Henry VIII and His Many Wives

Essay by ashleighwHigh School, 10th gradeA+, October 2007

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Henry VIII was born in Greenwich, near London, on June 28, 1491. He is the second successor in the Tudor family. His father was Henry VII, founder of the Tudor dynasty, and his mother Elizabeth of York. Henry had an excellent Renaissance Education while growing up to become the next king of England. He had many interests and was adept at philosophical discourse, languages, and literature. His skills ranged from being an accomplished athlete, skilled at hunting and jousting, to being a dancer, musician, and composer. By the time he had grown to be a man, Henry was a little over six feet tall and powerfully built. ().

Henry’s elder brother Arthur died prematurely in 1502 making Henry the heir to the throne. Henry came to the throne in 1509 at seventeen years old. His very first act as king was to marry his brother’s widow Catherine of Aragon, daughter of Ferdinand II and Isabella I of Spain.

This marriage was mainly political but was a happy one for almost twenty years. (Axelrod, Alan, and Charles Phillips). Henry became sour with Catherine when she was unable to give him a male heir. Although Catherine never bore a boy for Henry she did have a baby girl, Mary I, who would later rule England for five years after Henry’s death. During her reign she was known as “Bloody Mary” for her persecution of Protestants.

Henry soon became anxious to divorce Catherine after a lady of his court caught his eye, Anne Boleyn. Henry demanded his chief minister, Cardinal Wolsey, to request an annulment to Catherine. When the pope, Pope Clement VII, refused to grant an annulment, Henry led Parliament to make the king of England head of the church. The pope excommunicated Henry with the support of Thomas More. With Henry...