King Henry VIII Concisus Genus
Henry VIII, king of England and founder of the Church of England, profoundly influenced the character of the English monarchy, wielding the most unfettered power of any English king or queen. Henry was born in London in 1491. He succeeded to the throne upon the death of his father, Henry VII, in 1509, becoming the second monarch of the House of Tudor. He married Catherine of Aragón, and in 1511, he joined the Holy League against France. In 1513 he led the English forces through a victorious campaign in northern France. In 1525 riots broke out in England in protest against Henry's attempt to levy taxes for military purposes, and he withdrew from major military activity in Europe. In 1527 Henry announced his desire to divorce his wife. The marriage had failed to produce a male heir (Catherine's only surviving child was Mary, later Mary I of England) and Henry was in love with Anne Boleyn. When the prospect of securing a papal annulment seemed hopeless, Henry dissolved the ties to the papacy and declared himself head of the English church. In 1533 Henry secretly married Anne Boleyn, who was crowned queen after Henry's archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, declared the marriage with Catherine void. Anne's only surviving child, Elizabeth, later Elizabeth I, was born in 1533. In 1536, after charging Anne Boleyn with incest and adultery, Henry had her executed. Henry then married Jane Seymour, who died in 1537 after bearing Henry's only legitimate son, Edward, later Edward VI. A marriage was arranged in 1540 with Anne of Cleves in order to form a tie between England and the Protestant princes of Germany. He divorced her after several months and married Catherine Howard. She was executed in 1542. In the following year Henry married his sixth wife, Catherine Parr, who survived him. Between 1542 and 1546 Henry was involved in war with Scotland and France. He died in 1547 and was succeeded by his son, Edward VI.