King Henry VIII was arguably the most feared English monarch in history. Among his many claims to fame included putting an end to Catholicism in England in order to get divorced. Oh, and he liked killing, chopping limbs off and sadistic cruelty too. But which of the legends surrounding Henry are true, and which are simply myths.
10. He was a devout Catholic
Despite breaking with the Roman Catholic Church, Henry was at one time one of the most pious Roman Catholics in Europe. He was even awarded the title of “Fidei Defensor” or “Defender of the Faith” by Pope Leo X. This title has been passed down to every monarch following Henry VIII’s death. Today an argument has been forwarded making the case that the title should be changed to “Defender of Faiths” so as to more accurately reflect modern British Society.
9. He didn’t compose Greensleeves
While Henry did write the lyrics and the music for the song ‘Pastime with Good Company’ he did not in fact compose ‘Greensleeves’. ‘Greensleeves’ is an English folk song whose lyrics are in an Italian poetic form that came to England after Henry VIII’s death.
8. Henry was fit and muscular as a young man
Henry was only morbidly obese during the latter years of his life. As a young King he was a healthy athletically built man who prided himself on his physical prowess in all manner of sports ranging from tennis to jousting. Ironically it would be a jousting accident in 1536 that would prevent Henry from exercising. Depression would quickly set in and cause him to gorge on all manner of food and drink.