Henry VIII Essay

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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
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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 also proof that love had not caused this major endeavour of Henry’s time. Henry was obsessed with an heir after his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, could not produce a male but only ‘several miscarriages, three infants who were either still-born or died immediately after birth, two infants who had died within a few weeks of birth and one girl’ . He

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