Arts and Entertainment

I hadn't realised – until I read this book – how much work Henry VIII's marital problems caused the stonemasons of Hampton Court. After years of carving the letters H&C all over the place, Henry got rid of Catherine of Aragon, so the Cs had to be reworked as As. But, no sooner was the last A in place than Anne Boleyn was executed on Tower Hill and the As had to become Js to suit Jane Seymour, who promptly died in childbirth. And there were still three more queens to go, so, lots more chiseling, presumably.

Letter: Establishment

Sir: The Rev Peter Mullen (Religious notes, 16 February) claims that "Establishment is a pearl of great price." He seems to have forgotten that the Church of England was only "established" because Henry VIII wanted to get rid of one of his many wives. It was then several hundred years before discrimination against Roman Catholics and nonconformists ceased. Now that the C of E is attended by only a minority of the population, "establishment" has no meaning except that there are loads of bishops in the House of Lords and Charles is not supposed to marry a Roman Catholic.

Tuesday Book: The rot began with Henry VIII


Obituary: Janet Arnold

SPEAK THE name of Janet Arnold to any costume specialist or enthusiast, and the reaction would be one of appreciative recognition. Her publications, especially the Patterns of Fashion series, published in three volumes between 1964 and 1985, A Handbook of Costume (1973), and her monumental Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock'd (1988) made her known world-wide. Her advice was sought, and lectures eagerly commissioned, from Stockholm to Tokyo, from Ankara to Washington DC.

Film: The Big Picture - All too black and white


Letter: Constitutional reform

Sir: I was sorry to read that Tony Blair intends to put constitutional reform on hold (report, 11 September). We are told he is to delay freedom of information and to postpone a decision on electoral reform. This reminds me of a contemporary judgement on Henry VIII's Reformation: "He is like one that would throw a man from the top of a high tower and bid him stay where he was half way down".

Letter: Blaming Clinton

Sir: If Kenneth Starr had investigated some of our past monarchs or prime ministers, one wonders how many boxes of evidence he would have produced. Hundreds, I suspect. His evidence on Henry VIII would have required a whole fleet of vans to carry it.

Classical cds: A rousing round from a right royal lad

Sirinu: All Goodly Sports, the Complete Music of Henry VIII (Chandos Records, CD)

I'm writing about the first ever muzak

Work in Progress; Rose Tremain, novelist

Give me an inch and I'll make it a mile

It's all very well having summer schools to improve children's numeracy, but parents need help with their sums, too, says Diana Appleyard

Politics: Blunkett rapped on `Henry VIII' power

SWEEPING "Henry VIII" powers which will allow David Blunkett to change rules on how schools are governed without consultation have gone too far, a House of Lords Committee has ruled. Mr Blunkett has 250 new powers under a Bill now in the Lords, three of them "Henry VIII" measures which will allow him to change the law without further consultation.

Books: Keeping your head in the marriage stakes

Marrying a Tudor was a risky pastime. Amanda Foreman on a family that took the art of spouse disposal to new heights; Sisters to the King by Maria Perry Andre Deutsch, pounds 15.99

Tudors go to our heads

The history of Henry VIII and his heirs, like that of the Windsors, was a soap opera with the quality of Greek myth. And we can't get enough of it. By Jack O'Sullivan

Letter: Henry the Forgotten

YOU SAY that if the succession had gone to the eldest child, irrespective of gender, Mary Tudor would have succeeded Henry VIII (born in 1491) ("Equality at last for royal daughters", 28 February).

John Mitchell London SE13

Sir: Twentieth-century presidents are not the first to need spin- doctors to try to guard them against rumours of dalliance or their own imprecision when denying it.

Politics: Irvine's pounds 70,000 PR

Britain's most powerful lawyer, Lord Irvine of Lairg, is to appoint a senior communications adviser to his department at a likely salary of around pounds 70,000.
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