College papers help

The life and rule of king henry viii

Henry, their second son, was styled the Duke of York. He had his own servants and minstrels, and a fool named John Goose. He even had a whipping boy who was punished when Henry did something wrong. Prince Henry enjoyed music and grew up to be an accomplished musician although he did not write "Greensleeves," as legend suggests. At the age of 10 he could play many instruments, including the fife, harp, viola and drums. Prince Arthur danced at his wedding and seemed to be in good health, but within a few months he was dead.

Some historians think Arthur had tuberculosis. Or he may have had plague or sweating sickness. Young Henry was now heir to the throne. While his father was alive he was watched so closely that he might have been a girl. He could go out only through a private door, and then he was under the supervision of specially appointed people. No one could speak to him. He never spoke in public unless it was to answer a question from his father.

Henry was a very tall, athletic, handsome teenager. He kept his exuberant personality under control on public occasions because he feared his father's temper. He received little training for his future role as King, and would rely heavily on his counselors in the early years of his reign.

Henry VIII

The first ten weeks of the reign, his grand mother, lady Margaretacted as a regent, until he came on age. John, at Westminster Abbey. Henry VIII ascended a throne which his father had made remarkably secure, he inherited a fortune which probably no English King had ever been bequeathed, he came to a kingdom which was the best governed and most obedient in Christendom.

Although most people today think of Henry VIII as a fat tyrant, in his youth he was admired for his intelligence, good looks, good nature and athletic ability. One of his contemporaries wrote that he was "one of the goodliest men that lived in his time, in manners more than a man, most amiable, courteous and benign in gesture unto all persons".

But of course, Henry is remembered today for just one thing - well, six things. Six wives, to be exact. It may surprise you to learn that Henry VIII was married to his first wife for over 20 years, and for a long time they were happy together.

Catalinadaughter of Fernando and Isabel of Spain, was five years older and much more sedate than the King. She was interested in politics and Henry often turned to her for advice.

BBC navigation

In 1513 she ruled as regent while Henry was campaigning in France. Although Catalina was pregnant many times, only one of her children, Princess Marysurvived. Henry was a doting father and didn't seem to blame Catalina for her failure to bear healthy sons.

Henry is only known to have had two mistresses during his marriage to Catalinawhich made him a reasonably faithful husband by the standards of the time. Catalina knew of his affairs but kept silent. On 28 May 1510, Luis Caroz, Spanish Ambassador, wrote an account, which seems to derive from court gossip. Is the only one to refer to this incident.

He reported that two sisters of the Duke of Buckinghamboth married, lived in the palace; one of them is the favourite of the Queenand the other, it is said, is much liked by the King, who went after her.

See a Problem?

Another version is that the love intrigues were not of the King, but of a young man, his favourite, William Comptonwho carried on the love intrigue for the King. Buckingham had two sisters: It is not clear from this account which of them was the object of the King's affections and which the informer, but Compton is known to have lived for a time in an adulterous relationship with Lady Hastingsand at Compton he later founded a chantry where prayers were said the life and rule of king henry viii for her soul and those of his family members, so it is reasonable to suppose that it was she who was at the centre of this scandal.

According to Caroz's account, though, it sounds very much as if Compton at this stage was acting as a go-between for the King and the lady. Caroz thought so, and had this not been the case, the Queen would surely not have reacted so angrily, even though she would naturally have been upset at a close attendant being so publicly disgraced, since it reflected upon her own honour and reputation.

The fact that her ladies were going about the court spying on the King suggests that Catalina had already had her suspicions. The Stafford affair taught Catalina a humiliating lesson, that it was useless to remonstrate with her husband in such cases. Like many men of his time, Henry regarded it as his prerogative to pursue other ladies, while at the same time expecting his wife to stay chaste, and she soon realised that, in order to preserve her dignity and avoid mortifying public rows, she should shut her eyes to his extramarital affairs and be grateful that he did not shame her by flaunting them.

That there were affairs we cannot doubt. Although the pieces of evidence are fractional, taken as a whole they are overwhelming. In 1515 Giustinian described Henry as being "free from every vice", yet in that same year a French Ambassador in Rome stated that the King was "a youngling [who] cares for nothing but girls and hunting and wastes his father's patrimony" --much to the distress of the English Ambassador at the Vatican, who thought such words disrespectful to his sovereign.

George Wyatt, the grandson of Sir Thomas WyattHenry's court poet, refers to the King the life and rule of king henry viii his pursuit of a lady when his friend Sir Francis Bryan revealed an interest in her. Henry may also have enjoyed the favours of Bryan 's gorgeous sister Elizabeth, who was married to an-other favoured courtier, Sir Nicholas Carew ; the King gave her "many beautiful diamonds and pearls and innumerable jewels" that were, strictly speaking, the property of the Queen.

Amadas, wife of Robert Amadas, the Master of his Jewel House, that lady, who was given to tantrums and strange visions, made no secret of the fact that William Compton had made his house in Thames Street available for their trysts -a circumstance that gives credence to Caroz's assertion that Compton had acted for Henry in the Stafford affair.

It is important to remember that during Henry's reign, at least half of his subjects were the life and rule of king henry viii the age of eighteen.

Henry's court swarmed with young people - pages, scullery maids, and the like. English culture celebrated youth; tournaments, hunts, glorious warfare - these were all the province of the young and strong. And while Henry was young, he joined these events with a gusto sadly lacking in his father or son. But time does not stop, not even for a despotic monarch determined to have his way in all things. During his 'great matter', Henry was in his thirties and changing from 'Bluff King Hal' into an overweight and balding hypochondriac.

He had rid himself of Rome to gain wealth and a son. He did both and, once he had, continually toyed with the idea of making peace with the Pope. He didn't relish being excommunicated and it is likely that he persuaded himself that he wasn't disobeying Christ's vicar but, rather, the Emperor's puppet. But still young, athletic and handsome in 1518, he looked at a young maid of honour of his Queenpretty Elizabeth Blountdaughter of a minor branch of the house of Lord Mountjoy.

All the evidence suggests that this was not an affair of any duration, only a short liaison with an unexpectedly pleasant result.

  • Henry approved of her portrait, so in 1539 a marriage treaty was signed and Anne set sail for England;
  • Had Henry's excommunication been followed by a terrible harvest or bad weather, it may have been otherwise;
  • Catherine was executed for adultery and treason in 1542;
  • Jane Seymour died after childbirth and Henry ordered that she be granted a queen's funeral;
  • Cardinal Wolsey embodied this avaricious streak; he was Bishop, Archbishop, abbot, and cardinal yet the affairs of state kept him from his duties.

Elizabeth fell pregnant and gave the King a baby, his first boy, born around Jun of 1519 at the Priory of St. Lawrence at Blackmore, near Chelmsford in Essex. After these came Mary Boleyn. The affair was brief, ending in mid-1525 probably Jul. On 4 Mar 1526, Mary gave birth to a son, called Henry.

He was widely assumed to be the king's son. He physically resembled the King, a fact often remarked upon.

  • Henry was angry at their presumption - how dare his ignorant subjects rebel and then tell him how to run the country!
  • The cultural and social impact was significant, as much of the land was sold to the gentry and churches and monasteries were gutted and destroyed;
  • Henry's break with Rome was really a legal reformation rather than one of real religious content;
  • The following year he married his sixth and final wife:

In 1535, for example, a man called 'young Master Carey' the king's son. The answer lies in his determination to divorce Catalina de Aragon and marry Anne Boleynthe child's aunt. It is likely that even Henry VIII would have been too embarrassed to recognize his bastard son by his fiancee's younger sister. Bewitched by Anne 's sparkling black eyes, long dark hair and vivacious personality, the King began scheming to end his marriage to Catalina.

  • In 1515 Giustinian described Henry as being "free from every vice", yet in that same year a French Ambassador in Rome stated that the King was "a youngling [who] cares for nothing but girls and hunting and wastes his father's patrimony" --much to the distress of the English Ambassador at the Vatican, who thought such words disrespectful to his sovereign;
  • He was a very selfish person and by the end of his life everyone was afraid of him, mainly because of his ruthless behaviour toward anyone who didn't agree with him;
  • The best collection of Henry VIII's portraits was exhibited at the Burlington Fine Arts Club in 1909, and the catalogue of that exhibition contains the best description of them; several are reproduced in Pollard's Henry Goupil 1902 , the letterpress of which was published by Longmans in a cheaper edition 1905;
  • Once she fell on her knees in public and begged the King to change one of his policies;
  • Learning of this, Catherine took to her bed crying, which so distressed Henry that he cancelled the arrest warrant.

He claimed that it had never really been a marriage because she had been his brother's wife. Catalina insisted that her first marriage didn't count because it hadn't been consummated, and church authorities agreed. For years Henry struggled unsuccessfully to have his marriage annulled.

In the end, determined to have his way, he broke free of the Catholic Church, established the Church of England, banished Catalina from court, had his first marriage declared invalid, and married Anne Boleyn. In terms of the practical effect the reformation had on everyday Englishmen, the situation is more difficult to gauge. Unlike the wealthy noblemen, they couldn't bid on the seized monastic properties.

But they undoubtedly enjoyed not paying their tax to Rome. Once again, a paradox emerged - an excommunicated nation which found itself torn between loyalty to the sovereign and loyalty to the papacy. Also, since Henry's marriage to Anne Boleyn could only be recognized if one accepted his annulment from Catalina - which in itself meant a rejection of papal authority - and it was treason to not recognize his marriage to Annethen many people were swayed by the threat of execution.

In other words, accept Henry's decisions or die. There was opposition to the reformation which probably had more to do with the attendant loss of independence in north England. In 1536, a northern uprising which came to be called the Pilgrimage of Gracegathered over 40,000 men and marched through England. It eventually destroyed itself by internal division and lack of clear purpose but one of the life and rule of king henry viii rebels' demands was a warning for Cromwell - they want their King to be advised by noble councilors who understand the people's wishes, not common men like Cromwell.

Henry VIII: The Life and Rule of England's Nero

Henry was angry at their presumption - how dare his ignorant subjects rebel and then tell him how to run the country! And he continued to listen to Cromwell. The Pilgrimage was largely motivated not by religious concerns but by Cromwell 's determination to dissolve the monasteries and improve the royal tax collecting methods.

With no standing military force, taxes were greatly needed for military loans to pay the dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk to respond to the rebel threat. The life and rule of king henry viii example, the movement began in Louth, in Lincolnshire, and began with the murder of two tax collectors, one of whom was hanged and the other sewn into a sack and thrown to a pack of hungry dogs!

So the common people might grumble somewhat but they were ultimately more influenced by practical matters. Had Henry's excommunication been followed by a terrible harvest or bad weather, it may have been otherwise. During his daughter Mary 's reign, such signs were taken to mean God was angry with her for attempting to reinstate Catholicism. But not only did Henry have good weather, he had a brilliant servant.

Cromwell was the one who gave force to Henry's grand declarations. The King declared that Rome had no authority in England and Cromwell instituted the reforms which would make it so. The King declared that all monastic lands were forfeit and Cromwell set out to close the monasteries, assess their value, and sell them to the highest bidder.

For a decade, this partnership worked marvelously. Also, Henry and Cromwell both recognized a fundamental truth of the English people - don't upset their traditional religious views. Certainly Henry did not upset his own.

They omitted the name of the Pope in their prayers but not much else.