Read The Children of Henry VIII by John Guy Online


Behind the facade of politics and pageantry at the Tudor court, there was a family drama.Nothing drove Henry VIII, England's wealthiest and most powerful king, more than producing a legitimate male heir and so perpetuating his dynasty. To that end, he married six wives, became the subject of the most notorious divorce case of the sixteenth century, and broke with the pope,Behind the facade of politics and pageantry at the Tudor court, there was a family drama.Nothing drove Henry VIII, England's wealthiest and most powerful king, more than producing a legitimate male heir and so perpetuating his dynasty. To that end, he married six wives, became the subject of the most notorious divorce case of the sixteenth century, and broke with the pope, all in an age of international competition and warfare, social unrest and growing religious intolerance and discord.Henry fathered four living children, each by a different mother. Their interrelationships were often scarred by jealously, mutual distrust, sibling rivalry, even hatred. Possessed of quick wits and strong wills, their characters were defined partly by the educations they received, and partly by events over which they had no control.Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond, although recognized as the king's son, could never forget his illegitimacy. Edward died while still in his teens, desperately plotting to exclude his half-sisters from the throne. Mary's world was shattered by her mother's divorce and her own unhappy marriage. Elizabeth was the most successful, but also the luckiest. Even so, she lived with the knowledge that her father had ordered her mother's execution, was often in fear of her own life, and could never marry the one man she truly loved.Henry's children idolized their father, even if they differed radically over how to perpetuate his legacy. To tell their stories, John Guy returns to the archives, drawing on a vast array of contemporary records, personal letters, and first-hand accounts....

Title : The Children of Henry VIII
Author :
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ISBN : 9780192840905
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 258 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The Children of Henry VIII Reviews

  • Jayson
    2019-04-15 03:57

    (B) 75% | More than SatisfactoryNotes: So list-heavy that its titular characters are practically reduced to inventories of their gifts, household staff and syllabi.

  • Ruth
    2019-03-24 02:02

    I am something of a Tudor history addict. I'm not quite sure exactly why I find myself picking up every book I see on this dynastic, aggressive and ultimately doomed family. They brought peace to England (or should that be dragged England to a sort of peace kicking and screaming?), and yet, they were unable to retain the crown, and not because it was grabbed from their hands like other dynasties, but because they simply ran out of heirs. So many of the things which make England different from other countries in Europe (moderate Protestantism, the concept of a national "Church", the almost complete absence of any sizable Catholic population, and a Parliamentary system to which the monarch progressively abdicated power over the centuries), all started with the Tudors. The many marriages of Henry VIII are what most people think of, but I'm personally more interested in why he had to marry so many times, and also who these women were that he married. And, finally, there are his children - were they really as astonishingly intelligent as we are lead to believe?This book, provided to me by netgalley, was probably one of the better books on the Tudors I've read. It skips a lot of detail which can make Tudor history a bit tedious, and goes straight to the heart of the story. It is written in a beautifully fluid and clear way, and I think it would appeal equally to Tudor nutters like myself, and also those whose only grasp of Tudor history is the fat bloke who chopped off his wives' heads. It's a very accessible read.I guess what makes this one so special is that it tries to cut to the quick and present plausible (relatively new) theories for some of the issues which have made the Tudor story so mythical. Why did Henry's poor wives have such a dreadful time having children? Was this normal for the period? Did he have low sperm count or some other disease which prevented them from bringing pregnancies full term? And, what were the children of Henry VIII actually like? I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and find myself looking at the main characters rather differently than I did before. I even find myself sympathizing with Henry himself - driven by desperation, and so convinced of his own absolute power and intellectual capabilities, that he was able to twist and turn centuries of religious precedent and impose it through sheer will and charisma. Likewise, both his daughters appear to have been permanently scarred by the tribulations of their youth, but only Elizabeth was able to develop the sharp wit, and moral ambiguity to survive. Mary was simply too traumatized to cope.Loved it. 5 stars.

  • Jeanette
    2019-04-04 00:03

    This book is non-fiction and pure John Guy. He is an ace at historical research and interpretation of data in the sense of written archival and other artistic (paintings, music, poems)materials. He doesn't stop there, but approaches forensics and medical data too. There are aspects of this book many readers who have previously read 10, 15, 30 or more Tudor Dynasty years volumes would be surprised to encounter. Not to speak of all the movies, series, or other Tudor related tales of fiction or interpretations of Henry VIII's children's lives, set in those specific Tudor dynasty years.Read in one night through a Spring sleet storm (Chicago's Spring isn't)-this book deeply captured my attention. In not only Henry's own lifespan but within the educations and progressions of his children's reigns, I couldn't help but think how history would be SO different with the aid of a modern day geneticist or one good Pulmonary Specialist M.D. coupled with a few handfuls of antibiotics.Would the Protestant Reformation have occurred in Great Britain as it did? Probably. But certainly not at such a scale and as quickly. This book also covers all of Henry VIII illegitimate children. Down to education, households, and influences. So important in the later reigns, who their earliest influences were! And Henry's plans for their futures, although ever changing, but still, in proofs of paperwork cited here. Many pages are scanned documents of written materials for and from all five or six main players on this stage of succession. Not to speak of their ministers, clergy, teachers, and of course many painted and dated portraits of their more visual appearances and conditions than the print would portray.Highly rec to all those who have a Tudor fix need.Some things I heard suggested before about physical conditions in other books, this book does far more in forensics to investigate. So many dithers I have read captured in fiction most certainly were not true. For instance, in Arthur's (Henry VIII's brother) death. Or in why Henry with all that activity had such poor luck in offspring's health, especially within the male line.Spoilers here: Arthur probably had a testicular cancer starting at just 15 and a quite long and difficult end stage, was not poisoned, definitely not poisoned (fiction has advanced this version). There are blood antibody and factor incompatibilities between parents that insure only the first child of a Mother may have an uneventful pregnancy with a baby born with a full immune and blood production response of their own. Henry was of a Positive blood group antigen known as Kell. It's quite rare enough that 90% of all women would be the opposite and Kell negative. All his wives and most of his lovers were Kell negative, if not all of them. So the result that only 1 pregnancy would be a successful birth is nearly assured. Quote: "Thereafter, the foetus would almost certainly be miscarried or stillborn, because of the rare genetic incompatibility between the blood groups of the parents. If so, this was much Anne's tragedy as Katherine's."Having had AB/O incompatibility I understand exactly what this is about. But now the 2nd, 3rd or 5th baby could have had blood transfusion / exchanges after the birth. This book's most excellent coverage, IMHO, is for his son by Mary Blount, Henry Fitzhugh. Henry had him in plans for succession quite strongly until that son's illness came to the fore. Another strong difference from today as he could have been cured with antibiotics for his reoccurring lung condition and his early death prevented. In Edward's case, treatment would be different, but ditto.Excellent book too on the political considerations (that's how they were appointed) of the earliest Nannies, and Tutors for these offspring. Left in some strong measures to their Mother's appointments and associative dithers, this stamped great flux upon the future. Henry VIII's claim to the throne was historically on shaky ground as it was. His children's literate and religious influences became far more slanted to Great Britain's outcomes than foreseen in their babyhoods.I ADORE when the forensics people pull bones and artifacts and can tell us the reality of people we have read so much about. Oftentimes the stories are so, so different from the PR of their lifetimes or the fiction that comes centuries afterwards. Henry VIII did NOT have a venereal disease. His ulcers were due to osteomyelitis. His obesity restricted his mobility, as well.

  • Orsolya
    2019-03-29 23:57

    One of the central themes in the life of Henry VIII was his determination to secure his dynasty with a male heir. Although it may not have turned out the way he preferred; his children certainly were legends in their own rights. John Guy portraits the Tudor children in “The Children of Henry VIII” (not to be confused with Alison Weir’s work with the same title published years previous).Focusing on Henry Fitzroy, Mary, Edward VI, and Elizabeth; Guy’s thesis is a bit lost. Although not attempting individual biographies, it isn’t clear if Guy is demonstrating the links and relationships between the siblings or of Henry’s relations with his children. Both paths are covered but in a somewhat choppy way (although the chronological study of the siblings in relation to each other at the same times is a positive characteristic). Also surprising, is the lack of detail provided by Guy (he is usually Mr. Detail) and the short length of the book. “The Children of Henry VIII” is best described as a brief summary often times with Guy cutting topics off abruptly. The book is best for very new readers to the topic or for those simply wanting a quick reminder. This lack of detail results in “The Children of Henry VIII” reading like a YA history piece versus targeting adults. It is all unexpected coming from Guy.Although the text is heavily notated, much of it also contains speculation with heavy “must have” and “would have” statements where Guy’s own thoughts and biases bleed through. Also unwelcome are such descriptions as calling Katherine of Aragon, “Forty, fat, with no son…” which are clearly elementary and spiteful in the bluntest sense of the word. On the other hand, Guy also includes some research and detective-heavy findings which explain events with more clarity than some other authors and also debunks some myths.A strong note of “The Children of Henry VIII” is the focus on Henry Fitzroy. Although readers won’t learn much new information regarding the other offspring; the spotlight on the Duke of Richmond is very pleasing as he is often ignored. Some other areas of complaint include Guy’s tendencies of striking off on tangents while stating ‘facts’ with firm conviction which several other historians have questioned as disputable and then never detailing or arguing for these comments. A reader new to the topic will take these with merit and as hard truths.As “The Children of Henry VIII” progresses, it does noticeably increase in detail although the thesis is still hazy and seems more like a very light biography. Once again, however, no new information is discoursed making it better for new readers. The main notable aspect is that the book is very readable. It is easy-to-ready and yet flows smoothly (even though the topic is disjointed). “The Children of Henry VIII” satisfies those history lovers who are more into a novel-like flow versus a dry, scholarly piece. The ending of “The Children of Henry VIII” is relatively memorable; however it lacks depth and detail similar to the rest of the book. The work remains unclear in its “point” and continues to be firmly called a summary as it does not bring the Tudors to life and doesn’t necessarily explore new information.“The Children of Henry VIII” contains illustrations throughout the text plus color plates. The sources used are respectfully credible and include many primary works. However, the notes aren’t quite annotated. Unfortunately, not much can be said about Guy’s work as it is so ‘light’. “The Children of Henry VIII” isn’t terrible; it merely lacks detail and depth common to Guy’s works. It is a quick 1-day read and best for intro readers to the Tudor dynasty who don’t want to be overwhelmed with facts. Although a love-her-or-hate-her author; I much recommend Alison Weir’s “The Children of Henry VIII” over John Guy’s piece.

  • Claire Ridgway
    2019-04-18 23:57

    John Guy is one of my favourite historians. He is so thorough in his research, his books are always fully referenced, allowing the reader to check the sources for themselves, and he writes in a very 'readable' style. This means that anyone from the casual history fan to a history scholar can appreciate his work.From the title of this book, I was expecting it to be mini biographies of each of Henry VIII's children in turn with very separate sections on each of them, but it's not like that at all. Guy looks Henry's family chronologically, from the birth of Henry, Duke of Cornwall in January 1510 to Elizabeth I's death in 1603, he tells their stories. It works really well because the reader can see the interaction between Henry's children, the relationships they had with each other. As another reviewer noted on Amazon, the book focuses more on the early years of Henry's children and when it does cover their reigns it concentrates "more on the personal than the political except where they were intertwined". There are plenty of books on Henry's children's reigns, so I enjoyed this look at them as people and members of a family.The book isn't a heavy tome. It is 198 pages, not counting the notes and bibliography, so is a relatively quick read. It gives just enough information, without bogging the reader down with detail. I loved the extras like the family trees, the notes on units of currency, and the photographs of letters written by Henry's children when they were young - very interesting, particularly the difference between the styles of Mary's handwriting and that of Henry's other children, who were taught the more fashionable Italic script.It is an excellent book and was a pleasure to read. I recommend it to anyone wanting to know more about Henry VIII's struggle to produce a legitimate heir, his four children and the nature of their relationships with each other.

  • Kerry
    2019-03-27 04:12

    This book is a well written factual account of the one of history's most notable families, the Tudors. What is interesting about his book is that it is more about the personal lives and the family dynamics of Henry VIII and his family rather than a focus on the political and religious sentiment. Don't get me wrong, its still there but more in terms of how the particular views of the time impacted upon each of the children. For example, the view of educating women at the time meant that Mary and Elizabeth had very different educations to that of Edward and Henry Fitzroy. The attention to small details, such as the differences in handwriting styles of the children is also interesting.Henry's inconsistent treatment of his children is also very much a focus of this book. How they were treated depended on whether their mothers were in favour (or not) at the time and this changed constantly. But that was Henry all over - he was a very fickle man. Although most of the book is about the children's early years, there is a birds eye view of each reign, again concentrating more on their personal lives.

  • Leanda Lisle
    2019-04-22 01:46

    John Guy’s short but shocking The Children of Henry VIII delivers on its promise of a story ‘of jealousy, envy and even hatred’. Yet the Tudor siblings seem kindly when compared to their fratricidal, usurping antecedents, the children of Richard, Duke of York. And that, I think, was their mistake. They were horrid to each, but not nearly horrid enough. Henry VIII’s eldest child, Mary Tudor, in particular, would have done well to have emulated such examples of Yorkist family feeling as Edward IV’s drowning his brother, George, Duke of Clarence in a vat of Malmsey wine, and Richard III’s seizure of the Protectorship of Edward’s twelve year old heir (who subsequently ‘disappeared’ in the Tower, along with his little brother).For the first three years of Mary Tudor’s life, she was an only and beloved child. Nevertheless her father judged that, as a daughter, she was unfit to inherit his crown. John Guy believes that, for a time, Henry considered making Mary’s younger illegitimate half-brother, Henry Fitzroy, his heir, bestowing family titles of the boy and declaring he loved him, ‘like his own soul’. Fitzroy died aged seventeen, but Guy gives us a real sense of the boy who, while Mary proved the perfect student, would escape his lessons to hunt and shoot. Fitzroy too was passed over, however, in Henry’s expectation that his second wife, Anne Boleyn, would bear a legitimate male heir. When Anne bore Elizabeth in 1533 it was Mary who was the first to pay for Henry’s disappointment, as he had her declared illegitimate to ensure she took second place to her little sister. In some of Guy’s most vivid passages we see Mary, aged almost eighteen, obliged to live in the baby Elizabeth’s household, raging against her humiliations, refusing to share a horse litter with her sister and insisting in taking the best place when they travelled by barge. Only when Anne Boleyn lost her head and Elizabeth too was declared a bastard, did Mary learn to regard her sister with affection, even praising Elizabeth to their father. Family relations improved still further after Henry’s son, Edward, was born, since everyone agreed he took precedence over his sisters. John Guy gives wonderful details on the intimate friendship Mary later developed with her last step-mother, Katherine Parr. But the family was torn apart once more on Henry’s death. With Edward VI aged only nine, his maternal uncle seized power as the Protector Somerset. Richard III, had seized the Protectorship precisely in order to prevent such a power grab by his nephew’s non-royal maternal relatives. And, watching what unfolded, Mary might well have concluded that Richard had been right to do so. Edward was to be raised in beliefs Henry had considered heretical, while Protestant iconoclasts unleashed a period of cultural terrorism that puts the recent Islamist destruction of tombs and manuscripts in Timbuktu into the shade. Mary fought to defend her father’s religious settlement, arguing it could not be overturned during Edward’s minority. But Edward was being encouraged to grow apart from his sisters. When he died at the age of fifteen, he excluded them from the throne on grounds of their illegitimacy, complaining that Mary was a Catholic and that Elizabeth’s mother had been an adulterous, treasonous slut. John Guy suggests (rightly I believe) that although Edward left the throne to his cousin Jane Grey, it was her husband, the teenage, Guildford Dudley, whom Edward hoped would rule England. The son of the Lord President of his Council, and with no royal blood, Guildford was a man from whom his subjects could expect ‘great things’, Edward argued. Instead Mary I raised an army and took back her throne, tried her rivals for treason, and following a revolt, cut off Guildford’s head, and Jane’s also. There was then just the problem of Elizabeth left to deal with, and two possible means of Mary strengthening her position. The first was to have a child so Elizabeth was no longer her heir. But Mary’s pregnancy by Philip of Spain proved to be a phantom. Philip left the country and declined to return for a further eighteen months. Guy describes Mary as reduced haranguing Philip’s portrait, before kicking it out of the room in her anger and frustration. The second means was for Mary to have Elizabeth executed. Guy outlines a series of Protestant plots to replace Mary with her sister. Mary’s great grandfather, Edward IV, had had his brother, Clarence, drowned in that vat of Malmsey after a brief treason trial. It might have been appropriate to have had Elizabeth strangled with one of the prim and plain dresses she wore to flaunt her pious Protestant opposition to Mary. It was to be Philip, Guy informs, who helped save Elizabeth’s life. Anxious to prevent the throne passing to Mary, Queen of Scots, who was to marry the French Dauphin, Philip insisted his wife protect Elizabeth’s place as heir to the throne. He would get his just deserts for this almost thirty years later when Elizabeth backed the Dutch revolt against Spain in the Netherlands and then sank his retaliatory Armada. Meanwhile, the bitterest moment for Mary came at her death in 1558, when she was obliged to confirm her hated sister as her heir in order to insure a peaceful transition of power. Elizabeth showed little gratitude for her sister’s last personal sacrifice. She wore Mary’s coronation mantle for her state entry into London the following year, not in an act of sisterly solidarity, or even to save a few pounds, but rather, Guy claims, to dance on her sister’s grave. John Guy is that rare cross over: the scholar who also writes for the popular market. It shows here, as he sketches with verve and fluency the education and beliefs, as well as, briefly, the reigns of these last Tudors. But where he excels is in illuminating the coruscating relationships between the squabbling siblings. They say if you’ve got lemons make lemonade, and in Guy’s hands the story of The Children of Henry VIII is fresh, sparkling and sharp. 4 stars instead of five only because it cannot match in scope Guy's longer works. A version of this Review first appeared under my name in the Literary Review in 2013

  • Leah
    2019-03-31 06:15

    “Some are born great…” I first encountered John Guy through his wonderful biography of Thomas Becket and I give him the credit for re-awakening my interest in reading history after a lengthy gap. As well as being a first-rate historian, he has the true skill of the storyteller, managing to turn his thorough and extensive research into an accessible and enjoyable read for the non-academic. In this book he tackles the subject of Henry VIII's struggle to produce an heir who could ensure the continuance of his dynasty. This is very much a personal history of the children, though because of their positions as potential heirs, there is also much about the politics of the time, particularly the religious machinations of this divided family. Guy goes into considerable depth about the children's early years telling us who was given charge of their upbringing and education. He describes the differences in education of the males, Edward and Henry Fitzroy, to the females, Mary and Elizabeth; showing that the boys were trained in those skills which were deemed necessary in a king, such as the ability to give public speeches, while the girls were restricted to moral and religious works, on the basis laid down by the scholar Vives that a woman should hear and speak only 'what pertains to the fear of God'. However, he also produces some evidence to show that the girls' friends and supporters may have found ways to supplement these restrictions.Guy also shows Henry's inconsistent treatment of his children, first humiliating Mary by raising the prospect of the illegitimate Fitzroy as heir, then by making her play second fiddle to Elizabeth during Anne Boleyn's short reign. The declaration of both his daughters as illegitimate, his treatment of their mothers and the way he brought them in and out of favour depending on who was Queen at the time impacted heavily on both, as did his will declaring that they could only marry with the agreement of the counsellors he appointed before his death. But with the early death of Fitzroy, Henry was eventually forced to accept the rights of both his daughters to be in the line of succession in the event that Edward should die childless.Although most of the book is about the children's early years, Guy finishes with a fairly quick romp through each reign, again concentrating more on the personal than the political except where they were intertwined. He points out that Henry's tragedy remains that, for all his efforts to secure his dynasty, none of his children produced heirs, so that on the death of Elizabeth in 1603 the Tudor era came to an end.As always with Guy's books, this one is very well written and a pleasure to read. There may not be much new here but the format Guy has chosen lets us see the family dynamics more than biographies of the individuals usually do. I felt the adult years were somewhat rushed and really only there to take the book to a conclusion, and I felt Guy surprisingly let Elizabeth off the hook very easily on the subject of the suppression of the Catholics during her reign (for more of which I recommend John Cooper's biography of Walsingham, [[ASIN:057121827X The Queen's Agent]]). But I enjoyed the detailed look at the childhood of these major figures in English history and heartily recommend this book to anyone interested in the Tudor period.NB This book was provided for review by the publisher via NetGalley.

  • Lolly's Library
    2019-03-28 05:15

    3.5 starsWhat is it about the Tudors? As author G.J. Meyer writes in the introduction to his book The Tudors: The Complete Story of England's Most Notorious Dynasty, the Tudors ruled England for only three generations, which, in the grand scheme of things, is a mere blip on history's timeline. Yet, for some reason, they're just as prominent today as they were in their heyday, continuing to act as inspirations for numerous works of fiction and to be subjects of scholarly examinations. King Henry VIII is arguably the most famous king ever, remembered in broad terms for either his multiple marriages or his split from the Catholic church, and Queen Elizabeth I is not only the most famous queen in English history, but most likely in world history as well. Even though they've all become romanticized or demonized, depending on who you talk to, every Tudor, from Henry VII to Edward VI to Mary, remains real to us more than four centuries after Elizabeth I died and the Tudor line died with her. So why is that? Well, John Guy's The Children of Henry VIII may not answer the question of why the Tudors remain popular to this day, but it does explore how these particular Tudors turned out the way they did.Though the content of this surprisingly slim volume is written in an engaging and lively voice, this is no popular history book, all fluff and dramatization. Neither is it a dryly written snoozer. Instead, Guy has managed to straddle the line between well-researched and heavily annotated scholarship and accessibility. There's no new research provided here and there's no speculation. Guy has simply gathered an abundance of research detailing the childhood histories of Henry Fitzroy, Mary, Edward, and Elizabeth and put it into a readable form. Working in chronological order as each child is born, Guy is able to show how their lives intertwine, how they interact with each other, and how, through the various political machinations and upheavals, these relationships evolve and mutate over the years. Guy also illustrates how Henry's behavior toward his offspring changes from one child to the next, raising up one while humiliating another. What's explored here is more personal than political, though we do get to see the Tudor political machine at work. But it's the family dynamic that takes center stage, the exploration of how the childhood experiences of these Tudor children shaped their future personalities.My only quibble with the book is that, despite the work that went into it, most of the detail covers the early years of each child's life while their adulthood and reign (if they had one) gets little more than a synopsis. This is especially obvious with Elizabeth's reign. Admittedly, as her reign was the longest, there's a lot of history there and I wouldn't expect an in-depth coverage of such. But I still felt as though her story wasn't fully explored, which contributed to a rushed ending.A quick read, I would recommend The Children of Henry VIII as a good starting point for anyone interested in the Tudor dynasty and a nice companion piece to other books written on the subject.

  • Emily
    2019-04-18 00:56

    John Guy every 4 seconds: "Just so you know, insertfemalehere was extremely ugly/sexy for a 13 year old/beautiful and also all of her achievements really belong to the men around her.""Also, Anne Boleyn was an evil step-mother but it's okay because Mary was an ugly hag anyways."Needless to say, I was unimpressed with the author's attitude towards Mary, Elizabeth, and pretty much all six of Henry's wives. Actually, I was unimpressed with his attitude towards most of the women he mentioned in the novel. How is it that we get huge sections on Cecil, Checke, and Ascham's influence on Elizabeth's life, but all we get on Kat Ashley and Blanche Parry is that they sometimes slept on a mat beside Elizabeth's bed? Guy also made sure to pay particular detail to the appearance of almost every woman he mentions, while conveniently leaving out such details for the men. It got worse and worse throughout the entire book, and by the time I got to the end of it, I was sick and tired of Guy tearing down each and every woman. Even Elizabeth, arguably the one he spends the most time on, isn't free of his constant belittling. She only becomes queen due to Philip II, her tutors greatly exaggerate her intelligence, and at the end of the day, she's just "extremely lucky". The only time he speaks at all of a woman exerting actual power, Guy either criticizes them for "play-acting", like when Elizabeth feigns illness to avoid Mary's wrath and punishment for her alleged role in a rebellion, or accuses of them of being the main force behind a man's distasteful actions. Henry VIII executes Thomas More? Anne Boleyn's fault. Henry doesn't allow Mary to visit her mother? It's Anne, that witch, keeping them apart. Henry Fitzroy, Henry's bastard son, gets sick? Don't worry, there were a whole lot of rumors about him being poisoned by, you guessed it, Anne. Not even Catherine of Aragon or Mary herself are free of this. Whenever either of them attempt to exert power, like when Mary tries to convince her brother Edward VI to allow her to remain Catholic, she, like Elizabeth, "causes a scene". While I started out appreciating how Guy focused on Henry Fitzroy, by the end of the novel the difference between how he treated Henry and Edward VI from Mary and Elizabeth was clear and just took away my enjoyment of the book. Even Philip II, Mary's largely unpopular husband, was treated better than both of Henry's daughters in Guy's work. However, Guy does know how to weave together a good history, and I definitely did learn from the book. I could have easily given the book 4 or 5 stars, if the author's biases and constant demeaning of the actions and roles of these historical women hadn't taken me completely out of the narrative. All in all, my actual rating for this book probably veers closer to a 2.5, but I bumped it up from 2 stars to 3 because it was an interesting read and did offer a couple interesting insights.

  • Lyn (Readinghearts)
    2019-03-29 03:15

    John Guy's latest, The Children of Henry VIII, is a well written book covering the struggle of Henry VIII to procure an heir for the Tudor throne. At just 258 pages it is a relatively quick read on the subject. In addition, it presents the essential information in a way that is uncomplicated and easy to follow. For those reasons, this would be an excellent book for anyone just beginning to read about the Tudors. For those of us that are well versed in the subject, though, there is little new information. I did, however, like the fact that this book contained a complete section on Henry Fitzroy, and did not just focus on the legitimate offspring. I was also fascinated by the author's suggestion that Henry had a rare blood condition that may have been the root of his inability to father more than one living child by any one woman. I had never heard this theory before and wish the author would have gone into a bit more depth on the subject. In fact, my biggest disappointment with this book overall was the lack of depth in general. At times it seemed to me that the author was just skimming the surface of the subject, while I was looking for more detailed information on the children and their lives. In fact, I felt the beginning of the book was more about Henry himself than the children's early lives. The good news is that the lack of depth coupled with John Guy's extremely readable writing style makes this an excellent book on Henry and his children for someone who is just starting to explore the Tudors. On the other hand, if you are like me and love all things Tudor and never tire of reading about them in general, there is a bit of new and different in this book that makes it worth the read. Thanks to Oxford Press and Netgalley for bringing this book to my attention and giving me the chance to read it in exchange for a review.

  • Kathleen
    2019-03-29 06:02

    Why do I read? I have a curiosity about people, places and events that I did not experience for myself. The Tudors are my second favorite historical family and the more detail you give me about the day to day events of their lives, the happier I am. How much better can it start than "In the Beginning"?! Henry and Katherine's second marriage and coronation anniversaries were upon them. The bloom was not yet off the rose but some wilting was happening for sure. Henry began to realize that women were all about him and many were desirable to him, although his religious convictions interfered with his actions.The day to day events were intriguing and well researched.The early years of the children and their interactions were satisfying and realistic. The years when Henry and the children were all the family consisted of were explored and dealt with in a very sympathetic and effective manner, as did the sibling or rather half sibling rivalry between them.Possibilities were explored for the psychological, emotional and physical failures of Henry and his children in their personal and interpersonal relationships. We know how these issues impacted on the Isles and the world, and this very well researched and written book gave me an accurate viewpoint.My favorite sections of books were the family and interpersonal glimpses of very real people living out their lives. The early years were explored extremely well.Less interesting to me are the details of their reigns as these are well known and factual and not based on research guided conjecture.I now wish to acquire John Guy's prior books and see what might be next. I recommend this to Tudor readers and scholars.

  • Éowyn
    2019-03-24 22:05

    I was surprised to see that this book, covering a fair subject - the four known children of Henry VIII - had only about 200 pages of actual text. A rather different prospect to Guy's weighty biography of Mary Queen of Scots. As reams of paper and oceans of ink of already been expended on the Tudors, I'm not sure quite what the impetus behind this book was. It's not that it wasn't well written, because it was, but that I felt that it offered up almost nothing new. As an introduction to the subject to a reader new to the period I think I would recommend it, but to someone for whom this is already an area of interest, you've probably heard it all before.The one new point that Guy does bring up, is the theory that Henry VIII belonged to a rare blood group, which resulted in problems with offspring surviving. We can see that no one woman appears to have more than one surviving child by him, but I would have liked a little more detail to support this - how did Henry come by his rare blood group? He was one of several siblings who survived infancy and his surviving sisters themselves had more than one surviving child.A good brief guide to the subject, probably more suited to a reader fairly new to the subject. I felt disappointed as there was nothing new in here for me.

  • Carole P. Roman
    2019-03-28 03:56

    Interesting and readable history of the offspring of Henry VIII. Henry Fitzroy, his illegitimate son from Elizabeth Blount gets a nice accounting here. To Katherine's dismay, Guy shows Henry's careful plotting to groom his bastard with perhaps kingship in mind. Guy goes deeply into all the children's education and offers up tidbits of information to humanize his subjects. Each child is thoroughly discussed, from their handwriting to their choice of clothing and by the end of the book you feel like you got to know them just a bit. Each one of the offspring are canny and well skilled to navigate the treacherous courts. Guy explains how they were taken early from their mothers to live in courts of their own, with hand picked courtiers to shape their young minds. Guy backs up their personalities with documents in their own hand. He discusses their mothers impact while they lived, and life for them after they died. He then delves into the relationships with stepmother's as well. This book gives us a nice peek into Tudor history and the people who defined it. This was an entertaining book about the children of Henry the VIII and an enjoyable read.

  • Melisende d'Outremer
    2019-03-24 23:12

    "Behind the facade of politics and pageantry at the Tudor court, there was a family drama. Nothing drove Henry VIII, England's wealthiest and most powerful king, more than producing a legitimate male heir and so perpetuating his dynasty. To that end, he married six wives, became the subject of the most notorious divorce case of the sixteenth century, and broke with the pope, all in an age of international competition and warfare, social unrest and growing religious intolerance and discord. "Intriguing - yes. This is not a standard biography of each of Henry's children, but more an intertwining history. Into this mix is included the often over-looked Henry FitzRoy, which makes for a refreshing change, and was one of the main reasons I picked this up. However, Guy does not paint a very flattering picture of either of Henry's daughters, not of his wives, which I found a little annoying. This short tome would be considered more of an entree into the world of the Tudors than anything else.

  • Cindy Fisher
    2019-04-18 05:16

    It was pretty boring. Way too much detail about background politics, religion, etc.

  • Sarah -
    2019-04-06 00:16

    Slim but educational for those with little Tudor knowledge. Review to come when I'm done with this pneumonia.++++++++++++++my book blog ---> 4 StarsReview:When I first saw this slim volume at Half-Price Books (albeit a brand new copy - pay attention to those letters on the stickers, people! There are far more new books for sale in the shop than you might realize!), I knew chances were good that it would not be any new information. But who am I to resist a book about one of the most dysfunctional families in history?I always feel a bit bad for Henry Fitzroy - while we see Henry VIII, Mary I, Elizabeth I, and Edward VI there on the cover together, poor Fitzroy is relegated to smaller portrait on the back cover, At least he is mentioned however, and significant space is dedicated to him within the text, especially before the arrival of Elizabeth. Once again, Anne was up to her old tricks and did all she could supposedly to ensure that Fitzroy was on the back-burner.This brings me to a point I would like to address in regards to Henry's illegitimate children, however. There's always been speculation that Mary Boleyn's son and daughter were Henry's and not her husband's, as the timeline is murky about when she was actually Henry's mistress. However, given his lack of heirs - or male heirs - I'd have thought the time would come that, were they his children, or the son at least (also named Henry) then the old grouch would have acknowledge them, Maybe I am wrong, but I do doubt they were his children and given what we know now medically, I am pretty sure these four are his only surviving children. It makes little sense that he would acknowledge one illegitimate child but not any others,Anyway, on to the book. John Guy is an author that I really like, for the most part. Here he has presented a lot of information in a small space, but does not skimp on the details. he also offers a plethora of notes and references to aid the reader in seeking more information. The inclusion of the Tudor, Howard, and Boleyn family trees was useful as well and would be an asset to those very new to Tudor history. I myself still mix these people up and I have read quite a fair bit of text about the dynasty in the last few years. Still, it is a handy reference to have.My only complaint is what it often is - lack of photos. However, this time that can attributed to the fact that this is such a short text. Not to mention the fact that even portraits available that we think might be of certain people from the period can often turn out to be misidentified.Overall I would say that if you already know quite a bit about the Tudors, you can pass on this one. If you are still new to the dynasty then I would certainly say have at it, you will learn quite a bit about these poor children who, unsurprisingly, grew up to be very dysfunctional adults (or at least dysfunctional teenagers, in the case.of Edward, who died at 16 or 17, depending on who you ask).

  • Scott
    2019-04-24 03:49

    The life and kingship of Henry VIII has proved of enormous fascination to historians. The drama of his life, including wars, papal defiance, tyranny and gluttony have been the subject of endless writing. Most of all though it is his six wives, two of them executed upon his orders, that have engendered the most words. Key to Henry's legacy though are his four children, three of whom would rule as monarchs themselves.John Guy's well-researched book provides a swift account of the lives of those children encompassing their respective heritage, education, relationships, rule and demise. Each of them with the exception of the relatively long-lived Elizabeth faced terrible health problems at young ages and died merciless deaths, the victims of diseases that could probably have been cured had they lived today. The final months of Edward VI are described in especially haunting detail and it is clear he endured appalling pain and deprivation towards the end of his meagre sixteen years.Some new research is discussed including medical theorising upon conditions that may have prevented Henry from successfully fathering more children with his chosen partners, leaving at his door responsibility for the lack of sons that lead to so many of his disgraceful decisions.Guy is able to encompass an array of concepts including complex genealogy, medical analyses, a large cast of characters and more in a text of less than 200 pages (excluding notes) whilst finding a dramatic line and maintaining reader interest. A respectable popular history of a complex subject.

  • Alyssa Nelson
    2019-04-06 21:54

    There is something so fascinatingly twisted about the Tudor family that I can't help myself when some new thing about them comes out. I don't care what it is: TV shows, films, books, whatever. I love reading about this crazy, messed-up family!So, of course, there's a lot information out there about Henry VIII and the Tudor family in general, so what is it that makes this unique and worth getting versus all the other stuff out there? Unlike many other books I've read about the Tudors, John Guy goes directly to the source and doesn't offer much speculation about relationships, actions, or whatever else that people like to speculate about. Because of that, I think there's a good overview of the family dynamics, which I don't think is explored very often. So, that was nice. The downside to this is that it gets a bit dry and there's A LOT of listing of presents the children received at Christmas, or just listing in general.I also felt like the ending was rushed and Elizabeth I's story wasn't fully explored, which was a bit disappointing for me, especially since a good amount of time was spent on her siblings. And I get that going over a long reign is much more complicated than going over her siblings' histories, but I would have liked a better summary of what she accomplished. Maybe in another book?In any case, don't get this if you're looking for some sort of dramatic story reminiscent of The Tudors TV show. The Children of Henry VIII is very much based on historical documents. But the great thing about this particular royal family is that it's interesting without any dramatization.*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

  • Jo Barton
    2019-04-05 02:07

    The Tudor family of Henry VIII has been the subject of much discussion, and whilst this book brings nothing new to the table, when all is said and done history cannot be rewritten, but what it does, is put all the children into one easily accessible volume. From Henry’s illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond, through to the last of the Tudor babies, Edward, son of Henry’s marriage to Jane Seymour, this is a comprehensive look at the political affairs and passions which dominated the Tudor landscape and of the children’s unique place within it. There is always going to be salacious interest in this period of English history, a king who married divorced or executed his wives is bound to be the dominant feature in any documentary on the Tudor period. However, to see the children of this inscrutable ruler make their mark on history is a fascinating and intriguing look at, not just sibling rivalry on a grand scale, but also on the politics that formed the basis of Tudor England.The book is a quick read in many ways, not because it is light on substance, far from it, the content is abundant and clearly annotated, but its easily readable format make it the sort of book to dip into and out of, and if like me, you read copious historical novels, sometimes it’s essential to have an aide memoir in your literary store cupboard to determine who is who in the Tudor hierarchy. John Guy clearly knows his subject well, the research is impeccable and the comprehensive bibliography at the end of the book certainly provides enough impetus for further reading.My thanks to NetGalley and Oxford University Press for an advance reading copy of this book

  • Daniel
    2019-04-16 03:06

    Last week, while browsing in a Barnes & Noble, I picked this book up and started reading. The next thing I knew I was buying it. Itt was a good read. John Guy's prose is clear if, at times, stilted. And he he has thoroughly researched his topic.I find it fascinating that whenever we read about Henry VIII, we seem to focus on various dalliances with women and his obsession with producing a male heir. We rarely consider how he managed to hold his nation together not long after a lengthy civil war (i.e., the War of the Roses). And that following the Hundred Years War (which England lost). He had to have done more than just fret about his own succession -- and yet that is the story which most fascinates us. And it does seem most books and films about Henry VIII focus on that very topic.I found it interesting how much time Guy devotes to the birth of Henry's first son (also named Henry) -- and how little to the son who would succeed him, Edward VI. Of course, that first born did not long survive his birth. The author devotes more than a few pages to Henry's illegitimate son, Henry FItzRoy who died not long after his 17th birthday.It is on the whole a good read and provides a lot of background information on laws of English succession and on the intrigues following Henry's death when each of his three surviving children would serve for a stint as sovereign, yet none of these three would sire or mother a child of his own.

  • Scorpianmuse
    2019-04-06 00:03

    "Well I was King Henry...King Henry the VIII...the King of All England..."Sorry, was thinking of a little ditty I found on YouTube.Ahem...the Children of Henry VIII. We all know them; Bloody Mary, The Virgin Queen Elizabeth, and sickly Edward VI. Oh...and there was that one he had with his mistress.Nothing new is really revealed here, though to be honest, I was rather amazed at the difference in education between his legitimate heir (Mary) and his bastard son (Henry Fitzroy). The fact that Mary and Elizabeth had the type of education they had is amazing because even though the clause in the will stated (minus issue from Edward), each would (potentially) reach the throne. It is unfortunate we cannot see how it was. Every other author either has the relationship relatively good between the children or wrought with strife. Not much else is really revealed other than a bit more about Henry Fitzroy. I would even put "King's Quiver" ahead of this one. Not bad, but not great.

  • Gayle
    2019-03-24 05:58

    Mary, Henry FitzRoy, Elizabeth and Edward; these are the recognized children of Henry VIII. Each of these was greatly affected by their father and his tumultuous reign. Henry VIII's desire to carry on His family name would ultimately fail as none of his children would have children of their own. This book details many of the aspects of how each was affected by the deeds done by heir father.I found the book to be very good. I'm not a big fan of non-fiction books, but this one was engaging and well written. I have read quite a bit regarding the Tudor family, both fiction and non-fiction. There were many items on information in this book that I found quite interesting. The possibility of incompatible blood types, to me, is quite interesting and definitely makes sense.I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the historical aspects of the Tudor Family.

  • Faith Justice
    2019-04-03 02:01

    I didn't rate this book because I overdosed on the Tudors several years ago and felt my indifference would unfairly bias my rating. Instead, I'll say what worked for me and what didn't. The book is an overview of Henry's marriages and his children's lives and reigns and works well as an introduction to the period. Guy writes clearly and annotates his text. This is a good primer for lay readers who want to know more of the history behind the hype of the Tudors. People with a good understanding of the period will find it lacking in depth and breadth. At less than 200 pages it's a fast read, but it can be little else than a starting point for further research for readers who want more detail about each child and their remarkable reigns. I received a free PDF copy of uncorrected proofs from the publisher through an Early Reader program, but that did not influence my review.

  • Dejean Smith
    2019-04-12 22:46

    Extremely well written, enjoyable history of the children of Henry VIII!I grew up being fascinated by the wives of Henry VIII but rarely concentrated on the children other than 'oh, he was succeeded by Elizabeth I.' There is way more to the story than just that and John Guy has created an easy to read history of the lives of these children.If I had to have a single complaint it would be that I am not a scholar of British history and often individuals are mentioned as part of the supporting cast that I have no idea who they are which is a little confusing at times. That said, the details about the children are more than adequate and as someone not highly familiar with the subject, I really enjoyed this look into the family.

  • Clare
    2019-04-20 06:09

    Although I knew a fair amount about the Tudors, this clarified a lot in my mind. As some reviews have said it is more of an introduction than an in-depth book, but it gives a good overview of Henry's progeny and his desperate need to leave an heir... one thing that stood out was how easily people died in those days. They suddenly just keel over. It was probably because Elizabeth had no children that she lived to 69! And if you didn't die of a horrible disease, you were likely to be executed if you happened to choose the wrong side (which changed back and forth anyway)!! Lady Jane Grey and her husband were executed as teenagers. And had done nothing much wrong!

  • Lorenza
    2019-03-31 06:13

    John Guy masterfully tells the story of King Henry VIII and his children. It begins with the happy days of his first marriage to Catherine of Aragon and continues throughout the reigns of his children, three of which became monarchs. He does an excellent job of conveying Henry's obsession with producing an heir that drove him to marry six times and the irony behind the fact that his own children would bring the end of the Tudor dynasty. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in learning about Henry VIII, one of the most fascinating historical figures and the main legacy he left behind: his children.

  • Christa - Ron Paul 2016
    2019-04-11 03:05

    A book about the children of King Henry the VIII, most famous for marring six wives. He had (as far as this books tells at any rate) 4, and possible 5 children of which only 3 were ligament. Or at least he was married to the mother at the time of birth, though one (Elisabeth) was conceived out of wed-lock.An interesting book, though I am a little wary of historians and their hidden agendas. So A good book, nothing it in that I had not already learned, but I have been reading and watching shows about King Henry VIII since I was about 12, so not sure how helpful that really is.

  • Helene Harrison
    2019-04-18 00:55

    Review - What I really liked about John Guy's writing is that it is very accessible and easy to read. It was reading his text about Elizabeth doing my A Levels that made me interested in the period because it was so accessible, not like, for example, Weir or Fraser. This one covers the basic lives and events of the lives of Mary I, Elizabeth I, Edward VI and Henry Fitzroy, but doesn't really cover any debates or historiography, if that's what you're looking for.General Subject/s? - History / Tudors / BiographyRecommend? – YesRating - 15/20

  • Jessica
    2019-03-24 21:47

    Weirdly obsessed with Henry VIII and the stories around what happened with the Tudor family, this was a back shelf find at a bookstore and I'm so glad that I picked it up. The book itself is a very basic narration of the events that affected Henry's children and how they interacted with the world they were growing up in. The Children of Henry VIII is very well written: it is clear and succinct, and it is incredibly interesting. If you want to know the history behind the historical fiction, this is a great read for an introduction.