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Posted on May 7th, 2014, by

Inclined to mysticism, Henry assured himself that it was God’s Providence that punished him for that he has was married with his brother’s wife. He saw only one solve of this situation – a divorce. In principle this was possible. It was only necessary to obtain the consent Katharine and the Pope. However, Henry’s wife refused to divorce, and the Pope, being under strong pressure from Charles V, Katharine’s nephew, always put off the decision. Meanwhile, the lady in waiting of Queen Anne Boleyn, has long consisted in having an affair with Henry, became pregnant. Longing to have an heir Henry decided to get secretly married with her. Now the termination of a previous marriage was for him not only an obligatory matter, but also a hasty one. In April 1533 the Archbishop of Canterbury T. Krenmer announced alliance of Katharine and Henry VIII not valid, and their daughter was deprived of the right of inheritance of the throne. Before the King persuaded parliament to pass a law under which monarch was proclaimed the head of the church in England. Although the “Defender of the Faith” (a title bestowed to Henry by Pope for the book “Adoption of the Seven Sacraments against Martin Luther”) did not want to spread the religious ideas of the Reformation through his kingdom, however, the break with Rome marked the birth of Protestant England. The next step in the strengthening of the royal power was the secularization of church lands and the dissolution of the monasteries. As in other European countries affected by the Reformation, the elimination of tenure of the church contributed to the growth of new capitalist relations in agriculture and enrichment of the English land aristocracy. During this period the process of “enclosure movement” – the transition from agriculture to commodity cattle begins in England, which resulted in the fact that thousands of tenant farmers have been displaced from the ground and turned into mendicant vagrants. Speaking in defense of economic interests of the nobility, Henry wanted to make the rural poor people working for little pay, with the help of the so-called “bloody laws.” Their essence consisted in the following: if in the city a tramp, without a definite occupation was caught, he was punished with lashes and sent to the village, if he was caught a second time – a brand burned on his forehead and he was sent into slavery, and for the third time – death by hanging expected for poor. Thus in a few years only in London up to 10 thousand people have been executed. With no less firmness and determination, Henry VIII was going to subdue unruly Ireland. He was concerned that France or Spain can use the green island as a springboard for the invasion or pressure on England. The main King’s rivals in Ireland were the Anglo-Norman of Fitzgerald, graphs of Kendra. They have repeatedly entered into an open confrontation with British troops, and Henry wanted to get rid of these troublemakers. Ruthlessly having suppressed several rebellions, the King was able to expand easily an attack in the possession of the Catholic Church in Ireland, especially since the Irish Catholics supported the rebels. Just in a few years the power of rich monasteries of Ireland were permanently undermined – not without benefit for the Crown, and in 1541 the Irish Parliament officially recognized Henry VIII, as the King of Ireland (Vickers 2002).

Meanwhile, in his country Henry continued to persecute religious opposition. In order to identify those who disagreed with the state’s policy a new oath of allegiance to the Act of Parliament in 1534 was invented, in accordance with this document the King’s daughter from his first marriage, Mary was declared illegitimate, and the right of succession to the throne passed to the descendants of Henry and Anne Boleyn. Now anyone who would allow himself to doubt the legality of the marriage and in the correctness of the input of this church device considered a traitor. One of the first people called to give an oath of allegiance, was a brilliant writer and humanist, author of the immortal “Utopia”, the former Lord Chancellor Thomas More. He did not criticize the royal policy. He was just silent, but the silence was more eloquent than any words. Large role in determining his fate was played by the new Queen Anne, who rightly believed (and was able to convince Henry) that the apparent disapproval of a respected person is a significant political factor. More did not give his consent to swear allegiance to the new order of succession to the throne ”“ he was unable to give up his religious principles. After that, he was imprisoned in the Tower, and executed after some time. Upon learning of the death of his friend Erasmus Roterodamus said: “Thomas More … His soul was white as snow, and genius is that England will never be like that, even though it is home to great people.” Such sacrifices were made by Henry VIII in the name of his future heir. Meanwhile, Anna was not able to give him a long-awaited son. The only surviving child was a girl again (the future Queen Elizabeth I). Being quite dejected after painful thought Henry came to the same conclusion as with his first wife: marriage to Anne is not pleasing to God, and therefore not valid. By this time, that is, in 1536, the King drew attention to one of the ladies of Queen, Jane Seymour. Enemies of Anne Boleyn had a plan that could make Henry to think about divorce. The most convenient excuse was found immediately – adultery. By means of blackmail, threats and direct pressure on the former admirers not only evidence of adultery, but also, supposedly a conspiracy existed against the King were obtained (Street 2004). The Court was not long, the sentence was completely satisfying Henry VIII. Anne Boleyn was executed on May 18, 1536. In her speech she said: “I ”‹”‹do not blame anybody. When I die, remember that I have honored our good King, who was very kind and gracious to me. You’ll be happy, if the Lord would give him long life, as he is gifted in many good qualities: fear against God, love for his people and the other virtues, which I will not mention.” Despite all his virtues, Henry had not grieved for a long time, but literally the day after the penalty has announced his engagement with Jane Seymour. In early October 1537 the third queen after a very difficult childbirth produced the long-awaited boy. Contemporaries indicated that the King wept with emotion and happiness, learning about such good news, which, meanwhile, has cost the life to his wife. Jane died because of blood poisoning on October 24. After that, Henry VIII married three more times (Ellis 2003). With his fourth wife Anne of Cleves he divorced, the fifth – Catherine Howard posted on the block, and the sixth – Catherine Parr (in marriage Letimer) survived him. The King died in 1547, being not a very old man. England of his reign was described by foreigners as a prosperous kingdom with a developed agriculture, commerce and cities. Henry VIII changed the nature of the relationship of church and state founded in ancient times, and strengthened the royal authority, and also did a lot to support of zealous nationalism, which differ a small island kingdom.

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