Henry VIII was king of England from 1509 to 1547. Henry’s father was Henry VII and his mother was Elizabeth of York. Henry had six wives – 1. Catherine of Aragon (divorced); 2Anne Boleyn (executed); 3. Jane Seymour (died); 4.  Anne of Cleves (divorced) 5. Catherine Howard (executed) and 6. Catherine Parr (outlived Henry).

An old Henry VIII

He had three children – Mary (by Catherine of Aragon), Elizabeth (by Anne Boleyn) and Edward (by Jane Seymour). Each became a monarch – Edward VI, Mary Tudor (or Mary I) and Elizabeth I in that order.

Henry’s reign saw major changes in religion –  the English Reformation.

Though Henry could be a cruel and heartless man – as the trial of Anne Boleyn and the marriage to Anne of Cleves might indicate – he was also highly intelligent. 

He enjoyed watching plays, he wrote poetry and he was a skilled lute player. Some historians believe that he wrote the famous song “Greensleeves”. Henry also loved sports such as wrestling and hunting. As a young man he was a skilled horse rider though as he got older, he put on a lot of weight and this lead to him exercising less and the less he exercised, the fatter he got. In the last few years of his life, he was affected by ulcerous legs that turned gangrenous, he may have had syphilis and he may have had osteomyelitis possibly caused by a jousting accident.

When Henry died on January 28th, 1547, few mourned his death. He had become highly unpredictable in his final years and this alone made him more and more of a danger to those who were near to him.