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What were Henry's good points?
December 28, 2010
8:21 am
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ipaud
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When I think of who Henry VIII resembles today….

Putin, Siberian prison camps are his Tower of London.

Emperor Chavez, does a 3 hour long Reality TV program called “El Presidente” where he sings and plays guitar.

Silvio Berlusconi, when in Rome, Eh? Cool

Gbagbo Just like Wagbo, can't be voted off?

Mahmūd Ahmadinezhād, “Whats not to like about me?”

And… Am I the only one who sees Elisabeth I in Julia Gillard?

If it was not this, then it would be something else?

December 28, 2010
1:01 pm
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Sharon
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LadyJaneless said:

1) He sired Queen Elizabeth, but then never considered that she could take the throne, so let's just say he provided Tudor DNA.

2) He wrote “Greensleeves”, a good tune.


Oooh, Credit cannot be given to Henry for “Greensleeves.”  History says this tune was written during Elizabeth's reign.  Around 1580.  One less good point.

December 28, 2010
6:37 pm
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Anyanka
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ipaud said:

And… Am I the only one who sees Elisabeth I in Julia Gillard?


Not Maggie T??

It's always bunnies.

December 30, 2010
7:09 am
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Boleynfan
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Well to add to Henry's good points, he, like Elizabeth I, played musical instruments with the skill of a professional. He created the Church of England–it depends upon your view if you think that's good or not–and he did good work with the British Navy. He was very into the Renaissance and was a contact of the great notable scholars of the day, as he was a scholar himself.

"Grumble all you like, this is how it's going to be"

December 30, 2010
6:36 pm
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Anyanka
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wreckmasterjay said:

Anyanka said:

ipaud said:

And… Am I the only one who sees Elisabeth I in Julia Gillard?


Not Maggie T??

 


Who are these??? Sorry if its obvious!
 


Julia Gillard is the auburn haired PM of Australia.

 

Maggie T= Baroness Thatcher former PM of the UK.

It's always bunnies.

January 16, 2011
5:43 pm
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Kim
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Being Australian, I can't believe I never picked up on the Elizabeth-Julia connection, but now that you mention it…..

January 16, 2011
6:10 pm
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James of Ormonde
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I see that connection too (as the koala bear said to Qantas) but in a positive way. PM Gillard will have to shine with the water problems in Oz at the moment. I think the similarities will become more apparent.

March 9, 2011
12:37 am
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La Belle Creole
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Sharon said:

Paudie, You are right.  Henry was all that you say he was.  As far as Kings go, he did his share for England.  For the most part, however the changes he brought about were for his own selfish interests.

Most of us seem to have a problem with the “man” he was and how he used his power of kingship to destroy lives.  Yes, Anne loved him.  Many people loved him.  He seems to have been able to switch his love on and off like a faucet.  I'm sure when Henry loved a person, no matter for how long his love lasted, they felt as though the sun was shining on them.  The fact that his love never lasted, and his need to get rid of those he claimed to once love by killing them, is what is hard to get past.  Something was missing in his character.

He elevated Cromwell to a high government position with the belief he could trust him.  Cromwell pretty much served Henry without getting too involved with many of the factions of the court. And the sun was shining. Cromwell served the King. In the end, Henry listened to all the other factions when they spoke against Cromwell.  Where was Henry's loyalty for the man who had always looked out for his interests?  Henry felt no loyalties for anyone but himself. 

That's just one example of Henry's love.  There are many more, and that leads to the conclusion that he was just an awful human being. 

And not a horrible King.


Personally, I think the man was a sociopath. 

June 13, 2011
4:59 pm
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Anne fan
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As a 21st Century woman I wouldn't touch Henry with a bargepole, let alone anything more intimate. But if I'd been a 16th Century woman I'd probably have liked him very much. In most senses Henry was very much a product of his time: as king he was above all other men and next only to God – women didn't count. As a result, he had to be ruthless, feared and admired. It probably came fairly easily as a different value was placed on life in those days. There's a wonderful line in Anne of a Thousand Days which pretty much sums it up, “When Henry of England prays; God listens.”

 

I think the wound on his leg made him a worse person as he lost some of his confidence in himself, which meant he became more suspicious. I think the opposition to his divorce from CoA genuinely hurt and surprised him and it's also the foundation of the factional politics which steadily grew throughout his reign and in the end he couldn't really control. He did manage to save Cranmer and there were similar problems in other reigns, eg the Catholic plots in Charles II's reign.

 

What Henry probably lacked was focus: he was good at many things and the flattery that comes the way of a personal monarch who has the power of life, death and money over everyone's lives led to a monstrously inflated ego. Again, he wasn't unique in that. (I have a CD of music from the Tudor court – I got it from Amazon UK, it has a picture of Katherine Parr on the cover – and Henry's compositions are a little on the heavy-handed side…)

 

Where Henry was unusual for the era in which he lived is that I think he genuinely liked women. I think my source is Starkey but there's records of him in his later years insisting on personally inspecting the rooms women who had been invited to an entertainment were to use to ensure they were good enough.  Also, three of his wives were definitely well educated (Anne, CoA and KP) and he made sure his daughters were fantastically well educated. Partly that was the humanist influence of Erasmus and More but Henry wasn't scared of educated females – I know men alive today who have a problem with educating women! Also, he married for love on five occasions to the astonishment of his fellow European rulers. And he was quite happy for Anne to read forbidden books and make suggestions to him. She might not have been an equal but she was a partner and, given the context, that would have been very flattering and attractive and I think it's something good you can say about him.

 

Also, it's in Henry's reign that you start to really see the pride in being English that really took off in Elizabeth's reign. He's also credited with founding the navy and it's in his reign that for the first time we see the idea that the parish should look after its poor enshrined in law – directly leading to the Elizabethan Poor Law, which many take as the foundation of the welfare state.

 

So, yes, I can find something good to say about him! But going back to Anne of a Thousand Days there's also a suggestion (made by Thomas Boleyn) that the king must be very careful not to confuse God's will with his own – and, for me, that's where Henry makes a lot of his mistakes. (Although arguably his Stuart relations got it even more wrong than he did!)

June 18, 2011
4:11 pm
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DuchessofBrittany
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Anne fan,

I meant to reply sooner, but slipped my mind. A common occurence with me. I wanted to say that I liked your post and agree with your points.

Henry, from a modern perspective, is difficult to like or understand. But, he was a God, a renaissance man, a rock star of his day. I suppose, if I were a woman about court, I would fine Henry (Starkey's Virtuous Prince) attractive. There was something about a young Henry that speaks to his good nature as a youth. He was generous, kind to his friends, and was KOA's knight in shining armour when she was alone. I try not to forget the young Henry.

Sadly, as he aged, that young and virtuous prince turned into the worst version of himself. The lion learned his strength and his destroyed anyone who stood in his way. The friends, beloved wives, children were disposable chess pieces.

You are spot on about the Stuarts getting it even more wrong than Henry. I read a theory once that Henrician England directly impacted Charles I reign and fate, and subsequent Civil War. It seems Henry's influence reached far beyond his grave (or his lineage for that matter).

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

June 18, 2011
6:49 pm
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Bella44
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Very true about the Stuarts.  What worked for Henry (divinely appointed by God etc) didn't work so well for Charles a hundred years later. One of Henry's good points is that much of everything he did, he did out of the fear of the country descending into civil war, whereas Charles much of the time seemed oblivious to the fact that that was the way England was headed.  Welcomed it, even.

I wonder if Henry got the irony as a headless Charles was laid to rest next to him…. 

June 20, 2011
5:32 am
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Anne fan
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Bella44 said:

Very true about the Stuarts.  What worked for Henry (divinely appointed by God etc) didn't work so well for Charles a hundred years later. One of Henry's good points is that much of everything he did, he did out of the fear of the country descending into civil war, whereas Charles much of the time seemed oblivious to the fact that that was the way England was headed.  Welcomed it, even.

I wonder if Henry got the irony as a headless Charles was laid to rest next to him…. 


Bella44 – that made me laugh. But I have a suspicion that instead Henry would be berating him for not making sure that all the best army commanders of the day were loyal to the crown!

June 20, 2011
5:45 am
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Anne fan
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DuchessofBrittany said:

Anne fan,

I meant to reply sooner, but slipped my mind. A common occurence with me. I wanted to say that I liked your post and agree with your points.

Henry, from a modern perspective, is difficult to like or understand. But, he was a God, a renaissance man, a rock star of his day. I suppose, if I were a woman about court, I would fine Henry (Starkey's Virtuous Prince) attractive. There was something about a young Henry that speaks to his good nature as a youth. He was generous, kind to his friends, and was KOA's knight in shining armour when she was alone. I try not to forget the young Henry.

Sadly, as he aged, that young and virtuous prince turned into the worst version of himself. The lion learned his strength and his destroyed anyone who stood in his way. The friends, beloved wives, children were disposable chess pieces.

You are spot on about the Stuarts getting it even more wrong than Henry. I read a theory once that Henrician England directly impacted Charles I reign and fate, and subsequent Civil War. It seems Henry's influence reached far beyond his grave (or his lineage for that matter).


DuchessofBrittany,

 

Thank you for the kind words. You're right too about Henry's influence reaching beyond the grave. It's interesting how the Tudors made the divine right of kings work for them whereas it was the Stuarts' undoing. Elizabeth in particular knew when to give way – such as the golden speech which came immediately after she had renounced her prerogative of awarding monopolies after realising how unpopular it was. Henry's approach was a little different – from what I can make out he threw warring factions a victim or two as and when required.

 

But even in his later years Henry does seem to have had the ability to charm when he wanted to. I wonder if that charm was enough to make people think he wouldn't turn on them?

June 20, 2011
6:05 am
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DuchessofBrittany
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Anne fan said:

DuchessofBrittany,

 

Thank you for the kind words. You're right too about Henry's influence reaching beyond the grave. It's interesting how the Tudors made the divine right of kings work for them whereas it was the Stuarts' undoing. Elizabeth in particular knew when to give way – such as the golden speech which came immediately after she had renounced her prerogative of awarding monopolies after realising how unpopular it was. Henry's approach was a little different – from what I can make out he threw warring factions a victim or two as and when required.

 

But even in his later years Henry does seem to have had the ability to charm when he wanted to. I wonder if that charm was enough to make people think he wouldn't turn on them?


You're most welcome. Your reply was intelligent and insightful. One of the reasons I believe history is so important to learn and teach is that what came before impacts us all, whether we are aware of it or not. The Stuarts inherited Henry's kingdom (as it were), and where he succeded they failed, despite similar religious and cultural ideals. For me, the Stuarts lacked the charisma or intelliegence of the Tudors, and I've never understood some people's fascination with them. But, that's just me.

Henry was a charmer. From the bios I've read about him, he was the Hollywood charisma. People wanted to be seen with him, even if they did not particularly like him as a person. I look to a few of his wives as an example. They were all charmed by him, sucked in my his gifts, affections, yet they all fell prey to a predator. Many people at court befell the same fate: Boleyns, Howards, among others. I guess they believe Henry would treat them differently. The Seymours seemed to have found the formula: give the King a son, and you will reap the benefits of blood lines.

Katherine Parr's survival is one of my favourite moments in Henry's reign. She saved herself by intelligence and charm. She turned the tables on Henry and her enemies. Charm the charmer!

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

June 20, 2011
9:53 am
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Neil Kemp
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Yes Duchess, Katherine Parr's intelligence saved her from Henry and her enemies, I'm just sad that she didn't use that same intelligence to work out the type of man Thomas Seymour was, a mistake which was to indirectly lead to her death within 20 months of Henry.

June 20, 2011
11:29 am
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Sharon
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Neil Kemp said:

Yes Duchess, Katherine Parr's intelligence saved her from Henry and her enemies, I'm just sad that she didn't use that same intelligence to work out the type of man Thomas Seymour was, a mistake which was to indirectly lead to her death within 20 months of Henry.


 
Neil, It seems that intelligence goes right out the window when it comes to the head-over-heels type of love which Katherine had for Thomas.  Cry
Anne Fan, you do Henry proud.  A beautifully written post.

Every Stuart who sat on the throne of Scotland believed they were given the throne by God, and they ruled accordingly.  James and Charles were following in their ancestor's footsteps.  However, they lacked the charisma of their own predecessors.   James, from the time he was an infant, was brought up under the austere control of his councillor's who were of a very strict religious sect. Far different than Henry.  James' upbringing was more constrained than even Henry's childhood was.  Charles was also brought up to believe he too held the throne by divine right.  I am of the opinion that the Stuarts held this belief more strongly than Henry did.  That's what got them in trouble.  There were moments where Henry looked like he was willing to compromise.  James and Charles were never willing to compromise.

June 20, 2011
10:04 pm
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Bill1978
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I'd have to say one of his good points, is his conviction to do what he wanted without worrying about what it actually meant. I say this, because without his strong coviction to divorce Katherine at any cost to marry Anne, the Church Of England would not have been created and I wouldn't have been born an Anglican. Which means I would most likely be a different person to the person who I am today.

June 21, 2011
3:50 am
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Anne fan
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I think between us we have Henry down as charming, charismatic, determined and dangerous. Even today that's not an unattractive combination (especially without the executioner to call upon).

 

I've just started re-reading Jane Dunn's book about Mary Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I and find it interesting that Mary was desperate to meet Elizabeth whereas the more Elizabeth heard about Mary's charm the more she didn't want to meet her. Elizabeth is quoted as saying, 'There is something sublime in the words and bearing of the Queen of Scots that constrains even her enemies to speak well of her.'

 

I don't know about anyone else but I'm really looking forward to Starkey's second volume on Henry. Hopefully it will offer as many insights as his Six Wives did.

June 21, 2011
4:44 am
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DuchessofBrittany
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I am excited about Starkey's second volume on Henry. I learned so much about Henry in Virtuous Prince, and gave me insight into a man who becomes a shadow of his former self. I hope to learn more about Henry's transformation into a delusional, narcassitic tyrant, and how it all went wrong.

I've always wondered if Elizabeth feared Mary because of her charm. So many feel under Mary Staurt's charm and charisma (look at poor Earl of Shrewsbury. He never stood a chance). Perhaps, Elizabeth did not want to fall victim, and find herself in a situation of heart over head. Jane Dunn's book is fantatsic, isn't it?

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

June 23, 2011
8:13 am
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I think Henry started off quite well; but with each year lost a little bit of sanity in exchange for more power. Anne met him, toyed with him a bit, perhaps fell in love, realised he was monstrous, became bored in his company, after her death his mind festered with his leg. He was immensely popular with the public… perhaps as they didn't know him well!

"A fresh young damsel, who could trip and go"

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