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Henry VIII (1491-1547)

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The king who had six wives
Known for

Henry VIII, 1491-1547.
View full size imageHenry VIII. © NMM

His six wives:

  • Catherine of Aragon
  • Anne Boleyn
  • Jane Seymour
  • Anne of Cleves
  • Catherine Parr
  • Katherine Howard

For establishing himself as the Supreme Head of the Church of England.

The dissolution of the monasteries.

Port connection

Deptford Dockyard.
View full size imageDeptford Dockyard. © NMM
Henry VIII invested heavily in the navy, increasing its size from 5 to 58 vessels, including the Mary Rose and the Henri Grace a Dieu.

He established Deptford and Woolwich as the Royal Dockyards; they built ships for the Royal Navy for 350 years.

Founded the Trinity House Corporation at Deptford.

Interesting facts

He had a great love for music and even composed pieces, such as Helas Madame.

In his youth, Henry was a very handsome and an incredible athlete, who had a love for jousting and hunting stag; but in his later years he was ill, partly as a result of a hunting accident and became very fat, having to be carried around everywhere.

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Life story
1491Born son of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York.
1509Succeeded as King Henry VIII and married Catherine of Aragon.
1513Royal Dockyards founded at Deptford and Woolwich.
1516Princess Mary born.
1518Ordinance depot (later Royal Arsenal) founded at Woolwich.
1533Divorced Catherine of Aragon, married Anne Boleyn, who gave birth to Princess Elizabeth.
1534Act of Supremacy made Henry Supreme Head of the Church of England.
1536Complete dissolution of the monasteries, a complete break with Rome.
1536Had Anne Boleyn beheaded on grounds of adultery and married Jane Seymour.
1537Jane Seymour died giving birth to Edward, Henry’s only son.
1540Married Anne of Cleves, divorced her and married Catherine Howard.
1542Beheaded Catherine Howard on grounds of adultery.
1543Married Katherine Parr.
1546Established the ‘Council of the Marine’ – later known as the Navy Board.
1547Died on 28 January, and his son becomes King Edward VI.
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Find out more
StoriesThe Tudor and Stuart port
London becomes a gateway to the markets and products of the world
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StoriesTrinity House
Showing the way
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National Maritime Museum/Royal Observatory GreenwichNew Opportunities Fund 
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