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In 1530, at Hampton Court Palace, King Henry VIII and his advisers penned a letter to Rome. In it, for the first time, Henry threatened to break with the Vatican and split off from the Catholic Church. As you might imagine, Rome probably thought he'd bitten off more than he could chew. But, four years later, in the 1534 Act of Supremacy, Henry carried through on that threat — and the Church of England was born. This may have influenced the likes of Adolf Hitler, for such political adulterations saw Henry become the ultimate dictator, something extremely hard to pull off in the 20th Century. Though the Fuhrer managed something reasonably closely aligned, and both dictators used extreme methods to eliminate political adversaries. In Henry's case the lopping of heads. The constitutional foundation for Hitler's dictatorship was the Enabling Act on March 24, 1933. It gave Hitler the right to pass any law without the approval of the Reichstag. In efforts to breed a master race, more than 300,000 German Aryans were sterilized and countless numbers were gassed, under a law passed on July 14, 1933, the "Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring." By comparison to Adolf, Henry was a relatively well balanced individual.


Where Henry VIII rebelled against the Catholic Church of Rome, he would not tolerate dissidents, proving himself to be a dictator and a hypocrite, in prosecuting those who dared to voice alternative views - mostly beheading them under the rule of treason. In such circumstances, and if there was a new land of opportunity, you might want to get into a boat and try and find a better life. 


Henry's lust for young female conquests drove him to write and re-write laws that would enable his roving eye to bed many fair maidens, who under English law today, would be considered under the age of consent. But in his time, mistresses around twelve and over were prime-time and fair game, so presumably they were smarter than girls today (the opposite is true with the internet and soaps) as far as the law stands, and if they had not been eligible, judging by his statutory manipulations, they would have been declared so. Henry's weakness in this department led to six marriages and who knows how many mistresses along the way, though some are mentioned. His youngest official bride was the seventeen year old Catherine Howard.


In Africa today, tribal marriages take place with brides are thirteen, yielding the healthiest offspring. And, just like our Henry, their warrior husbands demand purity and certificates of chastity. In the UK in 2021, sixteen is the age of consent, in the US it is 18 in most states, causing many problems. France has upped the age of consent to 15 recently, while Italy remains at 14. In the Philippines the age is 12, as in Angola. According to the NHS, the average age for girls to begin puberty is 11, for boys it is 12. It varies by region. Some late, some early. Clearly then, Henry was not unusual, he just wanted a healthy heir to his throne and enjoyed the physical exercise. Today, he might have been locked up for relations with his young mistresses, save that nobody would dare investigate. We could raise the age of consent to 35, and solve the population problem overnight. But we'd need some form of digital chastity device, for the authorities to be able to monitor illegal activity. We'd also need more dungeons to cope with delinquents, or bring back Henry's favourite: beheadings, and kill two birds with one stone, an early form of population control perhaps. (See below) What a bonus for climate change!




Portrait of the Butcher King, Henry VIII lopped heads at the rate of 30 a week

Henry VIII, loved to gamble and gorge. He was obsessed with art and weapon collections, and was fond of waging wars that cost him a small fortune, as did his divorces. He may have been better served staying with mistresses. But then he was a sportsman. Considering his excesses, he did well to live for 55 years. Born 28 June 1491, died 28 January 1547. He is thought to have courted a new lady every 2.5 years on average. Officially, roughly one every 7 years, giving rise to the famous adage, about an itch.




The English King may then be said to be a major contributory factor in the Founding Father's eventually taking to the high seas in the Mayflower, to plant a political seed that would eventually germinate into the War of Independence, severing ties with England's colonial rule. But first, England would attempt to colonize the America's bent on exploiting mineral and plantation wealth, until heavy taxations would cause rebellion and ultimately violent severance.


Many people in England felt that there were still too many similarities between the Church of England and Rome, and demanded greater reforms. Some even wished to ‘purify’ the Anglican Church of all Catholic rituals. They became known as the Puritans. Others called for a break with the existing church, and became known as the Separatists. However, Henry VIII had decreed that all citizens were required to follow the state religion: the Anglican Church. Those who did not, would face prosecution - talk about denial of human rights. By the time King James I ascended the throne in 1603, the situation had become more tense.





HENRY VIII - During his time on the throne, the King is thought to have beheaded around 57,000 subjects, earning him a reputation as a butcher. Though he was not referred to as: "Henry the Butcher," many believe that such a title is well deserved. Of course he did not swing the axe himself. He employed a professional axe-man for that. Giving us the term getting axed, as in being fired from a job.






King Henry VIII, born June 28, 1491, was the second son of Henry VII. Henry originally had an older brother, Arthur, but he died in 1502, leaving Henry heir to the throne. As a youth, Henry was tall and athletic, frequently engaged in hunting and sport, but also intelligent and academic. He spoke several languages and studied the arts and theological debate. As king, he wrote (with help) a text refuting the claims of Martin Luther, which resulted in the Pope granting Henry the title of "Defender of the Faith." Henry became king on the death of his father in 1509 and was welcomed by his kingdom as a dynamic young man.


Henry VIII created the Church of England in 1536 as a result of a dispute with the pope, who would not permit Henry to get a divorce from his wife and marry his long-time mistress. Henry's marital history started under a cloud of suspicion, as his marriage to Catherine of Aragon meant he was forming a union with his brother's widow. Whether his series of divorces was actually the result of his failure to produce a male heir or some other form of instability is a matter of some dispute, but the reason for forming the Anglican Church was to give Henry the right to act as the head of his own church and marry as he pleased.

When Henry VIII started the Church of England, Roman Catholicism was already roiling under the effects of Reformation, which started in 1517 as the German Lutheran church began a separation of its own. Henry irritated the Catholic establishment even further, not just by separating from Catholicism but also by funding the first translation of the Bible into English.

Henry's decision to establish the Church of England was far from the last word in British religion. The country was governed by Catholic and Anglican monarchs - and even a Puritan protectorate under Oliver Cromwell - until William of Orange took over the throne and left the Church of England's role intact in 1688.





Catherine of Aragon begs to keep her head


BLOODLUST - Catherine of Aragon may well have begged for her life, but had little chance of keeping her head, with Henry VIII so adept at eliminating political enemies, and we assume, any other hindrance to his objectives, using such means. It's a lot less paperwork that imprisonment, and final. No appeals. This is something the present day justice system absorbed. Under English law at present there is no right of appeal. An Article 6 violation. That is nothing compared to the threat of nuclear proliferation, a United Nations violation.






During the reign of Henry VIII, between 1509 and 1547, an estimated 57,000 English subjects lost their heads - at the rate of 4.34 subjects a day. It was a violent time in history, but Henry VIII may have been particularly bloodthirsty, executing tens of thousands during his 36-year reign. By comparison, the daughter who succeeded him on the throne, who came to be called "Bloody Mary," killed fewer than 300 people during her six years as queen. Only 50 executions a year, or one a week to satisfy her bloodlust, compared to 30 a week under Henry. England could hardly be described as merry.

Perhaps one of the primary reasons for Henry VIII's notoriety is not the sheer volume of killings but, instead, the controversy surrounding them. Henry VIII presided over the English Reformation, a period of great change characterized by England's break from the Catholic Church. The trouble started when Henry married his older brother's widow, Catherine of Aragon, a member of the Spanish royal family.




Catherine of Aragon and Henry Tudor (The Butcher)


MARRIAGE - Is an outdated concept, but makes for a wonderful day out for all the family. Giving everyone the opportunity to watch a well dressed couple commit to each other, but ultimately, with divorce rates so high, many might think the ritual forces promises that men and women cannot keep - in a modern world. That said, the wedding industry employs millions of people. Think to of all the lawyers that have mortgages to pay.




After years of marriage, Henry wanted to divorce Catherine of Aragon. She had suffered through several still births and a handful of infant deaths and hadn't borne a son. Henry became obsessed with producing an heir to carry on the Tudor family lineage, and he finally convinced himself that his marriage to Catherine had been a sin in the eyes of God. He even believed the union's sin was the reason why his legitimate male children kept dying. So he set about obtaining an annulment from the church based on the edict stating that a man can never marry his brother's wife. The problem was, it was the pope who had sanctioned the marriage in the first place, on the basis of Catherine's oath that her marriage to Henry's brother was never consummated.

What ensued was a political and religious fiasco. In the end, Henry cast out the Catholic Church and established himself as the head of the Church of England, God's representative on Earth. At least once removed from becoming a God himself.




Domestically, Henry is known for his radical changes to the English Constitution, ushering in the theory of the divine right of kings. He also greatly expanded royal power during his reign. He frequently used charges of treason and heresy to quell dissent, and those accused were often executed without a formal trial by means of bills of attainder. He achieved many of his political aims through the work of his chief ministers, some of whom were banished or executed when they fell out of his favour. Thomas Wolsey, Thomas More, Thomas Cromwell, Richard Rich, and Thomas Cranmer all figured prominently in his administration.

Henry was an extravagant spender, using the proceeds from the dissolution of the monasteries and acts of the Reformation Parliament. He also converted the money that was formerly paid to Rome into royal revenue. Despite the money from these sources, he was continually on the verge of financial ruin due to his personal extravagance, as well as his numerous costly and largely unsuccessful wars, particularly with King Francis I of France, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, King James V of Scotland and the Scottish regency under the Earl of Arran and Mary of Guise. At home, he oversaw the legal union of England and Wales with the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542, and he was the first English monarch to rule as King of Ireland following the Crown of Ireland Act 1542.

Henry VII died on 21 April 1509, and the 17-year-old Henry succeeded him as king. Soon after his father's burial on 10 May, Henry suddenly declared that he would indeed marry Catherine, leaving unresolved several issues concerning the papal dispensation and a missing part of the marriage portion. The new king maintained that it had been his father's dying wish that he marry Catherine. Whether or not this was true, it was certainly convenient. Emperor Maximilian I had been attempting to marry his granddaughter Eleanor, Catherine's niece, to Henry; she had now been jilted. Henry's wedding to Catherine was kept low-key and was held at the friar's church in Greenwich on 11 June 1509.

On 23 June 1509, Henry led the now 23-year-old Catherine from the Tower of London to Westminster Abbey for their coronation, which took place the following day. It was a grand affair: the king's passage was lined with tapestries and laid with fine cloth. Following the ceremony, there was a grand banquet in Westminster Hall. As Catherine wrote to her father, "our time is spent in continuous festival".

Two days after his coronation, Henry arrested his father's two most unpopular ministers, Sir Richard Empson and Edmund Dudley. They were charged with high treason and were executed in 1510. Politically motivated executions would remain one of Henry's primary tactics for dealing with those who stood in his way. Henry also returned some of the money supposedly extorted by the two ministers. By contrast, Henry's view of the House of York – potential rival claimants for the throne – was more moderate than his father's had been. Several who had been imprisoned by his father, including Thomas Grey, 2nd Marquess of Dorset, were pardoned. Others went un-reconciled; Edmund de la Pole was eventually beheaded in 1513, an execution prompted by his brother Richard siding against the king.

Although Henry's marriage to Catherine has since been described as "unusually good", it is known that Henry took mistresses. It was revealed in 1510 that Henry had been conducting an affair with one of the sisters of Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham, either Elizabeth or Anne Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon. The most significant mistress for about three years, starting in 1516, was Elizabeth Blount. Blount is one of only two completely undisputed mistresses, considered by some to be few for a virile young king. Exactly how many Henry had is disputed: David Loades believes Henry had mistresses "only to a very limited extent", whilst Alison Weir believes there were numerous other affairs. Catherine is not known to have protested. In 1518 she fell pregnant again with another girl, who was also stillborn.

On 28 July 1540 (the same day Cromwell was executed), Henry married the young (17) Catherine Howard, a first cousin and lady-in-waiting of Anne Boleyn. He was absolutely delighted with his new queen and awarded her the lands of Cromwell and a vast array of jewellery. Soon after the marriage, however, Queen Catherine had an affair with the courtier Thomas Culpeper. She also employed Francis Dereham, who had previously been informally engaged to her and had an affair with her prior to her marriage, as her secretary.


The Privy Council was informed of her affair with Dereham whilst Henry was away; Thomas Cranmer was dispatched to investigate, and he brought evidence of Queen Catherine's previous affair with Dereham to the King's notice. Though Henry originally refused to believe the allegations, Dereham confessed. It took another meeting of the council, however, before Henry believed the accusations against Dereham and went into a rage, blaming the council before consoling himself in hunting. When questioned, the Queen could have admitted a prior contract to marry Dereham, which would have made her subsequent marriage to Henry invalid, but she instead claimed that Dereham had forced her to enter into an adulterous relationship. Dereham, meanwhile, exposed Queen Catherine's relationship with Culpeper. Culpeper and Dereham were both executed, and Catherine too was beheaded on 13 February 1542.




Henry VIII portrait from 1491, the King is famous for his beheadings





Henry inherited a vast fortune and a prosperous economy from his father, who had been frugal. This fortune is estimated at £1,250,000 (the equivalent of £375 million today). By comparison, Henry's reign was a near disaster financially. He augmented the royal treasury by seizing church lands, but his heavy spending and long periods of mismanagement damaged the economy.

Henry spent much of his wealth on maintaining his court and household, including many of the building works he undertook on royal palaces. He hung 2,000 tapestries in his palaces; by comparison, James V of Scotland hung just 200. Henry took pride in showing off his collection of weapons, which included exotic archery equipment, 2,250 pieces of land ordnance and 6,500 handguns. Tudor monarchs had to fund all government expenses out of their own income. This income came from the Crown lands that Henry owned as well as from customs duties like tonnage and poundage, granted by parliament to the king for life. During Henry's reign the revenues of the Crown remained constant (around £100,000), but were eroded by inflation and rising prices brought about by war. Indeed, war and Henry's dynastic ambitions in Europe exhausted the surplus he had inherited from his father by the mid-1520s.

Henry VII had not involved Parliament in his affairs very much, but Henry VIII had to turn to Parliament during his reign for money, in particular for grants of subsidies to fund his wars. The dissolution of the monasteries provided a means to replenish the treasury, and as a result, the Crown took possession of monastic lands worth £120,000 (£36 million) a year. The Crown had profited by a small amount in 1526 when Wolsey put England onto a gold, rather than silver, standard, and had debased the currency slightly. Cromwell debased the currency more significantly, starting in Ireland in 1540. The English pound halved in value against the Flemish pound between 1540 and 1551 as a result. The nominal profit made was significant, helping to bring income and expenditure together, but it had a catastrophic effect on the country's economy. In part, it helped to bring about a period of very high inflation from 1544 onwards.


The theory that Henry suffered from syphilis has been dismissed by most historians. Historian Susan Maclean Kybett ascribes his demise to scurvy, which is caused by insufficient vitamin C most often due to a lack of fresh fruits and vegetables in one's diet. Alternatively, his wives' pattern of pregnancies and his mental deterioration have led some to suggest that he may have been Kell positive and suffered from McLeod syndrome. According to another study, Henry's history and body morphology may have been the result of traumatic brain injury after his 1536 jousting accident, which in turn led to a neuroendocrine cause of his obesity. This analysis identifies growth hormone deficiency (GHD) as the reason for his increased adiposity but also significant behavioural changes noted in his later years, including his multiple marriages.

Henry's obesity hastened his death at the age of 55, on 28 January 1547 in the Palace of Whitehall, on what would have been his father's 90th birthday. The tomb he had planned (with components taken from the tomb intended for Cardinal Wolsey) was only partly constructed and was never completed. (The sarcophagus and its base were later removed and used for Lord Nelson's tomb in the crypt of St. Paul's Cathedral.) Henry was interred in a vault at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, next to Jane Seymour. Over 100 years later, King Charles I (1625–1649) was buried in the same vault.



QUEEN ELIZABETH I  -  1533 – 1603


The monarch became the supreme governor of the state church and its doctrine was officially defined through the 39 Articles in the reign of Henry's daughter, Elizabeth I. Odd that, one would have thought that God dictated doctrine, not men or women, deciding for God, what God wanted. However, the new Queen took advantage of her father's political gains, as has every king and queen since, save for one abdication.


Under Elizabeth, England became a great naval power, and sowed the seeds of the British Empire. In 1584, Elizabeth gave Walter Raleigh a charter, allowing him to form a colony in America.

The church's continuing privileged position gives 26 of its bishops seats as a right in the House of Lords, gives institutional rights on state occasions, including the coronation of the sovereign, and protects it through a complex and ancient web of legislation, that many see as unconstitutional - and may be long overdue for review. Conservative MP David Cameron, who was at the time the Prime Minister, suggested that the UK might want to consider having a Written Constitution, rather than constantly changing on a daily basis (to confuse the electorate) in common law making. Many suggest that the present system is not Human Rights compliant, where the Courts are open to abuse from Judges and police officers who are Masons. in Italy, such secret societies are illegal for that very reason.












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