. I think you have pretty much hit the nail on the head where PB is concerned (PB = Plump Buttocks, it’s one of my many names for Henry 8, and have a few choice names for the Duke of Norfolk as well)
It is however believed that PB did suffer with Diabetes and it’s my belief that his ulcerated legs didn’t heal because he had some called Hidradenitis suppurativa or HS for short.
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/hidradenitis-suppurativa/
Having Diabetes wouldn’t have helped this condition, and there is no cure.
The basic description I can give to what this condition actually is, is that the immune system attacks the body from the inside out, causing suppurating ulcers and abcesses, the condition is extremely painful and can make the sufferer feel depressed and very angry.
PB I believe did suffer from a bout of Dysentary and possibly malaria, when he went to France in 1512, and suffered an attack of smallpox or measles at some point shortly after his return from France. I believe Malaria can at times reoccur periodically, given the medicines of the time were often worse than the condition they were trying to treat, this may have weakened his immune system to the point where it triggered HS and of course from the 1536 jousting fall (His first being 1524 when he forgot his visor) things went down hill fast.
Some one with HS can have periods where the ulcers heal up and certainly PB did have an ulcer free period (and possibly during his second war in France in 1544) during his marriage to Katherine Howard, it was however short lived. HS is a very strange condition because if the ulcer does heal it can merely erupt in the same place or pop out elsewhere or sometimes or more likely both. PB started with just one ulcer on his leg, by the end of his life both legs were affected and he could barely walk and sometimes needing a early form of wheelchair and lift to get about his palace. Not to mention needing to be lowered onto a horse by means of a rope and pulley system.
If a ulcer erupts and swells to the point of bursting and doesn’t pop on it’s own then as we all know they would be drained what is drained off isn’t pleasent and can be a whole range of colours this indicates to me Streptococcal infection and boy does it stink, it can also cause ‎Necrotising fasciitis , this in turn can lead to Sepsis. Poor hygiene has nothing to do with the condition, and it is not infectious to those around the sufferer. It can however run in families and it’s possible that PB may have infected his children. I believe that Elizabeth had a sore leg in later life. HS (or rather the secondary infection that HS can cause I.E Streptococcal ) however may also be a possible explanation to why Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn had miscarriages and in KOA case stillbirths or short lived infants as well.
PB did have periods of a high tempreture perfuse sweating and hallucinations , signs of Sepsis in my opinion, which were only relieved when the ulcer either popped or was drained and after a period of recovery. HS attacks and affects, legs, armpits, buttock, chest, breasts and groin.
I will point out however that HS is an extremely rare condition and there are no known marker points to it, no one knows what causes it and there is known affective treatment. if it is caught or rather it is suspected by a doctor in the early stages and confirmed, some sufferers do get some relief from the symptoms with something called “Retinoids” but the drug is and can be just as bad as the condition and a sufferer who is given “Retinoids” is carefully monitored, with regular blood tests etc.
If the sufferer has severe stage 3 there is no hope of any relief and it’s my belief that this is exactly what was wrong with PB, the pain from the condition would not of helped his temper as well as bouts of depression. This was quoted to me by a sufferer of severe stage 3, the pain can be likened to be torn to pieces on the rack, with intense burning pains deep within the body, which doesn’t stop. Painkillers lesson the pain but it’s there all the time. His thoughts were it’s like being a large pelican no matter which way you turn you still have an enormous bill in front of you. Every now and then he also get a jolt like a lightening bolt shoot through his privy parts, as his HS affects, his legs, bottom and his groin.
I’m not sure if PB was confirmed as having a head injury in 1536 jousting fall, but it’s believed he had especially since his behaviour seemed to change when he recovered his sences. Although the Tudors (An excellent series which despite the glaring errors and the outragious poetic license, is fun to watch. Especially with such a stud muffin as Henry Cavill to drawl over.SurprisedWink)certainly made use of it showing the scene of the joust with blood coming from ears indicating they felt his skull had been fractured.
Mercury poisoning has also been suggested for his behaviour change,(Long term exposure to Mercury can cause mood swings and irrational behaviour, as well as leaving the person suseptable to suggestion) but there is no evidence that PB was ever given any medicine that contained Mercury.
I myself also threw in a suggestion that PB may have been exposed to Ergot which grows on Rye and wheat, there had been 2 bad harvests so naturally when the harvest had been gathered may have been damp stored in a dry place would have been ideal conditions for Ergot to grow. When the Rye and Wheat was milled the Ergot would have been in the flour and so the any bread baked with this Ergot infected flour would in turn affect cause problems. Ergot produces similar symptoms as a person exposed to LSD and again renders the person highly suseptable to sugesstion. But this is improbable theory as it wouldn’t have been just P.B who exhibited the symptoms of Ergot poisoning. Possible theories of where Ergot may have been a possible explanation to what happened is the Marie Celeste, or maybe even the Salem Witch Trials.
Some of the medicines used may have caused problems as well, Gawd knows what rubbish his doctors shoved down PB throat over the years, and I also guessing that PB was a hypercondiac, so possibly when he spent time stewing up his potions (when he wasn’t stewing up poison, lies and death with Cromwell) P.B may well of been mixing poison of his own without realising it.
Hunter S Jones and Kyra Kramer are both excellent historians in the field herbal medicine. Kyra has written many articles that make very compelling and thought provoking reading.
Please excuse my shocking spelling…..

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

May 25, 2018
7:02 pm
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HenryRex
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Henry probably didn’t change as much as has been emphasized by some historians. However, if he did, then brain damage caused by the jousting accident in 1524 fits the timeline best. The problem with any brain damage theory, though, is that Henry kept his mental faculties until the end. That is why I am mostly on board with the group that thinks Henry was always a tyrant. Age made him worse, but executing Empson and Dudley and then blowing your inherited wealth on an offensive war hardly makes for a heroic start.

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