Henry VIII (28 June 1491 – 28 January 1547) was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France. Henry was the second monarch of the House of Tudor, succeeding his father, Henry VII.
From this moment until his death Henry extended and showed off his authority by refurbishing, or building new, palaces such as Whitehall (later burned down), Richmond, St James and Hampton Court. His profligate style of life led however to the ruin of the Exchequer and to his reputation as a colourful, extravagant and exacting monarch.
However, a divorce was not a simple issue. In fact, it was a very complicated one. Henry VIII was a Roman Catholic and the head of this church was the pope based in Rome.
The Roman Catholic faith believed in marriage for life. It did not recognise, let alone support, divorce. Those who were widowed were free to re-marry; this was an entirely different issue. But husbands could not simply decide that their marriage was not working, divorce their wife and re-marry. The Roman Catholic Church simply did not allow it.
The English Reformation started in the reign of Henry VIII. The English Reformation was to have far reaching consequences in Tudor England. Henry VIII decided to rid himself of his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, after she had failed to produce a male heir to the throne. He had already decided who his next wife would be - Anne Boleyn. By 1527, Catherine was considered too old to have anymore children.
Henry VIII became king on the death of his father, 500 years ago on 21 April 1509. He married Catherine of Aragon on 11 June the same year and the couple were crowned at Westminster Abbey 13 days later.
He had been betrothed to his brother's widow Catherine of Aragon, and in spite of the protest which he had been made to register against the marriage, and of the doubts expressed by Pope Julius II and Archbishop Warham as to its validity, it was completed in the first few months of his reign.
In 1502, Arthur, just 15 years old, died suddenly. His death thrust all his duties upon his younger brother Henry, who then became Prince of Wales.
Henry VIII's father, Henry VII, began a programme of building warships for a navy, and by the time he died and Henry VIII became king, there were five royal warships. Two of them were new four-masted carracks that were much larger than the usual English merchant ship.
As a young man Henry was a predictable prince of his age: lusty, ambitious and a religious conformist, whose pamphlet Assertio Septem Sacromentorum earned him the title of Defender of the Faith, bestowed by Pope Leo X.
In 1493, Henry was appointed Constable of Dover Castle and Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. In 1494, he was created Duke of York. He was subsequently appointed Earl Marshal of England and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.
KING HENRY VIII of England and Ireland, the third child and second son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, was born on the 28th of June 1491 and, like all the Tudor monarchs except Henry VII, at Greenwich Palace.