Henry grew up to resemble his royal namesake in several ways
In foreign affairs, Henry’s Court acted as a kind of shadow government. Although rarely permitted by his security-obsessed father to venture far beyond his palace, the young Prince sponsored expeditions to the new World, patronised navigators, scientists and Continental artists and, with the Grand Tour just developing, utilised young english travellers as go-betweens with european leaders.
He turned frequently to Sir Walter Raleigh, a prisoner in the Tower, for advice. On the question of his marriage, he came into open conflict with James, whose priority was to obtain a handsome dowry to replenish his coffers, regardless of the bride’s faith. ‘Why,’ Henry instructed his comptroller Sir John Holles to write, ‘should the heir of england be sold?’ At the time of his death, the country was entangled in parallel negotiations with several Courts over the matter.
The author is too serious a scholar to speculate about what kind of king Henry would have been had he lived to assume the throne instead of his brother, Charles. Indeed, he emerges from this excellent book as someone so encumbered with the hopes of others that he may have had no idea himself what type of ruler he wished to be.