Henry the 8th is probably England’s most notorious king. Tales of his reign have always been a fascinating part of history. Even nowadays, Henry the 8th is as much in demand as ever. People seem to always portray him as an evil tyrant with a passion for beheading wives, but is this all there was to this infamous king?
The wives of Henry the 8th
The fact that Henry had many wives isn’t a mystery to anyone. His fame derives also from his intense desire of having a healthy male heir to the throne. His first marriage, with Caterina de Aragon, seems to have been an unfortunate arrangement. He married her as soon as he ascended to the throne, ignoring the fact that she had a previous relationship with his brother. However, she failed to provide him with a male heir, having had several miscarriages and giving birth to a daughter- Mary. After 20 years, Henry decided to dissolve this marriage and to marry a young, attractive girl- Anne Boleyn. She however, didn’t offer him the heir he so desperately sought, giving birth to another daughter- Elisabeth. Under charges of infidelity he beheaded Anne, and had a short liver marriage with Jane Seymour.
His third wife offered him his beloved heir, a son- Edward, but died in childbirth. A short and politically favorable marriage with Anne of Cleves followed. His 5th wife was a young beautiful girl, Anne Boleyn’s cousin- Katherine Howard. Her morally loose behavior turned her in to the second beheaded wife. Henry found companionship with Katherine Parr, who nursed him until his death. The king had finally settled for a queen.
Henry the 8th’s Religion
His desire to divorce Caterina de Aragon was strongly refused by the Pope. England was then under Catholic influence, and divorce was frowned upon. Henry the 8th however, was a man who wouldn’t take no for an answer. As a result, he separated England from Catholicism and introduces a new protestant religion: Anglicanism. He anointed himself “the Man of God” and became the supreme ruler of England.
Henry the 8th reign has seen many accusations: that he was a despot and a tyrant, a wife-killer and a neglectful father. Perhaps his once good intentions had been altered by court politics, but he still managed to lead England on its way as a superpower, by taking a feudal court and transforming it in to what would be the world ‘s most powerful empire in recent history. So, was Henry the 8th a man who lost his way due to politics or was he an evil tyrant?
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