Six Reasons Why the Tudors Are Awesome to Study (and Why You Should Study Them): A Listicle

As part of my (lapsed) membership in the #EdublogsClub, I was prompted this week to write a “Listicle” entry. If you don’t know what a Listicle is, let me enlighten you. In a sense, it is an informative list about any topic. Often times, the subject of the list is titillating or sensational in some way like this one. Or, the list can be specific to a topic that a specific reader might have an interest in, and the list might help one to deepen their understanding about the topic, like this one. (mental_floss is one of my favorite places to view listicles, by the way.)

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain

So, without further ado, here is my list:

  1. Henry VIII had six wives. Yes, six. That alone is amazing, especially for a guy who lived in the 1500s. Most people didn’t get divorced back then. Really, though, if you think about it, he only divorced two times. His third wife died, and his last wife survived him. The other two wives? This leads me to . . .
  2. Henry VIII had two of his wives’ heads chopped off. Our 21st century notions of marriage include deep, abiding love. Back then, marriage was more of a business transaction, but it still goes beyond the pale to think that dissatisfaction with the marriage could result in execution.
  3. Henry VIII started a religious reform movement in England. He wanted to annul his first marriage to his wife, Catherine, daughter of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. The Pope said, “No.” Henry VIII didn’t like to be told that, so he said the the Pope, “You’re not the boss of me anymore!” and separated himself and his country from the authority of the Roman Catholic Church in Rome. He became the head of his own church, the Church of England, later to be known as the Anglican Church. In reality, it wasn’t too much different than the Catholic church, and there were great debates during Henry’s time about how much of the liturgy should be changed. It was pretty rocky for a while, depending upon whether or not one was a Catholic or a Church of England member (Protestant), which leads me to . . .
  4. Wanna know where the moniker “Bloody Mary” comes from? It actually is a reference to Henry VIII’s  oldest daughter (from his first marriage), Mary. Henry VIII started England on the path toward Protestantism, but when he died and Mary took over, she zealously brought England back into the Roman Catholic fold. She persecuted people of the “new faith,” killing and torturing so many that she earned the nickname.
  5. Elizabeth, Henry VIII’s second daughter (from his second marriage to Anne Boleyn), is an awesome example of a strong woman in history. She was a strategic thinker — albeit sometimes overthinking things — and she had a coterie of spymasters and advisors helping her out. She even kept her own cousin, Mary Queen of Scots (not to be confused with Elizabeth’s sister, Mary) under house arrest for more than eighteen years.
  6. Henry VIII has an awesome Twitter account. Seriously. It is truly laugh-out-loud funny. Henry’s followers get to read snarky posts about world leaders, his favorite foods and activities, and prescriptions for truly living the #TudorLife. The online feud he has with Richard III is delightful reading for #Nerdy Tudor enthusiasts like myself.