Sunday, January 03, 2021

Question from Daniel - Henry VIII and modern London

What would Henry VIII think of London today?


Unknown said...

To be honest with you, he wouldn't recognize it simple as that!

Unknown said...

Henry viii would basically think this place is alien !!

Anonymous said...

Honestly, it is hard to say.

On the plus side, he would be amazed at the cleanliness of the streets today. What can seem as clean-ish for us would be very, very clean for him (London was a stinky place, with too many people and a lot of dirt, bodily fluids, etc.) Henry VIII was obsessed with cleanliness and terrified of diseases.
He would possibly love the street performers, too. He loved music, singing, and had magicians at his court.

If we are realistic, though, he would be completely overwhelmed. Everything has changed. Most buildings he knew are no longer there (like Whitehall palace), some he was used to look very different than they used to (like St Paul's Cathedral). There are very few buildings he would recognise today (Tower of London, for example).

The streets are different. There are cars, which he may find amazing (as he was quite a curious person and eager to learn new things) but which would be very scary for him to begin with. Same goes for buses, cabs, motocycles. And the tube! Oh my, the tube. I am not sure he would dare to go underground.

He would be appalled to see women walking around with their legs & arms uncovered. Same goes for married women with their hair uncovered. Would also definitely be curious with today's fashion for men.

He would be furious to see Londoners & tourists walking past him without bowing to him... it is quite funny to picture, actually. I do not think he would ever conceal his identity to fit in. He would have quickly ended up in a mental hospital.

So, yes, he would be completely overwhelmed. Might think of witchcraft. Might sink to his knees and pray God to help him out of there. But he had a rather complicated personality so he could also have enjoyed the thrill of it all. Unlikely, but you never know!