King Henry VIII *Reign 1509 -1447

The Tudor period in England *1485 – 1603 marked the end of the medieval period and the start of the early modern period.

King Henry VIII was the King of England from 21 April 1509 till his death on 28 January 1547.

Henry VIII was the second monarch of the Tudor Dynasty and is generally considered one of the most famous rulers in the history of England.

Henry is particularly famous for his role in the separation of the Church of England from the Catholic Church. This resulted in the dissolution of Catholic monasteries and the declaration of the king as the supreme head of the Church of England.

King Henry VIII Timeline

  • King Henry VIII was born on 28 June 1491 at the Greenwich Palace and was the second son of the monarch, Henry VII.
  • Henry received education from the finest tutors and became fluent in Latin and French at an early age.
  • It was after 1502 when his elder brother Arthur died that Henry became the new Prince of Wales.
  • At the age of eighteen, upon the death of his father on 21 April 1509, Henry VIII became the King of England.
Medieval Tudor Coat of Arms

Coat of arms of King Henry VIII

King Henry VIII Quotes

Henry VIII was a highly educated man and he carefully cultivated his image of a Renaissance man in the eyes of the public. This he did by patronizing the scholars and artists and also encouraging arts and music.

Various quotes of Henry VIII survive to this day for instance he once said:

“of all losses, time is the most irrecoverable for it can never be redeemed.” When he was in love with Ann Boleyn, he wrote her many love letters. A quote from one of the letter goes “…to wish myself (specially an evening) in my sweetheart’s arms, whose pretty ducks [breasts] I trust shortly to kiss.”

Tudor Rose *House of Tudor

What was King Henry VIII famous for?

King Henry VIII is famous for several reasons. One of the most important reasons is his central role in the separation of the Church of England from the Catholic Church. This, in England, was the beginning of the separation between the Church and the State and thus of modern secularism.

He is also famous for having married six women, two of which he ended up executed for treason. His love life also makes him stand out from the rest of the monarchs of his era.

King Henry VIII Court

Henry VIII’s court is often considered one of the most magnificent courts in Europe and he paid particular attention to retaining that image. The court of Henry VII was a center of scholarly and artistic patronage and had a highly glamorous outlook.

Unlike his father, his court was not just restricted to the nobles but was generally open to talented men. However, Henry VIII tended to have a volatile temper and had a lot of his courtiers executed during his reign.

King Henry VIII Children

Henry VIII had several children and not all of them we legitimate. The three best-known legitimate children were Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I who succeeded him as monarchs of England successively.

Henry FitzRoy was the only illegitimate child that Henry VIII acknowledged as his own, although it was suspected there were various other illegitimate children of the king from different mistresses.


Elizabeth I

King Henry VIII Wives

Henry VIII had six wives in total, two of whom were beheaded. The first wife was Catherine of Aragon, the mother of Mary I, whom Henry VIII married in 1509. Henry VIII separated from Catherine in 1531 and it was the dispute with the Catholic Church over the annulment of this marriage that resulted in the split of the Church of England from the Catholic Church.

King Henry then married Ann Boleyn, the mother of Elizabeth I, and the marriage ended in the execution of Ann on charges of treason, incest, and adultery. Other wives of Henry VIII were Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleve’s, Catherine Howard, and Catherine Parr.

Anne Boleyn the wife of King Henry VIII

Anne Boleyn

King Henry VIII Sisters

Henry VIII had four sisters named Margaret Tudor, Mary Tudor, Katherine Tudor, and Elizabeth Tudor. Of these four sisters, Margaret Tudor and Mary Tudor are more famous. Margaret Tudor was the queen of James VI of Scotland and the grandmother of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Mary Tudor was the younger sister and was married to the King of France, Louis XII, at the age of 18. Her daughter, Lady Jane Grey, was briefly the Queen of England after the untimely death of Edward VI, Henry VIII’s only legitimate son.

King Henry VIII and the Church of England

Henry VIII was the monarch whose dispute with the Catholic Church resulted in the split between the English monarch and the Church. As a result of this dispute, which had its basis in the separation of the King from Catherine of Arragon, the Church of England was established as separate from the Catholic Church.

Further, the King was the supreme authority over the Church of England and thus this was one of the first instances in modern European history when the church was separated from the state and the latter was considered superior.

Posting of 95 theses by Martin Luther in Protestant Reformation

King Henry VIII Accident

At the age of 44, during a tournament at the Greenwich Palace on 24 January 1536, Henry VIII fell from his horse and the horse, also armored, fell over him. He remained unconscious for two hours and his leg was seriously injured. He recovered from the wound soon but this incident dramatically altered his personality and life.

Jousting Knights

The wound itself, although physically healed, continued to trouble him through the rest of his life and is thought to have given rise to other, more serious, health problems.

King Henry VIII Death

The few years of life that King Henry VIII had after the jousting incident was beset with health problems, obesity, and violent mood swings. Eventually, he died at the age of 55 on 28 January 1547. Henry was buried in St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle next to his diseased wife Jane Seymour. His son by Jane Seymour, Edward I, became the king after his death.

King Henry VIII Summary

King Henry VIII of England is often considered one of the most famous monarchs in the history of England. He assumed the throne at the young age of 18 after the death of his father, Henry VII.

Henry VIII was responsible for the separation of the Church of England from the Catholic Church which began the supremacy of the state over the church in England. He also had several affairs and six wives, two of which were executed.

Henry VIII Fast Facts

  • King Henry VIII is probably one of the most recognized Kings in medieval history
  • King Henry VIII is famous for having had six wives
  • King Henry VIII ruled England from 1509 until 1547
  • King Henry VIII was the second ruling monarch from the Tudor dynasty

  • King Henry VIII is widely regarded as the most famous King of medieval times
  • King Henry VIII ruled England towards the end of the medieval period
  • King Henry VIII had many mistresses and there were many illegitimate children
  • Two of the wives of King Henry VIII were beheaded such as Ann Boleyn the mother of Elizabeth I

Portrait of Henry VIII by Hans Holbein the Younger

  • Henry VIII had four sisters two of which were famous, Mary Ann Tudor and Margaret Tudor
  • During King Henry VIII’s reign, the church of England separated from the state for the first time in modern history
  • King Henry died at 44 years old after complications from a leg injury received in a jousting contest

This article on Henry VIII gives some interesting facts about a King who was widely regarded as the most famous in medieval history. If you’d like to learn about other medieval Kings such as King Henry VIII please look at the links at the bottom of this King Henry VIII page.

Learn More about Henry VIII at Wikipedia


The Six Wives of Henry VIII Audible Audiobook – Unabridged


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