Henry VIII (June 28, 1491 – January 28, 1547) was the domineering King of England from 1509 until his death in 1547.
He infamously had six wives, two of whom he beheaded.
He broke with the Catholic Church in Rome over his efforts to have his first marriage, to Catherine of Aragon, annulled so he could marry Anne Boleyn, who did become his second wife.
Henry VIII (June 28, 1491 – January 28, 1547) was the domineering King of England from 1509 until his death in 1547
The move – known as the Reformation – established him as the supreme head of the Church of England and saw him ex-communicated by the Pope in Rome.
His subsequent dissolution of Britain’s convents and monasteries changes the course of the country’s cultural history.
Under him, England’s navy became fiercely imposing, growing from a few small ships to more than 50.
Domestically, he was at times tyrannical – using charges of tyranny and heresy to stamp down on those he considered to be dissenters.
Among those who fell foul of him was his chief minister Thomas Cromwell, who ended up being beheaded.
Also beheaded was his second wife Anne Boleyn and his fifth wife Catherine Howard.
His predecessors had tried and failed to conquer France, and even Henry himself mounted two expensive, yet unsuccessful attempts.
He was known to self-medicate, even going as far as making his own medicines.
A record on a prescription for ulcer treatment in the British Museum reads: ‘An Oyntment devised by the kinges Majesty made at Westminster, and devised at Grenwich to take away inflammations and to cease payne and heale ulcers called gray plaster’.
The king was also a musician and composer, owning 78 flutes, 78 recorders, five bagpipes, and has since had his songs covered by Jethro Tull.
He died while heavily in debt, after having such a lavish lifestyle that he spent far more than taxes would earn him.
He possessed the largest tapestry collection ever documented, and 6,500 pistols.
While most portraits show him as a slight man, he was in later life very large, with one observer calling him ‘an absolute monster’.
He was succeeded by his son Edward VI.