Friday, February 11, 2011

Henry VIII the Reformation King

Henry VIII was a complex, powerful king. His firm belief in the superiority of the king over the Church lead to his break from Rome and the English Reformation.
His founding of the Church of England was to have massive effects upon the history of the World.

After forming the Church of England (with the King as its leader), Henry was quick to realize the vast fortunes held by the numerous Catholic Abby's and Monasteries were his for the taking.

The forced secularization, confiscation and ultimate destruction of these brought millions into the coffers of Henry and his favorite courtiers.

Henry loved to flaunt his wealth and power. How many gems and pearls can you count in this painting of the king?

In his younger days Henry was very athletic and enjoyed jousting. This is one of his suits of armor for the latter.

Henry was frantic to have a legitimate male heir. Here he his is seen with Edward the Prince of Wales and Edward's mother Jane Seymour. The interesting feature of this painting is that Jane died in childbirth with Edward-Henry really appreciated her sacrifice.

The Tudor Rose became a popular emblem and is still in use by the British Royalty.

Henry's need for and heir, greed and unfortunate choice in some women lead to his having six wives. Catherine of Aragon was his older brother Arthur's wife. Henry married her after Arthur(15 years old) died in 1502. Before their divorce, Henry and Catherine were married for 24 years with one surviving child-Mary. Next came the tragic Anne Boleyn, her three year reign produced Elizabeth and cost Anne her head. Jane Seymour lasted a year and a half dying in childbirth giving Henry his only legitimate male heir-Edward. Anne of Cleves lasted half a year before the divorce. Catherine Howard lasted two years before her infidelity cost her and her lovers their heads. Catherine Parr (perhaps the luckiest of the lot) out-lived the powerful king. In 1547, the once handsome and powerful man died an obese (his waist was over 54 inchs) man, with gout, multiple pus filled sores and with toes rotting from gangrene.

Of his three heirs, two died after short reigns but Elizabeth I was to became one of the greatest monarchs in English History.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

When You want a real Palace You want Hampton Court

The great palace complex of Hampton Court, home to the kings and queens of England (and later the United Kingdom) for more than three centuries.

Built as a palace with comfort and luxury as its hallmarks, Hampton Court continued to expand over the centuries.

Stained glass windows of the highest quality proclaimed the power and glory of those who ruled from Hampton Court.

Henry VIII was the first king to live here, his visage has reminded countless generations of his power.

The Royal Court of Arms of the House of Tudor.

Time and tides wait for no man, so the clock at Hampton Court tells both-the better for the royal family to travel the river to London Town.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Powis Castle-Where a Fortress became a Palace

For more than 700 years Powis Castle has been in continuous use in Wales. The original keep is still very prominent. Powis Castle is the ancestral home of Lord Herbert, the Sixth Earl of Powis.

Over the centuries the purpose of the castle slowly changed from the defense of the lords family and property to that of a luxurious home of the rich.
Arrow loops became glass windows. Battlements were planted with trees and flowers and beautiful works of art replaced the implements of war.

The hillside, once clear of pant life to give archers a clear killing ground are now covered with acres of lush gardens and dozens of bronze statues.

Today, Castle Powis has all the modern amenities available, but the "look" of a castle is still visible.

The lords of Powis now have a modern home in an ancient castle. The castle is now more of a palace than a machine of war, but its location on the top of this hill clearly demonstrates the military reason the castle was first built.