The Death of Henry VIII

“You often boast to me that you have the king’s ear and often have fun with him, freely and according to your whims. This is like having fun with tamed lions – often it is harmless, but just as often there is fear of harm. Often he roars in rage for no known reason, and suddenly the fun becomes fatal.”

Thomas More

Henry VIII in later life, Hever Castle

On Friday 28th January 1547, the man who had started his reign as a ‘Virtuous Prince’ died at Whitehall Palace. He was aged 55.

The day before his death Henry saw his confessor and received Holy Communion. Although death was obviously imminent not even Henry’s doctors had the courage to break the news to the King. It was after all treason to predict the King’s death.

It was though also imperative that a man have time to prepare his soul and so Sir Anthony Denny undertook the perilous task of warning his master that ‘in man’s judgement, he was not like to live’ and should remember his sins, ‘as becometh every good Christian man to do’. Henry responded by saying that he believed that Christ in all His mercy would ‘pardon me all my sins, yea, though they were greater than can be’ (Weir, Pg. 502).

On this matter, Henry VIII was undoubtedly correct- his sins were ‘greater than can be’.

Although the exact number of people that were executed by order of Henry VIII is unknown and estimates do vary widely, some suggest that the total could have been as high as 72,000, yet other estimates are much lower (Historic Royal Palaces).

The second half of Henry’s reign was stained with the executions of wives, relatives, close friends and confidantes. Henry must have feared for his soul as only nine days before his death he executed his last victim, Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (Childs, Pg. 311).

It is no wonder then that Henry’s last known words were about summoning Archbishop Cranmer to his side. Denny asked the King whether he wanted any ‘learned man’ to speak with and the King responded that ‘if he had any, it should be Dr Cranmer, but I will first take a little sleep, and then, as I feel myself, I will advise upon the matter’ (Weir, Pg. 502).

Sometime after midnight on 28 January Cranmer was summoned to the King’s bedside but when he arrived Henry was past speech (Wilson, Pg. 496). Derek Wilson describes how

“At the end there was no master and servant, no prince and churchman; just a priest preparing a departing soul for eternity. Cranmer begged Henry to give a sign that he trusted Christ for salvation and, in response, he felt the grip on his hand tighten slightly. It was an evangelical departure: no anointing; no reading of Latin prayers; just a simple acknowledgment of the all-sufficient atoning work of Christ. Cranmer would have been glad of that.” (Wilson, Pg. 496).

Shortly afterwards, at around 2 a.m., King Henry VIII left this world.

The exact cause of the King’s death is uncertain, although Alison Weir believes that it was likely to have been a pulmonary embolism (Pg. 502).

For the following two days after Henry’s death his body remained undisturbed in his chamber. His passing was kept a secret so much so that his meals were still being brought to his lodgings.

It was not until the morning of 31 January that Lord Chancellor Wriothesley announced to parliament, through a steady stream of tears, that Henry VIII was dead (Wilson, Pg. 497).

Edward VI of England, by William Scrots, c. 1550

On the same day young Edward VI was brought to the Tower and proclaimed King. The heralds cried ‘The King is dead! Long live the King!’

For a few days Henry VIII’s body, embalmed and encased in lead and surrounded by burning tapers, lay in state in the presence chamber at Whitehall, before being moved to the chapel.

Alison Weir describes how ‘there were solemn dirges and tolling bells in every parish church in the land, in memory of the late King.’ Even Henry’s on and off friend and foe, Francis I, ordered a Requiem Mass at Notre Dame.

On 14 February Henry VIII’s body begins its final journey from Whitehall to Windsor.

“The vast coffin, covered with palls of blue velvet and cloth of gold, lay on a chariot drawn by black-caparisoned horses, who drew it along roads that had been swept and even widened for the occasion. On top of the coffin was a wax effigy of the King, carved by Nicholas Bellin and clad in crimson velvet trimmed with miniver; on its head was a crown atop ‘a night cap of black satin, set full of precious stones.’ It wore jeweled bracelets and velvet gloves adorned with rings.” (Weir, Pg. 503)

So it seems that even in death Henry remained magnificent.

The cortege rested overnight at Syon Abbey and the next day reached its destination, Windsor.

It took sixteen very strong Yeoman of the Guard to carry Henry’s coffin into the church and lower it into the vault in the choir of St George’s Chapel, in accordance with the King’s will.

Here Henry was laid to rest next to his beloved Queen Jane, mother of Edward VI- Henry’s longed for heir.

Queen Catherine Parr watched the sermon being preached by Gardiner from Katherine of Aragon’s closet (Weir, Pg. 503).

At the conclusion of the ceremony, the chief officers of the household broke their white staves of office and threw them into the vault after the coffin.

Henry VIII had planned to be buried in a magnificent Renaissance tomb that he’d taken over from Wolsey but this was never completed. Work ceased on the tomb with the death of Edward VI and it was partially dismantled by the Commonwealth in 1649. Under Oliver Cromwell, most of the fine metalwork was sold off or melted down and the one remaining candlestick now rests in Ghent Cathedral.

Henry’s sarcophagus also survives but does not contain the body of Henry VIII. Instead it was used as the base of Lord Nelson’s tomb in the crypt of St Paul’s cathedral.

The great Henry now lies under a simple, 19th century black marble floor slab that reads,

In a vault

Beneath this marble slab

Are deposited the remains


Jane Seymour Queen of King Henry VIII


King Henry VIII


Henry and Jane are not alone in death as the vault is also the final resting place of Charles I and of one of Queen Anne’s infants, both placed there in the seventeenth century.

This short video presented by David Starkey is about Henry’s final resting place.

Fast Tube by Casper

To some Henry was ‘Great Harry’, the man who rescued England from the tyranny of the Roman church, the Renaissance prince, the ruler of the most magnificent court in English history and patron to the arts.

Yet to others he was a tyrant, an unmerciful monster that murdered hundreds, almost bankrupted his treasury in pursuit of glory and the person responsible for the destruction of hundreds of abbeys and churches.

One of Henry’s earliest biographers, writing in the year of Henry’s death, William Thomas declared that the King

“was undoubtedly the rarest man that lived in his time. I say not this to make him a god, nor in all his doings I will not say he has been a saint. He did many evil things, but not as a cruel tyrant or as a hypocrite. I wot not where in all the histories I have read to find one equal to him.” (Weir, Pg. 504).

And after 464 years Thomas’ declaration remains true for Henry VIII still has no equal.

References & Sources

Childs, J. Henry VIII’s Last Victim, 2008.

Historic Royal Palaces, viewed January 28, 2011, Link

Weir, A. Henry VIII: King and Court, 2001.

Wilson, D. In the Lion’s Court: Power, Ambition, and Sudden Death in the Reign of Henry VIII, 2001.

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  1. Carol Dennis says:

    Of couse, it is well known that Henry did a lot of bad things. Never-the-less I believe that he was in many ways a great King. He is also as much a part of Britain as Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding. Henry asserted a place for England on the international stage. He earned respect from King Francis and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.
    Henry was the principal founder of the English Navy. His navy was the key to Englands later victory over the Spanish Armada.. He also patronised innovations in both the arts amd medical sciences.

    • I agree Carol, in many ways he was ‘Great Harry’ and that’s why he continues to fascinate us today!

      • Emma Nation says:

        Henry continues to fascinate people because he executed his wives. People don’t usually do that, not even kings. His sins were greater, much greater than his virtues, though I suppose it’s fascinating that he would throw his good fortune away in light of his mighty station, piety, and how talented he was. The most annoying thing about Henry is how he played the victim, yet terrified his subjects so much they could not correct him.

    • I think that most people will never understand the working mind of Henry but, I do not think that he is no greater monster than some leaders today. There are hundreds and thousand through out history who have been sent to their graves under the guise of law or simply for being Jewish, Black or other wise. Innocent people are often left as the casualties of war torn countries under their so called leaders. In those days things were much different and traitors were on every hand, as a King it would not have been wise to trust every one around you or even close friends and relatives as most of them were greedy and self serving and only wanted power for themselves. Henry did what it took to keep his throne safe and not be overthrown by those who sought his crown. In the process of his own vanity, and power hungry struggle he put a lot of good and innocent people to death. Most would agree if not for his strong handed leadership things ewe see today in the lines of religious practices may not have been.

    • I saw a special that said Henry’s irrational, unpredictable temper all started after an accident while jousting. He was knocked unconscious for two hours. Possibly had brain damage in the frontal cortex and as we all hear today, experts say have a dramatic affect on behavior of being “crazy”

    • Dick Cheng says:

      Yeah,, he drinks red wine a lot each day and was so fat. As a result, in subsequent pregnancies, babies may suffer from extra fluid in their tissues, anemia, jaundice, enlarged spleens, or heart failure, often leading to miscarriage between about 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy.

    • Dick Cheng says:

      From Dick Cheng

      Yeah,, he drinks red wine a lot each day and was so fat. As a result, in subsequent pregnancies, babies may suffer from extra fluid in their tissues, anemia, jaundice, enlarged spleens, or heart failure, often leading to miscarriage between about 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy.

      To Everyone

  2. Catrina Whitley says:


    Thank you for the great article and the commemoration of Henry’s death. Fantastic Quote by Thomas Moore! Would you mind sending on the citation? It is such a VERY perfect quote for our argument about Henry’s psychological demise. Also, you state Henry was embalmed. Do you happen to know with what? Current embalming was not devised until the Civil War, so I am curious if you know what was used during this period.

    Thanks – again – for another fantastic article.

    • Isn’t it a fabulous quote! It comes from Derek Wilson’s ‘In the Lion’s Court’ just prior to the contents page. Now the information about Henry being embalmed is from Alison Weir’s ‘Henry VIII: King & Court” but there are no other details that I can find. I will dig around a little more and see what I can come up with. You might also find this quote interesting, Sir Walter Raleigh wrote of Henry: ‘If all the pictures and patterns of a merciless prince were lost in the world, they might all again be painted to the life out of the story of this King.’ This is from Weir’s ‘Henry VIII: King & Court’ page 505.

    • I found this about embalming in Henry’s time.

      “Embalming during the Middle Ages included evisceration, immersion of the body in alcohol, insertion of preservative herbs into incisions previously made in the fleshy parts of the body, and wrapping the body in tarred or waxed sheets. The Danish king of England, Canute II, was embalmed by the above, or similar methods, as were the English monarchs William the Conqueror and Edward I. William’s body was found well preserved in the French city of Caen in the 16th century; Edward’s was also found to be well preserved when it was disinterred in Westminster Abbey in 1700; and Canute’s body was still in a state of good preservation when it was discovered in Winchester Cathedral in 1776.”

    • He was badly embalmed, if at all. The coffin burst at Syon House.

  3. I don’t think we will ever understand Henry for lots of reasons–we don’t have the same ideas about ruling and power as Henry did–he really believed he was God’s chosen man to rule England–and his people agreed with the Great Chain of Being, everything ordered by God. He started out so well, a true Renaissance prince. What happened? He got drunk on power, I think. Starting with the break with Rome and continuing as he rid himself of one wife,, then another. A man of great achievement and also great cruelty–good-humored, yet deadly dangerous, Defender of the Faith–yet broke with Rome–what a man he must have been!

  4. I always think it is ashame when the great Henry VIII is only remembered as a tyranical, wife murdering, obese King, they miss out on so much of his story by not finding out more about the young, intelligent, athlectic man that he was for many years before he changed.

  5. They were all fascinating characters! Duke of Suffolk. Charles Brandon, THomas moore. Jane boleyn. Would love to know more about Lady (queen) Grey. The princes in the tower, All of it. Tom Wyatt, Anne of Cleeves. Little King Edward. I think Anne Boleyn was set-up to get her out of the way for Seymor,she was innocent. I read anything I can get my hands on! The Tudors by Swowtine wasn’t accurate, showed nothing about Mary Boleyn & her bastard son by Henry,

    • There is no proof that there was a bastard child by Mary from Henry. As a matter of fact, there is hardly any evidence regarding Mary at all much less the relationship with Henry. There is no evidence of when it started, how long it lasted or if it was actually anything more than a one night stand even. The evidence that it started around 1522 was due to the elevations her husband received but at the same time their were other courtiers that served Henry that also received elevation during the same time frame and he wasn’t sleeping with their wives. The only other actual evidence (besides gossip) the affair ever existed was when Henry requested the dispensation to marry Anne it indicated “affinity arising from illicit intercourse in whatever degree, even the first”. The only other information we have that links Mary to Henry is hearsay and gossip mostly speaking in regards to the news about Anne and Henry. So by all accounts, we have no evidence whatsoever that there is actually a child born from that relationship to whatever extent it was, to whenever it started, for however long it lasted and for when it ever ended.

  6. Jean Roughley says:

    Henry will never be forgotten. His sins and glories are all well known. To me, the very best thing he ever did was to father Elizabeth!

  7. No doubt Henry VIII was an intelligent person but as we all know; money and power corrupts and Henry had plenty of both. Beside the notion that kings where appointed by God, as Anne Barnhill mentioned, Henry apparently also believed all that Machiavelli later wrote about in his book The Prince to be true. I think that Henry in spite of disagreeing on most of his father’s opinions really took his view about the importance of an heir to heart and he also “inherited” Henry VII’s fear of conspiracies and how to swiftly handle such events. Henry’s gradually health deterioration and becoming obese made him of course frustrated and dissatisfied thus annoyed at any triviality.
    I find the most intriguing characteristic of Henry to be the immense contrast between the amazing generosity and utter cruelty (or maybe more rightly) unforgivingness he showed throughout his entire reign. Please bear with my English since it isn’t my native language.

  8. He reminds me so much of my headmaster, Mr Barnett. A fat tyrant. Like Oliver Hardy from Hell. Amazing to see the resemblance in portraits of QE 1 and son. Same mean little mouth, same long hooked nose. Should really disinter him and do a reconstruction.

  9. In deed, the man Henry was what we know as an achiever. So skilled in many ways, from music to understanding the intricacies of architecture. A man to be admired particularly in his youth. What happened to that man who showed so much promise? Lord Aston made this famous quote; “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” How many any of us have lived in a police state under a totalitarian regime, such as North Korea?
    To live in an atmosphere of terror, were one word out of place would earn you hours of torture and a horrendous death. Then welcome to the world of Tudor England, under the reign of the esteemed Henry V111.
    Esteemed by who? Verbally, by those who feared for their lives and the “common folk” who are told to sing a happy tune, despite grinding poverty. Finally, as I think upon this man’s life I feel a genuine sadness for him. He had the opportunity and the power to change peoples lives for the good. To demonstrate acts of forgiveness for peoples weakness and foolishness. To him who is given much, much is required. I too am forced to face myself; how would I be remembered, had I walked in his shoes. For what would it profit a man if he gained the whole world, but in the end, forfeited his soul.

    • I do agree with you on many aspects. It seems to me t hat you are a seemingly religious person. A am myself, but I do think that the natural order of things happened. Then most of the worlds power was born aristocrats, and today most of ours is elected except for example; the Queen of England. I say was Henry no different than some of the leaders today. Some of our leaders now are even more crafty and self-serving than Henry could have ever been. Look at how Hitler orchestrated the holocaust. Take a good look at all the other countries who still use beheadings as means of punishment. Our own USA military at Abugrav, using water boarding and other forms of torture.
      You say how would you have been remembered if you walked in Henry’s shoes? I do not know because every mans soul and mind and heart is different. To be a King and run a country all the while demanding the respect of your peers and fellow countrymen could not have been an easy feat. Being a King meant more than just making other people happy. Look at our legislature today do we agree with everything Congress passes or our President stamps, No we don’t but we are not the only ones these people have to satisfy. Their decisions are supposed to be based on the common welfare of all. The truth be told we all compromise ourselves to some degree everyday, when we go to work, when we deal with friends, family even our church family. We often have to make decisions someone else may think is unfair for the common good, that is the way the world works and has through out history. Do I agree with the Tudor way of ruling, no I think things could have been handled a better way. Since Henry was a man and not a God he was subject to the vanities and fallacies of the flesh. He was right about one thing, no man should be able to tell you who to marry or love, but I only think he came to this conclusion when he wanted Anne Boleyn so badly. He was willing to do anything to gain her as long as it benefited him. In summary the times may have changed but people are still basically the same.

      • I agree. There is a saying ‘Poverty is relative to society’…what we see as being ‘poor’ is far removed from 3rd world countries poverty. I think this applies to Kingship…Henry’s reigned according to his time, there is no denying he was a hard work in his latter years, and behaved selfishly, but he was no worse than many who had the power of the throne if you look through the history of ‘Absolute Power’ ruling. Edward 1st, was a tyrannical King, Richard the Lion Heart slaughter millions in his wake of the crusades, the War of the Roses etc. and as you say we have seen the repeat of tyranny in living memory, in a ‘modern world’…which is more frightening to me.
        I think on the anniversary of his death in a few hours time he should be remembered for the best he had to give not the worst. Because without him and his glittering court, his marital pursuits for a son what would we have to talk about!! would we know of Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymore etc….I think history would be a poorer place without him. 🙂

        • So true , I love the pomp and pageantry of those times.There is nothing better than reading a good historical romance. in this case the romance was real. Catherine got dealt a raw hand but Anne was dealt the ultimate blow. It goes to show you that 2 wrongs definitely do not make a right. This could not have happened today. There would have been some serious wig pulling and hair extensions flying all over the place a serious cat fight going on. Only in Tudor England could a man have 2 women under the same roof and both of them remain some what civil to each other knowing that the other woman was there vying to take your place. Women of that time were often put in impossible situations. We as women had no power even if you were born into to it. They still expected you to marry and turn the power over to your husband. Parliament was afraid of having a woman ruler because they felt that women could be easily influenced by emotions and easily over thrown by more powerful men in opposing kingdoms. Women held very little value in that time period. I am so glad today that we have been liberated from those earlier treatments.

          • LOL, my imagination ran wild there seeing Katherine and Anne rolling through the Great Hall, a big ball of velvet and damask, French Hoods and English Gables being grabbed by each other as they brawled through the Great Hall of one of Henry’s palaces, 🙂

            The fear of a female monarch was a great one, and perhaps still was a matter for concern for many centuries after. But the ladies proved them very wrong, even Mary Tudor had her good moments. They weren’t perfect, but they were up there will the best of Kings.
            And yes we do need to count our blessings in many areas of our lives today being lucky enough to live in countries were we have rights and freedom, this goes for both sexes too I think.

  10. That match would have been an interesting one. You could have sold ring side seats to that one…L.O.L.. I would have liked to see that brawl take place myself. Can you imagine what was going through Catherine
    ‘s mind as she sat by and watched other women parade around with her husband and she was the Queen? Having to acknowledge his illegitimate son by Bessie Blount and seeing Anne being raised up even as she was being cast aside. Knowing that she could not stop Henry from ousting her out of a throne. She was a better woman than I would have been. I have to believe that she was like so many women of today thinking that He will son tire of his latest play pretty and return once again to her side. Of course we know that this didn’t happen. So many times we as women underestimate the love a man can actually have for a woman, mistress or not. Clearly he wanted Anne Bolyne an no one not even the church was going to stand in his way to get her. This is just an older version of Scandal on ABC. Talk about fantasy in what world does the President throw away his wife for the pretty high powered mistress? Only on Television but the reality is that it has a possibility of happening why couldn’t he if he really wanted to? I have the The Tudors series produced by Showtime. I love watching it, I have also researched different things that happened in the movie compared to what really happened then. It was an interesting find to say the least. The Duke of Suffolk did not die in the arms of his mistress as portrayed in the movie. He lived a long life and died peacefully at home with his wife. But the other ending made for better television I guess.

    • Oh defiantly, made for TV and high ratings, I have the DVDs and enjoy it also, you just had to take it for what it was, entertainment. I never watch any historical drama with expectations of being historically correct, then I never get disappointed 🙂 I do really enjoy the ‘spin’ that’s usually applied in most of them though, but I also really enjoy the costume design and the locations/settings.
      Did you notice they used the ‘wrong sister’ in the ‘wrong country, marrying the ‘wrong King’ in that series too? Margaret Tudor instead of Mary.. lol.

      • The sad thing is the movie the Tudors was so good until I didn’t notice the wrong sister and other discrepancies, until after I had read the book and it confused me so I had to watch it again… l.o.l… Have you watched any of the other versions of Tudor history such as the Other Bolyen Girl.
        That was a goodie!! that one was off the hook good. It did not however cover a lot of ground as far as the wars and killings. It was centered on the meeting of Mary and her sister Anne. You also were able to see the interaction with Anne’s mother and how she felt about what was happening to her family. I read this book also after I watched the movie.
        I love historical romance and Belle is a good movie to watch. Also I read that Anne’s skin coloring was not the pasty white seen on TV but a darker olive color, read her history it is interesting.

        • Being ‘mature’ 🙂 …my intro into the Tudors was the well known BBC series in 1970 starring Keith Michell as a girl, soooo long ago, lol. of course the filming techniques look dated now, it was more like theatre I suppose. But I was captivated, and to me Keith Michell has never been surpassed as Henry. There was also a feature film made with him as King. Perhaps you have seen them.
          That series and film lead me to read the novels, fiction mainly at that time Jean Plaidy, Nora Lofts and the likes, some with good research for their books, some with a lot of artistic licence, then that lead to reading books written by historians, which help clear away the myths.
          I still do like to read fiction, I think it brings the people to life, its so easy to forget that they were human beings with emotions too somewhere under all that cut throat ambition. It also gives the brain a rest, as the factual accounts can be heavy going at times. It is amazing how differently Historians can interpret the times and people too, making it more interesting.
          Yes I have seen the Other Boleyn Girl, and read the book, Ms. Gregory is a very good story teller, with a mix of fact and invention, I enjoyed it. But I didn’t like the film I’m afraid, I wasn’t impressed. It didn’t even resemble the book to me, but we all have different perspectives.
          Anne of a Thousand Days is my ultimate favourite on Anne, Genevieve Bujold, like Keith Michell as Henry, she is my favourite ‘Anne’, but Richard Burton was a very good Henry. A Man For All Seasons, is another of my favourites too, about Thomas Moore, both ‘oldies’ I’m afraid, lol. Both were originally written and performed on stage. All the ones I have mentioned are on DVD.
          I have quite a few historical films, from early Bette Davis playing Elizabeth, all the way through to the latest Mary Queen of Scots film which is quite ‘arty’ and different, I enjoyed it, but it has had mixed reviews.
          Have you read The Boleyn Inheritance, another P. Gregory’s books, that is a bout the so called infamous Jane Rochford, another good story, but with a lot of embellishment.
          I received The Boleyn King by Laura Andersen, one of 11 books I received for Xmas!!!. This is the first of a trilogy of books, pure fiction and ‘what if’…stories based on Anne giving Henry a living son who inherits the throne, can’t wait to read this. At the moment I am watching Wolf Hall on TV, and have begun reading Thomas Cromwell by Robert Hutchinson, a biography of the King’s right hand man!!! So many books, to many other BORING things I have to do before I get chance to sit and read…
          I have not seen Belle, but now you have mentioned it I will. It looks good.

          Yes Anne was quite ‘swarthy’ so say contemporary accounts, opposite to what was fashionable at those times, pale and fair/blonde. So you could see why she stood out with her French ways and styled clothes. No great beauty it is said, but she made the very best of what she had, backed with a good education, grace an wit…a ‘femme fatale’ perhaps!! A fascinating woman.

          • I do not know how old you are I am in my late 40’s I have not hear do of this series. I will look for it on the internet. I do have some Phillipa Gregory books on PC and I have yet to read them. I am not sure if the books you mention are one of the titles. Since you mentioned Anne of a Thousand days I will definitely watch it. I really liked Jonathan Ryes Myers as Henry he played him well. Of course we know Henry was never this good looking. I loved him in the Dracula series that was on CBS. I would have gladly changed places with Mena’s character on that film…l.o.l…
            The other Bolyne Girl book was good and I really liked the movie because it was interesting to see the other side played so well. Scarlette Johansen and Natalie Portman did a great job with the characters they played. Eric Bana could have been a force to recon with if he had of developed Henry’s character a bit more. If the real Catherine looked anywhere near how they portrayed her in film I probably would have wanted a divorce myself L.O.L… I do think that the Catherine in the Tudors on Showtime was decent looking for a change. Did you know they are making a new 2015 Mary Queen of Scots, I read about it on IMB.
            I am glad you watched so many of these films . I am going to watch the ones you suggested and see how I like them. I am really glad you mentioned them.
            Thanks (smile)
            You are right we do tend to forget that these people were ever human and walking this earth. I am sure that no one could ever know what they thought or many of their true feelings. So much rich history in the non-fiction books. I have yet to read The love letters Henry wrote to Anne and The Wives of Henry the Eight, I have read Sister Queens and Anne Bolynes diary, both are quite interesting. These books are so long until it take forever to read them. Perhaps you may like those titles as well.

        • I have just looked up the new M.Q. of Scots film to be made this year, can’t wait.
          The correct title of the series I told you about is The Six Wives Of Henry VIII, the film Henry VIII and his Six Wives.
          The TV drama series was then followed by a six part series in 1971 called Elizabeth R, starring Glenda Jackson as the Queen. I have these to, plus all the other TV series on Elizabeth too.
          I wish they would make one on Mary Tudor, she had a very ‘rough’ ride getting to the throne, and when she Queen, it would be interesting to see how they would portray her.
          You would have been only a little one when the series above came out, I was 12. So ‘mature’ lol.
          I hope you enjoy them, I am actually a little surprised that you haven’t heard of them if I am honest, but that’s because I am supposing you are from the UK, and I forget how far and wide the visitors to this site come from, :), it makes the world a very small place doesn’t it when you come to sites such as these.

          I have read the Diary book, and the Wives of Henry VIII if you are talking Antonia Frazer and/or Alison Weir. The best book on Anne Boleyn is by Eric Ives-The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn, it’s the one most historians believe to be the most in depth researched book into her, and I agree. It is quite a heavy going book, but well worth the read. Not got the love letters on as yet, I have that many books waiting to be read, I think I ought to wait awhile before buying it.

          • I watched Anne of a Thousand days. It was hard for me to follow but I thought that the banter was funny between Richard Burton and his men and then between him and Bujold as Anne. I guess I like a more modern day approach to the Tudors. I will try to watch the others this wkend. I must say that I am new to the whole Tudor thing. I became interested in Tudor history after watching the Showtime series. I have been into it every since. I am from a small town in Arkansas I would love to visit the UK and see some of this history 1st. hand. I am going to look up the life and death book you mentioned sounds really interesting. I am so glad told me of these wonderful outlets as I love reading and watching a good movie. (smile)

        • Its great that everyone likes different ‘takes’ on the same story, I think it gives us all a wider knowledge and a better perspective on the subject we are interested in.
          Anne of a Thousand Days is very ‘English’ isn’t it, and the other series is more ‘theatre’ it will seem very dated now, but it was the first of that kind then, about ol’ Henry anyway. And I suppose because it captured me as a kid, it will always be special to me.
          Arkansas, thats a Southern state isn’t it, on the Mississippi? Wow, somewhere I would love to see, but I don’t know if I could ‘do’ the climate 🙂 My husband knows someone from Mississippi and he has lived here in Scotland for about 27 years now, and he has said he can no longer cope with it any more when he visits, we’ve knocked it out of him lol! You would defiantly need some warm clothes up here in North East Scotland if you came, even in summer perhaps!!

          If you ever manage to get to England around London where many of the well known associated places are, you must go to Hever Castle, Anne’s childhood home, in the beautiful area of Kent it is stunning, and not far from the city. It is in a rural setting that seems untouched by time, where the Tower of London has been completely surrounded by progressing times but still, none the less dramatic and awe inspiring, and FULL of history.
          Hope you enjoy your ‘vintage’ viewing, lol.

          • Mississippi is about 1 1/2 hrs form Arkansas.We are quite South and it is quite beautiful with it”s lush fields and trees lined roads. There are many wonderful places in Arkansas to visit and one is Hot Springs, The Ozarks and Eureka Springs all very beautiful towns with great history. I have only been to Hot Springs so far and it it lovely. I would love to visit London and Scotland to see some of the beautiful castles. I love the ghost stories associated with them. I wonder if old Anne is still around Hever? That would be interesting.
            It is cold here too a couple of wks ago it was in the teens, we almost froze to death even in the house with heat it was cold. I am no stranger to cold temps. I would like to see some of the country land I have only seen on movies and in books. It is quite amazing this internet, I cant believe I am having a discussion with someone so far away. If my mother was still alive she would just faint dead away.l.o.l….
            I have always loved old movies I think some of them are better written than some of these today. Film makers had an imagination and made you want to keep watching using suspense techniques. If you will notice over time the film stock changed and depending on what type of movie it was so did the grain they used. I think this made a difference in how we experience movies today. Most movies are not even shot on location they are CG generated or against a green screen. To me there will never be another Bette Davis or Joan Crawford and that Clark Gable was so handsome it was unreal. I think Bette could have played Anne and won an award for it. She could pull off some character portrayals in her day. It is odd how far movies have come. Do you watch Downton Abby? Is it any good if you do? I have been trying to watch it but seems like i always forget. Well on to my new found Tudor movies I shall see how I like the rest.(smile)

        • Apparently Anne has been seen at Hever, the Tower, Blicking Hall, Salle Church and Hampton Court, she travels around a bit. And we have plenty of ghosts up here in Scotland, I live close to the castles associated with Macbeth and the place where is meant to have met the 3 witches.
          Not seen any Scottish Spirits (have drunk a few though 🙂 ), but I have been up close and personal with one stood right next to me when I lived in England. I remember ever detail like it was yesterday, even though it was 14yrs back.
          What a coincidence! Bette Davis is my fave oldie too. She played Elizabeth twice which I have on DVD. Gable, how suave and drop-dead gorgeous. The way they built up the atmosphere with music was fantastic, they didn’t have all the flash, bang effects then but they still made you feel the mood.
          I really love period drama, of any period as I love to see the design of the costumes, even if the film/series is rubbish I will watch for that alone. And I don’t know why but I have never watch Downton Abbey, every one who knows is so surprized at this, but I intend to change that, as my niece has it all on DVD, all I have to do is find somewhere to hide and sit and watch, easier said than done that lol.

          • Oh really this is interesting indeed. I have seen a few in my day but I don’t say that to everyone. Glad you said it first l.ol… I have experienced many paranormal things the good and the bad. You have to tell me what happened with your encounter.
            One of these days I hope to see your country. Do you visit the castles often then? Gosh you are so lucky.

            I have yet to see the Elizabeth with Bette in it. I tried to watch the six wives of Henry Vlll but it was too fuzy on utube to understand. They don’t make men that look like Clark anymore. Bette Davis was the cream of the crop as far as acting is concerned. I am an avid watcher of AMC which is American Movie Classics. Have you ever watched Dark Victory that was a good one.
            I positively love the old costumes and the fancy dresses they used to wear. I made one on my hands an Emily Bronte period gown. it took me 2 days without a pattern, yes I was mighty bored. One day I intend to create a Tudor style gown.

          • Dear Solena and Dawn, would you like me to put you both in touch via email? It looks as though you get along like a house on fire! Love that my website brings people from around the world with a passion for Tudor history together. x

          • Yes that would be nice if Solena would like too, instead of us taking up your site as a place for a chat, it wasn’t intentional it just kind of happened, lol. It is wonderful we can reach across the world in seconds with a ‘letter’. Thank you.

          • I replied to email your Dawn and I am just excited to have a new pen pal.

  11. Henry VIII might be recorded in history as “Great’, however, if anyone considers the others he shared his life with and/at the same time in England, the conclusion could only be that he was a psychopathic murderer with a huge dollop of narcissim thrown in for good measure. He murdered Anne Bolyen on trumped up charges orchestrated by his cronies for both his and their selfish interests. The silly old reprobate should never have married Catherine Howard in the first place without first investigating the life she had led before coming to court – In his day, and in ours, had he been just an ordinary citizen, he would be seen as a laughing stock and a silly old goat for marrying a girl so much younger than himself.
    The posters above seem to think that the murders committed and signed in his name can be excused because he was King. He was just a fat old fool who had started out with so much promise and descended into megalomania . It just proves that human beings, when given absolute power, cannot exercise it for any length of time without descending into the depths of human depravity, hence England being the constitutional monarchy it is today – Henry exemplfied this descent admirably. In this sense he was truly ‘Great’.

    • Totally agree with you. According to Niles Fergusson, Henry was responsible for the deaths of over
      30,000 people which is an astonishing figure when one considers the size of the population in Tudor
      times. He was the Tony Soprano of his times, a true monster whose reputation should have been
      dismantled decades ago. Yet, people still buy into this myth of him of a larger than life figure who loved
      and lost. He was a dangerous, revolting man who had no redeeming features. It would have galled him to know that his grave remained unmarked until the 19th Century.

      Henry was portrayed by Ray Winstone as an outright gangster many years ago, and rightly so. Although certain liberties were taken with the story, to my mind it summed him up accurately.
      By stark contrast, poor Richard the Third suffered centuries of character destruction to the point he was seen as a hideous malfomed creature. Ironically, that is what Henry became in latter life.

      Henry – Portrait of a serial killer. How true.

    • The current story that Henry completely changed after a severe accident that would have likely killed most people but changed him from an athletic figure into a sedentary recluse with symptoms of brain injury
      Supposedly after the accident (sometime in his late 30’s?) he went in a few years from a well built 32′ waist to a 52″ waist -probably never adapted to his loss of ability to walk and ride horses and never reduced his food intake

      Ironically sort of bad luck “karma” his son only lived to about 16 years old,”ruled” under a regent and certain unsavory figures seem to have gotten him to sign some very bad things that led to the regent being killed and then after the son (King after Henry VIII) died there was some kind of plot to put a son in law or something of one of the bad people who had been influencing the son onto the throne (the plot failed)

  12. Absolutely Carl I couldn’t agree with you more. Sorry ladies I think you look through the eyes of romanticism. Living the high life was only for the rich. We “Commoners” would be left slavering over the crumbs under the table with the dogs. The dogs win because we wouldn’t get past the guards. Life’s tough! Fancy winning first prize in Henry’s court raffle; a night in bed with his corpulence! I doesn’t get any better than that ladies. Trouble is when fat stuff finished with you your’e out on your ear, ask Mary Boleyn. I make no apologies for those of you who have stars in your eyes. There was little to redeem the man who used and abused everyone who was unfortunate to get in his way. I give him a fat (pardon the pun) zero out of ten.

  13. Sorry, my spelling is getting worse, the letter t is missing from the word it. That’s it for now.

  14. The dictionary describes a true psychopath as:a person with a psychopathic personality, which manifests as amoral and antisocial behavior, lack of ability to love or establish meaningful personal relationships, extreme egocentricity, failure to learn from experience, etc. written by The dictionary .com
    Henry in my opinion, and I have studied psychology for 3 years, was not a true psychopath. He may have exhibited one of these characteristics but certainly not all of them. Henry’s problem began much earlier in life before the meeting of Anne. He was made to marry a woman previously betrothed to his brother. As a future king he was expected to follow certain rules and it is my belief that those rules are what created the monster we all know as Henry the Eighth. What happens to an animal who has been caged up too long? He eventually fights back for his release. Are we not the same, if your choices were taken away how would you feel? You were made to love someone whom was not your choice to begin with. Also the age of the players in this story would attribute to some degree the fickle choices and decisions that were made. He was a boy who was born into great power and because he was always surrounded by people who more or less looked after their own interests he came to the roads he took. Bad council can cause serious problems later on. I believe he grew to believe that every one was out to get him and that no one should tell him what to do. Thus le monster is created. If he had not been swayed by his affections for Anne much of what happened may not have occurred at all. It was the constant cultivation and manipulation of her father and uncle and many others who had the King’s ear so to speak kept this mess going. Thus bad council once again. Had he not wanted to control every nuance of his life many people would probably have been spared. In the end as it was in the beginning vanity, bad council and absolute power that destroyed the good in Henry.

    • Solena, please don’t think I was undermining your knowledge/studies on psychology with my limited ‘self taught’ readings, your comment was not visible when I posted mine. But I do agree with you Henry was many things, but not a Psychopath, it is a word that has become generalised in every day language to describe in an exaggerated way someone who perhaps has a volatile temperament, or behaves irrationally at times….completely out of context….I have done it myself 🙂

      • Dawn I did not think such about what you said. I thoroughly enjoyed your posts. I was glad you said what you did. I thought she sure told them boys (smile)
        You are not the only one who can become an irrational just add blubbering idiot and the exorcist to my repertoire.,,L.O.L….

  15. I can assure you ‘boys’, I have no romantic illusions, or stars in my eyes concerning Henry what so ever.

    I have a great empathy for every one of his wives, for the wives/daughters of high and low born people then, before and after, and for all those who were trapped in poverty. I am very lucky to live in a country where women are seen as equals, not as a bargaining tool in the game of politics, power and the accumulation of wealth.

    I have a little knowledge on the study of personality disorders, having read books on the criminal mind and the reasonings behind the behaviour, and its possible Henry could easily fall into the realms of being classed as a narcissistic sociopath, which to some degree could also be applied to many of those that worked his court., they trampled and clawed their way to the top feeling no remorse to those they destroyed on their way. It was a very dog eat dog world, brutal and bloody. No compassion or sense of moral obligation to others, typical Sociopathic behaviour.
    The definition of a psychopath can vary from expert to expert, and if we were to place this ‘label’ on Henry, then it should also be attached to many of previous and subsequent Monarchs who had Absolute Power.
    Britain has more that it’s fair share of tyrannical Kings who believed what they did was right, to strengthen their power, control their people, protect their thrones obtaining much personal gain as they could. All those I mentioned above and more. They all justified their reasons for ‘murder’. Making Henry no different.

    So why is it Henry that stands out further than any other monarch, is it judicial murder of 2 innocent wives, the cruel execution Margaret Pole etc. The likes of Cromwell and Wolsey, they were more than helped on their way to the scaffold by the jealousy of the high born Nobility.

    There is no denying his physical and mental deterioration in the latter part of his reign changed him into the tyrant he is mainly remembered for, his paranoia of those around him, who were in the main working for the good of themselves. They also, in my opinion, should carry some of the responsibility for nudging a paranoid, mentally unstable King to cut down others on their behalf.

    Was he the worst of the bunch, when you compare him to a ruler who devised the Hang, Drawn and Quarter form of execution, who took his armies slashing and burning everything in their wake though Wales and Scotland murdering and starving to death men, women and children!! can’t see any reason to presume he was.
    Did anyone watch the 3 part series on the Plantagenet’s? Brothers against brothers, fathers against sons. That was absolute slaughter to the extreme, with no remorse. They ended up destroying themselves.

    I agree, absolute power corrupts absolutely, I agree that Henry sunk to acts of inhumanity, aided by a time when laws could be altered on the whim of the ruling monarch. To modern thinking people with rights, a different code of ethics, and a completely contrasting life style, of course this behaviour is beyond redemption. All through history though, not just Tudor times. Was anyone with a modicum of power innocent from some form of inhumanity then. Religious men burnt people alive…

    I am certainly not excusing Henry, and I cant see how you have reached that conclusion…he signed the death warrants, gave the orders, but I can see he was a King in his time, and I am from mine, and because of that I am not in the position to judge him fairly, who knows how any of us would have behaved in a different period of time as a Man, King or Priest. Simpler for a women, you would do as you was told, no doubt!

    Being ‘fat’ or ‘old’ does not make you a lesser person, or something to ridicule.
    It wasn’t unusual if a man took a much younger wife, or vice versa, King or commoner, it was the norm, His sister Mary was married to the King of France at 18, he was 52……roughly the same age difference as between Henry and Catherine Howard.
    The discrepancies into that young lady’s past were an ‘over-sight’, but whose? The relatives weren’t very forth-coming with this info to the King if they did know – they knew the risks, perhaps worth it for a shot at getting a Howard heir to the throne!! So in that case Catherine was collateral damage, disposable, as long as they kept their heads and wealth, so who was the more guilty of her murder, it’s debatable…the relatives, or Henry…really, to laugh at a noticeable age difference in marriages today, considering we are meant to be a more tolerant, anything goes society, shows that we haven’t moved on as much as we give ourselves credit for.

  16. Bravo Dawn!! I agree with you on many aspects. None of us know how we would have acted or reacted to a world where the law was measured by the hierarchy in charge. A time where superstition ran rampant and people believed in prophesy. They were afraid of their own shadow and this included Kings and Noblemen. They were so to speak a slave of their time and there was a slippery slope between who was wrong and what was right.
    As I said in earlier posts Henry didn’t get to be this way by himself he had plenty of help. Those who sought power and status then had an agenda of their own. They didn’t care who they had to step on or get rid of to keep what they had. Father’s were always putting their daughters in Henry’ way hoping that he would chose them and there fore move their family up. At that time it was a privilege to be the King’s mistress. Had Anne and her family not been so greedy seeking to overthrow Catherine rule and replace her with Anne he outcome may have been different. It was their family’s constant plotting and scheming to get rid of the competition that ultimately caused her demise. The people around Henry weren’t all that innocent in their wrong doings either and often at another’s expense they sought to control the King. In many ways Henry was manipulated into some of the situations that happened much as politicians today manipulate us to get our vote. Do you really believe that these people live the lives they portray on TV? It is staged so that they look good on camera and we buy it. Most of those politicians couldn’t give a fig about what we want or need. Kings had a whole different life and were subject to no one. But thank God times have changed and our heads of state can be held accountable for their wrong doings.
    In saying this, I do not have romantic ideas of a man who was so feared. I do believe that there was a time when he was not as he was before his death. History tells us that he was very athletic in stature and he only gained weight later in life. My thing is why shouldn’t he have married who he wanted? Although I do not agree with the methods he chose to get them out of his life. I am glad we have choices now because it is only when our choices are taken away from us do we react to the extreme. Many of Henry”s choices were taken away the minute he was born into this world and his destiny was already written.

  17. Isnt it strange that nearly all the ills, wars and horrors of this and past worlds are caused by greed, lust, envy and megalomania,and so often they are little people especially the men. The worst part is they all do it in the name of one god or another, nothing changed since mankind walked upright and probably never will. One thing I applaud henry for is that I free to chose my religion (if any)

    • I do agree that freedom should be for everyone. A lot of wars have been fought over as you say” one God or another”. It is greed and power that drives many people to ruin. Henry’s ideas on religious freedom was often driven by his own personal needs but never the less when it is all said and done he liberated lot of people.

  18. awsome websie luv it

  19. Some people are born to RULE….others to OBEY


  20. Raymond L Ingrey says:

    Without Henry’s separation from the Catholic Church Britain would never have risen to be an Empire and all those very ideas that are associated with English speakers such as Innocent until Proveb Guily would not be part of modern day thinking. Britain nearly fell into domination of the Catholic Church after the return of the Monachy under Charles the second who was supported by Louis the 14th. James the second tried with French support to bring Britain back under the Catholic Church but failed and James Daughter Mary ruled with her Husband Wilklian the third. It was at this time when England took to supporting the Protestants of Europe that with John Churchhill under Queen Anne that freed Europe from the domination of France and the Catholic Church It lead to the rise of England and Britain to the world stage as a champion of free thinkers and liberty Up to this time France had been the Ruling power and it fermented armed agression against England in both Scotland and Ireland Thank You Henry for giving us our part to play in forming the modern world. Who knows what would be the situation if today Europe lived under a Theocracy because we all can plainly see what the results in the middle east

  21. hypercat says:

    Hi what I find unforgiveable about Henry 8th is his total lack of ability to be honest with himself. He hid behind a veil of piety and statesmanship in order to get exactly what he wanted. He wasn’t so much thinking about his country when he murdered his wives and destroyed the lives of the others, he was thinking of himself and what he personally desired. He then convinced himself he was doing it for his country – he wasn’t at all. That was very much an afterthought. He was a splendid example of the ‘selfish’ and ‘arrogant’ man who was determined to get what he wanted regardless of the needs or wishes of his women. They were only chattels to him, as everone else was. He had no regard for anyone else and is the epitome of the exreme selfishness and cruelty of a man with no external restraints.

    I would have more respect for him if he had been honest with others and most of all with himself. He must have been a very unhappy man as only happens when you have a flexible consciounce and lie to yourself.

    I always thought it was his wish to marry Catherine of Aragon as he had no need to to stablise his reign and no need of her in that sense. I think it was his way of proving his manhood to marry his dead brothers wife.

    It is impossible to speculate how this country would have turned out without his reign or reformations and we need to be aware of viewing him through rose tinted spectables.

  22. For someone who wants to get a feel for the brutality that could exist in the English history it might be interesting to look up and watch a piece called “Cromwell in Ireland”. There was a period known as an English Civil War (Roundheads and Cavaliers?) What would later become the United States most likely escaped the worst aspect of that period but it was very hard for Ireland.

  23. King Richard VIII was a classic case of malocclusion. That is why he got nearly 400lbs and started going nuts. Read here

    • Ooops! Think you mean Henry Vlll eh.? l read the piece you suggested, it was interesting but l don’t think it could be a conclusive diagnosis on his health, mainly because no medical research has been done on his remains as with Ivan the Terrible, so all ‘ideas’ on the state of his health mental & physical are supposition. To be honest l thought this condition was mainly to do with dentistry, you learn something new everyday! If anyone wants to get a good, academic insight on Henry’s health, read Kyra Kramer’s book Henry Vlll’s Health in a’s not a long winded book with baffling medical terms, but 70+ pages of good research and educated theories. The author also has a medical background. Henry would have been in agonising pain in later life, no painkillers them, that alone would not help a persons temperament or mental balance…l think most of us can relate to pain, i.e. tooth ache and what that makes you feel like, imagine that on a continual basis.

  24. ieieieieieieiei says:

    i think henry was okay but did do many bad things like his six wives learning more about him just makes me cringe!!

  25. I just came here to say that Anne of Cleves was the and the smartest of the wives of hvii. She was straight gangsta- pragmatic, intelligent, AND by all accounts a genuinely nice lady. Anne of Cleves: Like A Boss.

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