Henry VIII was King of England for 38 years from 1509 till 1547. Henry the VIII was the youngest son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. His parents spoiled him as a child because he was just a prince; his brother was the one who was the heir to the throne. That changed when Arthur died as a teenager, Henry was pushed into the role of his brother, and he had to marry his brothers widow, Catherine of Aragon. When his father died his was crowned king of England. There has been a lot of discussion on whether or not he was a good king, and I am going to try and make a conclusion.
Henry The VIII: Good OR Bad King?
Henry The VIII: Good OR Bad King?
When Henry VIII became King of England, he was a Catholic and had no problems with the rules of the church. However he was a man lustful for power and wanted this power to last so of course he would need a son, which his wife couldn’t give him at the time. Also influencing him was the fact that the churches in Europe were divided into Protestant and Catholic, Protestant by Martin Luther and Catholic by the pope.
His main reason for wanting to break away from the Catholic Church was to give power to his family, in which he needed a son but he couldn’t have a son with Catherine, his wife. So he wanted a divorce so he could marry someone else and divorcing at this time was against the Catholic law, and only the Pope can allow you to divorce. So Henry VIII got people to ask the Pope but was turned down and was told that he was not allowed to divorce his first wife Catherine.
This got Henry very annoyed because he was King of England and didn’t like being told what to do by other people. He also had a very bad temper and quickly got annoyed that the Pope was trying to overrule him. Henry VIII was also very annoyed at Wolsey his adviser at the time for not being able to get him a divorce so he fired him and had him beheaded. He still didn’t have his divorce and also a new person had come to his attention, which was Anne Boleyn who also Henry found attractive and wanted to marry her. So the only way he could do this was for him to make the laws of the church rather than the Pope, he therefore took over the Church of England.
In his new church divorce was allowed so he divorced Catherine and secretly married Anne Boleyn, so he was smart and was a Protestant now and was using the rules to do as he pleased. He really wanted this change in the law of the church for power and money. I don‘t think that he really cared for the religious point of view since he was a Catholic earlier on in life. He would get his power from having a son and heir who would carry on the royal line in his name and he hoped to have a son with a future wife, possibly Anne, as Catherine had not been able to produce an heir for him. In addition he was also pleased at Rome not having any hold on him and being told constantly what to do by the Pope. He closed down all the monasteries and nunneries in England. He took all of their possessions and sold all of it to the rich. He got a lot of money from this and it proved his power and authority to many, showing that he was a powerful person causing all this destruction to monasteries.
This showed that his word was law and he had more power than any one else, and if anyone disagreed they were killed awfully. The most important factor, which made Henry VIII break away from the church I think, wasn’t religion, because in the early years of his reign he was a Catholic and supported the church. It was mainly to do with his wish to have a son since that led to him wanting a divorce, which he couldn’t do as a Catholic. Although wanting to have a son seemed to be his main reason for starting his own church, his love for Anne Boleyn and the desire to become all powerful were also important. Because he wanted a son, all other things, such as his wish for a divorce and realizing that he could make more money from the sale of church property, all helped convince him he had made the right decision to split from the Pope and form his own church.
Henry’s love life is the most interesting thing about him. He had many wives who reigned in the following order: Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard and the only one to outlive him – Catherine Parr. He was trying to have a son and heir for his country his many wives were a necessity and therefore this can be seen as being a good trait as he was being concerned for the country after his death. He thought women were not fit to rule the country and therefore wanted to leave it safely with a male heir. On the other hand he could be criticized for being a bad King because it seems very corrupt to have lots of wives and chop their heads off or divorce them if they can’t produce a son for him.
Henry executed many people that committed crimes; two of his most famous executions were to his wives Anne Boleyn (Henry’s 2nd wife) and Kathryn Howard (Henry’s 5th wife). Anne Boleyn always had deep hopes on becoming the wife of King Henry. She would let nothing stand in her way. As we all have learned, greed will eventually lead to one’s downfall and Anne Boleyn was no exception. She was sentenced to death for committing adultery and for treason against her country, and was then beheaded for her actions. Catherine Howard was executed for sleeping with other men and not being faithful to Henry. This can been seen as a good thing because it showed he was a strong king but on the other hand its absolutely sickening!
In the movie “Man of All Seasons” Henry the VIII wears a lot of jewelry, has a black velvet hat, a gold silk coat and wears the royal seal this shows that he is powerful and rich. His personality in the movie is quite stuck up and showed that he had a bad temper. I could see that he knew how to control his servants, he looked very intimidating and dressed to show power.
My conclusion is that Henry was a good and a bad king, the good things about Henry is that he knew how to solve his problems and he was very successful in controlling the country and during his rein there was not one country who tried to attack England, but he also was not a good king. He was not very religious and was much more interested in having a son. He married 6 women and there is even a rhyme to tell us what happened to them “ Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived “. He went through a lot to make sure he had a son to take over the throne when he died, and so that the Tudor name would rule England for many years. This means Henry really thought that all he did and all his decisions were for his country but I think sometimes he was only thinking about himself.
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