I have long held that Henry VIII is the most important character in English history, so reading about how the Reformation happened, how the need for an heir plunged the country into such chaos is really intriguing. I got chatting to an alcoholic ex Jesuit priest to pick his brains as to how modern Catholics see saints but found myself justifying Henry’s murdering his many wives.
You can’t justify it, but I am also reading about the Medici family, of the huge numbers of people who died in Europe at the time from plagues, wars, etc etc, so Henry’s need for a male heir was a need for stability, which saved potentially thousands of people at the time.
It’s not even about whether one life was worth more or less than another, it was more that, well, sh* happens. Even a king doesn’t have total control. Life is always about negotiations, compromises, choosing the least bad option, or what she’s to be at the time.
So, as far as I can tell, the jury will always be put on whether Henry Viii was good or bad. He was human, & we are all a mix of good & bad.
Have a great New Year!