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Henry Tudor was born on June 28, 1491 in Greenwich Palace. He was never expected to become king. Then his brother, Arthur, the Prince of Wales, died. A treaty was signed that made Catherine of Aragon, Arthur's widow, marry Henry. Catherine was the first of his six wives.
Henry was 18 years old when he became king. At this time, he was known to be very handsome, thin, and athletic. Today, however, people remember him as the old, fat, and extremely ill-tempered king.
For the first twenty years of his reign, he left a lot of his work for his counselor to do. Occasionally, Henry would participate in the display of the "Field of Gold" in France. Here, he met the French king to wrestle, dance, talk, and watch tournaments.
In 1511, Henry joined the Holy League against France. Two years later, he led the English forces in a successful campaign in France. Later, he arranged a marriage between his sister, Mary, and Louis XII. Louis formed an alliance with Henry. In 1525, riots broke out, protesting against Henry attempting to levy taxes for military purposes, so he withdrew from major military activity in Europe.
In 1527, Henry announced that he would like to divorce his wife. The marriage was supposedly invalid. The main reason was that Catherine was unable to have a son. Her only surviving child was Mary (later Mary I of England). In addition, Henry was in love with Anne Boleyn. However, there were several obstacles in the way of the divorce. Many people opposed it. When the Pope would not allow Henry to divorce Caroline, he became furious and turned against his minister, Wolsey. Henry had the man arrested on acts of treason. It was then Henry secretly married Anne. Anne became queen after his marriage with Caroline was declared void, and his marriage with Anne valid by Thomas Cranmer. Soon afterwards, it was publicly announced that Henry and Anne were wed. People questioned the Pope on this, and the English church went their separate way from Rome. All payments to Rome were stopped, appeals to the Pope's court weren't allowed, and the Pope's authority in England was done away with. Henry was declared the "Supreme Head of the Church of England". He could not deny this title or it was an act of treason. A few changes were made in the church services, and the Bible was translated into English. Printed copies of it were put in the churches. Many people rebelled. Henry reformed the laws and acting of the church, but he refused to change any of its theories.
Anne had one child, who became Elizabeth I. Henry soon got tired of Anne and had her executed for adultery.
Only a few days after Anne's death, Henry married Jane Seymour. A year later, she got sick and died. Then he was led to believe that a German princess, Anne of Cleves, was beautiful, so he married her next. When he found out she was really unattractive, and that he'd been tricked, he divorced her and beheaded the minister that married them.
Henry's fifth wife, Catherine Howard, was executed as well for adultery. The last of Henry's wives, Catherine Parr, somehow managed to survive Henry and his cruelty.
From 1542-1546, Henry was involved in war with Scotland and France. His troops defeated Scotland in 1542, and in 1546, they captured Boulogne from the French. Peace was made in 1546. Henry died in London on January 28, 1547.
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British people, English people, European people, House of Tudor, Annulment, Cultural depictions of Henry VIII of England, Knights of the Golden Fleece, Knights of the Garter, Henry VIII of England, Anne Boleyn, Catherine of Aragon, Anne of Cleves
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