Bokomslagsbild: Portrait of Henry VIII, c. 1509, English School
King is dead: long live the King. In 1509, Henry VII was succeeded by
his son Henry VIII, second monarch of the house of Tudor. But this is
not the familiar Tudor world of Protestantism and playwrights. Decades
before the Reformation, ancient traditions persist: boy bishops,
pilgrimage, Corpus Christi pageants, the jewel-decked shrine at
So Great a Prince offers a fascinating glimpse of a country and
people that at first appear alien – in calendar and clothing, in
counting the hours by bell toll – but which on closer examination are
recognisably and understandably human. Lauren Johnson tells the story of
1509 not just from the perspective of king and court, but of merchant
and ploughman; apprentice and laundress; husbandman and foreign worker.
She looks at these early Tudor lives through the rhythms of the ritual
year, juxtaposing political events in Westminster and the palaces of
southeast England with the liturgical and agricultural events that
punctuated the year for the ordinary people of England.