King Henry VIII is arguably something of a national legend, regardless of what you think of his practices. He was not only famous for having six wives, but for changing the laws in England so he could divorce and marry again and again.
The iconic Tudor king has been brought to life several times on the small and big screen, and as such, he remains one of the most fascinating monarchs in English history. But how much do we really know about this King? Here’s some interesting fact about Henry 8th to help clue you up.
Henry VIII is famously depicted as a stout, corpulent figure. However, while this appears to be the most popular and common depiction of the monarch, he was actually fairly slim and athletic most of his life. However, his armour in later life had to be let out to accommodate his 60-inch waistline.
Henry VIII has a reputation for being a bit of a ladies’ man – hence the number of wives! However, he was actually thought to be fairly prudish behind closed doors, for example shocked at the behaviour of his second wife, Anne Boleyn.
The king was also seen as one of the most brutal rulers England has ever known. He imprisoned and executed more people during his reign than any other monarch. Thankfully, Queen Elizabeth II is much less likely to send people to the Tower!
Henry VIII married – in chronological order – Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne Of Cleves, Catherine Howard and Catherine Parr. It seems he had an affinity for Catherines!
The king divorced two of his wives and had two others beheaded. Jane Seymour died in childbirth, and his sixth wife, Catherine Parr survived him.
Henry VIII was actually something of a paranoid hypochondriac. It’s thought that he would often isolate himself to avoid getting sick, and that he was frightened of contracting sweating sicknesses as well as the dreaded plague.
To this day, Henry VIII remains the only English king or queen to have ruled in Belgium as well as in their homeland. That’s because he was able to capture the Belgian town of Tournai in 1513. It is only part of Belgium now in the modern age and was actually overtaken by the French in 1519.
Henry VIII authored books. He wrote the best-selling work Defense of the Seven Sacraments. In fact, he was the first-ever English king to both write and publish his own book.
The king was also responsible for increasing the size of the Navy exponentially, having boosted its ranks ten times over. It’s thought this was as a result of the threat of sea attacks from the Spanish.
King Henry VIII also composed his own music. While it’s fiction that he composed the popular tune ‘Greensleeves’, he did in fact compose 33 different works otherwise, and could play wind and string instruments proficiently. It certainly seems as though he was multi-talented!
Do you know any interesting facts about Henry 8th that we’ve missed? Share them with us in the comments section below!