Henry VII, the King Maligned as a Miser

This is one topic I want to squash, especially because of the upcoming “White Princess” TV show. Did Elizabeth of York have to repair dresses instead of purchasing new ones? Yes, and so did every queen! The amount of time, labor and expense in a woman’s dress, especially a queen’s dress, was massive. Getting a hole or a stain, or having a seam give and repairing it was commonplace, not throwing it out as some do today. He donated money to charities and colleges, commissioned great building projects, invested his personal income into the trades. Because he didn’t squander his wealth we are to believe he’s a bad king? Come on now…

By Nathen Amin

History has not been kind to Henry VII of England. The first Tudor king has often suffered from long-held accusations that he was a dark and greedy monarch, a man of such a suspicious disposition that his reign was a tyrannical period for England centred on the King’s grasping nature.

It could be argued that the one adjective used more than any other when describing Henry Tudor is ‘miser’. One needs to only witness the character assassination that accompanied the recent documentary ‘The Winter King’ by historian Tom Penn to understand this phenomenon. Amongst a plethora of speculative descriptions of the king in this overwhelmingly negative portrayal was “terrifying”. Penn further stated that Henry utilised ruthless methods to control England, whilst ‘money was dearest to his heart’. Are such accusations justified? It would appear by referring to the sources that the prevailing attitude of many historians, both…

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One response to “Henry VII, the King Maligned as a Miser

  1. All women learned how to sew. It may sound like a cliche, but it seems to be one that’s borne out by the evidence. Pretty much all women, rich and poor, would have learned how to sew and its not hard to imagine a Queen working on her dresses. We knew noblewomen made clothes for their sons or husbands, or decorated them, so why not their own?

    I don’t think it was considered in any way demeaning, or a bad reflection on a husband for a woman to make repairs to her dresses. In fact, excessive and frivolous spending would probably have been considered worse.

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