Painstaking research by Harold don, Professor Bethany Russell, has revealed that Henry VIII, famous for having six wives, was also a first class bricklayer who played an active part in the building of many of the great palaces attributed to him.
According to recently discovered papers, there was nothing he liked better after a hard day conducting the affairs of state, than to spend a couple of hours working on the intricate brick tracery of Hampton Court Palace with a trowel in his hand.
Sadly, it is now believed that the very scaffolding used to stage the executions of Queens Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard had actually been erected by Henry in order to do a little repointing work.
Professor Russell has discovered that the future tyrannical monarch started his career as a hod carrier. “The prince was an immensely strong and practical man.” explained the professor. “His elder brother, Arthur, had been expected to inherit the throne, so the young Henry was encouraged by his father, Henry VII, a notable miser, to assist in the palace building programme, partly to save money but also to give the boy a trade.”
“This is a major departure from conventional thought,” continued Professor Russell “usually, when it is said that a building was built by a king, it is assumed that the monarch just commissioned the work, keeping well away from the building site, but claiming the acclaim if the building was a success. Now we can’t be so sure that they weren‘t actively involved.”
Professor Russell’ discovery has led historians to frantically re-examine royal archives. Already, a team is checking the long running rumour that Queen Victoria regularly assisted in the building of the Houses of Parliament by handing out mugs of tea. Another team is puzzling over an obscure reference in Samuel Pepys’ diary, suggesting that Charles II just couldn’t get enough of his oxy-acetylene welder, and are wondering if the Merrie Monarch may have started the Great Fire of London.