After perusing the book shelves at readings *Pre corona* I came across the epic tale of the final queen of King Henry VIII, written by the one and only Philippa Gregory.
So lemme elucidate what this entails:
Henry VIII, the embodiment of masculinity was remarkably dashing, tall & handsome as well as a sportsman recognised for his notorious lifestyle with the ladies. Five wives down the line, he was up for a sixth. Well hello dar…ling.
What was it that drew me to the story of the infamous King?
Although not all was historically accurate, it communicated with the reader in a more lighter manner, as in, not as heavy or deep as say war & peace. In fact you get through 15 pages without realising or worse a migraine.
Life at court was an illusion. The pompous grandiose customs were but merely a facade exposed once lifting the veil. Can one treat forceful deception of words to please the King as loyalty? When wrong is right & right is wrong. When truth is a lie & the lie is a truth. Regardless of what you bellow, ultimately the king bores of you & with the click of his hands you’re dragged to the tower for treason.
Henry’s temper & decision making was impetuous. Disconcerting was the fact that power & greed lead him to order the most abhorrent of acts. King Henry VIII beheaded his loyal chancellor Sir Thomas Moore because of refusing to accept the act of succession. As well as his chief minister of 8 years Sir Thomas Cromwell, so you get the gist of things right?
Although he lead one of the strongest navy of that era, he was easily persuaded. A moment of fury, a bishops dissuasion, or believing the whispers of court & there came his impulsive decisions towards his most loyal of courtiers. One of these being the great Cardinal Wolsey, arrested for failing to secure an annulment. Makes one wonder doesn’t it, was he that cold a man? Did he not feel any remorse or empathy when ordering the deaths of those most faithful & true?
‘Twas an open secret, Henry was insecure. As age took a hold of him, he became more agitated. After all he was the golden prince, epitome of what a man should be; well built, handsome, powerful & the richest in the country. He was losing it all :
“Time is irrecoverable for it can never be redeemed”.
After marrying Catherine Parr he wished to retain his youth, power & hold on the church. Truth is, it was slipping away. Hence anger was directed on those poor souls who had no way to fight back .
No matter how much Catherine forced herself to love him. Listen to each and every woe & obey him, deep down Henry sensed she was too intelligent for him. He was threatened she would take over & rightly so as she was a fairer leader than he had been over the years.
” I am the greatest man in the kingdom. Perhaps the greatest in the world” – Check out the level of false ego & insecurity please.
I believe he was an extreme sadist, enjoying throwing people in the tower. He wanted to witness them tortured. To beg for mercy & plead & when forgiven his name would once more be mentioned in reverential tones. It was all quite vile actually.
Catherine held strong views leading to the reformation. The English reformation formed mainly after the church of England broke away from the pope. Securing rights for the common man by translating & publishing new liturgy. Now the Bible was not only to be in Latin but also English in order for rich & poor being able to comprehend the words of God – religion had no rank.
This gave a chance to debate & discuss the doctrines with one another & refute those religious rites that were only used by church and bishops for the gain of coin. However, Henry’s advisers would murmur the threats this would impose on him and his power. After all, he was the church the “so called” medium between the people & God. Bishop Gardiner strongly opposed the Reformation, he despised those who followed it.
“Have they run mad? Do they think they can get eternal life by arguing for it? They have lost their faith. All they want to do now is dispute the bible”.
There came a hindrance in Catherine’s marriage to Henry. She had been married twice before. Once when young and then to an older man who left her a widow. She never felt love till she met Thomas Seymour the uncle to the only heir Edward of England and brother to Henry’s most beloved wife the late Jane Seymour. Problem was.. timing. She caught the eye of Henry the moment she tasted freedom. What luck, what fate! She was walking on eggshells. One wrong glance or nod acknowledging Thomas’ presence would give everything away. Being a Queen comes with its heavy responsibilities. You have to throw away your dreams, the life you planned and your love. Is it sacrifice worth making? For some maybe, for me, certainly NOT.
So I’ve summed up most of the plot without giving the story away, quite clever innit 😛
If you enjoy a love tryst, betrayal, lurching for power, blood & history.. then give this a read mes chers.
RUBBER DINGHY RAPIDSSSS!
Au revoir ❤