Happy Birthday Henry VIII, British Heritage
So Henry, 500 odd years on you have become quite a figure - Mind you you were quite well known at the time.
You may have been rather unpleasant to your women and were most definitely terrible to your subjects. You over taxed, were furious with your whimsies and exerted control through fear. You were vain, uncontrollable, unlikeable and totally carried away with a sense of your own importance. You refused to listen, were especially disloyal and totally imprudent with the nations finances. Macho by day and rather effete by night, in short you were the complete social nightmare of the Tudor or in fact any age. To be frank a right royal pain in the arse.
But....But...you did build some nice ships and some pretty redoubtable castles. You and your army laid the foundations for the golden age and you kept (somehow) Catholic Europe at bay. And despite the hangings, the burnings, the beheadings and the disembowellings you kept order and helped, albeit 300 years on, Britain become a world power. Your 'us and against them' mentality became a national characteristic.
And for this I wish you a very happy birthday in your 520th year