Henry VIII Essay

Henry VIII Essay

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The major endeavours of Henry VIII during his reign over England from 1509 to 1547 included the Field of the Cloth of Gold and the Reformation of the English Church. The sole reason for these actions is said to be love and seems to be related to the King’s obsession for a male heir but other factors were involved. Paramount among these is the influence of his family in the earlier years of his life. Other reasons such as general insecurities and competitiveness with other royal houses are also possible motives. To say that the major endeavours of Henry VIII during his reign were motivated by his obsession with a male heir is not completely accurate as other, more viable, explanations are available.

The influence of Henry VIII’s family on important actions during his reign is greatly disregarded in many instances. It is believed that the actions made by Henry VIII were due to his obsession with a male heir but this obsession also can be blamed on his family. Henry’s father Henry VII was known to use his children to “secure his position by negotiating a series of marriages with other royal houses” and so naturally Henry did so too. Henry VII’s lack of interest in his son’s activities may have created insecurities that would influence Henry VIII’s decisions later in life. Also Henry was kept quiet and contained in the early years of his life, as “the heir was now confined to his father’s court where he could be protected from disease, accident, and conspiracy” This may have caused his need for attention. After his father’s death Henry developed an Oedipus complex which remained until his dying days as Derek Wilson states “he insisted, he had proved himself a better king, even outdoing Henry VII in Christian piety.” Also, hi...


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...ign although in many circumstances, such as the reformation of the church, it was begun with the intention of creating a male heir. The need for a male heir itself stems from another deeper, psychological issue with his father and family which is, it seems, the true reason for all the major endeavours of Henry VIII’s reign. The need for a father’s approval and need to best him and his brother was the true motivation for the endeavours of Henry’s time, in certain circumstances it is combined with competitiveness with other royal houses, such as with France in the field of the cloth of gold, or insecurity, lust and need to create the family atmosphere he never had. But in each case the influence of his family reigns supreme and therefore to say the major endeavours of Henry VIII during his reign were motivated by his obsession with a male heir is largely not true.

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