In later years Henry was a quick tempered, heartless bully who dispatched his wives as quickly as he was married them and who executed his friends when they did not get for him what he wanted. Henry was a adult, but it seems he grew in stature but not in mind. That said, it is easy to forget that he was once a small boy, who by the time of his beloved mother's death in childbirth, had lost his older and younger brothers and a baby sister who had died three days after her birth.
His father Henry VII, was said to have been devastated by Elizabeth's death and "privily departed to a solitary place and would no man should resort unto him." was distant from the boy.
These few facts are nicely illustrated in the above image, a painting that had lain unseen in the National Library of Wales. Called the Vaux Passional, it once belonged to Joan Vaux, Lady Guilford, whose family had been members of the royal court during the time of Henry VI. Jane, was close to Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, was ‘lady governess’ to princesses Margaret and Mary, they called her ‘Mother Guilford’. In the illustration we can see a king being presented with a book whilst two girls, sit at the end of a bed, their heads draped in black fabric.
What is interesting is the image of a distressed red headed boy who is lying across the bed. According to Dr Maredudd ap Huw, it is probable that the figures behind the king are princesses Margaret and Mary and Prince Henry.
Maybe it was Joan Vaux who commissioned this work as a reminder of the loss of a friend, a queen, but most of all a mother. If this is the case then it shows us Henry VIII as emotionally vulnerable, maybe it was this one moment that changed Henry into the tyrant he was to become.