Monday, 23 February 2015

Henry VIII - "...Good Company, Good Wine, Good Welcome, Can Make Good People"

Lego Henry VIII 
Henry was born on 28th June 1491 at Greenwich Palace. He was the second son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. 

His elder brother, Arthur, died in 1502, making Henry the heir to the throne of England. Henry VII died in 1509, making the 18 year old Henry king. The Pope dispensation allowed him to marry his brother's widow Catherine of Aragon.

Henry VIII inherited 5 warships and in 1509 he commissioned for 2 ships to be built the Mary Rose and the Peter Pomegranate. In doing this Henry started a maritime force later to be known as the Royal Navy. By the time of his death, Henry had built over 50 warships. He used these war vessels to try to gain his claimed French throne. Most of his campaigns were almost fruitless and expensive. Almost making England officially bankrupt. 

In 1521, Henry was given the title of Defender of the Faith by Pope Leo X for his book, 'Assertio Septem Sacramentorum', which affirmed the supremacy of the Pope and condemned the German theologian, Martin Luther.

Henry was worried as his only surviving child was Mary and Catherine was in her 40s, becoming close to the change. Henry asked Cardinal Wolsey to get the marriage annulled by Pope Clement VII, on grounds that he has unlawfully married his brother's wife and God has condemned it to be a childless marriage. Although the Pope was under control by the most powerful ruler in Europe, the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, who was nephew to Catherine. So the Pope refused Henry's request. Wolsey fell out of favour with the King for not gaining a annulment. Losing his positions and wealth. He died in 1530.

Lego Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.
In 1533, Henry VIII broke with the Church and married Anne Boleyn. He was excommunicated by the Pope for his blasphemy and heresy.

Thomas Cromwell became the Chief Minister and earned the confidence of the King after he helped to break with Rome and established Henry VIII as the Head of the Church of England. Cromwell was entrusted to investigate all the English monasteries for corruption and wealth. With this he was ordered to disband over 800 monasteries and their lands and wealth went to the Crown.

Although the growing number of courtiers and people of the nation were embracing Protestantism, Henry VIII was believed to still remain Catholic. As throughout his reign he was reluctant in removing a lot of Catholic beliefs and traditions.

Anne Boleyn's execution, 1536 
In September 1533, Anne gave birth to a daughter, Elizabeth. After 2 miscarriages, Henry grown tired of her. After a jousting accident in 1536, Henry seemed to become more aggressive. In that same year Anne was arrested on trumped up charges of adultery, incest and treason. She was later publicly beheaded at the Tower.

Henry married Jane Seymour. In 1537 she died in childbirth, giving Henry his desired son, Edward. She was given a queen's funeral.

In attempt to establish a German Protestant alliance, Cromwell arranged a marriage between Henry and the German Princess, Anne of Cleves. The marriage was a disaster and Henry divorced Anne a few months after. Henry blamed Cromwell for the mismatch and soon after he was executed for treason in 1540.

In his final years Henry's reign, witnessed his physical decline and his continuous expensive and fruitless campaign in France.

In 1540, the King married the teenage Catherine Howard. It was alleged that she had a relationship with Henry's courtier, Francis Dereham and a affair with Thomas Culpeper. Catherine was later found out and executed for adultery and treason in 1542.

Henry's final marriage was to Catherine Parr, who acted as his nurse, and who outlived him even when she was close to being executed herself.

On 28th January 1547 Henry VIII died of possibly kidney failure and was succeeded by his son, Edward VI. He was buried next to Jane Seymour, his favourite wife, in St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. 

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