Henry VIII: Overated and Oversexed? Essay

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Henry VIII: Overated and Oversexed?

Henry VIII probably had an 'overrated and oversexed' image following him. By 1547, the year of Henry's death and consequently the end of his reign, he had had six wives. He also went to great lengths to allow him to get rid of some of these women. For example, when it came to the point in his reign when he wanted to divorce Catherine of Aragon he had to go to great lengths to allow this to happen. As a divorcement is not allowed in the Catholic Church, Henry needed to find evidence to support his statement that his marriage was illegal so he could annul Catherine. An annulment states the marriage was not valid in the first place, and only the pope has the right
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To some people this may have suggested that now Henry had broken away from Rome, the decisions he was making would also take up a more protestant approach to religion. Another clear move towards Protestantism was the act of ten articles. The seven sacraments of the Catholic doctrine were rejected, leaving a belief in only three, baptism, the Eucharist and penance. There was lots of opposition to the reformation in many different formats however there was never anything significant enough to cause a major crisis. When people openly challenged Henry's decisions e.g. John Fischer, the Bishop of Rochester they paid with their life. This happened rarely, people didn't normally go as far as to challenge Henry's authority publicly. This may be one of the reasons why the reformation was as smooth as it was. As the years went on though, Henry made some moves that suggested to the people that he was heading back towards Catholicism. The Truce of Nice signed by Charles V and Francis I brought a halt to the Habsburg - Valois war and created the real possibility of a joint invasion of England by the Catholic powers. This threat lasted up until 1540, and prompted Henry to rediscover the six articles. Also Henry's commitment to the Catholic belief was further confirmed with the trial and execution of John Lambert for his rejection of the transubstantiation.

With the reformation came

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