Friday, March 13, 2009

Question from Kayleigh - Early traumas in Henry VIII's life

I asked a question a few weeks ago about doing a psychobiography on Henry VIII. Today, i got the go ahead. Basically i need to write about any traumatic early life experiences he may have had, back this up with psychological theory and then round it up with why this COULD have causes him to be narcissistic. So basically.. i need help finding these early life traumatic experiences (if there any!) or books that would have information on this?

Thanks in advance for any help.

[Update - here's the link to the thread on Derek Wilson's Brief History of Henry VIII mentioned in the comments]

And here's a link to a post I did about the book itself on the News blog:


  1. Well, Kayleigh, I suppose you cannot do any better than Derek Wilon's newly published Brief History of Henry VIII. Scroll down the Q&A page and look for my "live-blogging" of my own reading of it to get some idea what it contains.

  2. I suppose one early trauma was losing his mother in his formulative years. Whilst I don't know of any specific evidence that he and his mother were particularly close, I wonder if his relationship with Katherine had a maternal element? It might be significant that judging by the Sittow portrait of Katherine, she looked a little like Henry's mother. Just a thought, anyway.

  3. What about his brother dying at an early age, meaning that he was suddenly faced with the prospect of becoming King? He was young, and had never thought to hold such power, and the hopes of the dynasty suddenly rested with him.

  4. Not to mention his overbearing Grandmother and Father. Also wasn't there a rebellion when he was young, where the rebels made it to London before being stopped? I vaguely remember reading something about him having to stay in the Tower with his mother. Though I can't remember where I heard it.

  5. Are you absolutely sure that he was narcissistic?

    Maybe Henry was driven by his commitment as King more than by him being self indulgence. And also as we all know he was highly committed to producing that male heir to deep the Tudor Dynasty going. There are a lot of factors that have to be accounted for in summing up why Henry was the way the was, what might have driven him and why he did the things that he did. I don't think that you can just say that he was narcissistic and not have some proof and anything that you might come up with could be argued.

  6. Jenna, you need to read the live-blogging of PhD on the newly published BREIF HISTORY OF HENRY VIII. It is very insightful.

  7. Thanks for everyone whos helped.
    Just to clarify, my assignment is a speculative one, suggesting that some early experience COULD have made him narcisstic, not that he definitely was.

  8. Henry VIII has lost his mother so soon after losing his only brother. There was lots of talk about who's going to be heir to the throne. Henry VII had once consider naming the Duke of Buckingham his heir over Henry VIII, which I'm sure might have affected Henry VIII a little.

    P.S Queen Katherine had also lost her mother around the same time Henry VIII ,and both had to deal with domineering fathers. So there was a bond between them .

  9. In case anyone is following the comments through a feed and doesn't see the updated post, I've added links to the "Brief History of Henry VIII" thread and the post I did on the news blog about the book.


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