Henry VIII's Unfortunate Choice

Discussion in 'History' started by River Ape, Dec 1, 2017.

  1. River Ape Valued Senior Member

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    An acquaintance who teaches history in an increasingly Islamicised area of the West Midlands informs me that, to avoid any possible misunderstanding, he decided, this term, for the first time, to spell out to his class that Henry VIII had had his six wives one at a time!

    I don't know why this made me smile, but it set me thinking: If Henry VIII had had a wider understanding of the world, might he not have led his nation along the path to Islam rather than Protestantism? Catherine of Aragon might have become the contented senior member of his harem; and as for Anne Boleyn, poor dear, she would still be alive!

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  3. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    I love my wife dearly, but...

    I have enough problems with one. I don't know why anyone would want six at the same time.
     
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  5. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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  7. NCDane Registered Senior Member

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    OP needs to distance himself from false history.

    H8 never had more than one wife at a time.

    Your acquaintance is a fool and a liar, and should be removed from the classroom, and barred from all settings of intellectual discourse.


    No he might not. I could never have occurred to him. All Europeans, Catholic and Protestant alike, were fervently, devoutly Christian.
     
  8. River Ape Valued Senior Member

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    That's tallies with what I wrote, dummkopf.
     
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  9. origin In a democracy you deserve the leaders you elect. Valued Senior Member

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    The other option is that you misread the post.
     
  10. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    I doubt it. Henry VIII was, doctrinally speaking, a Catholic until the day he died.

    His contribution to making England Protestant consisted solely of his disagreement with the pope, his declaration of independence of the English church from papal authority and his general anti-clericalism, e.g. his dissolution of the monasteries. One should see him as hostile to the power of the church rather than its doctrines. In fact, before his fight with the pope over Catherine of Aragon, he had written a tract in defence of Catholicism in the face of the Protestant challenge, for which the pope had awarded him the title "Fidei Defensor" which, ironically, has been used by the Protestant British monarchy to this day!

    So most unlikely that he would have considered islam which, by the way, I am certain he would have been well aware of. He was an educated man, after all.
     
  11. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    Just as Henry's "protest" was more political than religious, I think Islam's acceptance of polygamy is more cultural than religious. I don't see Muslims in Western nations clamouring for polygamy.

    If Henry had switched to Islam, that would have been less acceptable to his culture than serial polygamy.
     
  12. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Or he might have simply "discovered" Mormonism a few centuries early . . . .
     
  13. River Ape Valued Senior Member

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    I had hoped that my remark that "Anne Boleyn . . . would still be alive!

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    " would indicate that I did not want to be taken too seriously.
    Yes, exchemist, I entirely agree with your remarks about Henry VIII's Catholic leanings.
    Also with you, sideshowbob, about the cultural aspect of polygamy. It seems unfortunate that some Islamic countries with no tradition of polygamy have in recent decades begun to allow the practice in reaction to demands from Islamist activists. Tunisia and Turkey, I believe, remain Islamic countries where polygamy is illegal.
     
  14. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Fair enough. But anyway, you provided a useful peg on which to hang a description of a bit of English history that not everyone may know.

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    I was reading last night an article in History Today in which the last Catholic state funeral in England ws described. It was that of Anne of Cleves (=van Cleef, I presume), the "Flanders Mare", Henry's 4th wife. Seems marrying her was Thos Cromwell's attempt at a Protestant European alliance, rather spoilt by the King's refusal to consummate the marriage! Apparently though he looked after her, gave her Hever Castle in Kent to live in and treated her as a sister. She subsequently converted to Catholicism and when she died, in the era of Mary Tudor, she was given a Catholic requiem mass at Westminster Abbey.

    The central theme of the article was to do with the Catholic doctrine of Purgatory, and of intercessionary prayer (for the dead) which was strongly disfavoured by the Protestants, although their own Calvinist ideas were themselves very unattractive, involving as they did the idea of "predestination", i.e. you had no choice over whether you went to heaven or hell, it was all preordained. A priest of that era had to be very careful indeed what he said about Purgatory, as the fashion swung back and forth.
     
  15. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    Question: Queen Mary was a Catholic, who died after Anne of Cleves. What sort of funeral did she have?
     
  16. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    It's interesting. I read that Cardinal Pole, her Archbishop of Canterbury, died 24hrs after Mary, so the officiation at Mary's funeral was left to the Dean of Westminster. It seems to have been a grand enough affair, Elizabeth sparing no expense, but I can't find any reference to a requiem mass for her.

    One wonders if the religious politics were such that it might have been considered inflammatory - Elizabeth was very shrewd in managing the powder keg of religion. By the time of Mary's death, she and Pole had more or less lost the battle to keep Catholicism alive - the suggestion is that Pole lost the will to live on learning she had died.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2017
  17. River Ape Valued Senior Member

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    Anne was very much a German lady so possibly more "von Kleve". She is recorded as speaking only German and, though she may have had some knowledge of the local South Guelderish demotic (in which she might have been van Kleef), there is no record of it. Clèves is the French name for the town and, despite its recent downgrading in Tudor England, French remained very much the lingua franca of European royalty and diplomacy.

    Anne was indeed referred to as the Flanders Mare but the very inexact area that might have been referred to as Flanders in those days bears little resemblance to Belgian Vlaanderen today, so we should not be misled by it. Clèves=Kleve=Kleef is today in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, very close to the Dutch border.

    One gets the impression that the religious beliefs of Anne of Cleves, a pleasant agreeable lady by all accounts, were as malleable as those of the legendary Vicar of Bray. Small blame to her!
     
  18. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    I didn't know that about the old meaning of Flanders. I'd assumed she was from the Low Countries, but apparently not. Interesting. Yes she seems to have been rather a decent woman - pity Henry wrote her off.
     

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