(originally asked on Twitter, so my followers there who are about to click into the story and possibly see no new content…)
My daughter asked me this weekend about the Henry plays. I think she’s fascinated by the Roman numerals, especially given how I say “Henry the fourth” but then I say “Henry vee”.
She’d like to know why there was a 4, 5, 6 and 8 … but no 7. So, I asked on Twitter. Here’s the responses I’ve gotten so far, in no particular order:
- “He was boring?”
- “Richard III could, if you squint just right, be called Henry VII…”
- “perhaps b/c the latter part of his reign was characterised by a financial rapacity which stretched the bounds of legality.”
- “Maybe he just didn’t get to it– not so safe while Elizabeth lived, judging from R3, and once James was on the throne, Henry VIII was more useful for praising both James and Elizabeth.”
- “most likely since HVII was politically “tricky”. Even HVIII was tricky to do with AB’s daughter on throne. He was savvy.”
- “Some ppl thought HVII not “regal” or “noble” enough for throne & he stole it. best avoid topic. Earlier Hs no prob so long.”
I’ve often said that I’m weak in the histories – not to mention, the *actual* history. Feel free to expand on any of the above ideas, or contribute new ones. I don’t think that his having stolen the throne, or stretched the bounds of legality, would necessarily have meant that there was no good story there to tell. But from my limited understanding of the political families, I can understand the idea of Shakespeare simply not being allowed to tell a story that was anything less than positive.