Her repressive religious policies- which included the burning of many Protestant martyrs- earned her the epithet "Bloody Mary" and her marriage to the King of Spain quickly undid much of her support in England. When Mary died childless in , she was succeeded by her half-sister Princess Elizabeth historically called "the Virgin Queen" , who restored Protestantism and ruled for forty-four years in what is now known as the "Golden Age of England".
Henry center rallying his soldiers at the Siege of Boulogne. Henry's personality is shown to change considerably over the series; yet, the most consistent trait, unfortunately, is that he is extremely quick to anger.
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Even his beloved or most trusted ones are not safe when Henry's wrath is aroused, though he may later show regret after their inevitable demise; the executions of his old friend and teacher Thomas More, and his wife Anne Boleyn in Season Two, demonstrated how far Henry's anger can go.
Henry's paranoia of plots or deceptions against him makes him increasingly unpredictable in Seasons Three and Four. At least part of Henry's poor performance as a ruler was due to his father who was a much more capable King having shut him away for many years prior to his older brother's death, leaving him untrained in the art of Kingship when he finally took the throne something mentioned by Jane Seymour's ghost in the series finale.
Although he genuinely loved all his wives with the possible exception of Anne of Cleves Henry's love could be very conditional, as was proved by the downfalls of Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Anne of Cleves and Katherine Howard. Henry remained a phenomenal womanizer throughout his reign until his final years, even cheating on his most beloved queen, Jane Seymour; he would take and later discard various mistresses for short periods of time, although the only one he ever asked to become his maitresse en titre 'official mistress' was Anne Boleyn, who refused.
Henry was never shown to cheat on Catherine Parr, but by then his health had declined to the point that he was in no shape for sexual activity anyway. Despite saying "I esteem the good of the commonwealth and the love of my subjects far above any riches" to Robert Aske in episode 3. Initially seeming pacified by the rebels despite having condemned their actions in a rage and ordered the arrest of all their leaders , Henry seemed mollified after talking with Aske the main leader, who was more moderate than his followers but, despite his promises, he never had any intention of meeting the rebels' demands other than issuing a general pardon once they dispersed.
Henry's deliberate inaction provoked a second, smaller uprising, which he and Cromwell capitalized on as an excuse to destroy the rebellion once and for all; even after all the leaders were executed, Henry ordered thousands of civilians in the North- men, women and children- hanged, even though the vast majority of the rebels had obediently laid down their airms.
This massacre, not long after the execution of Henry's own wife, Anne Boleyn, severely damaged his reputation at home and abroad. Henry's health also affects his unpredictable personality as the series progresses. During Season Two when he is knocked unconscious during a jousting match in episode 2.
As a result of being unable to continue in his usual intense exercise as he once did due to his crippled leg, Henry increasingly gains weight from his continued extravegant diet though he is far less obese in the series than he was in real life.
Despite his hair-trigger temper, self-indulgence and ruthless nature, Henry cares deeply for all his children even though he disowns his two daughters at various points due to his quest to father a son and ultimately refuses to harm any of them; his love for his children is perhaps his only consistant redeeming quality. When his daughter Mary falls ill in Season Two, despite having disinherited her as a legitimate offspring Henry immediately sends his personal physicians to care for her. In Season one, when his bastard son Henry Fitzroy dies of the plague, Henry is shown weeping and staring at a miniature crown he had given the little boy a few months before, having bestowed him as a Duke.
Henry's passions never truly die; he shows overwhelming grief on the death of his third and most beloved Queen, Jane Seymour, and shows eventual regret over the deaths of his first and second Queens Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn despite both marriages having ended badly. In the series finale, Henry's humanity is most significantly shown; he is forced to face his past regret when confronted by the ghosts of Catherine, Anne and Jane, and thereafter bids a loving farewell to Catherine Parr and his children.
Henry also goes into deep mourning when Charles Brandon dies of illness, as Charles had been his closest friend since childhood. He occasionally shows acts of surprising and stirring generosity though these are rare.
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One of the most notable was in episode 4. Despite his well-known, pathological fear of disease, Henry gently lays his hands on the heads of each of the people in turn and gives them his blessing, as well as a gold coin apiece. For all the selfishness Henry displays in his relationships with his wives, there is a deeper reasoning behind his frantic quest to father a son.
Henry's own father, Henry VII, had begun his own reign by narrowly winning the final battle of the War of the Roses; clearly, the pressure to maintain the peace and order in England that his father had established was a great weight on Henry's shoulders. He thought the only way to stop potential rebellions or plots against his family by ambitious nobles such as the Dukes of Buckingham and Norfolk, was by producing a legitimate male heir whose rights to the throne could not be contested.
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Despite his deeply flawed personality and impulsive nature, Henry is actually quite well-educated for his time; while he is rather oblivious to the rivalries and motivations behind them that plague his court and council, he keeps himself well-informed on matters of state and governance, and understands what he is talking about. While generally a religious and political conservative, Henry occasionally displays a hunger for knowledge and social change- a trait which he notably passed on to his daughter and eventual successor, Elizabeth though her open-mindedness came more from her mother, Anne Boleyn.
In some episodes of Season One, Henry displays an effort to make his name known in the sphere of arts and intellect, such as his handwritten pamphlet affirming the Pope's supremacy and his supposed composition of the famous song 'Greensleeves' which is rumored to have been written by Henry VIII. Henry enjoys sports of every kind as well as gambling, but he is a bit of a sore loser; he reacted badly on several occasions when three of his respective queen consorts Anne Boleyn, Anne of Cleves, and Catherine Parr beat him at cards.
While Henry was not an unintelligent man, his short temper, inflated ego and self-indulgence meant he largely delegated matters of State to his Privy council , though he was still very actively involved in his rule. Henry's kingdom was, for the most part, financially stable under the first half of his reign thanks to the careful management of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, though Henry's expensive ship-building programs and above-mentioned self-indulgence created a certain amount of debt. This debt was added to by Wolsey's secret embezzlement of certain funds into his own coffers though many of these were for educational and charitable causes.
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Although Wolsey was eventually disgraced and fell from power in "The Death of Wolsey", England's relative stability continued at first once the Reformation began in Season Two; Henry's new first minister, Thomas Cromwell Wolsey's former subordinate and protege , proved just as effective- if not more so- at administration. However, Cromwell's Dissolution of the Monasteries- which provided Henry with such wealth that he became financially independent from Parliament- proved, in the long term, to be a mistake. It removed the main source of financial charity for the common folk and destabilized the economy, since Henry wasted much of the revenue going into his exchequer on weaponry and luxuries.
It also provoked a massive uprising in Season Three in the form of the Pilgrimage of Grace, though this was ultimately, and brutally, repressed. The Reformation itself drew hostility from the Papacy, and in turn from the major Catholic kingdoms of Europe Spain and France , isolating England.
Cromwell's attempt to correct this isolation by allying with the wealthy Protestant League in northern Germany ultimately failed, and resulted in his own execution. Henry soon realized was left without an effective first minister and regretted Cromwell's execution, as his new Privy Council was far less effective. Henry is, however, remembered for establishing a Royal Navy the weapon on which English and later British power has been built for centuries which proved vital to his foreign policy with more powerful countries such as Spain and France.
Development in naval capabilities under Henry's reign was manifest, and his fleet grew from a modest handful of ships to a moderately-sized but formidable force. When observing the size and firepower of Henry's frigates in episode 1. His foreign policy was erratic and depended largely on his attitude and his first ministers- and his Queens, if they were influential enough.
In Season One, Henry swings back and fourth between France and Spain then finally allies with Spain against France playing off the Emperor's relationship with his aunt and Henry's current wife, Catherine of Aragon. However, not long after Emperor Charles rescinds some of his promises to Henry.
Offended, Henry yields to the advice of Wolsey and his mistress, Anne Boleyn, and switches sides to favor France though they make peace with Spain at the end of Season One. This Anglo-French alliance largely holds together until near the end of Season Two, by which time Wolsey is long dead, Anne now Henry's wife has fallen from favor and Thomas Cromwell, now the most powerful figure in Henry's government, is encouraging him to favor Spain again instead.
Henry's brutal actions towards his Catholic subects, however, alienate him from both France and Spain in Season Three, and he is persuaded by Cromwell to form an alliance with Cleves and the Protestant League- solidified by his reluctant marriage to Anne of Cleves. This alliance is never favored by Henry, and as soon as Spain and France begin attacking each other again he abandons it and annuls his marriage.
During Season Four, Henry at first ignores Spain and France and instead begins aggressive actions towards the Scots, successfully cowing them into submission. He is finally persuaded to re-enter the Franco-Spanish conflict on the side of the Emperor, but the alliance once again fails due to Charles not holding to his obligations, and Henry reluctantly ransoms his war gains back to the French not long before his death, leaving England shakily at peace. As a whole, Henry left England in a state of decline at the close of his reign, despite the huge impact of the Protestant Reformation.
Although his daughter Mary I made tentative actions to reform the economy and financial system during her short reign, her military failures in France along with those of her brother against Scotland decreased the country's prestige considerably. England's stagnation would not be reversed until the reign of Elizabeth I- who paid off every debt her father had accumulated, improved the economy, and won glory for England's navy through her long sea warfare with Spain, while healing the rift in Anglo-French relations for much of her long reign.
Henry had distinctly different relationships with all six of his wives; most of them ended badly, either through not giving birth to a son, through disobedience or other factors, but his first three had much of a more significant impact than the latter three.
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Originally betrothed to Henry's brother Arthur by their father Henry VII in a betrothal alliance with Spain; when Arthur died shortly after and the marriage was apparently unconsummated, she was betrothed to Henry now Prince of Wales instead. Catherine's marriage to Henry was extremely popular throughout England, as she was known for her good religious character, dignity and generosity to the people.
Despite being somewhat older than her new husband, Catherine fell deeply in love with him and remained devoted to him; she was also a devoted mother to Mary, their surviving daughter.
Henry initially returned Catherine's love, but when she suffered several miscarriages and stillbirths, Henry increasingly felt resentful for her inabilty to give him a surviving male heir; Catherine picked up on this and became increasingly self-loathing and sad for being unable to bear Henry a son, which further distanced him from her. He increasingly took mistresses during her failed pregnancies and afterwards, and as she reached menopause he spent increasingly little time with her, despite her continued love for him. Their only remaining connection was through their daughter.
By Season One, Henry's relationship with Catherine is quite deteriorated, though outwardly they present a happy appearance to the world. Catherine is also resentful of the King's anti-Spanish minister Cardinal Wolsey. Although she has learned to reluctantly accept Henry's infidelities, since he always discards his mistresses in the end, Catherine is grieved over her inability to give him a son and fears Henry may try to divorce her. She initially takes no notice of Anne Boleyn thinking she is simply Henry's next sexual conquest but is shocked and devastated in episode 1.
Considering that Catherine was never anything but devoted to him despite their increasing arguments even Henry clearly felt guilty about annulling their marriage, as he was visibly choking back tears when he informed Catherine. In spite of her pain, Catherine continued to act as Henry's dutiful wife since the annulment was not yet granted but she acted increasingly hostile towards Anne Boleyn, correctly recognizing that Henry's interest in her was different than his previous mistresses. She also gained assistance from her nephew the Emperor, who used his influence in Rome to block the annulment process.
This created a further rift between Henry and Catherine. Impatient to bring an end to his "Great Matter" Henry resorts to increasingly unorthodox and unscrupulous means to coerce Catherine into going along with the divorce, including attempting to guilt-trip her or persuade her to enter a nunnery; despite being unwilling to defy Henry, Catherine adamantly maintains she is his legitimate wife and would not damn herself by claiming otherwise.
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