Henry

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Henry VIII  (1491-1547), king of England (1509-1547), the image of the Renaissance king as immortalized by German artist Hans Holbein, who painted him hands on hips, legs astride, exuding confidence and power.
Henry VIII had six wives, fought numerous wars in Europe, and even aspired to become Holy Roman Emperor in order to extend his control to Europe. He ruthlessly increased the power of royal government, using Parliament to sanction his actions. Henry ruled through powerful ministers who, like his six wives, were never safe in their positions. His greatest achievement was to initiate the Protestant Reformation in England. He rejected the authority of the pope and the Roman Catholic Church, confiscated church lands, and promoted religious reformers to power.
Henry Tudor, named after his father, Henry VII, was born June 28, 1491 in Greenwich Palace. Since he was the second son, and not expected to become king, we know little of his childhood until the death of his older brother Arthur. We know that he attended the wedding celebrations of Arthur and his bride, Catherine of Aragon, in November 1501 when he was 10 years old. Shortly after the wedding, Arthur and Catherine went to live in Wales, as was tradition for the heir to the throne. But, four months after the marriage began, it ended, with the death of Arthur Prince of Wales.
A treaty was signed that would allow Catherine to marry the next heir to the throne - Prince Henry. Until then, Catherines parents, Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain would send over 100, 000 crowns worth of plate and gold as a wedding gift and Henry would pay the agreed upon dowry. It was deemed necessary for a papal dispensation to be issued allowing Henry to marry Catherine, as she was his dead brothers wife, and this marriage was prohibited in Leviticus. At the time, and throughout her life, Catherine denied that her marriage to Arthur had even been consummated (and given the boys health, that is most likely the case) so no dispensation was needed. However, both the parties in Spain and England wanted to be sure of the legitimacy of the marriage, so permission from the pope was sought and received. This issue would be very important during the Divorce and the Break with Rome. The marriage still did not take place however. Henry VII had been slow to pay his part of the arrangement and her parents were refusing to send the marriage portion of plate and gold. The stalemate continued until Henry VII died on April 22, 1509 and his son became Henry VIII. Henry was just shy of 18 years old when he became king, and had been preparing for it from the time of his older brother Arthurs death. At this age, he was not the image that we usually call to mind when we hear the name Henry VIII. He was not the overweight and ill man of his later years. In his youth, he was handsome and athletic. He was tall and had a bright red-gold cap of hair and beard, a far cry from the fat, balding and unhealthy man that is often ...


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