Monday, August 29, 2016

Question from KG - Henry VIII destined for the Church

Is it true that Henry VII planned for his son Henry to become archbishop of Canterbury? Are there any sources for this rumour? Thank you.

[This is one of those questions that I could have sworn was asked before, and while I did find a thread that included it - see below - I couldn't find a question directly about it. So here is one! - Lara]

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1 comment:

EBJohnson said...

I recommend looking up the book "Henry: Virtuous Prince" by David Starkey (part I in a II part series). Starkey discusses Henry VII's interest in entering his younger son Henry into the church, possibly as a move to further consolidate his power in England. With one son in line to take the "secular" throne of England, it is believed that he intended for his second son (Henry) to work his way up (with a little help from papa, of course) and take his own throne in the church - at least in England - as a prince of the church. There could also have been aspirations for him to eventually become Pope (such aspirations were later held for Reginald Pole).

Starkey presents the case that, initially after his birth, King Henry VII intended his younger son to "take the cloth", but after Perkin Warbeck appeared on the scene - making a desperate but popularly supported claim as Edward IV's lost son, Richard - it became necessary for him to put his son in the place of "Duke of York", so that the pretending Duke of York (Warbeck) had a less substantial claim to that title, and therefore the title of king.

It's important not to forget that it also was not uncommon to put "extra" sons into the church. It was a place to secure a good education, and a man with intelligence, wit and dedication could find himself rising quickly through the ranks. Even better if your father happened to be a king...