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Henry VIII

The Field of the Cloth of Gold, English, c.1545 © Getty Images.

Five hundred years ago, in a spirit of rivalry and cooperation, two young Renaissance monarchs asserted their power and authority at one of the last great demonstrations of the chivalric age.

Henry VIII c.1540, by Hans Holbein the Younger.

The break with Rome set England apart from continental Europe. It was born of personal desires rather than matters of principle. 

In his pursuit of Anne Boleyn, Thomas Cromwell was guided by a prophecy foretelling treason.

Henry VIII in 1531

Henry VIII's coronation was greeted with a sense of hysterical optimism. As Lauren Johnson shows, it would not last.

Thomas Cranmer, portrait by Gerlach Flicke, 1546.

Derek Wilson explores the Prebendaries Plot against Henry VIII’s reforming archbishop.

Suzannah Lipscomb looks beyond the stereotypes that surround our most infamous monarch to ask: who was Henry VIII and when did it all go wrong? 

Baynard’s Castle, site of Henry VIII’s final conference on the Hunne case. Engraving, 17th century.

Richard Dale investigates the mysterious death of Richard Hunne in Lollards Tower at Old St Paul’s, one of the most notorious episodes of the English Reformation.

What can explain the Scottish King's rash challenge to his uncle of England, Henry VIII, in 1542? In that year, writes Albert Makinson, a Scots army was destroyed on the borders of Cumberland, and James's throne passed to his daughter, Mary, before whom lay a tragic destiny.

Thomas More and his family moved into his ‘Great House’ in Chelsea in 1518. L.W. Cowie describes their life there, until More's arrest in 1534.

David Starkey describes a small-scale, regional, sixteenth century event that, nonetheless, illuminates the age.