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Find out about his Henry's six wives here
- Second son of Henry VII.
- Married Catherine of Aragon (Spanish), Anne Boleyn (English), Jane Seymore (English), Anne of Cleves (Flemish-Belgian), Catherine Howard (English), Catherine Parr (English).
- Three children
- Buried in Windsor Castle.
Henry Vlll is probably the most well known of the Tudor kings. He was a very selfish person and by the end of his life everyone was afraid of him, mainly because of his ruthless behaviour toward anyone who didn't agree with him.
See Henry Vlll timeline
Henry Vlll was born at Greenwich Palace, London on 28 June 1491 and was the second son of Henry Vll and Elizabeth of York (daughter of Edward lV). He became Prince of Wales and heir to the throne on the death of his elder brother, Prince Arthur, in 1502.
When did Henry become king?
He succeeded to the throne after his father's death on 21 April 1509. He was 17 years old when he became king.
Henry built fine palaces, and fought wars against France and Scotland.
Tall and thickset, with blue-grey eyes, short auburn hair and a beard.
Henry Vlll was handsome in his youth, but became bloated and fat (he had a 54-inch waist when he was 50).
He dressed lavishly, wearing a gold collar with a diamond as big as a walnut and many jewelled rings.
Henry Vlll brought religious upheaval to England. When he became king, most people belonged to the Catholic Church, which was headed by the Pope, in Rome. In 1534, Henry broke away from the Catholic Church and proclaimed himself head of the Church of England. The land and riches of the church became Henry's property and he sold off most of this land to dukes, barons and other noblemen.
Sport / Hobbies
Henry Vlll was a great athlete in his youth. Henry threw the javelin and enjoyed hunting, archery, jousting and tennis. He spoke French, Spanish, Latin and some Italian and was a good musician. Henry played the lute and harpsichord well and could sing from sight.
Henry Vlll lived at Hampton Court Palace in London.
Henry Vlll wanted a son to rule after him. He first married his brother's widow, Catherine of Aragon but divorced her when she did not produce a male heir to the throne. He married three times more before a son was born. In total he married six times!
Find out about his Henry's six wives here
How many children did Henry VIII have?
Henry Vlll had three children - Mary (by Catherine of Aragon), Elizabeth (by Anne Boleyn) and Edward (by Jane Seymour). Each became a monarch - Edward Vl, Mary l (or Mary Tudor) and Elizabeth l in that order.
His son, Edward Vl ruled for six years after Henry's death, he became King at age 9 and died at age 15. Henry's daughter Mary ruled for the next five years, but also died without children. Finally, Henry's last surviving child, Elizabeth I became Queen, and ruled for 45 years.
Henry died in St James's Palace, Westminster, around 2 am on Friday 28 January 1547, aged 55 years. His funeral procession to Windsor was four miles long. He was buried at Windsor Castle beside his third wife, Jane Seymour.
- King Henry Vlll, Henry's son, successfully united England and Wales under one system of government. The two countries were joined in 1536.
- Henry Vlll wanted a male heir, but his wife had not given birth to a son. Henry wanted to divorce her and take a new wife. The Roman Catholic Church refused to grant the divorce. In order to gain his divorce, Henry had to establish the Church of England and end Catholicism.
Henry passed a law in 1534 making himself head of the Church of England. This act allowed him to divorce his wife and led to the formation of the Protestant Church of England. The Protestant movement was known as the Reformation.
| Interesting Fact
During Henry VIII's thirty-eight year reign, he had more than 70,000 people excuted. That works out as an average of just over five every day.
King Henry Vlll
King Henry VIII and the Tudors -
An interactive site. It's gruesome! There's some great gory pictures on the 'Wives' page so beware! Why did Henry have so many wives? Who was Mary Rose?
Henry's son, Edward became the next king.
Edward was the son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour.
He was never a healthy King and died aged only 15 years.