The study of Henry VIII and the reformation in England continues to fascinate scholars and historians alike. Recent attention has even been given by Hollywood in the production of “The Other Boleyn Girl,” a major motion picture depicting the lives of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Obviously Hollywood isn’t a suitable source for a scholarly inspection of such a historical event, but the existence of this film does highlight the interest modern society has on the topic. This paper will examine the personal, political, and theological aspects of Henry VIII and the beginning of the English Reformation, and it will also explore the importance of
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According to Shore, a Spanish envoy by the name of Gutierre Gomez de Fuensalida wrote that Henry lived under close scrutiny, almost always remaining near his father. It may be that Henry VIII’s apparent dysfunctional upbringing may have contributed to his marital problems as an adult.
According to Pollard, late 16th century theologian and historian Fra. Paolo Sarpi stated that Henry VIII was originally destined for the clergy. Conacher concludes the story may be supposition based on Henry’s theological education, and from his childhood post as the viceroyalty of Ireland. Henry’s education was at the hands of prominent Renaissance tutors in England. The first of the English monarchs to be so educated, Henry VIII was a scholar, linguist, musician and athlete. In 1502, Prince Arthur died leaving Henry as the sole heir to the throne.
Henry was then betrothed to his brother's widow Catherine of Aragon. His father died in 1509 prompting Henry VIII’s ascension to the throne England. With the concurrence of the Pope, Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon were married within a few months after beginning his reign. This marriage took place due to influences on the part of Catherine's father, King Ferdinand of Spain. Ferdinand considered England to be a type of vassal state with Catherine as his ambassador.
As the new King, Henry VIII did not waste any time spending his inheritance on lavish living. Gambling, fine clothes, and fine jewelry were just some of his vices. Shore states that it was during these early years that Henry VIII confided in Cardinal Wolsey and Thomas More. Henry VIII had developed a close friendship with his wife, but that was supplanted by the friendship with Wolsey barely a year after Catherine became Queen. Wolsey was given authority within the realm, but the King did not always agree with his decision leading to tension and controversy in their relationship. This is mentioned because it is the beginning of a pattern Henry VIII exhibited in his closest relationships. As initially with Catherine, his relationships with both Anne Boleyn and Thomas Cromwell followed the same pattern. Each was someone Henry VIII had relied upon, but who later fell from favor in the mist of political and social influences at court.
As King, Henry VIII was prideful personally and professionally. In order to compete on an international scale and to exert his military influence, Henry VIII engaged in conflict with France. These campaigns were more likely intended to inflate his self-image in relation to the kings of both France and Spain. Shore also speculates that Henry VIII’s motivation for war may also flow from a sense of competition with the memory of his father and his military prowess. The image one gains concerning the young king is one of an individual wrapped in his own vanity, self-serving, impatient, and manipulative. Henry VIII was known for his confrontational personality and anger. He would punish individual who were on the wrong...