Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Henry VIII: The Lion Who Knew His Strength

Remember that this morning I'll be on the Son Rise Morning Show to discuss Hilaire Belloc's view of Henry VIII. Listen live here about 6:49 a.m. Central/7:45 a.m. Eastern.

After Catherine of Aragon, perhaps Thomas More treated Henry VIII with the most respect when trying to influence him. He also had great insight into his monarch's personality. As he told Thomas Cromwell: "Master Cromwell, you are entered into the service of a most noble, wise, and liberal prince. If you follow my poor advice, you shall, in your counsel-giving unto his grace, ever tell him what he ought to do, but never what he is able to do. . . . For if a lion knew his own strength, hard it were for any man to rule him."

Cardinal Wolsey also warned that once Henry VIII got an idea in his head, he would not forget it, so once he thought that his marriage to Catherine of Aragon was cursed and that the Pope should release him from those false marriage vows, he would get what he wanted--no matter what.

More, unlike those who tried to control Henry through flattery and making themselves (they thought) indispensable, knew exactly what power his monarch had over him. When William Roper congratulated his father-in-law for his close relationship to the king, he commented, "I thank our Lord, son," quoth he, "I find his Grace my very good lord indeed, and I do believe he doth as singularly favour me as any subject within this Realm. Howbeit (son Roper) I may tell thee, I have no cause to be proud thereof. For if my head would win him a castle in France (for then there was wars between us) it should not fail to go."

For our next discussion, we'll look at Catherine of Aragon AND Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's first two consorts. On All Saints Day, November 1.

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