On his marriage to his brother's widow, Catherine of Aragon:
"Did Henry supress his doubts? Had he forgotten them? Did he even utter them in the first place? Or were his views invented, or at least glossed, by a hostile councillor? We do not know"
On Elizabeth of York's third time of seeking refuge in the Tower of London:
"Now she was a refugee in the tower again. Would it be the sanctuary next? Or worse? And what of Henry? Was he to follow in the footsteps of Richard of Shrewsbury for one last, terrible time?"
|Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk|
Of course, these are valid questions as much of this period of history is unknown, or clouded by propaganda and the mists of time, but it is one of those quirks of style that, once you notice it, can become quite tiring.
I find it quite difficult reading books about 'older' history, partly because so much is unknown, or based on supposition and deduction, but also because of names. It's challenging to keep tabs on everyone when they all have so many different names.
Take, for example, Thomas Howard. That's Thomas Howard, son of Thomas Howard and father of Thomas Howard. The Thomas Howard I am referring to is the one who married Anne of York (one of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville's daughters). He was also the third Duke of Norfolk and third Earl of Surrey, as well as Lord High Admiral, Lord High Treasurer and Earl Marshall at various times in his political career. So perhaps you see my problem? Or perhaps not? I am sure those with greater knowledge of Tudor history have by now got their heads around this issue, but I am afraid I am still struggling! Thankfully, Dr Starkey does provide a family tree, but of course there are all those characters that are not 'family' who figure in the story.
|Henry VIII by Hans Holbein (1537)|
Henry VIII continues to fascinate and I am sure we will never tire of his story. Certainly as long as academics like David Starkey continue to investigate and speculate over motives and reasons the story will never feel it is finished being told. I am certainly looking forward to the next installment 'Henry: Model of a Tyrant" due for publication later this year.