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Similarities Between Henry VII and VIII of England

What are the similarities between Henry VII and Henry VIII?

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Among the similarities between Henry VII and his successor son Henry VIII, the initial observable one is that both ruled England and its territories in a state of internal peace, for the most part. The combined eras of their rule (1457-1547) are thus greatly distinct from the reigns that immediately preceded it, when England was plagued by the ‘Wars of the Roses’ and rulership went back and forth between Lancastrian and Yorkist royal houses, the changes propelled by numerous civil conflicts. It was Henry VII, a Lancastrian claimant, who effectively ended this feud with his victory at the Battle of Bosworth. Although both kings contended with some degree of internal strife, no serious threat was ever mounted to their royal dynasty, the House of Tudor, which peacefully passed from Henry VII to Henry VIII, and from Henry VIII to his three children in turn.

Nonetheless, there was an apparent anxiety in both kings about maintaining this internal peace, which was still in a tenuous state several years into Henry VIII’s reign. Both maintained an intense interest in patrilineal succession for this reason. Henry VII was keen to invest his eldest son, Arthur, with clear authority and heirship: Arthur was installed as Prince of Wales and directly governed this principality in his own right (this was partly to vindicate the prophecy of Y Mab Darogan - the messianic light in which many of the Welsh people viewed Henry Tudor even prior to his accession), although he did not survive to inherit the kingship. Henry VIII’s much more troubled efforts to produce male heirs were the driving force behind his breakaway from the Roman Papacy and the six marriages he is notorious for.

Both kings were also able to make politically advantageous marriages to further cement this peace, both within and beyond England: this can be seen in Henry VII’s marriage to Elizabeth of York to unite the two Wars of the Roses factions, and the wedding he arranged for Arthur, and then again for Henry, to Catherine of Aragon, a princess of Spain, in order to construct a powerful Anglo-Spanish alliance against the biggest threat to England in France. While personal interest and the desire for heirs were doubtless more prominent incentives in the marriages Henry VIII arranged for himself, they did, at various stages, garner him the support of influential English houses like the Boleyns, the Seymours and the Howards; the potential of a German alliance was also a driving force behind his marriage to Anne of Cleves, and he was also instrumental in arranging marriages for his sisters Margaret and Mary to the royal houses of Scotland and France, respectively.