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Henry VIII King of England born 28 June 1491 died 28 January 1547 He was the second son and third child of his father Henry VII His elder brother Arthur died in April 1502 and consequently Henry became heir to the throne when he was not yet quite eleven years old It has been asserted that Henrys interest in theological questions was due to the bias of his early education since he had at first been destined by his father for the Church But a child of eleven can hardly have formed lifelong intellectual tastes and it is certain that secular titles such as those of Earl Marshal and Viceroy of Ireland were heaped upon him when he was five On the other hand there can be no question as to the boys great precocity and as to the liberal scope of the studies which he was made to pursue from his earliest years After Arthurs death a project was at once formed of marrying him to his brothers widow Catherine of Aragon who being born in December 1485 was more than five years his senior The negotiations for a papal dispensation took some little time and the Spanish Queen Isabella the mother of Catherine then nearing her end grew very impatient Hence a hastily drafted Brief containing the required dispensation was privately sent to
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