Review of The King’s Pleasure

Rebecca Graf
3 min readOct 19, 2023

Note: This review has affiliate links within that will result in monetary compensation if clicked on and purchases are made. This book was received through a third party with no expectation of a positive review. The review is also done on a draft of the book where the final proofreading had not been completed so no comments will be made on anything relating to that.

The most famous king next to Camelot’s Arthur is Henry VIII. We know what he was most famous for: breaking from the Catholic church and going through a number of wives by divorcing or beheading them. But do we really know him? Was he really only focused on bedding women and having a son or was there more to it than that? In this book, Alison Weir takes us into the life of Henry VIII in a way that we have ignored or assumed over the years to see what the might have have really been like.

Too often, I have just taken what was portrayed in a book or movie for Henry’s perspective. I never really thought of him as a person with complex feelings. Weir brings that to life for the reader. Starting when he is a young man just thinking that the throne could be his, the book shows the reader Henry’s doubts, confidence, hopes, dreams, frustrations, and plans. He didn’t start his reign thinking of having many lives and leaving the Catholic church. In fact, he thought quite the opposite. Like every other person on the planet and throughout history, he found that life doesn’t go the way one plans.

Through descriptive and emotional words, I found myself leaning a little more sympathetic to the man. Let me stress “little”, as I still think he was too self-centered and arrogant in who he should answer to. But the man didn’t exactly have grounded people to mentor him as so many were around him only for what they could get out of it. He was a man basically lost in a storm that he helped create but had no idea how to deal with.

I found this to be a thought-provoking read that gave me pause when it came to the man who changed so much of the Western world and would be the father to one of the greatest monarchs Britain ever knew. As I read, I wondered what he would have thought if he knew how history would see him. He thought he’d be seen as the greatest monarch ever and not the one that is more a butt of jokes. He had all his hopes in a son, but we know his youngest daughter would become a monarch of the ages. What if….

This was a great read that will have you wanting to know more about the man you thought you knew. He becomes a stranger again that you’ll want to read up on and see what really happened all those years ago. A book to open history to us all and remove the cobwebs that time allows to grow.

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Rebecca Graf

Writer for ten years, lover of education, and degrees in business, history, and English. Striving to become a Renassiance woman.