Monday, November 27, 2023

Henry VIII: A History of his Most Important Places and Events by Andrew Beattie

Amazon Blurb: This book follows the life and legacy of the UK’s most famous monarch by exploring the places he built, lived in and traveled to.

The story of Henry VIII is well known: he is famed throughout the world as the charismatic king of England who married six wives (and executed two of them), who broke with Rome and dissolved England’s monasteries, and who grew from a Renaissance prince into a lustful, egotistical and callous tyrant. He is the subject of scholarly and popular biographies and of numerous fictional works, from John Fletcher and William Shakespeare’s jointly authored play Henry VIII to contemporary novels, films and TV series. But this book tells the story of Henry VIII in a very different way to any of these: through the places where the events of his life unfolded.

From Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London to the site of the Field of the Cloth of Gold near Calais where Henry met the French King Francis I for a week of pageantry in 1520, and from his lavish palaces in London to quieter manor houses in the English countryside which he visited during his annual summer “progress”, a whole new light is thrown on this most compelling of historical figures.

While some sites associated with Henry are now very ruinous – such as Woking Palace in Surrey, which Henry remodeled into a lavish royal residence but which is now little more than a few tumbledown walls, or Greenwich Palace, where he was born, of which only a few remnants from his era remain – others, most famously Hampton Court, are much more substantial; the book looks at Henry’s connections with each site in turn, along with the conditions that today’s visitors to the site can expect, beginning with the Thames-side palaces from Greenwich upstream to Hampton Court, before broadening its scope to include properties and sites outside London, in the West and North of England and in Northern France.

Purchase on amazon (click here)