The Tudor Society

Video – Henry VIII: Tyrant Part 1

In today's Claire Chats I look at whether Henry VIII was a tyrant and compare him to Machiavelli's idea of what a monarch/leader should be.


  • Henry VIII: A Machiavellian Musical Monarch, Theodore Harvey
  • The Prince, Niccolò Machiavelli
  • Machiavelli and Mystery of State, Peter Donaldson
  • Reginald Pole and Thomas Cromwell: An Examination of the Apologia Ad Carolum Quintum, Paul Van Dyke (1904)
  • Historical Studies of the English Parliament, Volume 2, edited by E. B. Fryde, Edward Miller
  • The Last Days of Henry VIII, Robert Hutchinson
  • A Brief History of Henry VIII: King, Reformer and Tyrant, Derek Wilson
  • 1536: The Year That Changed Henry VIII, Suzannah Lipscomb
  • Henry: Virtuous Prince, David Starkey
  • “Why Tyrants Go Too Far: Malignant Narcissism and Absolute Power”, Glad, B. (2002, March)
  • Henry VIII, J J Scarisbrick
  • Historiography: Culture, edited by Robert M. Burns
  • Henry VIII and History, edited by Thomas Betteridge, Thomas S. Freeman

There are 2 comments Go To Comment

  1. S

    Thank you Claire – this is fascinating, and as always, well referenced. Thanks for posting the articles. I, too, believe that Henry was influenced by Machiavelli’s theories on governance. More research would be warranted, but I do think this provides some logic to his actions, even as misinterpreted as they have come to be over the centuries. Not to say they were all the actions of a benevolent and kindly ruler – but that there may be a cause other than the typical rationale: he had syphilis and was crazy, he was brain damaged, he just became a crazy old man, etc.

  2. E

    Atrocious tyrant indeed….I don’t know why so many of you are enamored with him….

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Video – Henry VIII: Tyrant Part 1