Essay about King Henry

Submitted By erowan48
Words: 2530
Pages: 11

KING HENRY VIII: A CATALYST FOR REFORMATION

Elwyn Rowan

History 3390

Dr. Cross

King Henry VII was a unique and storied ruler of England. Perhaps most known for his pattern of divorcing his wives or beheading ministers, King Henry VIII accomplished much in the name of England and the pursuit of power. He was a remarkable politician, one that was able to work within the confines of the constitution or willing to change the confines of the law to achieve his own personal goals. He was also a strong minded and intelligent king that set up a strong government in England. King Henry VIII ruled with absolute power and was not scared to remove anyone who stood in the way of what he wanted to accomplish. In many ways, he embodied the true characteristics of Machiavelli’s Prince. His conscious was subject to his desire and his moral principles were practically nonexistent but he was able to get what he wanted. King Henry VIII many marriages are often examined with a morally critical eye. But looking deeper into the effect the king’s personal life had on the history England, one can discover that Henry VIII moral deficiencies were based on a combination of physical desires and political desires. And though his marriages were filled with death and despair, the relationships King Henry had would spark one of the most important changes in English history. Without the burden of morals, King Henry VIII was able to quickly implement systems that not only allowed him to realize his self-interests but also made it possible for the English Reformation to occur. By examining the love life and marriages of King Henry VIII, one can come to better understand how his relationships were the catalyst for many forms of legislation and the English Reformation.
King Henry VIII, king of England and Ireland, was born the third child and second son to Henry VII and Elizabeth of York on June, 28th 1491 in Greenwich Palace, England. His reign lasted from April 21, 1509 until his death on January 28th, 1547. Little is known about the formative years of Henry VIII life because he was not assumed to become king and therefore very few records were kept. What is known is that from an early age he was taught by the best teachers available and eventually became fluent in Latin and French as well as Spanish and Ancient Greek. Henry’s ability to speak different languages would serve him well in his personal life and political life down the road. Henry would also become well-versed in religious theology; he was raised a Catholic but was known to entertain beliefs that fell in line with more Protestant point-of-views. His spiritual education would give him the confidence to develop policies concerning the religious practice of marriage that would serve his own personal and political needs.
One of the most notable events of Henry VIII life was his proposed marriage to Catherine, the widow of Henry VIII’s oldest brother Arthur. The marriage would be the beginning of a long journey for both Henry and England as the soon-to-be king sought to find a woman that would give him a son and fulfill the roles of queen in the manner he saw fit. Henry’s betrothal to Catherine would also begin to set in motion the events which would eventually lead to England’s confrontation with Rome, the Pope, and Roman Catholicism. The issue provided a controversial spark; marrying the widow of one’s brother is prohibited in the Bible and thus the marriage could be seen to be illegitimate, which could harm Henry VIII once he became king. As a result, permission from the Pope was asked and received. The permission from the Pope on bypassing religious precedents in marriage would prove later on to be an event which set the stage in which Henry’s battle over papal authority would take place.
The marriage of Henry VIII and Catherine was not harmonious to say the least. Though Catherine did bear Henry VIII a daughter, Mary, she had trouble in many of her pregnancies and could produce the male heir…