A dynast with a string of wives may bring to mind Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury and a key player in Henry the Eighth’s rebellion against Rome, for it was Cranmer that created the rationale for separating from the papacy, aligning the Anglican Church with the Protestant Reformation. After Henry’s death, Cranmer would be martyred during the brutal reign of Queen Mary, Henry’s daughter, appropriately called “Bloody” Mary for her ruthless suppression of Protestantism.
But it was an earlier King Henry and an earlier Thomas, Archbishop of Canterbury, that recently appeared in our invasive news cycle. In response to a question from Maine Senator Angus King, former FBI Director James Comey quoted a line attributed to Henry the Second, “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?” That violent rhetoric, spoken by a king, was interpreted by his knights as an order to assassinate the Archbishop, Thomas Becket, which they promptly did, leaving his brains on the floor of Canterbury Cathedral. Continue reading →