Tudors & Stuarts

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KING HENRY VIII

(Reigned 1509-1547)



Anne Boleyn bore the King no more living children. Believing she would never provide him with a son, Henry had her executed for adultery in the May of 1536. Anne was even accused of having an affair with her brother, George Boleyn. Within days of her death, Henry married Jane Seymour. To Henry's joy, she gave birth to his much longer for son, Edward, the following year, but to his grief, she died a few days later. Henry married three more times, but only his last marriage to Katherine Parr was a success. His fourth marriage to Anne of Cleves ended before it had begun as the King did not find her attractive, and his fifth wife, Katherine Howard, was executed for adultery.



Thomas Cromwell

Thomas Cromwell
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Henry showed no more compassion to his long-serving ministers than he did his wives. Thomas Wolsey (c.1475-1530), the King's chief minister for several years, died facing accusations of treason, and Thomas More (1478-1535), once one of the King's closest friends, was executed for refusing to accept the religious changes in the land. Thomas Cromwell (1485-1540) was executed for arranging the King's disastrous union with Anne of Cleves.

While Henry was a popular monarch with the people, the break with Rome caused immense upheaval in the land. All monasteries and convents were closed, meaning that monks and nuns who had lived in confinement for years were suddenly forced into society, and many lands belonging to these religious houses were granted to the aristocracy. The break with Rome, known as the Reformation, changed the country forever, and while many families prospered from it, others were destroyed. The Reformation also left Henry's children, Edward, Mary and Elizabeth, with an England deeply divided over religion.

Henry died in the January of 1547 and was succeeded by his young son, Edward.



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