John Guy

Great Matter, Small Fry

Our Man in Rome: Henry VIII & His Italian Ambassador


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The story of Henry VIII’s divorce and break with Rome is well known. What has rarely, if ever, been attempted, is to consider it from the viewpoint of Rome. Jack Scarisbrick’s mould-breaking 1968 biography of Henry VIII made some effort to do so. Since then, the discoveries of the original research dossiers supplied to Henry for his divorce campaign, compiled by his English advisers, and of drafts of several of the ‘king’s books’ – written in whole or part by Henry himself on the topic – have triggered a quantum leap in our understanding, but from the perspective of London and the royal court.

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