Were the Tudors terrific or terrible?

The Tudors were both terrific and terrible. They ruled England for 118 years. Although there were five Tudor monarchs, the two who are best-known today, Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, account for more than 80 years of Tudor rule. Both rulers showed a combination of cruelty and magnificence.

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The House of Tudor ruled England for over 100 years, from 1485 to 1603. There were five Tudor monarchs (not counting Lady Jane Grey, who ruled for nine days): Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward IV, Mary I and Elizabeth I. The two rulers who account for the majority of this time, Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, are among the best-known monarchs in English history.

This question clearly calls for a highly subjective answer, but in the popular imagination, as well as in many historical works, Henry VIII and Elizabeth I were both terrific and terrible.

Henry VII was a careful, prudent, parsimonious king, who was probably one of the country's more competent rulers. Edward VI was a child who never had the opportunity to grow up. It is hard to see either of them as terrific or terrible.

Mary I is often regarded as terrible. Her most famous legacy is the cocktail Bloody Mary, named after her because of the Marian persecutions against Protestants. Catholics, however, tend to have a more favorable view of Mary to this day.

Henry VIII and Elizabeth I were both responsible for a great deal of bloodshed, and could undoubtedly be cruel and tyrannical. They also presided over courts and eras of fabled magnificence. Although they were only two of the five Tudors, they ruled for eighty years between them, and are jointly responsible for the popular image of the Tudors as both terrific and terrible.

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