Henry VIII (England)

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Henry VIII Tudor ( English Henry Tudor ; born June 28, 1491 in Greenwich ; † January 28, 1547 in Whitehall Palace , London) was King of England from 1509 to 1547 , Lord of the Lordship of Ireland from 1509 and King of Ireland from 1541 . As the younger son of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York , he became heir to the throne after the unexpected death of his older brother Arthur in 1502. His coronation in June 1509 was after the English Wars of the Rosesthe first peaceful accession to the throne in almost 100 years. As the first English king to receive a Renaissance education, Heinrich spoke several languages, wrote poetry, composed music and showed great interest in religious topics. An athletic, charismatic man in his youth, however, in later years he was obese and chronically ill.

Since his first marriage to Catherine of Aragon did not result in a male heir to the throne, Heinrich sought in the 1520s for Pope Clement VII to annul his marriage , which the latter refused. As a result, Heinrich led his country into the English Reformation: he renounced England from the Roman Catholic Church and founded the Church of England , of which he rose himself to be the head. Eventually he expropriated and dissolved the English monasteries. Thereupon he was by Pope Paul III. excommunicated . Although Henry's religious convictions remained essentially Catholic to the last, he paved the way for the Protestant Reformation in England by rejecting the Pope's authority and printing a state-authorized English Bible . After his death, the crown first fell to his nine-year-old son Eduard , after his early death to his eldest daughter Maria and finally to his daughter Elisabeth , with whose death the reign of the House of Tudor ended in 1603.

In popular culture, Henry VIII is best known for his six marriages, two with the annulment of the marriage (Katharina von Aragon, Anna von Kleve ), two with the execution of the respective wife ( Anne Boleyn , Catherine Howard ), one by death in childbed ( Jane Seymour ) and one by his death ( Catherine Parr ).


Early years

Birth and early childhood

Henry VII and Elizabeth of York with their seven children (from left to right): Edmund , Heinrich, Arthur , Margaret , Elizabeth, Mary and Catherine

Henry was born the third child and second eldest son of King Henry VII of England and his wife Elizabeth of York . He was baptized by Richard Fox, Bishop of Exeter , with the usual great pomp for royal children with heralds and trumpets. Since his parents already had an heir to the throne, Prince Arthur , Heinrich was not of great dynastic importance at the time of his birth. Even his grandmother Margaret Beaufort , who had conscientiously entered the births of his two older siblings with the exact time and place in her book of hours , Heinrich recorded in it rather casually.

Heinrich's early childhood was marked by the aftermath of the Wars of the Roses , the decades-long, bloody battles between the Houses of Lancaster and York . Since Henry VII had won the crown on the battlefield in 1485, pretenders to the throne repeatedly appeared who contested his rule. In 1494 a young man named Perkin Warbeck posed as Richard, Duke of York , the younger of the two missing princes in the Tower . He lay claim to the English throne and quickly gained support in both England and the mainland. As a measure against Warbeck, the king proposed his second son in 1494 in a large-scale ceremony to be Knight of the Bath and then elevated him to Duke of York , the traditional title of the second-born prince. Heinrich, who was only three years old and would later be a tall, strong man and enthusiastic rider, rode into London "sitting alone on a horse" accompanied by many noblemen or similar ”. In 1495 his father accepted him into the Order of the Garter .

When in 1496 a revolt broke out in favor of Warbeck's Cornish rebels, who marched unhindered on London, the five-year-old Heinrich had to flee to the Tower with his mother . At the same time, Warbeck invaded England from Scotland. The king first rode north with his troops and later returned in time to defeat the rebels just outside London. These early experiences may have been a reason why Heinrich later defended his dynasty's claim to power so uncompromisingly and in places cruelly.

Education and training

While Crown Prince Arthur lived in his own household in Ludlow in Wales , Heinrich and his sister Margaret were raised at Eltham Palace , where the siblings Elizabeth, Mary and Edmund soon joined. Of the children, only Heinrich, Margaret and Mary reached adulthood. It is controversial among historians whether Heinrich was intended for a career in the Church. The historian Edward Herbert wrote in the 17th century that Henry was "destined to be Archbishop of Canterbury during the lifetime of his older brother Prince Arthur." Heinrich's elevation to the secular title of Duke of York, which went hand in hand with considerable land ownership and his training in arms, speaks against this.

Heinrich and his sister Margaret visiting Erasmus (modern 19th century depiction in Westminster Hall)

His first teacher from around 1496 was the court poet John Skelton , from whom he received the typical Renaissance training of the time, with a special focus on Latin, history and ancient authors in addition to music and poetry. Heinrich later continued his education with another teacher, William Hone, who was joined by the French teacher Giles Duwes and a music and weapons teacher. With this education, the young prince later became the first King of England with a comprehensive humanistic education, fluent in Latin and French, composing music and writing poetry.

When the famous humanist Erasmus von Rotterdam visited his friend Thomas More in England in 1499 and he took him on a surprise visit to Eltham Palace, where “all royal children are brought up, with the exception of Arthur, the eldest son”, the scholar was impressed by his ability Heinrichs. He wrote: “When we came into the hall, all entourage was gathered [...]. In the middle stood Heinrich, nine years old, already endowed with a certain royal demeanor, I mean a greatness of mind combined with astonishing politeness. On his right was Margaret, about eleven years old, who later married Jacob, King of Scotland. To his left was Mary, a child of four. Edmund was a baby in the arms of his wet nurse. ”As was customary, More presented the prince with a written dedication, which Erasmus was embarrassed to notice as he had brought nothing with him. Later at dinner, Heinrich also sent him a message “to lure something out of my pen”, whereupon the scholar wrote a letter of praise for him within three days. Even years later Heinrich was in regular Latin correspondence with Erasmus.

Heir to the throne

Arthur , around 1500

The beginning of the 16th century brought a revolutionary change in Heinrich's life. In 1501, when his 15-year-old brother Arthur married the Spanish princess Catherine of Aragon , who was the same age , the young prince led the bride to the altar. Only a few months later Arthur died completely unexpectedly and ten-year-old Heinrich became heir to the throne. After it was clear that Catherine of Aragon was not pregnant with a possible heir to the throne of Arthur, Henry was officially elevated to the ninth Prince of Wales by parliamentary act on January 15, 1504 , while he was stripped of the title Duke of York . Less than a year after Arthur's death, Heinrich's mother also died in childbed. In a letter to Erasmus a few years later, he described the news "of the death of my dear mother" as "hated news".

From then on Heinrich resided at court at the side of his father, who now began to prepare him for taking over the government. In a letter to Catherine of Aragon's mother, Queen Isabella , the Duke of Estrada remarks in 1504: “The Prince of Wales is accompanying the King. The king used to avoid taking the Prince of Wales with him because he did not want to interrupt his studies. It is wonderful how fond of the king is to the prince. He has good reason to do so, because the prince deserves all love. But it is not only out of love that the king takes the prince with him; he wants to teach him. There can certainly be no better school in the world than the company of a father like Henry VII.

Catherine of Aragon as a young girl. Painting by Michel Sittow

In order to maintain the alliance with Spain, Henry VII now intended to marry Arthur's widow to his second son. However, canon law forbade a man to marry his brother's widow, and a papal dispensation from Julius II had to be obtained to make the marriage possible anyway. In the imagination of the time, man and woman literally became one flesh through cohabitation. This would have made Katharina Heinrich's first-degree relative, which would have made a marriage between them invalid. Julius II issued the dispensation in 1504, but wrote Katharina's mother Isabella that the marriage between Katharina and Arthur had been consummated. Isabella protested and Julius let himself be softened to insert the word maybe . It is possible that purely political considerations played a role here. Once the marriage was consummated, Henry VII was allowed to keep Katharina's dowry , which had already been paid on a pro-rata basis . If it was not carried out, Isabella and Ferdinand could insist on the repayment of the dowry. Yet this ambiguity would get Katharina into great trouble years later.

The marriage was to take place as soon as Heinrich reached the age of 14. At this point, however, the political situation had changed. With the death of her mother, Queen of Castile in her own right, Catherine was no longer as good a match as before and a dispute broke out between her father Ferdinand of Aragón and Henry VII over the payment of her dowry. In order to keep all options open, Henry VII had his son, who was now considered to be of legal age at the age of 14, deny the promise of marriage on the grounds that it had been made without his consent. This took place in the presence of witnesses, but was not made public, so that depending on the political situation, the marriage could still have been arranged. No decision was made until the death of Henry VII. Katharina lived in England from 1502 to 1509 as Henry's fiancée, but nonetheless in uncertainty.

It is doubtful whether Heinrich himself had a say in all of these decisions. “He was in complete submission to his father and grandmother and never opened his mouth in public except to answer a question from either […]. He was not allowed to leave the palace, except for sports, through a private door that led into the park, ”wrote the Spanish ambassador Fuensalida in the spring of 1508.

However, the young prince was passionate about sports. The Spanish ambassador De Puebla wrote enthusiastically about the 16-year-old: “There is no more distinguished young man than the Prince of Wales. He is already taller than his father and his limbs are gigantic. "Heinrich, who later reached a height of over six feet, which was unusual for the time, practiced wrestling, tennis and archery, and Richard Gray, 3rd . Earl of Kent , broke once even arm "in a fight with the prince". But most of all admired Henry the men who are at tournaments in knightly joust extent (jousting), the pinnacle of sports of his time. He went to tournaments with enthusiasm and enjoyed spending time in the company of the joys.

Heinrich in 1509

At the beginning of 1508 he practiced daily with his comrades in arms, and on June 15 he took part for the first time in a tournament that was "very popular because of the excellence of the young, armed prince". The following month, at another tournament in the presence of his father, "many men [...] fought with him, but he was superior to all of them". The historian David Starkey suspects that Heinrich only took part in the harmless ring riding instead of the joust, since there were always deaths, while most other historians do not accept such a restriction. What is certain is that Heinrich was an enthusiastic and brilliant joiner after his accession to the throne. Jousting and hunting were considered an exercise in war and being able to do so was a highly desirable quality for a ruler and general.

Henry VII died on April 21, 1509, ten weeks before his son's eighteenth birthday. His death was kept secret for two days and Heinrich allowed himself to be addressed in public as a prince until the 23rd. It was not until April 24 that he was proclaimed king in London. A political power struggle was going on behind the scenes that led to the overthrow of the old King's two most important and unpopular ministers, Richard Empson and Edmund Dudley. They were imprisoned and executed as the culprits for its tyrannical financial policies. Henry's reasoning for this was that Empson and Dudley had ruled the king and his council against their will. He then granted a general amnesty to all his father's debtors.

His accession to the throne as Henry VIII was the first to take place peacefully in nearly 100 years. There were euphoric reactions among the English population; many saw the beginning of a new golden age. In contrast to his father, who had made himself unpopular for his financial policy in recent years, the young, handsome Heinrich was extremely popular. The panegyric of rulers also flourished: Thomas More wrote a volume of poetry in which he describes Heinrich as a Messiah who "will wipe the tears from everyone's eyes and bring joy instead of our long grief". Lord Mountjoy wrote to Erasmus of Rotterdam: “The heavens are laughing, the earth is exalted and everything is full of milk, honey and nectar. Greed is banished from the country, freedom of movement distributes wealth with a generous hand. Our King does not desire gold or jewels or valuable metals, but rather virtue, fame and immortality. "


The young king

Less than two months after his accession to the throne, shortly before his 18th birthday, Heinrich married Katharina von Aragon on June 11, 1509. Officially, he claimed to be fulfilling the last will of his father, but he was also attracted to her. After the wedding he wrote to his father-in-law: “Even if we were still free, it is she who we would choose as our wife over everyone else.” It is also described how he kissed and hugged Katharina in public “in a loving way ". The coronation together with Heinrich took place barely two weeks later and was of such splendor that the chronicler Edward Hall wrote about it:

Henry VIII in the joust, observed by Catherine of Aragon

"Should I describe the effort, work, and thoroughness the tailors, decorators, and goldsmiths put into designing and making the garments for men, women, knights, and squires, as well as trim, harness, and decorations for the racers, Spanish horses, and tenters, it." would be too long to present, but it is certain that richer, rarer or more astonishing works have never been seen prepared for this coronation. "

Although it was a love marriage, there were also pragmatic reasons for the quick marriage. Through Perkin Warbeck's uprising and Arthur's death, Heinrich had experienced early on how fragile the young Tudor dynasty was. In order to secure the succession, it was necessary to father sons as quickly as possible. But the young king was also interested in an alliance with Spain. Unlike his father, Heinrich strove for fame on the battlefield and with the help of Katharina's father Ferdinand he was able to wage war against France. Henry's grandmother Margaret Beaufort died just a few days after his coronation.

Heinrich passed the first months of his reign with pleasure. There were tournaments and banquets, people went on hunts and from August to September the king's ride took place, during which Heinrich and Katharina visited various parts of the country. Heinrich liked to surround himself with sporty, shrewd young men who shared his interests, but he also appreciated philosophical disputes with educated men. Close friends of his youth included Charles Brandon , William Compton and Francis Bryan , although Heinrich also accepted men who were simply born into his circle. On January 12, 1510, the king ventured into a joust himself for the first time, without the knowledge and against the will of his council. Together with Compton, he took part in the tournament in disguise and distinguished himself as a capable lancer. In the following years he also rode tjosten with enthusiasm.

Thomas Wolsey , Henry's First Minister

At the same time Heinrich worked on the reconciliation with the House of York . Under his father's rule, relatives William Courtenay and Thomas Gray had fallen from grace on suspicion of conspiracy and had been imprisoned for years. Heinrich restored Courtenay's title and when Courtenay died unexpectedly, he transferred Courtenay's lands to his widow, his aunt Katherine of York . On August 4, 1509, he signed an annuity of £ 100 to Margaret Pole , a widowed cousin of his mother's. His motivation can be explained on the one hand by his strong sense of family and on the other hand by the need to distance himself from his father. At the same time, however, Heinrich also kept a record of which nobles had benefited from his generosity, "whereby they are particularly connected to us and therefore should serve us truly and faithfully when and as often as the circumstances require."

In contrast to his suspicious father, Heinrich was happy to leave the business of government to his Privy Council . Thomas Wolsey , in particular , would quickly become an influential friend and advisor. As early as November 1509, the shrewd, charismatic Wolsey Heinrichs had become an almsman and took part in the activities of the king and his friends. In contrast to the other ministers, Wolsey encouraged Heinrich to leave politics to others and to devote himself to his amusements. In fact, Heinrich was so unwilling to take extra time to read his correspondence that he did it during evening mass.

Since the young king rarely attended council meetings, Wolsey was able to act as mediator and messenger. The noble council members found this activity below their dignity, which the almsman cleverly used to become Heinrich's deputy. In often informal meetings with the king, he submitted government matters to him, including proposed solutions, and then informed the council of the decision. In this way, Heinrich was involved in all important decisions without having to adhere to the guidelines of the council and Wolsey could refer to the fact that the king approved his policy. Scarcely two years after his accession to the throne, Wolsey had firmly established himself as the influential first minister whom Heinrich valued more than anyone else.

Italian Wars 1511–1525

Heinrich's European policy in the first years of his reign was mainly shaped by the conflicts of the Italian wars . England was initially allied with Spain through Henry's marriage to Katharina, but this dissolved after Ferdinand von Aragón repeatedly broke his word. This was followed by changing alliances with the respective King of France and the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire . Since France and Spain or the Holy Roman Empire were roughly equally strong, English support for one side could tip the scales, which is why England helped the highest bidder several times.

War with France and Scotland (1512-1513)
Ferdinand II , Heinrich's father-in-law

While his Privy Council urged Henry to renew his father's old peace treaties, the king endeavored, like his ancestor Henry V, to gain glory on the battlefield against France. His father-in-law Ferdinand von Aragón encouraged him in these dreams in order to win him over to his war against France. On top of that, Henry's religious feelings were hurt when the French King Louis XII. threatened to depose Pope Julius II. He therefore joined the Holy League in November 1511 , the aim of which was to drive the French out of Italy. Should he defeat the French, Julius Heinrich promised rule over France.

In September there was a dispute between Henry and his brother-in-law James IV of Scotland when the Scottish privateer Andrew Barton was apprehended in English waters and killed by Admiral Edward Howard, son of Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk . Jacob's protest was crushed by Heinrich. On top of that, in January 1512, the English Parliament declared the sovereignty of the English crown over Scotland. In a rage, Jakob then renewed the Auld Alliance with France, in which both countries pledged to help each other in the event of an attack. In April 1512, English troops under the command of Thomas Gray, 2nd Marquess of Dorset , landed in Guyenne , where they were to join Ferdinand's troops. But instead Ferdinand attacked Navarra , so that the English troops were stranded in Hondarribia and mutinied against Dorset until he brought them back to England.

Ferdinand's underhand behavior caused tension between him and Heinrich, but the war continued in 1513. On June 30th Heinrich personally crossed the canal with his troops and marched on Thérouanne , where he met Emperor Maximilian I on August 12th . On August 16, both armies defeated the French defenders in the second battle of the spurs. A valuable prisoner Heinrich made was Ludwig , Duke of Longueville . At the same time, as Henry's regent, Catherine prepared England for an attack by the Scots. On August 22nd, Jacob IV crossed the English border and on September 9th, 1513, his army was defeated at the Battle of Flodden Field . Jacob himself fell in battle.

Alliance with Louis XII.

In March 1514, Ferdinand and Maximilian concluded a new alliance with Louis XII behind Heinrich's back, although they had previously signed a treaty with Heinrich to attack France again. Enraged by the renewed betrayal of his father-in-law, Heinrich Wolsey gave a free hand to secretly negotiate a peace with France himself. Wolsey suggested Heinrich marry off his younger sister Mary Tudor to Ludwig. The French king was already 52 years old, ailing and had no sons. While Heinrich was militarily unable to conquer France, new opportunities arose with his sister as queen. Should she have a son, France was facing a reign in view of Ludwig's short remaining life expectancy, where Heinrich could exert political influence over Mary.

Mary Tudor as the young Queen of France

Through the mediation of Ludwig von Longueville, a contract was quickly concluded and in August both the peace with France was proclaimed and Mary's marriage was carried out by proxy . On October 5th Heinrich brought his sister to Dover, from where she was to sail to France. Before she left, however, Mary made a promise to Heinrich. Should she Ludwig XII. survive, she was allowed to choose her next husband herself. Heinrich probably knew that Mary already had feelings for his friend Charles Brandon. Brandon was not a befitting match for a royal princess, so it is unlikely that Henry intended to allow this marriage. Still, he agreed, possibly to appease his reluctant sister.

During Mary's time in France, the Auld Alliance was severely weakened. Heinrich managed indirectly to help his sister Margaret, who through her second marriage had lost her guardianship over her sons to John Stewart, 2nd Duke of Albany . He was currently in France and Ludwig kept him there out of loyalty to Mary's family. However, Ludwig died just eleven weeks after the marriage and Heinrich sent Charles Brandon to France to negotiate the return of Mary's dowry. He made Brandon promise not to marry his sister in France. However, Mary created ado facts and married her lover on 13 May 1515 with the support of the new king Francis I . Although Heinrich was furious with Brandon's breach of his word, he was still keen to maintain the alliance with France and finally forgave the two on the condition that they repay the dowry out of their own pocket.

Rivalry with Franz I.

With Franz I, a king of almost the same age appeared on the political stage, who was as ambitious and educated as Heinrich. A lifelong rivalry was to develop between the two kings, which was already beginning to show. Heinrich asked the Venetian ambassador questions like “The King of France, is he as tall as me?” And “What kind of legs does he have?” Franz's spectacular victory against the Swiss and the recovery of Milan represented Heinrich's own military successes the shadow. When Franz sent a delegation of his closest favorites to England in 1518, for whom he had created the new rank of gentilhomme de le chambre , Heinrich responded by founding the Gentlemen of the Privy Chamber . A temporary triumph over Franz Heinrich scored when he sold Thérouanne back to France and with Wolsey's help and the support of Pope Leo X. European rulers a Treaty of Universal Peace (: of universal peace treaty German) was signed, which as an alliance against the Ottoman Empire should function. However, Emperor Maximilian I died only a year later and his successor Charles V did not renew the contract.

In order to curb Karl's growing influence, Heinrich and Francis I met in June 1520 in Balinghem near Calais for negotiations. The meeting was to go down in history as the Field of the Cloth of Gold (German: Feld des Güldenen Tuches ; French: Le Camp du Drap d'Or ). For this meeting of princes a temporary palace was built and a hill was demolished so that neither of the rulers had to look up to the other while they rode to greet each other. It lasted for eighteen days and became a show of power and waste. Both kings assured each other of their mutual affection in the warmest tones, but nevertheless tried continuously to outdo each other. Although emphasis was placed on not letting the two kings compete against each other in the sporting competitions, Heinrich finally challenged Franz to wrestle , which he lost to his annoyance. On the last day of the meeting, the kings heard mass together and swore eternal friendship.

Alliance with Charles V
Charles V around 1516

Shortly before going over to meet Franz, Heinrich had arranged a meeting with Charles V in Dover . As the son of her older sister Johanna , Karl was Katharina's nephew, which is why she hoped for a renewal of the anti-French alliance. Their hopes were fulfilled in May 1521 at a meeting of Heinrich and Charles in Calais, when both were discussing a renewed war against France. The emperor needed English support to secure his Spanish inheritance and made various promises to Heinrich, including that he would marry his daughter Princess Maria , leave most of France to Heinrich himself and support Wolsey - now a cardinal and lord chancellor - as a candidate for the office of Pope . In the autumn of 1523, Heinrich sent an army under his brother-in-law Charles Brandon to Calais, which was to march on Paris, while Charles' troops from the south-west aimed at Guyenne . However, just under 130 kilometers from Paris, Brandon had to turn back, partly because of a change in the weather, partly because Karl did not cross the border, but rather recaptured Hondarribia.

Once again, Heinrich had been taken advantage of by Katharina's relatives and complained in such violent terms about his financial losses that the queen secretly sent her confessor to Karl's ambassador to warn him of the wrath of her husband. Therefore, Heinrich did not send any troops to France in 1524, whereupon Franz personally led his army to Italy in order to retake Milan. However, he met with greater resistance than he expected, which Heinrich commented with the gleeful words: "It will be very difficult for him to get there." Nevertheless, he continued to refuse to send Karl new support.

On February 24, 1525, Charles defeated the French in the Battle of Pavia and took Franz prisoner. To Henry's delight, Richard de la Pole , one of the last candidates for the throne of the House of York , was among the dead in the French army . He hurried to send Karl congratulations and suggestions for the division of France between them. In the meantime, however, Karl no longer needed him as an ally, as the war had cost huge sums of money and a peace with France was more useful to him than a future marriage to Princess Maria. To deter Heinrich, Karl made intolerable demands for an invasion of France, e.g. B. the immediate delivery of Princess Maria with dowry and an equally large loan. Heinrich and Wolsey refused unanimously, which sealed the end of the alliance.

"The King's Big Business"

The uncertain succession to the throne

In November 1509 Heinrich proudly announced Katharina's first pregnancy to his father-in-law, but on January 31, 1510 the queen had her first miscarriage, a daughter. To Heinrich's relief, Katharina quickly became pregnant again and gave birth to Crown Prince Henry on New Year's Day 1511 , although the baby died just 52 days later on February 23. Heinrich and Katharina were devastated and it was forbidden to give them consolation so as not to cause them more pain. Nevertheless, the king tried to comfort his wife by saying that it had been God's will and that she should not object. More miscarriages followed, one in 1513 and one in late 1514.

Henry VIII in the 1520s

In February 1516, Catherine finally gave birth to a surviving daughter, Maria , at the Palace of Placentia , Greenwich , and for a time Henry was cautiously optimistic. “We're both young. May it be a daughter this time, God willing, sons will follow. ”Despite his affection for his daughter, that did not solve the problem of succession. Under English law, daughters were allowed to inherit the throne, but were subject to their husbands after their marriage. Should Mary marry a foreign prince and traditionally submit to him as wife, there was a danger that England would become a mere satellite state . Marriage to an English aristocratic family, on the other hand, could arouse the envy of other powerful families and call for pretenders to the throne . In addition, there were prejudices against a ruler, since the last queen in her own right, Matilda , had plunged the country into civil war.

The only solution Heinrich saw to all of these problems was a son whose claim to the throne could not be doubted by anyone. Instead, Katharina gave birth to another daughter in 1518, who died shortly after giving birth. Due to her pregnancies and the grief in her life, the queen had lost her good looks and was hardly an attractive partner for Heinrich. Instead, Heinrich's mistress Bessie Blount gave birth to a healthy son, Henry Fitzroy, in 1519 . As an illegitimate child, he was not entitled to inheritance, but gave Heinrich the assurance that he could father sons.

In 1521 the only legitimate sons who came from the House of Tudor were Henry's nephews: the underage King James V of Scotland, son of Margaret Tudor and Henry Brandon, the son of Mary Tudor, born in 1516. In view of the uncertain succession to the throne, Heinrich suspected members of the old nobility who were also of royal descent. In April 1521, Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham , who had fallen out with Wolsey, was sentenced to death in a show trial for treason because he had allegedly wanted Henry's death. In addition, Henry made Henry Fitzroy Duke of Richmond and Somerset on June 18, 1525 , so rumors arose that the king would make his bastard his heir.

Doubts about the marriage to Catherine of Aragon

Heinrich had been brought up in the traditional Catholic faith and showed a great interest in religious subjects throughout his life. 1515 he proudly declared that he would "always be the good son of the Pope and will to His Holiness and to the Church, which I will never leave." For his polemic in defense of the right-wing Catholic faith against Martin Luther's Reformation gave Pope Leo X. him in October 1521 the title of Defender of the Faith . He also tried to find consolation in his belief in God's will after the death of his son. In light of Katharina's miscarriages, Heinrich began looking for a religious explanation over the years. Since strokes of fate were often explained with God's anger at that time, Heinrich feared that his marriage to Katharina was cursed. He believed to find confirmation of this in the book Leviticus , in which it says that a man who takes his brother's widow as a wife remains childless.

As early as April 24, 1509, before the marriage was negotiated, the Spanish ambassador Fuensalida had reported, “a councilor of the king said it was very unlikely because, as far as you know Heinrich, it would burden his conscience to see his brother's widow marry". It is therefore quite possible that Heinrich was plagued by religious doubts from the start, but ignored them in his youth due to his love for Catherine and the papal dispensation. Now, however, Heinrich was convinced that Katharina's marriage to Arthur had been consummated and that his marriage to her was not lawful, which is why he was now punished by God. However, he deliberately ignored the fact that according to Deuteronomy it was perfectly permitted to marry his brother's widow as long as he remained childless.

Heinrich's preferred solution was to annul his marriage with Katharina and get married again. Probably as early as 1526 he had fallen in love with Katharina's lady-in-waiting Anne Boleyn , who was about 20 years younger than the queen. Since the king himself only announced his wish for an annulment to his confidante Wolsey in early 1527, his infatuation with Anne probably played the decisive role. He wrote her love letters , which appeared in the Vatican library in the late 17th century, and treated her to gifts. Unlike her sister Mary Boleyn , however, Anne did not become his mistress. It is traditionally assumed that she kept Heinrich's interest awake by explaining to him that, although she loved him, she could only hear him after they were married. Anne's biographer George W. Bernard, on the other hand, thinks it is more likely that Heinrich voluntarily renounced a sexual relationship until the marriage to Katharina was annulled so that children with Anne were incontestably legitimate. His feelings for her became obsessive over time, as Alexander Alesius later reported:

“So passionate was he when he had acquired affection that he did not allow himself any rest; When he was in love with Queen Anne and some of his friends advised him not to divorce, he said he preferred the Queen's love to half his kingdom. "

Legal action

Confident that he could part with Katharina, who is now over 40, Heinrich Anne promised marriage on New Year's Day 1527. Thereupon, on May 17, 1527, Cardinal Wolsey convened a court in his own palace, York Place , consisting of himself as judge and the Archbishop of Canterbury William Warham as assessor , to investigate the legality of the king's marriage. With his consent, Heinrich assumed the role of the accused, who lived illegally with his brother's widow. Bishop John Fisher, however, argued with the position of Deuteronomy and the right of the Pope to pass judgment. Wolsey, himself not a friend of Anne Boleyn, then declared the case too difficult to solve on his own. Nevertheless, Heinrich had reason to be confident. His former brother-in-law Ludwig XII. had at the time been able to annul his childless marriage to Jeanne de Valois and Heinrich was on good terms with the Pope. In 1515 he had announced: "I think I have enough influence over the Pope to be able to hope that he will stick to the side I choose." If Heinrich still thought that way, he would very quickly become one Teaches better.

Katharina asks Heinrich for justice at the hearing in Blackfriars , fictional

Hardly two days later, on June 2, 1527, the news reached England that Charles V, Katharina's nephew, had set Pope Clement VII in Castel Sant'Angelo after the Sacco di Roma . Although it was unlikely that Clemens would now decide in favor of Henry, the king informed the horrified Catherine of his intention on June 22nd and in July sent Wolsey to Avignon , where the cardinals were to debate his "big issue". Presumably Henry hoped that during the Pope's incapacity, the Cardinals' Assembly gave Wolsey the authority to annul his marriage. At the same time, without Wolsey's knowledge, he sent his secretary, William Knight, to Rome to obtain papal permission to marry Anne. However, Knight was not even admitted to the Pope. On top of that, Clemens forbade the cardinals from attending the Avignon summit and Wolsey returned empty-handed. In February 1528, Stephan Gardiner and Edward Fox, Provost of King's College , traveled to Rome to negotiate with the Pope. The Pope granted Henry a dispensation that he could marry Anne Boleyn despite his previous relationship with her sister Mary. However, he still refused to cancel and used the phrase Non possumus, which became known as a result , when he refused .

The Pope finally managed to escape after six months and sent Cardinal Lorenzo Campeggi to England to decide on the legality of the royal marriage. In doing so, however, he had imposed so many restrictions on him that Campeggi hardly had the authority to pass judgment. On June 21, 1529 there was finally a personal hearing of the royal couple in the Dominican monastery of Blackfriars , where Katharina threw herself at Heinrich's feet and pleaded with him for justice, since her honor and that of his daughter were at stake. The Pope, still under pressure from Charles V, finally granted Katharina's request to hear the case in Rome. The failure was blamed on Wolsey, who then fell out of favor. He was placed under house arrest in October and lost all offices. After an attempt to secretly contact Rome, Francis I and Charles V, which was construed as treason, Wolsey died on the way to London. As his successor as Lord Chancellor Heinrich chose Thomas More , who, in contrast to Wolsey, informed him in detail about state affairs.

Break with Rome

At Anne Boleyn's suggestion, Heinrich consulted Bishop Edward Fox as well as theology professor Thomas Cranmer , who advised him in 1529 to seek the opinions of theologians at European universities and thus obtain spiritual approval for the cancellation. For this purpose, the theologians should be asked, among other things, whether the Pope had the authority to override divine laws. For this purpose, Cranmer was sent to Italy in 1530 and Fox to France. Another ally was Henry's Minister Thomas Cromwell , a lawyer by training and a former servant to Cardinal Wolsey, who, like Cranmer, sympathized with the Reformation . Disillusioned by Rome's delaying tactics, Heinrich declared furiously in Katharina's presence on November 30, 1529, should the Pope not “declare their marriage null and void, he would denounce the Pope as a heretic and marry whoever he wanted”. Indeed, the influential universities of Padua , Pavia , Ferrara, and Bologna ruled in Henry's favor. The College of Sorbonne followed on July 2, 1530, as soon as the sons of Francis I had been released from their hostage with Charles V.

In August 1530, Henry sent a messenger to the Pope to inform him that it was “the custom in England that no one should be obliged to obey the law outside the kingdom” and that “that custom and privilege stand on firm and solid arguments and have true and just foundations ”. Heinrich pleaded that no one could decide on a country that was not subject to him. In September 1530 Fox and Cranmer presented the king with a dossier in which they described the Pope as "Bishop of Rome" and the king as "God's vicar on earth". According to their conclusions, Henry was the absolute ruler of his country, to which the clergy were also subject, while he himself owed only an account to God. Accordingly, he was the highest spiritual authority on matters of faith and was able to officially commission the Archbishop of Canterbury to investigate his doubts about his marriage to Catherine.

William the Conqueror , who appointed bishops and initiated church reforms, served as the historical model for this radical redefinition of royalty . With this dossier, the Pope was officially accused of usurpation , since he had illegally assumed the power of a king in Henry's own kingdom. As a result, Henry demanded a fee of 118,000 (now over 1 million) pounds sterling from the clergy in January 1531 as compensation for alleged abuse of office. He also called for recognition as the head and sole protector of the English Church . The clergy obeyed, but changed the title to head of the English Church as far as the law of Christ allows .

In the spring of 1532, at Heinrich's insistence, Parliament passed a law that would suspend payment of the annates to the Pope should he continue to refuse to cancel and instead divert the funds to the royal treasury. Furthermore, in March of the same year, Cromwell exposed the corruption and abuses of office of the clergy. In anger, Heinrich accused the clergy in parliament on May 11, 1532:

"Beloved subjects, we thought that the clergy of our empire were our subjects, but now we have recognized very well that they are only half of our subjects, yes, and hardly that; for all prelates swear an oath to the Pope during their consecration, in stark contrast to the oath they take us, so that they appear to be his subjects, not ours. I hereby give you a copy of both oaths and demand that you create order so that we are not cheated of our spiritual subjects. "

Knowing that Henry them subliminally of treason accused with these words, the clergy signed on 15 May reluctantly called the Submission of the Clergy (German: submission of the clergy ), was held in that church laws required as well as the approval of the king like worldly laws. Henry was also appointed head of the English Church without the previous restrictions, which was a direct breach of the Magna Carta , in which the independence of the Church from the Crown was recorded. Thereupon Thomas More resigned his office as Lord Chancellor just one day later.

In October 1532, Heinrich went on a trip to Calais with Anne to sign a new treaty with Francis I and to win France's support in Rome and against Charles V. It is very likely that Anne heard the king during this trip and slept with him. Despite his still existing marriage to Katharina and without papal permission, Heinrich married Anne, who was already pregnant, on January 25, 1533 in secrecy. So that the legitimacy of the child could not be questioned, the marriage with Katharina had to be dissolved immediately. Because of this, he urged the Pope to appoint Thomas Cranmer as the new Archbishop of Canterbury. Clemens, in the hope of appeasing Heinrich with a friendly gesture, granted his wish and sent the appropriate cops to England. On March 30, 1533, four days after their arrival, Cranmer was ordained archbishop.

Heinrich had already removed Katharina from court in August 1531, and on Easter Sunday, April 12, 1533, Anne Boleyn officially appeared as Queen for the first time. Cranmer now officially asked Heinrich for permission to legally examine his marriage to Katharina and declared it null and void on May 23. Parliament also passed the Act in Restraint of Appeals , a law according to which ecclesiastical legal processes had to take place in England and which forbade any appeal to a Roman court. Anne was crowned queen on June 1st and gave birth to her only daughter Elisabeth on September 7th, 1533 .

On May 23, 1534, the Pope declared Henry's marriage to Katharina valid and threatened him with excommunication if he did not return to her. On November 3, 1534, Henry then enforced the Act of Supremacy in Parliament , whereby the king was recognized as “the highest head of the Church of England on earth” and England was thus definitively renounced from the Roman Church. The Church of England was born .

Marriage to Anne Boleyn and establishment of the English Church

Isolation of Catherine of Aragon and Princess Mary

As early as July 5, 1533, a proclamation had been issued that Catherine, as Arthur's widow, could no longer be called Queen, but only as Dowager Princess . A few months later, Princess Maria's household was dissolved and all contact with her mother was forbidden. She herself was sent to Elisabeth on December 17, 1533 as a lady-in-waiting. Since, according to the law of primogeniture, she had the higher rank as the firstborn, it was a deliberate humiliation to make her the servant of her younger sister. With the 1st Act of Succession to the Throne , Maria was declared a royal bastard by parliamentary resolution on March 23, 1534, while the descendants of Anne and Heinrich were now at the top of the line of succession.

Any attempt to reintegrate Mary into the line of succession should now be punished with death. Under oath, the English people had to acknowledge Heinrich's sovereignty both over the Church and over the Law of Succession and swear obedience to him. Maria's bastardization nevertheless met with displeasure, as it would have been possible to maintain her legitimacy despite the annulment of her parents' marriage. Heinrich's sister Margaret Tudor had had her second marriage annulled at the time, but at the same time secured the legitimacy of her daughter Margaret Douglas by invoking that the marriage had been concluded in good faith . Heinrich might have made use of this if Princess Elisabeth had been a boy, since the latter would have been entitled to the throne before his sister. Since there were now two princesses, a clear differentiation was necessary.

Original manuscript of the oath at the end of the 1st Act of Succession

In addition to the Law of Succession to the Throne, a new Act of Treason had been passed that made any denigration of Henry, Anne, and Elisabeth, as well as any attack on Henry's authority as head of the Church, treason . It was now used against everyone who resisted Heinrich. Among the few who refused to take the oath included the Carthusians , Thomas More and John Fisher , Bishops of Rochester , advocates Catherine of Aragon, and Princess Mary. They were all imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1535 and executed in May, June and July, the monks by hanging, disembowelling and quartering , Fisher and More by beheading. According to the imperial ambassador Eustace Chapuys , Anne urged Heinrich to also make examples of Katharina and Maria, since they “deserve death more than all those who were executed and who are the reason for all this”.

Like her mother, Maria refused to accept the withdrawal of her title and referred to Elisabeth only as a sister, not as the Princess of England. Anne Boleyn called her "a cursed bastard" who should be "slapped in the face", which is why Chapuys, among others, blamed her for Maria's bad treatment. However, this continued even after Anne's death and is therefore undoubtedly attributable to Heinrich. He demanded absolute obedience from his daughter and explained to the French ambassador that her Spanish blood made her so defiant. When he mentioned Maria's good upbringing, Heinrich, moved to tears, praised his daughter's virtues. His fatherly pride in her remained, but he did not tolerate opposition to his authority as head of the Church.

Building the Anglican Church

Although it is sometimes claimed that Heinrich ultimately lasciviously appointed himself head of the English Church, he had already declared in his younger years that he felt responsible for the spiritual well-being of his subjects. As he wrote to Erasmus in 1527, before he even thought of breaking with the Pope: “Our breasts, undoubtedly kindled by the Holy Spirit, are burning with passion to restore the faith and religion of Christ to their original dignity, so that the Word of God is free and should flow cleanly. ”Since the Pope had refused to cancel it for obvious political and non-religious reasons, Heinrich saw himself as entitled throughout his life to break with Rome and to shape the English Church according to his own interpretation of the Bible.

Ruins of
Tintern Abbey, which was dissolved in 1536

In January 1535 Heinrich Thomas Cromwell bestowed the office of Vicegerent-in-Spirituals , which made him the authorized representative of the head of the church and allowed him, in consultation with the king, to inspect monasteries and to give them new statutes. In this way Heinrich had a direct influence on the daily life of the orders and even on the prayers that they were allowed to say. Thus, the rulers were obliged to take the oath of supremacy and the law of succession from their friars and thus to destroy the alleged usurpation of the Pope. They were also ordered to pray for Heinrich and his “noble and rightful wife Queen Anne” every day at mass.

Furthermore, Heinrich put a stop to the use of alleged miracle-working relics and portraits, with which the monks did lucrative business. Pilgrims were asked to give the donations to the poor rather than any portraits. The monks were forbidden to leave the monastery premises or to have contact with women. In terms of both diet and clothing, they were encouraged to lead simple lives. At the same time it was already becoming apparent that the king regarded monastic life as superfluous, since true religion for him meant "cleanliness of spirit, purity of lifestyle, unadulterated faith in Christ and fraternal charity", for which orders and monasteries were not necessary. Since the monks were no longer allowed to leave their monasteries, they could neither take leases nor sell their products, which would lead to bankruptcies and starvation in the near future.

In March 1536, the Act of Suppression of the Lesser Monasteries came into force, which resulted in the dissolution of the small monasteries. The buildings were demolished and the order's assets of around 2.5 million (now more than 1 billion) pounds sterling flowed into the crown treasure. Heinrich's quarrel with his distant relative Reginald Pole probably also played a role. After Heinrich had asked the deacon Pole, who lived in Italy, in 1535 to explain his true views on the annulment and the break with Rome, Pole sent an unvarnished, devastating answer in 1536, which angered Heinrich and possibly drove to crackdown on the monasteries. With the expropriation of Italian bishops holding dioceses in England and the deaths of Thomas Fisher and Charles Booth, Rochester , Hereford , Salisbury and Worcester needed new bishops. Anne Boleyn and Thomas Cromwell took an active part in the establishment of Reformation bishops, and Heinrich confirmed the appointment on July 8, 1535. However, the king was by no means willing to tolerate what he saw as heretical Lutheran teachings. Although Heinrich was initially quite willing to forge an alliance with the Schmalkaldic League , the differences between his claim as head of the church and the beliefs of the German Protestant princes proved to be too great.

Binding of the Great Bible from 1539 with Heinrich on the cover sheet

Heinrich had already announced in 1530 that he wanted to promote an English translation of the New Testament . The first English translation was the Coverdale Bible , made by Miles Coverdale . However, it was based in part on William Tyndale's Bible translation, which was banned in England, and was therefore not authorized by Heinrich. In 1537 the Matthew Bible appeared , which combined Tyndale, Coverdales and John Rogers ' translations . Due to some Protestant elements, especially in Tyndale's partial translations, it was considered problematic, which is why Coverdale revised it again. In 1539 it was finally published as the Great Bible and made mandatory in all churches. Years later, Heinrich would declare that he had consented to the translation of the Bible so that the nobles of his kingdom could “train their own consciences and instruct their families and children”. In no case did he want God's word to be "discussed, rhymed, sung and barked in every pub and inn".

The Ten Articles appeared in August 1536 . They recognized the scriptures as a norm of faith and limited the sacraments to baptism, penance, and the Lord's Supper. Heinrich, however, went too far with these views, which is why he ordered the replacement of the Ten Articles by the Institution of a Christian Man in 1537 , with the aim of resolving “certain differences of opinion”, “concerning the Christian religion and belief, not only in this kingdom, but with all peoples around the world ”. Ironically, Heinrich referred exclusively to Scripture, just as Luther did, but rejected the core Protestant teachings.

From 1538 Heinrich had all English monasteries dissolved and their possessions confiscated. Monks who cooperated with him received generous pensions. Those who resisted, such as the Abbots of Reading , Glastonbury and Colchester , were arrested and hanged as traitors. In addition, in 1539 Parliament passed the Act for the Abolishing of Diversity in Opinion , also known as the Act of Six Articles . In them the doctrine of transubstantiation , concession , the prohibition of priestly marriage , celibacy , the mass for the dead and confession were confirmed. These points represented a setback for the Reformist faction, which included Cranmer and Cromwell, especially since violations were punishable as heresy . Catholics who clung to the Roman Church, but also Protestants, were persecuted, imprisoned and executed, sometimes on the same day. In 1544, Cranmer published his Exhortation and Litany , which supplemented the still Latin Mass with English sermons, litanies and prayers for processions.

Marital Crisis and Jane Seymour

Heinrich's belief that he had acted in God's favor was put to the test when Anne Boleyn did not bear him a son either. Instead, she likely had a miscarriage in 1534 and didn't become pregnant again until the fall of 1535. Added to this were Heinrich's occasional problems with erectile dysfunction , possibly for health reasons. The King of Anne also expected the docile behavior of an obedient wife after marriage. Since, unlike Katharina, she did not tolerate Heinrich's flirting with other women in silence, there were some arguments between them. Chapuys reported, as Heinrich Anne finally replied harshly, “that she had to close her eyes and endure it, as better ones had done before her” and that she “should know that it was in his power, she more within a moment to humiliate when he lifted her up ”. Historians often see these words as proof that Heinrich's love for Anne died quickly after the marriage and that he toyed with the idea of ​​rejecting her again at an early age. However, by April 1536, the king tried to get Charles V to recognize and respect Anne as his wife. During the tour of the court in the summer of 1535, Anne managed to get more support from the population, but Catholic countries abroad still refused to regard her as queen.

Catherine of Aragon died on January 7, 1536, presumably of cancer. Heinrich's first reaction to her death was relief that the danger of an invasion by Charles V had now been averted. The next day, a Sunday, Heinrich dressed himself completely in yellow and visited Anne in her apartment, where he hugged and kissed her. Nonetheless, further tensions emerged between him and Anne. Henry's cousin Henry Courtenay, 1st Marquess of Exeter and his wife Gertrude told Chapuys that the king had said that he had entered into the marriage "by witchcraft and for this reason he regards it as null". As a reason he cited that God still did not grant him a son "and he believed that he could take another wife". It was also said that Anne felt unsafe. Should Heinrich also have their marriage annulled, he would have had to return to Katharina's lifetime, while the way was now free for him to cast Anne off. Chapuys himself did not believe the rumor, especially since Anne was pregnant and the king was still hoping for a son.

Jane Seymour , ca.1536–1537

On January 24th, Heinrich was knocked off his horse while jostling and buried under the animal. The claim that Heinrich was passed out for two hours, according to Borman, comes from a report by a man who was miles away from the court at the time. Chapuys himself only writes in a letter that the king fell and that his survival bordered on a miracle. A little later Heinrich admitted that he had problems with a leg ulcer. Heinrich had already suffered from a leg ulcer in 1528, but at that time it was healed by a doctor in Canterbury . Varicose veins or chronic bone marrow inflammation are suspected to be the cause . Just five days later, on the day of Katharina's funeral, Anne Boleyn had another miscarriage, this time a son. According to Chapuys, Heinrich hardly spoke to her except to say that "God did not like giving him male offspring." Chapuys also mentioned Jane Seymour for the first time in the same letter , whom the king recently showered with presents.

Contrary to all legends, Heinrich Jane didn't actually get to know Jane until around New Year 1536. Unlike Katharina and Anne, she was neither beautiful nor particularly intelligent. However, she was gentle and obedient to the king, which was in stark contrast to Anne's sharp tongues. After the tiring struggles that Heinrich had fought to be able to marry Anne, he had little patience for loud arguments and challenges, especially as it became increasingly clear how many of his friends had turned away from him because of Anne. It is possible that Jane had only been a love affair for Heinrich at first. However, when he sent her a wallet and a letter, he received both unopened from her with the humble request that she only give her a gift of money when God pleased to send her a good batch. Impressed by her virtue, Heinrich only saw her in the presence of her relatives. The conservative faction at court, particularly Sir Nicholas Carew , were eager to support Jane, and even Anne's former ally Thomas Cromwell, who had fallen out with the Queen, left Jane at court his apartments, which were connected to Henry's by secret passages.

Anne Boleyn's case

Heinrich's new love was the opportunity Anne's opponents had been waiting for. Shortly after the king had made to April 18 Chapuys, Anne as Queen the homage to prove, took Cromwell clashes between Anne, the musician Mark Smeaton and Henry Groom of the Stool Henry Norris for a plot against the Queen. Arguing with both men was exaggerated into adultery to accuse Anne of treason. Anne had accused Norris, among other things, of being interested in her should something happen to the king. Historians disagree about the extent to which Heinrich was involved in the intrigue. Eric Ives regards Cromwell as an instructor and Heinrich as clueless, precisely because the king was still putting pressure on Charles V until April 30th to recognize Anne as queen. Tracy Borman, however, thinks it is possible that Heinrich Cromwell's intrigue agreed and deliberately played the role of the horned husband in order to get rid of Anne. As an indication of this, she cites that Heinrich Cromwell gave a new, fully furnished mansion as a gift that same month, possibly as a reward.

It is at least certain that Heinrich knew of Anne's dispute with Norris. According to current law, the prediction of the possible death of the monarch was already high treason, especially since Anne had literally forced herself on Norris according to the usual morals. Heinrich then angrily confronted her. Alexander Alesius watched the scene, but only from a distance. "I wasn't sure what had happened, but the faces and gestures of the speakers clearly showed that the king was angry, although he was able to hide his anger masterfully." The next day, May 1st, 1536, Heinrich learned about it during a tournament that Mark Smeaton confessed to committing adultery with Anne. Ives suspects that Heinrich saw Anne's argument with Henry Norris in a completely new light after this news, namely that Norris had also been her lover. The king fled from the tournament and rode to Whitehall with Henry Norris. On the way he cross-examined him and offered him complete forgiveness if he confessed to adultery with the queen. However, Norris refused to make a false confession and was imprisoned in the Tower. Anne was also arrested, as was her brother George and the courtiers Francis Weston and William Brereton.

Anne Boleyn's execution, illustration from 1695

Heinrich closed himself off from the outside world during these days and was often seen in the garden or at night in his boat. His state of mind seemed worrying. On the evening after Anne's arrest, when his illegitimate son Henry Fitzroy came to see him, the King gave him a hug and sobbed that Fitzroy and his half-sister Maria "owe it to God to have escaped from the hands of this accursed whore who tried to poison them both" . Although there is no evidence that Anne wanted to poison Heinrich's children, her efforts to have Katharina and Maria executed may now appear in a different light. He also stated that Anne had more than a hundred lovers and Chapuys even claimed that the king, out of sheer self-pity, wrote a tragedy which he carried with him and forced the courtiers to read.

After her conviction as an adulteress, the king annulled his marriage to Anne on May 17th. Since the papers were lost, the official justification is no longer known, only that there were "certain just, truthful and lawful, previously unknown obstacles" to this marriage. Chapuys reports that an earlier engagement with Henry Percy, 6th Earl of Northumberland may have been taken up, but Northumberland denied this again emphatically. Instead, Ives thinks it is more likely that Heinrich's sexual relationship with Mary Boleyn was given as the reason. Although the king would have already known at the time of his marriage to Anne that it was against divine law to marry his brother's widow, he would have been unaware that the marriage to the sister of a former lover was also illegal. As a justification for this argument, Ives gives that in the 2nd Act of Succession only a few months later such connections were officially declared illegal. However, since annulment meant that Anne had never been Heinrich's true wife, strictly speaking, she could not have been convicted of adultery. For some historians, this reduces the charge to absurdity. Two days after the annulment, Anne was executed in the grounds of the Tower of London on May 19, 1536 , just one day after the men who were also convicted.

Consolidation of Supremacy

Surrender and reconciliation of Mary

On May 30, 1536, Heinrich married Jane Seymour, to the general delight of the conservative faction at court. Sir John Russell wrote of Jane's marriage to Anne, that "the King of Hell came to Heaven through the kindness in this one and the hideousness and misery in the other". Many were of the opinion that Henry had only been induced to break with Rome by Anne and would now, with a conservative queen at his side, reverse the unpopular reforms. Heinrich's participation in the procession on the occasion of Corpus Christi , a thoroughly Catholic holiday, went well with this. Stephan Gardiner hoped for a reconciliation with Rome, Nicholas Carew for the re-accession of Princess Mary to the line of succession.

Pope Paul III Heinrich actually proposed a reconciliation, together with participation in the General Church Council in Mantua . Its condition was that England return to the bosom of the Church and receive absolution. Charles V was also ready to be reconciled with Heinrich, now that both his aunt and Anne Boleyn were dead. Heinrich, however, regarded his status as head of the church as given by God. Through his ambassadors he put pressure on Maria to recognize him as head of the Church and his marriage to Katharina as invalid. Jane Seymour tried to persuade him to take his daughter back into the line of succession, whereupon the king told her “she was a fool” because she “should work for the advancement of the children they would have in common, not them another".

Only when Maria officially submitted to him in writing on June 22, 1536, did he reconcile with her. On July 6, the father and daughter met for the first time in five years. Heinrich was loving and gave her presents. Only a little later she was brought to court and only had to give way to the queen. In this way the Conservative faction was stripped of the basis for resistance. On June 30, Parliament passed the 2nd Act of Succession , which bastardized both Maria and Elisabeth and only made Jane's descendants - or those of a future wife - legitimate heirs to the throne. Since this child did not yet exist, the act gave Heinrich the unprecedented power to determine his successor by will. It is conceivable that Heinrich kept the option open of naming his bastard son Henry Fitzroy as his heir. However, the boy died just two months after Anne Boleyn.

Pilgrimage of Grace
Banner of the Pilgrimage of Grace

As a reaction to the closure of the monasteries and to Mary's bastardization, the pilgrimage of grace broke out in October 1536 under the leadership of the lawyer Robert Aske . It became the greatest crisis of Henry's reign, demanding the restoration of the monasteries and Mary's status. Both Maria and Elisabeth were then brought to court and treated with royal honors. Queen Jane herself asked Heinrich on her knees for mercy for the rebels. His answer was harsh and threatening. “He ordered her to get up calmly enough and that he had told her several times not to interfere in his affairs, thereby referring to the last queen. It was enough to frighten a woman who doesn't feel very safe. "

Since Heinrich was militarily inferior to the insurgents, he had to negotiate and dispatched Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk to Doncaster , where the insurgents had gathered between 30,000 and 40,000 men. Norfolk asked Heinrich to at least pretend to accept the demands of the rebels and was granted general pardon. Heinrich initially agreed to it, but explicitly excluded the ringleaders. As early as November, Chapuys feared that Heinrich only wanted to lull the rebels into safety in order to take revenge later. Borman also suspects that Heinrich, by sending both Norfolk and the equally conservative Sir Francis Bryan into the field against the rebels, wanted to test their loyalty.

On December 8th, the rebel army was officially disbanded and at Christmas 1536 Heinrich invited Robert Aske to the court. He promised him a parliamentary session in York on the demands of the pilgrims and reaffirmed his general pardon. As soon as Aske had left, Henry sent Norfolk back north to take the pilgrims' oath to accept Henry as head of the church, the changed line of succession and the dissolution of the monasteries. Those who refuse oath should be treated as traitors. The pilgrims would have sworn off everything for which they had fought. When revolts broke out again in February 1537, Heinrich no longer saw himself bound by his promises. This time he found broader support among the population and the local nobility, who helped him to bloodily suppress the uprising. The leaders, including Robert Aske and Thomas Darcy , were executed as traitors.

Birth of the Crown Prince and death of Jane Seymour

On May 23, 1537 it was announced at court that Jane Seymour was pregnant and a solemn mass was held on May 29. Pregnancies were only made official when the queen felt child movements and Heinrich used her condition as an excuse not to have to travel north, as he had promised Aske at Christmas. He wrote to Norfolk that if he were this far away from her and in such a troubled country she would likely be frightened, which, given her pregnancy, could be devastating. As was customary for queens, Jane retired to the Laboratory at Hampton Court on September 16, where she gave birth to the long-awaited Crown Prince Edward on October 12 .

Prince Edward , ca.1538

Heinrich's joy about his son was clouded when Jane fell ill with puerperal fever a little later . Heinrich's reaction to her illness is strange because he told Russell that he should definitely visit his Esher mansion on October 25th . “When she recovers, he will go. If she doesn't recover, he told me today, he can't bring himself to dwell. ”Jane died on the night of October 24th. It is uncertain whether Heinrich was with her, but it is known that he did not marry for a long time after her death. Later he would say that of all his wives he loved Jane most, possibly because she gave him the heir to the throne he had longed for. In addition, Heinrich had so far mainly fallen in love when he was tired of a wife. While he had complimented pretty women during his marriage to Jane, there was no new candidate for royal favor until Jane's death. Nevertheless, Heinrich seemed inclined to remarry, because he arranged for the temporary accommodation of their ladies-in-waiting and arranged amusement rides for them at his own expense instead of breaking up Jane's household.

Heinrich devoted all the more care to the accommodation and care of the little Prince Edward. He had his own living quarters built for him at Hampton Court , where the boy was safe from the diseases of London. To avoid contagion, he had the kitchen built close to Edward's rooms and his food was checked by a taster . To prevent his clothes from being poisoned, they had to be checked before they were put on, and new clothes were thoroughly washed and perfumed before they were used for the first time. From March 1539, Heinrich also gave the order that the walls, ceilings and floors in the prince's apartments should be scrubbed several times a day to protect him from germs. The members of his household were also only allowed to be near him as long as they did not show any symptoms of illness.

Personal visits from the king were rare, however. His children grew up in their own households and were called to court at Christmas and Easter. In May 1538, however, a visit by Heinrich is guaranteed, during which he "joked his son with him in his arms for a long time with much glee and joy and held him to the window for the sight and consolation of the people". Nevertheless, it is possible that Heinrich Eduard felt a subliminal resentment, because the boy later complained: "How unhappy I made mine by killing my mother when I was born."

Elimination of conservative nobles

After the Pilgrimage of Grace , Heinrich's distrust of the conservative forces in the country grew. In particular, his cousin Henry Courtenay, 1st Marquess of Exeter and the Pole family, to which the renegade Cardinal Reginald Pole belonged, could represent an alternative to Henry for the dissatisfied because of their descent from the royal house of York . Heinrich's attempts to kidnap or murder Poles had so far failed. Since Cromwell was also a thorn in the side of the influential, conservative nobility, it was not difficult for him to convince Heinrich with exaggerated evidence that Courtenay and the Poles were intriguing against him with foreign powers. In the course of the so-called Exeter Conspiracy , the royal cousins ​​Henry Courtenay and Henry Pole, 1st Baron Montagu and Henry's close friends Sir Edward Neville and Sir Nicholas Carew were charged with high treason and beheaded.

It is unclear whether Heinrich was convinced of the allegations or acted out of political calculation. Despite Neville's conviction as a traitor, Heinrich continued to show affection to his eighteen-year-old son, Henry Neville, his own godchild. From October 1539 he granted him an annual pension, sent him on a diplomatic trip to France and, the highest sign of his confidence, made him Groom of the Privy Chamber . Courtenay's son Edward, however, stayed in the Tower during both Henry and Edward's reigns. Reginald Pole's mother, Margaret Pole, 8th Countess of Salisbury , also remained in custody and was executed two years later. Eustace Chapuys suspected that it was primarily about eliminating Princess Maria's advocate.

Measures against foreign invasions

Fortification of England
Representation of the Mary Rose , ca.1546

Barely a month after the birth of Prince Edward, Francis I and Charles V signed an armistice, which was approved by Pope Paul III. was later extended to ten years. Thus two of the great Catholic empires were allied against the Reformation countries. In order not to be completely politically isolated, Heinrich again sought talks with the Schmalkaldic League and in May 1538 a German delegation visited England. To demonstrate England's reformatory zeal, Heinrich von Cromwell's men had shrines and cults of saints demolished, including the magnificent shrine of Thomas Beckets . The Pope had already completed the excommunication bull on August 30, 1535, but it had not been carried out because Rome hoped to be able to win Henry back. After the desecration of the grave of Thomas Becket, Paul III renewed. the bull, however, in December 1538 and tried to convince Charles V and Francis I to invade England.

Henry then put England on alert. He personally inspected Dover's fortifications, raised troops and ordered the modernization and expansion of the navy. The three older ships Mary Rose , Peter Pomegranate and Great Harry were completely rebuilt and equipped with guns. Between 1539 and 1544 he had nine new ships built and bought four more. When setting up the fleet, Heinrich's focus was on having several large warships accompanied by smaller vehicles that were also used on patrols and as escorts for fishing boats.

In contrast to his father, Heinrich also set up an administration that regularly took care of ship maintenance, had new dry docks built and the existing ports expanded. There was also the establishment of the Royal Gun Foundries , which were responsible for the manufacture of cannons. The border with Scotland was also re-fortified and a whole chain of new fortresses built on the south coast. Overall, it was the largest military construction project between the Norman Conquest and the Napoleonic Wars .

Political marriage with Anna von Kleve

In order to find allies in foreign policy, Heinrich was ready to enter into a new marriage. As early as 1538, Cromwell had proposed a marriage to a sister of the Duke of Cleves to Wilhelm V. However, in March 1538 Heinrich had still toyed with the idea of marrying Christina of Denmark and therefore sent Hans Holbein to paint her. It is said that she then mockingly replied that if she had two heads she would like to put one of them at the disposal of the King of England. Holbein painted a total of five other candidates, but their portraits have not survived. Since all of these marriage negotiations were unsuccessful, Heinrich Holbein finally sent Holbein to Kleve in 1539 to paint Anna von Kleve's portrait. Cromwell, who advocated the marriage, showed Henry the portraits, whereupon the king consented to the marriage. In order to nip any expectations of the religious reformers in the bud, however, he declared firmly that it was a purely political marriage for which Cromwell was solely responsible.

Anna von Kleve around 1539, painted by Hans Holbein

How much Heinrich actually wanted to marry Anna is assessed differently by his biographers. With reference to Heinrich's friendly approaches to the French, Borman states that Heinrich's enthusiasm for marriage quickly cooled. According to Starkey, however, Heinrich was determined to marry one of the Kleve sisters as early as July 1539. As evidence, he cites that Heinrich's envoy insisted on seeing the faces of Anna and Amalia, as "one of them would be their queen" and only after that was Anna's portrait painted. Instead, Starkey believes Heinrich fell in love with an idea that was zealously nurtured by Cromwell and his followers. The marriage contract was signed on October 4th. Anna left Düsseldorf in November, but was only able to travel from Calais to Dover on December 27th due to the bad weather.

Heinrich was disappointed at his first secret meeting in Rochester. Anna did not recognize him as her future husband, as he arrived in disguise and without notice. Here Heinrich played a motif of knightly romance popular at the English court, where the lover is always recognized by his lady of the heart even in disguise. Anna, on the other hand, knew nothing of this courtly variety and therefore behaved cautiously towards the stranger, who suddenly kissed her, which Heinrich took as humiliation. It was only when he returned in his regal robes that she did him the honor, but the damage had already been done.

Whether out of hurt pride or actual disappointment, Heinrich felt repulsed by Anna. He communicated darkly to his companion: “I don't see anything in this woman that other men report about her. And it amazes me that wise men would make such reports. ”When Thomas Cromwell asked how he had liked Anna, Heinrich replied unfriendly:“ Not as good as was spoken of ”and stated that if he had known about it beforehand, if she had not come to his kingdom. He urged Cromwell to find a solution so that he would not have to marry Anna, but an official reason for refusing to marry could not be found. Her previous engagement to Francis I , son and heir of the Duke of Lorraine , had been duly terminated. Heinrich complained bitterly about this injustice. "If I were not afraid of causing a storm in the world - namely, of being the reason for driving your brother into the hands of the emperor - I would never marry her."

The wedding took place on January 6, 1540. On the morning after the wedding night, Heinrich was in a very bad mood, claiming that in view of her breasts and belly she could not be a virgin and that he would not have been able to consummate the marriage, although he firmly denied any doubts about his potency . Anna herself told her ladies-in-waiting that the king would only kiss her and wish her good night or good morning. The marriage was annulled as early as July 1540, to the regret of the people, with whom the new queen was very popular. Since Anna was cooperative, the king adopted her as his "good sister" and gave her several castles, estates and properties as well as a pension of about 3000 pounds for life. She was also declared the highest lady in the country behind the queen and the daughters of Henry.

The "English Nero"

Henry VIII in 1540
Fall of Thomas Cromwell

While he was still married to Anna, Heinrich fell passionately in love with Anna's lady-in-waiting Catherine Howard , a cousin of Anne Boleyn . The Conservative faction at court, particularly Catherine's uncle Norfolk , advocated this relationship in order to overthrow Thomas Cromwell. This had already fallen into disrepute because of the Kleve marriage and was fighting for his political survival. Since Henry was on more familiar terms with Norfolk through his relationship with Catherine, the latter told the King, along with Edward Seymour, according to the Spanish Chronicles , that Cromwell had been paid for by the Duke of Cleves to marry and was planning a rebellion. This meeting is not witnessed in any other source and is therefore likely based on rumors at court. Yet the conflict between reformers and conservatives could no longer be ignored. Cromwell had acted on behalf of Protestants on several occasions, allowing them to preach, waived prison terms, and corresponded with Lutherans. Faced with this evidence that his first minister sympathized with the Protestants, Heinrich took drastic measures.

On July 10, 1540, Cromwell was arrested for high treason and heresy . Nevertheless, Heinrich took many of Cromwell's former servants into his own service to save them from poverty. He also secretly sent Cromwell money to the Tower and asked how he was being treated. Possibly the latter happened out of self-interest, because the king sought the annulment of the Cleves marriage and needed a written testimony from Cromwell. Presumably in return for this cooperation, Heinrich transferred some of the confiscated lands of Cromwell to his son Gregory and appointed him Baron Cromwell on December 18 . Thomas Cromwell himself was sentenced to death under an Act of Attainder and executed on July 28, 1540.

Although Heinrich said he later regretted the death sentence, he never again gave a minister comparable power as Cromwell. Instead he was no longer restricted in his power, which led the French ambassador Charles de Marillac to say: "Although before everyone submitted to his wishes, there was still a kind of justice, but now there is only the pleasure of the king" and this is no longer just “a king to be obeyed, but an idol who must be worshiped”. According to Eric Ives , in addition to obedience to the king, it was now required to think like the king. The name "English Nero " comes from Philipp Melanchthon . However, Heinrich still used parliament to have his decisions legalized and therefore adapted laws to his needs instead of breaking them outright.

Marriage to Catherine Howard
Possibly Catherine Howard , around 1540

The new marriage to Catherine Howard was on the month the Cleves were annulled and on the day of Cromwell's execution. Although Heinrich was obviously very much in love with the young woman and showered her with gifts, it is very likely that Catherine was less taken with him. The king had put on much weight over the years and was over thirty years her senior. Nevertheless, she behaved with dignity at public events and developed good relationships with Heinrich's children. A letter from the council states that the king "has now found a jewel in his old days, after many troubles of conscience that had occurred to him through marriages."

Together with her and Princess Maria, the king made a trip to the north in the summer of 1541, where the Pilgrimage of Grace had broken out years earlier . He showed himself to be a gracious ruler willing to reconcile, who accepted the submission of his previously defiant subjects and in some cases even offered compensation. On this trip, Catherine Howard began an affair with the valet Thomas Culpeper , her first cousin, who was supported by her lady-in-waiting Jane Boleyn and was to be her undoing.

On November 2nd, the king received a letter from Thomas Cranmer who had learned explosive details from Catherine's past. Among other things, there was an old marriage promise of Catherines to Francis Dereham , which according to this had been carried out through sexual intercourse. Under current law, Catherine would have been an already married woman at the time of marriage to Heinrich. Upon closer examination, the Queen's current affair with Culpeper, who was also a personal servant of Henry, came to light. The king was shaken and wept before the council. Dereham and Culpeper were executed for high treason, Catherine was charged with adultery and beheaded along with Jane Boleyn on February 13, 1542.

War against France and Scotland 1544–1545

Hostilities broke out between England and Scotland as early as the summer of 1542. Heinrich's nephew Jacob V had refused to renounce the Pope and instead renewed the Auld Alliance with France. Added to this was his short-term refusal to meet Heinrich in York. Then Heinrich sent troops to the north and finally the battle of Solway Moss took place on November 24th, during which the Scottish army was crushed. Jakob, who had not participated himself, died of an illness just two weeks later.

Heinrich now hoped for a marriage between his son Eduard and Jacob's newborn daughter Maria Stuart , in order to finally get Scotland under English sovereignty. To this end, he wooed Scottish nobles with sympathy for England, including Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox , to whom he gave his niece Margaret Douglas as his wife. He then sent them back to Scotland to enforce his terms. When the Scottish Parliament rejected his demands in December 1543, Heinrich ordered the razing of Edinburgh . In May 1544, under the command of Edward Seymour , his fleet sailed north to support the English against the Scots. In the Firth of Forth she hindered Scottish trade and was instrumental in the burning of Leith .

Sinking of the Mary Rose , depiction from 1778

As early as June 1543, Heinrich had once again allied himself with Charles V against Francis I, who had sent his troops to imperial territory, and thus entered the war against Francis I of France . The plan was for Charles to attack from the east and Henry from Calais as soon as Scotland was rendered harmless. Since Karl would lead his army personally, Heinrich decided to do the same, although his health had deteriorated in recent years. In July 1544, Heinrich sailed with his army to Calais and attacked the city of Boulogne . After the castle was blown up by the English, the city surrendered and the king marched in triumphal procession. However, this procedure was not coordinated with Charles V, who, irritated by Heinrich's arbitrariness, concluded the Peace of Crépy with Franz and at the same time sabotaged Heinrich's peace negotiations.

Franz then sent reinforcements to Scotland by sea. In February 1545, the English were ambushed and defeated in Scotland at the Battle of Ancrum Moor . On July 19, the French fleet appeared in the Solent and attacked the English fleet in the sea battle at Portsmouth . Heinrich, who was on the Great Harry at the time , was rowed ashore and left his fleet. However, the flagship, the Mary Rose , sank in front of Heinrich's eyes, along with her crew of around 700 and the commander, Sir George Carew . It was not until June 1546 that Heinrich and Franz came to an agreement and the English army was withdrawn from France. Although the war granted the king one last triumph as a victorious general, it had devoured huge sums of money, which in England made itself felt through increased taxation and repeated devaluation of money.

Marriage to Catherine Parr

Shortly after the conclusion of the contract with Charles V, Heinrich married his sixth and last wife on July 12, 1543, the almost 30-year-old, twice widowed Catherine Parr . Like most of his marriages, this one on Heinrich's side was a love marriage. He named Catherine Sweetheart and wrote the verse in her prayer book:

Remember this writer
When you do pray
For he is yours
None can say nay.

Remember this writer
when you pray
because he is yours
Nobody can deny it.

Catherine Parr , ca.1545

Catherine herself was in love with Thomas Seymour , brother of the late Queen Jane Seymour at this point . However, she saw it as her duty to marry Heinrich and thus support the Reformation. Shortly after the wedding, Heinrich went with her on the summer round trip, which was extended until November due to the plague. During these months, Catherine Parr developed a warm relationship with Heinrich's children, who were living together at court for an extended period of time for the first time. On January 16, 1544, the king finally convened parliament for the 3rd Act of Succession , in which Maria and Elisabeth were reinstated in the line of succession should their brother Eduard die childless. However, both were not legitimized. According to current law, however, bastards were not allowed to inherit, which would make the succession to the throne of Mary and Elisabeth more difficult years later. In addition, they should lose their place in the line of succession if they married without the consent of the Privy Council. Should Maria and Elisabeth die childless, Heinrich appointed the descendants of his nieces Frances Brandon and Eleanor Brandon as successors. He ignored the claim of Maria Stuart , the granddaughter of his eldest sister Margaret Tudor, who, according to the law of primogeniture, was before the Brandons in the line of succession.

When Heinrich went to war against France less than a year after the wedding, he installed Catherine Parr as regent and let her run the affairs of state. Historians interpret the fact that he entrusted her with his empire after this short period of time as a sign of his respect and appreciation for her abilities. She was also appointed the guardian of the three children and supervised their upbringing. During this time she began composing prayers in English and publishing books. Heinrich initially tolerated her religious interests, but became increasingly suspicious when she discussed them both publicly and with him. “It is a nice hearing when women become such clergymen”, he complained after such a conversation with Stephan Gardiner “and a great consolation to be taught by my wife in my old days”.

Thereupon Gardiner tried to convince Heinrich to try the queen as a heretic. The king agreed, but then informed one of his personal physicians of his decision. It is uncertain whether he was trying to inform Catherine of the imminent arrest or to warn her because of remorse. Henry's biographer Lucy Wooding believes it possible that the king wanted to teach a lesson to both his wife and the council, that he was not influenced by anyone and that he himself was the ultimate authority on religious matters. In any case, Catherine received a notification from the personal physician who advised her to completely submit to the will of the king.

When Catherine saw Heinrich again, she declared her godly inferiority to him, whereupon he accused her: "You became a doctor, Kate, to instruct us as we see it, not to be instructed and guided by us." Catherine defended herself by saying that she had only argued with him to distract him from his pain and to benefit from his answers. Heinrich replied soothed: “Is it really like that, darling? And weren't your arguments aimed at anything else? Then we'll both be true friends again, as we were before. ”When Thomas Wriothesley, 1st Earl of Southampton came with guards to arrest Catherine the next day , he was cursed by the angry king as a villain, brute and fool. The marriage thus lasted until Heinrich's death.

health status
Henry VIII with a walking stick around 1542

Heinrich's last years were marked by poor, steadily declining health. Since the Tjost accident in 1536 he had put on a lot of weight, so that his hip circumference was now almost 133 cm and his chest a good 147 cm. According to a contemporary, three strong men fit into his doublet. He also suffered from severe constipation, possibly a combination of excessive meat consumption and lack of exercise. His kitchen accounts show that for over thirty years he ate more than a dozen servings of meat or fish for lunch and dinner, along with pudding and fried pastries for dessert. Shortly before his death, he weighed over 160 kilograms and his bed had to be reinforced with wooden beams to support the weight.

Being overweight had made his leg wound worse and causing him chronic pain. In the meantime he also had a painful ulcer on his left leg and could hardly stand. If the wound healed, it had to be reopened, cleaned and bandaged by his personal physician, so that Heinrich sometimes suffered from severe pain for days. In 1538 it was reported that the ulcers had closed. "The juices that had no drain almost suffocated him, so that he was speechless, black in the face and in danger of death for some time." Based on this description, it is assumed that Heinrich was suffering from thrombosis and at that time had a blood clot in his brain. what he survived only by luck. Especially in his last years, the king had to resort to aids such as walking sticks and portable chairs. Heinrich's eyesight also deteriorated so badly from 1544 that he ordered ten pairs of glasses from Germany.

On the basis of the traditional symptoms one can only speculate from which illness the king suffered. Type 2 diabetes mellitus , which, if left untreated , causes neuropathy , muscle failure and walking difficulties, along with erectile dysfunction, is an option, according to his biographer John Guy . Heinrich's heavy drinking, mostly red wine and ale , his urination problems and poor sleep go well with this. Robert Hutchinson mentions Cushing's syndrome as another possibility , symptoms of which include obesity, poor wound healing, severe headaches, and paranoia. Since he hardly ate any fruit and vegetables, scurvy is sometimes suspected. In addition, Sabine Appel considers bone marrow inflammation to be another possible clinical picture, since with a chronic course here too the wound occasionally breaks open and the pus empties. Despite some historians speculating that the king suffered from syphilis , there is no historical evidence of this as the disease was commonly treated with mercury at the time . Instead, the drugs listed on Heinrich's doctor's bill all served to aid his digestion.

Succession and death

Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey with the royal coat of arms

In December 1546, the King spent Christmas in Winchester Castle separately from Catherine Parr, which historians sometimes interpret as a premonition of death. On the evening of December 26th, he summoned his council, along with a copy of his will from 1544, and made some changes. In 1544 he had appointed Catherine Parr regent until his son Eduard came of age. Now, after his death, 16 councilors were to take over this office. Under no circumstances did he want to give undivided power over Eduard to a single person. It was noticeable that among these 16 men were both reformers and conservatives. The will was also not signed by him, but stamped, which is why it is sometimes claimed that his last will was a forgery. Historians assume that the document is authentic. The King presented the will to his former brother-in-law Edward Seymour for safekeeping.

After the nomination of the councilors, Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey announced that his father Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk , should receive the office of Lord Protector by law. Since Surrey had added the royal coat of arms of Edward the Confessor to his own, Henry suspected that Surrey might want to reach for the crown himself after his death. This suspicion was supported by the fact that Surrey had urged his sister Mary Howard, widow of Henry Fitzroy and thus Henry's daughter-in-law, to become the king's mistress "in order to be able to rule here better than others". Although Surrey protested during his trial that his family had had the right to bear this coat of arms for 500 years, he was executed on January 19, 1547 for high treason. It was the last death sentence that was carried out during Heinrich's lifetime.

Although it became clear that Heinrich would not live much longer, no one dared to speak openly, as it was treason to foretell the king's death. On January 27th, Anthony Denny, the current Groom of the Stool , informed his master that he didn't have much time and asked if he would like to make confession. Thereupon Heinrich asked for Thomas Cranmer and declared that he wanted to sleep first. "And then, if I feel like it, I'll notify you about it." They were his last words. When the archbishop arrived, Heinrich could no longer speak. On January 28, 1547, the king died between midnight and 1 a.m. in the presence of Thomas Cranmer, whose hand he firmly squeezed shortly before his end. The writer John Foxe would later claim that Heinrich had answered Cranmer's question with this handshake as to whether he put all his trust in Christ. However, since Heinrich still rejected the Protestant approach of salvation through faith alone, his biographer Lucy Wooding believes it is more likely that the Catholic rites of communion were performed on his deathbed .

Henry's grave slab in St George's Chapel , Windsor Castle

His death was initially kept secret for three days in order to ensure a peaceful transfer of power to his son Eduard. Only as soon as Eduard arrived in London and traditionally moved into the Tower quarters, Henry's death was officially announced in front of Parliament. As was the custom for kings, Henry's body was embalmed and transferred to Windsor Castle on February 14th . On the coffin was a crowned statue of Henry in royal robes. Stephan Gardiner gave the eulogy. On February 16, Henry was buried in St George's Chapel in the same tomb as Jane Seymour. During his lifetime he had planned a triumphal arch with a statue of himself on horseback on his grave and a representation of God holding Heinrich's soul on top. In addition, after Wolsey's death, Heinrich confiscated parts of Wolsey's planned crypt, including a black marble sarcophagus. Bronze images of him and Jane should lie sleeping on it, similar to the tomb of his parents Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. Heinrich's image was made around 1543, but the war with France turned out to be so expensive that the tomb was unfinished when he died.

Even under his successors, the tomb was never completed. Under Eduard there was a dispute with the Italian sculptor in 1551 and Maria shied away from completing the crypt for someone who had fallen out with Rome. Elisabeth initially looked for a cheaper way to complete the tomb, but after the death of William Paulet , who had taken care of it, the construction was canceled again. In April 1646, Heinrich's bronze image was sold because the government urgently needed money. In 1649 the grave was opened in order to be able to bury the remains of the executed King Charles I in a royal tomb. Heinrich's coffin was opened by a foot soldier and a bone was stolen. The black marble sarcophagus and its base were used in 1808 for the fallen Admiral Nelson . When the grave was opened on April 1, 1813 in the presence of the future King George IV , only the skeleton and a bit of beard on the chin remained of Heinrich's body. The coffin itself was badly damaged, although it could no longer be determined when and by what means. Today only a stone slab with an inscription marks Heinrich's final resting place.


When he died, Heinrich left his son Eduard 55 palaces and seats, over 2000 tapestries, at least 150 panel paintings, 2028 pieces of gold and silver tableware and 1780 books. A passionate collector of works of art, he owned hundreds of portraits and religious paintings, as well as 300 instruments. There was also a modernized navy with over 70 ships, which Ives called the best navy in the Atlantic, and a modern arsenal. At the same time it had emptied the state coffers with ultimately useless wars and was responsible for several inflations. Between 1544 and 1547, the British pound lost nearly 13 percent of its international value, which had a catastrophic impact on the economy and trade.

Heinrich's tapestry Triumph of Hercules

In Henry's reign the kingship was elevated and glorified, since the monarch was only obliged to God and no longer to the Pope. As a result, Heinrich exercised more personal authority than his predecessors and successors, with which his rule marked the pinnacle of kingship. According to some sources, over 70,000 executions were carried out under his rule, but this also includes the death sentences customary at the time for everyday, apolitical crimes. Nevertheless, at his instigation, twelve new laws were passed between 1531 and 1544 that defined crimes as high treason (including criticism of the king's marriages and refusal to take the oath of royal supremacy), which, according to Eric Ives, played a major role in the number of death sentences played.

The break with Rome also meant a political and religious isolation of England. Henry's moderate Reformation did not appeal to either the Catholic nations or the newly emerging Protestants. As a result of the dissolution of the monasteries, the English rural population had become impoverished, as the former pastureland and social aid from the monasteries were no longer freely available. In addition, there were monks and nuns who had become homeless. Nevertheless, the break with Rome laid the foundation for a national identity that developed separately from Western Christianity. In addition, the path from ecclesiastical to state welfare continued, as Heinrich replaced the many individual religious houses with schools and churches under the patronage of the unified dioceses he had created.

Heinrich's interference in the legal succession made his daughters difficult, because as officially illegitimate children they were not allowed to inherit. He gave their respective opponents the handle to support Jane Gray or Maria Stuart as legitimate queens of England. On top of that, he had set the precedent for a king to choose his successor himself instead of acting according to the law of primogeniture , which among other things resulted in the nine-day rule of his great-niece Lady Jane Gray. Also, especially during Elisabeth's reign, almost all of Margaret and Mary Tudor's descendants hoped for the throne, which deeply unsettled Elisabeth and gave her the feeling that she “had my shroud in front of her while she was still alive”.

Personality and interests

Heinrich is considered the prototype of the Renaissance ruler. He was educated, interested in astronomy, and corresponded with humanists like Erasmus von Rotterdam . In addition to his native English, he spoke French, Latin, Italian and some Spanish that he had learned from Catherine of Aragon. During his reign, English as the language of the court flourished again, as Latin texts were translated for the first time and editions of Geoffrey Chaucer's works were made.

Heinrich around 1530 with a quote from the Bible: "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creatures." (Mark 16:15)

He was also an art connoisseur who brought painters such as Susanna and Lucas Horenbout , Hans Holbein and Levina Teerlinc to court. He was passionate about playing the lute or the recorder and composed songs, instrumentals, masses and a motet . The claim that Henry VIII composed the English folk song Greensleeves for his second wife Anne Boleyn is widely quoted, but it probably dates from the Elizabethan period . In contrast, the song Pastyme with good companye was written by Heinrich.

He excelled in dancing, wrestling, hunting and various weapons exercises as well as in the original form of tennis. Throughout his life, the king was an avid gambler who enjoyed dice and card games, among other things. However, he was a bad loser and once threw out Italian bankers after they beat him at dice. He also found great pleasure in masquerades, especially when he was able to mingle with the courtiers apparently unrecognized and then reveal himself dramatically.

Heinrich showed a keen interest in medicine throughout his life. Sometimes he spent hours in the company of pharmacists and doctors and always endeavored to produce medicines for himself and his court. In fact, Heinrich mixed himself an alleged prophylaxis against the plague , consisting of rubus , elder leaves, ginger and white wine. Cardinal Wolsey also turned to the King for advice when his secretary, Sir Bryan Tuke, suffered from kidney disease. However, Heinrich misunderstood the symptoms and instead gave Tuke a medicine in his next audience that was supposed to help against testicular tumors. At the same time, he was always anxious about his health, which is why historians sometimes attribute him to hypochondria .

His willingness to hang out with men of low birth is often seen as a sign of insecurity. The Tudor dynasty was young and its claim to the throne was often questioned. In the nobility there were several families who were descended from kings and therefore regarded the Tudors as upstart. It could be a reason why he felt more comfortable with people who weren't classed about him. The simple-born also made fewer demands on him than the nobility, whose members constantly assaulted him for offices and dignity. At the same time, their dependence on his favors gave him the opportunity to promote and promote them at court as he saw fit, only to destroy them just as unexpectedly. Borman points out, however, that Wolsey and Cromwell in particular had remarkable skills and experience gained through hard work. By deliberately breaking with the royal tradition of assigning high offices exclusively to nobles, Heinrich introduced a meritocracy at his court .

Heinrich gained a dubious reputation through his six marriages. While he had a thoroughly dynastic reason for doing so - securing the line of succession through sons - Heinrich was known to fall stormily in love and openly show his affection. Only one of his six marriages was concluded for political reasons, all others were love marriages. On top of that, four wives were his subjects, which was almost unheard of for a king. His unusual behavior caused astonishment and irritation both in England and at European courts. At the same time, he was very sentimental and known to be moved to tears quickly. It was a sore point for him not to be able to father a legitimate son for decades. When the imperial ambassador Eustace Chapuys , who always defended Catherine and her daughter Maria, pointed out to him that even a new wife was no guarantee for children, the king cried three times: "Am I not a man, a man like everyone else?"

Over time, Heinrich became notorious for his temperament and moodiness. He had little patience with matters that bored or bothered him and sometimes changed his mind very suddenly. The imperial ambassador Eustace Chapuys, who lived in England for decades, declared resignedly that he could not judge Heinrich, "considering the changeability of this king". After breaking with Rome, his mood swings increased, making him increasingly unpredictable, even for his old friends. Borman believes Heinrich used them deliberately to keep his subjects from feeling too confident. By giving conflicting orders when he knew exactly what he wanted, he made it clear that he alone wielded power. Nevertheless, Heinrich seemed to shy away from personal confrontations. Throughout his life he refused to see people again once he had broken away from them.

Henry VIII around 1544

A question that still preoccupies historians is why Heinrich went from being a popular prince to being a tyrant. Sometimes medical explanations are sought, such as the fall from a horse in 1536 or diabetes that was not treatable at the time. However, Starkey points out that Heinrich already had an aversion to being patronized by others when he ascended the throne. First it was his father who refused him what he wanted, then his privy councilor and finally his father-in-law Ferdinand. Then Cardinal Wolsey took on the task of implementing Henry's impulsive wishes as a successful royal policy for a good ten years, which spoiled the king and gave him illusions of his own greatness. Thomas More once confided to Thomas Cromwell regarding the character of the king: “You should always tell him what to do, never what to do, when you counsel his graces. Because if the lion realizes his own power, it would be difficult for any human being to control him. "

A first turning point was the execution of Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham . Without an heir to the throne, Heinrich began to suspect all nobles who were also of royal descent. During the "big business", many of his friends and servants secretly sided with Catherine of Aragon, passed on information to her and smuggled news onto the continent. Since Heinrich did not know who was betraying him, he gradually developed almost paranoid traits. During this time he told the Venetian ambassador that he would not allow anyone to give him orders. After the break with Rome, his distrust of those who contradicted him deepened, as he regularly feared a Catholic invasion. In particular, the execution of the Carthusian monks, the old Bishop Fisher and Margaret Pole , who was over seventy, testified to his growing brutality. The longer he was king, the more he expected to get his way and reacted increasingly unscrupulous when he felt betrayed. However, Anna von Kleve's treatment also shows that Heinrich could be generous and kind if one obeyed him.

Although Heinrich made morally questionable and cruel decisions by modern standards, he enjoyed continued popularity with his subjects. Embodying the magnificence and generosity expected of a monarch, he gave alms to the poor on a daily basis, although the Venetian ambassador's claim that he spent ten thousand ducats in this way annually seems exaggerated . He could point to military successes, even if they were of little use to England in the long run. At the same time he knew how to inspire and lead people. Due to the flourishing printing press and the distribution of English Bibles emblazoned with his portrait, Heinrich was very likely the first English king whose face was recognized by his subjects, which contributed to a greater identification with him nationwide than with his predecessors.

Love affairs

In contrast to his rival Franz I , Heinrich exercised discretion in all of his extramarital affairs. For his time he was considered an extremely loyal, loving husband who only had a lover when his wife was pregnant and thus, according to the opinion of the time, sexually inviolable. Although there were rumors of various affairs, only two can be clearly proven historically. The first known mistress of the king was Elizabeth Blount , who became the lady-in-waiting Catherine of Aragons around 1517. On June 15, 1519 she gave birth to Heinrich's son Henry Fitzroy . Since Heinrich was not married to Elizabeth, this son was not entitled to the throne, but was recognized by the king.

Mary Boleyn , Henry's mistress between ca.1520 and 1525

Around 1520 he fell in love with Mary Boleyn , who had served his sister Mary Tudor during her time as Queen of France. She was now married to William Carey , Heinrich's distant relative, who tacitly tolerated the affair. This love affair ended at an unspecified point in time around 1525. It only became known because Heinrich, during his courtship for Anne Boleyn, applied for a papal dispensation to marry the sister of a former lover. He also replied to the accusation that he had slept with Anne's sister and her mother: "Never with the mother!"

Although there is no clear evidence of actual further love affairs, contemporary rumors are documented. In 1510, Henry was said to have had a secret relationship with Anne Hastings, sister of Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham . However, his loyal friend William Compton , who acted as intermediary, claimed that he had courted Anne for himself, not on behalf of the king. A letter dated January 17, 1514 could be an indication of a love affair between Heinrich and Etiennette de la Baume while he was in Lille to sign the contract . The lady reminds him of how he gave her a nickname and told her about many beautiful things, including marriage. Since Heinrich promised her a gift of money at this time in the event of their wedding, Etiennette asks him in her letter to keep his promise.

In 1534 Heinrich became interested in a lady whose name was unknown and who refused to pay Anne the honor. According to Chapuys, she tried to support Princess Maria. Perhaps it was the same woman who, with the help of her sister-in-law Jane Boleyn, removed Anne from court, much to the king's anger. In February of the following year, Chapuys reported that Anne Boleyn's cousin Mary Shelton had outdone the unknown woman and was now enjoying the king's favor. Contemporaries believed they saw a resemblance between Shelton and the later Queen Anne of Cleves .

Since Heinrich needed a dispensation from Thomas Cranmer for his marriage to Jane Seymour, David Starkey suspects that one of the king's mistresses was related to Jane. After Jane's death, the king showed an interest in Anne Bassett, a recently added lady-in-waiting and stepdaughter of his uncle Arthur Plantagenet, 1st Viscount Lisle . He gave her horse and saddle as a present and arranged for her to be accommodated first in the house of a relative and later in Anna von Kleves, Catherine Howards and Catherine Parr's entourage. According to Chapuys, Anne's influence was thanks to her stepfather's pardon. Although it is speculated that she was his mistress, it may also have been Heinrich's attentions to a distant relative.


Children born in wedlock

Edward VI of England c.  1546.jpg
Mary I by Master John.jpg
El habena I lat 13.jpg

Heinrich's legitimate children Eduard, Maria and Elisabeth, who ascended the English throne one after the other

With Catherine of Aragon

(married from June 11, 1509 until the annulment of the marriage on May 23, 1533):

  • one daughter (* / † January 31, 1510)
  • Henry, Duke of Cornwall (January 1, 1511 - February 22, 1511)
  • Miscarriage (1513)
  • Miscarriage (* / † December 1514)
  • Maria, later Maria I , Queen of England (February 18, 1516 - November 17, 1558) ∞ Philip II , King of Spain
  • one daughter (* / † November 10, 1518)

Since all that is known about Katharina's pregnancy in 1513 is that she made a pilgrimage to Walsingham out of gratitude for it, neither the gender nor the month of birth of the child are known.

With Anne Boleyn

(married from January 25, 1533 until the annulment of the marriage on May 17, 1536):

  • Elisabeth, later Elizabeth I , Queen of England (7 September 1533 - 24 March 1603)
  • Miscarriage (* / † 1534)
  • Son (* / † January 29, 1536)

Since Anne's second and third pregnancies ended in miscarriages, there are no historical records of names for these children. The sex of the second child is also unknown.

With Jane Seymour

(married from May 20, 1536 until Jane's death on October 24, 1537):

  • Edward, later Edward VI. , King of England (October 12, 1537 - July 6, 1553)

Illegitimate children

Henry Fitzroy , Henry's illegitimate son

The paternity of other illegitimate children besides Henry Fitzroy was never officially recognized. However, there is a temporal possibility that Mary Boleyn's children Catherine and Henry Carey were conceived by Heinrich, as the affair lasted from around 1522 to 1525. When Thomas Skydmore from Syon Abbey was investigated for high treason in 1535, his claim that Henry Carey was "the son of our lord the king of the queen's sister" was explicitly listed as evidence against Skydmore. The paternity of Mary Boleyn's children is therefore unclear.

In his Nugæ Antiquæ collection , John Harington referred to his father's first wife, Etheldreda (also Audrey) Malte, as "Heinrich's illegitimate daughter". The king's state papers indicate that his tailor John Malte had an illegitimate daughter named Etheldreda with Joan Dingley. In September 1546, Heinrich generously bequeathed her lands and mansions, which could be interpreted as the care of an illegitimate daughter in the care of a foster father. Yet there is no contemporary source that proves Heinrich's fatherhood.


Heinrich's life has been the subject of popular histories for centuries.


In the years 1612/1613 Shakespeare created his historical drama Henry VIII , originally entitled "All is True", which is based on excerpts from the life of Henry.

In the ballad König Heinrichs Jagd , Josef Viktor Widmann deals with Heinrich's loss of his wife Jane Seymour .

In 1998 Margaret George published the historical novel The Autobiography of Henry VIII: With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers (German title: Ich, Heinrich VIII. ). During Mary's reign, Henry's former court jester Will Somers sent the exiled Catherine Carey the king's diary, which spanned his entire life.

Well known is an English counting rhyme that names the fate of Henry's six successive wives. It is considered the standard example of a well-known rhyme in several treatises:

"Divorced, Beheaded, Died,
Divorced, Beheaded, Survived."

"Divorced, beheaded, died,
divorced, beheaded, survived."

Movie and TV

Many films and television series have been made about Henry and his court, including The Private Life of Henry VIII from 1933 with Charles Laughton , who was to play this role again in 1953 in the film The Heir apparent.

Ernst Lubitsch made the silent film Anna Boleyn in 1920 with Emil Jannings as Henry VIII in the male lead. The period between Heinrich's first meeting with Anna and her execution is described. The costumes were based on contemporary images.

In the 1953 film A Princess Falls in Love, which addresses Mary Tudor's secret love for Charles Brandon, James Robertson Justice played the role of her brother Heinrich.

In the Oscar-winning film A Man for Every Season (1966) by Fred Zinnemann , Robert Shaw plays the king and Paul Scofield plays Thomas More .

In 1969 Charles Jarrott filmed the love story and marriage between Henry VIII ( Richard Burton ) and Anne Boleyn ( Geneviève Bujold ) for a thousand days with the Queen , historically incorrect . The film won four Golden Globes in 1970 and was nominated for ten Academy Awards.

The BBC filmed The Six Wives of Henry VIII with Keith Michell in 1970 . A theatrical version of it came out in 1972.

Also in 1970, Gerald Thomas shot the film Carry On Henry (German title: Heinrichs Bettgeschichten or How the garlic came to England ) as part of the Carry-on… film series , in which the story of Heinrich and his women was parodied.

In 2003, Heinrich's life story was re-filmed as Henry VIII at great expense . Ray Winstone played Heinrich. Other well-known actors are Helena Bonham Carter as Anne Boleyn and Sean Bean as Robert Aske.

In the Simpsons episode History Lesson with Marge from 2004, the life of Henry VIII from the divorce of Catherine of Aragon to his death is discussed and the separation from the Catholic Church is dealt with. As usual in such episodes, the roles of the historical characters are taken over by the normal Simpson characters. So is Homer Simpson Henry VIII. And policeman Wiggum opponent. In the end, Homer's Henry is murdered by Marge with the pillow.

In 2008, Eric Bana portrayed the King of England in the literary film adaptation of The Queen's Sister . Natalie Portman played Anne and Scarlett Johansson, their sister Mary Boleyn.

In the television series Die Tudors from 2007 to 2010 Heinrich's life is treated fictionally from the 1520s until shortly before his death. The role of the king was played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers , with other actors including Natalie Dormer , Annabelle Wallis , Maria Doyle Kennedy and Henry Cavill .

In 2015, the television series Wolves aired, which fictionally deals with the rise of Thomas Cromwell. Heinrich was played here by Damian Lewis , Cromwell by Mark Rylance and Anne Boleyn by Claire Foy .

Ruari O'Connor played the role of young Henry in the 2019 television series The Spanish Princess , which fictionally deals with Catherine of Aragón's early years in England.


The Donizetti opera Anna Bolena deals with the fate of Heinrich's second wife Anne Boleyn in a romantic, historically untenable plot. Camille Saint-Saëns dealt with Henry VIII's marriage to Anne Boleyn and the church schism in his opera .

In 1965 the beat group Herman's Hermits brought the song I'm Henry the Eighth, I Am to the charts (# 1 USA, # 15 D). The song was written by Fred Murray and R. P. Weston in 1910.

The Yes - keyboardist Rick Wakeman published in 1973 under the title The Six Wives of Henry VIII , a concept album about Henry and his wives.

The musical Six , which premiered in 2017, lets the six wives of Henry VIII fight in a competition to see which of them suffered most from Henry.

coat of arms


Owen Tudor
Catherine of Valois
John Beaufort
Margaret Beauchamp
(† 1482)
Richard Plantagenet
Cecily Neville
Sir Richard Woodville
Jacquetta of Luxembourg
Edmund Tudor
Margaret Beaufort
Edward IV
Elizabeth Woodville
Henry VII
Elizabeth of York
Henry VIII



German-language literature

English-language literature

Web links

Commons : Henry VIII (England)  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

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  2. David Starkey : Henry: Virtuous Prince . Harper Perennial 2009, p. 87 f.
  3. ^ William Arthur Shaw: The Knights of England. Volume 1, Sherratt and Hughes, London 1906, p. 18.
  4. David Starkey: Henry: Virtuous Prince . Harper Perennial 2009, p. 158
  5. David Starkey: Henry: Virtuous Prince . Harper Perennial 2009, p. 178 ff.
  6. a b David Starkey: Henry: Virtuous Prince . Harper Perennial 2009, p. 130
  7. David Starkey: Henry: Virtuous Prince . Harper Perennial 2009, p. 184
  8. David Starkey: Henry: Virtuous Prince . Harper Perennial 2009, p. 169 f.
  9. August 10, 1504: Letter from Duke De Estrada to Queen Isabella
  10. ^ Tracy Borman: Henry VIII and the Men who made him . Atlantic Monthly Press 2018, p. 43
  11. ^ Tracy Borman: Henry VIII and the Men who made him . Atlantic Monthly Press 2018, p. 57
  12. David Starkey: Henry: Virtuous Prince . Harper Perennial 2009, p. 240
  13. October 5, 1507, De Puebla to King Ferdinand : “There is no finer a youth in the world than the Prince of Wales. He is already taller than his father, and his limbs are of a gigantic size. "
  14. David Starkey: Henry: Virtuous Prince . Harper Perennial 2009, p. 230 f.
  15. David Starkey: Henry: Virtuous Prince . Harper Perennial 2009, p. 228
  16. Lucy Wooding: Henry VIII. Routledge 2009, p. 62
  17. ^ Tracy Borman: Henry VIII and the Men who made him . Atlantic Monthly Press 2018, p. 71
  18. David Starkey: Henry: Virtuous Prince . Harper Perennial 2009, p. 299
  19. David Starkey: Henry: Virtuous Prince . Harper Perennial 2009, p. 283 f.
  20. David Starkey: Virtuous Prince . Harper Perennial, London 2009, p. 328
  21. David Starkey: Virtuous Prince . Harper Perennial, London 2009, p. 343
  22. ^ Tracy Borman: Henry VIII and the Men who made him . Atlantic Monthly Press 2018, p. 73
  23. David Starkey: Six Wives. The Queens of Henry VIII . Harper Perennial 2003, p. 112
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  25. ^ Tracy Borman: Henry VIII and the Men who made him . Atlantic Monthly Press 2018, p. 14
  26. Jump up ↑ Starkey, David: Henry: Virtuous Prince. Harper Perennial, London 2009, p. 308
  27. Jump up ↑ Starkey, David: Henry: Virtuous Prince. Harper Perennial, London 2009, p. 314
  28. a b Sabine Appel: Heinrich VIII. The King and his conscience. A biography. Beck, Munich 2012, p. 62
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  30. David Starkey: Six Wives. The Queens of Henry VIII . Harper Perennial 2003, p. 181
  31. John Guy: Henry VIII (Penguin Monarchs): The Quest for Fame . Penguin UK 2015, p. 27
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  37. John Guy: Henry VIII (Penguin Monarchs): The Quest for Fame . Penguin UK 2015, p. 32
  38. ^ Tracy Borman: Henry VIII and the Men who made him . Atlantic Monthly Press 2018, p. 136
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  175. Jane Dunn: Elizabeth and Mary. Cousins, Rivals, Queens. 2005 Vintage Books Edition, p. 186
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  177. ^ Leonard RN Ashley: Elizabethan Popular Culture. Bowling Green State University Popular Press 1988, p. 119; Alison Weir: Henry VIII: The King and His Court. Ballantine Books, New York 2002, p. 131.
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  185. Jane Dunn: Elizabeth and Mary. Cousins, Rivals, Queens . Vintage Books 2005, p. 45 f.
  186. David Starkey: Six Wives. The Queens of Henry VIII . Harper Perennial 2003, p. 517
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  194. Lucy Wooding: Henry VIII. Routledge 2009, p. 55
  195. John Guy: Henry VIII (Penguin Monarchs): The Quest for Fame. Penguin UK 2015, p. 106
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predecessor government office successor
New title created Duke of York
Title expired
William Berkeley Earl Marshal
Thomas Howard
Arthur Tudor Prince of Wales
Duke of Cornwall
Earl of Chester
Title vacant
(from 1511: Henry Tudor )
Henry VII King of England
Edward VI.
Henry VII Lord of Ireland
from 1541, King of Ireland
Edward VI.