Henry VIIIHenry VIII, the 3rd child and 2nd son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, was born on June 28, 1491. His paternal grandmother, Margaret Beaufort, seemed to have had the greatest influence on him. She supervised his education and chose his tutor, the humanist John Skelton.

His closest childhood friends were his cousins, William Compton and Charles Brandon. He saw little of his brother Arthur.  Only with the death of Arthur in 1502 and of Elizabeth in 1503 did Henry VII take much interest in his son. From his father young Henry learned good business habits, a fondness for show, and a terrible temper.

In April 1509 Henry VII died, and Henry VIII married Katherine of Aragon seven weeks later. Katherine gave birth to a stillborn daughter in January 1510 and a year later gave birth to a son who died within weeks. In 1512 she had another miscarriage; in 1514, a son was stillborn. The princess Mary was born in 1516, and in 1518 Katherine gave birth to another stillborn child.

In 1513 Henry allied with the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor in a Holy League against France. Henry had no sooner departed for the continent than the King of Scotland, aided by the French king, invaded England. Katherine sent troops North to subdue the Scots. In 1514 Henry married his sister Mary to the heirless Louis XII who unfortunately died three months later. Charles Brandon was sent to bring Mary home and disobeyed Henry's orders by marrying her.

In 1520 Henry and King Francis of France met in Flanders on the Field of Cloth of Gold to feast and joust. Henry returned to face the treason of the Duke of Buckingham, accused of plotting to kill Henry and take his throne.  Although Buckingham resented the "new men" around the king, he also was concerned about the lack of an heir to the throne. Henry began to have "doubts" about his marriage.  In 1525 he made his illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy, Earl of Nottingham and Duke of Richmond and Somerset.

In 1523 Henry planned another campaign to free the Pope from French control. When as a result of Charles V's victory over Francis I, England was offered the territories of Normandy, Guienne, and Gascony, an "Amicable Grant" was levied on laymen and clergy alike. Popular unrest led Henry to rescind the grant in 1525 and to blame the measure on Cardinal Wolsey.