King Henry VIII
The Title of King Henry VIII
What was it like to be King Henry VIII? A magnificent Tudor monarch who had the power over the life and death of his subjects. His final title at the end of his reign was:
"Henry the Eighth, by the Grace of God, King of England, France and Ireland,
Defender of the Faith and of the Church of England and also of Ireland in Earth Supreme Head"
The Motto of King Henry VIII
The motto of King Henry VIII was Coeur Loyal meaning true heart and this was embroidered on his clothes in the form of a heart symbol accompanied by the word 'loyal'.
The Emblem of King Henry VIII
The emblem of King Henry VIII was the Tudor rose and the Beaufort portcullis. The red and white Tudor rose represented the combination of the House of York and the House of Lancaster. The Beaufort portcullis relates to his Tudor ancestors.
The Ancestors of King Henry VIII
The parents of Henry Tudor were Margaret Beaufort and Edmund Tudor. Edmund Tudor was the son of Owen Tudor and Catherine of Valois who was the former wife of King Henry V of England. Margaret Beaufort was a descendant of King Edward III through his son, John of Gaunt (1340 - 1399), and his third wife Katherine Swynford (1350 - 1403). The liaison between John of Gaunt and Katherine produced four illegitimate children who were given the name Beaufort. John of Gaunt eventually married Katherine Swynford in 1396 and their children, by this time adults, were legitimised. However, it was seen as an illegitimate line and therefore no descendents could have a claim on the English throne.
How secure was King Henry VIII on the throne of England?
Our view of King Henry VIII was all powerful but in his early years the security of the Tudor dynasty constantly worried his father Henry Tudor who had become King Henry VII. Henry Tudor was a member of the House of Lancaster. England had entered a period of Civil war called the War of the Roses between the two powerful noble factions of England called the House of York and the House of Lancaster. A final Lancastrian rebellion rose against the Yorkist King Richard III following the disappearance of the Princes in the Tower ( the two young sons of King Edward IV and the brothers of Elizabeth of York). Henry Tudor defeated the Yorkist leader King Richard III in the Battle of Bosworth Field and claimed the throne of England. The Tudor Dynasty was born, but it was was shaky claim based on an illegitimate line. King Henry VII cemented his claim by marrying Elizabeth of York, the Yorkist daughter of King Edward IV. But his reign was threatened by pretenders to the throne such as Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck who assumed the identity of Richard Duke of York (one of the Princes in the Tower).
Measures taken by King Henry VIII to secure the throne of England
With this as his background King Henry VIII was wary of powerful English nobles and during his reign added Imperial concepts of Kingship to existing Feudal concepts and substantially decreased the power of the nobles and increased the power of Parliament and the monarchy. English nobles were no longer allowed to build privately owned castles which were built as power bases and strongholds to threaten the monarchy. English castles in the time of King Henry VIII were built as magnificent and palatial residences of the wealthy, not as fortresses. To combat any possible threats of invasion and to the throne, from Europe, King Henry VIII created a great chain of coastal fortresses and increased the size of the English navy from just 5 ships at the beginning of his reign to about 60 ships.
Political Executions ordered by King Henry VIII to secure the throne of England
According to Raphael Holinshed (died c. 1580) the English chronicler, who compiled the work commonly known as Holinshed's Chronicles, the number of executions in his reign amounted to 72,000. Anyone who disobeyed the orders of King Henry VIII were executed for treason. These executions also included every living descendent from the Plantagenet line of English Kings. His ruthlessness even extended to Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury (1473-1541) who was the last direct descendant of the Plantagenet line - she was as descendent of King Edward III and 68 years old when she was cruelly executed on the block.
King Henry VIII and his marriages
King Henry VIII needed a male heir to feel secure and assure the continuance of the Tudor Dynasty. Katherine of Aragon only produced a daughter so she was replaced in favour of Anne Boleyn. King Henry VIII was unable to persuade the Pope to grant a divorce from Katherine of Aragon so he broke with the Roman Catholic church and changed the religion of England from the Roman Catholic faith to the Protestant religion, establishing the Church of England in 1534 and the Act of Supremacy. Any who opposed his will on the matter of religion was executed, even his close friend Sir Thomas More. He got his own way, divorced Katherine and married Anne Boleyn. Anne Boleyn only produced a daughter so she was executed on trumped up charges of adultery, witchcraft, incest and treason. Her replacement was Jane Seymour who at last produced the longed-for male heir. She died and King Henry VIII entered into a disastrous political marriage with Anne of Cleves which was quickly annulled. He then fell passionately in love with Catherine Howard - he was 49 and she was a young girl. Catherine Howard committed adultery and she was executed - she was just 18 years old. The last wife of King Henry VIII was Katherine Parr, who outlived the King.
King Henry VIII and his Reign
King Henry VIII used, and misused, his power as monarch to the fullest extent. He was fickle in the extreme in his affections for people. He had his wives and close friends executed without mercy. And yet this was the king whose motto was Coeur Loyal, meaning true heart which he illustrated on his clothes in the form of a heart symbol accompanied by the word 'loyal'...
King Henry VIII
Each section of this Tudors website addresses all topics and provides interesting facts and information about King Henry VIII. The Sitemap provides full details of all of the information and facts provided about the fascinating subject of the Tudors!