H E N R
Henry VIII , Tudor king of England ( 1509-1547 ),
and founder of the Church of England . The son of Henry VII , he profoundly influenced the character of the English monarchy . Henry was born in London on June 28 , 1491 , and on the death of his father in 1509 succeeded to the throne ( his elder brother Arthur having died in 1502 ) . He then married his brother’s widow , Catherine of Aragon , having been betrother to her through a papal dispensation secured in 1503 . This was the first of Henry’s six marriages , all of which were affected by the political and religious conditions of the time and by the monarch’s increasingly despotic behaviour . At the beginning of his reign Henry’s good looks and hearty personality his fondness for sport and the hunt , and his military prowess endeared him to his subjects . A monarch of the Renaissance , he entertained numerous scholars and artists , including the German painter Hans Holbein the Younger who painted several portraits of the king and members of his court . A Question of Divorce In 1511 Henry joined in the Holy League against France and in 1513 he led the English forces through a victorious campaign in northern France .
Meanwhile France’s ally James IV of Scotland , Henry’s brother-in-law
, led an invasion of northern England that was crushed in September 1513 at Flodden Field by Henry’s commander Thomas Howard , 2nd Duke of Norfolk with the death of the king and many Scottish nobles . Deserted by his allies , Henry arranged a marriage in 1514 between his sister Mary and Louis XII of France , with whom he formed an alliance . Louis’s successor , Francis I , met Henry at a magnificently stages meeting on the Field of Cloth of Gold in 1520 but no significant political decisions resulted . In 1521 Henry arranged the death of his counsellor Edward Stafford , 3th Duke of Buckingham , one of the few nobles with a potential claim to the throne . In 1525 riots broke out in England in protest against an attempt by Henry to levy taxes for military purposes and he withdrew from major military activity in Europe . In 1527 Henry announced his desire to divorce his wife , on the grounds that the papal dispensation making the marriage possible was invalid . The chief reason for the divorce was that Catherine had failed to produce a male heir . Her only surviving child was Mary later Mary I of England . In addition , Henry was in love Anne Boleyn , a young and beautiful lady-in-waiting of the queen . Several obstacles however stood in the way of the divorce . Holy Roman Emperor Charles V , Catherine’s nephew ,
strongly opposed the divorce , and Pope Clement VII , whom Charles had made a prisoner could not invalidate the marriage without displeasing his captor . In 1528 the pope was persuaded to appoint Henry’s chief minister , the English cardinal and statesman Thomas Wolsey , and Lorenzo Camppegio ,
a papal legate , to try the case in an English legatine court . In 1529 the pope summoned the case to Rome . When the prospect of securing a papal annulment seemed hopeless , Henry dismissed Wolsey , who died soon after in disgrace , and appointed the humanist scholar and statesman Sir Thomas More as Lord Chancellor . The latter , however , was reluctant to support the divorce . The Break with the Papacy Henry now preceeded to dissolve one by one the ties to the papacy . With the aid of parliamentary legislation , he first secured control of the clergy , compelling that group in 1532 to acknowledge him as head of the English Church . In the following year Henry secretly married Anne Boleyn , who was crowned Queen after Henry’s obedient Archbishop of Canterbury , Thomas Cranmer , declared the marriage with Catherine void and that with Anne valid . An act of succession affirmed the declaration of the archbishop and established Anne’s progeny as heirs to the throne . Henry’s new chief minister Thomas Cromwell , a former follower of Wolsey , began a reform of the English Church but also of governmental machinery : introducing important centralizing and organizational changes dubbed by some “the Tudor revolution in government” . Although Hehry was immediately excommunicated , he repudiated papal jurisdiction in 1534 and made himself the supreme ecclesiastical authority inEngland with the aid of compliant bishops such as Stephen Gardiner . The English people were required to affirm under oath Henry’s supremacy and the act of succession . However , early hopes by Protestant radicals such as William Tyndale to introduce the Reformation into England were broadly thwarted : apart from the issue of papal supremacy Henry remained conservative in matters of doctrine . Nonetheless , an English translation of the Bible by Miles Coverdale was officially published in 1535 . Sir Thomas More and the English cardinal John Fisher were executed for refusing to accept the religious supremacy of the English monarch . Henry ordered the dissolution of the monasteries and gave much of their property to the nobles in exchange for their support . a short-lived rebellion in northern England against this policy , the Pilgrimage of Grace was soon suppressed by Thomas Howard , 3th Duke of Norfolk . Henry soon tired of Anne boleyn , and in 1536 after charging her with incest and adultery he had her executed . A few days after Anne’s death he married Jane Seymour , Thomas Howard’s niece , who died in 1537 after bearing Henry’s only legitimate son , Edward , later Edward VI .
A marriage was arranged in 1540 with Anne of Cleves in order to form a tie between England and the Protestand princes of Germany . Because he thought Anne unattractive and because Henry found the political alliance no longer to his advantage , he divorced her after several months and married Catherine Howard another niece of Thomas Howard in the same year . Cromwell who had arranged the marriage with Anne , fell from favour and was executed in 1540 . Catherine was executed summarily in 1542 for having been unchaste prior to marriage and having commited adultery . In the following year Henry married his sixth wife , Catherine Parr , who survived him . Between 1542 and 1546 Henry was involved in war with Scotland and France . His troops defeated the Scots at Solway Moss in 1542 . they captured Boulogne from the French in 1544 , and when peace was made in 1546 Henry received an indemnity from France . Meanwhile ,
his growing paranoia led to disgrace for the Howards : the poet Henry Howard , Earl of Surrey was arrested and executed in 1547 , and Thomas Howard was only saved by the king’s death . Henry died in London on January 28 , 1547.
And so ,
this is the end .