Good eye for talent:  Wolsey, More, Cromwell
Survived pretenders, excommunication, rebellions, and the threat of foreign invasion.
Henry was a Renaissance prince: superbly educated, the first English king to publish a book, earning the title “Defender of the
Faith” from the Pope.
Cut an imposing figure in Europe, despite England’s status as a second rate European power.
Defied the papacy and Catholic Europe to create a national church under firmly under royal control.
Brought the English Bible to his subjects.
Henry allowed Parliament to gain increased legitimacy and power as a representative and legislative institution.
Henry was a great builder:  Whitehall, Nonsuch, St. James.
The English realm emerged with new administrative "wholeness":  incorporation of Wales into the kingdom of England.
The emergence of the Privy Council as a supreme omni-competent governing institution.
No English king achieved such a quantum leap in state power as Henry VIII

Routinely disposed of good talent:  Wolsey, More, Cromwell.
Two great fortunes lost: Henry died in debt with a debased coinage.
Relations with Scotland were left in a bloody mess when Henry died.
Ignored new world possibilities for unrealistic dreams of conquest in France.
Efforts to secure the Tudor succession were very costly for the end result!
Henry’s “Reformation” bequeathed an unrivaled religious discord, bitter and complex.
The Royal Supremacy of the Church was more onerous than papacy- The English church paid three times the taxes to the
“Supreme head” than to the Pope!
The Dissolution of Monasteries:  loss of countless buildings, essential social services, and priceless works of Catholic art, lost
The depletion of monastic educational foundations not made up until the 19th century!
Henry failed to use monastic wealth for social, educational, and charitable purposes as promised!
Henry was a lousy husband and fathe

The Pros
Good eye for talent:  William Cecil (Lord Burghley), Walsingham, Sir Thomas Smith.
Kept herself well informed, encouraged diversity of opinion.  
John Guy:  Elizabethan court was characterized by homogeneity.
Elizabeth (and brother Edward VI) best educated monarch to ever occupy English throne:  a true Renaissance prince!
Unlike sister Mary, who was dogmatic in religion, Elizabeth kept her religious beliefs to herself, was pragmatic in regards to
Elizabethan religious settlement, the creation of Anglican Church, Elizabeth's most enduring achievement.
Like her grandfather Henry VII, Elizabeth was a sound financial manager, kept budgets balanced until 1585, left debt of only
Elizabeth co-opted gendered functions of kingship, represented herself as king and queen.
Elizabeth was the most skillful diplomat of 16th century Europe.
Good public relations:  Elizabeth knew how to package herself for public consumption, in dress, comportment, and interactions
with subjects.
Elizabeth's reign saw a flowering in Tudor arts, particularly literature, which we call the Elizabethan age.
Elizabeth was lucky, avoiding Spanish invasion of 1588, living long enough to ensure a peaceful succession to James I.

The Cons
Elizabeth was vain, deceitful, and possessed a bad temper, often employed for political purposes.
Her refusal to marry or name an heir caused great anxiety to her Privy Council, parliaments, and her subjects from 1558 to the
Her sexual jealousy made the lives of her ladies in waiting miserable.
Elizabeth chose some ministers because she was sexually attracted to them:  Leicester, Christopher Hatton, Earl of Essex.
Elizabeth drove her ministers crazy with procrastination, especially concerning weighty matters.
Elizabeth did not seek to carve out a new world empire.
Elizabeth encouraged piracy.
Elizabeth was a reluctant commander-in-chief. Raleigh:  "she did everything in halves".
Elizabeth failed to innovate her tax structure, remained within traditional bounds of finance.
Elizabeth "winked" at official corruption in her government.
Elizabeth bequeathed significant structural problems in religion and government to her Stuart successors.
John Guy:  "Whether Elizabethan government is judged 'brittle' or 'durable' is a matter for legitimate debate.  The simple fact
is:  while Elizabeth lived, it worked."