Reason why King Henry the 8th beheaded his wives
A queen was responsible for birthing an heir to the throne. There could be no question of paternity of the child which an adulterous affair would raise. The child must be the king's. So, it was treason for a queen to have an affair. A wife who committed adultery in these days could be executed queen or no queen. The husband could petition the king to have her burnt at the stake.
When Cardinal Wolsey failed to get Henry's divorce, Wolsey fell from grace, Cranmer rose to power because Cranmer found the way to obtain the divorce.
Executed Anne Boleyn, falsely accused of adultery, incest (with Brother George) and treason, to marry Jane Seymour. The real reason Henry wanted rid of Anne Boleyn was because she did not give him a son. (Some accounts say she was guilty of incest with brother George but this is speculation stating that she was ambitious and would do anything to keep her crown)
Katherine Howard was nicknamed by Henry, a rose without a thorn. Katherine was a cousin of Anne Boleyn. She had an affair with Thomas Culpepper. Both were executed for treason.
List of Henry 8th wives
Henry the 8th Facts
Henry's Succession to the Throne
Henry's Need for an Heir
Henry needed a male heir to succeed him because it was thought that a woman ruler would bring civil war. Women weren't given equality in these days. Most people thought a woman ruler could not maintain order. Women were seen as frail, week and temptresses. Women were ruled by their husbands. See Medieval women for more information on society's thoughts on women of these times.
The King's Great Matter - Divorce of Catherine of Aragon
Church and the English Reformation: Dissolution of the Monasteries
Divorce from Catherine was not really behind the English reformation. He could not change an entire nation on his whim. The English thought very little of the clergy. The English lost respect for the clergy because of the corruption of the church. Nuns and monks were locked up in monasteries together and were subject to accusations of moral debauchery.
The Nations wealth was concentrated in the Church, which held over 1/4 of the land of England and collected 1/8 of the nations income. These lands were coveted.
The clergy and the church were exempt from taxes and were not subject to secular law. Some of the clergy was guilty of murder yet they could not be tried in secular courts therefore many went unpunished.
The English diocese was too large to control. There was no discipline. Some clergy did not even know the scripture.
There was 1 clergyman for every 50 people.
The clergy collected 1/10th of the people income for tithes. The church kept records on everyone and knew exactly how many were in a household as well as the income. They collected on wills and mortuary dues. People had to pay before their dead could be put in consecrated ground. The people were tired of being bullied by priests even in the North, which was predominately Catholic. All thought the church was corrupted and welcomed reform.
Every act has it consequences. When the monasteries were dissolved there were many poor people, monks and nuns who were suddenly displaced. Before the monasteries did charity work and helped beggars now there was no place for the poor to go to. So, the dissolution of the monasteries resulted in more begging in Tudor England.
The Statute of Premuneire recognized Henry as the head of the English church. The king of England had no superior within the realm allowing Henry to dissolve the monasteries and confiscate their lands. This made Henry the richest Monarch in Europe. These lands were sold to the nobles when Henry needed money. Henry remained a Catholic however anti Papal.
Henry had an ulcer on his leg that oozed and caused him considerable pain. The ulcer repeatedly flared up throughout his adult life.
Henry feared sickness but with good reason. Sickness usually meant death in these days. Tudor medicine was not very good. There was no cure for the Plague or the sweating sickness in those days. When contagious diseases hit London, Henry fled to the countryside and did not return until it cleared up.
Henry VIII Children
Death of Henry VIII
Henry was stricken by fever on January 1, 1547. Rumors began circulating that he was dead on January 8th. He recovered some what, but on January 19th he relapsed. On January 28th, Archbishop Cranmer was sent for. He died shortly after Cranmer arrived at around 2:00am. It is thought that Henry died from pulmonary embolism but there is no certainty of this because it was treason to predict or speculate on a death of a king.
Before Henry died, he wrote King Francis of France who was dying of Syphilis.
Bequeathed the crown first to Edward, then Mary, Elizabeth and finally to the offspring of his sister Mary and Charles Brandon, the duke of Suffolk. The children of Henry’s sister, Margaret and James IV of Scotland were not included in the line of succession.
The Grave of Henry VIII is beside his favorite wife, in St George's Chapel Windsor Castle. Jane was his favorite because she gave him a son, Edward VI and died soon after.
Common Questions and Answers
Question: after Henry viii died who ruled? Answer: Edward his son was named King, Hertford was name Lord Protector
Question: why wasn't prince Edward Henry viii son made king? Answer: He wasn't old enough at the time of Henry's death.
Question: what time did Henry the 8th kill his first wife? Answer: Anne Boleyn was executed on Friday May 19th, 1536 at 9:00am.
Question: which of Henry viii's wives gave birth to Elizabeth i? Answer: Anne Boleyn
Question: How many kids did Henry the 8th have? Answer: 3 live legitimate children, 1 live illegitimate child he recognized as his own. Mary Boleyn, Anne's sister had two children, boy and girl who are thought to have been his although he never recognized them. Catharine of Aragon had several children who died after childbirth, one boy she had died at the age of one year old.
Question: Did King Henry the 8th separate the church from the state? Answer: No, he was the state and became the head of the English church. He separated England from the Catholic church, Pope and Rome.
see also Medieval Castles in England
for explanations of terms see Tudor England Terms and information
Weir, Alison, The Six Wives of Henry VIII, Grove Press (April 2000)
Weir, Alison, Henry VIII: The King and His Court Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (October 29, 2002)