King Henry VIII

Known for his six wives and for his tumultuous relationship with the Catholic Church, Henry VIII was born in Greenwich in 1491. He is also known for establishing the Royal Navy.

Henry VIII timeline

28 June 1491 | Born in Greenwich Palace to Henry VII and Elizabeth of York

2 April 1502 | Henry’s older brother Arthur dies, placing Henry next in line to the throne

24 June 1509 | Crowned at Westminster Palace

11 June 1509 Marries Katherine of Aragon

18 February 1516 | Henry’s first child, Mary Tudor born in Greenwich

1532 – 34 | Henry breaks with the Catholic Church

25 January 1533 | Marries Anne Boleyn

7 September 1533 | Elizabeth born in Greenwich Palace

30 May 1536 | Marries Jane Seymour

12 October 1536 | Edward VI born 

6 January 1540 | Marries Anne of Cleeves

28 July 1540 | Marries Katherine Howard

12 July 1543 | Marries Katherine Parr

28 January 1547 | Henry dies at Whitehall Palace

Royal Greenwich 

Henry VIII was not only born in Greenwich, but the birth of his daughters and two of his marriages also took place in the area. 

Find out more about Tudor history in Greenwich

Henry VIII facts

Did you know that Henry VIII was the person who established Woolwich and Deptford as the Royal Dockyards?

Find out more Henry VIII facts

Painting of Tudors: Mary I and Philip II of Spain, Henry VIII, Edward VI and Elizabeth I
Mary I and Philip II of Spain, Henry VIII, Edward VI and Elizabeth I


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Henry VIII (1509-1547) is one of history’s most famous monarchs. His radical political and religious upheavals reshaped the Tudor world. He is best known for his six marriages and his life-long pursuit of a male heir. His six wives and their lives are the subject of much fascination and speculation that continues to this day. 


Henry VIII is possibly the most famous King of England, known both for his six wives and for the splitting of the Church. He had several children from different women, but only three were legitimate and survived past infancy. These were King Edward VI, Queen Mary I and Queen Elizabeth I. Many others were born illegitimately and only one of these was recognised - Henry Fitzroy.

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Members of the Royal family have been drawn to Greenwich as far back as the late middle ages, with the area being the site of numerous royal births, marriages and deaths.


Greenwich Park is said to be the most historic of all London’s Royal Parks, the National Maritime Museum and Royal Observatory and the Queen's House are situated in its grounds.

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Greenwich's royal connections go right back to the 15th century. Three Tudor monarchs were born in Greenwich and James I also lived here, giving the borough to his wife Anne.


Henry VIII (1491–1547) is one of the most written about kings in English history. He established the Church of England and the Royal Navy.


Henry VIII (1491–1547) is one of the most famous kings in English history. An important part of his legacy was his establishment of the Royal Navy, encouraging shipbuilding and creating dockyards.

Full hull model of 'Mary Rose' (1509), a 60-gun sailing warship D8553-1_slider.JPG

The Mary Rose was a warship built in Portsmouth for King Henry VIII. It sank in 1545 and was recovered in 1981, with many artefacts still on board.

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The Tudor dynasty was founded in 1485 by Elizabeth's grandfather, Henry VII, when he emerged victorious after the dynastic Wars of the Roses. 

Iron ship fitting at the Royal Dockyard, Woolwich.jpg

In the 17th and 18th centuries there were six Royal Navy Dockyards in England, at Deptford, Woolwich, Chatham, Sheerness, Portsmouth and Plymouth.