Greed, Lust, and Murder: King Henry VIII, the Tudor Court, and How It Changed England Forever
The Tudor dynasty, one of the most dramatic and troubled of all English royal families, was founded by Henry VII, who usurped the throne in 1485. Henry’s son, the infamous Henry VIII, changed England forever when his desire for a divorce led him to create the Church of England. From his brutal and greedy seizure of the monasteries, to his gargantuan appetites for food and women, Henry didn’t believe anything should be denied him.
Ironically, Henry’s grotesque behavior placed England on the course toward the Protestant enlightenment, thus laying the groundwork for today’s United Kingdom. Henry’s daughters, Queen Mary I and Queen Elizabeth I, were the first women to sit on the English throne. Though Mary’s reign was an unmitigated disaster (her attempt to bring England back to the Roman Church earned her the sobriquet “Blood Mary” because of the almost 300 Protestants she had burned at the stake), Elizabeth stands as one of the greatest of all European monarchs.
This lecture will provide a broad sweep of all five Tudor monarchs, encompassing their loves, personalities, art, architecture, and literature, all of which has come down to us today in many and surprising ways. In spite of their extreme shortcomings, there wouldn’t be an England today without the Tudors.
Thank you to our co-sponsors: The Union League Legacy Foundation, The American Scottish Foundation; Oxford & Cambridge Society of Philadelphia; The English-Speaking Union, Philadelphia Branch