Letters: Thomas Cromwell to Henry VIII

the new yorker 19 october 2009

On this day, 28 July 1540, Henry VIII had his chief advisor executed for trumped up charges of treason and heresy. The real reason for his fall from grace was more of the office politics variety; Norfolk hated Cromwell, mainly because Cromwell was the most powerful and able man at court and he wasn't a noble, just the son of a lowly blacksmith. The King lamented his rash decision. He never found a man as capable to serve him.

I just finished Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall early this morning, so a letter from Tom to Harry seems fitting.

Dear Henry,

Did I not tell you that you would miss me when I was gone?

Thomas Cromwell

P. S. Wolsey asked that I relate the following unto you: Sit on a spit thou cockered and doghearted codpiece giglet.

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