21.04.

1509: How did the famous Henry VIII become the English king?

1509: How did the famous Henry VIII become the English king?
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons / The meeting of Francis I and Henry VIII at the Field of the Cloth of Gold

Story Highlights

  • Historical event
  • 21 April 1509
  • Many people today do not know that at first it was not really expected for Henry to become king. In fact, he had an older brother, Arthur, who was the heir to the throne, and the Prince of Wales.

On this day one of the most famous and most controversial kings of England – Henry VIII from the Tudor dynasty – came to the throne. 

He is quite popular in the world today due to the many British film adaptations of his life and era. He is best known for his six wives, who mostly ended tragically, and for separating the Anglican Church from the Catholic Church.

Henry VIII was only 17 years old at the time of his ascent to the throne. His father (King Henry VII) was frugal, and left his son a considerable fortune. It is estimated that this wealth amounted to 1,250,000 pounds, which for that time was a large amount (375 million pounds by today’s standards).

However, Henry VIII was wasteful and spent most of it on the palace and the royal household. For example, he hung 2,000 tapestries in his palaces, and had a collection of about 6,500 handguns.

Many people today do not know that it was not at first expected that Henry would become king. In fact, he had an older brother, Arthur, who was the heir to the throne, and the Prince of Wales.

However, this brother died before their father, so Henry suddenly became heir to the throne and the new Prince of Wales. Some believe that he was quite unprepared for the role of the King.

One of the first things that Henry VIII did when he became king was to marry. Specifically, he married the widow of his prematurely deceased older brother – the aforementioned Arthur. She was about five-and-a-half years older than Henry, and her name was Catherine of Aragon.

Later, the annulment of his marriage with her will become a source of conflict with the pope. Specifically, there was a problem over whether Catherine ever consumed the marriage with Henry’s brother. She argued that she did not, but Henry still wanted to annul the marriage with her so that he could marry Anne Boleyn.

 

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