Saturday, June 2, 2007

Today in history

Henry VIII, King of England, was born on June 2, 1491.

King Henry VIII is probably the most famous, or infamous , King that England has ever had. Henry had never expected to become King of England as his older brother, Arthur, was due to become King until his early death. King Henry VIII was only 17 when he was crowned, but he became incredibly popular. One of his first acts was to reduce the level of taxation that his father had imposed on his subjects. He also had the organizers of the tax regime executed. These measures ensured that the English and Welsh people liked the new King. They also warmed to him as he was an energetic fun-loving King. His government was run largely by Ministers on his behalf. Henry, in the early years of his Kingship at least, did not like government. Henry VIII married Catherine of Aragon, his deceased brother's widow. This marriage made sure that the strong links with Spain were retained. Problems for Henry began when it became clear to him that his wife, Catherine of Aragon, was not going to produce a male heir to the throne. Catherine had given birth to several children but only one of them, Mary, lived beyond infancy. Henry was very anxious to have a son. Without one the Tudor dynasty would end almost as quickly as it had begun. Henry thought long and hard about what to do about this problem, and at the same time he started to fall in love with a young courtier called Anne Boleyn. Henry decided to remarry, an act that turned the religious world upside down and ended all links with Rome, from where the Roman Catholic Church was controlled. The impact of these changes and the way in which it affected life in Britain were both huge. Henry married six times in all and did have a son who could inherit his throne.

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