Colin Steele Clark, M.A.
Introduction to British history
6th January 2012
The reign and religious changes of Henry VIII., Mary I. and Elizabeth I. Up until the 16th century, belief in God wasn’t such a problematic issue as it was after. Most of Europe was Roman Catholic and the Pope was the head of Catholic („universal“) church. But in 1517, all of that began to change. A German monk by the name of Martin Luther started a great movement, that eventually led to events, such as deaths, wars and betrayals. This religious movement broke away from the Roman Catholic Church and was called Protestantism – protesting against Roman Catholic Church, it’s customs, teachings, etc.
In Britain, religion was always an important matter. Usually the monarch decided what the main religion of the country was and during the reign of Tudors, people have experienced probably the most confusing time of their lifes. They often had to change how did they view God, when and how to worship him and other matters very closely concerning their daily routine. The first monarch that I’m going to mention, who officially changed the way people felt about religion, was Henry Tudor, also known as Henry VIII.
Henry was born in 1491 to Henry VII and Elizabeth of York in Greenwich Palace. He was the second son of the king, so he wasn’t expected to actually become one, therefore not much is known about his childhood. His older brother, Arthur, married a Spain princess, Catherine of Aragon when Henry was about 10 years old. The marriage did not last long, Arthur died four months after and Catherine got into a very fragile situation. A treaty had to be signed so that Catherine could marry the next heir of the throne, young Henry. This is how the long and unfortunate history of Henry’s wifes began.
Henry did not become king until his father died in 1509, leaving the handsome and athletic 18-year old Henry with a wife and a throne. Henry had been trained for this moment ever since...