Oh Henry! candy bars were invented in the 15th century by a chocolatier who made this exclamation every time he opened his Renaissance Weekly newsletter and saw that King Henry VIII had gotten married… again. “Oh Henry! Why don’t give up your fixation with the ladies and have a nice peanut-y chocolate bar, instead?” Okay, so that historical tidbit may not quite be historical, but here are some things that are:
Henry VIII (ß that means “8th” for those of us who have no idea why people expect red-white-and-blue-blooded Americans to read Roman numerals) became King of England in 1509 at the age of 18. Young Henry had not expected to succeed to the throne, but his older brother, Arthur, had died just a few years earlier. Now Henry had inherited Arthur’s crown, his responsibilities… and his wife, Catherine of Aragon, who Henry wed to seal an alliance between England and Spain, Catherine’s home country.
As a monarch, Henry is best known for his six marriages: Two of his wives he divorced, two he had beheaded, one passed away in childbirth, and one outlived him. Part of the reason behind his game of Extreme Wife Swap was his obsession with producing a male heir, which his first two wives were unable to do. Henry believed that a daughter would be unable to maintain the Tudor Dynasty – Henry’s parents were the first monarchs to reign in the aftermath of the Wars of the Roses, and he had a concern that the peace and unity between the houses of England would not last. Henry’s offspring who ascended to the throne were King Edward VI, Queen (Bloody) Mary I, and the Virgin Queen Elizabeth I.
King Henry was also known for his role in the separation of the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church, removing himself from papal authority, so he could continue remarrying to his heart’s delight and possibly because he was offended by the fashion faux pas that was the Pope’s big hats, which is completely understandable. During his reign, he also oversaw the union of England and Wales, paving the path towards the modern United Kingdom.
To his contemporaries, Henry was known as an attractive, educated, and accomplished King, even quoted as being “one of the most charismatic rulers to sit on the English throne.” He was a Renaissance man to a “T,” balancing work as a musician, author, and poet with his royal obligations. He was also a talented gambler, dice player, jouster, hunter, and tennis player. In spite of his great sports skill, Henry became morbidly obese at the end of his life and passed at the age of 55.
King Henry Ensemble Brocade Pants:
King Henry Royal Doublet:
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