21 April 1509 – The Death of Henry VII and the Accession of Henry VIII

Posted By on April 21, 2013

Henry VII Henry VIIIAt Richmond Palace, at 11pm on Saturday 21st April 1509, King Henry VII died at the age of fifty-two. It was not a sudden death, the King had been ill for some time and had prepared himself for death. His biographer, Thomas Penn, describes how the King “made an exemplary death”,1 kissing the crucifix, beating it against his chest and then holding a taper to light his path as he slipped away.

Henry VII’s death was kept secret was kept secret for a couple of days and then it was announced to the Knights of the Garter at their annual St George’s Day Feast on 23rd April and then to the public on 24th April. Henry VII’s successor was his second son, Henry, the spare who had risen to heir on the death of his older brother, Arthur, in 1502. The new king was just two months short of his eighteenth birthday and was a strapping lad of 6′ 3″. There were high hopes for this new king, this Renaissance prince.

Here is a contemporary description of him:

“The King tilted against many, stoutly and valorously. According to their own observation and the report of others, King Henry was not only very expert in arms and of great valour, and most eminent for his personal endowments, but so gifted and adorned with mental accomplishments, that they believed him to have few equals in the world. He spoke English, French, and Latin, understood Italian well, played on almost every instrument, sang and composed fairly, was prudent, sage, and free from every vice, and so good and affectionate a friend to the Signory, that no ultramontane sovereign ever surpassed him in that respect.”2

Henry VIII was crowned King on 24th June 1509, in a joint coronation with his new bride, Catherine of Aragon.

The King is dead, long live the King!

Notes and Sources

  1. Penn, Thomas (2012) Winter King, Penguin, p333-351
  2. Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 2, 614

47 thoughts on “21 April 1509 – The Death of Henry VII and the Accession of Henry VIII”

  1. kelpiemare says:

    ..and thus Prince Hal was set loose upon the world stage and, he who was once a Renaissance Prince, became a selfish, egotistical, bullying king, who turned his kingdom upside down and inside out, rather like the spoilt, over-indulged child does with a box of playthings, to get what he most desires. Well, what he most desires at that moment in time.

    1. Baroness Von Reis says:

      my dear kelpiemare,Thats is soooo true and the way you put that ,made be just chuckle,you put that into words PERFECT!! A large spoiled child! THX B x

    2. Baroness Von Reis says:

      kelpiemare,Here some factual Info,In 1482, England was granted ownership of all there Swans to the ‘CROWN HEAD OF STATE,which means they our a part of the ROYAL FAMILY.So the next time your in England bow at the Swans they our Royals,it’s true! THX B x

      1. Dawn 1st says:

        Hi Baroness, this is true to a certain extent about the mute swans belonging to the crown, but only the ‘unmarked’ swans (one ring on the leg), the Crown now only exercise this rite on certain stretches of the Thames and surrounding tributaries. The 2 ringed swans belong to the Vinnters’ and Dyers’ Company.
        This began in the 15th century under a Royal Charter giving them the right to share ownership. Complete ownership by the Crown was from the 12th century, I think.

        They have a ceremony called ‘Swan Upping’ which takes place in the 3rd week of July. The ‘Swan Uppers’ row up the river and now only ring swans with cygnets, some by the Queen’s Uppers and some by the Vintners and Dyers Uppers. This done now basically to see how the swans are breeding etc.
        I bet it can be quite dangerous ringing a swan with young, they can be very aggressive, but it would be a good ceremony to watch.
        They used to ‘nick’ the beaks before ringing began, once for the Crown, twice for the others. Last year the ceremony was cancelled due to the bad weather which caused flooding for the 1st time since it began.

        1. Dawn 1st says:

          Sorry mis-spelling should read Vintners’ and Dyers’, not Vinnters’…

    3. Baroness Von Reis says:

      Kelpiemare,I still have to say that is most funny reply !!! I think I laugh my behind off last night,love a good sence of humour! THX B x

    4. Baroness Von Reis says:

      kelpiemare,It’s always good too keep ,a good sence of humour!I must say you our the AB Friends ,comedy relieve and do come up with some great material! I admire that in a person,keep that sence of humour,as we can not always be so seious. Hope you have a great day AB Freind! A Q&A ,what does kelpiemare stand for ? Thx B x

  2. Mary the Quene says:

    kelpiemare – well said. All those closest to him ultimately paid for it with their lives. That is why I have such respect for Anne of Cleves – she saw him as he was and then devised a scheme to keep her head on her shoulders, so to speak, by distancing from him and telling him she loved him “as a brother.” (If I’m remembering her words correctly.) She even recovered from the massive insult she dealt of recoiling from his appearance and bad smell (!!!) upon his introduction to her – now that is a girl who was resourceful and quick on her feet.

    1. miladyblue says:

      I think my favorite description of Henry’s marriage to Anne of Cleves is from Karen Lindsay’s Divorced, Beheaded, Survived:

      If the stories of Henry’s first two marriages are high tragedy, with Henry as the destroyer of two strong but ultimately helpless women, that of his fourth is broad comedy – the narcisisstic bufoon foiled by a woman with common sense.

      1. Baroness Von Reis says:

        miladadyblue,I have to say I agree,but what made Henry V111 so distuctive,not just to his kingdom,wives,but to himself??We can call Henry anything we want,but he had everything and lost eveything?Also so very greatful Anne of Cleves and Katerine Parr made the great escape! Kind Regards B

    2. Baroness Von Reis says:

      Mary the Quen,That is true it really seems ,Henry Loved to Hate, the Ones he Loved the Most?A very destructive confused soul. THX B x

    3. Baroness Von Reis says:

      Mary the Quen,Anne of Cleves was not all that fond of Henry either,he was obesse Ill temperd,a gultin and he smell bad from that gapping wound on his thigh.I really think she would have made an excellent Queen!Kind gentle, smart, but Henry seemed to like a more aggressive women. He did however make her his sister,as he did not want P. O. the Germans.There were enough people angrey with this King.I also think she was very pretty. THX B x

  3. kelpiemare says:

    Buffoon….Yup, suits his appearance and public persona but, he was a very, very dangerous, predatorial buffoon.

    Love Christina of Denmarks’ view on proposed marriage to H8-“If I had two heads, one should be at the King of Englands’ disposal”. Not bad for a 16y.o. widow! That quip, I think, shows, too, how utterly ditzy wife 4 was. Her cousin is beheaded after being found guilty of adultery, incest, talking about H8 ineffective parts, his death…..and what does the little fool go and do…..grabs a distant relative and checks his equipment out-and in the loo too…..!

    1. Baroness Von Reis says:

      Hi Kelpiemare,I love your cander,your so right!!He ‘like I stated in a reply ,Hated the was that Loved him the most?It was Henry’s way or I’d say the highway,but is was most likely, your head away. THX B x

    2. Nancy says:

      Hi, Kelpiemare. I think that you mean wife number 5 (Katherine Howard), who was Anne Boleyn’s cousin. Anne of Cleves was wife number 4, and, as it’s been discussed before, she was the one who outsmarted Henry.

  4. ds 370 says:

    King Henry vii dies and Henry viii is crowned as king who did everything and made other people suffer so he could have his son. The men that worked for Henry viii did suffer and so did his six wives and children.

    1. Baroness Von Reis says:

      Hi there ds 370,Good to here from you! love your comments that is very true,but they really did not live long,maybe God did cruse Henry? Kind Regards B x

  5. Dawn 1st says:

    Reads a bit like a weather forecast when you compare these two reigns, gone were the dark and gloomy days of HenryVII rule, followed by the bright and glorious days of Henry VIII’s. No-one could foresee the tremendous storm clouds that were to gather over this reign as it went on, or the aftermath and destruction of human life these storms left in their wake…..seems like Kings are as unpredicable as the weather, long term anyway.

    1. Baroness Von Reis says:

      Dawn 1st,That great news,my grandparent had 2 black ans 2 white swans and they can be very testy!The olny time they were nice is when ,I would feed them.No worries Dawn I always goof up when ,I type on my lap top I get It. Regards B x

      1. Dawn 1st says:

        🙂 you’re not the only one…..(goofs up) done it loads of times.

    2. Baroness Von Reis says:

      Dawn 1st,Yes you right if Henry V111 was’nt bad enough along came Mary!!!With her torch,like a Phyromaniac burnning,every person within 100 mile radiace that would not conform to her beleives! I look at the pitures online of that ,nut case and she looks like, I’m Going To MESS YOU UP!! It’s a good thing the King of Spain had Spain to run to,she just was so dark ,scary dark,her portirates look painful. When I watch Elizabeth the movie, I wince when I watch those poor people getting one of ‘Marys hair cuts before there burned at the stake,I just can’t hardly think anyone could be so horrible,runs in the gene pool. Knd Regards Baroness x

      1. Dawn 1st says:

        I think Mary had a lot of pschological problems to deal with, her life wasn’t an easy journey.
        I think everyone has reasons why there behave like they do, but that doesn’t mean that they can be excused of their actions in the main.

        1. Baroness Von Reis says:

          Dawn 1st,Your too right she,and was a very mentally desturbed women,she also left England in ruin,While ‘Q’Elizabeth1 ,had to clean her mess up.I think she was perhapes the worst Queen ever to rule . Kind Regards Baroness x

        2. Baroness Von Reis says:

          Dwan 1st ,Also wanted to point that maybe the people started to think ‘Queen Anne ,was not so bad after all as her daugther, Best Queen to rule ever! Thx B

        3. Baroness Von Reis says:

          spelling malfunctioon Dawn. sorry!

  6. kelpiemare says:

    Yup, wife number 5. Katherine Howard.
    My apologies to Anne of Cleves to misplace her on the list!

    1. Baroness Von Reis says:

      kelpiemare,So many wives !!So hard to keep track of,Henry most likely did’nt no who he was married to from one day to the next!!! THX B x

  7. kelpiemare says:

    Indeed, Baroness! I wonder if it was “come t bed number *” or…”Oi, You”…most likely the all encompassing “MADAME…..”?!

    But, the swans….hubby went loch fishing with one of his friends. His friend had brought along some liquid refreshment, of the Scottish variety, had imbibed it and fallen asleep. As it happened, there were a couple of swan adults in the vicinity. Well. One of the swans sauntered over and lay down beside him. Soon they were both zzz. Until. The chap reached out in his sleep..and patted the swan, which woke the swan. They groggily looked at each other…and jumped up and ran..in opposite directions! These swans were tame, and accustomed to anglers freeing them titbits…..so cute!!

    My 2nd swan tale…a couple of years ago (in Aberdeenshire, i think) a Polish emigré caught and killed a swan. He was taken to court over it. Can’t remember the actual charge and outcome. My sympathy lirs with the swan, i have to admit!!

    1. Baroness Von Reis says:

      Ladies and Gents ,I just found that piece on the Swans to lighten every,as sometimes we get so serious,and by the by of love a good secne of HUMOUR! Keeelpiemare I’m still laughinf on the first comet! Kind Regards B x

      1. kelpiemare says:

        Thank you Baroness,

        Delighted to have brightened your day!

      2. Baroness Von Reis says:

        OMG !Spelling malfuctions!! my nails are why to long sorry ,but I think you get the gist. THX Baroness x

    2. Baroness Von Reis says:

      kelpiemare,I really think that no one could please Henry V111,just a women to incubate a son too take the throne ,and that pretty much sums it up.Who knows how many children he fatherd theres no head count,even with all his mistresses,exspet,Bessie Blount??He may have very well had a son who lived a long life,but was never brought forth. Regards Baroness x

      1. Dawn 1st says:

        To be honest Baroness, that’s all any King wanted though time, was a wife who would give birth to a nursery full of sons to carry on the line, thats what royal marriages were about, that and policital advantages in most case., The only differences is that other Kings didn’t dispose of their wives when the sons didn’t appear, and because Henry actually ‘hand picked’ 5 of his wives, only Anne of Cleeves was an arranged foreign marriage, which was a disaster from start to finish, there wasn’t really any polictical advantage either. He certainly broke the mould in the marriage department in more ways than one.

        Have you read the book by Kelly Hart called The Mistresses of Henry VIII, that will give you some insight into Henry’s ‘love life’…Claire did a review on it on June 19th 2009, it is a interesting read.

        I think Henry is seen as a worse offender where taking mistresses are concerned because of the cold hearted and callous way he treated his wives. But taking mistresses was the ‘done thing’ with most Kings, accepted and in some ways expected I suppose, and although Henry may have had quite a few mistresses in his time, he possibly had less than some.

        This King certainly gives us plenty of subject matter to discuss.

        1. Baroness Von Reis says:

          Dawn 1st,Your so right on the marriage of Anne of Cleves,they sent good old, HenryV 111,2 pictures of the daugthers for him to view,he chose Anne of Cleves.Who I really think would have been an excellent Queen!She was smart and new what, Henry was about,her farther was not pleased of the marriage,and I can see why,so Henry made her his sister! How convenent! Thx Baroness x

        2. Baroness Von Reis says:

          Dawn 1st,Also I don’t think it was’ Anne of Cleves ,who was ugly and smelled bad,Herny was no bed of roses fat , a gultin, a temper ect; Anne of Cleves was 10 step in front of this King ,and played her cards very well. Regards B x

        3. Baroness Von Reis says:

          Dawn 1st,Thanks for for the Info on that Book, will pick it up,I’m ready for a good read on Henrys love life,must be along Book?? Thx B x

    3. Dawn 1st says:

      I agree AofC would have made a good Queen, she may well not have been super interlectual, but she was a fast learner, and kind by all accounts. And no she wasn’t ugly, I think she was very attractive. As for smelling, well who knows, personal hygene was a little ‘hit and miss’ in those days, maybe Henry got a whiff of his own leg… 🙂

      Anne’s grandfather, Duke of Cleeves John II was nick-named John the’baby maker’, as he apparently fathered 60+ illegitamate children before he married…goodness me!! If Anne was as fertile as her Grandfather all Henry’s woes would have been over, but he wasn’t able to do ‘the business’, so he may have missed out BIG time there with Anne.

    4. Baroness Von Reis says:

      kelpiemare,I take it your in Scotland ? my grandparents hail from Scotland,and no yank ,would call the lake a loch.I to love to fish and have a ,pint or two nothing wrong with that ! I really want to visit Scotland ,England and Ierland to ,as we have some Irish as well ‘Haneys. Kind Regards B x

      1. Baroness Von Reis says:

        Hi Dawn,Up there,I think your a Scot aswell ?a great bunch of people!! THX B

        1. Dawn 1st says:

          I live in Scotland, 1st time for8yrs,Dad was based here with RAF, this time been here for 12yrs and have no intensions of going anywhere else to live. Its a beautiful place to be. My ancestors on paternal side were lowland/border Scots.

        2. Baroness Von Reis says:

          Dawn 1st,I would LOVE to live in Scotland,who knows we may meet one day! You could let me know the best places to live. Get my e- mail from Claire,as we our thinking of selling in the states,love to know the best as to were to go .THX B

  8. Baroness Von Reis says:

    Kelpiemare,I do so love Swans there so graceful,shame on that Swan killer,hope they threw the book at him and fine!!! THX B x

  9. kelpiemare says:

    Aye, Baroness, Scots born and bred! Myself from Clan Macpherson and hubby of the Clan McGregor!!

    A “Kelpie” is, in Celtic folklore, a supernatural water horse…..even Nessie is rumoured to be a likeness to a kelpie…..and the ‘mare’ part is me! Usually prefixed by ‘dopey’ or ‘silly’, ‘dozey’, too, sometimes!

    1. Baroness Von Reis says:

      kepuemare,You if I am correct from a very old family tree ,McGregor Clan goes back to 1400s or longer?I love that I no what ,Kalpie means,as I am sure many of the Ab Friends too,sounds so wimsical,ever seen Nessie? My family is of the Wilkens Regards for the Info B x

      1. Baroness Von Reis says:

        spell mal kelpiemare,it these long nalis chop chop!! Thx B x

      2. Baroness Von Reis says:

        kelpiemare,Back to the warm loving’ Henry V111,he was not olny an exspert at arms,and valour,he was an exspert in self disruction,not just to himself but to all who served him. Strange He passed away in knowing all that he had done had , Sir Thomas More arrested April17,and then followed with,Queen Anne,and 48 other innocent people,and all were beheaded or burned at the stake in May1536,all in spring.Even Q’Anne ,was corinated in May,well maybe he just did not like spring? Kind Regards to All AB Friends and of craorse are dear ‘Claire,Happy Spring, RIP Queen Anne and all OTHER!

      3. Baroness Von Reis says:

        kelpiemare,I notice the tear comming from the mares eye?What does that mean?? Regards Baroness Von Reis x

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