My love of English history began with my hospital stay when I was 18. I was in the hospital for so long and each roommate usually took pity on me when they checked out and left me reading materials. I read every Agatha Christie novel ever written, and a fascinating non-fiction/fictional account of John of Gaunt, the 3rd son of Edward III. The book was called "Katherine" and it was a fictional account [but based on actual events] of John's third wife Katherine Swynford. I was swept up in the romance of the novel and the history of Edwards's third son.
I think it was years before I realized that the War of the Roses was a war between the descendants of Edward III's two sons. The Roses indicating York and Lancaster. It took me even longer to realize that the House of Lancaster had won and that was the Rise of the Tudors. That it was John of Gaunt's descendants that ruled England during the Reformation. It was the completion of the romance for me. John of Gaunt never came close to the crown, but his descendants did. I've always wondered what would have happened if York had won the War of the Roses, and Elizabeth had never been Queen. I personally consider her the greatest Monarch to ever live and have had a running fascination with her for my entire life.
I have both the BBC "Six Wives of Henry the VIII" and "Elizabeth R". I have the Showtime series "The Tudors" [and I have to say they took many liberties with the size and girth of Henry in his later years, but oh well. It was much easier of the eyes this way.]. I am in many ways a Anglophile, but specifically for the House of Lancaster and the reign of the Tudors.
When I talk about this period with many people, or those that watched any of the TV productions, it always amazes me that so few realized how long Henry VIII was married to Catherine of Aragon, and that she was past her childbearing years when he tried to annul the marriage. I suppose in 16th century England a male heir was of tantamount importance. As much as people like the sexual stories of Henry and Anne Boleyn, there was definitely a practical reason for Henry to seek a new wife.
Anyway, here's my questions for discussion: [or add anything you like to the discussion].
Would there have been a Reformation in England if the Pope had annulled the first marriage of Henry? I'm sure much of that period of history would have evolved as it did, but the Reformation in England was critical to later immigration to the United States. What were the pros and cons of the Reformation?
A nice "what if" is what would have happened if the House of York had won on Bosworth Field?