“1536: The Year that Changed Henry VIII” is a wonderful book by historian Dr Suzannah Lipscomb, former Research Curator at Hampton Court Palace and now a lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of East Anglia. I thoroughly enjoyed this book because it’s nothing like the other Henry VIII books, it looks at the events of a specific year during Henry’s reign, namely 1536, and examines the dramatic impact they had on the King.
I have always struggled with understanding Henry VIII’s psyche, and what made him change from the “virtuous prince” (as David Starkey calls him) who came to the throne in 1509 to the monster and tyrant of the late 1530s and 1540s, and Suzannah Lipscomb has a fascinating theory regarding this. She doesn’t blame Anne Boleyn, she doesn’t blame his jousting accident, she thinks that it was a combination of factors and events which came to a head in 1536. I have to agree with her, 1536 really does seem to be “the year that changed Henry VIII” and her book really offers an insight into the man we’re all desperately trying to understand. Those of you who follow my post at The Anne Boleyn Files will know how useful I found this book when I was examining whether Henry VIII was a tyrant. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in Henry VIII and the fall of Anne Boleyn, it won’t disappoint.
Here’s my rundown of the content of “1536”:-