The Tudor Society

The greatest Tudor monarch

Who is the greatest Tudor monarch? Whose achievements outweighed their failures?

In today's Claire Chats video, I examine the achievements and failures of each of the Tudor monarchs and ask you to vote on which one you think was the greatest. Do feel free to share your thoughts and add to my list by leaving a comment.

Who is the greatest Tudor monarch?

Henry VII
Henry VIII
Edward VI
Mary I
Elizabeth I


In my video, I mention my video on Tudor diseases and also Toni Mount's expert talk on Medieval medicine. Here are the links for those:

There are 7 comments Go To Comment

  1. J

    I liked seeing the cat and hearing the dog 😄

    1. C - Post Author


  2. K

    Feel better Claire. This was a wonderful history in a nutshell. Thanks much. Love the critters too.

    1. C - Post Author

      Thank you, I’m feeling so much better now. Those critters just love to get attention!

  3. R

    Hello Claire, hope you are feeling better. Have to admire you doing this informative video while not well….please go to bed now with a hot toddy and your pussy cats and keep warm and well..doctors orders.

    Very hard to judge as they all left something good and something bad….people often forget that Kings and Queens were people who like the rest of us faced trials and difficult dangerous times and had impossible decisions to make. They made mistakes but possibly ultimately as a collective era the Tudor Age saw important changes and its achievements outdid its failures and terrors. Kings and Queens saw themselves as divinely appointed and rebellion as a henious sin. It never occurred to them that their decisions were causing more problems and just as we don’t negotiate with terrorists today, who may actually have a valid point in what they want, they didn’t give in to disobedience. They saw it as challenging their authority. You could petition the crown….if you do something else…the crown had a right to come down hard….that’s how they all thought. Mary, Henry, Elizabeth and Edward all saw off serious rebellion. They saw the outcome as crown triumphant. Even if horrified by the cruel treatment of ordinary men and women and sometimes children over 14, how can we judge them, if they believed they acted for the peace and preservation of their kingdom? The horrible penalties of hanging drawing and quartering were still on the statue books in Victorian times. The Chartists would have faced this horror we normally associate with the Tudors had a young Victoria not commuted the sentencing to prison or deportation. While many of the Tudors achievements define them individually, they all used terror as an ultimate stamp of authority, meaning none of them is any more or any less bloody than their predecessors. Even young Edward consented to a carte blanche approach to dealing with the Western or Prayer Book rebellion. Even some of the so called better Monarchs like Edward iii came down hard on rebellion and treason. While we can’t forget their failure or use of terror as an effective arm of government, maybe we should look more closely at their achievements. Henry Viii did indeed build up impressive navy and he also gave us the START of the registration of the medical profession. Edward laid down a vision for an independent English national Church. Mary ensured future female Kings ruled without their authority being challenged and reorganisation of national and international financial institutions, including the navy set a precedent for modern financial economic thinking. Elizabeth was a great patron of the theatre and arts. Henry Vii established a better way for people to complain about dodgy officials in the Star Chamber and somehow balanced the various challenges to his crown to pass on a wealthy stable Kingdom to his heirs. He had wisely drawn his government from those already in power as well as those who supported him as many of the Ricardian and Yorkist laws benefited ordinary people, promoted efficiency and were good ways of doing business. Henry built and expanded on what was good and made good what he saw as bad. He made the image of the crown strong as did his son, Henry Viii. Contrary to modern myths, the world did not get made anew in 1485. A good number of laws and practices carried on and were made stronger under the Tudors. Maybe the greatest achievement of the Tudors is their ability to portray myth into fact and leave us with a perception of greatness.

  4. S

    Thank you for doing the chat, Claire. I do hope you’re better. Loved seeing your cat! There are 4 here with me. I’m glad to see that Elizabeth I “won.”

    1. C - Post Author

      Thank you, I’m doing much better now.

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The greatest Tudor monarch