This week in Mash History: Henry VIII sits through a really boring mass, 1528

THE schism between England and the Catholic Church, widely considered the Brexit of the 16th century, decided our future for centuries. 

But did Henry VIII, the country’s cuddliest king, mastermind the papal break because of his need for a divorce and a male heir? Or was he motivated by finding sitting through a whole mass fucking deadly?

To quote from the personal papers of Cardinal Wolsey: “My worries for our King deepen day by day. On asking what wisdom the Lord blessed him with, he replied ‘Wisdom? All I heard was a dullard priest droning on for an hour and a sodding half in Latin.’

“His Majesty has grown overfond of lavish entertainment, of society balls or the thrill of a three-day hunt. I advised the altar server to give it extra welly with the incense, but he did not deign to notice and I spied his head nod during the transubstantiation of the Eucharist. And that’s the fun bit.

“His love of the lavish even made the dawn mass that bit more arduous for him. Though Henry claims never to have suffered the dark consequences of mead, yet he was still seen to have inhaled a barrel of ale yestereve.

“I doubt this lingering poison will have made his reception of the homily on the holy virtues of fasting any jollier. He has confided in me honestly about the trials of his faith, from his disaffection towards his lady Queen to the vast sums of taxation the Vatican demands.

“Yet it is my honest opinion that he would have forgiven these faults were it not for this morning’s stunningly slow rendition of the Lord’s Prayer. I fear the depths of boredom the King was forced to may cause him to act rashly.”

And so, despite warnings that Protestantism wouldn’t be any more exciting, the King was set in his desire to reform the Church and burn every last monastery to the ground out of revenge.

Next week: to 1970, when The Sun newspaper’s Page 3 invented tits.

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Your astrological week ahead, with Psychic Bob

Aries, March 21st–April 19th

“And so the King now retreats into his shell, not to emerge for a thousand years. Such a wonderful occasion.”

Taurus, April 20th–May 20th

Asking for ‘novelty penis pasta’ in Italy will get you laughed out of the restaurant. They’re called bellendini.

Gemini, May 21st–June 21st

You pursue excellence in everything you do. Catch it? Oh no, you don’t fucking catch it.

Cancer, June 22nd–July 22nd

Keep your neighbours guessing about your stance on the Royals by serving them a beautiful dish of Coronation swan.

Leo, July 23rd–August 22nd

A call centre operative takes off his headset, stands up, and places the call that was most important to him that day reverently on a shelf.

Virgo, August 23rd–September 22nd

Why don’t bands do tours of oil rigs? There’s a captive audience. Someone like Kaiser Chiefs could clean up.

Libra, September 23rd–October 22nd

Always give up your seat on the train for someone if they look pregnant, particularly if they’re six-three and wearing a Millwall shirt.

Scorpio, October 23rd–November 22nd

Prince Charles is a Scorpio. Nothing big happening for you guys this weekend, unfortunately.

Sagittarius, November 22nd–December 21st

15-year-olds in Friends T-shirts is like 90s teens going around with Dad’s Army patches on their jackets: fucking wrong.

Capricorn, December 22nd–January 19th

If you’re worried about AI taking your job, takes AI’s job instead. Answer every question you’re asked in a weird, stilted manner and stop saying fuck altogether.

Aquarius, January 20th–February 18th

You can’t decide which festival to go to: Reading or Leeds. They both have such great line-ups!

Pisces, February 19th–March 20th

Cheat the cost-of-living crisis by nicking money and refusing to pay rent or any of your utilities. Also works in Monopoly.