Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 1509 until his death in 1547. Henry was the second Tudor monarch, succeeding his father, Henry VII. Henry is best known for his six marriages, in particular his efforts to have his first marriage, to Catherine of Aragon, annulled, his disagreement with the Pope on the question of such an annulment led Henry to initiate the English Reformation, separating the Church of England from papal authority. He appointed himself the Supreme Head of the Church of England and dissolved convents and monasteries, for which he was excommunicated. Henry is known as "the father of the Royal Navy". Domestically, Henry is known for his radical changes to the English Constitution, ushering into England the theory of the divine right of kings. Besides asserting the sovereign's supremacy over the Church of England, he expanded royal power during his reign. Charges of treason and heresy were used to quell dissent, those accused were executed without a formal trial, by means of bills of attainder.
He achieved many of his political aims through the work of his chief ministers, some of whom were banished or executed when they fell out of his favour. Thomas Wolsey, Thomas More, Thomas Cromwell, Richard Rich, Thomas Cranmer all figured prominently in Henry's administration, he was an extravagant spender and used the proceeds from the Dissolution of the Monasteries and acts of the Reformation Parliament to convert into royal revenue the money, paid to Rome. Despite the influx of money from these sources, Henry was continually on the verge of financial ruin due to his personal extravagance as well as his numerous costly and unsuccessful continental wars with King Francis I of France and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. At home, he oversaw the legal union of England and Wales with the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542 and following the Crown of Ireland Act 1542 he was the first English monarch to rule as King of Ireland, his contemporaries considered Henry in his prime to be an attractive and accomplished king.
He has been described as "one of the most charismatic rulers to sit on the English throne". He was an composer; as he aged, Henry became obese and his health suffered, contributing to his death in 1547. He is characterised in his life as a lustful, egotistical and insecure king, he was succeeded by the issue of his third marriage to Jane Seymour. Born 28 June 1491 at the Palace of Placentia in Greenwich, Henry Tudor was the third child and second son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. Of the young Henry's six siblings, only three – Arthur, Prince of Wales, he was baptised by Richard Fox, the Bishop of Exeter, at a church of the Observant Franciscans close to the palace. In 1493, at the age of two, Henry was appointed Constable of Dover Castle and Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, he was subsequently appointed Earl Marshal of England and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland at age three, was inducted into the Order of the Bath soon after. The day after the ceremony he was created Duke of York and a month or so made Warden of the Scottish Marches.
In May 1495, he was appointed to the Order of the Garter. The reason for all the appointments to a small child was so his father could keep personal control of lucrative positions and not share them with established families. Henry was given a first-rate education from leading tutors, becoming fluent in Latin and French, learning at least some Italian. Not much is known about his early life – save for his appointments – because he was not expected to become king. In November 1501, Henry played a considerable part in the ceremonies surrounding his brother's marriage to Catherine of Aragon, the youngest surviving child of King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile; as Duke of York, Henry used the arms of his father as king, differenced by a label of three points ermine. He was further honoured, on 9 February 1506, by Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I who made him a Knight of the Golden Fleece. In 1502, Arthur died at the age of 15 of sweating sickness, just 20 weeks after his marriage to Catherine.
Arthur's death thrust all his duties upon the 10-year-old Henry. After a little debate, Henry became the new Duke of Cornwall in October 1502, the new Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester in February 1503. Henry VII gave the boy few tasks. Young Henry was supervised and did not appear in public; as a result, he ascended the throne "untrained in the exacting art of kingship". Henry VII renewed his efforts to seal a marital alliance between England and Spain, by offering his second son in marriage to Arthur's widow Catherine. Both Isabella and Henry VII were keen on the idea, which had arisen shortly after Arthur's death. On 23 June 1503, a treaty was signed for their marriage, they were betrothed two days later. A papal dispensation was only needed for the "impediment of public honesty" if the marriage had not been consummated as Catherine and her duenna claimed, but Henry VII and the Spanish ambassador set out instead to obtain a dispensation for "affinity", which took account of the possibility of consummation.
Cohabitation was not possible. Isabella's death in 1504, the ensuing problems of succession in Castile, complicated matters, her father preferred her to stay in England, but Henry VII's relations with Ferdinand had deteriorated. Catherine was therefore left in limbo for some time, culminating in Prince Henry's rejection of the marriage as soon he was able, at the age of 14. Ferdinand's solution was to make his daugh
Simon de Montfort, 5th Earl of Leicester
Simon IV de Montfort known as Simon de Montfort the Elder, was a French nobleman and soldier who took part in the Fourth Crusade and was a prominent leader of the Albigensian Crusade. He died at the Siege of Toulouse in 1218, he was lord of the 5th Earl of Leicester in England. He was the son of Simon IV de Montfort, lord of Montfort l'Amaury in France near Paris, Amicia de Beaumont, daughter of Robert de Beaumont, 3rd Earl of Leicester, he succeeded his father as lord of Montfort in 1181. She would accompany him on his campaigns. In 1199, while taking part in a tournament at Ecry-sur-Aisne, he took the cross in the company of Count Thibaud de Champagne and went on the Fourth Crusade; the crusade soon fell under Venetian control, was diverted to Zara on the Adriatic Sea. Pope Innocent III had warned the Crusaders not to attack fellow Christians; as a result, the delegation returned to Zara and the city resisted. Since most Frankish lords were in debt to the Venetians, they did support the attack and the city was sacked in 1202.
Simon was one of its most outspoken critics. He and his associates, including Abbot Guy of Vaux-de-Cernay, left the crusade when the decision was taken to divert once more to Constantinople to place Alexius IV Angelus on the throne. Instead and his followers travelled to the court of King Emeric of Hungary and thence to Acre, his mother was the eldest daughter of Robert of Beaumont, 3rd Earl of Leicester. After the death of her brother Robert de Beaumont, 4th Earl of Leicester without children in 1204, she inherited half of his estates, a claim to the Earldom of Leicester; the division of the estates was effected early in 1207, by which the rights to the earldom were assigned to Amicia and Simon. However, King John of England took possession of the lands himself in February 1207, confiscated its revenues. In 1215, the lands were passed into the hands of Simon's cousin, Ranulph de Meschines, 4th Earl of Chester. Simon remained on his estates in France before taking the cross once more, this time against Christian dissidence.
He participated in the initial campaign of the Albigensian Crusade in 1209, after the fall of Carcassonne, was elected leader of the crusade and viscount of the confiscated territories of the Raymond-Roger Trencavel family. Simon was rewarded with the territory conquered from Raymond VI of Toulouse, which in theory made him the most important landowner in Occitania, he became feared for his ruthlessness. In 1210 he burned 140 Cathars in the village of Minerve who refused to recant – though he spared those who did. In another reported incident, prior to the sack of the village of Lastours, he brought prisoners from the nearby village of Bram and had their eyes gouged out and their ears and lips cut off. One prisoner, left with a single good eye, led them into the village as a warning. Simon's part in the crusade had the full backing of his feudal superior, the King of France, Philip Augustus, but historian Alistaire Horne, in his book Seven Ages of Paris, states that Philip "turned a blind eye to Simon de Montfort's crusade... of which he disapproved, but accepted the spoils to his exchequer".
Following the latter's success in winning Normandy from John Lackland of England, he was approached by Innocent III to lead the crusade but turned this down. He was committed to defend his gains against John and against the emerging alliance among England, the Empire and Flanders. But, Philip claimed full rights over the lands of the house of St Gilles. Philip may well have wanted to appease the papacy after the long dispute over his marriage, which had led to excommunication, he sought to counter any adventure by King John of England, who had marriage and fealty ties with the Toulouse comtal house. Meanwhile, others have assessed Philip's motives to include removing over-mighty subjects from the North, distracting them in adventure elsewhere, so they could not threaten his successful restoration of the power of the French crown in the north. Simon is described as a man of unflinching religious orthodoxy committed to the Dominican order and the suppression of heresy. Dominic Guzman Saint Dominic, spent several years during the war in the Midi at Fanjeau, Simon's headquarters in the winter months when the crusading forces were depleted.
Simon had other key confederates in this enterprise, which many historians view as a conquest of southern lands by greedy men from the north. Many of them had been involved in the Fourth Crusade. One was Guy Vaux de Cernay, head of a Cistercian abbey not more than twenty miles from Simon's patrimony of Montfort Aumary, who accompanied the crusade in the Languedoc and became bishop of Carcassonne. Meanwhile, Peter de Vaux de Cernay, the nephew of Guy, wrote an account of the crusade. Historians consider this to be propaganda to justify the actions of the crusaders, he portrayed outrages committed by the lords of the Midi as the opposite. Simon was an energetic campaigner moving his forces to strike at those who had broken their faith with him – and there were many, as some local lords switched sides whene
Elizabeth of York
Elizabeth of York was the wife of Henry VII, thus the first Tudor queen. She was the daughter of Edward IV and his wife Elizabeth Woodville, niece of Richard III, she married Henry VII in 1486, after being detained by him the previous year following the latter's victory at the Battle of Bosworth Field, which started the last phase of the Wars of the Roses. Together and Henry had a total of four sons, three of whom died before their father, leaving their brother, Henry VIII, to succeed his father as king; the period of Henry VI's Readeption from October 1470 until April 1471 and the period between her father's death in 1483, when she was 17, the making of peace between her mother and her uncle Richard, were violent and anxious interludes in what was a peaceful life. Her two brothers, the so-called "Princes in the Tower", their fate uncertain. Although declared illegitimate by an act of Parliament, Titulus Regius in 1484, she was subsequently welcomed back to court by her uncle Richard III, along with all of her sisters.
As a Yorkist princess, the final victory of the Lancastrian faction in the War of the Roses may have seemed a further disaster, but Henry Tudor knew the importance of Yorkist support for his invasion and promised to marry her before he arrived in England. Elizabeth of York was the queen consort of England from 1486 until her death in 1503, but seems to have played little part in politics, her marriage seems to have been successful. Her eldest son Arthur, Prince of Wales, died at age 15 in 1502, three other children died young, her surviving son became king of England and her daughters Mary and Margaret became queen of France and queen of Scotland, respectively. Elizabeth of York was born at the Palace of Westminster as the eldest child of King Edward IV and his wife Elizabeth Woodville, her christening was celebrated at Westminster Abbey, sponsored by her grandmothers Jacquetta of Luxembourg, Duchess of Bedford, Cecily Neville, Duchess of York. Her third sponsor was her cousin Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick.
At three, she was betrothed to George Neville in 1469. His father John supported George's uncle, the Earl of Warwick, in rebellion against King Edward IV, the betrothal was called off. In 1475, Louis XI agreed to the marriage of 9-year-old Elizabeth of York and his son Charles, the Dauphin of France. In 1482, Louis XI reneged on his promise. At age 11, she was named a Lady of the Garter in 1477, along with her mother and her paternal aunt Elizabeth of York, Duchess of Suffolk. On 9 April 1483, Elizabeth's father, King Edward IV, unexpectedly died and her younger brother, Edward V, ascended to the throne, her mother, Elizabeth Woodville, tried to deny Gloucester his right to be Lord Protector in order to keep power within her family, so Gloucester opted to take steps to isolate his nephews from their Woodville relations. He intercepted Edward V while the latter was travelling from Ludlow, where he had been living as Prince of Wales, to London to be crowned king. Edward V was placed in the royal residence of the Tower of London, ostensibly for his protection.
Elizabeth Woodville fled with her younger son Richard and her daughters, taking sanctuary in Westminster Abbey. Gloucester asked Archbishop Bourchier to take Richard with him, so the boy could reside in the Tower and keep his brother Edward company. Elizabeth Woodville, under duress agreed. Two months on 22 June 1483, Edward IV's marriage was declared invalid, it was claimed that Edward IV had, at the time of his marriage to Elizabeth Woodville been betrothed to Lady Eleanor Butler. Parliament issued Titulus Regius, in support of this position; this measure bastardised the children of Edward IV, made them ineligible for the succession, declared Gloucester the rightful king, with the right of succession reverting to children of George, 1st Duke of Clarence, another late brother of Gloucester, attainted in 1478. Gloucester ascended to the throne as Richard III on 6 July 1483, with Edward and Richard disappearing shortly afterwards. Rumours began to spread that they had been murdered, these appear to have been widely credited though some undoubtedly emanated from overseas.
Elizabeth's mother made an alliance with Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry Tudor King Henry VII, who had the closest claim to the throne of those in the Lancastrian party. Although Henry Tudor was descended from King Edward III, his claim to the throne was weak, owing to an act of parliament passed during the reign of Richard II in the 1390s, that barred accession to the throne to any heirs of the legitimised offspring of Henry's great-great grandparents, John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford. Whether such an unprecedented act had force of law is, disputed. Whatever the merits of Henry's claim, his mother and Elizabeth Woodville agreed he should move to claim the throne and, once he had taken it, marry Elizabeth of York to unite the two rival houses. In December 1483, in the cathedral of Rennes, Henry Tudor swore an oath promising to marry her and began planning an invasion. In 1484, Elizabeth of York and her sisters left Westminster Abbey and returned to court when Elizabeth Woodville was reconciled with Richard III, which may – or may not – suggest that Elizabeth Woodville believed Richard III to be innocent of any possible role in the murder of her two sons (although this is unlikely owing to her in
Anne Boleyn was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536 as the second wife of King Henry VIII. Henry's marriage to her, her execution by beheading, made her a key figure in the political and religious upheaval, the start of the English Reformation. Anne was the daughter of Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire, his wife, Lady Elizabeth Howard, was educated in the Netherlands and France as a maid of honour to Queen Claude of France. Anne returned to England in early 1522, to marry 9th Earl of Ormond. Early in 1523 Anne was secretly betrothed to Henry Percy, son of the 5th Earl of Northumberland, but the betrothal was broken off when Percy's father refused to support their engagement. Cardinal Wolsey refused the match in January 1524 and Anne was sent back home to Hever Castle. In February or March 1526, Henry VIII began his pursuit of Anne, she resisted his attempts to seduce her, refusing to become his mistress, which her sister Mary had been. It soon became the one absorbing object of Henry's desires to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon so he would be free to marry Anne.
When it became clear that Pope Clement VII would not annul the marriage, the breaking of the Catholic Church's power in England began. In 1532, Henry granted Anne the Marquessate of Pembroke. Henry and Anne formally married on 25 January 1533, after a secret wedding on 14 November 1532. On 23 May 1533, newly appointed Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer declared Henry and Catherine's marriage null and void. Shortly afterwards, the Pope decreed sentences of excommunication against Cranmer; as a result of this marriage and these excommunications, the first break between the Church of England and Rome took place and the Church of England was brought under the King's control. Anne was crowned Queen of England on 1 June 1533. On 7 September, she gave birth to the future Queen Elizabeth I. Henry was disappointed to have a daughter rather than a son but hoped a son would follow and professed to love Elizabeth. Anne subsequently had three miscarriages, by March 1536, Henry was courting Jane Seymour.
In order to marry Jane Seymour, Henry had to find reasons to end the marriage to Anne. Henry VIII had Anne investigated for high treason in April 1536. On 2 May she was arrested and sent to the Tower of London, where she was tried before a jury of peers – which included Henry Percy, her former betrothed, her own uncle, Thomas Howard – and found guilty on 15 May, she was beheaded four days later. Modern historians view the charges against her, which included adultery and plotting to kill the king, as unconvincing; some say that Anne was accused of witchcraft but the indictments make no mention of this charge. After the coronation of her daughter, Anne was venerated as a martyr and heroine of the English Reformation through the works of John Foxe. Over the centuries, she has inspired, or been mentioned, in many artistic and cultural works and thereby retained her hold on the popular imagination, she has been called "the most influential and important queen consort England has had", as she provided the occasion for Henry VIII to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon and declare the English church's independence from Rome.
Anne was the daughter of Thomas Boleyn Earl of Wiltshire and Earl of Ormond, his wife, Lady Elizabeth Howard, daughter of Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk. Thomas Boleyn was a well respected diplomat with a gift for languages. Anne and her siblings grew up at Hever Castle in Kent. However, the siblings were born in Norfolk at the Boleyn home at Blickling. A lack of parish records from the period has made it impossible to establish Anne's date of birth. Contemporary evidence is contradictory, with several dates having been put forward by various historians. An Italian, writing in 1600, suggested that she had been born in 1499, while Sir Thomas More's son-in-law, William Roper, indicated a much date of 1512, her birth was most sometime between 1501 and 1507. As with Anne herself, it is uncertain when her two siblings were born, but it seems clear that her sister Mary was older than Anne. Mary's children believed their mother had been the elder sister. Most historians now agree that Mary was born in 1499.
Mary's grandson claimed the Ormonde title in 1596 on the basis she was the elder daughter, which Elizabeth I accepted. Their brother George was born around 1504; the academic debate about Anne's birth date focuses on two key dates: 1501 and 1507. Eric Ives, a British historian and legal expert, advocates the 1501 date, while Retha Warnicke, an American scholar who has written a biography of Anne, prefers 1507; the key piece of surviving written evidence is a letter Anne wrote sometime in 1514. She wrote it in French to her father, still living in England while Anne was completing her education at Mechelen, in the Burgundian Netherlands, now Belgium. Ives argues that the style of the letter and its mature handwriting prove that Anne must have been about thirteen at the time of its composition, while Warnicke argues that the numerous misspellings and grammar errors show that the letter was written by a child. In Ives' view, this would be around the minimum age that a girl could be a maid of honour, as Anne was to the regent, Margaret of Austria.
This is supported by claims of a chronicler from the late 16th century, who wrote that Anne was twenty when she returned from France. These findings are contested by Warnicke in several bo
Henry IV of England
Henry IV known as Henry Bolingbroke, was King of England from 1399 to 1413, asserted the claim of his grandfather, Edward III, to the Kingdom of France. Henry was born at Bolingbroke Castle in Lincolnshire, his father, John of Gaunt, was the fourth son of King Edward III and enjoyed a position of considerable influence during much of the reign of his nephew King Richard II whom Henry deposed. Henry's mother was Blanche of Lancaster, heiress to the great Lancashire estates of her father Henry of Grosmont, 1st Duke of Lancaster. Henry, having succeeded his father as 2nd Duke of Lancaster, when he became king thus founded the Lancaster branch of the Plantagenet English monarchy, he was the first King of England since the Norman Conquest whose mother tongue was English rather than French. One of Henry's elder sisters, Philippa of Lancaster, married King John I of Portugal, the other, Elizabeth of Lancaster, was the mother of John Holland, 2nd Duke of Exeter, his younger half-sister Katherine of Lancaster, the daughter of his father's second wife, Constance of Castile, was queen consort of the King of Castile.
He had four natural half-siblings born of Katherine Swynford his sisters' governess his father's longstanding mistress and third wife. These four illegitimate children were given the surname Beaufort from their birthplace at the Château de Beaufort in Champagne, France. Henry's relationship with his stepmother, Katherine Swynford, was a positive one, but his relationship with the Beauforts varied. In youth he seems to have been close to all of them, but rivalries with Henry and Thomas Beaufort proved problematic after 1406. Ralph Neville, who had married Henry's half-sister Joan Beaufort, remained one of his strongest supporters, so did his eldest half-brother John Beaufort though Henry revoked Richard II's grant to John of a marquessate. Thomas Swynford, a son from Katherine's first marriage to Sir Hugh Swynford, was another loyal companion. Thomas was Constable of Pontefract Castle. Henry's half-sister Joan Beaufort was the grandmother of Edward IV and Richard III. Joan's daughter Cecily married Richard, Duke of York and had several offspring, including Edward IV and Richard III, making Joan the grandmother of two Yorkist kings of England.
Henry experienced a rather more inconsistent relationship with King Richard II. First cousins and childhood playmates, they were admitted together to the Order of the Garter in 1377, but Henry participated in the Lords Appellants' rebellion against the king in 1387. After regaining power, Richard did not punish Henry, although he did execute or exile many of the other rebellious barons. In fact, Richard elevated Henry from Earl of Derby to Duke of Hereford. Henry spent the full year of 1390 supporting the unsuccessful siege of Vilnius by Teutonic Knights with 70 to 80 household knights. During this campaign he bought captured Lithuanian women and children and took them back to Königsberg to be converted. Henry's second expedition to Lithuania in 1392 illustrates the financial benefits to the Order of these guest crusaders, his small army consisted of over 100 men, including longbow archers and six minstrels, at a total cost to the Lancastrian purse of £4,360. Despite the efforts of Henry and his English crusaders, two years of attacks on Vilnius proved fruitless.
In 1392–93 Henry undertook a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, where he made offerings at the Holy Sepulchre and at the Mount of Olives. He vowed to lead a crusade to'free Jerusalem from the infidel,' but he died before this could be accomplished; the relationship between Henry Bolingbroke and the king met with a second crisis. In 1398, a remark by Thomas de Mowbray, 1st Duke of Norfolk regarding Richard II's rule was interpreted as treason by Henry and Henry reported it to the king; the two dukes agreed to undergo a duel of honour at Gosford Green near Caludon Castle, Mowbray's home in Coventry. Yet before the duel could take place, Richard II decided to banish Henry from the kingdom to avoid further bloodshed. Mowbray himself was exiled for life. John of Gaunt died in February 1399. Without explanation, Richard cancelled the legal documents that would have allowed Henry to inherit Gaunt's land automatically. Instead, Henry would be required to ask for the lands from Richard. After some hesitation, Henry met with the exiled Thomas Arundel, former Archbishop of Canterbury, who had lost his position because of his involvement with the Lords Appellant.
Henry and Arundel returned to England. With Arundel as his advisor, Henry began a military campaign, confiscating land from those who opposed him and ordering his soldiers to destroy much of Cheshire. Henry announced that his intention was to reclaim his rights as Duke of Lancaster, though he gained enough power and support to have himself declared King Henry IV, imprison King Richard and bypass Richard's 7-year-old heir-presumptive, Edmund de Mortimer. Henry's coronation, on 13 October 1399 at Westminster Abbey, may have marked the first time since the Norman Conquest when the monarch made an address in English. Henry consulted with Parliament but was sometimes at odds with the members over ecclesiastical matters. On Arundel's advice, Henry obtained from Parliament the enactment of De heretico comburendo in 1401, w