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  #761  
Old 07-05-2015, 12:57 AM
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Thanks for the heads up Blake, will definitely be checking it out.
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  #762  
Old 07-05-2015, 02:45 AM
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I think what disturbs me about Henry more than the others is that Henry VIII destroyed women he had loved, lived with, conceived children with. Marital intimacy is in a whole different league than killing off people you perceive as political enemies.
.....
Marital intimacy as we know it did not exist in Henry VIII's times. Marriages were arranged for political reasons - like when Henry VIII married his sister Mary to the aged Louis, who promptly died. Sometimes the couple developed a warm relationship, other times they didn't. In Henry's case he had his own chambers and attendants, his wives had theirs. While it's not PC in this day and age, the structure of society then required the wife to be subordinate to her husband. In judging Henry's actions and reactions it's important to use the culture of the time rather than our modern views, IMO.
The other factor is the position of the Queen Consort. If she conceives a child through an adulterous affair she potentially places a non royal on the thrown, hence adultery by a Queen Consort is treason punishable by death. Likewise her partner is supplanting royal blood. They are putting a cuckoo in the royal nest.
Indeed, even if she only behaves in a way that causes others to whisper she's had an affair she is creating future problems for her children. Remember Richard III and his brother George both claimed their brother Edward IV was the product of their mother's affair with an archer in attempts to seize his crown (Richard adding the claim that Edward IV's marriage was unlawful as well to usurp his nephew's crown.)
I would suggest that Henry's decision to have both Anne and Catherine Howard executed rather than simply sequestered away somewhere was consistent with someone who believed they had committed adultery. The law recognizes the defense of heat of passion to reduce murder to manslaughter because jealousy is such a powerful emotion. Henry's actions to me aren't unlike a man who learns his wife has cheated.
In retrospect many believe Anne was falsely accused - but given what Henry knew at the time (and remember there was no reason to disbelieve Lady Rochford at that point) and what he was told I think there's a strong case for believing he thought Anne and Catherine Howard committed adultery. In doing so they committed treason in his mind and the consequence under the law was death. To let either live would create problems with future offspring from a future wife.
I'm not defending Henry's actions, rather I'm trying to interpret them using the perspective of the time and culture he was a part of.
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Old 07-05-2015, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by sndral View Post
Marital intimacy as we know it did not exist in Henry VIII's times. Marriages were arranged for political reasons - like when Henry VIII married his sister Mary to the aged Louis, who promptly died. Sometimes the couple developed a warm relationship, other times they didn't. In Henry's case he had his own chambers and attendants, his wives had theirs. While it's not PC in this day and age, the structure of society then required the wife to be subordinate to her husband. In judging Henry's actions and reactions it's important to use the culture of the time rather than our modern views, IMO.
The other factor is the position of the Queen Consort. If she conceives a child through an adulterous affair she potentially places a non royal on the thrown, hence adultery by a Queen Consort is treason punishable by death. Likewise her partner is supplanting royal blood. They are putting a cuckoo in the royal nest.
Indeed, even if she only behaves in a way that causes others to whisper she's had an affair she is creating future problems for her children. Remember Richard III and his brother George both claimed their brother Edward IV was the product of their mother's affair with an archer in attempts to seize his crown (Richard adding the claim that Edward IV's marriage was unlawful as well to usurp his nephew's crown.)
I would suggest that Henry's decision to have both Anne and Catherine Howard executed rather than simply sequestered away somewhere was consistent with someone who believed they had committed adultery. The law recognizes the defense of heat of passion to reduce murder to manslaughter because jealousy is such a powerful emotion. Henry's actions to me aren't unlike a man who learns his wife has cheated.
In retrospect many believe Anne was falsely accused - but given what Henry knew at the time (and remember there was no reason to disbelieve Lady Rochford at that point) and what he was told I think there's a strong case for believing he thought Anne and Catherine Howard committed adultery. In doing so they committed treason in his mind and the consequence under the law was death. To let either live would create problems with future offspring from a future wife.
I'm not defending Henry's actions, rather I'm trying to interpret them using the perspective of the time and culture he was a part of.
I agree with you but I don't think your analysis takes into account all the circumstances, including the real reason for Anne's downfall: she did not produce a son.

First, it wasn't an arranged marriage, there was intimacy between Henry and Anne. I'm not sure if it was love as much as lust and infatuation, but there was an emotional attachment.

Second, although I would agree that there was no reason for Henry to disbelieve the rumors of infidelity, there was no reason to believe them either. The charge of incest was, at best, flimsy. Mark Smeaton was around a lot and Anne openly flirted with Norris, but the cases against Brereton and Weston were incredibly weak. Their real crime was that they were Cromwell's enemies. If Anne had borne a son, Henry not only wouldn't have believed the rumors, he would have taken severe action against anyone spreading them.


Once Henry decided to end the marriage, he couldn't let her go to a nunnery because that would have raised questions about the legitimacy of any male heirs he would have had.

It's interesting to contrast Anne with Catherine Howard. I think Catherine Howard was guilty, but would it have gone differently for her had Henry still hoped that she would bear a son? Henry had a healthy heir and didn't have anyone waiting in the wings, but he was growing impatient with her (?) lack of fertility.

I'm also fascinated by the differences in how they were treated after they were arrested. Anne had been anointed queen. She was taken to the Tower of London and had several ladies in waiting. Catherine was kept in Syon Abbey and, IIRC, had only one lady in waiting (I'm not sure who attended her after Lady Rochford went insane). Anne had a trial, while parliament issued a bill of attainder in Catherine's case. Anne was dead within 3 weeks, while Catherine languished for 3 months, even though Catherine was stripped of her title within a couple of weeks of her arrest. Henry annulled his marriage to Anne but, according to Allison Weir, didn't annul his marriage to Catherine.

Of course, a major reason that Anne was dealt with so quickly was because Henry wanted to marry Jane Seymour. But I'm not sure why wasn't Catherine Howard wasn't executed sooner. It's hard to believe that Henry seriously considered allowing her to go to a nunnery but, based on the delay in her execution, he apparently was reluctant to have her put to death.
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  #764  
Old 07-05-2015, 09:12 AM
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On this day July 5th ,1535 : Sir Thomas More’s final letter to his daughter

5 July 1535 - Thomas More's final letter to his daughter - The Anne Boleyn Files
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  #765  
Old 07-05-2015, 12:28 PM
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sndral,

It's true that the 16th century concept of marital intimacy was a world apart from our own.

My point is that out of Henry's six marriages at least FOUR were love matches. Catherine of Aragon was both...a union that had geopolitical advantages and love(at least in the beginning). The union with Anne Boleyn was driven by the necessity for a male heir as well as passion, Jane Seymour was driven also by the need for a male heir and love, and Catherine Howard by vanity and lust.

By all accounts the early years of the marriage of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon were golden...idyllic. They were lovers, friends, playmates. She was his intellectual equal. They had separate chambers as did all Royal couples but the conception of 6-7 children leads me to believe they slept together often.

The passion Henry shared with Anne Boleyn has been famously documented, and there was contentment too in the brief time with Jane Seymour.

The only marriage that fits the description of an arranged marriage for purely political purposes was Anne von Cleves.

I stand by my assertion that there is something sociopathic about the merciless fate Henry consigned to women with whom he had once married and enjoyed happiness and marital intimacy...even if it wasn't the way modern couples define intimacy.

US RoyalWatcher...great comments. My hunch is that the delay in the execution of Catherine Howard was due to a rare tweak of Henry's conscience. He had adored this young woman and she was only about 18 years old at her arrest. I can believe that he agonized over putting her to death. I think he had to be persuaded to do so. In the excellent 1971 BBC miniseries it's Catherine's own uncle the loathsome Duke of Norfolk who urges the king to give his niece the ultimate penalty...after Norfolk himself urged her to betray her husband.

After Catherine had been revealed an adulteress, the hope that she might still bear Henry an heir was a moot point. Henry would never have been certain that he was the father with a woman as "wanton" as Catherine, he would not have risked it trying to have a child with her.
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  #766  
Old 07-05-2015, 01:27 PM
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Interesting analysis Moonmaiden. To clarify, I don't think Henry would have reconciled with Catherine, even if the charges had been untrue. But I wonder if he would have ordered the investigation if Catherine Howard had borne a son or Henry thought she was likely to do so.


That situation would have been different from Anne's because by the time he married Catherine Howard, Henry had an heir. He wanted another son but he wasn't as desperate as he was 10 years prior.

I tend to think that if Elizabeth had been a boy, Henry would have laughed off Anne's flirtation with Norris. In fact, I doubt that anyone would have risked incurring Anne's wrath by telling him about it.
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  #767  
Old 07-05-2015, 03:29 PM
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If Catherine had been already pregnant at the time the revelations about Culpepper and Manox(her private secretary) had been brought to the king's attention, wouldn't Henry have been tormented about paternity questions more than optimistic about the possibility of a male heir?

Tragically for Anne the child she miscarried in January 1536 on the day of Catherine of Aragon's funeral was said to have been a boy. That provided the opening that Cromwell-who had turned violently against her-needed. He began a whispering campaign alleging witchcraft, adultery and incest that culminated with Anne's arrest in May.

If that child had lived Anne would have been untouchable. Neither Cromwell or anyone else would have dared approach Henry with damaging information about the mother of the legitimate male heir he had been so desperate to have.
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  #768  
Old 07-05-2015, 04:25 PM
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If Catherine had been already pregnant at the time the revelations about Culpepper and Manox(her private secretary) had been brought to the king's attention, wouldn't Henry have been tormented about paternity questions more than optimistic about the possibility of a male heir?
He probably would have been tormented but I think Henry could easily convince himself of anything. For example, he accepted paternity of Henry Fitzroy without question but never acknowledge the possibility that he could have fathered a child with one of his married lovers--including Mary Boleyn.

On the other hand, I assume he would have taken action if Catherine (or any of his wives) had gotten pregnant and Henry knew that he couldn't be the father. I can't see him publicly admitting he was impotent, but he would have been worried about a non-royal child taking the throne. I think a pregnant Catherine might have been found at the bottom of a staircase.
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  #769  
Old 07-05-2015, 04:34 PM
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True, but I think Henry was well satisfied that the child that had resulted from his torrid affair with Bessie Blount was his. It was icing on the cake and a boon to his ego when it turned out to be a boy. After all the dead babies with Catherine of Aragon he was only too eager to acknowledge Henry Fitzroy. Mary Boleyn? He never seemed to care much about Mary one way or the other.

In any case both those women were common mistresses, nothing more. It's quite different when the mother-to-be is your wife and queen and the entire Court knows(as in the case of Catherine Howard) that she's been carrying on quite brazenly with a one of Henry's own manservants Culpepper.

That had to sting like hell, and there is no way Henry would have just accepted the child as his own with his entire Court and indeed the whole of Europe laughing at him.

He was a sick old man with a pretty young wife who openly preferred another man and had possibly become pregnant by him? I 100% agree that a pregnant Catherine Howard would have been found at the bottom of a staircase or poisoned.

A different type of man might have swallowed his pride and made the best of things but not Henry VIII. Besides at that point he was not quite as desperate as he might have been before Prince Edward had been born.
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Old 07-06-2015, 06:20 AM
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A lock of Catherine Parr's hair IS up for sale!

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Old 09-02-2015, 03:09 PM
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Henry VIII voted worst monarch in history

Henry VIII voted worst monarch in history | Books | The Guardian
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Old 09-02-2015, 09:19 PM
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I feel like whoever thinks Henry is the worst monarch in all history is choosing from a narrow list of monarchs, and/or doesn't have a broad understanding of history or historical context.

Henry is definitely a very flawed character, but looking at the context of the time he was living in he's not as bad as people like to make him out to be. Certainly not the worst in all history - I can think of several Roman emperors who were worse than Henry - and not even likely the worst in British history.
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Old 09-02-2015, 09:27 PM
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He was a petulant serial killer and an illogical tyrant. You could argue others were worse but there was no disputing he was terrible.


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  #774  
Old 09-02-2015, 10:18 PM
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Henry VIII voted worst and his daughter Elizabeth I...child of his outcast and executed second queen voted BEST?

Anne Boleyn's karmic revenge!
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  #775  
Old 09-15-2015, 02:34 PM
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Music from Anne Boleyn's songbook performed for first time in 500 years


Music from Anne Boleyn's songbook performed for first time in 500 years - ITV News
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Old 09-20-2015, 04:31 PM
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Kings and Queens in profile: Anne Boleyn

Anne Boleyn: facts about her life, death and reign | Kings and Queens in profile | History Extra
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Old 09-20-2015, 04:57 PM
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[Within months of their wedding Henry was unfaithful, informing Anne that “she must shut her eyes, and endure as well as more worthy persons, and that she ought to know that it was in his power to humble her again in a moment more than he had exalted her”.] quote

Wow....so what if I'm cheating on you? Catherine of Aragon was more WORTHY a person and she looked the other way. So should you..suck it up!

Henry sure had a way with women.
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Old 09-20-2015, 05:19 PM
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When a man marries his mistress he creates a vacancy.

Poor Henry and Anne, they truly didn't know each other.
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Old 09-24-2015, 06:17 AM
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Did Anne Boleyn crave the crown?

Did Anne Boleyn crave the crown? | History Extra
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Old 11-02-2015, 05:45 PM
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Monarchy Rules: A look at King Henry VIII

Monarchy Rules: A look at King Henry VIII | Royal Central
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