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Henry VIII born 1491 ruled 1509-1547 The second son of Henry VIIand Elizabeth of York was one of Englands strongest and least popularmonarchs He was born at Greenwich on June 28 1491 The first Englishruler to be educated under the influence of the Renaissance he was agifted scholar linguist composer and musician As a youth he was gay andhandsome skilled in all manner of athletic games but in later life hebecame coarse and fat When his elder brother Arthur died 1502 hebecame heir apparent He succeeded his father on the throne in 1509 andsoon thereafter he married Arthurs young widow Catherine of AragonDuring the first 20 years of his reign he left the shaping of policieslargely in the hands of his great counselor Cardinal Wolsey See WolseyCardinal By 1527 Henry had made up his mind to get rid of his wife Theonly one of Catherines six children who survived infancy was a sicklygirl the Princess Mary and it was doubtful whether a woman could succeedto the English throne Then too Henry had fallen in love with a lady ofthe court Anne BoleynWhen the pope Clement VII would not annul his marriage Henry turnedagainst Wolsey deprived him of his office of chancellor and had himarrested on a charge of treason He then obtained a divorce through ThomasCranmer whom he had made archbishop of Canterbury and it was soonannounced that he had married Anne BoleynThe pope was thus defied All ties that bound the English church toRome were broken Appeals to the popes court were forbidden all paymentsto Rome were stopped and the popes authority in England was abolished In1534 the Act of Supremacy declared Henry himself to be Supreme Head of theChurch of England and anyone who denied this title was guilty of an act oftreason Some changes were also made in the church services the Bible wastranslated into English and printed copies were placed in the churchesThe monasteries throughout England were dissolved and their vast
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