HENRY VIII, king of England: b. Green wich, 28 June 1491; d. Westminster, 28 Jan. 1547. He succeeded his father, Henry VII, in 1509. His disposition for show and magnifi cence soon squandered the hoards of his pre decessor. James IV, king of Scotland, made an incursion with a numerousof troops into England, and was and slain at the battle of Flodden Field (1513). Henry, however, granted peace to the queen of Scotland, his 'sister, and established an influence which rendered his kingdom long secure on that side. The aggrandizement of Cardinal Wolsey now began to give a leading feature to the conduct of Henry, that prelate being ap pointed chancellor in 1515. His favor was now sought by Maximilian I, emperor of Germany, who hoped to secure the support of England against France, and as Wolsey was at first neglected by the French king the German em peror gained his point; but when Maximilian was succeeded by Charles V, hereditary king of Spain as well as emperor of Germany, Francis I, king of France, found it expedient to gain Wolsey, and entered into an amicable correspondence with them. In order to cement this new friendship the two monarchs had an interview near Calais, the magnificence of which gave the place of meeting the denomina tion of the Field of the Cloth of Gold (1520). Notwithstanding these indications, a prospect of the papacy being artfully held out to the cardinal by the young Emperor Charles, his in terest at length gained a preponderance in the English councils. The principles of the Ref ormation were now making rapid strides. Henry himself wrote a Latin book against the tenets of Luther, which he presented to Pope Leo X, who favored him in return with the title of defender of the faith, a title by which, curiously enough, English sovereigns are still styled. After being married to Catharine for about 18 years, Henry began to feel some scruples as to the validity of the marriage, on the ground that she had previously been his brother's wife, and his scruples were no doubt increased by the fact of his having conceived a passion for Anne Boleyn, one of the queen's maids of honor. He accordingly applied in 1527 to Pope Clement VII for a divorce, and the Pope appointed Cardinals Wolsey and Campeggio to try the case. Wolsey had at first been favorable to the project of a divorce, but when he perceived the desire of Henry to marry Anne Boleyn, fearing that this marriage would result in winning over Henry to the side of the reformers, since Anne Boleyn's friends belonged to that he did all in his power to prolong the inquiry, until the commission was at last withdrawn and it was decided by the Pope that the case should be tried at Rome. This procrastination on Wolsey's part led to his own ruin. Henry, disgusted at these delays, eagerly caught at the advice of Thomas Cram mer (q.v.), afterward archbishop of Canter bury, to refer the case to the universities, from whom he got the decision desired. In May 1533 his marriage with Catharine was declared null, and as he had b' that time privately mar ried Anne Boleyn, this second marriage was a few days later declared lawful. As these de
cisions were not recognized by the Pope, an act of Parliament was obtained in the follow ing year (1534), setting aside the authority of the chief pontiff in England, which was fol lowed by another in 1535 declaring Henry the supreme head of the Church. Thus was effected the great revolution by which, in ecclesiastical annals, this reigti is so much distinguished. The birth of• a daughter by the new queen produced a bill for regulating the succession, which set tled it on the issue of this marriage, and de clared the king's daughter by Catharine illegiti mate. But although Henry discarded the au thority of the Roman Catholic Church, he ad hered to its theological tenets. While he executed Bishop Fisher and Sir Thomas More (who had been appointed chancellor after the fall of Wolsey) in 1535, for refusing the oath of supremacy, he displayed an aversion to the principles of the reformers and brought many of them to the stake. Finding that the monks and friars in England were the most direct advo cates of the papal authority, he suppressed the monasteries by act of Parliament. The fall of Anne Boleyn was, however, unfavorable for a time to the reformers. Henry then married Jane Seymour, and the birth of Prince Edward in 1537 fulfilled his wish for a male heir, al though his joy was abated by the death of the queen. Henry now resolved to marry again, and Thomas Cromwell, a Protestant, who had succeeded More as first minister, recommended Anne of Cleves. The marriage took place in January 1540, and Henry created Cromwell Earl of Essex; but his dislike to his new wife hastened the fall of that minister, who was condemned and executed upon a charge of treason. At the same time Henry procured from the convocation and Parliament a divorce from Anne of Cleves. He then married Catharine Howard, niece to the Duke of Nor. folk; but Henry found that his new queen, of whom he was very fond, had proved false, and on further inquiry her conduct before marriage was discovered to have been loose and criminal. She was therefore accused and brought to the block in 1542. In 1543 he married his sixth wife, Catharine Parr, widow of Lord Latimer, a lady of merit, secretly inclined to the Reformation.
Henry was succeeded by his son, Edward VI. The complete union of Wales with Eng land, and the conversion of Ireland into a kingdom, date from the reign of Henry VIII.
Consult Histories of England by Lingard (1854-55); Froude (1870) ; and Green (1879 and 1884) ; also Brewer, 'History of the Reign of Henry VIII to the Death of Wolsey' (1884) ; Dixon, of the Church of England from the Abolition of the Roman Jurisdiction) (1884-91); Froude, The Divorce of Catharine of Aragon' (1891) ; Gairdner, The English Church in the 16th Century' (1902) ; Hume, 'The Wives of Henry VIII' (1905), and monographs by Creighton (1888), and Pollard (1902). The Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic,' for his reign, which are the principal sources, were published in 21 volumes, between 1862 and 1910.