‘England’s Brexit Under Henry VIII’ Dr David Starkey CBE
About 100 members enjoyed drinks and supper in the Orangery before moving to the Marlborough Room for a Lecture by David Starkey, the noted constitutional historian and television presenter.
He drew on his specialist knowledge of Tudor history to give us a tour de force which took us through the process of King Henry VIII’s separation from Rome, which he named as the first Brexit. He argued that our separateness from Europe is part of our historical DNA, and stems from the political actions of Henry VIII in separating from Rome and proclaiming himself head of the Church in England. He described Henry’s actions as stemming from his desire for Anne Boleyn, but that he was also able to tap into an English desire for independence and self-determination, which finds echoes in the reasons why the country voted in June 2017 to leave the European Union in the Brexit Referendum.
David Starkey’s lively and controversial talk was enlivened with many witty anecdotes and asides, and kept the audience entertained and engaged for an hour.
We were, as always, very grateful both to our speaker, but also to his Grace the Duke of Marlborough, for allowing us to use Blenheim Palace for our Autumn Lecture.