King Henry VII

Life in the UK Test Guide book has an examinable topic about King Henry VII, his six wives, and the establishment of the Church of England as well. But there are some interesting stories about this very popular king which are below and remember this is not for the test but to give you some more information. Henry was the third child and second son of Henry VII who we know was the winner of the War of the Roses.

We also know that Henry VII was very thrift and was centralizing the power enjoyed by the Lords and Dukes. In order to do so effectively, he was appointing his very young children to key positions and in that way, kept the extended family members and influence people away from power. Thus Henry was, at the age of two, appointed Constable of Dover Castle and Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports.

He was subsequently appointed Earl Marshal of England and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland at age three and was made a Knight of the Bath soon after. The day after the ceremony he was created Duke of York and a month or so later made Warden of the Scottish Marches.

In May 1495, he was appointed to the Order of the Garter. He was not expected to become a King as, his older brother Arthur, who was the Prince of Wales, was obviously in line to the throne. Young Henry was given the best education by the tutors on the arrangement of his father. Henry also played a considerable part in the wedding ceremonies of his older brother’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon.

Just 20 weeks after his marriage to Catherine, Prince Arthur dies of a sudden illness in 1502. As a result, the 10-year-old boy was now in line to the throne and he was subjected to new restrictions and additional duties that fell on him. Henry became the new Duke of Cornwall in October 1502, and the new Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester in February 1503.

At the time Spain was a naval superpower and Christopher Columbus has just discovered the new world and colonization there from Spain was gaining momentum. So, King Henry VII wanted to seal a marital alliance between England and Spain, instead of sending the young widow Catherine back to her parents, he was offering his second son in marriage to Arthur’s widow Catherine.

The King and Queen of Spain were keen on that idea too. But 14 years old Henry was reluctant to that idea possibly because she was a few years older than him. Nonetheless, Catherine stayed in England.3 years later, when he was 17, his father Henry VII died. Just before the coronation, Henry announced he would marry her, saying it was his dead father’s last wish.

Thus, his first marriage was with his former sister-in-law. We now know the rest of the story from the Life in the UK Test Guide.

Few more things about King Henry VIII

• Henry was considered an attractive, educated, and accomplished king and so he was enjoying his life luxuriously. He had many mistresses and hunting was his favorite hobby.

• In spending, he was right opposite to his father, as an extravagant spender he led England many times to financial ruins. He fought many unnecessary and unwinnable wars.

• Henry is also known as “the father of the Royal Navy,” as he invested heavily in the navy, increasing its size from a few to more than 50 ships, and established the Navy Board.

• If British Empire was built on the naval power of Britain, it was Henry VIII, who built it up.

• He has been described as “one of the most charismatic rulers to sit on the English throne” and his reign has been described as the “most important” in English history.

• Henry was an author and a composer. Henry VIII wrote a theological book, ‘The Defence of the Seven Sacraments’ (in Latin, Assertio Septem Sacramentorum) was published in 1521 and gained Henry the title Defender of the Faith from a grateful Pope.

• In later life, he became very obese with 54 inches waistline and as a result become inactive and that brought him a lot of other illnesses and early death at 55 years.• He was succeeded by his son Edward VI.