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Dear America Wiki
Not to be confused with Henry VII.
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""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."
Elizabeth receives a compliment from Henry[9]

Henry VIII (28 June 1491 – 28 January 1547) was the King of England during the Tudor dynasty. He ruled for thirty-eight years from his father's death in 1509 until his own death in 1547. Henry famously married six times to Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Catherine Howard, and Catherine Parr. From his marriages, had three children Mary I, Elizabeth I, and Edward VI, whom all went on to rule England.


Early life[]

Henry was born on 28 June 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 attended the wedding of his older brother Arthur to Catherine of Aragon. A few months later, Arthur passed away of illness on 3 April 1502. Henry subsequently became the heir apparent. The following year, Henry's mother passed away of childbed fever. The same year, Margaret was sent to wed King James IV of Scotland and Henry was betrothed to Catherine. However, following the death of Catherine's mother, Henry's father forced him to end the agreement in 1505. Henry was kept in semi-seclusion over the following years, dampening his usually good mood. His father passed away on 21 April 1509. Before his passing, he spoke to Henry about how to continue the Tudor dynasty.

At the age of eighteen, Henry officially began his rule as King of England on 23 April 1509.[10] The following June, Henry and Catherine were married and had their coronation ceremony. Henry signed a peace treaty with Scotland the same month. Catherine had a stillbirth in January 1510 and gave birth to a son, Henry, a year later. However, the baby died a little over a month later. Problems with France began to crop up in 1512. After being humiliated by his father-in-law Ferdinand of Spain, Henry himself went to war against France. He left Catherine to serve as his Regent. During his absence, Henry's brother-in-law James IV attacked their northern border. Catherine, having anticipated this, led a troop of soldiers against him. After an overwhelming victory, she sent James's blood-stained coat to Henry in France.


In 1516, Henry and Catherine had their only surviving child, a daughter named Mary. Her pregnancy after Mary left Catherine unable to conceive another child. Three years later, Henry fathered an illegitimate son, named Henry Fitzroy, by his mistress Bessie Blount. In 1522, Mary Boleyn became his mistress for a brief time. His attention soon turned to her sister, Anne Boleyn, whom had a suitor named Henry Percy. On Henry's orders, Cardinal Wolsey had Percy dismissed. The protesting Anne was sent away to her parents' home.

1525 – 1536[]

By 1525, Anne had returned to court and Henry attempted to woo her. Henry declared his love by wearing a tunic stitched with the words "Declare I dare not" at a joust. However, she pointedly refused to be his mistress. In 1527, Henry sought to dissolve his marriage to Catherine, who outright refused. He asked Wolsey to appeal to Pope Clement. Eventually, Cardinal Lorenzo Campeggio was sent from Rome to make a decision. A lengthy trial was held, but Campeggio declared he could not make a decision without the Pope. Henry influenced by Anne had Wolsey charged with praemunire for failing to obtain a divorce. A year later, Henry ordered Wolsey's execution but he died on the way there.

Henry began to think that he may not need the Pope's permission, an idea brought to him by his adviser, Thomas Cranmer. He separated from the Catholic Church and made himself head of the Church of England in 1531. Henry separated from Catherine a few months later, moving her away from court. In 1532, he gave Anne the title of Marquess of Pembroke. He brought her to meet the King of France in Calais the same year. By early 1533, Anne was showing signs of pregnancy. Henry married her in a private ceremony. A few months later, he granted Archbishop Cranmer permission to judge his case. Henry's marriage to Catherine was subsequently declared "null and void."

Anne was crowned Queen in June 1533 and she gave birth to their daughter, Elizabeth, that September. Henry was disappointed at first, having anticipated a boy. In the meantime, Henry began executing people whom refused to accept him as head of the church, including old friends Thomas More and John Fisher. Anne became pregnant at least three times over the following years, but lost each of them. By 1535, Henry had grown tired of Anne's temper and believed she could not give him a son. He developed a interest in Jane Seymour. After Catherine died, Henry's adviser Thomas Cromwell had Anne accused of adultery. Anne was executed on May 19, 1536. Henry and Jane were betrothed the following day and married soon after that.

1536 – 1543[]

A rebellion against Henry began in October 1536, but was suppressed some months later. Jane was expecting a baby by February 1537. It was officially announced in April. Their son, Edward, was born on 12 October 1537. Jane became ill and died just a little of a week later. After Jane's death, Cromwell soon began suggesting marriage prospects to Henry. He was rejected by Christina of Denmark and Mary of Guise. Cromwell asked him to consider the Duke of Cleves' daughters. Henry agreed to marry Anne of Cleves after being convinced that she was beautiful. When Anne arrived in early 1540, Henry was displeased with her looks but followed through with the marriage on 6 January.

Henry sought an annulment from his marriage on the grounds that it was never consummated. Anne consented to the annulment. A few weeks after the annulment in July 1540, Henry married Catherine Howard, the Duke of Norfolk's niece. In November 1541, he learned of Catherine's past from Cranmer. Later, she was also accused of committing adultery. Catherine was found guilty and executed in February 1542. Later that year, Henry's nephew King James of Scotland died of a fever after the English won an important battle. Henry attempted to make himself guardian of the newborn Mary, Queen of Scots and have her engaged to his son, though both plans fell through. Henry, meanwhile, married Catherine Parr in July 1543 after the death of her husband Lord Latimer.

1544 – 1547[]

In July 1544, Henry went off to war and laid siege to Boulogne in France. Before leaving, he sent his daughter Elizabeth away from court to Hatfield. Henry allowed her to return after Catherine wrote to him. In October, he returned to England in good health and spirits. The holidays were spent at Hampton Court. By early 1545, Henry was already feeling discontented. He 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 July, Henry's ship, the Mary Rose, sunk for no apparent reason while preparing for the French invasion.

In the summer of 1545, Henry's close friend and former brother-in-law Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk passed away, sending Henry into the "deepest melancholy." The following year, a rift happened between Henry and Catherine. He gave permission for Catherine's ladies-in-waiting to be questioned about her possible heretical beliefs. Henry subsequently signed a warrant for Thomas Wriothesley to arrest her. Catherine, however, reached him first and he forgave her. Over the next several months, Henry's health began to fall at a rapid rate. He passed away on 28 January 1547 and was buried next to his third wife, Jane Seymour. Edward inherited his throne with his uncle Edward Seymour becoming his protector.

Physical appearance[]

At ten years of age, Henry was described as being as tall as her brother Arthur and also appeared "far stronger" than him. His face was called "handsome."[11] By the time he was fourteen, Henry "look[ed like] a man," having grown taller, broader, and stronger.[12] After a jousting accident, Henry had a leg wound that never healed. He was unable to exercise due to the pain and steadily began gaining weight. By his death, he was considered very much overweight.

Personality and traits[]

As a young man, Henry was known for his good humor, being fun loving, and charming. His gaiety was first dampened when his father secluded after Arthur's death. After marrying Catherine and becoming king, Henry's gaiety returned being "still a boy at heart." Unfortunately, Henry was sometimes tactless or careless in diplomacy which continued throughout his reign. As he grew older, his moods became more unpredictable and volatile. His health issues only exacerbated his moodiness. He became prone to depressive episodes during the dark months of winter.

Henry was capable of being extremely kind and attentive to his people, wives and children. However, Henry was also very ruthless. He would not stand his authority being questioned, leading to both Catholics and Protestants being executed after he established his own church. His ruthlessness extended to even those close to him, resulting in the executions of two wives and the abandonment of one. Henry was skilled at dancing and loved music. His chief enjoyment were sports, especially riding, hunting, and jousting. As he grew older, he was unable to enjoy these pastimes due to his health.

Family tree[]

See also: Category:House of Tudor
The Tudor Family Tree[2][13]
(including Stuart and Grey relatives)
Edmund Tudor
Lady Margaret Beaufort
Henry VII
Elizabeth of York
(1) Catherine of Aragon
Henry VIII
(2) Anne Boleyn
(1) ♚James IV
Margaret Tudor
(2) Archibald Douglas
(3) Mary Tudor
Charles Brandon
(4) Catherine Brandon
Philip II of Spain
Mary I
Elizabeth I
(3) Jane Seymour
Mary of Guise
James V
Margaret Douglas
(d. 1578)
Matthew Stuart
Frances Brandon
(d. 1559)
Sir Henry Grey
(d. 1554)
Edward VI
(4) Anne of Cleves
Mary, Queen of Scots
Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley
Lord Guildford Dudley
(d. 1554)
Lady Jane Grey
Lady Catherine Grey
Lady Mary Grey
(5) Catherine Howard
♚♛James VI and I
(6) Catherine Parr
♛ - King or Queen of England
♚ - King or Queen of Scotland

Behind the scenes[]


Jefferson Mappin as Henry VIII


In chronological order:


See also[]

My Story characters
Main characters

Nebka | Hatshepsut "Asha" | Claudia | Bran | Tor Scaldbane | Jenkin Lloyd | Eva De Puebla
Elinor Valjean | Lady Jane Grey | Matilda "Tilly" Middleton | Catherine "Kitty" Lumsden | Thomas Hobbs
Remember "Mem" Whipple | Thomas Adamson | Alice Paynton | Susannah Makepeace | Ignatius Sancho
Euphemia Grant | Mary Wade | Elizabeth "Lizzie" Harvey | Isabelle | James Grant | Mary Prince | Bob Jenkins
Dick Maybury | Eliza Helsted | Phyllis McCormack | Lily Hicks | Michael Pope | Hanuman Singh | Clotee Henley
Will Reed | Edith Lorrimer | Jabulani | Sophia Duleep Singh | Florence Finch | Flora Bonnington | Dollie Baxter
Margaret Anne Brady | Jack Fairfax | Daphne "Daffy" Rowntree | Billy Stevens | Noor Inayat Khan
Eleanor Rhys Davies | Rebecca "Becky" Mortkowicz | Harry Woods | Princess Margaret | Sophie Ridel
Peter Rogers | Kitty Langley | Edith "Edie" Benson | Tim Jackson | Andrew "Andy" Pope | Paul Lelaud
Violet Debuchy

Supporting characters

Henry VII | Henry VIII | Catherine of Aragon | Anne Boleyn | Jane Seymour | Anne of Cleves
Catherine Howard | Catherine Parr | Edward VI | Mary I | Elizabeth II

Lists of characters by book

Pyramid of Secrets | Princess of Egypt | Pompeii | Roman Invasion | Viking Blood | Agincourt | My Tudor Queen
Anne Boleyn and Me | Lady Jane Grey | Bloody Tower | The Queen's Spies | Armada | Mayflower | Civil War
The Great Plague | Highway Girl | Ignatius Sancho | The '45 Rising | No Way Back | Transported
The Fall of the Blade | Trafalgar | Mary Prince | Waterloo | Dodger! | Mill Girl | The Hunger | The Crystal Palace
Crimea | Indian Mutiny | Slave Girl | The Sweep's Boy | Victorian Workhouse | Zulu War | Princess Sophia Duleep Singh
Factory Girl | Twentieth-Century Girl | Suffragette | Titanic | The Trenches | Flying Ace | Road to War
Noor-un-Nissa Inayat Khan | Berlin Olympics | Nowhere to Run | The Storm to Come | Battle of Britain
Wartime Princess | Sophie's Secret War | U-Boat Hunter | War Nurse | Blitz | Desert Danger | D-Day
Spy Smuggler | Codename Céline | London Stories

My Royal Story characters

Cleopatra VII | Beatrice Townhill | Elizabeth I | Mary, Queen of Scots | Marie Antoinette | Victoria | Anastasia

Lists of My Royal Story characters by book

Cleopatra | Henry VIII's Wives | Elizabeth | Mary, Queen of Scots | Marie Antoinette | Victoria | Anastasia

My True Story characters

Dora Thewlis | John "Jack" Cornwell | Joe Read | Susan | Vera

Lists of My True Story characters by book

Give Us the Vote! | Standing Alone | Hero at Dunkirk | What If They Find Us?

Further reading[]