Chapter Three: The Break with Rome

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Chapter Three: The Break with Rome

Story of Henry VIII

Early in 1526 Henry met a young English lady of the court. Her name was Anne Boleyn. She had long, black hair and dark eyes. She spoke French and wore elegant① French clothes. She was very lively, intelligent and interested in politics②. Henry fell in love with her immediately. Several men of the court fell in love with her too. Anne had a sixth finger on her left hand. Her enemies called her a witch!

Henry wanted to marry Anne Boleyn and have a son with her. He decided to divorce Catherine, but he needed permission from the Pope in Rome. He asked Cardinal Wolsey to convince the Pope. After a few years the Pope refused the divorce. Henry was furious with Wolsey and the Church. He accused Cardinal Wolsey of treason③ and he died soon after. In 1529 Henry chose Sir Thomas More, a great scholar and an honest man, as Lord Chancellor of England. Sir Thomas More was Lord Chancellor until 1532 when he was beheaded④ because he opposed Henry’s break with Rome. In 1533 Henry also chose a new Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer. Cranmer wanted to change the Church. He believed in the absolute power⑤ of the King. Cranmer encouraged the use of the Bible in English. He also helped to establish the Protestant Church in England. He later annulled⑥ Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon.

① elegant: 优雅的。
② politics: 政治。
③ treason: 叛国。
④ beheaded: 斩首。
⑤ absolute power: 极权。
⑥ annulled: 废止。

In January 1533 Henry and Anne Boleyn were secretly married. Catherine of Aragon was banished① from court and died alone three years later.

By May 1533 Anne Boleyn was Queen of England. Four months later she gave birth to Princess Elizabeth. Another girl! Henry was desolate②. He wanted a son more than anything.
In 1534 Thomas Cromwell, Henry’s new Lord Chancellor, helped put into effect the Act of Supremacy③. With this Act Henry became the Supreme Head of the Church of England.
Henry was soon tired of Anne because she did not give him a son. He then met another lady called Jane Seymour and fell in love with her. Anne, Henry’s second wife, was accused of adultery and treason. She was imprisoned in the Tower of London and was beheaded in May 1536.

Eleven days after Anne Boleyn’s execution Henry married Jane Seymour. She was a quiet, docile④ lady who brought happiness to the royal family. In October 1537 Jane gave birth to a son, Prince Edward. King Henry was overjoyed⑤ and the whole country celebrated. Unfortunately, after twelve days the Queen died from an infection. Henry mourned⑥ her for a long time. Jane, his third wife, was probably his favorite. Henry now had an heir – Prince Edward was the future King of England. He was first in succession⑦ to the throne because he was a male. Edward was intelligent and received an excellent education from the best scholars.

① banished: 放逐。
② desolate: 凄凉的。
③ supreme: 至高无上的。
④ docile: 温顺的。
⑤ overjoyed: 十分高兴。
⑥ mourned: 哀悼。
⑦ succession: 继承。

To show his power and importance Henry VIII built magnificent palaces such as St James’ Palace and Whitehall Palace. He also built castles and more than fifty houses around England.

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