Henry VIII

King of England from 1509 to 1547 / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Henry VIII (28 June 1491  28 January 1547) was King of England from 22 April 1509 until his death in 1547. Henry is known for his six marriages and his efforts to have his first marriage (to Catherine of Aragon) annulled. His disagreement with Pope Clement VII about such an annulment led Henry to initiate the English Reformation, separating the Church of England from papal authority. He appointed himself Supreme Head of the Church of England and dissolved convents and monasteries, for which he was excommunicated by the pope.

Quick facts: Henry VIII, King of England Lord/King of Irel...
Henry VIII
Full-length portrait of King Henry VIII
King of England
Lord/King of Ireland
Reign22 April 1509 – 28 January 1547
Coronation24 June 1509
PredecessorHenry VII
SuccessorEdward VI
Born28 June 1491
Palace of Placentia, Greenwich, England
Died28 January 1547 (aged 55)
Palace of Whitehall, Westminster, England
Burial16 February 1547
(m. 1509; ann. 1533)
(m. 1533; ann. 1536)
(m. 1536; died 1537)
(m. 1540; ann. 1540)
(m. 1540; died 1542)
(m. 1543)
FatherHenry VII of England
MotherElizabeth of York
SignatureHenry VIII's signature

Henry brought radical changes to the Constitution of England, expanding royal power and ushering in the theory of the divine right of kings in opposition to papal supremacy. He frequently used charges of treason and heresy to quell dissent, and those accused were often executed without a formal trial using bills of attainder. He 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 and Thomas Cranmer all figured prominently in his administration.

Henry was an extravagant spender, using the proceeds from the dissolution of the monasteries and acts of the Reformation Parliament. He converted the money that was formerly paid to Rome into royal revenue. Despite the money from these sources, he was often on the verge of financial ruin due to personal extravagance as well as costly and largely unproductive wars, particularly with King Francis I of France, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, King James V of Scotland and the Scottish regency under the Earl of Arran and Mary of Guise. He expanded the Royal Navy, oversaw the annexation of Wales to England with the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542 and 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" and his reign described as the "most important" in English history.[1][2] He was an author and composer. As he aged, he became severely overweight and his health suffered. He is frequently characterised in his later life as a lustful, egotistical, paranoid and tyrannical monarch.[3] He was succeeded by his son Edward VI.

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