The Lives And Wives Of King Henry Viii

1156 words - 5 pages

King Henry VIII is considerable the most controversial monarch Great Britain has ever had. He is commonly known for his ill-advised decisions, six wives, and splitting Great Britain from the Catholic Church to create the Church of England. King Henry VIII of England’s determination to guarantee his family line’s continuation in the throne caused many problems, such as religious tensions, economic hardships, and political adversaries that continued one long after his death.
King Henry VIII was born on June 28, 1491 in Greenwich, England. He was the second son of his father, King Henry VII. Henry was not the heir to the throne; instead, his brother Arthur was. However, Arthur died a year after his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, making Prince Henry the heir. It was then decided that Catherine would remain in England, as King Henry was trying to create a new marriage contract with her for Prince Henry. If Catherine returned to Spain, then her dowry would go with her, as would their alliance with Spain [1]. Days before Henry turned 18, his father died. He quickly occupied the throne, and a few weeks after Henry became king, he married Catherine, with special permission from the pope. As Henry was the sole heir to the throne, one of his first priorities was to produce sons [1]. This influenced many of his later actions, including splitting from the Catholic Church.
Henry VIII was not raised to become king; his brother was. When Henry took the throne, he had a great education, but no clue about what to accomplish as king and how to do it. Henry was more concerned with his image – he would throw lavish parties to show his luxurious lifestyle, and made few decisions himself concerning governing, instead relying heavily on his councilors. Catherine soon gave birth to a son in 1511, but the baby only survived a few weeks before dying [1]. This left Henry in distress, as he needed an heir and since he relied heavily on his image, he felt that a son would bring him glory. Henry was devoted to the church, and was in Pope Julius II’s Holy League. The purpose of this alliance was to keep the French from gaining territory in Italy. In 1513, Henry commanded his army to invade northern France, and even personally lead English troops during the Battle of Spurs [2]. However, he had not expected Scotland, an ally of France, and their leader James IV to declare war against England. Scotland was quickly defeated and James killed; however, this war only worsened England’s economic problems [1]. During this time, Henry also supported the church against the doctrines of Martin Luther; the pope then awarded him with the title “Defender of the Faith”, a title still used today by his descendants [2].
In 1515, Henry appointed Thomas Wolsey, Archbishop of York and a cardinal, as his primary advisor. Wolsey was known for his corruption and greed for power. Hoping to become pope one day, he frequently advised Henry on what would raise his own position, not what was best for...

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