Henry VIII: Statesman or Tyrant?
On Midsummer's Day in 1509 a 17 year old was crowned king of England. He would go on to transform his realm over almost four decades on the throne. He would revolutionise its religion, reforge its politics and its relations with neighbouring countries, and establish a royal navy. But, by the time he died in 1547, the athletic boy whose cloth and hair was spun with gold had become an obese, temperamental monster. His reputation was that of a brute whose hands were soaked with the blood of the executions he ordered – among them, two of his six wives. The bloody twists and turns of Henry’s career - the marriages, murder and upheavals have captivated people ever since. His critics and defenders have fought to blacken or celebrate his memory. So who was Henry VIII? Man or monster, statesman or tyrant?