Tudor Minute December 24: Henry gives his Last Speech to Parliament

Hey, this is Heather from the Renaissance English History Podcast, and this is your Tudor Minute for December 24.

Today in 1545 Henry VIII made his final speech to Parliament. A member of Parliament wrote:

On 24 December the king’s majesty came into the parliament house, to give his royal assent to such acts as had been passed there, where the speaker made to him an eloquent oration, to which it has always been the custom for the lord chancellor to answer, but at this time it was the king’s pleasure that it should be otherwise, for the king himself answered, as follows word for word, as near as I was able to report it.

‘Wherefore, taking it upon myself to answer your eloquent oration, master speaker, I say that where you, in the name of our well beloved commons, have both praised and extolled me for the notable qualities which you have conceived to be in me, I most heartily thank you all that you have reminded me of my duty, which is to endeavor myself to obtain and get such excellent qualities and necessary virtues as a prince or governor should or ought to have, of which gifts I recognize myself both bare and barren. But for such small qualities as God has endowed me with I render to his goodness my most humble thanks, intending with all my wit and diligence to get and acquire for myself such notable virtues and princely qualities as you have alleged to be incorporated in my person.

‘Now, since I find such kindness on your part towards me, I cannot choose but to love and favor you, affirming that no prince in the world more favors his subjects than I do you, and no subjects or commons more love and obey their sovereign lord than I see you do me, for whose defense my treasure shall not be hidden, nor if necessity requires it will my person be not risked. But although I with you and you with me are in this perfect love and concord, this friendly amity cannot continue unless both you, my lords temporal, and you, my lords spiritual, and you, my loving subjects, study and take pains to amend one thing which is surely amiss and far out of order, which I most heartily require you to do, which is that charity and concord is not amongst you, but discord and dissension bears rule in every place. St Paul wrote to the Corinthians, in the 12th chapter: ‘Charity is gentle, Charity is not envious, Charity is not proud,’ and so on in that chapter. Behold then what love and charity is amongst you when one calls another heretic and anabaptist and he calls him back papist, hypocrite, and pharisee. Are these tokens of charity amongst you? No, no, I assure you that this lack of charity amongst yourselves will be the hindrance and assuaging of the fervent love between us, as I said before, unless this is healed and clearly made whole.

That’s your Tudor Minute for today. Remember you can dive deeper into life in 16th century England through the Renaissance English History Podcast at englandcast.com where you can read the speech in its entirety.

https://englishhistory.net/tudor/henry-viiis-speech-parliament-1545/