28th June 1491 – The birth of Henry VIII, son of Henry VII

Today marks the anniversary of the birth of that Tudor icon, King Henry VIII, on 28th June 1491. He was born at Greenwich Palace as the second son and third child of King Henry VII, who had become king after defeating Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth in August 1485, and his queen consort, Elizabeth of York

You can read more about Henry VIII in the following articles:

Here is a quick video I did on Henry VIII and you can watch more of my videos on the Anne Boleyn Files YouTube Channel:

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6 thoughts on “28th June 1491 – The birth of Henry VIII, son of Henry VII”
  1. What a happy day this had to have been for King Henry and Elizabeth. Having only been on the throne for six years they not only had an heir but now a spare if the unthinkable should happen.

  2. When Queen Elizabeth took to her birthing chamber in the Palace Of Greenwich to await the birth of this her third child, little did she realise that that child would grow up to become the most notorious monarch ever to sit on the English throne, Henry himself favoured the place of his birth more than any other of his royal residences so maybe he thought it fitting that he first made his entrance to the world there, his mother had gone there six or so weeks before and in the serene atmosphere of her beautiful apartments, this saintly queen lived with just her women for company, hung with tapestries depicting illustrations from the Authurian legends and classical love stories, sumptous furniture the centrepiece her huge luxurious four poster bed, hung with maybe brocade and stitched in gold thread, the crib would be there and everything else required for the new prince or princess, the room would have been dark and what little sun would have been allowed to penetrate would have thrown dappled light here and there, quiet with just the soft murmur of voices no men were allowed in and when queens recited to their birthing chamber they withdraw exclusively from the world of men, it was a strange secret universe laid down by her formidable mother in law, the Lady Margaret Beaufort, Elizabeth would have been used to this somewhat stifling atmosphere and though she must have missed her husband dreadfully, she had her women to tend to her every whim, to hand her wine in one of the golden or silver goblets, to mop her brow when she became too hot and to bathe her in a cool bath scented with herbs, to make sure she ate what delicacies she wanted and stayed calm and to make sure she had soft music played to her and stories read to her, maybe from the bible or love stories, she had two healthy children but she knew that for every woman childbirth was highly dangerous for the mother as well as the child, and she was risking her life with every pregnancy, as she lay on her bed racked with pain she and her women prayed to the holy mother the mother of Christ and at last he was born, a bonny fair skinned baby who must have started wailing the minute he opened his mouth, to visualise Henry V111 as a baby is hard, but we are all babies at one time – all innocent and totally dependant on our mother, however he was given over to his wet nurse and washed and swaddled and Elizabeth was pleased she had done her duty, exhausted she would have slept secure in the knowledge that England had another fair prince who soon would join his older siblings in the nursery, there is a bust modelled by an Italian artist said to be of Henry as a toddler, his mouth is open wide and he is looking sideways a cheeky look in his eyes as if he had just done something naughty or was looking at something which had amused him, if it really is him then we have an idea of what he looked like with the innocence of childhood, a cherub from a Rubens painting with rosy cheeks blue eyes and golden hair, bursting with health and energy and vitality, he grew into an exceptionally handsome man and had an active intelligent brain and was endowed with a fit muscular body to, it was as if all the gods on mount Olympus had conspired together to give this young prince all the qualities that man most desires, Henry V11 must have been pleased that he had another fine son but it was Arthur who was all important, he was destined to rule the realm after him, for his second son it has been suggested that Henry V11 intended a career in the church which normally befell the second son of the monarch, and Henry did grew up to be very pious but I doubt he believed that was his calling, the unexpected death of his elder brother caused a reversal in his fortunes and he must have believed from that moment on, that he was destined for greatness, the royal place of Eltham was one of many where the young Henry V111 and Prince Arthur and Princess Margaret all resided from time to time, there was a nursery where they were joined with their nurses and governess, through the years they would soon be joined by other princes and princesses though sadly they did not survive except one more sibling, the Princess Mary who grew up to be every bit as fiery as her elder brother and just as attractive, with her last pregnancy the beloved Queen Elizabeth of York sadly died from purpeural fever along with her infant daughter named Katherine, she was buried with her child in the magnificent chapel of Henry V11 which the King had had built in Westminster Abbey, a fitting memorial a Yorkist princess and later queen, the young Prince Henry later described it as the worse day of his life.

  3. The bust that Christine mentioned was made by Guido Mazzoni in 1498 and is painted and very life like. If it is of Henry he was a very cute young boy and looks quite happy.

  4. I have seen this bust in 2009 in an exhibition in London. I love the cheeky smile and chubby cheeks. When some people think of Henry Vii they think of a miser counting his money, but that is the late Henry and now he was as cosmopolitan and eager to show himself as a magnificent King who is on the international stage. Henry had Italian sculptures and painters, he invited Erasmus to his palaces and he gave a gift of Greek grammar to Prince Henry, he had painters from the Netherlands, from the Holy Roman Empire and Estonia and his famous palace of Richmond was sumptuous. His crowning glory, the Tudor Lady Chapel at Westminster Abbey is still regarded as a marvellous thing and here are their tombs. The busts of his children and family portraits show he had the best of everything and he is obviously not a miser during this period. His Court may be new but he is attracting talent from abroad. He won’t reach the dissy heights of his son for magnificent palaces, tapestries, warships and so on but Elizabeth of York knew how to spend money, especially when she didn’t have it.

    Now with two sons his throne was almost secure and he would guarantee the rest with the execution of young Warwick and Richard of England or Perkin Warbeck in 1499 and the capture of Edmund, Earl of Suffolk a few years later. A spectacular marriage between his eldest son, Prince Arthur and Katherine, daughter of Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain would shortly follow, as would the marriage of Margaret to James of Scotland. Unfortunately, the same year, 1503 also saw the death of Elizabeth of York, much loved by Prince Henry.

    Anyway, happy birthday Henry Viii our most colourful monarch.

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