Henry VIII: King and Court

Henry VIII: King and Court
Alison Weir
Reviewed by eclecticlibrarian
Vintage
Thu, 18/09/2008
978-0099532422
£8.99

I always enjoy Alison Weir's books - she has a lively, engaging style and a knack for bringing both her subjects and the world they lived in truly to life, and this book is no exception. Henry VIII is a larger than life figure anyway: after all, every schoolchild grows up knowing 'divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived'. But there was a lot more to the man than the simple stereotype of a fat, bloated tyrant who chopped his wives' heads off. Charting his evolution from a handsome young prince with idealistic views of learning and governing to his latter incarnation as, yes, a fat bloated tyrant is truly fascinating.

The sheer amount of detail in this book is incredible - from the food Henry and his court ate, the houses they lived in, to the clothes they wore, down to the very sheets of the beds, nothing is too small or insignificant to escape mention. It really serves to bring the Tudor court to full colour and vigour.

My only quibble is that is perhaps focuses too much of Henry's life at court and not enough on his European relations; and the Reformation itself is somewhat skated over. But then, the title of the book is 'King and Court' and Henry's life within his English Court is the focus of the book, not his international relations with France, Spain and Rome.

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