Henry VIII, king of England: Later Years

Later Years

In 1536, Anne Boleyn, who had given birth to Elizabeth (later Elizabeth I) but failed to have a male heir, was convicted of adultery and incest and beheaded. Soon afterward, Henry married Jane Seymour, who in 1537 bore a son (later Edward VI) and died. Meanwhile in 1536–37 Henry had dealt brutally but effectively with rebellions in the north by subjects protesting economic hardships and the dissolution of the monasteries (see Pilgrimage of Grace). In 1536, Henry authorized the Ten Articles, which included some Protestant doctrinal points, and he approved (1537) publication of the Bible in English. However, the Six Articles passed by Parliament in 1539 reverted to the fundamental principles of Roman Catholic doctrine.

Another temporary peace (1538) between France and the empire seemed to pose the threat of Catholic intervention in England and helped Cromwell persuade the king to ally himself with the German Protestant princes by marrying (1540) Anne of Cleves. However, Henry disliked Anne and divorced her almost immediately. Cromwell, now completely discredited, was beheaded. The king then married Catherine Howard, but in 1542 she met the fate of Anne Boleyn. He married his sixth wife, Catherine Parr, in 1543.

In 1542 war had begun again with Scotland, still controlled through James V by French and Catholic interests. The fighting culminated in the rout of the Scots at Solway Moss and the death of James. Henry forced the Scots to agree to a treaty (1543) of marriage between Mary Queen of Scots and his own son, Edward, but this was to come to nothing. In 1543, Henry once more joined Charles in war against France and was able to take Boulogne (1544). The expensive war dragged on until 1546, when Henry secured a payment of indemnity for the city. When he died in 1547 he was succeeded, as he had hoped, by a son, but it was his daughter Elizabeth I who ruled over one of the greatest periods in England's history.

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