Henry VIII

Henry VIII (28 June 1491 – 28 January 1547) was the King of England from 1509 until his death in 1547. He is perhaps one of England’s most famous monarchs because he split England from the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope, and because he married six times.

Henry VIII increased the power of the monarchy and government over the country. Many people he did not like were executed under his orders (killed), including two of his own wives. He was easily led by whoever his favorite advisor was: Thomas Wolsey, Thomas More, Thomas Cromwell, Thomas Cranmer and Richard Rich. More and Cromwell were also executed. He passed laws to merge Wales into England and was the first English monarch to be King of Ireland.

His government was able to raise more money when they stopped paying money to the Roman Catholic Church and because they closed down the monasteries. But he also spent far more money on his own enjoyment and on wars with France and Scotland. These wars did not achieve much. He made the Royal Navy much bigger and made other improvements to the armed forces.

Early in his reign he was seen as a handsome young man who had studied a lot and enjoyed sports, music and writing. Later in his reign he became weak, ill and hugely obese. He also became unpredictable, bad-tempered and unable to admit to making mistakes. He died at the age of 55 in 1547. The next king was his son Edward VI.

Henry VIII
Henry VIII
The meeting of Francis I and Henry VIII

The meeting of Francis I and Henry VIII at the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520

(edited from source)

CC BY-SA 3.0