Henry VIIIt was Henry Tudor’s Birthday on Saturday!! Or would have been, if he had possessed a sort of rarefied human longevity that matched his legendary wealth. The man who founded England’s most famous and popular dynasty, the all-conquering Tudors, was born on January 28th in 1457. His mysterious, secretive personality, grasping acquisitiveness, extraordinarily canny political nouse and ceaseless intelligence gathering secured the throne for him in the most febrile of circumstances throughout 24 years of sinister rule. He bequeathed England his son, Bluff King Hal, and grand-daughter, Gloriana the Virgin Queen. He remains relatively unknown, but the brilliant book by Thomas Penn, “The Winter King”, has come as close as anything to unravelling the secrets of the first Tudor’s rule. A sort of Nixonian king who isn’t particularly likeable but is endlessly fascinating.

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