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Henry the Eighth

A notorious King of England, who is often remembered by the song that bears his name, and his marrying six wives.

Henry's childhood was spent in protection by his father. After his older brother, Arthur died, he became the next in line for the throne. His father's protectiveness of him increased. Henry's chambers were only accessible through his father's rooms.

When his father died, Henry married, upon his father's dieing wish, his sister-in-law, Princess Catherine of Aragon, daughter of Queen Isabel and King Ferdinad of Spain. She had been his brother Arthur's wife, and had had trouble marrying Henry during his father's lifetime, due to her families' quarrels. They were happy together, and loved one another dearly. Though they had many children together, most still born, only one survived to rule, Mary.

But as he and his wife grew older, Henry grew tired of his older wife, and took to mistresses. His last mistress, Ann Bolyen, convinced him to marry her because she was carrying his son. He immediately tried to divorce Catherine. Since France at the time was at war with the Holy Roman Empire, trying to seize Milan and the rest of Italy, the Pope said it was alright to hold a trial for divorce in England, instead of Rome, since the Pope needed Henry's allegiance against France. The trial proceeded, but Catherine refused to acknowledge the court, and refused to come to the hearings, believing Henry still loved her. Little did she know the secret marriage between him and Ann. When France was defeated, the trial was not over, and the Pope wanted to bring it to Rome, and was urged to do so by Catherine's nephew, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles. Henry defied the Pope, and declared him a heratic, claiming that the Pope had nothing to excommunicate him from since he was already head of the Church of England. Henry left Catherine, and the country was split in two! Half of the court, and all of the common folk supported and loved Catherine, while the other half of the court supported Henry. Catherine could have sent the country into civil war, but she would not do England any harm. Henry restricted her to her household, to which she remained in until she died.

While his wife was still alive, Henry's life with Ann was not so good. The boy Ann had promised turned out to be a girl, Elizabeth! And the two spent hours quarreling, but he would not divorce Ann during Catherine's lifetime because he then would still be married to Catherine. But after two children, Elizabeth and a still born son, Catherine was gone, and the only thing that kept Ann alive was the promise of an heir to Henry. She was forced into labor due to her fear, and produced a boy, a still born boy. Immediately, the rumors of adultery that had been spreading throughout the Kingdom, came to the King's ear, although untrue, they killed Ann. She was convicted of adultery with a musician Mark Smeaten, a nobleman Fredrick Norris, and her own brother Lord Rochford (his wife, Lady Rochford, a lady in waiting to Ann, helped bring the rumors to the King's ears through Cromwell, a politician). She was also convicted of planning to kill the King with her brother and Norris. None of these convictions were actually true, but still she was beheaded in the Tower, where her ghost is happy to reside.

Henry took no delay in finding a new wife, which he had been preparing since Ann's third pregnancy. Upon her death he married Jane Seymor, a distant relation of his through her mother, who was related to Edward the III. He found true happiness with the quiet, pale, modest, humble, former servant of Catherine. She convinced him to bring back his daughter Mary to the English Court, and was in constant opposition to the putting down of the Monasteries. The Monasteries of the time were under investigation of the council, and several uprisings occured due to this. After one uprising a rare argument occurred between Henry and Jane, in which Henry told her why the monasteries were being put down. There was more pieces of the true cross in England than would make one whole one, the blood of Christ from a Monastery was actually a blood of a duck, coining and forging rings were found in Monasteries, as well as other fraudulent relics. Jane gave birth to a baby boy, Edward, who lived, but she died a week after child birth. This upset Henry deeply, and he vowed never to marry again, something Cromwell talked him out of in two years time, due to the fact the young prince was sickly and weak.

Henry remained single for two years, until Cromwell talked him into marrying a Lutheran German Princess. At the time France and The Holy Roman Empire were in an alliance with one another, so England had to ally itself with Germany. He married the Duke of Cleves' sister, Anna. In Cleves she had had a simple life, very few servants if any at all, lack of knowledge of Music, Dancing, and Fashion. Instead her father had made her study politics, and some needle point (sewing & embroidery). Her father had been convinced a woman could be as powerful as a man as long she was taught very carefully. So when she went to England, where all the woman wore court dress all the time, rarely sewed for themselves, played music, and danced at balls. She wore more simple dresses than her ladies in waiting did! But it was her knowledge of politics that saved her. Germany at the time was a small league of Princes who were Protestant, and the main member of their league was in turmoil after committing bigamy, and so the league was in danger of breaking apart. And since England did not want to be tied to it, she offered a divorce to him, without any complications, and he gladly accepted.

Then the Duke of Norfolk, in attempt to return the England of his forefathers, offered the King his neice, Catherine Howard, a lady in waiting of Anna of Cleves, as his next wife. Henry accepted the young seventeen year old girl happily. But the cousin of Ann Bolyen turned out to have committed Adultery, both before and during her Queenship. She confessed, and was killed like Ann.

Henry's last wife was more of a nurse maid to him than anything, Catherine Parr was a woman who had married twice before to older gentleman, and had been widowed both times without any children. She and Thomas Seymor, brother to Jane Seymor, had loved one another at the time, but she still married the King. Her affection for the King eventually became love, and she supported his action when he and the Emperor invaded France, Henry only taking the town of Bolounge. During this time, the Archbishop of Windsor had been examining both commoners and courtiers alike, and burning those whom he found heretical, he went so far as to accuse Catherine, but she was never arrested. Henry became deathly ill, and was on his death bed for days. The Archbishop of Windsor tried to set Edward aside and convince the King to put Mary on the throne, but the King told Mary to look after her brother as a mother to him, and to honor him as King. Thomas Seymor had urged Catherine to push for Edward, and apparently she did. When Henry died his last word was "MONKS!", and he left England far better than when he had inherited it.

When Henry had taken the throne England had been a bankrupt little country, obsolved in it's own affairs, but when he died, England was now part of the Great Three of Europe, with many nations fearing the power of England, and the decisions of the King of England. He also had separated the English Church, and started a revolution that would eventually end up with Episcopalian or Anglican beliefs. However, Edward, who was ruled by his Uncles, which he later had beheaded before dieing, continued the conversion toward Protesantism, and was not a very strong ruler. He passed the throne to Lady Jane Grey, a cousin, who lasted thirteen days before the public revolted and demanded Mary put on the throne. Mary immediately married The Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain, King Phillip, and killed Jane. Her rule became known as "Bloody Mary" as she brought back the Catholic faith to England. She almost killed her sister, Elizabeth, in fear of Elizabeth trying to gain power. But in the end the only ruler who continued Henry's work was Elizabeth, the child he had ignored the most. She brought to England the Renaissance, and her rule was known as The Golden Age. Now that's all to remind us of Henry is the song: I'm Henry the eighth I am...

I'm Henry the eighth I am Author/Composer: Unknown

I'm Henry the eighth I am I am! I got married to the widow next door, She was married seven times before! And everyone said Henry! Henry! I'm Henry the eighth I am I am!

Second verse... same as the first, a little bit louder and a little bit worse