Tudor history is synonymous with kings and queens – monarchs who led intriguing, dramatic private lives. The Tudors have been the subject of countless documentaries, debates, books, and movies. By now, it would seem we know everything about them. But do we, really? It’s a complex period of history that can still throw up many surprises.
Why King Henry VIII broke away from Rome
Fact. Henry VIII broke away from the Papacy in Rome due to his desire for Anne Boleyn. Yet, it’s only one part of the story. His other reasons were more politically motivated. Countless wars had emptied the king’s coffers. As a result, ownership over properties that belonged to Rome was an appealing prospect. It was perfect timing too – when personal desires and political ambitions intertwined. The pervasive dissatisfaction with the Catholic Church across Europe paved the way for Henry VIII to execute his plans.
What about Henry VIII’s adultery?
Anne Boleyn may have been beheaded for adultery, but Henry VIII wasn’t innocent of that crime either. Besides his five wives, historians believe there were plenty of other women too. Anne Boleyn’s sister, Mary, was presumably on this list. What’s more, Henry fathered many children in his lifetime.
Bloody Mary wasn’t as bloody
Mary Tudor was a ruthless queen, for sure. She had over 283 people killed during her reign. However, the scale of despair pales when compared to the rest of her family. Henry VIII was doubly imperious, ordering over 70,000 executions. Elizabeth ruled longer than Mary but executed at least 600 people during her reign. History has been unkind to “Bloody” Mary. She struggled with illness throughout her life. Ideas that Elizabeth is given credit for – such as Britain’s naval expansion -were originally Mary’s.
Unpopular aspects of Queen Elizabeth I’s reign
Under Queen Elizabeth I, England saw financial stability and dominance on the high seas. The country also saw numerous uprisings – the most famous attempted coup aimed to place Mary Queen of Scots on the throne. Elizabeth’s father may have broken away from Rome, but Catholicism remained deeply rooted in several parts of the country – prompting a series of attempts on her life.