I have been coming to Manhattan often. At least once every century. Back then Manhattan was known as “Manahatta”. The island’s original residents, the Lenape (Delaware) called it Manahatta - meaning a place for gathering wood to make bows.
Even 500 years ago, you could find whatever you needed here. Forests filled with fruit. An abundance of trees. Waterways teeming with fish. But for all its enchantments today, the city’s exuberance remains ephemeral for me.
From a royal perspective there are at least SIX reasons I hate visiting Manhattan…
First, I hate the museums in this city. Especially those that do not feature appropriately the greatness of Tudor history. They focus more on the painful memories and not on the extraordinary wealth created by our family during the eventful rule of just over a hundred years.
The MET has over 2 million works of art, but not many of those feature my reign. The museum has more than 2000 European paintings, but I wonder how many of them are my portraits? I could easily hide behind one of the old paintings though – a Vermeer, Rembrandt, Caravaggio or a Raphael, and nobody would know there was a wicked king hiding behind them!
I also hate the libraries in Manhattan. Especially the New York Public Library. Its main branch building in Fifth Avenue boasts over 2.5 million volumes, but I wonder how many are about my monarchy?
The library’s majestic Rose Reading Room measures roughly the length of two city blocks, and with 52-foot-tall ceilings it displays murals of nature, but not a single portrait of me!
All members of the public are welcome to the library. In fact, they could even book the place for a wedding. As if everyone were equal and had the same access. No exclusivity, no royal privileges. I tell you this is just not the place for the King of England.
I hate the bright lights around Times Square and the crowds - especially around this time of the year. One could easily get lost here with not a ghost of a chance to be found.
More than a hundred years ago Times Square was called Longacre Square, and then the newspaper office moved here, changing the square’s name. 50 million people visit this place every year. Quite a busy place, I say. Hundreds of thousands of pedestrians pass through Times Square each day.
A bit too pedestrian for a king, I might add.
I hate the Central Park too. It is the first public park built in America. In the heart of the city, amidst all the concrete, glass, roads, and traffic this green landscaped patch attracts 25 million guests every year. It has many statues and monuments. But not even one is dedicated to me. Forget a full statue, there is not even a bust to remind people of my greatness.
How incompetent, inhospitable, and inconsiderate indeed…
I hate being around on July 4th in New York. They have the world’s largest fireworks show. A thousand shells burst per minute in the night sky. Precisely timed to fire with the beat of the music.
All this fanfare to celebrate independence from us…really?
Finally - I hate Broadway. Especially the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. This is an old theatre built almost a hundred years ago, the seats are tight, and the passages are narrow. Hardly worthy of a king’s visit, I say. But then I was told they are featuring a play to make fun of me, so I decided to pay them a visit.
It’s called “SIX The Musical”, and it is about my SIX wives. Each one of them competes to crib, criticize, and complain about me.
This highly rated play is an all-female cast including the musicians and band members.
Each queen sings a catchy song adopting a different musical style, inspired by the likes of Adele, Alicia, and Ariana to Beyonce and Britney. The show was shut down on opening night itself by the pandemic.
A bit ironic, I say. But after 18 months in quarantine, it is finally out.
I just can’t stand it.
I’m Henry the VIII. I had SIX sorry wives.
Some might say, I ruined their lives…
PS: If you have not heard the rhyme: Divorced, Beheaded and Died; Divorced, Beheaded, Survived, check this out: