Was Henry VIII a Wicked Tyrant?

Henry VIII  Break with Catholic Church

The Tudor period in England  *1485 and 1603 was marked by the transition from Middle Ages to the early Modern period.

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Henry VIII sought to have his marriage with Catherine Aragon, his first wife, annulled. To this end, he petitioned the Church and tried to influence it.

When that failed, he sought a break with the Church. He effectively established the independent Church of England and established himself as the head of this church.

This schism with Rome continued to deepen in his reign but truly came to fore during the reigns of his successors. After his daughter, Queen Mary, made a last failed attempt to return England to Catholic Christianity, his other daughter Queen Elizabeth decisively made England a Protestant nation.

Henry’s decision to break from the church for his own convenience and to remarry is seen as a tyrannical act in which he didn’t heed other reasons.

Henry VIII


Henry VIII was notorious for having many of his opponents executed. In fact, many individuals who were once his friends and close advisors met this fate.

Although a council existed which would rule on matters of treason and other serious charges, it was an open truth that it was Henry VIII who actually called the shots.

For his opponents, charges of high treason and conspiracy against the King were commonly brought.

Henry VIII  Six Marriages

At a time when monarchs usually married only once and annulment of marriage was a big affair, Henry VIII married six times. Many of his policy occasions were made precisely to accommodate or facilitate these marriages.

In fact, it can be argued that Henry incurred the wrath and opposition of the Catholic Church simply in order to marry a second time. Against all odds, he pursued his desire to remarry and seek a male heir, in doing so, he trampled upon many of the prevalent customs and traditions.

Though valiant and daring and bold, these actions also bespeak a tyrant’s mind.

Henry VIII A War of Whims

Henry VIII was a promising military commander at the start of his reign. However, as time passed, he undertook a number of military expeditions with no definite results.

In fact, many of his military expeditions because a burden on the English treasury and were assessed as costly ventures through which England gained little.

Despite his costly military mistakes, he didn’t desist from making them again and again which was also a reason why some saw him as a tyrant.

However, he was also militarily credited with the established of forts around the English coast and laying the foundations for the Royal Navy.

Henry VIII fast facts

  • Henry VIII was the Tudor King of England from 1509 to 1547.
  • Tudor King Henry famously married six wives.
  • Tudor King Henry broke with Catholic Church and set up his own independent church of England.
  • Henry executed many of his opponents for high treason and conspiracy against the King.
  • In his search of a male heir to his throne Henry VIII famously married six times.
  • Henry had several wives who he disapproved of and executed.
  • Henry is considered a great militarily leader and is considered founder of the Royal Navy.
  • Many historians believe Henry was a tyrant with an explosive temper.