*Includes historic art depicting King Henry VIII and other important people in his life.
*Includes a Table of Contents
"We are, by the sufferance of God, King of England; and the Kings of England in times past never had any superior but God." – King Henry VIII
A lot of ink has been spilled covering the lives of history’s most influential figures, but how much of the forest is lost for the trees? In Charles River Editors’ British Legends series, readers can get caught up to speed on the lives of Great Britain’s most important men and women in the time it takes to finish a commute, while learning interesting facts long forgotten or never known.
Over 450 years after his reign, Henry VIII is still the most famous and recognizable King of England, but it’s for all the wrong reasons. Though well regarded by contemporaries as a learned king and "one of the most charismatic rulers to sit on the English throne", he is best remembered today for his gluttony and multiple marriages, particularly the gruesome way in which he was widowed on more than one occasion. Naturally, that was the focus of the popular Show Time drama series centered around his life, The Tudors.
Henry VIII will probably continue to be best known for beheading some of his wives, most notably Anne Boleyn, so it is somewhat fitting that his most decisive act came as a result of a marital mishap. Sharply at odds with the Catholic Church over his attempt to dissolve his marriage with Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII ultimately broke with the Church and established the Church of England, which forever both the religious history of England and the social hierarchy of the nation and its empire.
Though the popular perception of his reign has taken hold, King Henry VIII did not start life in any of those ways. In fact, he did not even start life as heir to the English throne. And when he did come to the throne at the age of 18, King Henry VIII’s earliest monarchical years showed his promise as a quintessential renaissance, polymath Prince. Even on the religious front, Henry VIII started out believing in the essential Catholic theology, even after the Pope and the Vatican excommunicated Henry from the Catholic Church (until then, the undisputed political as well as theological leader of Christendom, from which monarchs often needed various forms of legitimacy).
For all these reasons, the manner in which his life and legacy diverge makes him an even more fascinating topic, one that clearly continues to captivate audiences around the world today. British Legends: The Life and Legacy of King Henry VIII chronicles Henry VIII’s life and reign, but it also humanizes the man who fashioned himself both an athlete and scholar. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events in his life, you will learn about Henry VIII like you never have before, in no time at all.