Born: 28 June 1491, Greenwich Palace, (near) London UK
Died: 28 January 1547, Whitehall Palace, London UK
Henry VIII Parents
Henry VIII was the second son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. He became heir to the throne on the death of his elder brother, Prince Arthur, in 1502 and succeeded in 1509.
Henry VIII Childhood
Although we think of Henry VIII as the large man he became in later life, he was actually an athletic youth and enjoyed tennis and hunting. He was also highly intelligent, spoke French, Latin and Spanish, played many instruments and was a devout Christian.
Tudor Dynasty (1484 - 1603)The sovereigns of the Tudor dynasty are among the most well-known figures in Royal history. They made England one of the leading European colonial powers, with men such as Sir Walter Raleigh taking part in the conquest of the New World.
- Henry VII (r. 1485-1509): Henry VII ended the Wars of the Roses between the houses of Lancaster and York to found the highly successful Tudor house.
- Henry VIII (r.1509-1547): Son of Henry VII.
- Lady Jane Grey (r. 10-19 July 1553): Jane reigned for only nine days and was later executed with her husband in 1554. Find out more about Lady Jane Grey.
- Edward VI (r.1547-1553): Son of Henry VII.
- Mary I (r.1553-1558): Daughter of Henry VII.
- Elizabeth I (r.1558-1603): Daughter of Henry VII.
Henry VIII Accession
- 22 April 1509: Proclaimed King of England.
- 24 June 1509: Crowned King of England.
English ReformationBy 1520s Henry VIII wanted a male heir and although Katherine of Aragon gave birth to six children, only one daughter had survived. He fell in love with Anne Boleyn and asked the Pope for an annulment of his marriage on the grounds that it had never been legal.
Royal divorces had occurred before but a previous Pope had given a special license for Henry to marry his brother's widow in 1509.
In May 1529, Cardinal Wolsey, the powerful English minister, was unable to persuade the Pope. Thomas Cromwell (Henry's chief adviser from 1532 onwards) went to Parliament and created new laws (Acts) bringing about the English Reformation and breakaway from the Catholic Church.
By 1533, Henry VIII succeeded in marrying Anne Boleyn and the Pope responded with excommunication. In 1534 the king was 'the only supreme head of the Church of England'.
Henry VIII WivesHenry VIII had six wives. In chronological order:
- 1. Katherine of Aragon - Married 11 June 1509. Divorced 23 May 1533.
- 2. Anne Boleyn - Married 25 January 1533. Beheaded 19 May 1536.
- 3. Jane Seymour - Married 30 May 1536. Died 24 October 1537.
- 4. Anne of Cleves - Married 6 January 1540. Divorced 9-12 July 1540.
- 5. Katherine Howard - Married 28 July 1540. Beheaded 15 February 1542.
- 6. Katheryn Parr - Married 12 July 1543. Survived.
If you want to be technical, you could say Henry VIII only really had three wives as his marriages to Katherine of Aragon, Anne of Cleves and Anne Boleyn were annulled (Anne Boleyn's marriage was annulled before her execution).
Henry VIII ChildrenHenry VIII had four surviving children, only three legitimate.
- Princess Mary, later Queen Mary I, born 1516 to Katherine of Aragon.
- Henry Fitzroy, born 1519, to Elizabeth Blount.
- Princess Elizabeth, later Queen Elizabeth I, born 1533 to Anne Boleyn.
- Prince Edward, later King Edward VI, born 1536 to Jane Seymour.