Last Days of Henry VIII: Conspiracy, Treason and Heresy at the Court of the Dying Tyrant
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What I loved about this book is the detail that Hutchinson went into as he looked at all the different events that happened to Henry over the last four years of his life. I have always thought of Henry as quite a tyrant in his final years, an aging man who was grossly overweight, unable to participate in the lively sports of his younger years, losing his youth, his moods swinging back and forth wildly.
Hutchinson also puts forward this image of Henry, but what he does is look at the different reasons why Henry turned into an overweight tyrant obsessed with his image and power. Having only one son in a time where many children often did not live to adulthood must have been a very worrying thing for Henry. If anything happened to Edward, Henry would have no male heir to carry on the Tudor line.
While Henry was a distant father Hutchinson showed the reader that Henry loved and treasured his son greatly. Hutchinson talks about how those around Henry were very influential in coercing the King to different religious reforms. It seems as though those within the Privy chamber had a great influence on the aging King and whispered a great deal into his ear about their own personal beliefs and ideas for England. He speaks about their own personal motives and how they used their influence and friendliness with the King to try and gain many advantages for the reformist religion.
Of course one cannot forget that in his final years Henry went to France looking for military glory. All in all it really did not seem worth the expenses. It really does seem as though Katherine became something of a friend and nurse to Henry in his final years. She was a very intelligent woman and unfortunately some people at court thought she had overstepped her status as a woman and there was at one stage an investigation to see if she was a heretic.
Henry in his ever changing mood swings authorised the arrest of Katherine, but went back on his decision once she came to him and humbly submitted herself to his will. From what Hutchinson wrote it does seem as though Henry did care about his last wife and saw her as a very good and loving friend. He talked a great deal about how Henry was very much invested in medicines and remedies to heal the body. The King made many medicines and concoctions which he believed would heal various illnesses and diseases.
What alarmed me greatly was when Hutchinson talked about the regular enemas that Henry needed in his later life due to being extremely constipated! This of course was probably caused by his excessive over eating, and eating of foods such as meats which were not very good for the digestive system. This was another interesting if perhaps a little gross fact that I never knew before.
By the end of his life Henry was grossly overweight, having difficulties walking, standing on his own and even at times breathing. Apparently his doctors tried to get him to eat healthier but clearly Henry did not heed this advice. People with this syndrome also have rather fat faces, with fat deposits under their eyes; their skin can be fragile and thin and take some time for wounds to heal. Bones become weaker, blood pressure rises and they also may suffer from depression, anxiety, insomnia and mood swings. Henry was well known for his massive bulk, his bouts of depression, his anxiety and mood swings — he was known to lash out at his courtiers and strike them in anger!
But on the other hand, he could have simply been a man who had a great deal of pressure and responsibility upon his shoulders, a man who suffered many significant blows not only to his person but to his status, his manhood and his mental state.
The Last Days of Henry VIII: Conspiracies, Treason, and Heresy at the Court of the Dying Tyrant
Henry VIII could simply have turned into a tyrant and with absolute, unquestioning power he had the ability to do whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted and no one dare question him for fear of their lives. I do not know if we can always lay the blame for his behaviour and actions on a medical illness. Members of his Privy chamber were authorized to use the stamp in his name and then record the usage and show this to the King which he would sign at the end of each month.
It is proposed that perhaps the dry stamp was used to alter the will somewhat to give a little extra benefits and power to those members of the reformist faction at court. In the end I felt quite sad for dear Henry. Perhaps he was a tyrant; or maybe he was just a pawn in all the political and personal battling at court. Perhaps he was a victim of the many tragedies and personal blows he suffered throughout the years. Or maybe he was just a mean, overweight, power hungry man facing his death.
Whatever the case, I felt as though Hutchinson provided such a wealth of detail and information that the reader was able to make up their own mind about Henry VIII and the type of man he was in his final years. Hutchinson has an easy and personal writing style where I felt as though instead of reading an information heavy book with lots and lots of details, I was reading a novel about a powerful King and his final years of life. I was captivated from the start and would strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in Henry VIII.
Aug 03, Margaret rated it really liked it Shelves: general-history , challenge. If you think you know all there is to know about England's most notorious monarch, then think again. Robert Hutchinson's book delves very deeply into the character of the man as provable by both his actions and correspondence and also those around him. Some, like Sir Anthony Denny, whom the eye of history has gently slid over, should really have historians taking a much closer look at this interesting and manipulative man.
Hutchinson speculates on the cause of Henry's disabilities and death, steering away from the done to death idea of syphilis and coming up with a much more plausible illness view spoiler [ Cushings syndrome hide spoiler ]. A fascinating book looking at the end of Henry VIII's reign, a period often overlooked in favour of the Anne Boleyn years and the issues of religion and divorce. Hutchinson explores the role of Katherine Parr which was not as straightforward as her merely caring for him in his last years.
There were plots to get rid of her and she worked hard to bring his children together with him as a family. Henry remained in control almost to the very end of his illness, playing factions against each other a A fascinating book looking at the end of Henry VIII's reign, a period often overlooked in favour of the Anne Boleyn years and the issues of religion and divorce.
Henry remained in control almost to the very end of his illness, playing factions against each other as he had done throughout his reign. The details and questions aroused by his will are fascinating and Hutchinson explores the politics of the time without making it a dry and heavy-going book. A good edition to the literature of Tudor England and a very interesting read. May 25, Julie rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction , own , tudor.
It explores in depth his last three marriages, the conspiracies and rivalries abounding in his inner circle, the religious climate, his volatile temper, his waning heath and final illness, and his majestic funeral. This is a well researched and fascinating book, giving a real insight into Henry VIII's life from the time when Ann of Cleves became his bride.
It describes policy, personalities, intrigues, allegiances, conspiracies, religion and politics in a thoroughly readable way. Even Henry's medical history is discussed, and his failed attempts to have a tomb for posterity to remember him by. This is an illuminating, detailed and involving book which makes sense of this somewhat turbulent period of Englis This is a well researched and fascinating book, giving a real insight into Henry VIII's life from the time when Ann of Cleves became his bride.
This is an illuminating, detailed and involving book which makes sense of this somewhat turbulent period of English history. Apr 09, Alex rated it it was amazing. A brilliantly detailed and informative book.
Andrew Lownie Literary Agency :: Authors :: Robert Hutchinson
As ever - a joy to read. Katherine Parr is one of Henry VIII's most interesting wives - a clever and complex woman with a passionate beating heart. Henry's last days - riven by domestic strife and religious upheaval and a personal deterioration in his health. He was the bloated monster of legend. Hutchinson makes history a joy to read - because he has a flair with words. Highly recommended. May 27, Richard Thomas rated it it was amazing Shelves: english-history.
This is actually the first chance I've had to read a book I've known about for a while and I really enjoyed it despite some flaws and irritations: is it necessary to refer each time to Charles V as "the Imperial Emperor" for instance? On the other hand the level of detailed research is extremely impressive particularly in regard to Henry's medical care Hutchinson offering a speculative diagnosis as to what may have been underlying the king's problems and the arrangements for his funeral. Hutchin This is actually the first chance I've had to read a book I've known about for a while and I really enjoyed it despite some flaws and irritations: is it necessary to refer each time to Charles V as "the Imperial Emperor" for instance?
Hutchinson, Robert 1948-
Hutchinson also offers great insight into some of the personalities of Henry's later years: 3 queens most especially Katherine Parr , bishops, nobles, courtiers, doctors and servants many of whom have been overlooked in the past, as well as Henry himself of course.
The interplay between these personalities through various conspiracies and the endless factional strife of Henry's later years is also brought to the fore. The book also contains extensive notes and bibliography as well as a fascinating if somewhat grisly appendix on the fate of Henry's corpse and tomb. I made the mistake of assuming that this book would be about the last few years of Henry VIII's life. I figured there would be a chunk in the beginning for those who dont know much about him to explain how he came to be at the end of his life. But in the first page of the forward, the author starts by stating that Henry killed up to , of his country men.
Also, it was well past the halfway mark of the book until he really got into the later years of his life. I'm giving it two stars because it was well written, but under researched and misleading. Extremely well written and factual. An insight into a perilous time and the greed of a rapacious King. Henry was viscious, vindictive, and vain. His ill health plagued him in his later years and this book highlights what other histories of Henry's reign overlook. It is an easy read and a window into a time that even in today's political world seems all too familiar.
Robert Hutchinson has captured the essence of the man, his politicians, wives, and his overpowering need to perpetuate his line. Aug 03, Clint Richard rated it it was amazing. The book is truly superb. British scholar and Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries Robert Hutchinson offers up an eminently readable look at the horrifying, grotesque atmosphere of the court of Henry VIII during the years following the execution of Thomas Cromwell The King who is probably the single most famous and often depicted monarch in English history had, by the s, degenerated from an athletic, flamboyant king to a morbidly obese tyrant who struck terror into the hearts of even the most arrogant and jad British scholar and Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries Robert Hutchinson offers up an eminently readable look at the horrifying, grotesque atmosphere of the court of Henry VIII during the years following the execution of Thomas Cromwell The King who is probably the single most famous and often depicted monarch in English history had, by the s, degenerated from an athletic, flamboyant king to a morbidly obese tyrant who struck terror into the hearts of even the most arrogant and jaded courtiers.
During the final five years of his reign, the competent government that had operated effectively under such skilled managers as Wolsey and Cromwell, fell after their deaths into near bankruptcy with severe devaluation of coinage caused by rampant overspending on failed wars and internal corruption. Henry handed out rewards and murderous punishments as courtiers worked with nervous anticipation to establish their positions when the bloated, sick and increasingly unpredictable king should finally die.
When he finally did die at age 55 in January , Henry VIII was succeeded by his son, nine year old Edward VI and the winning factions claimed elaborate titles and rewards while others were dispatched to the Tower. During this time, the English Reformation hovered between extreme visions of reform and reaction with some of the most horrific tortures and burnings designed to "save the souls" of the people and their dying monarch. Many of the winners of this deadly sweepstakes of greed and religious fanaticism ended up beheaded or burned as the wheel of fortune continued to turn murderously through the reigns of Edward VI and Mary Tudor "Bloody Mary" to the accession of Elizabeth I in November This history book is anything but dry and uninteresting.
Readers of Hillary Mantel's trilogy will certainly want to check this out. It casts clear and precise light on the fear and mismanagement that prevailed during the final years of Henry VIII. One doesn't generally think of Henry VIII as incompetent, but this book brings into clear focus how the physical and mental deterioration of an absolute monarch can create a massive governmental "train wreck" as underlings motivated by greed and fear scramble to rescue themselves. May 22, Hannah rated it it was amazing Shelves: histories. This book stands out among the many books I've read about the Tudors for Hutchinson's masterful use of quotes and direct evidence.
These pieces not only make his arguments seem more valid, but they really breathe life into what might otherwise be a dry book. It was an ingenious idea to focus on the last years of Henry VIII's reign instead of merely parroting the same major events of his life like most biographers do. I learned a lot from reading it - and that tends to be a rarity when it comes t This book stands out among the many books I've read about the Tudors for Hutchinson's masterful use of quotes and direct evidence.
I learned a lot from reading it - and that tends to be a rarity when it comes to books about the Tudors. This book really leaves you wondering - and actually, at the end, I felt a little sorry for Henry. While he undoubtedly was a tyrant, before this book I had always managed to brush off the physical agony that he had to continually endure.
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Hutchinson tells us that he might have suffered from Cushing's Disease - something his physicians would have been unable to do anything about. Instead, the cures they prescribed were poison.
While I had heard of Paget and Denny before, I had not realized the full extent of their power during those last few years. I wish that I could learn more about them. This was an excellent read, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in the Tudors. Jun 28, Dana rated it liked it.
I have read a lot about Tudor England and the only thing I learned in this book was that Henry was much more of a tyrant that I had previously imagined. Henry VIII pioneered the modern show trial: cynical propaganda exercises in which the victims were condemned before the proceedings even opened. Henry VIII 'has no respect or fear of anyone in this world', wrote the Spanish ambassador to his court.
https://belgacar.com/components/retirer/espion-telephone-gratuit.php He ruled England with Stalinist ruthlessness, executing at a conservative estimate , people from a population of less than 3 million souls. But after 35 years in power, he was a bloated, hideously obese, black-humoured old man, rarely seen in public. He had striven all his life to ensure the survival of his dynasty by siring legitimate sons, yet his only male heir was eight-year-old Prince Edward.
It was increasingly obvious that when Henry died, real power in England would be exercised by a regent. The prospect of that prize spurred the rival court factions into deadly conflict. However, Robert Hutchinson has spent several years in original archival research. He advances a genuinely new theory of Henry's medical history and the cause of his death; he has unearthed some fabulous eyewitness material and papers from death warrants, confessions and even love letters between Katherine Parr and the Lord High Admiral.