Friday, July 31, 2009
An Heir at All Costs...
Here we are at Hampton Court...a 40 minute train ride from London. It was the residence of Henry VIII and his six wives. He had so many because he was determined to have an heir...a son, to pass on his name and sit on the throne when he died. Henry's father, on his death bed, told him that this was his most important accomplishment. So important, that Henry was willing to divorce, frame, or behead to realize it. Little did he know at the time, that it was his chromosomes, not his wife's that were responsible!
I wondered if I would be so willing to do anything to bring souls into the kingdom of God...not, of course through the same method, but, giving my all, my life, for the cause.
The morning we arrived, it was cool and crisp...I took in a deep breath of fresh air. The castle could be seen from the station...an imposing medieval structure of red brick which had a certain (believe it or not) "country home" feel that was hard to describe. Henry held his indulgent banquets here...having an invitation was truly an honor!
We were early, so the four of us (accompanied by Katie), took a walk around the gardens...a favorite of Anne Boelyn's, Henry's second wife. The day's events were focused on the marriage of Henry's sixth and final wife, Kateryn Parr, who outlived him, and cared for all of his children, bringing them together as one family. By that time, the King wasn't interested in another heir...he was too old, and he had a son( although frail) Edward (the sixth), and two daughters, Mary (as in "Bloody") and Elizabeth (as in the first). If you want to remember what happened to those six wives, here's a rhyme: Divorced, Beheaded, Died...Divorced, Beheaded, Alive.
It's funny how you can come to know a historical character so well, that you could identify him/her in person. So we did, dressed in his wedding attire, grousing at a bunch of school children. Here you see his "photo"...
We spent so much time inside, that we forgot to tour the many gardens on the property...so much to see, so little time!