This article only covers a fictional portrayal of the person. Therefore, details contained in this article may differ from real world facts. For more information on the historical figure(s), consult the links provided at the bottom section of this article.
- ""Elizabeth, dear child"–he took his thumb an ran it across my cheek–"you are bleeding from the roses." Then he spoke a few short words in Latin–"Tu eres rosa Tudoris veritas," which means, "You are the true Tudor rose." This might be the happiest day of my life. I feel as if I have been anointed."
- —Princess Elizabeth receives a compliment from her father, King Henry VIII of England.
Henry VIII (June 28, 1491 – January 28, 1547) was the King of England during the Tudor dynasty. He ruled for thirty-eight years from 1509, until his death in 1547. Henry married six times and had three children, including Mary I, Elizabeth I, and Edward VI. He was the son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York.
Henry was born on June 28, 1491 to King Henry VII of England and Elizabeth of York, who was from the Plantagenet family. He had three siblings, elder brother Arthur, elder sister Margaret, and younger sister Mary. Henry went by the nickname, "Harry", throughout much of his childhood and adolescence.
1501 – 1513
At the age of ten, Henry was nearly as tall as his older brother and "far stronger." On April 3, 1502, Arthur died, placing Henry next in line to the throne. Over a year later, Henry was betrothed to Catherine of Aragon, his brother's widow. However, he was forced by his father to end the agreement in 1505. Henry was kept in semi-seclusion, until his father's death on April 21, 1509
On April 23, 1509, Henry began his rule as King of England at the age of eighteen. His coronation was held the following June, shortly after his marriage Catherine. She suffered a stillbirth, before giving birth to their son in January 1511. Alas, the baby died almost two months later. In 1513, England went to war against France and Scotland. After an overwhelming victory over Scotland, Henry returned home from France.
Henry and Catherine had their only surviving child, a daughter named Mary in 1516. Three years later, he had an illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy, by his mistress, Bessie Blount. He also took on Mary Boleyn as a mistress in 1522. Once he tired of Mary, Henry's interest turned to her sister, Anne Boleyn.
1525 – 1547
By 1525, Henry had fallen in love with Anne Boleyn. However, Anne refused to be his mistress, wanting to be wife and nothing less. He eventually proposed and sought out approval from Pope Clement to annul his marriage to Catherine. Cardinal Lorenzo Campeggio was sent from Rome to make a decision about what became known as "The King's great matter." After holding a lengthy trial, a decision was not met.
After several years, Henry began to think that he may not need the Pope's permission, an idea brought to him by his adviser, Thomas Cranmer. Two years later, the Pope finally sent word commanding Henry to leave Anne. Shortly later, Henry established his own Church of England that would not answer to the Pope. Henry separated from Catherine a few months later, moving her from away from court.
The King married Anne in a private ceremony in 1533, four months before his marriage to Catherine was annulled. She gave birth to their daughter, Elizabeth in September 1533. By 1535, Henry's attention to Anne began to wane and he developed a interest in Jane Seymour. On May 19, 1536, Anne was executed, after being falsely accused of committing adultery. Henry and Jane were betrothed the following day and married soon after that.
By the following February, Jane was pregnant with the couple's first child. She gave birth on October 12, 1537 to a son, Edward. Jane became ill and died just a little of a week later. After Jane's death, Henry considered several marriage prospects, but was rejected by both Christina of Denmark and Mary of Guise. Henry's adviser suggested the daughters of the Duke of Cleves from Germany, eventually settling upon Anne of Cleves.
Anne arrived in early 1540, but Henry instantly found her "repulsive." Anyway, they married, but Henry made sure never to consummate it. Henry eventually set his sights on Catherine Howard, a young girl newly arrived at court, and sought a annulment to his marriage. Anne accepted the annulment with ease and was awarded handsomely by Henry. Their marriage ended on July 9, 1540, and Henry married Catherine Howard just three weeks later.
Henry was extremely happy with his new bride during the first year. However, he received a devastating letter on November 1, 1541 from Thomas Cranmer. After learning of Catherine's past love affairs, Henry had her confined to her rooms. Later, damning evidence was found that the Queen had committed adultery with a courtier, Thomas Culpeper. Catherine was found guilty and beheaded in February 1542. A year later, Henry became interested in Catherine Parr. They were married on July 12, 1543.
In July 1544, Henry went off to war and laid siege to the city of Boulogne, France. Before he left, he banished Elizabeth to Hatfield, though he allowed her back thanks to Catherine. He returned to England in good health that October and later spent the end of December at Hampton Court Palace with his family. Henry spent much of the following months preparing for a French invasion and inspecting the southwest coast. He sent one hundred thousand men and one hundred ships from his royal fleet to Portsmouth in May.
In the summer of 1545, Henry's close friend and brother-in-law Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk passed away, sending Henry into the "deepest melancholy". Later, Henry became irritated with his wife in the spring of 1546. He signed a warrant for her arrest, but forgave her after she apologized. King Henry's health continued to fall, until his death on January 28, 1547. His throne was inherited by his only son, Edward.
Personality and traits
Henry's moods were often unpredictable and sometimes volatile. In a good mood, Henry became an extremely kind and attentive father to his children. However, he would fly into a rage at the drop of a hat. Elizabeth was banished several times after being on the receiving end of his anger.
Henry was a fan of all kinds of sports, especially riding, hunting, and jousting in his younger days. As he grew older and his legs bothered him more, he was only able to enjoy hawking. He was disappointed that his son was not at all athletic. Henry also enjoyed studying music and science.
Behind the scenes
- Henry is a major character in Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor, a fictional diary about his daughter Elizabeth.
- Jefferson Mappin portrayed King Henry in The Royal Diaries: Elizabeth I - Red Rose of the House of Tudor. He is best known for his roles in Unforgiven and The Freshman.
- Henry is a supporting character in My Tudor Queen, Henry VIII's Wives, and Anne Boleyn and Me, fictional diaries about his six wives.
- Isabel: Jewel of Castilla (Mentioned in the Historical Notes)
- My Tudor Queen
- Anne Boleyn and Me
- Henry VIII's Wives
- Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor
- The Royal Diaries: Elizabeth I - Red Rose of the House of Tudor
- Lady Jane Grey (Mentioned only)
- Bloody Tower (Mentioned only)
- Mary, Queen of Scots: Queen Without a Country (Mentioned only)
- The Queen's Spies (Mentioned only)
- ↑ My Tudor Queen, Alison Prince, page 15
- ↑ My Tudor Queen, Alison Prince, page 82
- ↑ Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor, Kathryn Lasky, The Tudor Family Tree, pages 224-227
- ↑ Henry VIII's Wives, Alison Prince, page 286
- ↑ Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor, Kathryn Lasky, page 204
- ↑ Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor, Kathryn Lasky, page 69
- ↑ Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor, Kathryn Lasky, page 137
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