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Henry VIII’s Children and Who They Were?

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You are wrong if you thought that Henry VIII had just one child. Queen Elizabeth I of England wasn’t his only child. She certainly is the most famous figure from British history, but she had siblings.

Henry VIII children were Edward, Mary, and Elizabeth. Before Elizabeth was a queen, her brother was King Edward I and her sister was Queen Mary I of England. Henry had six wives and he also had one more illegitimate child that he acknowledged, Henry Fitzroy. But many say that he had many other illegitimate children too.

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Mary Tudor

Mary was the oldest Henry’s child, and she was born in February 1516, to his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. Henry loved his daughter, but she didn’t love her mother, because she hasn’t given him a male heir.

Henry wanted the marriage to be annulled because Catherine didn’t give him a male heir, and that led the Church of England to break away from the Roman Catholic Church because the Catholic church denied him that. They became Protestants, and the first Protestant archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, annulled the marriage in May 1533. Just a few days later Henry married another woman, Anne Boleyn. That year in September, Anne and Henry had a baby, Elizabeth.

Mary didn’t like Anne or Elizabeth and she didn’t want to acknowledge Elizabeth as a princess. But she was replaced by her in the line of succession, until Queen Anne was beheaded in May 1536.

Mary ruled after her brother Edward, and she was known as a ruthless queen. She wanted to restore the Roman Catholicism in England, and she ordered hundreds of Protestants to be burnt at the stake. With this behavior, she earned a nickname Bloody Mary, and that’s the nickname that most of the people know her today by.

She married Prince Philip of Spain in July 1554, but she didn’t have any children with him. She didn’t want Elizabeth to be the queen, because she was Protestant, but because she didn’t have children, she failed in preventing that. She died in November 1558, after she fell ill.

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Edward Tudor

After the fiasco with Catherine Henry married Jane Seymour, and she had a son with her Edward, in October 1537. Jane was the only wife with whom she had a son, that survived.

Henry died in January 1547, and he was succeeded by Edward, who was only nine then. Edward was the first king that was raised to be Protestant, and he was very interested in religious matters. Edward’s sovereignty was not that successful, and it ended in July 1553, when he died after months of sickness.

Edward wasn’t married, and he didn’t have any children, so Mary was supposed to next in the line for the throne. But Mary was Catholic, and Edward wanted to prevent religious reformations, so he named his first cousin Lady Jane Grey as his heir. Unfortunately, that idea didn’t last long, because Lady Jane Grey was abandoned by all her supporters, and she was on the throne only for nine days. The new queen was Mary.

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Elizabeth Tudor

Elizabeth is one of the most popular figures in English history, and she became the queen in 1558. She ruled for almost 50 years, and she died in March 1603. She never married, and she never had children, so she is the last monarch of the House of Tudor.

She managed to reverse her sister’s Catholic influence and to establish the Protestant church in England. One of her greatest accomplishments was the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, and that was one of the greatest military victories of England.

Her legacy and her time on the throne were so tremendous that is has a name, the Elizabethan era.



Ricardo is a freelance writer specialized in politics. He is with foreignpolicyi.org from the beginning and helps it grow. Email: richardorland4[at]gmai.com