- NAME: Henry VIII
- OCCUPATION: Political Leader, King
- BIRTH DATE: June 28, 1491
- DEATH DATE: January 28, 1547
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Greenwich, London, England, United Kingdom
- PLACE OF DEATH: London, England, United Kingdom
- Originally: Henry Tudor
- AKA: King Henry VIII
- AKA: Henry VIII
- AKA: Henry VIII of England
Best Known For
Henry VIII, king of England, was famously married six times and played a critical role in the English Reformation, turning his country into a Protestant nation.
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Henry Tudor was born at Greenwich Palace in 1491. Following the death of his brother, he became Henry VIII, king of England. He married six times and initiated the English Reformation.
You know he had six wives, but there was a lot more to this famous king.
Discover the origins of the English Reformation.
Though little is known about William Shakespeare's personal life, his works such as "Hamlet," "Romeo and Juliet," and "King Lear," have influenced literature and theater for over 400 years.
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Anne, regal and calm, denied all charges against her. Four days later, Henry's marriage to Anne was annulled and declared invalid. Anne Boleyn was then taken to the Tower Green, where she was given a private beheading. Within 24 hours of Anne's execution, Jane Seymour and Henry VIII formally wed.
In October 1537, Jane Seymour produced Henry's long-hoped-for son. It was a difficult pregnancy. The baby, named Edward, was christened on October 15, and Jane died nine days later from a pregnancy-related infection. Henry considered Jane to be his only "true" wife. He and his court mourned for an extended period of time after her passing.
Three years later, Henry was ready to marry again, mainly to ensure the succession of his crown. He inquired in foreign courts about the appearances of available women. Anne, the sister of the Duke of Cleves, was suggested. The German artist Hans Holbein the Younger, who served as the king's official painter, was sent out to create a portrait of her. Henry disapproved of Anne in the flesh and divorced her after six months. She received the title of "The King's Sister" and was given Hever Castle as ample residence.
Within weeks, Henry married the very young Catherine Howard, a first cousin to Anne Boleyn. Henry, 49, and Catherine, 19, started out a happy pair. Henry was now dealing with tremendous weight gain and a bad leg. His new wife gave him zest for life, and he repaid her with a lavish gifts. But happiness would not last long for the couple. A pretty woman, Catherine began seeking the attention of men her own age—a tremendously dangerous endeavor for the queen of England. After an investigation into her behavior, she was deemed guilty of adultery. On February 13, 1452, Henry had Catherine executed on the Tower Green.
Independent and well-educated, Catherine Parr was Henry's last and sixth wife. She was the daughter of Maud Green, a lady-in-waiting to Henry's first wife, Catherine of Aragon. Maud named her daughter after the queen; thus Henry's last wife was named after his first. Parr was a twice-made widow. The two were married in 1543.
The most well-documented incident of Catherine Parr's life was her effort to ban books, a truly horrible act under her husband's leadership that practically got her arrested. When Henry came to admonish her for her brash actions, she submitted to him, saying she was merely looking to create a circumstance when he could teach her the proper way to behave. Henry accepted the sentiment, either true or devised, saving her from a brutal end.
As a middle-aged man, Henry became covered with pus-filled boils and possibly suffered from gout. It was a jousting accident that opened a violent wound in his leg. The wound ulcerated and left him unable to play sports. His eventual obesity required that he be moved with mechanical inventions. His habit of binge-eating highly fatty meats was perhaps a symptom of stress. A recent and credible theory suggests that he suffered from untreated type II diabetes.
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