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King Henry VIII

Portrait of King Henry VIII

When King Henry VII died in 1509, his son became King Henry VIII at the age of 17.

He was tall, had short auburn hair and a beard. 

Whilst Henry VII had saved money, Henry VIII wanted to spend it on enjoying life. He did not want to spend his time with the Council discussing politics. He therefore left the business of running the country to advisors like Cardinal Wolsey and Thomas Cromwell whilst he spent his time: hunting jousting and feasting.

Henry VIII wanted to look grand and spent a lot of money on clothes. Only rich people were allowed to wear ermine, which is the fur trimming on his coat.

In his youth he was very handsome and a great athlete. He spoke: French, Spanish, Latin and some Italian and was good at playing the lute.

He lived at Hampton Court Palace in London which had 1,000 rooms and 280 silk-covered beds.

Hampton Court Great Gatehouse

As he grew older, he became bloated and fat (having a 54-inch waist when he was 50). By the end of his life many people were afraid of him because of his ruthless behaviour towards anyone who didn't agree with him - he had more than 70,000 people executed during his 38-year reign.

Henry died in St James's Palace, Westminster on 28th January 1547, aged 55 years old. His funeral procession was four miles long and he was buried at Windsor Castle.