Definition of Henry VIII from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


Henry VIII

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(1491-1547) king of England (1509-47) and son of Henry VII. He is one of the most famous of all English kings, partly because he had six wives.For political reasons, he married Catherine of Aragon, the wife of his dead brother Arthur, just after he became king. They had a daughter, later Mary I, but because they did not have a son who could be the future king, Henry decided to divorce her. The Pope refused to give the necessary permission for this, so Henry removed England from the Catholic Church led by the Pope and made himself head of the Church in England. This act, together with others such as the Dissolution of the Monasteries, was the beginning of the establishment of Protestantism in England.Henry divorced Catherine of Aragon and married Anne Boleyn in 1533. They had a daughter, later Elizabeth I, but Henry had Anne executed for adultery (= having a sexual relationship with a man who was not her husband). His third wife was Jane Seymour, who died giving birth to a son (later Edward VI). Henry married his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, for political reasons, but soon divorced her and in 1540 he married Catherine Howard. She too was executed for adultery. Henry's sixth and last wife was Catherine Parr, who survived him.As a young man Henry was known for his love of hunting, sport and music, but he did not rule well and the country was in a weak and uncertain state when he died. see also Thomas Cromwell , Greensleeves , Thomas More , Cardinal Wolsey