Henry VIII

During early modern England, there were many Kings, some were good and some were bad. It is felt that Henry VIII was the worst of all the kings that have ruled. He was a renounced womanizer; he spent much of the money that Henry VII had saved up on a very costly war with France, he enjoyed gaming and left political issues to Cardinal Wosley, and he felt that he did not have to follow any set of rules.

King Henry VIII was known for his womanizing, which ended up causing great instability within the government and among the masses. Henry VIII’s womanizing caused him to go through marriages and divorces, which had begun to cause distrust of the monarchy by the masses. During the winter of Anne’s pregnancy he began to be attracted to Jane Seymour one of the queen’s ladies in waiting. Henry VIII appointed a secret committee to find evidence of adultery and with a variety of young men at court, which stretched as far as to include her own brother, George. With Anne of Cleves, who he had nicknamed “the Flander’s Mane”, he divorced and executed her in order to marry Catherine Howard. Henry VIII had the privy council acquire evidence that Catherine Howard had been sexually indiscreet with a series of young men both before and after her marriage to the king. Towards the end of his reign, he married one last time to Catherine Parr, Lady Latimer.

As King, Henry VIII spent much of the money that was saved up in the Royal Vault on costly wars. Also, Henry VIII was more of a gamer that preferred to be outdoors and left most of the politics, as long as he was satisfied, to Wosley. Henry VIII was an aristocrat and believed that “Honour” was the cornerstone of aristocrat culture. Henry VIII’s reign saw the boldest and largest invasions of France since Henry V was in power. Unlike his father, Henry felt that writing was both tedious and painful; he preferred hunting, dancing, dallying, and playing the lute. Leaving his power in the hands of Wosley was one of the biggest mistakes that Henry did. Wosley would use the power of the Council and Star Chamber as tools of minstrel power in much the way that Henry VII used them as vehicles of royal power.

Although Henry VIII mucked up by putting power in Wosley, he did still watch over Wosley. Henry himself set the tempo; his pastimes were only pursued while he was satisfied with Wosley. But at the same time it is a good thing that Henry put someone in charge of Kingly affairs because Henry’s work habits were scarcely commendable to either modern historian or sixteenth-century diplomat.

Henry VIII was a man who felt that because he was royalty, he was above the law and could do what he wanted when he wanted. When Henry VIII saw that Anne could not provide him with a male heir, so he sough to divorce her but the Pope in Rome prohibited it. Henry VIII enacted two acts that helped to distance Rome from England, the Act of Supremacy and Treason’s Act. Henry VIII decided to sell the monasteries to raise revenue and distance himself further from Rome. With the revenue and materials from the monasteries, he built a chain of new castles along Britain’s Southern and Eastern coast that were known as Henry VIII’s Device Forts.

I believe that Henry VIII was the worst king in English history. Henry VIII was pompous, over bearing, womanizer, and would stop at nothing to get what he wanted. First of all, he wasted a lot of money, men, and equipment on the ridiculous war with France. At the end of Henry’s first marriage when he wanted a divorce, the pope would not allow it so he decided to break with Rome and plunge the country into Religious instability. Then he decided to marry and divorce multiple women over his life time, over his fear that he would not have a legitimate male heir to take over the throne when he was gone. These actions that were taken by the king were selfish and only had one purpose, which was to get what he wanted. This exposes how Henry felt that he was the supreme ruler of his kingdom whether it was physically or spiritually. Now Henry may have been the worst King but he still had at least one good quality and that was when Henry built the Device Forts, which were his coastal defenses against any invasions.