28 June 1491 – Birth of Henry VIII

Happy 521st birthday to King Henry VIII!

Yes, on this day in history, 28th June 1491, Elizabeth of York, consort of King Henry VII, gave birth to her third child and second son at Greenwich Palace. The baby boy was named after his father.

Of course, they already had a Prince of Wales, their first son Arthur, so little Henry was the “spare” and so was not brought up in his early years to be king. All that changed on 2nd April 1502, when Arthur died and the 10 year old Henry became heir to the throne.

You can read more about Henry in the following articles:

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14 thoughts on “28 June 1491 – Birth of Henry VIII”
  1. Nothing to celebrate. Henry was a monster, the most despicable of English kings. Can you tell I don’t like him?

    And, I just finished reading Bryd’s book Anne and Meg’s friendship, “To Die For, ” and WileyWales, I did get swept up in the storyline and didn’t balk at any historical inaccuracies. In fact, I was impressed with Bryd’s research and her ability create a good plotline. How Bryd played out Anne’s miscarriages was quite moving, and the execution scene was sad, so sad I even teared up a bit. I hope someone who Anne loved was at her side those final moments, and did look into those eyes one more time before they closed forever.

    So, thank you WileyWales and Claire for pushing me in the direction of historical novels. I might even read the next one, and will give Higginbottham (sp?) a try.


  3. Malory
    In truth he was a good King perhaps selfish in his own rights, but look at the time period. The knowledge was minimal. He was King there was nothing greater than Kings besides God. He is called a monster however truth be told he was a King who formed a huge Navy, implemented such things as International Summits, he was well liked by the people as well his courtiers . He was well read, well written and well versed in many things. The thing above all that stands out however is his marriages and the way most of them ended, death or divorce.
    I say Cheers Henry King of England a most wondrous, enigmatic King through out time, may your birth be celebrated well this day!

    1. Hi Jena,

      I am going to disagree. His destruction of the monasteries, his creation of a law where thought, not just action or deed, against the king becomes treasonous, his butchery of anyone who disagreed with him, including the scores of innocent people slaughtered in the Pilgrimage of Grace, shows me he was far from a good king. Thanks to Henry VIII, England was drowning in debt by his death, the charity houses of the Catholic church had been destroyed, yet the poverty and starvation were on the rise with the peasant class.

      1. Mallory:

        I have to agree with you on this. Henry never did anything for the poor. He also left England drowning in debt, largely to feed his ego with the final invasion of France. Of course, he was an egomaniac … if he really cared about the succession, for example, he would have protected Mary’s legitimacy at all costs and then gotten her married off to someone suitable (one of the Pole boys, for example,) … so he could leave his throne to a grandson if he didn’t have a son (that Henry VII became king while his mother was still alive created a precedent for skipping women). But, Francis and Charles both had sons, and Henry had to show that he was as good as they were … so he tore his country apart. He also left his country without an heir for over a year after Anne’s execution … that England accepted Mary as his legitimate child, no matter what he said, is only thing that would have prevented civil war if Henry died between July 1936 and Edward’s birth.

        1. I have to agree with Esther on this one as well. She puts thing and fact so succintly and well. It was during Mary I’s reign druing 1553-1558 that Englad lost Calais. This port was the last holding England had on the contient, and it is reported that she said something to the effect that when she died they would find Calais in her heart. Thank you, WilesWales

        2. Hi Esther,

          You bring up two excellent points that I didn’t think of in regards to Henry’s egomania:

          1) his having to best Charles and Francis–makes perfect sense–they had sons and he too had to even though and this brings me to point 2

          2) he had a fully legitmate heir in Mary, but he was too son driven to realize that he had an heir.

          I can’t imagine what Mary and then later Elizabeth went through with a father like that. No wonder poor Mary had medical issues–the stress of her teen years and adulthood would have been so traumatic!

  4. Henry was all of the above, good and bad. He created and destroyed. But there has been many other ruling monarchs in British history that have done similar things, and many that have left the country with large debts, this wasn’t unique to Henry.
    I think the reason Henry stands out the most is because of his six wives, and that he had two executed, had previous monarchs had had the same ‘controversial’ matrimonial life as he had, theres a good chance he wouldn’t have stood out as much.
    Without him there would be no Anne Boleyn as we know her, and without him there would probably have been no Elizabeth. He has given us a very colourful piece of history, some parts great, some diabolical, but never boring…
    Lets not let the monster he became,( not born), over shadow the whole of his life and rule, it would be unfair.
    So I wish the ‘good’ side of him a Happy Birthday.

    1. I’m actually inclined to agree with you on this one. There have been many, many monarchs that have made questionable decisions in regards to their people’s welfare.
      He may not have been the best king: he did incur a remarkable amount of debt (considering the wealth that his father had left him) and he lacked a certain flair for international politics. But so did plenty of other kings. What makes Henry stand out in our minds and in the history books is his marriages and the way he let his personal desires overule his governmental goals to the point where they became his political agenda.
      Let us not forget either that without him we would not have the Anglican Church or Queen Elizabeth I….so there are two sides to every coin…

  5. Okay, somebody has to stick up for ol’ Henry. We’re judging a 16th century man, in 16th century circumstances, by 21 century values and sensibilites.
    Let me correct a few things:
    1) When Henry was young, he most certainly did address the needs of the poor. After ascending the throne, he executed his late father’s financial advisors for stealing tax monies from the treasury, and he returned it to the people – he didn’t keep it. BTW, the English people HATED how cheat and miserly Henry VII was – they wanted a king that would display some grandeur and majesty; they loved that about Henry VIII.
    2) Henry was fully aware that he had a legitimate daughter; he also knew that daughter would marry either a foreign prince, who would then be King of Enlgand, or she would marry a English nobleman, which would once again cause familial infighting – remember the War of the Roses? WE know a woman could rule competently, but in the 16th century that was out of the question- especially as her husband would in fact be the one ruling. Henry was right that he needed a legimate son – he just went about it in the wrong way.
    A king in the those days was considered God’s representative in human form – of course he was an ego maniac! If people told you day after day that you were the sun, moon and the stars, you would start to believe it, and you would act accordingly. Henry was no worse than Francis or Charles – it’s just that they had sons, and didn’t go through the turmoil that Henry did.
    Kings had gotten marriages annulled for a lot less than what Henry was involved in – it’s just that Charles was holding the Pope hostage, and Catherine just happened to be Charles’ aunt. Also, Henry caused a scandal by replacing a Spanish princess with an English commoner. Catherine certainly didn’t help matters by being so obstinate – what woman stays married to a man who doesn’t want them? She and Henry had not lived as man and wife for some time, even before Anne Boleyn came along, and Catherine was extremely religious – why not retire to a convent, her religious vows supercede her marriage vows, and her daughter remains legitimate – that would have solved everything.

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