Personal and Political Qualities of the Tudor Monarchs

  • Created by: emilieh
  • Created on: 30-12-15 11:39

Personal & Political Qualities of Tudor Monarchs

Did the Tudor Monarchs meet the Early Modern ideal of the Monarchy?

What Tudor Society wanted in a monarch...

· They should at least listen to parliament and nobility and the traditions of England.

· They needed to be educated in politics and physically fit to run the country and lead his men into battle.

· It was vital to produce as many strong, adult, male heirs as possible to pass on the crown to.

· The accession of 'minors' (Kings under the age of 21), tended to cause a power vacuum as his 'advisors' vied for the real power, leading to conflicts between nobility. 

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Personal & Political Qualities of Henry VIII

  •  Henry came to the throne at the age of 17, and until 1502, he had been brought up as the second son and therefore unexpected to become King; this was changed when his elder brother Arthur died. 
  • Henry was well educated and could speak four or five languages, and could sing and dance. It is clear that Henry was very intelligent. He also often wrote poems and songs and even wrote a book in Latin.
  • As a King, Henry was forceful and sometimes cruel, this is shown by the treatment of his wives, chief ministers and even close friends.
  •  It is clear that Henry strongly disliked writing state papers, describing them as 'both tedious and painful'. He preferred to leave the details of day-to-day government to his ministers; however, he always remained in charge.
  • Henry was influenced by the Renaissance ideas of honour, requiring him to defend England's right abroad. In Henry's opinion, this meant going to war to regain English territory lost in France during the 1440s and 1450s.
  • Henry VIII's lust for war was inspired by his namesake, Henry, who had won famous victories against the French in the early 15th century.
  • A Renaissance Prince was supposed to be an accomplished fighter, this appealed directly to Henry, who also thoroughly enjoyed military sports such as jousting. 
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Personal & Political Qualities of Edward VI

  • When he came to the throne, Edward was only 9 years old, and therefore as a minor, spent most of his reign as a political figurehead, controlled by his protectors. He then died at the age of 16, before he had the opportunity to take full power.
  •  As Edward was the heir to the Tudor throne growing up, he was educated by some of the best humanist thinkers in the country, for example Cambridge scholar John Cheke. 
  • Edward was a remarkably able child, at the age of seven he was already learning to read Latin and by 1550, he was also fluent in French, Spanish and Italian and a year later, he had begun to learn Ancient Greek.
  • As a king he was expected to lead an army, Edward often watched and participated in tournaments. 
  • Edward also kept a Chronicle, a type of journal, which shows that he was also learning how to rule and was becoming increasingly involved in government. 
  • Edward's letters reveal his interests in jousting and improvements on castle defences. 
  • His letters also revealed his tendency to piggishness and a growing Protestant faith. 
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Personal & Political Qualities of Mary I

  • Mary was 37 when she was crowned Queen, like her half-siblings, Mary was intelligent and had been well-educated, especially since for many years it was thought that it would be her who would inherit the throne. 
  • Mary was made illegitimate and excluded from the royal succession by the Act of Succession (1534), however she was restored as second in line to the throne in 1544, despite this, her illegitimacy was not reversed. 
  • Mary was extremely pious and loyal to her Roman Catholic faith, during the reign of her protestant half-brother; Mary came under considerable pressure to renounce her beliefs but consistently refused.
  • This stubbornness later caused problems during her own reign whilst she was determined to restore the English Church to full Catholicism. Politically, this was not an astute move as she failed to realise the complexity of the religious situation following the 20 years of Reformation.
  • This same stubbornness drove Mary to believe that the best way to achieve her religious aims was to marry Prince Philip II of Spain. There was a major disapproval of this union across England, due to their suspicion of foreigners which further led to open rebellion in 1554.
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Personal & Political Qualities of Mary I

  •  Mary's health also affected her ability to rule effectively, she suffered from anxiety and depression, in addition her desperation to bear a son and heir led to phantom pregnancies, keeping her closeted in her chambers. 
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Personal & Political Qualities of Elizabeth I

  • As Elizabeth was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn she was the embodiment of the break with Rome and the movement towards a more Protestant England. 
  • Elizabeth was highly-educated by the best scholars in England, for example, student of John Cheke, Roger Ascham.
  • In 1536, following the execution of her mother, Elizabeth was declared illegitimate in the second Act of Succession but was reinstated in the royal succession in 1544. 
  • Elizabeth learned the harsh realities of politics from an early age, as she was caught up in the plans of Thomas Seymour, to marry without consent in 1549. 
  • In 1554, during the reign of her half-sister Mary, Elizabeth was arrested and sent to the Tower of London as it was suspected that she had played a part in encouraging rebellion against Mary. Eventually, she was released but was to live under house-arrest.
  • In 1558, Elizabeth was crowned Queen, and she had learned caution; this led to her indecisiveness, as in a crisis she would sometimes refuse to make a decision.
  • Elizabeth also had a furious temper, shown in 1587, over the matter of the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, Elizabeth refused to make a decision on whether nor not she should execute her cousin, eventually, she was forced to agree, and signed her death warrant, but demanded that it not be sealed or sent. Those on her council ignored this demand and executed Mary, leaving Elizabeth in a state of fury. 
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Personal & Political Qualities of Elizabeth I

  • Elizabeth was a politique (a moderate who believed that that the unity of the country could be achieved through allowing some religious tolerance), preferring compromise to the hard-lined approach of her half-siblings, Edward and Mary. This moderation, alongside her stubbornness and talent for man-management, allowed her to survive successfully despite her illegitimacy in the eyes of some. 
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