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The Children of Henry VIII

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  371 ratings  ·  63 reviews
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,
Hardcover, 258 pages
Published February 2013 by Oxford University Press
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3.83  · 
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(B) 75% | More than Satisfactory
Notes: So list-heavy that its titular characters are practically reduced to inventories of their gifts, household staff and syllabi.
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 ot ...more
May 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
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 int ...more
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
Claire Ridgway
May 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
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
May 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Leanda Lisle
Jun 27, 2013 rated it really liked it

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’
Mar 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
“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 continu
Lolly's Library
3.5 stars

What 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
May 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: amazon-vine
Though ostensibly about Henry VIII’s offspring, John Guy’s book is really about the succession question facing the king and Tudor successor. As that question was inextricably tied to his progeny, Guy has looked at Henry’s marriages and the upbringing of his children – both legitimate and illegitimate – to understand their successive efforts to secure the throne and turn their very different visions of the kingdom they ruled into reality.

This Guy describes by the shifts in fortune that Henry’s ch
Lyn (Readinghearts)
Mar 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those beginning to read about the Tudors
Recommended to Lyn (Readinghearts) by: Oxford Press and Netgalley.
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 inf ...more
Jan 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: lovers of the period and history lovers
Recommended to Kathleen by: Netgalley
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 we
Jul 28, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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 subjec ...more
Carole P. Roman
Dec 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 li ...more
Sherry Chandler
Mar 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
I found this book dry and not quite as riveting as I expected it to be. The focus was very close in on the politics of the household and I couldn't keep up with all the Somersets and Dudleys and Beauforts. Or all the ladies of the household who were not necessarily friends of the royal girls and who changed according to the politics of the day.

My learning was corrected about the relationship of Henry's rift with the Church to the Protestant Reformation and how political the latter was.

"Princes c
Melisende d'Outremer
"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. "

Cindy Fisher
Feb 12, 2018 rated it did not like it
It was pretty boring. Way too much detail about background politics, religion, etc.
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great read! It is short but I actually learned more about his children and how they all just treated each other...
Susan Whitlock
Nov 15, 2018 rated it liked it
It wasn't what I expected. I thought it would be a more personal perspective but it was almost exclusively political.
Brian Kinsella
Apr 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Not as engrossing as Guy's other work i've read. However, the nature of this book is almost an aside to the bigger stories he does delve into. Still, Mary Queen if Scots is far superior a read.
Sarah -  All The Book Blog Names Are Taken
Slim but educational for those with little Tudor knowledge. Review to come when I'm done with this pneumonia.


my book blog --->


Rating: 4 Stars


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
Alyssa Nelson
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 go
Dec 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
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 ch
Jo Barton
Jan 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 T ...more
Aug 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
"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
Faith Justice
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 ...more
Apr 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tudor-shelf
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 wel
Dejean Smith
Nov 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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John Guy is recognised as one of Britain's most exciting and scholarly historians, bringing the past to life with the written word and on the broadcast media with accomplished ease. He's a very modern face of history.

His ability for first class story-telling and books that read as thrillingly as a detective story makes John Guy a Chandleresque writer of the history world. Guy hunts down facts with