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Since time in memory, there are various issues that influenced who was to be on the throne in the English ‘First Family’. Religion and family relationships stood out to be the most influential factors during the Tudor period in the United Kingdom monarch. According to the new biography by David Starkey, that features the life of Virgin Queen, the distinguished history author instead of recording much about the monarch's reign which was long, complicated and legendary, he squarely focuses on the life of Elizabeth before ascending to the throne (Starkey 178). He is able to explain this by illuminating the life of Queen Elizabeth in the way he related with her family, and her esteemed position of religion. She is quite different from her sister Mary who treasures beauty and selfish ambition. The writer tells how her character took her places and she was able to leave a mark in the history of the England and the world at large. This paper examines and explores the role of religion in the king’s marriages and divorces and the significance of Kings Henry VIII divorce. The paper also discusses the importance of the Wyatt's rebellion in the history of England,
Roles played by religion in the king’s divorces and marriages
King Henry VIII is described to be the most outstanding king in the English history. During King Henry era religion was a big consideration in all decisions that concerned the land and especially in the ‘first family’. Every other family in the monarch was expected to live in accordance to the religious practices. According David Starkey in his book Elizabeth the Struggle for the Thrown, religion had a very great impact on the marriage and divorce of King Henry VIII. “Fire and foremost the monarch was a religious family and therefore it was expected of the family members to abide by that (Starkey 246).”
At this particular time there were two major denominations in the land of England. The Catholics who were the dominating faction and the Protestants were starting to expand in number and activity. This in a way started to generate tensions between the two groups. “The decision to declare Protestantism or Catholic as the state religion provoked a lot of resistance from the King’s family (Starkey 29).” This move caused political and religious winds that shook the family and even beyond. From this incident we witness major differences in the family which directly grew to more differences among the siblings. The author tells us that Mary was staunch Catholic while her sister Elizabeth was a faithful Protestant.
Queen Elizabeth by then prince played a key role in handling the situation. From the book we can see her been devoted to her father. It seems that she was respected and precociously learned from his monarch role. In every situation she tried her level best to obey his Father’s directions. However her older sister Mary was directly opposite. After been informed about the decision to declare Protestantism as England’s state religion, she was determined to come back home and try to change the nation into Catholic, but Elizabeth, who was a protestant, steeped her religious opinion down to slow down her sister. “The religion factor had caused such huge difference between the family members (Starkey 126).” When King Henry realized that he could not get a male heir he differed with the religion. According to the religion which he was professing, the reason why he could not male heir was because he was involved in incest. This was bad news to him and so he wanted cancellation of the statement by the Church which was based on the Holy Scriptures. This caused a lot of friction between his rule and the church.
The Significance Of the "Kings Great Matter or Henry VIII's Divorce
The origin of divorce can historically be traced by to the time of King Henry. This is because he vehemently differed with the church, which did not advocate for the divorce. However Henry went against the convections of the church. Since then the term “the king’s Great Matter” is used to depict the absolute determination of the king to divorce his wife. The divorce of Henry VIII with Catherine was a landmark move in the history of church in the United Kingdom. The determination by the King to divorce to divorce his wife is historically referred to as “the king’s Great matter”. “King Henry different with the church ideologies concerning the issue of divorce, and surprisingly in the end he declared as the king, he was supposed to be the head of the England church (Starkey 243).”
Another significance of this incident is that it prevented the Catholic Rome from taking over London. According to Starkey, the main reason that was stated by Henry was that he needed a son to be assured of continuity of Tudor control of the England monarch. Henry was convinced the reason he has remained without male heir was because he had married his brother’s widow, according to the biblical standards in Leviticus 20:21. Therefore he wanted cancellation of this statement. Unfortunately Pope clement VIII who had taken control of most Italy would not buy the idea. As long as Charles supported Catherine of Aragon, a papal cancellation was impossible.
What Was the Significance of Wyatt's Rebellion?
Another important unfolding in the history of England is the Wyatt rebellion. This rebellion saw the protest against a certain marriage that was feared to cause religion imbalance in the land. Significantly the marriage between Prince Mary and Philip from Spain would also have ‘exposed’ the internal affair to foreigners. Since Philip, a foreigner would be part of the monarch. The move also was to block France from interference with English matters. Wyatt rebellion was caused by the fear of‘re-Catholisation’ of English, which was marked by the proposed marriage of Philip from Spain and Mary daughter of King Henry VIII and sister to Elizabeth. “The key leaders of the rebellion included Sir Thomas Wyatt, Sir Peter Carew who was from Devon, Sir James Croft who was hailing from Herefordshire and the Suffolk’s Duke from Leicestershire (Starkey 241).” Unfortunately this rebellion did not have support from the majority of the public. This was a big setback to it and doomed to fail.
“Prince Elizabeth played a very key role in the rebellion. Since every leader was charged with the responsibility of raising rebellion in one of the four counties with culmination in London to replace Mary with her sister the princess Elizabeth, who was to marry Lord Devon (Starkey 120).” A fleet of ship meanwhile would block Philip of Spain from accessing England. Such a decision was so significant to the happening of the rebellion. Religion again had a great influence in the rebellion, as majority of people who participated were Protestant who were protesting‘re-Catholisation’ of England. The main source of the rebellion was the differences in convictions between the two denominations; Catholics and Protestant was the.
From the above discussion it is clear how religion shaped the history of England. The book, Elizabeth the Struggle for the Thrown, clearly depicts the major happening in the English ‘First Family’ that resulted to differences in itself, church, and the state. Queen Elizabeth will always be remembered for her great contribution in the Wyatt’s rebellion. Tactfully was able to block her sister Mary from exposing the royal throne to foreigners. This book is a must read for anyone interested in History of the monarchy.
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