Henry VIII’s Reformation
By Dan Clendenin
Henry VIII’s Reformation (2021)
Calling all Anglicans and Episcopalians! If you would like to refresh your knowledge of your historical roots, this one-hour documentary by PBS is a great place to start. It originally aired August 29, 2021, and is narrated by the delightful Lucy Worsley (dressed in period costumes), who jokes that by day she is the “Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces,” and by night “a writer of history books.” She’s best known as a regular presenter on the BBC. Henry’s salacious love story makes for a “fabulous royal soap opera.” But was Anne Boleyn, the sister of his mistress, more than a “slut-shamed sex pot?” Political manipulator? Religious reformer in her own right? “So began the English Reformation,” says Worsley. But how did it end? Henry died a Catholic, despite the attempts of his “fixer,” the radical Protestant Thomas Cromwell. Boleyn and Cromwell were executed, followed by the wild swings of Henry’s successors. In Worsley’s telling, the consequences of Henry VIII’s reformation are “splitting the country today” with the exceptionalist insistence of the small island nation being religiously free of Rome and politically independent of Continental Europe. For a deeper dive on this subject see the biography by Alison Weir, Henry VIII: The King and His Court (2002), Alec Ryrie, The English Reformation: A Very Brief History (2020), and Diarmaid MacCulloch, Thomas Cromwell: A Revolutionary Life (2018).
Dan Clendenin: firstname.lastname@example.org
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