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November 7, 2005

War of the Roses

Wolsey Then good night! Oh, your conscience is your own affair; but you're a statesman! Do you remember the Yorkist Wars?

More Very Clearly.

Wolsey Let him die without an heir and will have them back again.

I think these lines depict how important it is to the people that Henry have a male heir. I never really thought of it that way. Today, especially as Americans without much experience with royalty, we just think of Henry's obsession with having a boy to be sexist and unreasonable. (Of course, constantly blaming his wives for the problem and resorting to divorce and beheading is still quite unreasonable) But, in that time in that culture it was extremely important to have male heir to the throne. A female ruler was unacceptable, even to the people. Which, is actually a legitimate reason for Henry to want to have a son.

And in case anyone was unsure about the Yorkist wars to which they refer, they are talking about what we commonly call The Wars of the Roses which was caused because of some very complicated confusion regarding who had the right to the throne between the House of York and the House of Lancaster. I used to have a chart that showed the bloodline and who was in line for the throne etc. and how they possible heirs were related that made it easy to understand. Unfortunately, I don't have it anymore and I couldn't find any sites that did either. But, if you want to get a general idea of what caused the wars and how it would make the characters in the play also worried about not having a male heir click on this link to Wikipedia on Wars of the Roses.

Posted by LorinSchumacher at November 7, 2005 10:39 PM

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Henry was a Tudor, of the family of Tudor (like the present royals are Windsors, House of Windsor). They held to power only by a thread and the Wars of the Roses were just over in the North. Elizabeth was the last Tudor.

Posted by: Kayla Sawyer at November 10, 2005 5:58 PM

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