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An interview with King Henry VIII

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Establishing my credentials.

Some scholars in this world do not believe that I really interviewed Henry VIII.
We are, sadly, surrounded by such cynicism.
Goodness me, do they think I just make all this stuff up?
Those who have already studied the detailed transcript of my Interview with Vasca Da Gama  in 1524 will be left in no doubt at all about my true credentials.

Certainly my employer at the time, the Terra Australis Tribune believed in me and as a reward for heroism in the face of walking Vasco’s plank it promoted me to the position of Chief of Roman Affairs based in The Vatican.

Working with legendary wordsmith Massimo Prepuće, (Pope Clement’s spin-doctor who covered-up all manner of impropriety) I was introduced to Lorenzo Campeggio (1475-1539) who became the Papal Legate in 1528 appointed to resolve the marriage annulment impasse between Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon.

Lorenzo organised this interview opportunity on my behalf.

What could be simpler.  There you have it.
My impeccable credentials are hereby established.

*       *       *       *       *        *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *

The Interview with Henry VIII on 28 June 1546.

Henry;   “Welcome to England and my humble throne room GOF.”

GOF;    (Bowing deeply) “Thank you Your Majesty for granting this
audience. May I also take this opportunity to wish you a Happy 55th Birthday.”

Henry;   “Thank you GOF. You may. You may also sing it to me.” (Royal Chamber Quartet is summoned immediately and GOF sings Happy Birthday)  “Now, what would you like to know young man? I am an open book.”

GOF;    “I think readers back home would really like to know about all your wives.  They have already heard about the wonderful work you did invading France and attempting to impose military taxes on everyone in England.”

Henry;  (addressing Lurch the Gentleman of the Privy Chamber) “Please bring me the Royal Information Censor.  I’m beginning to think he may be needed. My sarcasm detector just went off”.

Lurch;  Says nothing because he is mute, but returns soon after with a whetstone and large gleaming broad axe with blood stains on the handle which he presents to King Henry.

GOF;   “And where is the Censor?”

Henry;  “You’re looking at it GOF. Let the questioning begin.”

GOF;   “You were only 12 when arrangements were made for you to marry the 17 year-old widow Catherine of Aragon. Do you remember how you were informed of this decision?”

Henry;   “Woohoo! Yes. Vividly. I was just harvesting the first crop of facial bumfluff when my old man barged into the bathroom and said  ‘Son, would you like to play around with perky Cathy for a while and keep her occupied until I can get permission from the Pope for you to marry her?”

“Sweetest words I ever did hear. Boy did we have some fun playing hide and seek in the Palace of Whitehall gardens and the shrubbery leading down to the Thames. You’d be amazed at what I discovered in the most unlikely places.”

GOF;   “I understand the subsequent marital union failed to produce a son and heir, and that in response you called her a  ‘dud barren old boiler‘  to which she angrily countered with  ‘Henry, you have been firing off batches of obese lazy spermatozoons that never bothered to learn to swim even a couple of feet so it’s not my fault.’

“How did you react to that outburst?”

Henry;   I immediately sought superior genetic advice, counsel and solace from Anne Boleyn the Auxilliary Royal Loin Comforter, although in hindsight I should never have bothered marrying her.
Still, I do enjoy a jolly good execution at the end of a failed relationship whether it be a long term romantic affair or just a short platonic encounter with, for example, a foreign news reporter.

GOF;  “Why are you looking at me like that and honing your axe?”

Henry;  It’s just my little way of encouraging journalistic integrity GOF.   Take no notice.

GOF;   “Wwould you lllike to tttell me about JJJane Seymour, YYour MMajesty?”

Henry;   “Ahhh yes. Dear Jane. So Sad. She discovered the gymnastic secret which enabled us to conceive a much needed boy child when reading through the sealed section of one of her Renaissance Cleopatra Magazines.

It was the same edition which caused so much public outrage with Cardinal Thomas Wolsey posing as the nude centrefold with a strategically placed Eucharistic chalice placed between his legs.
Talk about cups overflowing!
The Church cup of piety overflowed with unprecedented wrath.

Jane passed away from complications after giving birth to Edward you know, GOF.”
(Wipes eyes with a white linen handkerchief embroidered with the Tudor family crest)

GOF;   “Next came Anne of Cleves. What do you remember of her?”

Henry;   “Ugly as sin GOF, and about as comforting as a pile of rocks filled with vipers.  I don’t know what got into Thomas Cromwell’s head recommending a fraulein like that. Maybe for a brief second after I lopped it off he regretted his moment of poor judgment.”

GOF;   “I do wish you’d stop talking about rolling heads whilst sharpening your big axe at the same time Your Majesty…..I’m losing track of my carefully planned questions here.”

Henry;  “That’s not all you’ll lose if I don’t like the final draft of this interview GOF, but please continue.”

GOF;  “How did you meet Catherine Howard?”

Henry;  “Pure coincidence.  I normally don’t read the newspapers, but the day after I got rid of Annie I noticed an advertisement in the personal columns of the Tudor Times.”

‘Catherine H., 19, vast experience since age 15 with Mannox the music teacher, Dercham the Gentleman Usher to the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk and a few other dudes, seeks good times and marriage to any fat, hairy, unsanitary and tyrannical old King.’

GOF;   “Didn’t you find that extremely disrespectful?”

Henry;   “Royal Horniness forgives a multitude of commoner deficiencies GOF, as you unfortunately will never discover.”

“What it did not forgive however was extracurricular bonking between my Queen and her randy little relative,Thomas Culpepper.
That unforseen problem could only be sorted out using my gleaming little enforcer here. Twice!”

GOF;  “So what does the future hold for you now, given that you are happily married to Catherine Parr, but going to be dead within 8 months?”

Henry;  “You disrespectful little Antipodean bastard GOF. I’ll tell you what I am most looking forward to;  I’d like to take my lifetime tally of executions up to a round figure of 70,000.”

GOF;   “Wwwwhaat nnnumber are yyyou up ttto nnow?”

Henry;   “69,999 GOF.”

Interview terminated abruptly as Henry begins to rise from his throne only to see a distant trail of smoke coming from GOF’s Dunlop KT 26 running shoes as he build up speed to leap the palace wall and moat in a single bound.

*       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *

Today’s journalists are just a pampered pack of little twerps.

*       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *

P.S. All history tutorials from the The Bucket’s academic year 2011 may be found here.

About GOF

"Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it, depends upon what you put into it." (Tom Lehrer)

24 responses »

  1. Thank you, GOF for continuing to fill the gaping holes left in my history education. Between you and Mr. M. Python I might just get the edjukasun I missed while running around the school taking photos.

    • You’re very welcome Mike. I learned much from Mr Python’s series of educational videos.
      Hold onto those photographs you took around the school…there might be some income to be made in future by blackmailing any fellow students if they go on to hold well-paid positions of influence and power.

  2. These history lessons (notice the lack of quotation marks) always leave me with a huge grin on my face.

    • Thank you Lauri… makes all the effort of preparing them worthwhile when I know someone got a smile from reading them. Never has the absence of quotation marks meant so much. Thank you again.

  3. I think you missed your calling, GOF. Undoubtedly, you should have been a history teacher. Your version of history is so much more interesting than the boring stuff they tried to teach me at school.

    Henry’s suit of armour is on display at the Tower of London. It has a remarkably large codpiece. I suspect the armourer who made the suit was similarly influenced by Henry’s persuader. Also, not surprisingly, Henry features in this Wiki article on codpieces. Truly amazing what one discovers in one’s historical research….

    • Thank you Snowy. I’m humbly speechless.

      I appreciate the additional information and your introducing the subject of codpieces into this academic discussion. Fascinating link, and if I’m not mistaken one of the codpieces pictured at the top of the article has a little face inscribed or moulded into it’s tip.
      I’m wondering if your expertise extends to an explanation of why a codpiece would require a face on it. History is SO fascinating.

      • It certainly looks like a face, doesn’t it. Maybe it’s meant to terrorise one’s enemies, or impress one’s friends, especially the ladies. It would certainly be a marvellous conversation starter…

        • I think “the face” had a purpose Snowy. You know how women used to forever accuse us men of focussing on their chests instead of their faces, but then they started using tee-shirts with messages printed on them to give us an excuse for doing so?
          Same principle applies …it gave the girls a half-reasonable excuse for “looking down there”. The “codpiece with face” is the forerunner of modern “message tee-shirts”.

          Between the two of us we’ll have all these unexplained oddities of history sorted out in no time at all.

          • I bow to your superior knowledge of the innermost workings of the female mind, GOF. One almost suspects that you have been consulting Elle. Such dedication to the cause of historical inquiry should not go unrewarded. You have my permission for an extra ration of bromeliad jungle juice.

            • “I bow to your superior knowledge of the innermost workings of the female mind, GOF.”

              Snowy, I would have thought the both of us, like most other men in the world, would probably score D minuses if we had to sit an exam on this subject.
              I will, however, immediately take up your suggestion and have a quiet ale on the verandah while I give the matter some more thought.

              It’s a picturecard-perfect evening here for doing just that.

  4. Catherine and Anne must have been very popular names back then. I guess those were the names of the stars on the soap opera that was all the rage: Days of Your Lice.

  5. Ah. My first Xmas gift. Santa has granted the No1 position on my wish list.

    One question on this history though. Shouldn’t it be called a cods piece or was Henry running on half power?

    Merry Xmas GOF. I have learnt so much this year.

    • Thank you Peter, glad you liked it.

      Cod/s/pieces are Snowy’s “special interest” subject……maybe Henry never learned to juggle and have more than one in the air at any given time……history can often be a complex and confusing subject. I’m doing my best to make sense of it all.

      Happy Christmas to you and Liz and the family too, and thank you for your company here during the year.

  6. Why anyone would doubt that you actually interviewed people 500 or so years ago is beyond me … all they have to do is look at your photo …

  7. Thank goodness you didn’t bring up Francis I, or I do believe you would have time-traveled back to us in a box.

    Have you considered who your next (fortunate) subject will be?

    • Thank you for visiting Aubrey. It’s probably best that I didn’t interview Francis considering the close shave I had with Henry. I’m not entirely sure you should be encouraging me to write more of this stuff. Many of my regular readers beat a hasty retreat as soon as they get the slightest whiff of one of these “History Tutorials”. 🙂

  8. Hmmm. Now that I think about it King Henry VIII rather looks like a face on a codpiece.

  9. You have missed your calling GOF. LOL@ Lurch – my favourite character in this tale.


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