King Henry the VIII and King Henry the VII were both very important people in English history. King Henry the VII reined from 1485 until 1509 while King Henry the VII took the throne from his father in 1509 and was king until 1547, when he died of a serious illness. The two kings were both infamous in some ways, but the question is: who was a better king?
King Henry the VIII and King Henry the VII were both Catholic but some consider King Henry the VIII a Protestant. However, the two kings clearly made contributions to the church and had some good ties with the church. In 1539, there was a substantial change in Bible history as King Henry the VIII translated the bible from Latin into English. This shows that King Henry VIII was trying to help citizens who had difficulty in reading Latin but wanted to learn the word of God. Not only did he translate the Bible into English, but King Henry the VIII also funded the entire venture. Unfortunately, there were significant changes in 1531 when Henry the VIII became the Head of the Church. Henry was requested the church for a divorce from Catherine of Aragon but the pope refused. This made Henry the VIII so furious, that he closed down many monasteries, took the money of many monks and nuns and took control of the churches of England. On the other hand, church relations with Henry the VII were much friendlier. King Henry the VII was a very religious man and he did not cause much trouble for the churches. He built many churches, including a chapel in Westminster. Although King Henry the VIII made some good contributions to the churches overall, King Henry the VII had better relations with the Church as Henry the VIII’s move to close many monasteries and his taking control of the churches in England had adverse effects ties with the Catholic Church in Rome.
Money was a big issue for both kings; they were almost broke. King Henry the VII tackled the problem by heavily taxing rich barons. He also issued many fines to get money. This was a tactical but a sneaky way of increasing his income. King Henry the VII spent a fair amount of his money on building churches unlike King Henry the VIII who spent it foolishly. King Henry the III spent much of his 1.25 million pound allowance from his father on his own luxury and building many unnecessary palaces. King Henry VIII’s luxuries included, twenty-four course meals, servants to clean his back, running tournaments for his entertainment. War and King Henry the VIII’s largest ambitions in Europe also dragged down his money by the mid-1520s. He spent money on increasing the amount of naval ships from 5 to 53. He also deployed 25000 men to France for war. Moneywise, King Henry the VII was frugal and careful with money. However, King Henry the VIII was much more self-centered as most of his spending was inappropriate and did not benefit England much.
King Henry the VII and King Henry the VIII both feared being invaded by foreign countries. The two kings had to build a positive relation with foreign countries if they wanted to maintain their credibility and protect their country. But they both used different tactics. France was the closest country to England but also the biggest threat for King Henry the VII. France had three times the manpower and resource of England and the French had shown their power after defeating England in the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The English surely learnt their lesson than, and one of King Henry the VII’s first tasks were to sign a one year truce with France which was later extended until1489. Spain was also a problem for King Henry the VII. Spain was one of Europe’s strongest countries and King Henry the VII had to act quickly. He proposed a rushed marriage for his eldest son Arthur to Catherine of Aragon of Spain. This not only forged a good relationship with Spain, but also secured an Englishmen to have power over Spain in the future. It was different for King Henry the VIII, as he had an excellent relationship with France at first, but later his greed caused him to want to conquer France. In 1511, King Henry the VIII travelled to France to celebrate their friendship and peace. The celebration included music, feasts and a firework spectacle at night. This step benefited England’s safety and protection from France as the French king and Henry the VIII were at peace. However, relations turned sour in 1513, when King Henry VIII went to war against France. He wanted to get more money and show not only his country but Europe that he was the strongest king. The war was called the Battle of the Spurs. It was successful but cost a large sum of money. Henry the VIII was unwise to go to war with France as it broke the good relations that they preciously shared before. Although King Henry the VII’s son Arthur died in 1501, King Henry the VII still did his own part to secure good relations with the rest of Europe. Foreign relations were better for Henry the VII as he even extended relations to the Mediterranean, but his son only managed to make peace with France.
King Henry the VII and King Henry the VIII both made very important contributions to England like building churches, translating the Bible into English and building good ties with Europe. However, King Henry the VII was a better king as he was wise, prudent and far-sighted. He had realistic goals which brought England success, not only during his own reign but also shored up England’s position in the modern world.