April 21 – Henry VIII is King of England


On this day in Tudor history, 21st April 1509, King Henry VII, founder of the Tudor dynasty on the English throne, died at Richmond Palace.

Henry VII was succeeded by his seventeen-year-old son who, apparently, did “not desire gold or gems or precious metals, but virtue, glory, immortality”! Yes, this was Henry VIII.

Find out more in this video:

You can find out more about father and son in these two videos:

On this day in 1581, alchemist Thomas Charnock was buried at Otterhampton in Somerset.

Charnock was obsessed with alchemy and claimed to have made the philosopher’s stone, which he offered to Queen Elizabeth I in exchange for financial support.

Find out more about Thomas Charnock, his work on alchemy, and the philosopher’s stone…

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  1. Henry V11 was quite unaware as he lay on his deathbed that his successor would be known to history as England’s most controversial monarch, he had lost his eldest son and heir Arthur to some wasting disease possibly tuberculosis, and it is thought that Henry also fell victim to the same, his queen had died in childbirth and it was said he had loved and cared for her deeply, his youngest child a daughter named Katherine had also died, and mother and daughter had been buried together, he had ruled for over two decades, and his reign had not been an easy one, ever since the crown had rolled on the grass at Bosworth and placed on his head, he had had to contend with pretenders to his throne coming out of the woodwork, Perkin Warbeck for one who claimed to be the young King Edward V, the apologists of Richard 111 theorise that Henry V11 could have had the two young sons of Edward 1V murdered arguing that it was he who sought to lose more than Richard, his mother Margaret Beaufort also has been accused, but it was highly likely the real culprit was Richard as he was king at the time and the boys were under his watchful eye, held in the most strongest fortress in England at the time , – The Tower of London, Henry Tudors accession was greeted with joy and celebration and his marriage to Elizabeth of York, King Edwards daughter was popular, here they had a Plantagenet Princess on the throne as was her right, her little brothers had mysteriously disappeared and Elizabeth was the best choice, she was beautiful sharing both her parents good looks and charm, and for Henry, it was also a wise choice, she helped to keep his throne more secure than if he had married any other noblewoman or foreign princess, she was also fertile having several children in quick succession, Arthur was the heir named after England’s legendary king, he had several daughters Margaret Mary Katherine and Henry, the bust of Henry V111 as a toddler by an Italian sculptor shows a cheeky eyed imp with a wide grin on his face, hard to imagine this angelic little cherub growing up to be the iconic tyrant of history, Henry V11 died at the age of fifty two, he had lived a turbulent life, his mother the enigmatic Margaret Beaufort followed him in two months, he had been ailing for sometime yet it is still unknown today what it was that actually killed him, he was gradually growing weaker and had refused audiences, possibly he had stopped eating much and seemed to be in a state of depression, his queen was dead and he must have wished to join her, but he no doubt had some qualms about leaving his realm to his younger son also called Henry, Henry V11 had a troubled reign, he had never known his father and his mother had nearly died having him, yet she became his guide and mentor whilst growing up, she had told him he was descended from great Edward the 111, his blood was in his veins, albeit through the bastard line, but nevertheless still there, and she must have imposed on him that one day he may well be king of England, Margaret’s experiences had toughened her considerably, and all her ambitious hopes were focused on her son, yet he spent most of his young life in exile abroad and England was a remote island troubled with the warring clans of York and Lancaster, the crown was very far away to young Henry, yet nothing is certain in life and the historian Dan Jones has said that the seizure of the English crown by Richard 111, then made it possible for any would be king maker to attempt the same, the throne was coming within easy reach, and his mother plotted with Elizabeth Woodville to arrange a marriage between their children, the Battle of Bosworth could have gone either way, but Henry’s stepfather came down on the side of young Henry and Richard was defeated in an intense bloody battle, his body was slung naked over his horse and he was paraded through the streets of London whilst Henry rode in style with the crown on his head, God had indeed approved of his victory, he was the founder of the Tudor dynasty after the Plantagenets had ruled for centuries, he was quite unaware but the Tudor name would come to represent a fascinating myriad of colour and drama, bloodshed and tyranny on the history of his country, as the elderly king lay on his deathbed he made his peace with his maker clutching the crucifix to him day and night, as finally he breathed his last and his soul passed from this world to the next, not many mourned his passing (yet he was greeted as a saviour on the battlefield of Bosworth), as they excitedly looked towards his handsome golden haired son as the purveyor of a new bright age, he had also had a reputation for being rather miserly, and his treatment of Katherine of Aragon is rather sad, as is common the death of the monarch was kept secret for several days. and then his council broke the news to his second son Henry Prince of Wales, as they knelt before this dazzling god like prince they may have been somewhat perturbed, he was dynamic bursting with energy and eager to be master of his own fate, was he the sort of king who would take advice they must have pondered, full of energy so unlike his somber crusty old father, the first thing the new king did was to order the arrest and trials of both Richard Epsom and Edmund Dudley, his fathers advisors they were condemned on charges of treason, yet really it was to please the people and made excuses for his fathers debated administration, this made Henry V111 even more popular, many years later Edmund Dudley’s son walked the same path to the scaffold, for now Henry’s coronation was under way, his father was laid to rest alongside his queen in the beautiful black and gold chapel in Westminster Abbey which he had had designed and built, and the new age of King Henry V111 was just beginning, this new king was everything a king should be, handsome merry and charming, he looked like a king he resembled his Plantagenet grandfather whom had been so very popular, he was musical cultured and intelligent wrote poetry and music, he spoke several languages, he excelled at sports he hunted tirelessly, he played tennis archery and football then a new sport, a Venetian visitor described his court as the most sophisticated in Europe, and Henry was a Renaissance prince of the first degree, he was called the most handsomest prince, he married his sister in law the infanta Catalina from Spain and they were deemed the golden couple, his people rejoiced his reign of terror was far off in the future, most of his future brides had not been born and England was still very much a Catholic country, Henry V11 gave England Henry V111 and that first Tudor monarch would never have envisaged what changes he would bring to his once hard fought kingdom.

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