The continuation of the Tudor monarchy under Henry VIII, 1509-29
Government and authority
The new king: the personality of Henry VIII
· He came to the throne of England, a young ambitious Renaissance prince of 17yrs. He looked regal being 6ft2 (188cm) fair haired, and athletically built. He knew how to dress to impress so wore rich and fashionable clothes. He had been the heir to the throne since Arthur’s death in 1502, yet surprisingly, Henry VII had not fully prepared him for kingship.
· H8 had had no experience in practical governance, as his father had not sent him to Ludlow castle to learn the arts of government, as was usual for Prince of Wales. H7 had made no provision for his son’s marriage despite the importance HT attached to the continuation of his dynasty
H7 apparently died overworked, worn out by the cares of state, and prematurely aged after several years of declining health. The effigy on his tomb, however, has a slight indent above his left eyebrow – an indication that he may have died of a stroke. J.J Scarisbrick captures the energy of the new reign after H’s marriage and coronations in henry VIII.
Henry VII- A renaissance prince
· Born Greenwich in June 1491 and brought up in a close family unity in the royal nursery at eltham palace, surrounded by siblings and cousins. This nursery was closely supervised by his mother, Elizabeth of York, who saw it as her opportunity to reconcile the next generation of Yorkist and Lancastrians. The young prince developed into a confident and self-assured young man in contrast to his elder brother Arthur who was being prepared for his role as king away at Ludlow castle in the Welsh Marches
· Education was the hallmark of a renaissance prince so the poet john Skelton was engaged to act as the prince’s tutor. Henry was clearly a very able child who soon mastered Latin and French, and developing a working knowledge of Spanish and Italian. He read widely, acquiring great knowledge of classical writers such as Homer, Ovid, Virgil and Cicero and becoming well versed in history having studied Caesar, Livy and Tacitus. His formal education also included mathematics, astronomy and theology.
· At the age of 8, Henry received Thomas More and Erasmus at Eltham Palace. Erasmus later wrote that they young prince already had regal presence commenting specifically on his grace and poise. Such was the influence and reputation of the young prince that, even such a dignitary as Thomas Moore, prepared for the reception by writing a Latin text in honour of Prince Henry. Erasmus, however, was embarrassed to have arrived empty handed and within three days had completed an ode entitled “A Description of Britain, Henry VII and the King’s children.”
· Henry, in true renaissance tradition, was also encouraged to become a skilled sportsman and musician, and to take an interest in the arts. He loved the tiltyard and the…