Monday 28 January 2013

Review ~ The Children of Henry VIII by John Guy

The Children of Henry VIII
Oxford University Press

The Tudor family of Henry VIII has been the subject of much discussion, and whilst this book brings nothing new to the table, when all is said and done history cannot be rewritten, but what it does, is put all the children into one easily accessible volume. From Henry’s illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond, through to the last of the Tudor babies, Edward, son of Henry’s marriage to Jane Seymour, this is a comprehensive look at the political affairs and passions which dominated the Tudor landscape and of the children’s unique place within it.

There is always going to be salacious interest in this period of English history, a king who married, divorced or executed his wives is bound to be the dominant feature in any documentary on the Tudor period. However, to see the children of this inscrutable ruler make their mark on history is a fascinating and intriguing look at, not just sibling rivalry on a grand scale, but also on the politics that formed the basis of Tudor England.

The book is a quick read in many ways, not because it is light on substance, far from it, the content is abundant and clearly annotated, but its easily readable format make it the sort of book to dip into and out of, and if like me, you read copious historical novels, sometimes it’s essential to have an aide memoir in your literary store cupboard to determine who is who in the Tudor hierarchy.

John Guy clearly knows his subject well, the research is impeccable and the comprehensive bibliography at the end of the book certainly provides enough impetus for further reading.


My thanks to NetGalley and Oxford University Press for an advance reading copy of this book


  1. This sounds an ideal complement to all the Tudor fiction out there. I didn't study this period at school and I am always grateful when authors supply a timeline, historical notes - this could serve me well!

    1. Hi Treez - its an easy to read accompaniment to all those Tudor novels ! Alison Weir did a similar one a few years ago....


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