Henry VIII voted worst monarch in historyHistorians in the News
tags: Henry VIII
King John I may forever be known as a Bad King following that seminal history textbook 1066 and All That, but according to history authors, it is Henry VIII who should bear the title of the worst monarch in history.
More than 60 writers were surveyed by the Historical Writers Association (HWA), with Henry VIII taking 20% of the vote to find the worst monarch and criticised for a wide range of crimes: he was “obsessive”, “syphilitic” and a “self-indulgent wife murderer and tyrant”, according to respondents.
Robert Wilton, the author of The Spider of Sarajevo, called the Tudor king “a gross man-child, wilfully and capriciously dangerous to everything around him including the country”, adding that psychologically, Henry “barely made it out of infancy, let alone adolescence, and ruled with little more policy than petulant self-gratification”.
Edward VIII was named the second worst, with 14% of the vote, with John I and Charles I joint third, with 8%.
At the other end of the scale, the current queen received just one vote in the HWA’s quest to find the best monarch in history, with Elizabeth I triumphing with 36% of the 62 writers’ votes. Alexander the Great – one of a number of non-English/British rulers put forward in the survey – was second, with 10% of the vote, and Henry II third, with 6%. ...