Henry VIII was born on June 28, 1491 at Greenwich Palace. His Parents, Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, were very loving and proud parents, even though they didnt see much of their children. Henry was their second son. He was styled as the Duke of York. He had his own servants, Court Jesters, and to top it off he had is own whipping boy that would receive whippings whenever Henry did something bad.
Henry was said to be charming, handsome and full of life. He loved music, so much that when he was only ten years old he could play many instruments including the Fife, Harp, Viola, and drums. He was also very smart. He could speak French, Latin, and a bit of Spanish. He loved Hunting. His favorite sports were hunting ,of course, and wrestling.
Henry had and an older brother named Arthur. He was he was the family heir to the throne. Therefore, his father arranged a marriage for him. He was to marry Catherine of Aragon when he turned sixteen years old. Arthur seemed to be healthy, in fact, he danced at his wedding for a long time without a bit of fatigue and weakness or sweat it was believed to be said by Royal Court Jester and some servants who witnessed the celebration from the back. The sad part is only a few months later Arthur died. Historians believe he died from T.B. Historians also believe he could also have had the plague or Sweating sickness.
This meant Henry was now heir to the Throne. His fathers concerns for him caused Henry to be guarded heavily at all times and able to be seen by only a few people. When he was in public he was scared of doing many things and acting himself because he was scared of his fathers temper.
In 1509 Henry VII died of Tuberculosis and his son Henry became King Henry VIII. He became King at seventeen years old.
With his fathers death he inherited a stable realm with a wealthy monarch. At that time parliament had not been summoned for supplies in 5 years. Henrys different interests and lack of application of government business increased the influence of Thomas Wolsey, a son of a butcher, who became the Lord Chancellor in 1515. Wolsey ended up becoming one of the most powerful ministers in all of British history. He was also appointed Cardinal that year and given papal legate powers that allowed him to counter any decision made by archbishop of Canterbury. It allowed him to govern the Church of England. This made him very wealthy and powerful, so powerful he had a bigger house and more land than Henry did.
2nd half of Reign
Henry was engaged to Catherine of Aragon, widow of his older brother Arthur at age 12 when his brother died. Catherine was 5 years older than Henry was. They were married when Henrys father, Henry VII, died and Henry VIII took the Throne and Catherine became Queen.
At this time Henry wanted a son so badly, an heir to his throne. Catherine had many children with with Henry. Only one survived and it unfortunately was not a boy. It was a girl, Princess Mary. She somehow managed to survive the plagues and sicknesses at that time. Although Henry wanted a son badly and did not get one he still did not blame Catherine for not giving him any boys.
During the time he was with his 1st wife Catherine he was believed to have been with 2 mistresses. He didnt know that Catherine knew he had them all along and she kept silent about it. Then he met his second wife. Her name was Anne Boleyn. She was the daughter of an English diplomat who lived in France and served Henry VIIIs sister Mary. After King Luis died Mary returned to England and became one of Catherines servants. With her, she was secretly betrothed to Henry Percy. Percy was already promised to another woman and his parents would never except him marrying her. Wolsey found out and told the King and Anne was banished from the royal court. She held a grudge against Wolsey and never forgave him for it. She returned in 1524 or 1525. In 1526 Henry began to pursue her. She refused to become his mistress saying I would rather lose my life than my honesty.
As the King fell more in love with Anne he became eager to end his marriage with Catherine. He claimed it really had never actually been a real marriage because she had been his brothers wife. For years Henry struggled unsuccessfully to have his marriage annulled. He could not stand that he could not get an annulment. Wolsey tried to get the pope to annul it but he failed and that was the end of his career. He was arrested and was going to serve his trial but died before he was tried. Henry was so enraged he could not get one that he broke free from the Catholic Church and started the Church of England. Catherine didnt want to have her marriage annulled. His marriage was finally rendered invalid, Catherine was banished from the court and took their daughter Mary with her. Soon he married Anne and she was crowned Queen in 1533.
Anne only had one Child, Elizabeth. Time went by and she became older and moodier. She had developed many enemies on the court and fewer friends. Henry began to lose love for her. She did not like Catherine of Aragon and plotted against.
When Catherine died Anne was happy and was in a rather celebrating mood, then that day she finds her husband with one of her maids of honor sitting on his lap. She was so enraged by this she had a miscarriage, and people believe that this time she was going to have a boy. Later she was charged with having 5 affairs, including on with her own brother. None of it was true but all the men and her were trialed and sentenced to death. On May 19, 1535 she was beheaded. On May 30, 1535, the next week. He married his 3rd wife Jane Seymour.
This wife was the one he truly loved with all his heart. She gave him a son. In October of 1537 she gave birth to Edward. At last he finally had an heir to the throne. The sad this is that 12 days later Jane grew sick and died.
The death of Jane Seymour didnt keep him down. After that he was already looking for another wife. He had already betrothed his 4th wife 2 years before. His 4th wife was Anne of Cleves. When he first saw her portrait he liked what he saw so a marriage treaty was set. Then she came to England. When she first saw him she couldnt speak English and didnt know who the fat guy in front of her was so she just kept staring out the window and really didnt pay any attention to him. Then his ego was hurt so he didnt like here anymore. He then started saying to people that he cant stand her and that shes ugly. The thing was he couldnt get out of the treaty. They got married January 6, 1540. The entire marriage she had no clue that Henry didnt like her. When he tried to get rid of her she did not refuse because she new her life was in danger and just gave in. She ended up getting a lot of money and a good place to stay. She was the most fortunate of all of his wives.
Less than 20 days after his marriage ended with Anne of Cleves, Henry Married his fifth wife. He married Katherine Howard, a first cousin to Anne Boleyn. Henry saw her as perfect, pure, and un-spoiled. He called her a Rose without A Thorn. Except she had little secrets. Dirty little secrets of men she had been with and when Henry found out he had the men she had a fling with arrested and put to death, then he had her be headed In February 1542.
He finally married his last wife Katherine parr. She was married to an older man named Lord Latimer. They would visit the court and Henry took and interest. After Latimer died Henry Married Katherine on July 12, 1543.
By this time Henry was old and weary. Katherine was more like a nurse to him than a wife. She was good to his children helped him reconcile with Catherine of Aragons daughter Mary. He got really bad with his old age that when she argued with him that hed want her arrested. He saw how upset she was then he would call it off.
Through his earlier years he was upsesed with conquering France. He had spent a lot of Englands money on senseless battles that achieved nothing. He invested lots of money into a navy. He also messed with everybody in Europe including Spain and he was just a man that was hated and loved at the same time. After he died in January 1547 his son Edward took over and reigned. The whole irony is out of all the years he wanted a boy to be his heir, Elizabeth ended up ruling for 43 years.