Quotes about Henry VII

Modern Quotes

  • “Henry is often seen as cold and calculating, but his family relations were close and affectionate, particularly with his wife and his mother. His intimate circle was small, and he had good reason to distrust most prominent noblemen…one feels that the chief hallmark of his regime, the constant personal supervision of every aspect of government, was the unique product of a compulsively energetic personality. Henry was, since the Norman Conquest, the least likely candidate for the English throne to achieve his ambition, yet he left a peaceful and united realm, ending fifteenth century instability and securely establishing a dynasty of remarkable talent and creativity” – The History Today Who’s Who in British History
  • “He was astute, cautious, prudent, patient. He attempted nothing rash or ill-considered, avoided impetuosity, and generally manifested a well-informed and well-balanced mind. He was neither bloodthirsty nor militant. Generally conciliatory, he could be drastic, ruthless, and firm when occasion demanded. He was never dilatory when markedly decisive in thought and action. His political wisdom came to be universally acknowledged” – SB Chrimes
  • “If it be true that England showed a greatness and a marked flowering of her spirit and genius in the course of the sixteenth century, such a development would have been inconceivable without the intermediation of Henry of Richmond’s regime. Not for him were the vast egoisms of his son Henry nor the gloriations of his granddaughter Elizabeth. But without his unspectacular statecraft their creative achievements would have had no roots” – SB Chrimes
  • “He was an extremely clever man, possibly the cleverest who ever sat on the English throne…Henry’s genius was mainly a genius for cautious manoeuvre, for exact timing, for delicate negotiation, for weighing up an opponent or a subordinate, and not least, a genius for organisation. It was allied to great patience and great industry. He was a competent soldier, but always chose peace instead of war as being so much cheaper and so much safer. These are admirable and invaluable qualities for a political leader in troubled times” – Christopher Morris
  • “Having had no power for twenty-eight years, he would share authority with no one. He was his own master, and no minister was ever allowed to overshadow him. He applied himself to the profession of being a king with complete dedication. He ruled with firmness and resolution; in the face of danger, he was wise and cool, but was quick to take decisions where needed. His choice of servants was first-class; he was a loyal master to them and rewarded them liberally for good service. He was particularly generous and steadfast to all those who had stood by him during the bleak and barren years of exile” – Glanmor Williams


  • “By Henry VII, the sword of government was sheathed, the remains of the feudal system at last completely swept away, the undue domination of the nobles set aside to make room for the growing influence of the mighty middle class, in which our modern civilization, with its faults and its merits, has established its stronghold” – W. Campbell

Contemporary Quotes

  • “A battle was fought. King Richard was killed on the battlefield and the Earl of Richmond was crowned King of England on the field with Richard’s crown. Should one describe this as Fortune? Surely it was God’s judgement” – Philippe de Commynes
  • “He was very pleasant, an elegant character and a fine ornament in the court of France, where he called himself the King of England” – Jean Molinet
  • “…he was moderate, honest, frugal, affable, and kindly. He hated pride and arrogance so much that he was rough and harsh towards men marked by those vices. No man enjoyed such sway with him that he dared to act as he please…he said this was his practice, so that he would be called a king who chose to rule rather than be ruled” – Polydore Vergil
  • “It is quite wonderful how much the King likes the Prince of Wales. He has good reason to do so, for the Prince deserves all love. But it is not only from love that the King takes the Prince with him; he wishes to improve him. Certainly there could be no better school in the world than the society of such a father as Henry VII. He is so wise and attentive to everything; nothing escapes his attention. There is no doubt the Prince has an excellent governor and steward in his father” – Spanish ambassador de Estrada
  • “In truth, as I behold his countenance and his goodly form, I am inclined to love him more and more. For I see that the excellence of his character precedes him. I observe his natural talents, and am astonished that at such a young age he possesses gravity, good behaviour, gentleness, humility, and a goodness both inborn and bestowed from above” – Duke Francis of Brittany
  • “Then Henry the Seventh liberated the land by divine and human right, with divine power vindicating, willing, and assisting, as from a most brutal enemy. He swiftly overcame and slaughtered Richard as he deserved and drove tyranny from the island. After the death of Richard, which please the whole kingdom, he began his reign in the year 1485” – Bernard Andre
  • “His Majesty, in addition to his wonderful presence, was adorned with a most rich collar, full of great pearls and many other jewels, in four rows, and in his bonnet he had a pear-shaped pearl, which seems to me something most rich. Your lordship has heard from many of this king’s wisdom and ways. I can testify to this, and need add no more” – Milanese ambassador Raimondo de Raimondi
  • “his body was slender but well built and strong; his height above the average. His appearance was remarkably attractive and his face was cheerful, especially when speaking; his eyes were small and blue, his teeth few, poor and blackish; His hair thin and white, his complexion sallow. His spirit was distinguished, wise and prudent; his mind was brave and resolute and never, even at moments of the greatest danger, deserted him” – Polydore Vergil
  • “after he reached the age of understanding, he was handed over to the best and most upright instructors to be taught the first principles of literature. He was endowed with such sharp mental powers and such great natural vigour and comprehension that even as a young boy he learned everything pertaining to religious instruction rapidly and thoroughly, with little effort from his teachers. Indeed, at this time the highest disposition for virtue shone forth in the boy, and he was so attentive in reading and listening to the divine office that all who watched him saw signs of his future goodness and success. When as a young man he was initiated into the first principles of literature, he surpassed his peers with the same quick intellect he had displayed as a boy” – Bernard Andre