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History vs. Henry VIII - Mark Robinson and Alex Gendler

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He was a powerful king whose break with the church of Rome would forever change the course of English history. But was he a charismatic reformer who freed his subjects from a corrupt establishment or a bullying tyrant who used Parliament for his own personal gain? Mark Robinson and Alex Gendler put this controversial figure on trial in History vs. Henry VIII.

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TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Mark Robinson, Alex Gendler
  • Director Brett Underhill
  • Narrator Addison Anderson
  • Animator Brett Underhill
  • Designer Brett Underhill
  • Content Producer Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Associate Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Associate Editorial Producer Dan Kwartler
  • Fact-checker Francisco Diez
Additional Resources for you to Explore
When Henry inherited the throne England was a relatively minor power on the fringe of Europe, loyally part of the Catholic Church and only occasionally involved in international affairs. By the end of his reign, England was looking to increase its influence in Europe having left the control of the Pope and begun to transform its own society.

Tudor England is one of the most engaging periods of English history, and Henry is the centrepiece of those years. His policies had such a dramatic impact that historians have long argued about his methods and motives. Whilst some see Henry as driven by selfishness and a greed for power, others have seen his reign as a turning point where England laid the foundation of a modern nation.

To develop your own opinion about Henry, you need to establish the key facts about the reign. You can also examine the original documents about Henry's power and passions in the British national archives as well as seeing original portraits of Henry himself.

Henry's reputation had been examined by many historians, and you can get a flavour of that in the work of Ronald Hutton.

Susan Loughlin gives a neat summary of the different approaches to Henry here.

It is also interesting to investigate Henry's psychology as well as his image.

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Create and share a new lesson based on this one.

About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Mark Robinson, Alex Gendler
  • Director Brett Underhill
  • Narrator Addison Anderson
  • Animator Brett Underhill
  • Designer Brett Underhill
  • Content Producer Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Associate Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Associate Editorial Producer Dan Kwartler
  • Fact-checker Francisco Diez