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Henry VIII and the King’s Men (2020)

Smithsonian Henry VIII and the Kings Men

Tracy Borman fronts this series based on her best-selling book of the same name. Following in the footsteps of her successful series “Private Lives of the Monarchs” Borman paints the portrait of England’s most famous king and the enablers, the fools, the teachers and the men at arms who knew him best and shaped his outlook on the world.

Henry VIII was taught by some of the most famous scholars of his time and developed a reflective and intelligent manner we seldom hear about. Raised to be a great prince he enjoyed being the center of attention, but as the second born had few of the pressures of his older brother. He could enjoy court life and by all accounts he thrived in the companionship of men, reveled in jousts and loved hunting. Even after the death of his elder brother, after he became the Crown Prince, he maintained a careless joie de vivre.

He could also be na?ve and was often too trusting of those around him, often to his detriment. And despite his lascivious reputation…he could be prude. Finally, in his elder years he became the paranoid tyrant we have come to know. As Chief Curator of Britain’s Historic Royal Palaces, Tracey shows us the places where Henry and those who were closest to him lived.

Chapter 1: The Unexpected King
Henry VIII through the eyes of the men – from advisors to painters and physicians – who stoked his ruthlessness and fears and exploited his vulnerability.

Chapter 2: The Absent King
Tracy Borman reveals how Henry VIII’s pursuit of pleasure saw him entrust a huge amount of power to the men around him – and shake Europe.

Chapter 3: The Tyrant King
Tracy Borman reveals how the men around Henry VIII shaped the final part of his reign. With brutal struggles breaking out, they had to tread carefully as the king had become a tyrant.

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