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The Tudor Society

31 March – King Henry VIII as King Ahab, Anne Boleyn as Jezebel

On this day in Tudor history, 31st March 1532, Henry VIII was left fuming after Friar William Peto likened him to King Ahab and preached against his quest for an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Friar Peto also made a prophecy that some believe was fulfilled after the king's death in 1547.

I explain exactly what happened on this day 1532 to make Henry VIII so furious, what Peto said and what happened next.

Here's the video I mention about the alleged fulfilment of the prophecy: "February 14 - A dog licks up the king's blood"

Also on this day in history:

  • 1499 – Birth of Pope Pius IV, born Giovanni Angelo Medici, in Milan. He was Pope from 1559 to 1565.
  • 1509 – The dying Henry VII made his last will and testament at Richmond Palace, three weeks before his death. It was based on an earlier draft, with some new provisions added, for example, the addition of Sir Richard Empson and Edmund Dudley to the list of executors.
  • 1519 – Birth of Henry II of France, at Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, near Paris, Henry was the son of Francis I and Queen Claude, and he was King of France from 1547 to his death in 1559. His consort was Catherine de' Medici.
  • 1547 – Death of Francis I of France, at the Château de Rambouillet in the Île-de-France, and accession of Henry II on his 28th birthday.
  • 1553 – Edward VI dissolved Parliament, after having opened it on 1st March. It was his last Parliament.
  • 1596 – Birth of René Descartes, French philosopher, mathematician, and writer, the “Father of Modern Philosophy”, at La Haye en Touraine in France. He is known for his dictum “I think, therefore I am”.
  • 1631 – Death of John Donne, metaphysical poet, satirist, lawyer and clergyman. He was laid to rest in St Paul's Cathedral on 3rd April. Donne served as a member of Parliament, Royal Chaplain and Dean of St Paul's, but is best known for his poems, sonnets and epigrams, which included “For whom the bell tolls” and “The Flea”.

Only 1 comment so far Go To Comment

  1. R /

    I love this sermon about King Ahab, the great apostate, the great false god worshipping King of Israel and his wife, Queen Jezabel, his pagan wife and adulterous Queen. The debate of course is typical of Henry as although he was upset, he loved debating and had Father Peto and his reformed chaplain having these combative sermons is typical of Henry.

    I can really see why Henry and probably Anne Boleyn were so upset about the sermon, given what happened to King Ahab, his body left to the dogs as he bled to death after being wounded in battle against the King of Judah, King Jehoshophat. What came out of Henry’s coffin was embalming fluid, resin used for preservation and dark red in colour, so looking like blood, it smells very strong and well dogs will lick anything. Henry knew his Bible well and the prophets of the Hebrew Bible, including the prophets, Micah, here warning the people to remain faithful and remember what happened to those who were unfaithful to Yahweh and His Laws. Ahab of course set up paganism and the priests of paganism in the Temple and allowed his wife, Jezabel, to put up the priests of Baal, which of course was forbidden. The priests were in time killed and the idols destroyed and orthodox worship restored, the Temple cleansed and the palace attacked. Jezabel was seized, thrown from a window, her body trodden on and her blood flowed across the courtyard. The 70 sons oh Ahab were also killed by Jehu and his grandson restored the Temple and reformed Israel. The story is in the Second Book of Kings and of course Chronicles.

    I can well imagine Henry Viii feeling a bit of a panic as well as angry given this prophecy by a well respected friar and preacher, the head of his order in England and one who knew what he was saying and doesn’t appear to have been afraid. Friar William Peto gave as good as he got, was up for it and although he was confined he gave a good account in the duel and refused to punish the man who he appointed for the second sermon, much to Henry’s annoyance. He was as brave as the prophets of old.

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31 March – King Henry VIII as King Ahab, Anne Boleyn as Jezebel