Henry Vii: the Tudors Life Essay

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Henry VIII: Majesty with Menace He liked to rule by fear, executed his opponents and ordered the destruction of beautiful buildings, libraries and works of art. Yet, as Ronald Hutton explains, everyone loves 'Bluff King Hal'. To historians, Henry remains one of the most important monarchs to have ruled the English and Welsh. He lasted almost four decades, during which he presided over the foundation of the Church of England, a remodelling of the machinery of government and of taxation, a major growth in the importance of Parliament, the incorporation of Wales into the regular system of English local administration, the establishment of the Kingdom of Ireland, the arrival in England of Renaissance modes of art and literature, and a major building programme which included colleges, palaces and fortresses. In public memory, also, he is remembered as a colossal figure. He has probably been portrayed in the cinema more often than any other English king, being acted by (amongst others) Charles Laughton, Keith Michell, Robert Shaw and Sid James. The fact that a Cockney could provide a recognisable representation of him gives away part of his enduring appeal; in national memory, Henry was one of the lads, the only English king to have his achievements celebrated in a long-popular music hall song. His early sense of inadequacy left him with huge ambitions and a constant desire to prove himself... This is just how he would have wanted things, and that yearning for renown may well be attributed to his formative experiences. He was the second son of Henry VII, and throughout his childhood was overshadowed by his older brother Arthur. He stayed with his mother, Elizabeth of York, living a sheltered existence of strong maternal love, while Arthur was paraded before the kingdom as its heir. Suddenly both Arthur and Elizabeth died in quick succession, leaving the old king
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