Who has heard of the Nursery Rhyme, “Oranges and Lemons”? I have. However, what I’m interested in is the song’s roots; where did it come from? We don’t know but there is a theory that it could be about Henry VIII’s marriage problems.
At the moment, I’m watching a BBC Drama called “Wolf Hall” (which finishes tonight). For those who haven’t see the series, “Wolf Hall” is about the life of Thomas Cromwell, during his time in Henry’s court. The series is based on Hilary Mantel’s novel of the same name and the squeal “Bring Up The Bodies”.
I’ve never read the books myself but oh my goodness, the series is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! I consider myself as a ‘history geek’; I especially love the Tudor reign – Henry’s Six Wives, Elizabeth, the Virgin Queen, you name it. In the last month, I would talk about certain facts I know, or clarify what each character says, right in the middle of the episodes. I over talk too much and sometimes miss the important bits. (How very stupid of me.)
Any-who, that’s me. Now onto Henry. For the last few years, historians have been re-looking into his life. Although he has been labelled as a ‘tyrant’, some argue that he wasn’t like that until early 1536. It was at this time that Henry was involved in a jousting accident. In a statement from Eustace Chapuys, he describes the accident in pure detail:
“On the eve of the Conversion of St. Paul, the King being mounted on a great horse to run at the lists, both fell so heavily that every one thought it a miracle he was not killed, but he sustained no injury. Thinks he might ask of fortune for what greater misfortune he is reserved, like the other tyrant who escaped from the fall of the house, in which all the rest were smothered, and soon after died.”
Henry’s horse did fall onto of the king, though. This accident left him unconscious for two – three hours. And as a result, Anne Boleyn miscarried her last child, a son. That’s how the ‘tyrant’ was born. But did his cruelly come before that?
In the Wolf Hall series and in real life, Henry divorced his first wife, Catherine of Aragon to get into Anne’s bed and make her queen. It was a success. Then while Anne was pregnant for a third time, Henry was led astray by beginning a courtship with Jane Seymour (with help from Cromwell’s help).
So was Henry a cruel king? Did it all change after the accident? Or did he copy his temper through Anne Boleyn? I’ll leave you guys to decide on this subject.
Note: Last episode of Wolf Hall is at 9pm on Wednesday 25th February 2015 (Tonight) on BBC Two or you can watch the series on BBC iPlayer.