Fun facts on King Henry VIII for Kids
I bet you’ve heard of Henry VIII. He is probably the most well known of all Tudor kings and lived a very interesting life. Born on 28th June 1491, Henry was the second son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York.
Did you know that Henry was never expected to become King of England? His older brother, Arthur, was due to become King until his early death. Henry was only 17 when he was made King, as well as lowering taxes the people also warmed to him as he was an energetic fun loving King.
Royals in the Tudor times rarely married for love. Often they married to join families to other rich and powerful families both from England and other important countries. He married his brother’s widow, Henry had been married to Catherine of Aragon for 25 years and she had borne (given birth to) no male heir, only one surviving girl called Mary.
Henry was eager to have a son, who would become King upon his death, at the same time as this problem Henry started to fall in love with a young lady-in-waiting called Anne Boleyn. At this time most people belonged to the Catholic Church, which was headed by the Pope, in Rome.
Henry decided that he needed to remarry. To do so he needed to get permission from the Pope, (They didn’t have mobile phones or email! people had to travel by boat and this was a very long journey) the Pope didn't want to upset Henry as the King was a very powerful man who had been a very useful ally (friend) to the church. The Pope delayed in making a decision.
Henry was not the most patient man and he married Anne without the Pope saying that he could! The Pope later said that Henry's marriage to Anne was illegal. This made Henry very angry and he thought that as King he had the right to control the way that the church was run in England and that the pope had no authority, he made himself the Head of the Church of England (you might have heard some people call it the C of E.)
So now, Henry could guarantee the end of his first marriage. Also instead of all money and riches going to the Church in Rome, they became Henrys property; making the country wealthy he also invested in the navy, and increased its size from 5 to 53 ships! When Henry died at the age of 55 he was buried next to his third wife, the only one to give him the son he always wanted.
To some people, Henry VIII was a strong ruler, forcing changes to the Church-State relationship. For all of Henry’s concern over producing a male heir to carry on his Tudor name, Henry's six marriages had created one sickly son and two Princesses; Mary and Elizabeth, none of them were to have any children! ~ I bet Henry would not have been happy!
But let’s go back to his very famous 6 wives, there is an easy way to remember the order of what happened to them, it’s a little rhyme;
Divorced, beheaded, died. Divorced, beheaded, survived...
You also need to know who they were (if you don’t already) so read below to find out more.
Catherine of Aragon was a Spanish princess who had previously been married to Henry's brother Prince Arthur; Henry announced his desire to divorce Catherine because she had failed to produce a male heir. Catherine was the mother to Mary.
Anne Boleyn was a lady-in-waiting (female personal assistant) to the former queen, Catherine of Aragon. Anne was only married to Henry for 3 years. When Anne miscarried a second child, Henry accused her of witchcraft and had her beheaded at the Tower of London for adultery. Anne was the mother to Elizabeth
Jane Seymour was married to Henry just eleven days after the execution of Anne! She was never crowned, due to a plague in London where the crowning was to take place. Jane gave birth to a baby boy; she died 12 days later of blood poisoning. Henry wore black for three months after her death and did not remarry for three years. People believed that because Jane produced Henry a male heir that this made her so fondly remembered by him.
Anne of Cleves was a German noblewoman; Henry did not see Anne of Cleves in person until 3 month before the marriage. All he had seen before this was a painting, and not a very good likeness! He felt he had been lied to as everyone had praised Anne's good looks. Anne married Henry in 1540 to form a tie between England and Germany, six months after the wedding and Henry divorced her. Their marriage did not end badly Henry and Anne became good friends - she was referred to as "the King's Beloved Sister".
Catherine Howard was a lady-in-waiting (female personal assistant) to the former queen, Anne of Cleves and also Anne Boleyn's cousin! Henry married Catherine 19 days after his divorce from Anne of Cleves! Catherine was repulsed by her husband's obesity (fatness) she started an affair with one of Henry’s favourite male helpers. Henry was given a letter with the accusations against his wife. Henry accused his wife of adultery and had Catherine beheaded at the Tower of London.
Catherine Parr Married Henry a year after the beheading of Catherine Howard. She had been married twice before Henry and once after. It is thought that she was partially responsible for the reunion between Henry and his daughters from his first two marriages and it is also said that her strength of character and dignity, greatly influenced her stepdaughter Elizabeth I.
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