Henry VIII

Henry VIII (1491–1547) was one of England’s most famous kings. During his 38-year reign, this Tudor monarch is mostly remembered for marrying six times and for starting the English Reformation, which turned England into a protestant country. Learn more about this clever, handsome and popular king who won the hearts of the English people, but was also seen as a bully and a tyrant. Then use our printable resources below to test your findings.

Henry VIII

Fun Facts

  • Henry’s three children – Edward, Mary and Elizabeth – all grew up to become Tudor monarchs (Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I).
  • Henry had an extravagant lifestyle and died owing a lot of money. During his lifetime, he built (or altered) over 50 palaces and royal houses, including St James’s Palace and Hampton Court.
  • Use this rhyme to remember what happened to Henry’s six wives: ‘Divorced, beheaded, died. Divorced, beheaded, survived.’

A Quote from Henry VIII

“Of all losses, time is the most irrecuperable for it can never be redeemed.”

A short biography of Henry VIII

Henry VIII was born in 1491 in Greenwich Palace, England, to King Henry VII and his wife Elizabeth of York. Henry had an older brother, Arthur, and two sisters, Mary and Margaret.

As a young prince, Henry had a privileged education. He learnt many languages and could sing and play instruments. He also loved sport and hunting. But his life changed dramatically at the age of ten, when his 15-year-old brother Arthur died, leaving Henry next in line to the throne.

Seven years later, in 1509, Henry’s father died, and Henry became King of England. He was just 17 years old. In need of a wife, he decided to marry Arthur’s widow, a Spanish princess called Catherine of Aragon, who had only been married to Arthur for a few months before he died. Henry needed the Pope’s permission, however, because the Bible said a man should not marry his brother’s wife.

Henry was a handsome, clever king and loved hosting expensive parties. But he didn’t like people disagreeing with him! During his reign, he greatly expanded the power of the monarch, which meant he could order people who fell out of favour to be imprisoned, or even executed!

Henry and Catherine were married for nearly 24 years, but they only had one surviving child, a girl called Mary. Henry became increasingly desperate for a son to inherit his throne. Frustrated at his situation, he fell in love with one of Catherine’s ladies-in-waiting (assistants), Anne Boleyn.

Henry wanted to divorce Catherine so he could marry Anne, but the Pope refused. So Henry took matters into his own hands! He split from the Catholic Church, creating a separate Church of England, of which he called himself the Supreme Head. He then passed a law that gave the death penalty to anyone who questioned his authority, and set about divorcing Catherine to marry Anne.

Followers of the new church were known as Protestants (while Catholics followed the Roman Catholic Church). In the years that followed, there was much unrest between the two groups and religion in England changed forever. Henry also began to close Catholic convents and monasteries, taking their land and wealth.

Henry was still desperate for a son, and when Anne only produced a daughter, Elizabeth, Henry had Anne executed! He married his next wife, Jane Seymour, just a few days later. Jane was one of Anne’s ladies-in-waiting. Together they had a son called Edward, but Jane tragically died days later due to complications from childbirth.

Henry went on to have three more wives. He married Anne of Cleves, a German princess whom he had never met, but he didn’t like her at all and decided to divorce her. Next came Catherine Howard, another of Anne’s ladies-in-waiting, who was just 17. But when she fell in love with someone else, Henry had her executed. Henry was married to his last wife, Catherine Parr, for four years until his death.

Henry is also remembered for increasing the size of the navy, for uniting Wales and England, for declaring himself King of Ireland and for going to war with France.

In 1536, Henry had an accident while jousting and wounded his leg. Afterwards, he was unable to exercise and – thanks to his extravagant love of food – became very overweight. A painful ulcer on his leg also made him rather bad tempered! He died in 1547, aged 55, leaving his son to become King Edward VI at just nine years of age. Henry is buried at Windsor Castle next to Jane Seymour, the wife who tragically gave her life to provide his son and heir.

Our Henry VIII Resources

 Henry VIII Booklet

Henry VIII Booklet

Print and fold these little booklets using the instructions here - and use them to store all the facts you learn about the charismatic King Henry VIII.

 Henry VIII Notebooking Page

Henry VIII Notebooking Page

These notebooking pages will come in useful when you are learning about Henry VIII. Use them for note-taking, writing projects and fact collecting...

 Wives of Henry VIII Booklet

Wives of Henry VIII Booklet

Here are three of our clever origami booklets (folding instructions here) dedicated to the wives of King Henry VIII. One has pictures and dates, one has pictures, dates and facts, and one has just pictures and has been left blank for your own notes.

A Letter From Henry VIII Worksheet

A Letter From Henry VIII Worksheet

Henry VIII changed history when he divorced Catherine of Aragon. Can the kids imagine they are Henry writing a letter to Cardinal Wolsey about why he wants to annul his first marriage?

A Letter To Henry VIII Worksheet

A Letter To Henry VIII Worksheet

This interesting history worksheet asks the kids to imagine they are Thomas Cromwell writing a letter to Henry VIII about the benefits of the dissolution of the monasteries.

A Wife For Henry VIII Worksheet

A Wife For Henry VIII Worksheet

Here's a fun drawing activity with a historical twist! When Henry's third wife (Jane Seymour) died, he was sent paintings of noble women from around Europe to look at. Can the children draw a picture of a potential new bride for Henry in the ornate frame?

Hampton Court Palace Colouring Page

Hampton Court Palace Colouring Page

Henry VIII lived at Hampton Court Palace for part of his time, and because it still exists it is probably the best known of his royal palaces. Here's a colouring page.

Henry VIII Coins Colouring Page

Henry VIII Coins Colouring Page

Here is the front and back of a coin from Henry VIII's reign, showing the king's head. Colour in, cut out and fold - or use as the covers of a little booklet on this most famous of Tudor kings!

Henry VIII Colouring Page

Henry VIII Colouring Page

This is an outline colouring page taken from one of the most famous of Henry VIII portraits. Doesn't he look splendid?

Henry VIII Colouring Page 2

Henry VIII Colouring Page 2

Here is a rather severe colouring page / portrait of Henry VIII, which is particularly interesting because of the detail of his clothes and hat.

Henry VIII Comprehension

Henry VIII Comprehension

Ask the kids to read about perhaps the most famous King of England, Henry VIII, then answer the questions about the text at the end...

Henry VIII Diary

Henry VIII Diary

This worksheet asks the kids to put themselves in the position of Henry VIII during an event in his life and to write a diary entry from his perspective.

Henry VIII Events Newspaper Writing Prompts

Henry VIII Events Newspaper Writing Prompts

We've chosen four events from the life and reign of Henry VIII and turned them into newspaper writing prompts to help inspire the kids to get writing! They can choose their favourite or even try them all!

Henry VIII Factsheet

Henry VIII Factsheet

We've managed to condense the eventful life and reign of one of England's most famous kings, Henry VIII into a two-page fact sheet. A perfect starting point if you're learning about this famous Tudor monarch.

Henry VIII Interview Worksheet

Henry VIII Interview Worksheet

It might have taken a brave person to interview Henry VIII, but if the famous Tudor king was on a talk show, what would the children ask him?

Henry VIII Newspaper Writing Prompt

Henry VIII Newspaper Writing Prompt

If there had been newspapers in print at the time of Henry VIII he would have given them plenty to write about! Can the children choose one of the events in the life of the King and write about it on our newspaper writing prompt template?

Henry VIII Poster

Henry VIII Poster

Our simple poster of Henry VIII - aimed at younger children - is fun to display in the classroom but also makes a great insert or cover for a project. We've given him simple outlines, too, in case you want to cut him out.

Henry VIII Quote Worksheet

Henry VIII Quote Worksheet

"Of all losses, time is the most irrecuperable for it can never be redeemed." Can the children write about what they think this quote by Henry VIII means, and rewrite it in their own words?

Henry VIII Story Paper

Henry VIII Story Paper

Use one of these story paper sheets to write about Henry VIII. Designed to appeal to younger children, we have both handwriting lines and normal lines, as well as a simplified image to colour in.

Henry VIII Story Paper 2

Henry VIII Story Paper 2

Our Henry VIII story paper featuring a portrait of the famous King of England is perfect for a Tudor history project. Or write a story set in Tudor times?

Henry VIII Timeline Worksheet

Henry VIII Timeline Worksheet

Henry VIII had one of the most eventful lives out of all the British monarchs. Use this timeline to fill in some of the important events during his life and reign. 

Henry VIII Word Search

Henry VIII Word Search

There are 25 words to find in this challenging Henry VIII word search grid, including the names of all six of his wives! 

Henry VIII Worksheet

Henry VIII Worksheet

Use this simple worksheet about Henry VIII to encourage some fact finding (and writing) about this most charismatic of Tudor kings!

Henry VIII Worksheet 2

Henry VIII Worksheet 2

This simple worksheet is a fun introduction to Henry VIII and is ideal for younger kids. Choose from colour, or black and white versions below.

Henry VIII Writing Page

Henry VIII Writing Page

Here's a writing page for your Henry VIII projects with our younger-style Henry VIII illustration. You can download it in colour or black and white.

Learn to Draw King Henry VIII

Learn to Draw King Henry VIII

Here's a fun activity that will help the children remember all about Henry VIII - learn to draw him! This simplified drawing uses easy shapes and a step by step method which will help the children recreate a drawing of the king that they can be proud of!

The Family Of Henry VIII Picture

The Family Of Henry VIII Picture

The kids need to do a little research on this fascinating family picture of Henry VIII for this worksheet. Who is in the painting and why do you think Henry commisioned it? Also, can they find out what is wrong with the painting?

Tudor Family Tree

Tudor Family Tree

 Our simple Tudor Family Tree printable shows the Tudor family - which had arguably three of the strongest monarchs ever to sit on the English throne: Henry VII, his son Henry VIII, and his daughter Elizabeth I. 

Wives Of Henry VIII Rhyme Worksheet

Wives Of Henry VIII Rhyme Worksheet

Here's a Tudor history worksheet with a difference! The rhyme "Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived" tells the story of King Henry VIII and his many young wives. Can the kids match the wives to their place in the rhyme?

Wives Of Henry VIII Worksheet

Wives Of Henry VIII Worksheet

One of the things that Henry VIII is remembered for most is having six wives! Can the children find out about who they were, why he married them and what happened to them? They can fill in their research on this worksheet...

Succeeded by

Edward VI
Edward VI

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