Anne Boleyn, Anne of Cleves, Carlos I of Spain, Catherine Howard, Catherine of Aragon, Catherine Parr, Elizabeth of York, Elizabeth Woodville, Henry VII of England, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, Jane Seymour, King Edward IV of England, King Edward VI of England, King François I of France, King Henry VIII of England, King James V of Scotland
Henry VIII (June 28, 1491 – January 28, 1547) was King of England from 1509 until his death in 1547. Henry was the third child and second son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, the eldest child of King Edward IV and his wife, Elizabeth Woodville.
Henry is best known for his six marriages, and, in particular, his efforts to have his first marriage (to Catherine of Aragon) annulled. His disagreement with Pope Clement VII on the question of such an annulment led Henry to initiate the English Reformation, separating the Church of England from papal authority. He appointed himself the Supreme Head of the Church of England and dissolved convents and monasteries, for which he was excommunicated. Henry is also known as “the father of the Royal Navy,” as he invested heavily in the navy, increasing its size from a few to more than 50 ships, and established the Navy Board.
Henry VIII, King of England and Ireland.
Domestically, Henry VIII is known for his radical changes to the English Constitution, ushering in the theory of the divine right of kings. He also greatly expanded royal power during his reign. He frequently used charges of treason and heresy to quell dissent, and those accused were often executed without a formal trial by means of bills of attainder.
King Henry VIII achieved many of his political aims through the work of his chief ministers, some of whom were banished or executed when they fell out of his favour. Thomas Wolsey, Thomas More, Thomas Cromwell, Richard Rich, and Thomas Cranmer all figured prominently in his administration.
King Henry VIII was an extravagant spender, using the proceeds from the dissolution of the monasteries and acts of the Reformation Parliament. He also converted the money that was formerly paid to Rome into royal revenue. Despite the money from these sources, he was continually on the verge of financial ruin due to his personal extravagance, as well as his numerous costly and largely unsuccessful wars, particularly with King François I of France, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, James V of Scotland and the Scottish regency under the Earl of Arran and Mary of Guise.
King François I of France.
Charles V (Carlos I), Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain.
James V, King of Scots.
At home, he oversaw the legal union of England and Wales with the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542, and he was the first English monarch to rule as King of Ireland following the Crown of Ireland Act 1542.
Henry’s contemporaries considered him an attractive, educated, and accomplished king. He has been described as “one of the most charismatic rulers to sit on the English throne”. He was an author and composer. As he aged, however, he became severely overweight and his health suffered, causing his death in 1547. He is frequently characterised in his later life as a lustful, egotistical, harsh and insecure king. He was succeeded by his son Edward VI.