Henry VIII, his life and his six wives

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Henry VIII, his life and his six wives

  • About his life

  • About his wives

Vypracovaly Helena Habová a Lenka Milbachrová (mcrA1)

Henry VIII and his life

Henry VIII was born on June 28, 1491. His father and mother, Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, were loving parents, although they saw little of their children. Henry, their second son, was styled the Duke of York. He had his own servants and a fool named John Goose. He even had a whipping boy who was punished when Henry did something wrong. In 1509 Henry VII died of tuberculosis and his son became King Henry VIII. He was 17.

In his youth he was athletic and highly intelligent. He spoke good French, Latin and Spanish; and was very religious; heard three masses daily when he hunted .He was fond of hunting and also of tennis.
Henry's scholarly interests included writing both books and music, and he was a lavish patron of the arts.

He had to marry Catherine of Aragon, because she was widow after his brother Arthur and she was daughter of Spanish king Ferdinand and Spain was very important country at that time,so it seemed to be advantageous to marry her just by political reason.

At the beginning of his reign, he was very young so he let Wolsey, the first minister he named and later the lord Chancellor to care about kingdom and the Pope gave Wolsey privilegue to control the church in England.

During his reign, Henry VIII. tried to make feudal england an imperium. He made several invasions to France,some of them the most extensive since Henry V. times.

Henry joined Pope Julius II, King Ferdinand II of Aragón, Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, and the Venetians in their Holy League against France. In 1512 the attack was organised by Wolsey and Henry himself was at the head of army in 1513. They went from Calais and after Battle of Heels in Guinegatte he took control over the cities Thérouanne and Tournai.

A more popular conflict, which occurred during Henry's absence, was the victory (1513) of Thomas Howard, second duke of Norfolk, at Flodden over the invading Scottish forces under James IV.

Changes in the diplomatic situation following the death of Ferdinand (1516) enabled Wolsey, now chancellor, to negotiate a new alliance with France, soon including all the major European powers in universal peace (1518).

Than the election of Ferdinand's grandson, already king of Spain, as Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. in 1519 happened. Henry joined Charles in war against France in 1522 and he reached to 50 miles from Paris, he spent huge sums on displays and tournaments at the Field of the Cloth of Gold, but when Charles won a decisive victory over Francis at Pavia (1525), England was denied to get any of the spoils.

Henry also invested in the navy, and increased its size from 5 to 53 ships (including the Mary Rose, the remains of which lie in the Portsmouth Naval Museum).

But Henry was also critisezed by humanists as Colet, Erazmus or More-they didn´t agree with wars.

Henry and Wolsey tried to control the alarming rise of imperial power by an unpopular alliance (1527) with France, which led to diplomatic and economic embargos against England.

Henry had become less popular due to a series of new taxes. Despite the early advice of Sir Thomas More, one of Henry's councillors, Wolsey had remained the country's top minister, and by 1527 Wolsey had been forced to accept much of the blame for England's failures.

English church was critisized too, many people wanted to reform it. At that time Lutheranism spread in England-Luther´s ideas got to Cambridge university and Thomas Cranmer and Matthew Parker from Cambridge university became archbishops in Canterbury. But Henry didn´t want lutheranism in England. As the author of a best-selling book (it went through some 20 editions in England and Europe) attacking Martin Luther and supporting the Roman Catholic church, in 1521 Henry was given the title 'Defender of the Faith' by the Pope.

But after the problem with his first divorce, he had to make up some new form of christian church.

Henry, determined to provide a male heir to the throne, decided to divorce Katharine and marry Anne Boleyn. English diplomacy became a series of maneuvers to win the agreement of Pope Clement VII., who was in the power of emperor Charles V, Katharine's nephew.

The pope authorized a commission consisting of cardinals Wolsey and Campeggio to decide the issue in England. The failure of the commission, followed by an agreement between Charles and Francis I, led to the fall of Wolsey.

Under the guidance of the king's new minister, Thomas Cromwell, the Parliament drew up (1532) the Supplication Against the Ordinaries, a long list of disagreements with the church. In a document known as the Submission of the Clergy, the council of the English church accepted Henry's claim that all church legislation was subject of royal power. The pope still refused to give way on the divorce issue, but he did agree to the appointment (1533) of the king's nominee, Thomas Cranmer, as archbishop of Canterbury. Cranmer immediately proclaimed Henry's marriage with Katharine invalid and crowned Anne (already secretly married to Henry) queen, and the pope excommunicated Henry.

In 1534 the disunion with Rome was completed by the Act of Supremacy, which made the king head of the Church of England. Any effective opposition was suppressed by the Act of Succession. A number of prominent churchmen, including former chancellor Sir Thomas More, were executed.

Under Cromwell's supervision, an inspection of the monasteries in 1535 led to an act of Parliament in 1536 by which smaller monasteries reverted to the crown, and the others were confiscated within the next few years. By distributing some of this property among the nobles, Henry gained the loyalty of a large and influential group.

In 1536, Anne Boleyn was beheaded. Soon afterward, Henry married Jane Seymour, who in 1537 bore a son (later Edward VI.) and died.

Meanwhile in 1536–37 Henry had dealt brutally but effectively with rebellions and dissoluteness in the monasteries.

In 1536, Henry authorized the Ten Articles, which included some Protestant points, and he confirmed publication of the Bible in English.The Six Articles passed by Parliament in 1539 reverted to the ideas of Roman Catholic church.

Another temporary peace (1538) between France and the empire seemed to make the threat of Catholic operation in England and helped Cromwell persuade the king to connect himself with the German Protestant princes by marrying (1540) Anne of Cleves. But Henry disliked Anne and divorced her almost immediately. Cromwell, now completely disrespected, was beheaded.

The king then married Catherine Howard, but in 1542 she was also beheaded. He married his sixth wife, Catherine Parr, in 1543.

In 1542 war had begun again with Scotland, still controlled by James V. by French and Catholics. The fighting culminated in the runaway of the Scots at Solway Moss and the death of James. Henry forced the Scots to agree to marriage between Mary Queen of Scots and his own son, Edward, but this was useless.

In 1543, Henry once more joined Charles in war against France and was able to take Boulogne (1544). The expensive war lasted until 1546, when Henry made a payment of indemnity for the city.

When he died in 1547 he was succeeded, as he had hoped, by a son, but it was his daughter Elizabeth I. who ruled over one of the greatest periods in England's history.

In his later years he became fat, paranoid, and unpredictable. He possessed considerable political insight, and he provided England with a visible and active national leader.

Although Henry seemed to dominate his Parliaments, the importance of that institution increased significantly during his reign. Other advances made during his reign were the institution of an effective navy and the beginnings of social and religious reform. The navy was organized for the first time as a permanent force. Wales was officially incorporated into England in 1536 with a great improvement in government administration there.

Zdroje informací:




Ostrovy, Davies Norman

Británie a USA, Peprník Jaroslav

Vypracovala Helena Habová (mcrA1)

Henry VIII and his six wives
Although most people today think of Henry VIII as a fat tyrant, but when he was young he was admired for his intelligence, good looks, good nature and athletic ability. One of his contemporaries wrote that he was "one of the goodliest men that lived in his time, also the most friendly and benign in gesture to all persons."
Henry VIII died on January 28, 1547 and he is also known for his great girth; his obesity probably contributed to his death at age 56. Then he was succeeded by his son, Edward VI, born to Jane Seymour. Henry VIII was the father of Elizabeth I, who became one of England's most powerful and longest-reigning monarchs.

1. wife - Catherine of Aragon
Catherine of Aragon (the widow of Henry's brother Arthur) was the youngest surviving child of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, and had received an excellent education at their court. She had long red-gold hair and blue eyes, so she was considered to be very pretty when she was young. They were together for over 20 years, and for long time they were happy. She was interested in politics and Henry often turned to her for advice. In 1513 she ruled as regent while Henry was campaigning in France. Although Catherine was pregnant many times, only one of her children, Princess Mary, survived. Henry was growing frustrated by his lack of a male heir, but he remained a devoted husband. He had at least two mistresses that we know of: Bessie Blount and Mary Boleyn. But by 1526, he had begun to separate from Catherine because he had fallen in love with one of her ladies ( and sister of one of his mistresses ): Anne Boleyn.

Catherine knew of his affairs but kept silent. Catherine was 42 years old and Henry's main goal now was to get a male heir, which his wife was not able to provide. The King began to petition the Pope for an annulment. At first, Catherine was kept in the dark about Henry's plans for their annulment. When the news got to Catherine, she was very upset. The political and legal debate continued for six years. It was very complicated. Things came to a head in 1533 when Anne Boleyn became pregnant, Henry had to act, and his solution was to reject the power of the Pope in England and to have Thomas Cranmer, the archbishop of Canterbury grant the annulment. Catherine and her daughter were separated and she was forced to leave court. She lived for the next three years in several dank and unhealthy castles and manors with just a few servants. However, she seldom complained of her treatment and spent a great deal of time at prayer. On January 7, 1536, Catherine died at Kimbolton Castle and was buried at Peterborough Abbey with the ceremony due for her position as Princess Dowager, not as a Queen of England.

2. wife - Anne Boleyn

Queen Anne was crowned in June of 1533. Later that year she gave birth to her only surviving child, Elizabeth. The years of waiting had been hard on Anne. She was in her thirties now, moody and sharp tongued, and Henry was falling out of love with her. She had friends at court, but also many enemies. She had brought about the downfall of Cardinal Wolsey, who died in 1530, and she also plotted against Catherine of Aragon and her daughter Mary. Catherine died on January 7, 1536, and Anne rejoiced. She was pregnant again, and if she gave birth to a healthy son her position as queen would be secure. But Anne had a miscarriage. In May Anne was arrested and charged with having affairs with five men, including her own brother George. The charges were false, but Anne and all of the men were convicted and sentenced to death. On May 19, 1536, Anne Boleyn was beheaded. And on May 30 Henry VIII married his third wife.

3. wife - Jane Seymour

The Seymours were an old and noble family. In September 1535, the King stayed at the Seymour family home in Wiltshire, England. It may have been there that the king "noticed" Jane. By that point, Henry's disinterest in Anne was obvious and Jane was likely pegged to be her replacement as Queen. Like Anne before her, Jane virtuously rejected the king's advances, and once again Henry fell in love with the woman he could not have. After their marriage Jane remained quietly obedient to Henry. In October of 1537 Jane gave birth to a son, Edward. Twelve days later she died. Henry grieved for her, but he also began looking for a new wife.

4. wife - Anne of Cleves

Cleves was a dukedom in Germany and Anne was the sister of its ruler, Duke William. Born in 1515, she was given a sheltered upbringing, and was less educated than Henry's previous wives. Henry approved of her portrait, so in 1539 a marriage treaty was signed and Anne set sail for England. When she arrived Henry was so eager to see her. Anne didn't speak English, didn't know who this fat stranger was, and was busy watching something out the window, so she more or less ignored Henry. The king's pride was wounded. "I like her not!" he told all. He found her ugly and the last thing he wanted to do was marry her. But Henry couldn't cancel his treaty with Cleves. The wedding took place on January 6, 1540. At first Anne had no idea that her husband was displeased with her. Eventually Anne learned that her husband wished to be rid of her. She didn´t realize that her life was in danger. Relieved, he gave her money and property and treated her very well. Anne remained in England, and never remarried. Henry called her his sister and often invited her to court. She outlived Henry and was certainly the most happy of his wives. Less than twenty days after his marriage to Anne of Cleves ended, Henry married his fifth wife.

5. wife - Katherine Howard

Katherine Howard, a first cousin of Anne Boleyn, was fifteen or sixteen when she married Henry. She was lively, pretty and kind, and Henry saw her as perfect and unspoiled, a "rose without a thorn." But Katherine had secrets. Several years earlier she'd had an affair with a man named Francis Dereham and promised to marry him. This alone made her ineligible to marry the king. She had also been involved with her music teacher, Thomas Culpepper, and as queen she again started her relationship with him. In time, of course, her infidelity was discovered and she was arrested.

In December of 1541 Dereham and Culpepper were executed. Katherine Howard was beheaded in February 1542. Henry was horrified and heartbroken, but he had not given up on matrimony. The following year he married his sixth and final wife.

6. wife - Katherine Parr

Katherine Parr was born around 1512. In her teens she married a man named Lord Borough. He soon died and Katherine married another older man, Lord Latimer. Katherine and her second husband frequently visited the royal court, and Henry became fond of auburn - haired Lady Latimer. Lord Latimer died in March 1543 and Henry quickly began courting Katherine. She was in love with Jane Seymour's handsome brother Thomas, but she didn't dare refuse the king. On July 12, 1543, Henry and Katherine were married. Henry was old and ill now, and Katherine was as much a nurse to him as a wife. She was good to his children. But Katherine's keen intellect and radical religious views placed her in danger. She argued with Henry about religion and he ordered her arrest. Learning of this, Katherine took to her bed crying, which so distressed Henry that he cancelled the arrest warrant. After that Katherine took care not to dispute with the king. Henry VIII died on January 28, 1547. Within months Katherine had married her true love, Thomas Seymour. But Seymour soon betrayed her by trying to seduce her stepdaughter, Henry's daughter Elizabeth. Henry VIII's last unhappy wife died from complications of childbirth on September 7, 1548.

Vypracovala Lenka Milbachrová (mcrA1)
The Works of Henry VIII

Poems and Songs
Pastime With Good Company
Whereto should I express
Whoso that will for grace sue
Green Groweth the Holly
If Love Now Reigned, As It Hath Been
Lusty Youth Should Us Ensue
Though some Saith that Youth Ruleth Me
Though That Men Do Call It Dotage
The Time of Youth is to be Spent
Alas, what shall I do for love?
Oh my heart
Alac! Alac! What shall I do?
Who so that will all feats obtain
Departure is my chief pain
Without discord

Poems of Questionable Attribution
Let not us that young men be

To Anne Boleyn [1533]
Selections from love letters to Anne Boleyn

Speech to Parliament, 24 December 1545

Excerpt from "Defense of the Seven Sacraments"

Oh my heart

Oh my heart, and oh my heart,

My heart it is so sore.
Since I must from my love depart,
And know no cause wherefore.

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