The Tudor Society
The Tudor Society
  • Henry VIII – The good, the bad and the ugly

    In this week’s Claire Chats talk, I am continuing my series on the Tudor monarchs, and examiningg their reigns for “the good, the bad, the ugly”, i.e. their achievements and the not-so-good stuff, by looking at the reign of the second Tudor monarch, King Henry VIII.

    King Henry VIII is an iconic monarch known more for his treatment of his six wives and the awful executions of his reign, but what about his achievements? Did he do anything good for his country and people?

    Please do share your views in the comments section too – thank you!

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  • 18 September – A victorious Henry VIII

    On this day in Tudor history, 18th September 1544, Henry VIII rode triumphantly through the streets of Boulogne after the French surrendered it to him.

    This English victory came after the first siege of Boulogne of 1544 which saw the town “sore assaulted and so besieged with such abundance of great ordinance that never was there a more valianter assault made”.

    The French surrendered Boulogne on 13th September 1544 and King Henry VIII entered it and was given its keys by his good friend, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, on 18th September. England was victorious but his ally, the Holy Roman Emperor, wasn’t behaving himself.

    Find out more in today’s talk.

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  • 16 September – Henry VIII and Catherine Howard get lots of money!

    On this day in Tudor history, 16th September 1541, King Henry VIII entered the city of York as part of his Northern Progress with his fifth wife, Catherine Howard.

    This was a chance for the people of the North to show their loyalty to their king and his consort, and to make up for rebelling against him. How could they do that? Well, by getting on their knees in submission and paying him lots of money.

    Find out more about this progress and how the king ended up being humiliated too, in today’s talk.

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  • 14 September – Henry VIII, the shrine destroyer

    Yes, on this day in Tudor history, 14th September 1538, a religious shrine which had stood since the early 12th century, was destroyed on the orders of King Henry VIII. The Shrine of Our Lady of Caversham was destroyed as part of Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries.

    In today’s talk, I share contemporary accounts of the shrine’s destruction, which included details of what was seized and sent to London.

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  • 16 August – Henry VIII claims victory for a non-battle

    On this day in Tudor history, 16th August 1513, the Battle of Spurs took place at Guinegate, or Enguinegatte, in France.

    It actually wasn’t a pitched battle at all, as the French knights fled the scene, but that didn’t stop Henry VIII claiming victory and doing a bit of exaggerating.

    I explain what exactly happened on this day in 1513 in today’s talk.

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  • 11 August – Henry VIII treats friars abominably

    On this day in Tudor history, 11th August 1534, or shortly before, the friars observant were expelled from their religious houses due to their support of Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s first wife, and their refusal to accept the king as supreme head of the Church in England.

    These men were treated abominably by Henry VIII and his government and you can find out about their treatment and their fates in today’s talk from Claire Ridgway, author of “On This Day in Tudor History”.

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  • 11 July – The Pope’s had enough of Henry VIII!

    There’s only so much a pope can take of a misbehaving king, isn’t there? And Pope Clement VII had had enough of Henry VIII by 11th July 1533.

    But how had this English king gone from being lauded as Defender of the Faith to being threatened with excommunication? What had he done to upset the Pope?

    In today’s “on this day in Tudor history” talk, I give details on Henry VIII’s misbehaviour, the ultimatum that the pope gave Henry, and what happened next.

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  • 28 June – Happy birthday to Henry VIII

    Yes, on this day in Tudor history, 28th June 1491, King Henry VIII, second monarch of the Tudor dynasty, was born at Greenwich Palace.

    This second son, the spare, of King Henry VII and Queen Elizabeth of York ended up becoming King Henry VIII in April 1509 and although in many ways he could be seen as a monstrous tyrant, he did achieve much during his reign.

    In today’s video, I give an overview of this man, his life and his reign.

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  • 27 June – Prince Henry breaks up with Catherine of Aragon

    On this day in Tudor history, 27th June 1505, thirteen-year-old Henry, Prince of Wales, only surviving son of King Henry VII, broke up with nineteen-year-old Catherine of Aragon, daughter of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile, by repudiating their two-year betrothal.

    It was the eve of their wedding, so why would Henry do this to Catherine?

    Let me explain exactly what happened on this day in 1505 and how the couple ended up getting married four years later.

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  • 11 June – Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon get married

    Happy wedding anniversary to King Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon! Well, Catherine would be celebrating, as she viewed herself as the king’s true wife right until the end.

    On this day in Tudor history, seventeen-year-old King Henry VIII married twenty-three-year-old Spanish princess, Catalina de Aragón, or Catherine of Aragon, his brother’s widow, at a private ceremony at Greenwich.

    Find out more about what led to this marriage in today’s video:

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  • Henry VIII and Francis I True or False Quiz

    As Friday was the anniversary of the beginning of the Field of Cloth of Gold, that historic meeting between King Henry VIII of England and King Francis I of France. I thought I’d test your knowledge of these two Renaissance kings.

    It’s a true or false quiz, so not too hard! I do hope you enjoy it.

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  • 26 May – Mary seeks Thomas Cromwell’s help

    On this day in Tudor history, 26th May 1536, Henry VIII’s daughter, Mary, sought the help of Thomas Cromwell, the king’s right-hand man. Now that Anne Boleyn was dead and gone, Mary hoped for a reconciliation with her father the king.

    What did she want Cromwell to do?

    What happened to Mary after Anne Boleyn’s death? How was she treated?

    In today’s video,I consider Mary’s situation and what happened between her and her father after this point.

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  • 21 April – The king is dead! Long live the king!

    On this day in Tudor history, 21st April 1509, King Henry VII, founder of the Tudor dynasty on the English throne, died at Richmond Palace.

    Henry VII was succeeded by his seventeen-year-old son who, apparently, did “not desire gold or gems or precious metals, but virtue, glory, immortality”! Yes, this was Henry VIII.

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  • 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.

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  • 23 March – Who’s queen: Catherine of Aragon or Anne Boleyn?

    On this day in Tudor history, 23rd March 1534, the Pope issued a bull proclaiming Catherine of Aragon to be England’s true queen and Mary the heir to the throne, while the English Parliament declared Anne Boleyn to be England’s rightful queen and her daughter, Elizabeth, the heir. Weird!

    In today’s video, I explain what was going on and what the 1534 Act of Succession stated.

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  • 10 March – Henry VIII and a nasty jousting accident

    Many people have heard of the jousting accident Henry VIII suffered in January 1536, but that wasn’t the first accident he suffered while participating in one of his favourite sports. On 10th March 1524, the king was struck on the brow while jousting, something that could have been incredibly serious and even fatal.

    What happened?

    In today’s video, I share a contemporary account of Henry VIII’s jousting accident.

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  • 7 March – The Pope threatens Henry VIII

    On this day in Tudor history, 7th March 1530, Pope Clement VII threatened King Henry VIII with excommunication if he married again. Henry, of course, wanted to set aside his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, and marry his sweetheart, Anne Boleyn.

    In today’s video, I explain the background of this threat and what happened next.

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  • 2 March – The Shrovetide Joust

    In today’s “on this day in Tudor history” video, I look at the Shrovetide joust, which took place on 2nd March 1522, and share Edward Hall’s wonderful account of the knights’ costumes and their mottoes.

    Was the theme of unrequited love aimed at anyone in particular?

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  • 16 February – The burial of King Henry VIII at St George’s Chapel, Windsor

    On this day in Tudor history, 16th February 1547, King Henry VIII was laid to rest in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. He was buried with his third wife, Queen Jane Seymour.

    In this video, I talk about his burial and what happened to the sarcophagus that he had planned to use. You can see that beautiful sarcophagus today, but it is the resting place of another famous historical person and is not at Windsor.

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  • 14 February – The dog licks up the king’s blood

    In today’s “on this day in Tudor history”, I take you back to 1547 and a rather horrible event that was seen as the fulfilment of a prophecy. Friar William Peto had warned King Henry VIII that if he carried on with his behaviour then he would end up like King Ahab. Strong words!

    I then move on to a happier topic, Valentine’s Day in the Tudor period. Did the Tudors celebrate Valentine’s Day and what did they do to mark the occasion?

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  • 28 January – The birth of Henry VII and the death of Henry VIII

    In today’s “on this day in Tudor history” video, I read an extract from my book about the birth of King Henry VII on this day in 1457 and the death of his son, King Henry VIII, on this day in 1547.

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  • 25 January

    On this day in Tudor history, 25th January 1533, King Henry VIII married his second wife, Anne Boleyn, at Whitehall Palace. In this video, I share an excerpt from my book, On This day in History, to tell you more about this event.

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  • 18 January

    Today’s “on this day in Tudor history” is a happy episode from early in Henry VIII’s reign, when he was happy in his marriage to Catherine of Aragon.

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  • 12 January

    Let me tell you all about King Henry VIII’s first joust as king, which happened at Richmond Park on 12th January 1510.

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  • 6 January

    Happy Epiphany! In today’s “on this day in Tudor history” video, I talk about the wedding of Anne of Cleves and Henry VIII, an event that took place on this day in 1540.

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  • 5 January

    On this day in Tudor history, 5th January 1531, the Pope got rather cross with Henry VIII. Find out why in my video.

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  • Henry VIII’s Six Wives Quiz

    This week’s Sunday quiz is on King Henry VIII’s six wives. How much do you know about these six fascinating women? Grab a snack and a drink, get yourself comfortable, and test your knowledge with this fun little quiz – good luck!

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  • King Henry VIII

    Happy birthday to the man who has the honour of being both my favourite and least favourite king! I find him fascinating but also love to hate him.

    I thought I’d celebrate the anniversary of his birth on 28th June 1491 by sharing some of the Henry VIII resources we have here for members at the Tudor Society:

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  • The Young Henry VIII Quiz

    How much do you know about the young King Henry VIII? Find out with this fun quiz. Grab your favourite beverage and snack and let’s get started! Good luck!

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  • 21 April 1509 – The king is dead! Long live the king!

    On this day in history, 21st April 1509, King Henry VIII died at Richmond Palace. He had ruled since defeating Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth on 22nd August 1485 and was aged fifty-two when he died. He was succeeded by his seventeen-year-old only surviving son, Henry, who became King Henry VIII.

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