King Henry Viii: The Golden King

1651 words - 7 pages

King Henry VIII was not only a major component of England’s governmental structure, but was also an integral part of English Renaissance literature. From writing love poems to participating in literary endeavors, King Henry VIII revolutionized literature in England all while running the country. His humanist ideals and youthful, energetic personality provided a refreshing change of pace from the previous king, which resulted in the trust and support of his people. While his life was what modern society considers short, King Henry VIII changed the face of literature and government in England.
Born Henry Tudor on June 28, 1491, he was the second son of King Henry VII and Queen Elizabeth. He was a young king, only 18, when he took the throne after his father’s passing. He was the first well-educated English monarch, who spoke many languages including French, Italian, Spanish, and Latin. He was many things including an accomplished musician, writer, and poet. He surpassed at jousting and hunting, using them not only as pastimes but also as political devices. Even though he possessed great qualities, he was also a very powerful man with his own strong will; his overpowering charm, could turn into anger and shouting for he was high strung and unstable; he also was neurotic and controlled by a strong sense of cruelty. Crowned on June 24, 1509, King Henry VIII’s accession to the throne was warmly welcomed due to the differences between him and the late king. “The English were generally tired of the late king’s tightfisted manner and dour court” (Herman 7). During this time, the Reformation had finally begun in England. A dispute between King Henry VIII and the Pope had been based upon the assumption that the king was a “national stallion” and was expected to provide an heir to the throne, and King Henry VIII’s first wife, Catherine of Aragon, had only bore females of which only one, the princess Mary, survived (“Protestantism” 1). England did not have Salic law, which is the forbidding of female succession, but England had just emerged from a prolonged civil war, Wars of the Roses, and a new dynasty needed a male heir to maintain its hold on the throne and prevent resumption of civil war. Typically, the marriage would be reviewed to see if there was any flaw that could result in annulment or divorce. In this particular marriage, Catherine had been married to Henry’s brother Arthur, and canon law “forbade the marriage of a man to his deceased brother’s widow” (“Protestantism” 1). Julius II, the pope at the time, had disregarded that rule and now the real question was whether or not the new pope could override that. This process took so long that Henry decided to take matters into his own hands, reject papal authority, and set up the Independent Church of England in 1534, with none other than the king as supreme head. “Henry’s basic concern was political, but the alterations in the structure of the church gave scope for a reformation that was religious in...

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