There is something so interesting and compelling about the Tudors. It seems like we can’t get enough of them. There are tons of books, movies and tv shows about the family or set in that time period. Henry VIII and Elizabeth I will forever be at the forefront of interesting historical characters. The Tudors: The Complete Story of England’s Most Notorious Dynasty is a truly fascinating book. It takes us through the entire history of the Tudor dynasty from Henry VII to James I taking the throne. This family did not rule that long in the grand scheme of things, but their rule was turbulent, bloody and full of changes for the people of England.
The rule of Henry VIII takes up the majority of this book. His rule might not have been the longest (that was Elizabeth), but it definitely brought about the most change and the most bloodshed. Henry is probably best known for his wives, but that is not his true legacy. His true legacy is the Church of England. Henry systematically destroyed the Catholic church in England and remade it into the church of his heart. He stripped monasteries, abbeys and churches of their wealth and lands. He remade the clergy to follow his beliefs and persecuted and killed those that didn’t follow him.
Henry’s reign was followed by his son Edward who was even more evangelical. Then came Bloody Mary, who actually wasn’t as bloody as some. She brought back the Catholic Church and persecuted the Protestants. Her reign was a short five years however. It was Elizabeth that was the longest lasting of the Tudors. She reigned for 45 years. It appears that her turbulent childhood made her reign one of survival. She resurrected the Protestant church and continued the persecution of the Catholics; however, she was not as zealous as her father and brother. Together this family remade England into something different. They created and church without wealth, an aristocracy that became extremely wealthy off the spoils of the Catholic church and a population that was poorer and less taken care of then at any time in history.