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Henry VIII – tyrant or hero?

Posted on: 02/02/2016 with tags: alison weir, henry viii, Tudor

It’s easy to get the wrong idea about Henry VIII. Some see him as a Charles Laughton caricature, throwing chicken bones over his shoulder, changing wives and chopping off heads at a whim – or as a dangerously suggestible ‘great puppet’. The multiplicity of propagandist images of the mature King, which derive from Holbein’s ‘annihilating’ portrait, have overlaid all other perceptions the of younger, less embittered and tyrannical monarch. Henry was complex – you can’t just label him a monster, al…

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Christmas at the court of Henry VIII by Alison Weir

Posted on: 02/12/2015 with tags: alison weir, christmas, henry viii, katherine of aragon, Tudor

Henry VIII always kept the feast of Christmas with ‘much nobleness and open court’. It was incumbent upon kings to dispense hospitality throughout the twelve days of the festival, and in Henry’s reign more than a thousand people dined at court during the Yuletide season, and an Italian visitor noted that on one occasion the guests remained at table for over seven hours. All meats were carried into the dining hall with ceremony; far from confirming to the chicken-throwing image of Henry VIII popu…

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