One of the best known English kings is Henry VIII. He became famous not only for his political work that distanced him from the Catholic Church and the Vatican, but also It was her marriages and her obsession to conceive an heir what has made him so well known throughout the centuries.
Biography of Henry VIII
Was born June 28, 1491 in Greenwich, England, fruit of the marriage between the king Henry VII and Elizabeth of York.
During his youth he was interested in sports of the time, becoming a great athleteand a person interested in the arts such as music or poetry.
In 1501, his brother Arturo, the Prince of Wales and therefore future heir to the throne, He married Catalina de Aragón, daughter of the Catholic Monarchs, Isabel de Castilla and Fernando de Aragón, which would seal an alliance between England and Spain.
However, shortly after the link, Prince Arthur passes away., making Enrique the heir. His father, wanting to maintain the alliance with Spain, decided then marry widow Catherine to Henry.
The alliance between powers
To make sure the marriage was legitimate, the Pope was asked for a dispensation to be able to carry it out. In addition, Catalina claimed that her marriage had not been consummated, so things were a simple procedure.
So, June 11, 1509, after the death of king, Henry VIII married his brother's widow.
They were crowned kings on June 24 at Westminster Abbey.
Allied as he was with Spain, his policy was directed against france due to the rivalry that his wife's country of origin had with the Gallic kingdom.
Henry VIII's foreign policy
Signed the Treaty of Westminster for which he offered aid to Spain against France.
He even mediated between the two countries to end hostilities at the meeting at the Field of Cloth of Gold and at the meetings in Kent.
However, in 1525, after the Battle of Pavia, Henry became aware of the great power that the Spanish monarch was beginning to have, Carlos I of Spain and V of Germany, so he decided approach France again to try to counter it.
He always supported the Holy See when it came to fight Lutheranism, supporting the Catholic Reformation.
In 1521 he wrote a treatise against such faith, called ‘Defense of the seven sacraments', which led to the title of ‘Defender of the faith '.
He was a good believer, but the ups and downs of his married life completely changed their beliefs.
Time was passing and the king he had no heir. In 1510, Catherine gave birth to a boy, Henry, but died within a few weeks.
The queen's pregnancies did not come to fruition, until on February 18, 1516 his daughter Maria Tudor was born, the future Mary I. Enrique was confident that they could finally have a healthy child, but they didn't.
In the midst of the turmoil, he met one of the bridesmaids of his wife, Ana Bolena.
Henry VIII creates the new Anglican religion
Infatuated with her, he came to the conclusion that the reason why he could not have male children was because of divine punishment because his wife was not pure when he got married, so petitioned the Pope for divorce.
He flatly refused to grant it, so, frustrated, he heeded the advice of Thomas Cranmer and Thomas Cromwell and Anne Boleyn herself and broke off relations with the Catholic Church, naming himself head of the new Anglican religion.
This done, he disowned his wife and even his own daughter and married Ana Bolena on January 25, 1533.
The opponents of such an undertaking were executed, since the king could not allow dissenters in his kingdom. One of the best known was Thomas More, formally executed in 1535.
Between 1536 and 1539, he decided to secularize the monasteries and confiscated the church property to expand their coffers.
In addition, he enhanced the spirit of power of the English, making them feel important despite the fact that the power of the kingdom had been declining between controversies and bad performances.
During his reign, managed to attach several territories to the kingdom, like Wales, which annexed it in 1536, or Ireland, the country of which he was named king in 1541.
However, everything was clouded by the lack of an heir. As had happened with Catalina, Anne Boleyn could not bring the world an heir. Only survived a girl, Isabel, future Queen of England.
The beheading of Anne Boleyn
The king, fed up with this situation, accused her of adultery and incest, so was beheaded in 1536 for high treason. In those days his former wife also passed away, Catherine of Aragon.
Henry VIII remarried, this time with another lover named Jane Seymour.
This marriage lasted a short time since a year the queen died from childbirth.
Birth of Edward, the Crown Prince
But it was not all bad news, since Enrique finally managed to have an heir. His wife had given birth to a boy, they called Eduardo.
The king's next marriage was for political causes more than sentimental.
The chosen one was a fervent Lutheran, Anne of Cleves, which strengthened the alliance of England with the German Lutherans.
The wedding took place January 6, 1540. However, soon after, she decided to end her marriage.
In addition to not being attracted to her at all, the queen's family was in disputes with Carlos I, which did not suit England at the time.
Ana did not put any impediment and the marriage was annulled shortly after, since it was not consummated.
The July 28, 1540, the king married the very young Catherine Howard, who was a cousin of his second wife, Anne Boleyn.
However, Catalina, due in part to her youth and ignorance of the consequences that his actions would have, he maintained a romance with a courtier, Thomas Culpeper.
Thomas Cranmer learned of such activities and, after obtaining the necessary evidence, made the king participate of the illicit activities that his wife kept in privacy.
She was linked to Francis Derham, to whom she had previously been engaged. He informed the king of the relationship between Catalina and Culpeper.
The execution of Catherine
The king's anger was immediate. In December 1541 Derham and Culpeper were executed. Shortly after, On February 13, 1542, Catherine would be executed.
About a year later, July 12, 1543Enrique was remarrying, this time with Catherine Parr.
She would be the first Queen of England to also hold the title of Queen of Ireland. In addition, it was the only one of his women who survived him.
Catalina's main work that stands out was achieve the reconciliation of Enrique with his two daughters, María and Isabel, which caused that in 1544 a decree was drawn up by which both returned to meet in the line of succession.
The death of Henry VIII
The last years of the king's life were hard and painful. Enrique had gout, which prevented him from walking on many occasions.
Furthermore, years ago it had wounded in the leg during the celebration of a joust in 1536, wound that caused him pain and difficulties to walk until the end of his days.
He died on January 28, 1547 at Whitehall Palace. He was buried alongside his third wife, Jane Seymour, in the St George's Chapel at Windsor Palace.
After his death, his only son, Edward VI, would ascend to the throne, son of Jane Seymour, who was only 9 years old.
But his reign was short-lived, since in 1553 he passed away, so his sister came to the throne, Mary I, daughter of Catalina de Aragón, who would be known worldwide as ‘The Sanguinaria'Or'Bloody Mary ' in English.
Is died in 1558, with the consequent appointment as queen of his sister Elizabeth I, daughter of Ana Bolena.
Graduated in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication, since I was little I have been attracted to the world of information and audiovisual production. Passion for informing and being informed of what is happening in every corner of the planet. Likewise, I am pleased to be part of the creation of an audiovisual product that will later entertain or inform people. My interests include cinema, photography, the environment and, above all, history. I consider it essential to know the origin of things to know where we come from and where we are going. Special interest in curiosities, mysteries and anecdotal events in our history.