What struck me as a opening remark was I WON’T KEEP YOU LONG, which is what King Henry the Eighth is supposed to have told his six wives!
The story has a certain perverse eagerness, on the part of the person who concocted the story, based on the historical fact that Henry VIII had had six queen consorts most of whom had been executed by Henry! Tharoor merely repeated, what was originally said by , the then Prime Minister TONY BLAIR, to an European delegation. Events couldn’t have unfolded as per that smart one-liner, as the reason for Henry VIII disposing of the Queens on one ground or the other was that, he believed that they were incapable of producing a male heir to the throne. As such, it must have happened after each had brought forth a female child or had gone childless for a while. So such a PREPONDERENT STATEMENT WOULDN’T HAVE BEEN POSSIBLE AT THE OUTSET OF EACH ENGAGEMENT! It appears to me as a smart concoction post facto!
It leads us to the next fact whether any of the six queens did finally produce a male heir and if so did Henry stop his UXORICIDE? Jane Seymour did gift a male child, who eventually sat as the Defender of Faith, at a tender age of ten and died six years after his ascension! The next was the daughter of his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. She also did not serve long and Elizabeth I, ascended the throne and she became the Defender of the Faith for a full four and a half decades, before James came and legitimised the work of Wycliffe through the KING JAMES VERSION, of the Protestant Bible.
So history is not a mere narration of events, it is a subtle interpretation of the events seen through the mental filters of any mind conditioned in a way either voluntarily through an ideology or events.
So when Tony Blair said that Henry told all his wives that he WOULDN’T KEEP THEM LONG, it was an expression of a newly converted Catholic, to further blacken the image of Henry the Eighth, as a demonstration of his adherence to his Catholic belief!
One of the ideas found acceptable by Absalom, when he usurped rather attempted to usurp the throne from his father David, was that he prove to the people with him, that he was irreconcilably alienated from his father David, was to indulge in sex with David, his father’s, concubines, PUBLICLY! Absalom did it publicly and proved to his followers that he cannot reconcile with his father, ever! Likewise, Tony Blair had to be judgementally insensitive to the man on whose edifice he had built his career and his being!
When Henry asked the Church of Rome for the dissolution of his marriage with Catherine of Aragon, there was his contemporary, Charles the Fifth, who was the Holy Roman Emperor, who secured the Pope’s temporal interests. And this Charles V, was a nephew of Catherine of Aragon. So the Pope had to make a choice, and circumstances made him to go with the immediate geographical power which was of more immediate importance to the Pope, then.
The interesting part is that the Kingship of England, which is legitimised by the Protestant Church of England , had to suffer the barb of Tony Blair, who because of his catholic leanings, was not willing to see the Liberty gained by the English people even though they were the benevolent byproducts of the evil deeds of Henry VIII!
When Tharoor repeated the quote, it must have gratified many Papists, as Henry’s role has been truly SEMINAL in the Reformatory process (called schism by the Catholic Church) of the Church if England!
Why not we look at the Pope not having granted the dissolution of the marriage between Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon as another political compulsion (as Charles V was keen on keeping his aunt as the Queen consort of England)? We desire no such thought as that part of the history would have no great appeal, as there was no departure from normal human affiliations, whereas Henry’s deeds of executing 3 Catherines and two Annes stand in the way of his rehabilitation, for having secured the Liberty of the Church if England! (Btw Jane Seymour died soon after she delivered the baby boy, who became Edward VI) .
Shall we say Jane Seymour DID NOT TAKE LONG TO GIVE HENRY WHAT HE WANTED – A BABY BOY?
But Tharoor’s opening sentence itself was accusative of the moral grounds on which Doctrine of Lapse was invented by the Imperial Governors General, to sustain their hold on Indian revenues!