Little Bits of History

Henry VIII

Posted in History by patriciahysell on April 21, 2011

King Henry VIII

April 21, 1509: Henry VIII becomes King of England. Henry VII was King of England from August 22, 1485 after being victorious in the Wars of the Roses. He reigned for 23 years and brought a bit of peace to a war ravaged island. His eldest son, Arthur was set to take over the throne at his father’s death. However, Arthur predeceased his father and all of a sudden the spare heir was set to ascend to the kingship. Henry was 17 years old at his coronation.

Arthur had died in 1502 at the age of 15. He was married to Catherine of Aragon on November 14, 1501. By April 2, 1502, the Prince of Wales was dead, having suddenly taken ill. There is much speculation about what the illness may have been. His wife was also taken ill, but she recovered. After it was certain the Princess of Wales was not carrying Arthur’s child, Henry was elevated to the title of Prince of Wales and was next in line for his father’s throne. Henry VII did not want to return either Catherine or her dowry. Instead, he arranged for his son Henry to marry his sister-in-law. A special dispensation was granted by Pope Julius II. Eventually the young couple married on June 11, 1509. Their double coronation took place on June 24, 1509.

Henry VIII began to believe that God was punishing him for what he thought was an illegal marriage between him and his sister-in-law. So he asked the Pope for a dissolution to the marriage. Henry was desperate for a male heir to take the throne after his own death and forestall more civil wars. He and Catherine had a daughter, Mary, but that did not help ease the King’s mind. Only a son would do. It was thought women were incapable of rule. After years of maneuvering and fighting with the Catholic Church as well as other nations on mainland Europe, Henry divorced Catherine and married Anne Boleyn.

Anne had another daughter, Elizabeth, and again this was seen as God’s disapproval. Anne was disposed of and Henry was smitten by a young court woman, Jane Seymour. Jane finally consented to marry the King and remarkably, a son was born. However, he was not a hale and healthy son and Jane died of complications of the delivery. Henry next married Anne of Cleves in an arranged marriage meant to solidify political standing. Henry hated Anne and they soon parted. Next up was Catherine Howard, but she didn’t last very long either. Catherine Parr was Henry’s final wife. She may have met the fate of some of Henry’s other wives, but Henry died and his son, Edward VI ascended to the throne – at least for a short time.

“…to wish myself (specially an evening) in my sweetheart’s arms, whose pretty ducks [breasts] I trust shortly to kiss.” [in a letter to Anne Boleyn]

“You have sent me a Flanders mare!” [about Anne of Cleves]

“Rose without a thorn.” [describing Catherine Howard]

“[M]ost dearly and most entirely beloved wife.” [referring to Catherine Parr] – all from King Henry VIII

Also on this day:
Snoopy v. The Red Baron – In 1918 The Red Baron loses a dogfight.
Rome – In 753 BC, Romulus and Remus founded Rome.

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