Henry Viii Essay

1951 words - 8 pages

The major endeavours of Henry VIII during his reign over England from 1509 to 1547 included the Field of the Cloth of Gold and the Reformation of the English Church. The sole reason for these actions is said to be love and seems to be related to the King’s obsession for a male heir but other factors were involved. Paramount among these is the influence of his family in the earlier years of his life. Other reasons such as general insecurities and competitiveness with other royal houses are also possible motives. To say that the major endeavours of Henry VIII during his reign were motivated by his obsession with a male heir is not completely accurate as other, more viable, explanations are available.

The influence of Henry VIII’s family on important actions during his reign is greatly disregarded in many instances. It is believed that the actions made by Henry VIII were due to his obsession with a male heir but this obsession also can be blamed on his family. Henry’s father Henry VII was known to use his children to “secure his position by negotiating a series of marriages with other royal houses” and so naturally Henry did so too. Henry VII’s lack of interest in his son’s activities may have created insecurities that would influence Henry VIII’s decisions later in life. Also Henry was kept quiet and contained in the early years of his life, as “the heir was now confined to his father’s court where he could be protected from disease, accident, and conspiracy” This may have caused his need for attention. After his father’s death Henry developed an Oedipus complex which remained until his dying days as Derek Wilson states “he insisted, he had proved himself a better king, even outdoing Henry VII in Christian piety.” Also, his brother, Arthur’s early and unexpected death combined with frequent comparisons between the brothers, compounded his need to have a healthy male heir and siblings to secure the crown for future Tudors. Henry’s grandmother, Margaret Beaufort, like her son, had an extreme impact on the young Henry VIII. She was an influential force at court and dominated her grandchildren’s lives in discipline, religion and education as Wilson investigates in ‘Reformer and Tyrant’. There was little love for Henry in his earlier years as he had not been the heir until his brother died and so in this way his love for women and sport, which would be reflected in his latter years, grew. Henry VIII’s Family was critical in the descisions made towardsthe major endeavours of his reign although they had been dead for years.

Henry VIII’s love of Anne Boleyn was supposedly the catalyst to the reformation of the English church. Henry VIII had not loved Anne but seems to have been merely infatuated with her as in 1528 when Anne was overcome with the sweating sickness Henry fled terrified of dying without an heir. The fact that Anne was beheaded for adultery (which constituted treason) three years after her initial coronation on 31st May 1533 was...

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