A Brief History of Henry VIII, Derek Wilson, 2009
Basically, the story of King Henry VIII’s life is this: He was born in 1491 of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. The king grew up in the palace of Greenwich in his brother’s shadow. However, when his brother died he had everyone’s full and undivided attention. His father and grandmother took control in his life and were responsible for his upbringing. After his father’s death his grandmother was the primary influence in young Henry’s life. She introduced him to some of the characters who played a big role during his reign.
He had several cardinals who basically did all the things he was supposed to do for him. They also did whatever Henry wanted them to do. For example, Thomas Wolsey, Henry’s first cardinal had to find a way to null his marriage with Catherine of Aragon because he wasn’t attracted to her anymore so that he could marry Anne Boleyn. They were rewarded on their accomplishments and punished for their failures (however this is nothing special because Henry treated most everyone that way). When they failed him, they fell from favor with him and Henry just walked away.
Henry grew up and married six women: Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Kathryn Howard, and Catherine Parr, most of whom were killed (mostly for silence about his failures in bed) and only one was picked ‘without any outside influence or maneuvering (Wilson 319)’. Henry had four legitimate children and one illegitimate. His illegitimate child died and the others grew up to be the kings and queens of England.
Henry spent a lot of money and time on war which put the country heavily in debt. He went to war several times and only a few times succeeded in battle. It was soon after his reign began that he found out some hard lessons about peace and war. He went to war with people who he signed peace treaties and vice versa. He went to war with Scotland and put them away. His wars with France and Spain, however, didn’t meet the same fate. He lost and basically won scattered battles but not the wars.
His religious career was very shaky and unreliable. He changed his mind all the time about what he believed in and usually just some things but not all of a religion. Toward the middle of his reign, Henry pretty much took over the church so his belief was always forced on the people of England. Also, one of the primary objectives of his reign was to be recognized globally for his faith to God.
Henry as a person was very flashy and had a great love for theatricality. He went to great lengths to be the center of attention. Henry was also a very proud man and was easily insulted and went to war over such insults. He was angered very