King Henry VIII: A Religious Force

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"I'm Henry the eighth I am

Henry the eighth I am, I am

I got married to the widow next door

She's been married seven times before"

An early twentieth century music group named Herman's Hermits wrote "Henry VIII I Am" in 1911. The significance of Henry's reign is often overshadowed by his six marriages. Because his political concern and regal power greatly influenced a change in the Catholic Church, Henry VIII was one of the most influential Christian reform leaders in history.

Henry was born on June 28, 1491 in Greenwich. He was the second son and third child of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. His elder brother Arthur died in 1502, and consequently Henry became heir to the throne at eleven years old. After Arthur's death, a project was formed to marry Arthur's widow, Catherine of Aragon, and Henry VIII. Catherine became Henry's first wife in 1509, nine weeks after the death of his father.

During his marriage to Catherine, he had a mistress, Elizabeth Blount, with whom he had Henry Blount, Duke of Richmond. He divorced Catherine of Aragon in 1533, but their union produced one daughter, Mary. Henry then married Anne Boleyn in 1533.

She gave birth to Henry's second daughter, Elizabeth. In May of 1536, Henry accused her of being adulterous. In a begging letter to Henry, Boleyn stated, "Try me, good King, but let me have a Lawful Trial, and let not my sworn Enemies sit as my Accusers and Judges; yes, let me receive an open Trial, for my Truth shall fear no open shame; then shall you see, either mine Innocency cleared, your Suspicion and Conscience satisfied, the Ignominy and Slander of the World stopped, or my Guilt openly declared." Henry had her beheaded. In that same month, Henry...