Being remembered (HLD 331)

17 Feb 2021

I was reading today about plans left by Henry VIII on how he should be remembered.

There were instructions (and a monetary gift to ensure it happened) that a daily mass be said for his soul – which a fairly specific duration. This should be said daily until the world ends. After that they could stop, supposedly. You’d have to hope it was a significant cash donation.

And there were plans and instructions for a magnificent tomb for his body and that of the first wife, Katherine of Aragon. He was eventually entombed with wife #3, who was of course the only one who managed to give birth to a living son, but the tomb plans were started when he only envisaged having one wife.

As it happens, the daily masses said for his soul only lasted a year (maybe the cash donation was not large enough to cover the cost of all those candles and wine), and the massively decorated tomb just never happened, for one reason or another.

I’ve seen the slab marking the resting place of Henry VIII and wife #3, in St George’s Chapel at Windsor. You have to read carefully to realise that Henry VIII actually is buried there because it also marks the resting spot of Jane Seymour, Charles I and an infant child of Queen Anne.

It’s tasteful, and dignified even – not really how we remember Henry VIII. How we should remember him, in my humble opinion, is a slab with his name and then a list of the wives, crossed out where divorced or beheaded, leaving only Catherine Parr as the sole survivor and Jane as the only one who actually did what he wanted, only to die before she could get full credit for it. But I do feel that, as six wives is the most significant thing everyone remembers about him, that should play a part in his burial details.

Actually, we should add the Catholic church to the list of things he tried to kill off too. It would make for an interesting tomb stone if we were to add all the details I want noted 🙂

There are some brilliant stories about funny tombstones – ranging from “Told you I was sick”, “If you can read this you’re standing on my boobs”, “I was hoping for a pyramid”, and even “Damn it’s dark down here”.

One of my Mum’s favourite jokes for a while, as she was beginning to “lose her marbles”, and worried she had “lost the plot”, that her tombstone should read “Found the plot!”.

I like the idea of having ashes dispersed somewhere and having just a small plaque attached to a seat or something useful.

Or a pyramid – whatever. I won’t be around to see it so it won’t bother me 🙂

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