All about Henry VIII

All about Henry VIII

In a series of fascinating articles and absorbing film interviews, leading historians, scholars and historical novelists tell us what life was really like in Henry VIII's England.


Dr Kent Rawlinson is a Curator at Hampton Court Palace.

Interview: See Dr Kent Rawlinson and other specialists talking about Tudor palaces >


Brett Dolman is Curator of Collections at Hampton Court Palace.

Article: Read the article on Henry VIII and painting (PDF, 46.9KB)
Interview: See Brett Dolman and other art historians talking about art in Tudor England >


Dr Richard Rex examines what was and what could have been in the Henrician Reformation, and how Henry VIII’s ‘King’s Book’ of 1543 very nearly constituted a ‘Henrician religious settlement’.

Dr Richard Rex is Reader in Reformation History at Queens' College, University of Cambridge.

Article: Read the article on belief (PDF, 49.8KB)
Interview: See Dr Richard Rex and other historians considering the thorny issue of religious belief in Henry VIII’s England >


Prof. Peter Marshall examines the frightening ubiquity of death in Henry VIII’s England, how the Tudors prepared themselves on the deathbed for the life to come and early modern beliefs in ghosts, purgatory, heaven and hell.

Peter Marshall is Professor of History at Warwick University, and the author of Beliefs and the Dead in Reformation England.

Article: Read the article on early modern attitudes to death (PDF, 47.5KB)
Interview: See Prof. Marshall and other experts talking about death in Tudor England >
Interview: See historians talking about Henry's death >


Dr Thomas S. Freeman discusses how appearances of Henry VIII on the silver screen, from Charles Laughton in 1933 to The Tudors of 2008, tell us more about the preoccupations of each generation of film-makers than the King himself.

Dr Thomas S. Freeman is Research Officer for the British Academy John Foxe Project and is affiliated with the Faculty of Divinity at the University of Cambridge. He is also the co-editor of The Tudors and Stuarts on Film: Historical Perspectives (2008).

Article: Read the article on Henry VIII in film (PDF, 103KB)
Interview: See Dr Freeman and other experts discussing depictions of Henry VIII in film >

Love, sex and marriage

Dr Susan James considers the story of Henry VIII’s last wife, Kateryn Parr, and the course of true love. Dr Susan James is the author of Catherine Parr: Henry VIII’s Last Love.

Article: Read the article on Kateryn Parr and the course of true love (PDF, 39.1KB)
Interview: See Dr James and other historians talk about love, sex and marriage >

Medicine and nature

Dr Elizabeth Hurren’s article delves deep into the medical world of the Tudors. She opens up Henry VIII’s medical case notes to examine his famed ill-health and hypochondria, and discovers that the soothsayers should have paid greater attention to his star sign.

Dr Elizabeth Hurren is Senior Lecturer in the History of Medicine funded by the Wellcome Trust at Oxford Brookes University.

Article: Read the article on Henry VIII's medical world (PDF, 827KB)

Politics and War

Dr Steven Gunn explains how politics worked in Henry VIII’s England, and why the King would go to war.

Dr Steven Gunn is Fellow and Tutor in Modern History at Merton College, Oxford and author of Early Tudor Government, 1485-1558.

Article: Read the article on politics and war (PDF, 44.6KB)
Interview: See Dr Gunn and other historians talking about Tudor politics >
Interview: See historians talking about war in the 16th century >


Philippa Gregory is the author of The Other Boleyn Girl.

Article: Read the article on the psychology of Henry VIII (PDF, 54KB)
Interview: See Philippa Gregory and other experts talking about Henry VIII’s character and psychology >


Dr Glenn Richardson appraises Henry VIII as a traveller.

Dr Glenn Richardson is Senior Lecturer in History at St Mary’s University College, London and author of Renaissance Monarchy: The Reigns of Henry VIII, Francis I and Charles V.

Article: Read the article on Henry VIII and travel (PDF, 49.8KB)
Interview: See Dr Richardson and other historians talking about Henry VIII’s itinerary >


Dr Maria Hayward explores the possessions of Henry VIII and what the King most valued.

Dr Maria Hayward is Reader in History at Southampton University and author of Dress at the Court of King Henry VIII.

Article: Read the article on Henry VIII's treasured possessions (PDF, 45.1KB)
Interview: See Dr Hayward and other experts talking about what was treasured in Tudor England >

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