Meet the Maids of Honor

History Smackdown

King Henry VIII vs. Emperor Charles V – who wins?

So most know about King Henry VIII – father of Queen Elizabeth I, husband to six wives, “Father of the English Navy”, leader of the religious reformation (see 6 wives, above). But what about his contemporary, Emperor Charles V of Spain, father of Philip II (the future husband of Mary I, Henry’s daughter–and suitor to Elizabeth)?henry-viii-3

According to the dutch art site,, Charles V can be summed up thusly: “Emperor Charles V (1500–1558) was one of the most important ruling personalities in European history. As the King of Spain, Naples and Sicily, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, ruler of Flanders, the Netherlands and large areas of Central and South America, the sun virtually never set on his empire. For the first time, Europe became the center of a world empire. However, Charles failed to achieve unity across the whole continent. With his triumphs and defeats, and his hopes and disappointments, he stood in the midst of change from the Middle Ages to modern times.”

Ultimately, though Charles V was primed to have a grander place in history, he is known more for his failures to secure his realm on the European front and his opposition of Protestantism (a battle he was destined to lose). On the foreign front, it should be noted, his legacy outshines Henry’s–he is credited with beginning the Spanish colonial empire in South and Centracharles_vl America.

Still, despite Charles’s auspicious beginnings, the hand of history goes to… King Henry VIII.

AND THEY BOTH HAD GOUT. Lay off the alcohol and red meat, gentlemen!


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