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If Henry VIII Had Stayed Catholic What Would The Modern World Look Like Today?

Updated on March 31, 2017
Nell Rose profile image

Nell is fascinated by ancient history and archaeology. With a firm belief that what we know is only a snippet of the real truth.

Woman with candles  If we didn't have electricity we would be using candles and no technology imagine that!
Woman with candles If we didn't have electricity we would be using candles and no technology imagine that!

Henry's roving eye!

Henry VIII of England was the son of Henry VII who changed the face of English Royalty in the 16th Century, by beating Richard III and bringing to the throne the famous Tudor dynasty.

Up until the reign of Henry VIII the world and England were Catholic. It had never changed throughout the royal family and the whole of Britain until Henry suddenly decided to change our religion and go up against the huge Catholic influence that was headed by Rome.

The reason? Henry had put aside his marriage to Catherine of Aragon after 24 years, and fallen deeply in love with Anne Boleyn. He had recently finished an affair with Anne's sister Mary but wanted to marry Anne and make her his Queen.

Only trouble was, the Catholic church did not approve. They stated that 'Catherine of Aragon, Queen made by God and Country' could not be dismissed like some common washer woman and Henry needs to 'Be brought to common sense and restore his faith'.

But Henry wasn't happy.

Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn
Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn

The Royal household sweeps clean.

And when Henry VIII of England wasn't happy, well then, nobody within the whole kingdom could be either!

He pursued Anne Boleyn for six years before he got the divorce then married the woman that he loved.

It was based on an annulment instead of just a divorce. Its all very complicated and long so I won't bother you to read the history here, there are many sites about Henry's life and his many wives.

The point that many people don't realize is just how different the world would be if Henry VIII had behaved, stayed married and never changed his and our religion.

Through him, and then later carried on by his daughter Elizabeth I, we experienced the Reformation. The start of the Church of England, burning of the Catholic monasteries, pulling down of hospitals run by the church and so on.

People were stealing from the church. Gold, silver and holy relics and crosses disappeared and ended up in peoples houses.

The world was turned upside down.

This huge upheaval in the English Royalty had a profound effect on our lives not just then, but all the years since.

The question is, what would our modern world be like if Henry VIII hadn't changed things?

Mary Queen of Scots in prison
Mary Queen of Scots in prison

Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots.

One of the first things to change has to be the animosity and imprisonment of Mary Queen of Scots.

Mary was Elizabeth's cousin, and in reality should have reigned metaphorically along side each other. Elizabeth Queen of England, Mary Queen of Scotland.

But because of the annulment, change of religion and persecutions it wasn't quite so easy.

Mary Queen of Scots had not changed religion. She was still a staunch Catholic. Elizabeth followed the new religion, the Church of England.

When Mary was dethroned by her court and threatened with death, she escaped to England leaving her infant son on the throne of Scotland.

Here Mary was kept as a guest then a prisoner for 18 years. If she had been of the new religion Elizabeth would have fought the new court in Scotland and placed Mary back on the throne. But it wasn't to be.

What Elizabeth didn't realize was that the majority of England desperately wanted the old Catholic religion back, and they needed to remove Elizabeth and replace her with Mary as Queen.

After many years with Mary desperately trying to escape, and Elizabeth needing to keep the peace and her claim to the throne, there was only one conclusion.

Mary Queen of Scots had to die. She was killed in Fotheringay Castle Peterborough England in 1587.

Just think how different our British history would be if we had either both queens or just Mary Queen of Scots on the throne?

So the difference would be:

  • As Mary Queen of Scots son James VI and I'st of England and Scotland ascended the throne joining both countries together. But it could have been very different if Elizabeth had a son! And if Elizabeth had died, we would have returned to the old faith.

So that was regarded as a near miss! Or hit, whichever way you look at it! The truth is thanks to Elizabeth holding the crown we stayed protestant. But you must never forget that the whole of England or at least most of it, wanted Mary and Catholicism back on the throne and throughout the UK.


Galileo Galilei looking through his telescope with a church representative pulling a face because he is being shown the earth going round the sun.
Galileo Galilei looking through his telescope with a church representative pulling a face because he is being shown the earth going round the sun.

Galileo Galilei in Italy

The real change is with our top Scientists explorers and astronomers. Back then science was in its infancy. We were looking towards the stars and wondering what was up there. And this was dangerous for the catholic church. Their hold would be broken if we proved that they were wrong in their religious assumptions.

The catholic faith took over the way we think, do, invent even talk. If we did something wrong in any way shape or form the word Heresy was yelled and before you knew it, you were thrown in jail, clapped in irons and even burned at the stake!

Oh yes, the Pope and church back then had a complete hold on the way people thought.

Take poor old Galileo. In 1616 the chief inquisitor Father Vincenzo Maculano da Firenzuola, arrested Galileo after he was told to report to the Holy See.

What for?

For holding the belief that the earth actually went around the sun and not the other way round he was told:

“We pronounce judge, and declare, that you, the said Galileo, have rendered yourself vehemently suspected by this Holy Office of heresy. That is, of having believed and held the doctrine which is false and contrary to the Holy and Divine Scriptures, that the sun is the center of the world, and that it does not move from east to west, and that the earth does move, and is not the center of the world.”

And:

“We ordered that by a public edict the book of Dialogues of Galileo Galilei be prohibited, and We condemn thee to the prison of this Holy Office during Our will and pleasure, and as a salutary penance we enjoin on thee, that for the space of three years thou shalt recite once a week the Seven Penitential Psalms.”

Galileo swore that he would do no more wrong, and was placed under house arrest for the rest of his life! It took three hundred years for the church to, grudgingly I might add, admit they were wrong!

This is what happened in Italy purely because they were still under the hard thumb of the Catholic Church!

If he had lived and worked in England he would have gone on to be a great scientist!

  • We missed out on having a great Astronomer and Scientist because of the Church back then!

Charles Darwin Evolution
Charles Darwin Evolution

Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin born 1809 - 1882.

Charles Darwin was an English naturalist biologist and geologist. Its thanks to him that we now study and know about Evolution.

Its taught in schools all over the world, and has lead our modern scientists to discover and log newly found species, check how and when they evolved and so on.

The Catholic church back then were actually quite forward in the field of study. Not just biology etc, but by all science. But there was a problem. It was a very fine line to tread with the church watching every single step of the scientist in question. In other words it was fine as long as it didn't oppose church teachings. If it did then you were accused of heresy and thrown in jail.

The church was always right. According to the Pope. If that said no, then it was no.

  • In the case of Darwin, he would have probably been allowed to study, but just the idea of Evolution would have given the Pope a stroke! I don't think he would have lasted very long do you?

John Dalton physicist
John Dalton physicist

John Dalton

John Dalton was an English physicist meteorologist and chemist. 1766 -1844.

Even though very early on in the study of atomic physics John Dalton was well known for his pioneering work in the field of atomic theory. He also wrote a very famous paper about color blindness and why people suffered from it. This was based on the fact that both he and his brother were color blind.

He soon went on to study various types of gases and steam.

But his main study was atoms.

  • At this point we can see that if the country was still under the Popes laws he would have been arrested for heresy!

Edward Jenner vaccinating a boy immunology
Edward Jenner vaccinating a boy immunology

Edward Jenner

Edward Jenner 1749 - 1843.

Edward Jenner was at the forefront of medicine by the time he was a young man. He is so well known around the world. In fact if it wasn't for him I doubt many of us would be safe from smallpox, and other deadly diseases.

His pioneering work into the world of vaccinations is legendary. It was said of him:

"He saved more lives than the work of any other human"

The difference between immunization and vaccination was that originally, to try to cure smallpox they would add a little of the germ to the person hoping their immunity would kick in, but of course it actually killed a few volunteers!

Jenner on the other hand noticed that with smallpox dairy maids seemed to be immune. On a closer look it was obvious to him that the reason why they were safe was because of a small blister on their skin from the cowpox.

He suddenly realized that it was the immune system of the maids that would cure the disease in others as long as it was taken from a person who had already been infected before!

He had cracked the secret! And millions of people were saved because of him.

So what would the Catholic Church have said about him if they had succeeded to stay in power?

  • The Roman Catholic Church stated that medicine was steeped in superstition and so they effectively dominated everything to do with the medical world.

If anybody argued with them then it would be heresy. Their argument was that all illnesses came from God and were punishments from God, if you argue against this then its heresy and you are sinners!


William Gilbert Astronomer physicist physician and natural philosopher.
William Gilbert Astronomer physicist physician and natural philosopher.
Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
Michael Faraday scientist
Michael Faraday scientist

Electricity light bulbs and modern life

The most influential thing ever to be discovered is electricity. We never really discovered it, we harnessed the power of electricity. We have always known the power of lighting.

There are so many discoveries associated with it along with many different scientists who experimented with the energy flow to see how and what it could be used for. These are just a few:

  1. William Gilbert 1544 - 1603 born in England discovered the science of magnetism and coined the phrase electricity when talking about static electricity.
  2. Benjamin Franklin 1706 - 1790 American. Famous for 'bottling' electricity in a jar after flying a kite attached to a silk ribbon and a key! He also electrocuted himself in 1746 while experimenting with electricity on objects found around the house!
  3. Michael Faraday 1791 - 1867 English. Electromagnetism and electrochemistry. He invented the first electric motor but he was most famous for the Faraday Cage. (see sources)

Obviously there isn't a reaction from the Holy Roman Catholic Church from around the time of Henry VIII because we didn't know the power of electricity then. But if you take strange science as a whole aka alchemy which was the birth place of modern science, then we can just imagine what would be said by the church back then.

This is the Church's take on Alchemy:

  • There were many men of the church who were allowed to practice alchemy. Mainly because their greed got the better of them as alchemy's first rule is turning base metal into gold!

But the majority of the church believed it was Demon's work and totally banned it. I am sure producing electricity out of nothing would have had the same result.

For want of a nail the shoe was lost,

for want of a shoe the horse was lost;

and for want of a horse the rider was lost;

being overtaken and slain by the enemy,

all for want of care about a horse-shoe nail.

-

For want of a Queen a Religion was lost.....

— Various
From Henry VIII to Modern woman with technology
From Henry VIII to Modern woman with technology

Pass the matches!

As you can see from the quote above, with my added quote, it only takes a small thing to change the whole world.There are so many ifs and buts throughout history that for the turn of a hand, a smile, love, hate or just jealousy the civilized world would be totally different.

Okay I hear you say, but what about those things invented by Catholics?

Well that's a fair question. But you have to remember that the Catholic church of today is a hell of a lot different from back then. After the reformation the Holy See kept its hold on as many countries and peoples as possible.

Over the last couple of centuries it has eased up but it still likes to dictate on certain things, but never as bad as it was before.

And knowing that you couldn't practice medicine, science and so on, those amazing scientists that changed our world would have given up trying to harness electricity, make vaccines and so on. Scary thought eh? Of course the scientists that I have mentioned here are just the tip of the iceberg. There were hundreds more whose lives would have been very different if we had retained the Catholic faith.

And what I can see by researching this is that if Henry VIII had never met Anne Boleyn, and stayed a steady King of England I doubt very much that I would be writing on something called the Internet!

I would light a candle to go to bed, listen to mass in Latin, look at the stars and wonder what is up there and last but not least, watch people die from diseases that could easily have been cured these days.

Pretty scary thought eh?

The world changed when the lights came on. Electricity has changed the world. In work and business, at home with cooking and washing, and of course TV radio and the Internet we have all joined together and the world is much smaller. No more do we have to sail around the world to find new countries and people. We just click a switch and press a button. Amazing.

So thank you Henry VIII for your inadvertent lust for Anne Boleyn! Your love changed the world!

Can you think of someone who literally changed the world? If so, answers in the comment box below, and thanks!

Do you think Henry VIII is the most influential man in History? If not, who?

See results

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_VII_of_England

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_I_of_England

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary,_Queen_of_Scots

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_and_science

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Darwin

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Jenner

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Dalton

http://www.religionfacts.com/alchemy

Various wikipedia sources and personal books

© 2017 Nell Rose

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      England's history is just much too confusing for me...all those numbers after names. I can't keep them all straight, so I count on writers like you to simplify it all for me. I'm proud to say I've heard of Henry VIII, so at least some of my education stuck with me. LOL

    • AlexK2009 profile image

      AlexK2009 2 months ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      There would have been much less religious strife in England and Scotland and Scientists would have learned to present their results as unseful speculations rather than fact. Progress would have been slower but technology would have progressed by trial and error. We would still have had the slave trade though.

    • PurvisBobbi44 profile image

      PurvisBobbi44 2 months ago from Florida

      Nell Rose,

      Great hub! When I read about Henry the Eighth I get a headache, because I empathize with his six wives, especially the two that was beheaded. Although he had a roving eye--he also needed to learn better social skills and to be faithful.

      As always you make me put my thinking cap on. And, here is what I concluded--the modern world would probably be the same as it is today.

      My head is hurting thinking about my USA and what will it be like in 20 years.

      Take Care,

      Bobbi Purvis

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 2 months ago from England

      Hi Bobbi, I don't think we would have had electricity, but you may be right. As for the USA I just hope there is still peace there, thanks as always.

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 2 months ago from England

      Hi Alex, so true! and a great way of putting it. And yes we would still have had the slave trade. And the slave trade of the turks taking millions of white people at the same time, but that is never mentioned these days.

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 2 months ago from England

      LOL! thanks Bill, that's good enough for me!

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 2 months ago from South Africa

      "Good" has managed to rise from all that was bad and wrong. And it still does.

      Before Henry VIII, Jesus has changed the world. Before him, I supposed those who have invented and developed the alphabet were responsible for a lot of changes, although perhaps not on street level.

      History is extremely interesting and enlightening. We can so clearly see cause and effect, and yet, in the presence we still hope that a specific cause will not have the same effect as it had had in the past.

      The more things change, the more they stay the same.

      Very interesting and thought-provoking hub, thank you, Nell!

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 2 months ago from England

      Thanks Martie, glad you liked it, and thanks for reading.

    • easylearningweb profile image

      Amelia Griggs 2 months ago

      I didn't know all this history. There was s lot of drama back then, more than I imagined. I remember learning some history about Henry VIII but not this much detail. Interesting hub!

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 2 months ago from England

      Thanks Amelia, yes England has always had the most scientists, inventions and so on, thanks for reading.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 months ago from USA

      That was a powerful and impactful love affair. I would like to think technology would still have evolved somehow but with such an authoritarian force as the Catholic Church controlling science, who knows?

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 2 months ago from England

      Thanks Flourish, yes Anne Boleyn was a very crafty woman! lol! thanks so much for reading.

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 2 months ago

      That's a very different take on history and very interesting.

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 2 months ago from England

      Thanks RoadMonkey, just something I have thought about for a while, love my history! lol!

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 months ago

      What a great analysis of a point in our history, Nell. I never thought about it that way. The way I see it, if the Catholic Church had its way then, the world would be more overpopulated than it is, unless maybe all those extra humans died from disease for lack of modern medicine. BTW, my mother’s side of the family are direct descendants of Queen Eleanor Tudor, at least that’s what the family genealogist claimed to have found. I’d never heard of her before so apparently she was a minor Tudor blip in history.

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 2 months ago from England

      Wow! Mizb! I haven't heard of her either, I will have to go take a look! yes you are right, there would have been millions more people, what a thought! thanks so much for reading.

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 2 months ago from England

      Wow! Mizb! I haven't heard of her either, I will have to go take a look! yes you are right, there would have been millions more people, what a thought! thanks so much for reading.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 2 months ago from Southern Illinois

      This was really interesting and educational. Of course I knew about King Henry the VIII and his eight wives, but I didn't know how much the Catholic Church ruled back then. What amazes me the most is the church only speaking Latin, how could the people know what was said?

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan Robert Lancaster 2 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Hello Nell, got most of it right, but just a pointer or two:

      The Reformation would have gone on without Henry. The only reason he decided he needed a divorce from Catherine was the lack of a male heir. She was getting on by the time Henry applied for his annulment through Cardinal Wolsey, and new blood was needed. By the time of his death he had his heirs in Edward, Mary Tudor and Elizabeth, only one of which was to survive long enough to have any effect on England's future.

      Had Elizabeth brought forth a male heir - she had a lot of choice from the Protestant nobility in England - he would have been raised in the same way she was, Protestant. Mary Stuart was 'on the run' from the Calvinists in Scotland when she crossed the Solway Firth, and Elizabeth was pestered by Lord Burleigh to sign her death warrant after Mary escaped from Lord Scropes' castle (now Castle Bolton) near Leyburn and was taken to Fotheringhay pending a decision on her life. Elizabeth only relented when she was close to death, and her hand had to be guided on the document. Mary Stuart was a real threat in the eyes of the English establishment, not in Elizabeth's. Her son James foreswore the Catholic faith as a condition of succession to the English throne, which brought on the threat of the Gunpowder Plot.

      Even after his annulment Henry VIII had opposed the production of the Bible in English and tipped off the Spaniards in the Netherlands of Tyndall's presence there, William Tyndall having printed English language Bibles there and shipped them to England through a blockade by the Royal Navy. Henry still believed then that the Bible ought to be printed in Latin, the language of the Roman Church, and only later changed his opinion. His authority over the Church in England made him an absolute monarch, a dangerous precedent that a Catholic king would have shied away from. The Age of Reason only came about in Charles II's reign (and he had Catholic inclinations, like his father and younger brother James).

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 2 months ago from England

      Thanks alan, yes it was just a bit too long for me to write, so tried to cut it down. in fact that was only a sort of example. but I do believe the rest was right with the scientists etc, catholicism was very strict, we would definitely be different now, thanks as always.

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 2 months ago from England

      Hi Ruby, it was six wives, but yes I do know what you mean, not only was it read in latin but the priest had his back to the congregation! rude eh? lol! thanks as always.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 2 months ago from Brazil

      Nell, what an interesting idea for an article. I can't imagine how different the world would be now.

      This would be a great topic for a classroom discussion to help kids understand the impact of history on today's society. All too often history can seem irrelevant and boring.

      What a fresh way to view a period in history.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan Robert Lancaster 2 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      The Church didn't see any reason why the 'common herd' should understand what was going on. Not all the educated classes did either, still less most of the upper classes. The idea was to 'cow' everyone into conformity. If they were afraid of the Church, the priesthood was secure, and sure of their future. The non-conformists were the biggest threat to Rome, as anyone could lead a 'service' in the open air. What would happen to the Pontiffs and the rest if we'd all gone that way, did our own thinking and come to the mother of all conclusions? No more Church (no easy living off the backs of others, 'Nightmare on St P's Square')!

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 2 months ago from England

      Exactly Alan! thank goodness we live now! lol!

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 2 months ago from England

      Thanks Mary! just something I thought about after reading about Henry VIII if it wasn't for him, well, we would still be sewing our own clothes! lol! thanks for reading.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 months ago from The Caribbean

      Nell, I'm with those who think that science and technology would have evolved someway somehow, but Henry VII deserves the applause he gets for standing up to the Catholic Church. If he hadn't the church would have tried to control the details of people's lives for much longer--possibly forever.

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 2 months ago from England

      Thanks MsDora, yes I am glad someone back then put the church in its place! lol! thanks so much for reading.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 8 weeks ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi Nell. What an interesting question. If Henry had remained Catholic (and never married or impregnated Anne), what would have happened? After reading your article, all I can say is (and I can't believe I'm saying this) "thank you Henry!" I have to confess that the inimitable Elizabeth was, to me, one of the most fascinating characters in history.

    • profile image

      Setank Setunk 8 weeks ago

      Actually, serious religious oppression began with State sponsored religions not the Papacy. The Pope was obeyed when it was convenient, or when legitimacy of rule was needed. Apart from this they were frequently ignored. You need to understand that just as it was impossible for Rome to actively manage the Roman Empire, It was equally difficult to manage Christianity across Europe from The Vatican.

      Rigidity or tolerance in policy lay with local religious leaders who had to temper their authority to co-exist with secular authority and avoid popular division or upheaval.

      Henry separated the Church of England from the Vatican for lust and made himself Divinely appointed King and absolute ruler of the church. I assume you are aware of the brutal oppression and slaughter this system introduced to England.

      Henry VIII was an arrogant, amoral Lothario with but a few Kingly qualities.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 8 weeks ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Nell.....Don't know about you, GF, but I'm happy as can be I didn't live during the times of Henry and Anne! Those people, the Church, Royalty and their practice of "doing away with people" whom they found in the way or merely displeasing....Wow, what a hot mess! Henry was a bit of a toad, don't you think?

      Many years ago, I read the infamous story, all about Anne Boelyn, which later became a play and eventually a movie. You are so correct in stating that just a few people, their decisions and crazy ways they ruled, created a drastically different world than what may have been.

      I love reading these classic stories on factual history of so many centuries ago. You did a wonderful job here, Nell, as you always do. Peace, Paula

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 8 weeks ago

      Comment on Alan's comment: It appears to me that the British Isles were in essence being ruled or controlled from the Vatican at this time. That Henry VIII's split from the church actually gave England the freedom to rule itself and to become the great empire that it became. Since the United States' law is based on English common law, we (in the U.S.) benefitted from Henry's escapades regardless of how ruthlessly it was carried out. So I guess we can say "thank God for Henry VIII.

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 8 weeks ago from England

      Thanks Miz. Yes so true.

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 8 weeks ago from England

      Hiya Paula, lol! big huge toad! and yes I am so glad we live today! too scary back then! well, if you were royal! his sister who married into scotland didn't have much more luck! thanks as always.

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 8 weeks ago from England

      I totally agree with you Setank, I also know that after Henry died, his daughter Mary by cathering of aragon, became Bloody mary! she burned and sacrificed thousands of people across England because they had changed to the new faith! thank goodness she died pretty quickly and Elizabeth took the throne! thanks for reading.

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 8 weeks ago from England

      Yes thank you Henry! lol! he was a horrible, ill tempered rather mentally unstable monarch but he hit the spot didn't he? lol! thanks Genna!

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan Robert Lancaster 8 weeks ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Very basically, Henry only became king because his older brother Arthur died young and wedded Arthur's widow Catherine. Henry's father became king because he usurped Yorkist Richard III. The Lancastrian propaganda machine went into overdrive thereafter to vilify Richard - mirrored in Thomas More's very 'iffy' biography based on hearsay, used by Will Shakespeare in his play.

      Henry VII's claim on the throne was based on very shaky foundations: the female line through two generations (at a time when the male line decided succession). Go back two generations and you have the Yorkist Richard II usurped by Henry IV 'Bolingbroke', kept in Ponefract Castle and starved to death to avoid any visible marks on his body.

      Henry V was the only Lancastrian who had a spark of decency that lasted until his death, and had Richard's body re-interred in Westminster Abbey. Henry VII was mean spirited, and although his son started out well, a jousting accident brought out his real character - like father, like son.

    • profile image

      Setank Setunk 8 weeks ago

      MizB seems oddly biased against the Catholic Church in this matter. The issue is State controlled religions where compliance was mandatory and noncompliance incurred brutal penalties. Nations of Protestant and Catholic Faiths alike participated in the brutal oppression.

      Nice work Nell, you have generated some good discussion on this topic.

      Also; Isabella and Ferdinand are my favorite monarchs so I am decidedly anti-Henry VIII for what he did to Catherine.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 8 weeks ago

      Setank, you must be catholic. "Oddly biased", that's a very minority statement. Sorry to have offended you, but this discussion was about the control of the Catholic Church over England. We weren't discussing other religions. And yes, I have a thing about religions that oppress women, freethinkers and science whether they are Catholic, protestant or Muslim.

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 8 weeks ago from England

      Hi Setank, not sure what you mean about MizB? just a conversation, and of course we are talking about Catholics and their hold by the church four five hundred years ago! The people back then were great, it was just the hold of the corrupt church leaders, not like now. my favourite queen has to be Elinor of Aquitane she kicked bad ass! lol! thanks again :)

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 8 weeks ago from England

      HI Miz, I agree with you about religions that oppress women too, and we all know the main one don't we? :) the catholic church back then oppressed everyone not just women, and it was pretty scary. thanks again.

    • Nell Rose profile image
      Author

      Nell Rose 8 weeks ago from England

      Hi Alan, oh yes that hole in the leg certainly set Henry 8 off on one didn't it? of course these days it would be healed in hospital within days, but back then it went pretty rotten and when he finally succumbed to it he was, well lets just say not very nice! LOL! I love my history, even the yucky bits!

    • profile image

      Setank Setunk 8 weeks ago

      MizB, nice reuse of "oddly". I am however a heathen.

      I do not wish to labor a point too far from Nell's excellent article, and I definitely do not wish to incur your scorn. Henry VIII died a very devout Catholic with respect to his religious practices but was no longer a Catholic by name. Serious religious oppression began with the Protestant Reformation, culminated in the Thirty Years War and ended with the Peace of Westphalia.

      The Church of England continued to follow Catholic dogma under Henry, and is the reason he is not credited historically as one of the initiators of the Reformation. Thus he can hardly be credited for liberating England from Catholic oppression.

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 8 weeks ago from England

      Hi Setank, yep I get your point. The reason why I wrote this is even though I know he kept his religion, well went from one to the other but ended up still catholic is that he planted the seed that wouldn't have been planted. After him Mary was so outraged she caused the death of thousands who had changed religion, then she died and our Bess kicked ass so to speak and went to the new religion after her dads wishes, so that was my point.

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      Setank Setunk 8 weeks ago

      Yes, I agree with you, and I appreciate your use of Henry to bring this discussion to light. I hope you get 1000 responses to it. This period in English History is fascinating, and Henry VIII definitely lived outside of rigid tradition.

      Henry and Catherine were both descendants of John Gaunt and his mistresses. Although these children were officially legitimized, they and their descendants were barred from potential rule. This meant that Tudors could not inherit the throne.

      Catherine was betrothed to Henry's brother Arthur when she was 5. As the daughter of Izzy and Fred, and a legitimate but barred contender to the English throne, Catherine would bring legitimacy to the Tudor ascension. When Arthur died a few years later Catherine was simply passed on to Henry. Although female rulers were not accepted in England up to this point, Catherine of Aragon actually had a stronger claim to the throne of England than Henry VIII and his father.

      This marriage made Henry and validated the Tudor Family. This is why I do not like Henry VIII. How could he discard Catherine so.

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      Alan Robert Lancaster 8 weeks ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Setanta, Catherine of Aragon - as the name suggests - was the fourth daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, and aunt of Philip - he was wedded in secret to Mary Tudor, Catherine's daughter by Henry, but fancied Elizabeth, who spurned him.

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      Nell Rose 8 weeks ago from England

      Thanks again Alan.

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      Nell Rose 8 weeks ago from England

      Thanks Setank, I am actually reading the trouble between England, Scotland, Religion and Parliament of Charles 1 at the moment, as I said above, the seed planted by Henry VIII stirred up so much trouble and even affected the fact that Cromwell and Parliament did away with Charles! Fascinating history.

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      Setank Setunk 8 weeks ago

      So true Nell. I was reluctant to bring up Cromwell or Mary I. Henry really did stir the coals.

      I am currently reading about the "rival" Queens, mother and daughter Catherine de' Medici and Marguerite de Valois. This runs concurrent with Henry and his time.

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      Alan Robert Lancaster 8 weeks ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      In between Henry VIII and Mary Tudor came Edward VI. Edward was the son Henry had wanted. His mother Jane Seymour having died shortly after childbirth was unable to 'steer' his education. However his tutelage was Protestant. Morally strong - but a prig with it - he tried to take a middle course between his half-sisters Mary and Elizabeth, trying to avoid the succession of Mary in view of her extreme pro-Roman views.

      However, having almost recovered from smallpox he was physically weak and succumbed to a wasting illness as a teenager. It is suspected that Mary had a hand in slowly poisoning him, although his tuberculosis was advanced. He'd arranged for the marriage of Lady Jane Grey to the Duke of Northumberland in order for her to succeed him instead of Mary. On Edward's death Mary headed for London from her 'safehouse' in Norfolk. As Lady Jane already was at the Tower awaiting her coronation, it wasn't too hard for Mary to have her held and executed for 'treason' (as she nearly had Elizabeth). From then the downward spiral of Mary's reign saw a series of bishops and an archbishop burnt at the stake for heresy. After secretly wedding Philip of Spain she imagined she was pregnant, although instead she was very ill. Readying herself for the birth of a son - she was told by a 'quack' that she was to have one - she went through what she thought was childbirth... To her own death. [Enter Elizabeth I, stage right].

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      Setank Setunk 8 weeks ago

      Alan, I am not sure what you are talking about. Catherine of Aragon was Henry VIII's first wife and previously married to his older brother Arthur. Mary I Tudor was Henry and Catherine's only surviving child.

      Perhaps my use of Izzy and Fred misled you. These are my nicknames for Isabella and Ferdinand. Sorry.

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      Nell Rose 8 weeks ago from England

      Hi Alan, I always forget about Edward! of course! Lady Jane Grey etc! but its such a small part of history that we always forget about him!

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      Nell Rose 8 weeks ago from England

      I will have to find the right book to find out more about them Setank, not sure if my favorite Phillipa gregory has written about them, thanks!

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      Nell Rose 8 weeks ago from England

      Hi again Setank, not sure what you mean? Catherine of aragon was first, second was Anne boleyn, then Jane seymour who produced the male heir Edward.

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      Devika Primić 7 weeks ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Interesting history lesson. I never gave that much thought. You surely taught me lots here.

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      Alan Robert Lancaster 7 weeks ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Setanta, you linked Catherine of Aragon with John of Gaunt (actually John of Ghent, as that was where he was born when his father was on campaign in Normandy and Picardy, Ghent is pronounced like 'Gaunt' by the French). There was no connection, as I pointed out. She was Spanish, he was English and betrothed to a French princess who insisted her 'intended' should have nothing less than a title. As second son of Edward III, John did not have lands or title before that. He was made Duke of Lancaster (the title the current monarch holds, whatever gender they might be - sounds confusing, don't it), from which a whole dispute began.

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      Setank Setunk 7 weeks ago

      Alan; Confusing and confused is putting it lightly. I had to check my sources. Catherine's line to John of gaunt goes Catherine to Isabella of Castile to Isabella of Portugal to John the Constable of Portugal to Phillipa of Lancaster to John of Gaunt. I left out their partners to save space. This is deep water for me. I only know that two of the books I have on the French and Spanish Monarchies site Gaunt's proclivity in Royal propagation.

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      Alan Robert Lancaster 7 weeks ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      It's gone out of the direct English line by three generations, two being female. The weak claim Henry VII had through two female antecedents, and his intervening generations were within England. There were other male Plantagenet claimants in the Yorkist line after Richard's death whom Henry failed to pursue. (One descendant lives in Australia, who voted against the monarchy and renounced his claim that could've unseated Elizabeth II). Catherine had no valid claim. Her father's line determined succession within Spain, and Catherine was a fourth child with three claimants ahead of her. That's barely the whisper of a claim, even if the Portuguese were allies of England.

      Henry VII only became king by virtue of alert mercenary guards who intervened after Richard's sword sliced through his standard bearer on Bosworth Field. Together they brought Richard down from his horse and bludgeoned him to death.

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      Nell Rose 7 weeks ago from England

      Thanks Devika, glad you liked it, nell

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      Setank Setunk 7 weeks ago

      Alan. Catherine descended from Phillipa who was a Queen and legitimate daughter of John of Gaunt. The entire Tudor Family are descended from Gaunt's Mistress. Although they were legitimized after Gaunt wed her they were barred from inheriting the throne.

      Later on some King changed this, I don't recall who.

      Every book I have ever read related to this suggests that Henry 7s claim was at best tenuous.

      Additionally, though a women, Catherine's line to Gaunt is undeniably stronger than Henrys 7 and 8. You initially argued this lineage and now are trying to minimize it. Do you dislike Catherine as a figure in this debate as I dislike Henry?

      What is the final word on this Nell? Your English and it is your hub.

      I contend the English liked Cat more than Henry.

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      Nell Rose 7 weeks ago from England

      lol! I was hoping you weren't going to ask me that! I don't really know the history behind Henry VIII, its a bit of a gap for me, which I will catch up on. I have watched loads of films, series etc withe Henry in and every word shows a spoilt nasty little man who is more child than king. I have recently rea Phillipa Gregory's latest three queens book, and shows what Henry is like as a child, and boy was he selfish! so no, don't like him very much, but very pleased that he changed history with his seed of doubt where religion was concerned!

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      Alan Robert Lancaster 7 weeks ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      It's plain Catherine was wronged by Henry, but neither had a strong claim to the throne. I don't reckon a great lot to Henry. What we inherited from him was a string of ruined abbeys and martyrs. Luckily the Tudors only lasted from 1485 to 1604. The Stuarts weren't a lot better, and the Hanoverians were just boring. We had a long series of foreign-born monarchs who should have all been kept in the nursery, starting with William I, the 'Tanner's Grandson'. At least his son Henry 'Beauclerc' (born Selby, Yorkshire) wasn't such a bad old stick. We had a few others who were much more memorable than any of the Tudors for the right reasons, mostly of the Plantagenet line. We haven't been blessed on the monarch front, but at least their powers were curbed after Charles I.

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      Nell Rose 7 weeks ago from England

      lol! Alan, you couldn't have said it better! should have been the Plantaganets! but of course with Richard III and his two brothers George and Edward there was a lot of in fighting. And look what happened to George? After Mary Queen of scots son James I of England, 6th of Scotland took over they were mad as hatters! He was the king who brought in all the witch trials! He was scared to death a witch was going to get him!

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      Alan Robert Lancaster 7 weeks ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Nell, after Edward secretly wedded Elizabeth Woodville and ennobled her brothers Richard, Earl of Warwick sided with the Lancastrian Margaret and Henry VI. He had lined up a French princess for Edward and found himself embarrassed. George, Duke of Clarence feared being sidelined by his ambitious younger brother Richard, Duke of Gloucester, and allied himself to Warwick. When Edward learned of George's perfidy he had him taken to the Tower and secretly 'dealt with'. No butts of Malmsey wine, just plain straightforward smothering or garrotting was the order of the day. It's what's been suspected of Richard, that he had Edward's sons smothered in the Tower, but they were alive still when he left for Leicestershire in 1485. Even declared 'bastards' (a royal betrothal then was as good as a marriage, and as Edward had been betrothed to the French princess Elizabeth Woodville's marriage to Edward was seen by the Church as void, therefore in the political uncertainty of the late 15th Century and uncertain aftermath of the 'Wars of the Roses' the princes were 'bastardised' publicly - partly also in a bid to secure them against the likes of Henry; they still had a better claim to the throne than he did).

      Your ball, Nell.

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      Nell Rose 7 weeks ago from England

      lol! okay I give up now, and bow to the expert! have a great weekend Alan!

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      savvydating 7 weeks ago

      I'd never considered these things, frankly. It's a horrible shame about the Catholic Church having cried heresy on all those brilliant minds.

      That is not to say that Henry VIII was a particularly nice guy, in lieu of all the women he wronged. But you make a good point.

      While I do not believe we'd still be using lanterns for light today, it makes sense that progress would have taken longer. Another fascinating hub, Nell. You're the type of writer that keeps us readers coming back for more!

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      Nell Rose 7 weeks ago from England

      Thanks Savvy, yes Henry was a horrible man but he served a purpose! lol! thanks for reading.

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      Louise Powles 6 weeks ago from Norfolk, England

      Henry VIII was certainly a colourful man. I learned a lot reading your hub. I love the history of England.

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      Nell Rose 6 weeks ago from England

      Thanks Coffee, glad you liked it!

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      Nithya Venkat 6 weeks ago from Dubai

      Interesting and informative hub about Henry VIII in a different perspective. Yes, Thank God for Henry VIII and his love for Anne Boleyn.

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      Nell Rose 6 weeks ago from England

      Thanks Vellur, yes Henry VIII was an interesting man, on the one word from his new lady Anne Boleyn all the western world changed!

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      Lawrence Hebb 4 weeks ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Nell

      Great stuff here, and yes, the 'church' has a lot to answer for.

      A couple of years ago I was reading up on the history of the time from a Catholic perspective and was fascinated to read the historian (a staunch Catholic albeit on the liberal side) argue that according to mediaeval custom Henry was within his rights as a monarch to ask for the annulment, the pope even admitted it, but backtracked when Catherine's brother (King Philip of Spain) threatened church property if the pope granted it!

      You're right about Galileo, but he wasn't the first to promote the idea of a heliocentric universe!

      That was Copernicus, a fifteenth century Catholic Bishop in Poland. Copernicus' books weren't published until after his death because he feared excommunication.

      Today, the Catholic church teaches evolution and God are compatible as 'God did it' but evolution is the method he 'probably used' (my daughter studies sciences at a Catholic school)

      Great hub though.

      Lawrence

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      Nell Rose 4 weeks ago from England

      Hi Lawrence, oh yes Copernicus! it seems that the church were a pain in the butt back then thank goodness for religious freedom these days! thanks for reading.

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      quicksand 4 weeks ago

      A very informative article indeed!

      I know more British history now

      than I did prior to reading this

      article.

      Poor Galileo!

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      Nell Rose 4 weeks ago from England

      Thanks quicksand glad you liked it. And thanks for reading.

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      Shauna L Bowling 4 weeks ago from Central Florida

      Interesting history lesson, Nell. I never really knew the reasons behind the religious wars in your neck of the woods. Now I know.

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      Nell Rose 4 weeks ago from England

      Thanks Shauna yes little things change history, probably even influenced across the pond too! Thanks as always.

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      Setank Setunk 3 weeks ago

      Lawrence, your facts are incorrect. Catherine only had one brother, John. Charles V Holy Roman Emperor, who was also Charles I of the Spanish Empire was a nephew to Catherine. This is the guy that could and probably did influence the Pope. His son Phillip II did inherit the Spanish throne but this was 20 years after Catherine's death.

      Henry VIII went to war with France at a point when France seemed doomed in their war with Charles V. Henry's justification for the war was his support of Charles V claims of Rule. Henry's real motivation was to jump in near the end of hostilities on the side of the winner to get concessions for himself. When France proved more resilient than expected Henry withdrew his support of Charles and made his own peace with France. It was only a year or 2 after this heinous behavior that Henry asked for an annulment.

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      manatita44 10 days ago from london

      You present a very compelling and interesting story, Nell. Very well researched.

      Yes, the catholic church has done some pretty dark things and the worse ones are not even mentioned! Our anglo-catholicism has done some wrong themselves.

      Well, I respect and hold you in high esteem, Still, while I support so much of what you say, the Seer tend to take a different slant. In your writings, for instance, I see the same cardinal vices that existed before the King ... indeed before Christianity and do exist now: Lust, ego, attachment, greed, anger...

      They create and have always created wars. Saviours both of the East and West come bringing the same message, that of transformation of our lower nature, to a higher Light Divine.

      These guys do slow things down, though, and perhaps you are right. Man is generally inhumane to his brother/sister: humanity. Still, we tend to see man only as an instrument of Something Higher. In other words, he is not in charge. It is the Lords world, so to speak, not man's and Love ultimately triumphs.

      A lot here. It was still RC that produced the bulk of the Seers/Seeress: Theresa of Avila; John of the Cross; Meister Eckhart; Julian of Norwich; Theresa of Lisieux; Augustine and Francis, two giants of the Christianity Faith.

      So whoever the individual, it is ultimately the inner Light that illumines and shines through all. Praise be!!

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      Nell Rose 10 days ago from England

      Thanks manatita I totally agree with you, and thank you for reading, nell

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      manatita44 10 days ago from london

      Thanks Nell.

      Coming from the mouth and Soul of Sri Chinmoy, Papa Ramdas, Ramakrishna and all those I hold dear, they say and I also believe, that God is the only Doer. That is to say, seen from the Highest standpoint: "O Lord, I Love you because You Loved me first..."

      Guruji teaches that God sanctions, approves or tolerates, but nothing happens without Its Will and Consciousness. Much Love, my friend. Have a great weekend.

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      Nell Rose 10 days ago from England

      You too Manatita, have a wonderful weekend :)

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