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The King is Dead: The Last Will and Testament of Henry VIII

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  249 ratings  ·  44 reviews
On 28 January 1547, the sickly and obese King Henry VIII died at Whitehall. Just hours before his passing, his last will and testament had been read, stamped, and sealed. The will confirmed the line of succession as Edward, Mary, and Elizabeth; and, following them, the Grey and Suffolk families. It also listed bequests to the king's most trusted councillors and servants.

ebook, 232 pages
Published December 20th 2016 by Pegasus Books (first published November 5th 2015)
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Average rating 4.06  · 
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Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Superb! This is everything an historic study of a document and the times in which it was formatted should be. But absolutely and rarely is.

It holds one single subject, Henry VIII's wills and especially his Last Will and Testament. One subject and not 1000's of other much later or much earlier crosscut documents and changes. It has oodles of full plate reproductions. And a complete transcription in the original language and form in the Appendix I. Appendix II also includes a list of Henry VIII's
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Tudors seem to be one of the English dynasties of continuing interest to us. There have been very successful books including Wolf Hall, as well as many television series including The Tudors (not to mention a continual parade of movies). Henry VIII ruled for four decades in which he: became the head of the Church of England, less than successfully pursued territorial claims in France, and, sought to ensure the continuation of his line by fathering a son. His rule saw much that separated Engl ...more
Caidyn (BW Reviews; he/him/his)
This review can also be found here!

Yet again, Lipscomb takes a topic that has been decided by former historians and turns it on its head. The long thought (even agreed upon) theory is that Henry VIII’s will was not created by him, but it was created by those at court who wanted more power before Edward VI reached his majority. And she argues that he was controlling up until the end, but that afterward people took advantage.

While I definitely have my ideas on Henry, I found myself agreeing with h
It has often been alleged that the will of King Henry VIII was doctored in order to give power to those figures seeking to hold control over the governance of King Edward, his son. Suzannah Lipscomb explores this possible conspiracy, the end days of Henry, and the drafting of the will before offering her own interpretation of its contents in, “The King is Dead: The Last Will and Testament of Henry VIII”.

“The King is Dead” is a very short and quick thesis uniquely focusing solely on Henry VIII’s
Jan 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just when I think that nothing new can ever be written about Henry 8th, along comes something different. A few years back Suzannah Lipscomb wrote about a pivotal year in Henry's life, his annus horribilis of 1536.
In The King is Dead Lipscomb explores the last days of Henry, the drafting of the will and the fallout following his death.
She's not afraid to take on the heavyweights of Tudor history writing when she disagrees with them (Starkey, Ives etc) and is very persuasive in her arguments and
Dec 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting & well researched look at Henry's will and the aftermath. I especially appreciated the detail included, i.e. the will itself (included in its entirety with the original spelling) along with other historical documents & many beautiful portraits.

Even after reading quite a bit about Henry, I am always fascinated how he still referred to himself as Defender of the Faith & stipulated in his will that masses and prayers were to be said for his soul even after breaking away from the Cath
Tod Jackson
Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A highly recommended read for anyone who enjoys English history especially the Tudor dynasty! This book examines the last will and testament of one of the most famous and infamous kings in all of history. The complexities of succession, the division of property , and the establishing of the privy council are all explained in detail as well as the complex relationships between the dying king and his confidants.
First of all, the artwork in this book is stunning, from the beautiful cover to the full size colour recreations of all the portraits of interests of King Henry and his family. There are portraits of his Queens and all the people of interest at his court, which was a helpful addition for me. I'd always wanted a good copy of some of these and was pleased to find them here. There is also the full will of the King to read which is a fascinating document, along with the provisions of the will and us ...more
Dec 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After having Suzannah Lipscombs previous books "1536: The Year that changed Henry VIII" and "A Visitors Companion" to Tudor England" I had high hopes for this book, and I was not disappointed.

Henry's last will written in the last month of his life, is a topic that has been debated many times over the last four hundred years, historians have disagreed over its meaning, and whether or not it was entirely his or if it was the work of ambitious councillors. In this excellent work, Suzannah dispels t
V.E. Lynne
Jan 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stunning book, both to read and simply just to look at (the illustrations and the overall style of the hardback is lovely). Thoroughly enjoyed it, once again Suzannah Lipscomb has demonstrated her in depth knowledge not just of the Tudor period but of its most familiar and yet elusive figure: Henry VIII himself. The dying days of the king, and the last will and testament that was his attempt to rule from the grave, make for an exciting and absorbing read. Couldn't fault it.
Sarah Bryson
Mar 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have been eagerly awaiting Suzannah Lipscomb’s book on Henry VIII’s will since I first learnt that it was being written. Now that I have read Lipscomb’s book I can easily say that I was astounded by the sheer beauty and depth of research within its pages.

I was impressed by the enormous amount of primary sources that Lipscomb drew from when writing this book. Not only does she use Henry VIII’s will but she also draws from privy council meeting records, personal letters and other valuable prima
Avis Gill
Why does Henry III not surprise me? Yet I find him interesting! Henry VIII's last will & testament was read just hours before his passing. It was stamped and sealed The will confirmed the line of succession as Edward, Mary and Elizabeth and following them were the Grey and Suffolk families.
Henry's will is one of the most contested and intriguing documents in British history.
This unusual final will lends new insights into Henry's state of mind and religious beliefs during the last months of his l
This book examines the last will and testament of King Henry VIII, which he had updated just hours before he died. In the revision, the King determines the line of his succession, an obsession that was his throughout his life. The book also contains a vast array of drawings, photos and other illustrations. The author, Suzannah Lipscomb, also gives her interpretation of the meaning behind some of the most contested text in the will. In fact, scholars still disagree on the validity and the intent ...more
Deb Lancaster
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Beautiful little hard back, enjoyed holding it. Interesting breakdown of the last few months of Henry VIII's life and whether the Will we know was indeed his. Lipscomb presents compelling evidence that it was his word, right to the end, rather than a manipulation by the Evangelical faction who benefited so much in the end. Particularly enjoyed the takedown of Starkey's assertions that appear to be utter nonsense, and somehow (as usual) sad for HVIII that he got so much wrong, and put so much tru ...more
Melanie Haynes
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
I loved this book! I found it to paint a clear picture of what the last days of Henry VIII were like and his personality. The book is fascinating and informative! I would definitely use in my tutoring of middle school to high school age children in reading and world history. I found the actual will in the back to be a tedious and annoying read. That is mostly because of the inconstancy in the misspelling of common words.
Jennifer Rose
Jul 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this a while back and finally got around to adding a review.

This book was amazing and kept me hooked until the very end. This is written more of as a timeline and a biography rather than a fictional novel. I really enjoyed this book because you got more of an idea how those last few days with Henry really were. We may never know the exact events that unfolded but this helps unravel some of those mysteries.
Daniel Kukwa
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
If you're not familiar with Tudor history, this isn't exactly the best starting point...but if you are, then this is a concise, razor-sharp focused analysis of a single time, and a single document. It manages to examine the consequences and ponder the numerous legacies surrounding Henry VIII's last will and testament, and doesn't waste a single page or a single word in the process.
Short and sweet. Takes the opinion that Henry's will was in fact his, and was not changed by those who proceeded to go against it after his death. Mostly convincing, but there wasn't enough there to make a solid case.
Jun 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this look at Henry VIII's will. He tried so hard to control everything even after he was gone. This book gives you explanations of the will and the actual text, gorgeous illustrations, and what actually was carried out after the King died. Very interesting.
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully put together and well researched book.
Intresting and Informative but not really engaging.
Ronson Brown
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another fantastic read from Lipscomb. Informative, to the point, insightful, and entertaining on top of it.
Helen madden price
I love everything about this book, if you love Tudor history give this book a try Susannah never disappoints she is brilliant historian, a
Oct 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Short, but interesting
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anything written by Suzannah Lipscome is excellent. Always recommended.
George Foord
Dec 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved reading this book, I love reading about the Tudors and this book was a pleasure to read.
Helene Harrison
Review - I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book because I felt that it was something new that hadn't really been done before - there are plenty of biographies on Henry VIII but not one that focuses exclusively on the succession crisis at the end of his reign. Lipscomb examines the ins and outs of Henry's will and what would happen should Edward VI die without heirs (as did eventually happen). It also looks at what influenced the making of the will and the consequences of it across England. It is ...more
I kindly received this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

I consider myself a bit of a Tudor history buff. I've read a plethora of books on Tudor history; however, most of the books eventually end up repeating the same information over and over again. Lipscomb, by focusing on the last days and the last will of Henry VIII, manages to avoid this trap.

Lipscomb writes an easy-to-follow book that anyone interested in Tudor history will be able to read and enjoy. She uses a copious
Apr 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
If only all history books tackled topics with such focus and brevity. It carefully analyzes the documents as they are, not postulating on the possible personal state of the author or adding gratuitous tangents. Ms. Lipscomb does a marvellous job of sticking to the task at hand, providing context only to refresh the reader on the state of the realm at the time of King Henry's death. This easily transitions into what the will was used for after death. In addition to the easy writing, the book syst ...more
Jasmine Brennan
Apr 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a bit of a Tudor History nut, the arrival of this book was hotly anticipated for me, and it did not disappoint! The rich imagery in the writing makes you feel as if you are in the room at the time of death, and the deep analysis of all those involved in the will makes you feel like a bit of a genius! It has the perfect combination of education and entertainment, making it accessible to anyone. The amazing research that has been poured into it is a testament to Lipscomb's incredible passion fo ...more
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Dr Suzannah Lipscomb is Reader in Early Modern History at the University of Roehampton. She is the author of 1536: The Year that Changed Henry VIII, A Visitor's Companion to Tudor England, and The King is Dead: The Last Will and Testament of Henry VIII. She also writes and presents television programmes, including series on Henry VIII and his Six Wives, Witches: A Century of Murder, and Elizabeth ...more

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