1536: The Year that Changed Henry VIII by Suzannah Lipscomb

By Suzannah Lipscomb

Henry VIII is understood stereotypically as a chunky, covetous, and crafty king whose urge for food for worldly items met few parallels, whose better halves met infamously untimely ends, and whose faith used to be mostly political in motive. via targeting a pivotal yr within the lifetime of Henry, this learn strikes past the sketch to bare a fuller portrait of this advanced monarch. In 1536, Henry met many failures—physical, own, and political—and emerged from them a special guy and a progressive new king who proceeded to rework a kingdom and a faith.

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4 Until 1536 then, Henry disported himself as a young athletic man, attracting the praise and admiration of onlookers. In 1536, this was all to change. On 24 January 1536, the 44-yearold Henry was unhorsed by an opponent and fell so heavily ‘that everyone thought it a miracle he was not killed’. The speed of the gallop at the charge, his heavy armour, the height of Henry’s great horse (and weight, if the large, mailed animal fell on him) and the blow of his opponent’s lance combined to make this a very serious accident.

This was in large part because, although Katherine had been pregnant six times, the couple had suffered a series of heartbreaking miscarriages, stillbirths and cot deaths, and only one daughter, Princess Mary, had survived. Although Henry had an illegitimate son by his former mistress, Elizabeth Blount, in 1519, he had good reason to want a legitimate heir. Henry – and most people at the time – believed that one of his principal responsibilities as king was to produce an adult male heir, that is, a boy of at least fifteen years old, who could succeed peacefully when Henry died, to secure the dynasty.

6 But this was not enough to satisfy Henry. The whole nation 40 The Divorce was required to be complicit in the king’s decision. The Act of Succession, also passed in 1534, stated the lawfulness of Henry’s marriage to Anne Boleyn and that their children would be true heirs to the throne and all English subjects were required to swear an oath agreeing this. The oath read: ‘to be true to Queen Anne, and to believe and take her for the lawful wife of the King and rightful Queen of England, and utterly to think the Lady Mary daughter to the King by Queen Katherine, but as a bastard, and thus to do without any scrupulosity of conscience’.

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