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Old 12-30-2011, 08:13 AM
SDMBKL SDMBKL is offline
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Why did King Henry VIII of England want a male heir when his daughters could take the throne?

Why did King Henry VIII of England want a male heir when his daughters could take the throne? Queen Elizabeth I was the direct descendant of King Henry VIII and inherited the throne after her half-siblings got there first. Her half-sister, Mary, inherited the throne and Mary, Queen of Scots, her cousin, both inherited the throne before her. If King Henry VIII had stayed with Queen Catherine of Aragon, then Mary could easily ascend the throne... and --gulp-- persecute Protestants.
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Old 12-30-2011, 08:28 AM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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Because it hadn't ever been done yet, among other reasons. The only time the British throne had even considered passing to a woman you had the Stephen v. Maude fiasco.
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Old 12-30-2011, 08:30 AM
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They would have preferred a male heir, but none was available, and the family wasn't going to give up power without trying something radical like a regnant Queen. So Elizabeth, et. al., were options of last resort.
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Old 12-30-2011, 08:46 AM
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A clear male successor was preferred. Henry's fear was that a female successor would be unable to effectively lead the country. And a secondary fear was that it might lead to a multi-decade civil war like the War of the Roses.
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Old 12-30-2011, 08:52 AM
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Not to mention that obviously male heirs were valued socially far more than females.
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Old 12-30-2011, 08:57 AM
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Plus, generally, a woman was generally supposed to take econd place behind her husband - meaning whoever married Mary or Elizabeth would be the actual power. Most kings preferred that the power go to their offspring, not to someone else who maried in. Women were not seen as effective leaders of men. Elizabeth I turned out to be an exception. (Of course, a lot of kings were not great leaders of men either). IIRC, Mary of Orange agreed to be Queen only if her husband William (with a more tenous lineage claim) also got to be king.

Elizabeth determined that she would not marry (most likely..) because she expected that whoever married her would try to take over and rule as king. If she married someone from abroad, it would be a foreign take-over; if she married internally, all the internal politics and jockeying between the top English families would precede the choice she made. Worst case, one side might revert to a civil war to avoid losing position.
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Old 12-30-2011, 10:20 AM
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A clear male successor was preferred. Henry's fear was that a female successor would be unable to effectively lead the country. And a secondary fear was that it might lead to a multi-decade civil war like the War of the Roses.
This, basically.

You have to look at Henry in his historical context: his dad was the guy who won the last round in the War of the Roses. A desputed succession could very easily see a return to that - destructive civil war.

Many, many people saw a female succession as a potenial opportunity for disputes of various sorts ... in particular, even assuming she was accepted as legitimate (and remember that Henry had at various points declared both or his daughters to be less than legitimate), whoever the daughter in question married would at best have a large share of influence leading to jockying for position, and at worst usurp the government.

In fact, on the death of Henry's son, something of the sort was attempted with lady Jane Gray (easily crushed by Mary's supporters).

Henry was quite correct to see producing a male heir as a priority - he could not have predicted that his daughter Elizabeth would largely succeed in playing the political game and retain real power in her own hands.
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Old 12-30-2011, 11:19 AM
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Two points not yet mentioned:

(1) Many men, regardless of status, want a son specifically.
(2) A legitimate son would be heir apparent while a daughter would never be more than heir presumptive. Thus a son could be raised specially to inherit, while a daughter would always wonder when she was losing her Monarchy to a new birth.
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Old 12-30-2011, 11:32 AM
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"Must... sire... a dude...." - Homer Simpson, as Henry VIII
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Old 12-30-2011, 12:01 PM
srzss05 srzss05 is offline
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Mary, Queen of Scots, her cousin, both inherited the throne before her.
Mary of Scotland was never Queen of England.
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Old 12-30-2011, 12:14 PM
The Stafford Cripps The Stafford Cripps is offline
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Because it hadn't ever been done yet, among other reasons. The only time the British throne had even considered passing to a woman you had the Stephen v. Maude fiasco.
This is the English throne (though it included the territories of Wales and Ireland). The Scottish throne was completely separate until 1603, hence the previously mentioned fact that Mary Stewart was never queen of England. Scotland could have had a queen regnant after the death of Alexander III, but Margaret Maid of Norway died when she was still very young, which led to the wars with Edward I of England.
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Old 12-30-2011, 12:15 PM
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Elizabeth determined that she would not marry (most likely..) because she expected that whoever married her would try to take over and rule as king.
And of course, this fear was more than theoretical, because Elizabeth and everyone else had seen what happened when her sister Mary I married Philip II of Spain. Philip took the title of King in England, and spent most of Mary's reign trying to involve England in Spain's wars. France did finally attack England in a war which led to the loss of Calais. Had Philip and Mary had a son, he would have been the joint heir to the Hapsburg dominions and England, which would have been a mess.
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Old 12-30-2011, 12:22 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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I want to point out that Henry VIII, did have a male heir, Edward VI was the King from January 1547 until his death in 1553.
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Old 12-30-2011, 12:25 PM
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In addition, he was clearly a misogynist. Legal succession aside, he was not really a fan of women as anything other than objects to be owned and disposed of.
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Old 12-30-2011, 12:34 PM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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This is the English throne (though it included the territories of Wales and Ireland). The Scottish throne was completely separate until 1603, hence the previously mentioned fact that Mary Stewart was never queen of England. Scotland could have had a queen regnant after the death of Alexander III, but Margaret Maid of Norway died when she was still very young, which led to the wars with Edward I of England.
Sorry, I was lazy in my terminology.
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Old 12-30-2011, 12:39 PM
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In addition, he was clearly a misogynist. Legal succession aside, he was not really a fan of women as anything other than objects to be owned and disposed of.
I do recall that King Henry VIII wanted Anne Boleyn as his mistress, but Anne wouldn't be a mistress; she wanted to be a queen with legitimate children. So, Henry sought a divorce from his first wife, Catherine, which the pope refused. (He was a Catholic, after all.) So, he disposed the Catholic Church and founded the Anglican Church with him as the head of the Church, at which point he could invalidate his marriage to Catherine and validate his marriage to Anne, sealing a greater alliance between him and the Boleyn family.

I think Henry might have known that Catherine was originally intended for his older brother, but when the crown went to him, he married Catherine as a replacement and divorced her without a care. So, he might not loved her from the start. The marriage might have been an alliance between England and Spain. He probably also figured that Catherine was older than he and did not bear a single male heir that he was hoping for. Perhaps, he feared that Catherine might lose her fertility due to her age?
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Old 12-30-2011, 01:08 PM
dangermom dangermom is offline
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I do recall that King Henry VIII wanted Anne Boleyn as his mistress, but Anne wouldn't be a mistress; she wanted to be a queen with legitimate children. So, Henry sought a divorce from his first wife, Catherine, which the pope refused. (He was a Catholic, after all.) So, he disposed the Catholic Church and founded the Anglican Church with him as the head of the Church, at which point he could invalidate his marriage to Catherine and validate his marriage to Anne, sealing a greater alliance between him and the Boleyn family.

I think Henry might have known that Catherine was originally intended for his older brother, but when the crown went to him, he married Catherine as a replacement and divorced her without a care. So, he might not loved her from the start. The marriage might have been an alliance between England and Spain. He probably also figured that Catherine was older than he and did not bear a single male heir that he was hoping for. Perhaps, he feared that Catherine might lose her fertility due to her age?
By that time, Catherine was already aging fast and had failed to produce any other living children despite several pregnancies. Henry was desperate anyway; Anne saw her chance and took it. Henry and Catherine were originally a pretty happy couple, as these things go, but the lack of sons soured him on her, and when she refused to grant him a divorce he saw it as a betrayal and hated her.

I can understand Henry's desperation. His most important job was to produce a living male heir and he couldn't hardly manage it, after years of trying there was just the one son with health problems. Mary was a bad prospect as an heir, not only because she was a girl (and an invitation to civil war and all sorts of disaster), she was also a fanatical Catholic. Henry spent all this energy ripping himself and England away from the RCC, and you can just imagine how the prospect must have looked: a queen that would force England back to Rome, producing more chaos and disorder. And of course that's just what happened eventually.
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Old 12-30-2011, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by SDMBKL
I do recall that King Henry VIII wanted Anne Boleyn as his mistress, but Anne wouldn't be a mistress; she wanted to be a queen with legitimate children. So, Henry sought a divorce from his first wife, Catherine, which the pope refused. (He was a Catholic, after all.) So, he disposed the Catholic Church and founded the Anglican Church with him as the head of the Church, at which point he could invalidate his marriage to Catherine and validate his marriage to Anne, sealing a greater alliance between him and the Boleyn family.
That may be to get cause and effect round the wrong way. Historians remain divided as to which came first: Henry's wish to marry Anne Boleyn or his scruples over his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. That's because there simply isn't enough evidence to pin down exactly when either of those first occured. So it is perfectly possible that Henry began to consider marrying Anne - or, more contentiously, even begun any sort of relationship with her - only after he had already decided to divorce Catherine.

This also has a crucial bearing on the question as to why the absence of a son was a problem. If one considers that Henry's scruples were genuine (which is by no means the only way of interpreting the evidence), then the absence of a son wasn't just a matter of having no male heir. That's because, for Henry, that absence was also the proof that his marriage to Catherine was invalid. And that, in turn, cast doubt on the legitimacy of the child he did have, i.e. Mary.

As for fears of civil war, it wasn't just recent English experiences that would have been on Henry's mind. There was another, even more germane parallel, for he can hardly have been unaware that his own late mother-in-law, Queen Isabella, had had to fight a civil war against her neice, the Queen of Portugal, to assert her claim to the throne of Castile. The English parallel would be for Mary to have to fight a civil war against her aunt, Margaret, the Scottish Queen Dowager.

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Had Philip and Mary had a son, he would have been the joint heir to the Hapsburg dominions and England, which would have been a mess.
Not while Carlos, Philip's son by his previous marriage, was alive or had left heirs. The marriage treaty specifically ruled out any claim to any of the Habsburg lands by a child from Mary's marriage over those of Don Carlos or his heirs. This was all the more important as it prevented Philip partly overriding Carlos's claims by dividing his Habsburg territories in the way that Philip's own father, Charles V, planned to do. (Of course, in the event, Carlos did not outlive his father and left no children. But by then Mary was long dead anyway.)
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Old 12-30-2011, 03:02 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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By that time, Catherine was already aging fast and had failed to produce any other living children despite several pregnancies. Henry was desperate anyway; Anne saw her chance and took it. Henry and Catherine were originally a pretty happy couple, as these things go, but the lack of sons soured him on her, and when she refused to grant him a divorce he saw it as a betrayal and hated her.

I can understand Henry's desperation. His most important job was to produce a living male heir and he couldn't hardly manage it, after years of trying there was just the one son with health problems. .

And several bastards, proof to many it was Catharine, not Henry.
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Old 12-30-2011, 03:31 PM
dangermom dangermom is offline
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And several bastards, proof to many it was Catharine, not Henry.
Yes indeed. I bet he wished many times in later years that he could just proclaim Henry FitzRoy his heir. I think the fact that Anne Boleyn was Mary's sister probably helped her become queen. It worked with one sister, so why not the other?
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Old 12-30-2011, 03:57 PM
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I can understand Henry's desperation. His most important job was to produce a living male heir and he couldn't hardly manage it .......
That's not quite fair. Henry had no trouble producing healthy male offspring outside of wedlock, witness Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond.
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Old 12-30-2011, 04:50 PM
GythaOgg GythaOgg is offline
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That's not quite fair. Henry had no trouble producing healthy male offspring outside of wedlock, witness Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond.
At one point, Henry VIII was seriously considering marrying Mary to her half-brother Henry Fitzroy to solve the succession problem. So long as a dispensation for this was granted by the Pope, this would have, at most, only raised an eyebrow or two; incest was viewed as a religious issue, not a social one. This plan was dropped when he became interested in Anne Boleyn. It could have led to some interesting history...
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Old 12-30-2011, 04:53 PM
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I think Henry might have known that Catherine was originally intended for his older brother,
Might have known? She was married to Prince Arthur, Henry's brother. I don't see how he couldn't have known. Arthur died just months after their marriage , and Catherine later asserted it was never consummated. Thus, she was allowed to marry Henry with a papal dispensation. Just in case, a dispensation was sought (and, iirc, issued?) that allowed for their marriage even if Catherine and Arthur had done the deed.

Regarding whether Henry loved Catherine, they were betrothed during Henry's father's lifetime but Henry was made to renounce the betrothal when Catherine became a less desirable match in the changing face of world politics. Nevertheless, when his father died Henry quickly went to Catherine and married her. In the early days of their marriage, they were considered a love match.

Later, after their repeated failures to keep a male heir alive and with Catherine's childbearing years at an end, Henry developed an attack of conscience and asserted that the Pope had been wrong to issue the dispensation. He saw the lack of living male heirs as proof that his marriage offended God. When he was unable to get the current Pope to agree that his predecessor had erred, that's when he broke away from Rome.

Henry's belated conscience was all very convenient, allowing him to set aside the wife who couldn't give him any more children and try again with someone new, but it's as complex as any human story and impossible to know how much was sincerity, how much was calculation. If Henry was truly convinced that he had offended God with his first marriage, he must have felt sick when Bolyn presented him with a daughter, and again when she miscarried his son.

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Old 12-30-2011, 05:55 PM
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That's not quite fair. Henry had no trouble producing healthy male offspring outside of wedlock, witness Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond.
Yes, I know (see my post just above yours), but I said heir, not sons.
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Old 12-30-2011, 05:58 PM
aldiboronti aldiboronti is offline
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Yes, I know (see my post just above yours), but I said heir, not sons.
And so you did. Apologies for missing that.
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Old 12-30-2011, 06:07 PM
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Eh, no worries.
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Old 12-30-2011, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by SDMBKL View Post
I do recall that King Henry VIII wanted Anne Boleyn as his mistress, but Anne wouldn't be a mistress; she wanted to be a queen with legitimate children. So, Henry sought a divorce from his first wife, Catherine, which the pope refused. (He was a Catholic, after all.) So, he disposed the Catholic Church and founded the Anglican Church with him as the head of the Church, at which point he could invalidate his marriage to Catherine and validate his marriage to Anne, sealing a greater alliance between him and the Boleyn family...?
And Henry's "divorce" (technically an annulment) would've been a fairly routine matter for royalty and easy to obtain if not for the fact that the Pope was a guest hostage of Catherine's nephew who was also the Holy Roman Emperor. Catherine would've led a very comfortable life if she relented and went along with ending the marriage (witness Anne of Cleves), but she refused because she was devoutly religious and belived that God had called her to matrimony, and also to protect her daughter's legitmacy and claim to the throne.
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Old 12-30-2011, 06:20 PM
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When we went to Windsor to see the burial site of Henry and Jane, my mom asked,
Why didn't Henry just marry many wives? (at once?) Break off from the Catholic Church and turn it upside down.

NonJudeoChristian monarchies never had probs of producing male heirs because of polygamy. Teehee.

Last edited by smokey78; 12-30-2011 at 06:21 PM.
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Old 12-30-2011, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by smokey78 View Post
When we went to Windsor to see the burial site of Henry and Jane, my mom asked,
Why didn't Henry just marry many wives? (at once?) Break off from the Catholic Church and turn it upside down.

NonJudeoChristian monarchies never had probs of producing male heirs because of polygamy. Teehee.
Yeah, they just had 20 sons viciously fighting over the succession--a much better arrangement.
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Old 12-30-2011, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by smokey78 View Post
When we went to Windsor to see the burial site of Henry and Jane, my mom asked,
Why didn't Henry just marry many wives? (at once?) Break off from the Catholic Church and turn it upside down.

NonJudeoChristian monarchies never had probs of producing male heirs because of polygamy. Teehee.
He did what he thought he could get away with; he wasn't suicidal.
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Old 12-30-2011, 09:24 PM
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One point that's been missed was that the king was supposed to physically lead the troops in battle (Henry VIII was the last English king to do so, but he had no way of knowing that). He feared that the army would not follow a woman, even if she were a reigning queen. It wasn't necessarily Henry's sexism, but the sexism of the soldiers at large.

Even Elizabeth I did not think of herself as a woman when it came to battle -- her attitude was that she was, in effect, an honorary male when it came to ruling (and she did not lead the troops).
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Old 12-30-2011, 10:03 PM
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Theologically Henry VIII was a devout Catholic; his only major disagreement with the RCC was how much authority the Pope had over him.
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Old 12-30-2011, 10:37 PM
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... So, he [Henry] disposed the Catholic Church and founded the Anglican Church with him as the head of the Church....
Let me just note that this duck-winged "fact" is an irritant to most Anglicans which is based on observing history from a Catholic perspective. It's about as accurate as saying that Thomas Jefferson founded America. The Church of England, under the local administration of the Archbishop of Canterbury, had been in existence for just about a thousand years when Henry succeeded his father, as an integral national unit within the multinational Catholic Church. Similar statements might be made of the Church of Sweden, the Church of the Netherlands, etc. What Henry did, for weal or woe, was to declare the existing national church independent of the overseas prelate to whom it had owed allegiance -- much as Thomas Jefferson was principal author of the Declaration that established the independence of the 13 small states along the Atlantic seaboard of America which had heretofore been colonies of Britain, from their allegiance to the British Empire. Henry did not found a new church; he asserted the independence of an existing ecclesiastical establishment from the Pope.
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Old 12-31-2011, 04:32 AM
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To add, the example of Mary and Elizabeth both in their own ways demonstrate why producing a male heir was genuinely important. The problems with Mary's marriage to Philip and the potential problems issues around the succession of any child of theirs have been mentioned upthread but Elizabeth taking the throne could have been another disaster.

As discussed Elizabeth had a choice: English husband - faction fights and jockeying for position; foreign prince - potential dominance by her husband and entanglement in succession battles in other countries; or , what she went for, stay single and built up the mythos of the "Virgin Queen". But this choice had its own succession problems. With no prospect of a direct male successor, for much of her reign the staunchly Catholic Mary, Queen of Scots was her nearest heir and the subject of multiple plots to replace her. Ultimately Elizabeth had Mary executed (not to argue whether this was legal/justified/expedient!) but if her son James had not been raised as a protestant this would just have moved the problem on to the next generation. As it happened having a protestant King of Scots as heir was beneficial as it united the crowns and undoubtedly strengthened England by much reducing the threat of attack by the back door but what if James had been Catholic or the closest heir had been - say - a descendant of of Henry VII through Louis XII and Mary (the one that actually went on to be the Grandmother of Lady Jane Grey?
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Old 12-31-2011, 06:15 AM
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In addition, he was clearly a misogynist. Legal succession aside, he was not really a fan of women as anything other than objects to be owned and disposed of.
That is inaccurate. He was one of the better educated monarchs if he enjoyed the company of vivacious and educated women and all his wives and several mistresses were this. Please don't look at a sixteenth century monarch with 21st Century glasses and ascribe motivations to him which he did not have.
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Old 12-31-2011, 06:49 AM
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As discussed Elizabeth had a choice: English husband - faction fights and jockeying for position; foreign prince - potential dominance by her husband and entanglement in succession battles in other countries; or , what she went for, stay single and built up the mythos of the "Virgin Queen". But this choice had its own succession problems. With no prospect of a direct male successor, for much of her reign the staunchly Catholic Mary, Queen of Scots was her nearest heir and the subject of multiple plots to replace her. Ultimately Elizabeth had Mary executed (not to argue whether this was legal/justified/expedient!) but if her son James had not been raised as a protestant this would just have moved the problem on to the next generation. As it happened having a protestant King of Scots as heir was beneficial as it united the crowns and undoubtedly strengthened England by much reducing the threat of attack by the back door but what if James had been Catholic or the closest heir had been - say - a descendant of of Henry VII through Louis XII and Mary (the one that actually went on to be the Grandmother of Lady Jane Grey?
Historically, Elizabeth adopted a what to I care, I'll be dead approach to the issue. While James VI was by strict male line promogeniture the senior heir, succession law in England, under Henry VIII's will which was confirmed by an Act of Parliament, the heirs of Mary were placed before the heirs of Margaret (from whom Jimmy was decended). Furthermore at the time of Margaret's wedding, the treaty had specifically excluded(as was standard) her progeny from the English throne, so James was technically ineligible.

The two other heirs were Lady Arabella Stuart and Lady Anne Stanely. Both were unmarried women in their twenties, and they had far too many disadvantages, too female, too Catholic (Stuart), too divisive (Stanely) and too unmarried and childless. James OTH was a well regarded ruler in his own right, he already had an heir and a spare, he was well regarded by the English aristocracy and his credentials as a Protestant were impeccable. He brought far too many advantages with him, a chance to end the succession issues which had plagued England for a century (quite ironic in hindsight) a Union of the Crowns with Scotland (which means no more backdoor threat in the early years if Elizabeths reign Scotland had been garrisoned by French troops).

Despite the problems I have mentioned, in reality they never considered anyone but James and for the last 10 years of Elizabeths reign, it was obvious he would succeed. They IIRC got around his technical disqualifications by reasserting Englands long standing(and dormant) claim to overlordship of Scotland.
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Old 12-31-2011, 09:34 AM
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Yes indeed. I bet he wished many times in later years that he could just proclaim Henry FitzRoy his heir...
I've read that Henry VIII was making a move to do just that. He acknowledged FitzRoy as his offspring (though illegitimate), and made him both an Earl and Duke.

What ended these hopes for him to succeed was his untimely death at just 17 due to tuberculosis. (His half-sibling Edward, who would later inherit the throne, was born shortly after his death, and would later die of the same malady.)

Had FitzRoy survived Edward, he would likely have ended up on the throne before any of Henry's daughters (i.e. Mary and Elizabeth). Recall that both daughters were disinherited at one time, and were themselves declared illegitimate and ineligible to succeed to the throne.
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Old 12-31-2011, 09:54 AM
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Besides the disputed case of Maud vs Stephen several centuries earlier, had there been any female rulers anywhere in the world? I guess Hatshepsut in the 18th dynasty (c. 1500 BC) when the Middle Kingdom was at its height. Cleopatra was installed by Rome (Julius Caesar and Mark Antony). Zenobia in third century A.D. Syria. But I can't think of any female rulers in Ancient Rome.

Let's face it, even today there aren't too females elected to top jobs. Or even wanted as a ceremonial monarch. I remember someone pointing out when Diana and Chuck produced two males, that the celebration was a little strange when you consider that Great Britain's best days came when a woman said it was good to be the queen.

But as mentioned, it was one of those unforeseeable things that Elizabeth would be so good at ruling.
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Old 12-31-2011, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by dangermom View Post
By that time, Catherine was already aging fast and had failed to produce any other living children despite several pregnancies. Henry was desperate anyway; Anne saw her chance and took it. Henry and Catherine were originally a pretty happy couple, as these things go, but the lack of sons soured him on her, and when she refused to grant him a divorce he saw it as a betrayal and hated her.

I can understand Henry's desperation. His most important job was to produce a living male heir and he couldn't hardly manage it, after years of trying there was just the one son with health problems. Mary was a bad prospect as an heir, not only because she was a girl (and an invitation to civil war and all sorts of disaster), she was also a fanatical Catholic. Henry spent all this energy ripping himself and England away from the RCC, and you can just imagine how the prospect must have looked: a queen that would force England back to Rome, producing more chaos and disorder. And of course that's just what happened eventually.
Did Edward have health problems during Henry's lifetime? I think he developed tuberculosis after Henry died. I can see Henry being afraid of only having a single male heir but I'm pretty sure during his lifetime Edward was considered in good health.

I've read that Henry actually fathered 14 kids including his out of wedlock offspring. That's seven sons and seven daughters. Only Mary, Elizabeth and Edward survived and none of them had kids.
  #40  
Old 12-31-2011, 12:34 PM
MarcusF MarcusF is offline
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Historically, Elizabeth adopted a what to I care, I'll be dead approach to the issue. While James VI was by strict male line promogeniture the senior heir, succession law in England, under Henry VIII's will which was confirmed by an Act of Parliament, the heirs of Mary were placed before the heirs of Margaret (from whom Jimmy was decended). Furthermore at the time of Margaret's wedding, the treaty had specifically excluded(as was standard) her progeny from the English throne, so James was technically ineligible.

The two other heirs were Lady Arabella Stuart and Lady Anne Stanely. Both were unmarried women in their twenties, and they had far too many disadvantages, too female, too Catholic (Stuart), too divisive (Stanely) and too unmarried and childless. James OTH was a well regarded ruler in his own right, he already had an heir and a spare, he was well regarded by the English aristocracy and his credentials as a Protestant were impeccable. He brought far too many advantages with him, a chance to end the succession issues which had plagued England for a century (quite ironic in hindsight) a Union of the Crowns with Scotland (which means no more backdoor threat in the early years if Elizabeths reign Scotland had been garrisoned by French troops).

Despite the problems I have mentioned, in reality they never considered anyone but James and for the last 10 years of Elizabeths reign, it was obvious he would succeed. They IIRC got around his technical disqualifications by reasserting Englands long standing(and dormant) claim to overlordship of Scotland.
Thanks for the further information on James VI claim and succession - underlines my lack of real knowledge on the period! A pragmatic solution even if not strictly in accordance with the law to deal with the real problem of a Queen Regnant on the throne.
  #41  
Old 12-31-2011, 01:44 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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One point that's been missed was that the king was supposed to physically lead the troops in battle (Henry VIII was the last English king to do so, but he had no way of knowing that)....
For a King of England, as such, I believe that's true; while the last King of Great Britain to personally lead troops in battle was George II: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_ge..._and_rebellion
  #42  
Old 12-31-2011, 04:52 PM
dangermom dangermom is offline
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I've read that Henry VIII was making a move to do just that. He acknowledged FitzRoy as his offspring (though illegitimate), and made him both an Earl and Duke.

What ended these hopes for him to succeed was his untimely death at just 17 due to tuberculosis. (His half-sibling Edward, who would later inherit the throne, was born shortly after his death, and would later die of the same malady.)

Had FitzRoy survived Edward, he would likely have ended up on the throne before any of Henry's daughters (i.e. Mary and Elizabeth). Recall that both daughters were disinherited at one time, and were themselves declared illegitimate and ineligible to succeed to the throne.
Did he really? I'd like to read about that, I hadn't heard about it. I figured it was one thing to declare him a duke, and quite another to declare an illegitimate child the heir to the throne. Sure, he had Mary and Elizabeth declared illegitimate, but I'm not sure that fooled anyone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LavenderBlue
Did Edward have health problems during Henry's lifetime? I think he developed tuberculosis after Henry died. I can see Henry being afraid of only having a single male heir but I'm pretty sure during his lifetime Edward was considered in good health.
You know, I thought he was always sickly, but I looked in Alison Weir's The Children of Henry VIII and she said that while that's a common idea, he was a reasonably healthy kid, though slightly built and not interested in athletics. So yep, I was wrong.
  #43  
Old 12-31-2011, 05:26 PM
LavenderBlue LavenderBlue is offline
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Did he really? I'd like to read about that, I hadn't heard about it. I figured it was one thing to declare him a duke, and quite another to declare an illegitimate child the heir to the throne. Sure, he had Mary and Elizabeth declared illegitimate, but I'm not sure that fooled anyone.

You know, I thought he was always sickly, but I looked in Alison Weir's The Children of Henry VIII and she said that while that's a common idea, he was a reasonably healthy kid, though slightly built and not interested in athletics. So yep, I was wrong.
I think Weir is where I read that about Edward. If anyone wants to read about exactly how they decided on Elizabeth's successor I strongly recommend the book After Elizabeth: The Rise of James of Scotland by Leanda de Lisle. She looks at the leading contenders and details what happened right after Elizabeth's death. James was welcomed by the people as a male but towards the end of his reign the people decided he was rather too much of a spendthrift and foreign with a superficial understanding of the English. Naturally they began to long for Elizabeth again.
  #44  
Old 12-31-2011, 06:32 PM
Vlad/Igor Vlad/Igor is offline
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... Henry did not found a new church; he asserted the independence of an existing ecclesiastical establishment from the Pope.
Not to put a too-fine point on it, but I would (and do) consider this to be the founding of the modern Anglican Church and the start of modern Anglicanism. Before Henry, the Church of England was part of the catholic Church (lower "c" intended). After Henry, the C of E was its own entity, still Roman but no longer administered by Rome. The Via Media from Elizabeth and influence of Richard Hooker further defined the C of E as a separate theological entity from the Roman church while still retaining some catholic theology. So, while the C of E existed as an odd child of the Roman Church in the previous 1000 years, its present form and theology can be arguably traced to Henry the VIII's actions.
  #45  
Old 12-31-2011, 06:43 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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I think Weir is where I read that about Edward. If anyone wants to read about exactly how they decided on Elizabeth's successor I strongly recommend the book After Elizabeth: The Rise of James of Scotland by Leanda de Lisle. She looks at the leading contenders and details what happened right after Elizabeth's death. James was welcomed by the people as a male but towards the end of his reign the people decided he was rather too much of a spendthrift and foreign with a superficial understanding of the English. Naturally they began to long for Elizabeth again.
God's Secretaries by Adam Nicolson, about the writing of the King James Bible, also offers an interesting look at the last days of Elizabeth and the early reign of James. Nicolson is more down on Elizabeth (for caring little about the succession, for being very isolated from the people towards the end, and for ongoing religious repression) than any other historian I've read.
  #46  
Old 12-31-2011, 07:17 PM
Filbert Filbert is online now
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Besides the disputed case of Maud vs Stephen several centuries earlier, had there been any female rulers anywhere in the world? I guess Hatshepsut in the 18th dynasty (c. 1500 BC) when the Middle Kingdom was at its height. Cleopatra was installed by Rome (Julius Caesar and Mark Antony). Zenobia in third century A.D. Syria. But I can't think of any female rulers in Ancient Rome.
There were several female rulers or Egypt long before the famous Cleopatra, especially in the Ptolemaic dynasty- her own sister had ruled before her, as had several other women, including at least one other Cleopatra... It's pretty hard to work out, in the era of multiple co-regents and incestuous name confusion, exactly who was ruling sometimes, but it's fairly clear that some of them were female.

Female rulers elsewhere were rare, but before Henry VIII's reign there was known to be at least one ruling Byzantine Empress, a slightly confusing female King of Poland, a Queen who ruled half of Scandinavia, (admittedly with a slightly legally tenuous title) and one ruling Queen of Judah mentioned in the Bible.

Also, though they were unlikely to have been heard of by the British at that time, Japan had 7 female Empresses pre-dating Henry VIII, there was also one early female Empress of China, and even a female Sultan in Delhi.
  #47  
Old 12-31-2011, 08:23 PM
clairobscur clairobscur is offline
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There were several female rulers or Egypt long before the famous Cleopatra, especially in the Ptolemaic dynasty- her own sister had ruled before her, as had several other women, including at least one other Cleopatra... .
If I'm not mistaken, the famous Cleopatra was Cleopatra VII. So, it seems there has been quite a lot of Cleopatra(s) ruling Egypt.
  #48  
Old 12-31-2011, 08:53 PM
Filbert Filbert is online now
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If I'm not mistaken, the famous Cleopatra was Cleopatra VII. So, it seems there has been quite a lot of Cleopatra(s) ruling Egypt.
Most of the others were wives or co-regents with their sons, rather than rulers in their own right; though some of them did rule, it certainly wasn't all 6. Or however many of them there were- the numbers were added later, and as all wives and daughters in the dynasty used one of three names, it's all a bit of a muddle. V and VI are now thought to be the same person.
  #49  
Old 12-31-2011, 09:03 PM
Nava Nava is offline
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Besides the disputed case of Maud vs Stephen several centuries earlier, had there been any female rulers anywhere in the world? I guess Hatshepsut in the 18th dynasty (c. 1500 BC) when the Middle Kingdom was at its height. Cleopatra was installed by Rome (Julius Caesar and Mark Antony). Zenobia in third century A.D. Syria. But I can't think of any female rulers in Ancient Rome.
Isabella of Castille, mother of Henry VIII's wife Catherine, for starters (she was far, uh). She was Queen Regnant of Castille and Consort of Aragon (and Navarre); her husband Ferdinand was King Regnant of Aragon (and Navarre) and Consort of Castille. She was crazy about him, but attempts on his part to order her how to rule (rather than advise, which is among a Consort's duties) didn't go well.

Ferdinand was the son of John II of Aragon and his second wife, Juana Enríquez. John's first wife had been Blanca, Queen Regnant of Navarre; John's refusal to behave like a proper Consort to Navarre was a source of troubles throughout their marriage and beyond, as was his refusal to acknowledge that Blanca's heir was their son Carlos (IV), first Prince of Viana, and not John himself, thus earning the epiteth The Usurper (which I'm reasonably sure isn't in any king's wishlist). Ferdinand claimed kingship of Navarre as John's son; this year sees the 500 anniversary of the invasion of Navarre by Castillian troops working as mercenaries for Aragon (i.e., Ferdinand had to pay his daughter Juana for it, something he wouldn't have had to do if he'd been King Regnant of Castille).

Isabella and Ferdinand's daughter Juana was Queen Regnant of Castille, but she'd never been trained for the job. She was able to push some interesting laws past her father, her husband and Parliament (such as the one stating that women had to be allowed to study at University) but was eventually declared mentally incapable after her adored husband's death and Ferdinand made her Regent. Emperor Charles (Phillip II's father) was her son.

The heir of Carlos of Viana was his eldest sister, Leonor. She only got to rule the part of Navarre which wasn't under Aragonese control (now part of France); her husband remained King Consort.

Last edited by Nava; 12-31-2011 at 09:08 PM.
  #50  
Old 12-31-2011, 09:14 PM
Tamerlane Tamerlane is offline
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Originally Posted by clairobscur View Post
If I'm not mistaken, the famous Cleopatra was Cleopatra VII. So, it seems there has been quite a lot of Cleopatra(s) ruling Egypt.
Cleopatra VII ruled with a succession of male co-rulers, as was Ptolemaic tradition. These included her father Ptolemy XII, her younger brother/husband Ptolemy XIII, her even younger brother/husband Ptolemy XIV and her son Ptolemy XV Caesarion ( her probable son by Julius Caesar ). Of course Cleo VII was the actual power behind the throne under all but the first, except when her first mentioned brother briefly de-throned her to seize sole power.

Her elder sister Berenice IV attempted to rule without husbands, but was repeatedly forced to marry, such was the strength of tradition. So while a few of the female Lagids ( Ptolemaic dynasty ) did rule in a de facto fashion, they were almost always saddled with a male co-ruler, usually a brother. The females of that line were numbered because it was tradition for them to be named co-ruler with their husbands, whatever their actual power status was.

As far as queen regnants go there have been a moderate number ( another Macedonian outside Egypt was the Seleucid queen Cleopatra Thea, who however was also a Lagid, as the name may indicate ). In Europe the Iberian penninsula in particular had a relative slew of them. A wiki list - some of those names I'm sure can be argued as to their actual status ( or even existence in some cases ).

Last edited by Tamerlane; 12-31-2011 at 09:19 PM.
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