HENRY VIII

Henry VIII

b. 28 Jun 1491, Greenwich, near London
d. 28 Jan 1547, London

Title: Dei Gracia Rex Anglie et Francie Dominus Hibernie (By the Grace of God, King of England and France and Lord of Ireland) [21 Apr 1509 - 11 Oct 1521]
  Dei Gracia Rex Anglie et Francie, Fidei Defensor et Dominus Hibernie (By the Grace of God, King of England and France, Defender of the Faith, Lord of Ireland) [11 Oct 1521 - 15 Jan 1535]
  Dei Gracia Rex Anglie et Francie, Fidei Defensor, Dominus Hibernie, et in terra ecclesie Anglicane supremum caput (By the Grace of God, King of England and France, Defender of the Faith, Lord of Ireland, and of the Church of England in Earth Supreme Head) [15 Jan 1535 - 1536]
  Dei Gracia Rex Anglie et Francie, Fidei Defensor, Dominus Hibernie, et in terra ecclesiae Anglicane et Hibernice supremum caput (By the Grace of God, King of England and France, Defender of the Faith, Lord of Ireland, and of the Church of England and (also) of Ireland in Earth Supreme Head) [1536 - 6 Feb 1542]
  Dei Gracia Anglie, Francie et Hibernie Rex, Fidei Defensor, et in terra ecclesie Anglicane et Hibernice supremum caput (By the Grace of God, King of England, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, and of the Church of England and (also) of Ireland in Earth Supreme Head) [6 Feb 1542 - 28 Jan 1547]
Term: 21 Apr 1509 - 28 Jan 1547
Chronology: 21 Apr 1509, succeeded his father, Henry VII (regnal years counted from 22 Apr 1509) [1]
  24 Jun 1509, crowned, Westminster Abbey
  11 Oct 1521, the style of Defender of the Faith bestowed by a Bull of Pope Leo X (see a note on royal styles)
  15 Jan 1535, proclaimed Supreme Head of the Church of England in the presence of the leading officers of state in the Privy Chamber
  between 13 Oct 1536 and 20 Dec 1536, the Irish Parliament passed "An Act authorising the King, his Heirs and Successors, to be Supreme Head of the Church of Ireland" (28 Henry VIII c.5) [NOTE: see "Calendar of the Carew Manuscripts : 1515-1574" (web site), p. 94; also: "The work of two other legislative assemblies was closely related to that of the English Parliament. In Dublin, a Parliament summoned by Lord Leonard Grey, the viceroy, had met in May 1536 to ratify the more important pieces of legislation passed by the Reformation Parliament. The act in restraint of appeals, the act of supremacy, and the act granting first fruits and tenths to the King were thus extended to Ireland. <...> In June the Parliament in Dublin was recessed; it did not gather again until 25 July, a week after the dissolution at Westminster. A new act of succession was obviously needed in Ireland, but it was not introduced in 1536. Only in October 1537 did it become law, together with a bill modelled on the English act renouncing papal authority." in "The later Parliaments of Henry VIII, 1536-1547", by Stanford E. Lehmberg (limited view), pp. 36-37] BUT See http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=75435
  6 Feb 1542, proclaimed King of Ireland in London (proclamation issued 23 Jan 1542)
  28 Jan 1547, died
Names/titles: Duke of York [1 Nov 1494 - 18 Feb 1503]; Duke of Cornwall [Oct 1502 - 21 Apr 1509]; Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester [18 Feb 1503 - 21 Apr 1509] [2]
Biography:

Henry was the second son of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, daughter of King Edward IV. He was educated under private tutelage of poet and satirist John Skelton. Henry became heir apparent after the death of his elder brother, Arthur, who died on 2 Apr 1502, and acceded to the throne on 22 Apr 1509.

The early reign of Henry VIII was marked by the ascendancy of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, who assumed the key posts of Lord Chancellor and Cardinal Legate. As Henry sought to expand England's power in Europe, the English army led a victorious campaign against the French (1513) and defeated the Scots at the Battle of Flodden Field (9 Sep 1513). Henry attempted to act as a mediator between France and Spain, but failed to achieve any diplomatic success. Henry's ambitions in religious affairs led him to writing a pamphlet against Lutheran heresy (1521), which earned him the title Defender of the Faith bestowed by the pope Leo X. The principal issue, which preoccupied the king for almost five years (1527-1533) was "the King's great matter": his divorce from his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, which caused tensions with the pope, who objected the king's intentions. When Cardinal Wolsey failed to obtain the divorce from the papal Rome, he was replaced with Sir Thomas More (1529). To exert pressure on the pope, Henry used parliamentary legislation to end the dependence of the English clergy on Rome. In a parliamentary act granting pardon to the clergy guilty of the violation of the Stature of Praemunire Henry VIII was recognized as "protector and only supreme head of the church and clergy in England" (1531). In addition, Parliament passed a law prohibiting appeals to the pope in matters of marriage and the Archbishop of Canterbury finally declared Henry's union with Catherine void (23 May 1533). Henry married Anne Boleyn and made her queen. As a result of this action, the pope Clement VII excommunicated Henry.

Following the breach with Rome, Henry VIII and his adviser Thomas Cromwell undertook a reorganization of the church and state. In November 1534 the Act of Supremacy acknowledged that the king "justly and rightly is and ought to be the supreme head of the Church in England". The papal supremacy ended when Henry formally assumed the new title in early 1535 acquiring the supreme clerical authority. In the next five years (1535-1540) the Parliament passed a series of laws aimed at dissolution of the monasteries and reformation of the Church of England in the direction of Protestantism. After the execution of Anne Boleyn on charges of adultery (19 May 1536) and the death of his third wife, Jane Seymour (24 Oct 1537), the marriages of Henry followed in rapid succession. To secure the union with German Protestant princes, Henry married Anne of Cleves, but after only six months the marriage was annulled (9 Jul 1540) and Cromwell, as the marriage chief architect, was accused of high treason and executed (28 Jul 1540). A few days later Henry was married to Catherine Howard, a niece of the Duke of Norfolk, but soon she was also found guilty of adultery and executed (13 Feb 1542). On 12 Jul 1543 Henry married Catherine Parr, who narrowly escaped punishment for her religious disputes and survived her spouse. In 1542 England joined the Holy Roman Emperor Karl V (Carlos I of Spain) in his war against France and repelled the invasion of the Scots at Solway Moss (24 Nov 1542). The acquisition of Boulogne was the only positive effect of the war with France, but the rich monastic lands were sold to the gentry to cover the war expenditures. Control of Wales was strengthened by the Acts of Union of 1536 and 1542, which united England and Wales administratively and legally, and gave Wales representation in Parliament. [3; 4; 5]


[1] According to Thomas Wriothesley (or Writhe), Garter King of Arms (1505-1534), Henry VII died at 11 p.m. on Saturday 21 Apr 1509 ("On the xxii [the last "i" scratched out] day of Aprill the yere of our lord a mlvc and ix on a Saturday at xi of the clocke in the night departed out of this transytory lyff the famous prince nayd in his tyme for his wisdome le doyen des roys."). His death was not revealed until 23 Apr 1509. (see S.J. Gunn, "The Accession of Henry VIII", Historical Research 64 (1991) pp. 278-288).
[2] The date of creating Henry Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester is sometimes wrongly given as 18 Feb 1503/4 or 18 Feb 1504 (see Jasper Ridley, "Henry VIII").
[3] Handbook of British Chronology (1986)
[4] "Henry VIII", by Jasper Ridley (Constable, London 1984).
[5] "Henry VIII", by J.J. Scarisbrick (University of California Press 1968).
  Image: detail of a portrait of Henry VIII by Hans Holbein the Younger c. 1536.
Last updated on: 14 Mar 2010 03:57:05