Dedicated to Loyalty: Book Dedications to King Henry VIII
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During the course of King Henry VIII of England’s nearly thirty-eight-year reign there were ample opportunities to present him with the gift of a book. Be it as a wedding gift, a New Year’s gift, or simply a gift for no occasion, Henry was given many books, several of which were dedicated to him. However, when one reads the dedications to Henry, it becomes apparent that dedicators not only directed dedications to him to seek patronage or in some cases to counsel him, but that several authors also wrote to him to express their loyalty. In a time when Henry was known for having a quick temper, executed two wives, and reformed the English church, many gave books to Henry to support his evangelical changes, yet some men also dedicated books to him to express their loyalty to the crown, so they did not suffer the same fate as those around him who did not remain loyal, namely Thomas More and Thomas Cromwell.