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Flügel, I.C. (1920). On the Character and Married Life of Henry VIII. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 1:24-55.

(1920). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 1:24-55

On the Character and Married Life of Henry VIII

I. C. Flügel, B.A.

It is doubtful whether the married life of any monarch in the world's history has aroused such interest and attained such notoriety as that of Henry VIII. In popular estimation the relations of King Henry to his wives probably outweigh in fascination all other features of a lengthy and momentous reign; while even to the professed historian the study of Henry's six marriages — closely connected as they are with events of great importance occurring at a particularly critical period in the cultural and political development of Europe — must also be of very considerable importance. No apology is needed therefore for attempting a further treatment of this theme — even in brief and summary fashion — if by so doing we can throw a few fresh rays of light upon the factors which were at work in producing the events recorded in this page of history.

A well known historian, commenting on the long series of Henry's matrimonial experiences, has justly remarked that "a single misadventure of such a kind might have been explained by accident or by moral infirmity. For such a combination of disasters some common cause must have existed, which may be, or ought to be, discoverable" It has seemed to the present writer that the common cause in question is to be found largely in certain constant features of Henry's mental life and character, the proper understanding of which concerns the psychologist as much as the historian. It is in the hope of indicating the nature of some of the more important of these constant features that the present short essay has been written.

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