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Find out about his Henry's six wives here

      • Age18-56.
      • Second son of Henry VII.
      • Married Catherine of Aragon (Spanish), Anne Boleyn (English), Jane Seymore (English), Anne of Cleves (Flemish-Belgian), Catherine Howard (English), Catherine Parr (English).
      • Three children
      • Buried in Windsor Castle.

Henry Vlll is probably the most well known of the Tudor kings. He was a very selfish person and by the end of his life everyone was afraid of him, mainly because of his ruthless behaviour toward anyone who didn't agree with him.
See Henry Vlll timeline

Henry Vlll was born at Greenwich Palace, London on 28 June 1491 and was the second son of Henry Vll and Elizabeth of York (daughter of Edward lV). He became Prince of Wales and heir to the throne on the death of his elder brother, Prince Arthur, in 1502.

When did Henry become king?

He succeeded to the throne after his father's death on 21 April 1509. He was 17 years old when he became king.

Henry built fine palaces, and fought wars against France and Scotland.


Tall and thickset, with blue-grey eyes, short auburn hair and a beard.

Henry Vlll was handsome in his youth, but became bloated and fat (he had a 54-inch waist when he was 50).

He dressed lavishly, wearing a gold collar with a diamond as big as a walnut and many jewelled rings.


Henry Vlll brought religious upheaval to England. When he became king, most people belonged to the Catholic Church, which was headed by the Pope, in Rome. In 1534, Henry broke away from the Catholic Church and proclaimed himself head of the Church of England. The land and riches of the church became Henry's property and he sold off most of this land to dukes, barons and other noblemen.

Sport / Hobbies

Henry Vlll was a great athlete in his youth. Henry threw the javelin and enjoyed hunting, archery, jousting and tennis. He spoke French, Spanish, Latin and some Italian and was a good musician. Henry played the lute and harpsichord well and could sing from sight.


Henry Vlll lived at Hampton Court Palace in London.

Family Life

Henry Vlll wanted a son to rule after him. He first married his brother's widow, Catherine of Aragon but divorced her when she did not produce a male heir to the throne. He married three times more before a son was born. In total he married six times!

Find out about his Henry's six wives here

How many children did Henry VIII have?

Henry Vlll had three children - Mary (by Catherine of Aragon), Elizabeth (by Anne Boleyn) and Edward (by Jane Seymour). Each became a monarch - Edward Vl, Mary l (or Mary Tudor) and Elizabeth l in that order.

His son, Edward Vl ruled for six years after Henry's death, he became King at age 9 and died at age 15. Henry's daughter Mary ruled for the next five years, but also died without children. Finally, Henry's last surviving child, Elizabeth I became Queen, and ruled for 45 years.

Henry died in St James's Palace, Westminster, around 2 am on Friday 28 January 1547, aged 55 years. His funeral procession to Windsor was four miles long. He was buried at Windsor Castle beside his third wife, Jane Seymour.

  1. King Henry Vlll, Henry's son, successfully united England and Wales under one system of government. The two countries were joined in 1536.
  2. Henry Vlll wanted a male heir, but his wife had not given birth to a son. Henry wanted to divorce her and take a new wife. The Roman Catholic Church refused to grant the divorce. In order to gain his divorce, Henry had to establish the Church of England and end Catholicism.
    Henry passed a law in 1534 making himself head of the Church of England. This act allowed him to divorce his wife and led to the formation of the Protestant Church of England. The Protestant movement was known as the Reformation.
Interesting Fact
During Henry VIII's thirty-eight year reign, he had more than 70,000 people excuted. That works out as an average of just over five every day.

King Henry Vlll

King Henry VIII and the Tudors -
An interactive site. It's gruesome! There's some great gory pictures on the 'Wives' page so beware! Why did Henry have so many wives? Who was Mary Rose?

Henry's son, Edward became the next king.

Edward was the son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour.
He was never a healthy King and died aged only 15 years.




Five hundred years ago the world was a very different place. We were only just realizing that America existed and we had no idea about Australia. England (including the Principality of Wales) and Scotland were separate kingdoms, each with their own royal family.

When was the Tudor period?

The Tudor reign lasted from from 1485 to 1603.

Who were the Tudors?

The Tudors were a Welsh-English family that ruled England and Wales from 1485 to 1603 - one of the most exciting periods of British history.

How long did the Tudors rule?

They ruled for 118 years and during their reign encouraged new religious ideas, overseas exploration and colonisation.

Henry VII 1485 - 1509

Henry VIII 1509 - 1547

Edward VI 1547 - 1553

Jane Grey 1553 - 1553

Mary I 1553 - 1558

Elizabeth I 1558 - 1603

Tudor England had two of the strongest monarchs ever to sit on the English throne:Henry VIII and his daughter Elizabeth I.

The Tudors ruled England from 1485 to 1603.

The first Tudor king was Henry Vll. He became king after the battle of Bosworth field, which ended the War of the Roses. He was followed by his son, Henry Vlll, who was famous for marrying six times and beheading two of his wives! His son, Edward Vl ruled after him, followed by his daughters Mary l and Elizabeth l.

They are famous for many things, including the Henry VIII and his six wives, the exploration of America and the plays of William Shakespeare.

During the sixteenth century, England emerged from the medieval world. It was a time of great change, most notably it marked the end of the Catholic church in England. Great naval exploits began the great English seafaring tradition.

Life had many problems. Towns were becoming overcrowded, roads were muddy tracks and travelling was difficult. The overcrowding caused danger from fire and disease.

During 118 years of Tudor rule, England became richer than ever before. As the country became wealthier, towns grew, beautiful houses were built and schools and colleges were set up. Arts and crafts flourished too. England was home to great painters, writers and musicians.

Tonbridge during the Tudor Times


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