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Getting To Know More About The Tudors

Henry VIII

If you enjoy history, as well as music, it is possible that you may have heard a golden oldie, which went something like this, "I am Henry the eighth I am, Henry the 8th,  I am, I am, I got married to the widow next door, she was married seven times before, She's been married seven times before, And every one was an Henry (Henry)/ She wouldn't have a Willy or a Sam (no Sam) I'm her eighth old man, I'm Henry, Henry the eighth I am!!!"

This song is rather funny, but it is based on a real person, in fact, Henry VIII was the king of England from 1509 until his death in 1547. He was the second King of the Tudor dynasty, which started with his father Henry Tudor. Henry the VIII wanted a son. So he married three Catherines, two Annes, and one Jane! So he is the historical Henry VIII who married six times, marrying princesses from Aragon and Cleves and ladies in waiting in his court, all the while hoping for a son. He had three children, Queen Mary, (born 18 February 1516, crowned queen, July 1553, died November 1558), Edward VI (born 12 October 1537, crowned 20 February 1547 died 6 July 1553) and Elizabeth (born I 7 September 1533, reigned from 17 November 1558 to 24 March 1603) who was the last Tudor monarch.

Five Tudor monarchs ruled England for just about 100 years. One of these uncrowned monarchs, Lady Jane Grey was put on the throne, after the death of the third king, King Edward VI, but she ruled for only nine days. So she is not considered to be a true monarch, but a usurper, who took the place of Princess Mary, soon to be Mary Tudor and the wife of Philip of Spain.

 Henry Tudor was a Welsh prince who decided to take over the throne of England because his mother belonged to the Royal British House of Lancaster. At that time, there was a civil war going on between two royal houses -- the Yorks and the Lancasters- for power. So for a 100 years, England had been subjected to the war of The Roses, where it was either "up the Yorks (wearing White Roses), or "up the Lancasters."(wearing Red Roses.)

Richard the third was ruling England when Henry Tudor decided to make a bid for the crown, being a Lancaster. Henry Tudor fought with Richard the third on the field of Bosworth on 22 August 1485. Richard the Third died bravely on the battlefield and Henry Tudor became the first Tudor King of England. He married a York Princess Elizabeth, and finally brought peace between the two fighting houses of York and Lancaster.

His son Henry VIII was born on 28 June 1491. This Tudor king is normally known in the history of England as one of the more cruel kings who did not spare anybody who came in his way. England was Catholic at that time. So the Pope dictated the behaviour of the King and interfered with the politics of the country. The churches in England were extremely powerful and rich. So Henry decided that he needed to take over the power of the church (and the churches) in England. The church was interfering with his will to do whatever he wanted. So, when he wanted a divorce from his Queen to marry a lady in waiting who would possibly give him a son, he asked the Pope for permission to do so. The Pope said "no", because Catholics are not allowed to divorce. Henry VIII answered, "Is that so? Well then, England wants nothing to do with the church. I am starting a church of my own, the Church of England, of which I am the head!"

This gave him an excuse to take over the churches (and their land and their money) and banish all the monks from England.

His daughter, Elizabeth I, was one of the most famous rulers of England. She did not marry, and after her death, the Tudor dynasty passed on to James VI of Scotland, James I, of England.

Read more about The Tudors for children here.

This is an original news article © The Kids Window

One in a series of articles about History written for children.

Take a look at our children's Tudor dressing up costumes here.

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