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  • Date of birth : 28/06/1491
  • Date of death : 28/01/1547

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  • England of VIII Henry
  • Enrico 08 d'Inghilterra
  • Henry Tudor

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Henry VIII of England (1491)

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  Summary  

September 2011

Henry VIII (28 June 1491 – 28 January 1547) was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France. Henry was the second monarch of the House of Tudor, succeeding his father, Henry VII.

Besides his six marriages, Henry VIII is known for his role in the separation of the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church. Henry's struggles with Rome led to the separation of the Church of England from papal authority, the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and establishing himself as the Supreme Head of the Church of England. Yet he remained a believer in core Catholic theological teachings, even after his excommunication from the Catholic Church. Henry oversaw the legal union of England and Wales with the Laws in Wales Acts 1535–42.

Henry was known by some to be an attractive and charismatic man in his prime, educated and accomplished. He was an author and a composer. He ruled with absolute power. His desire to provide England with a male heir—which stemmed partly from personal vanity and partly because he believed a daughter would be unable to consolidate the Tudor Dynasty and the fragile peace that existed following the Wars of the Roses—led to the two things that Henry is remembered for: his six marriages, and the English Reformation, which made England a mostly Protestant nation. In later life he became morbidly obese and his health suffered; his public image is frequently depicted as one of a lustful, egotistical, harsh, and insecure king.

  Biography  

legacy
Though mainly motivated by dynastic and personal concerns, and despite never really abandoning the fundamentals of the Catholic Church, Henry ensured that the greatest act of his reign would be one of the most radical and decisive of any English monarch. His break with Rome in 1533–34 was an act with enormous consequences for the subsequent course of English history beyond the Tudor dynasty. Not only in making possible the transformation of England into a powerful nation; but in the seizing of economic and political power from the Church by the aristocracy, chiefly through the acquisition of monastic lands and assets – a short-term strategy with long-term social consequences. Henry's decision to entrust the regency of his son Edward's minor years to a decidedly reform-oriented regency council, dominated by Edward Seymour, most likely for the simple tactical reason that Seymour seemed likely to provide the strongest leadership for the kingdom, ensured that the English Reformation would be consolidated and even furthered during his son's reign. Such ironies marked other aspects of his legacy.


He fostered humanist learning and yet was responsible for the deaths of several outstanding English humanists. Obsessed with securing the succession to the throne, he left as his only heirs a young son and two daughters adhering to different religions. The power of the state was magnified. Henry worked with some success to make England once again a major player on the European scene but depleted his treasury in the course of doing so, a legacy that has remained an issue for English monarchs ever since.

Scarisbrick concludes that Henry was a formidable, captivating man who "wore regality with a splendid conviction." But unpredictably his overpowering charm could turn into anger and shouting, for he was high-strung and unstable; hypochondriac and possessed of a strong streak of cruelty. Smith considered him an egotistical border-line neurotic given to great fits of temper and deep and dangerous suspicions, with a mechanical and conventional, but deeply held piety, having at best "a mediocre intellect" to hold these contradictory forces in harness.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Henry VIII of England", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.