King Henry VIII of England's House of Tudor | Student Handouts
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Henry VIII (1491-1547)
Historical Figures > Historical Figures with "H" Names > Henry VIII of England (1491-1547)
Henry VIII of England by Hans Holbein the YoungerHenry VIII was born in 1491, the second son of Henry VII.  Henry VIII was the second monarch of the English Tudor dynasty, reigning from 1509 until his death in 1547.  Henry VIII's older brother, Arthur, died as a teenager, leaving Henry VIII to inherit the throne upon their father's death in 1509.

In 1501, Prince Arthur had married Catherine of Aragon, daughter of the powerful Spanish couple Ferdinand and Isabella.  Catherine was left a widow in 1502.  Eager to maintain relations with the prestigious Spanish crown, Henry VIII married his brother's widow in 1509.  After at least six pregnancies with only one living child (the future Mary I), Henry VIII attempted to have his marriage to Catherine annulled on the grounds of incest (in the sense that Catherine had sexual relations with Henry's late brother).  Queen Catherine fought against Henry's attempts at an annulment, instead insisting that her marriage to Arthur was never consummated.  The papacy refused to grant Henry's annulment request, leading to Henry's split with the Roman Catholic Church.

Following Henry's annulment from Catherine of Aragon, he married an additional five times: Anne Boleyn (mother of Elizabeth I), Jane Seymour (mother of Edward VI), Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard, and Catherine Parr.  For those who want to remember the "ends" of Henry's six wives, try this mnemonic device, a popular rhyme among history buffs:

Divorced, beheaded, died;
Divorced, beheaded, survived.

Henry VIII of the Tudors died in 1547.

This painting of Henry VIII was done by Hans Holbein the Younger.  It dates to 1536, around the time of Anne Boleyn's execution (May 19, 1536) and Henry's subsequent marriage to Jane Seymour.

Click here to visit our large gallery of images related to the Tudor dynasty and to the Protestant Reformation in England.
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