King Henry VIII

King Henry VIII

On this day in 1491 one of the most interesting (if not the most likeable) British monarchs was born – the man who in 1509 became King Henry the VIII.

Famed for his six wives, religious division and obesity he must be one of the most written about and filmed.

Everyone knows the little rhythm….”Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived” even if they don’t remember the names or order of marriages


  • 23 June 1509 married Catherine of Aragon, marriage annulled
  • 25 January 1533 married Anne Boleyn (second marriage following an earlier secret marriage), 19 May 1536 at the age of 36 she was executed on Tower green
  • 29 May 1536 married Jane Seymour, died as a result of complications following childbirth on 24 October 1537
  • 6 January 1540 married Anne of Cleves, the marriage was dissolved
  • 28 July 1540 he married Catherine Howard (the same day Cromwell was executed), he had her beheaded on 13 February 1542
  • 12 July 1543 he married his final wife Catherine Parr who outlived him by one year. She was also the most-married English queen, with four husbands.


So on TV and film which actors have tried their hand at playing the famous monarch?  Here’s a starter for 10…

  1. In 1933 Charles Laughton portrayed the monarch in the film The Private Life of Henry VIII
  2. In 1937 in The Prince and the Pauper, actor Montagu Love played the role
  3. In the 1966 film A Man For All Seasons (definitely one to watch if you haven’t), Robert Shaw played the king and the movie was awarded the Best Actor Oscar for Paul Scofield for his portrayal of the martyred Sir Thomas More.
  4. In 1971 the Carry On cast continued their success with Carry On Henry with Sid James in the role – not one I’d recommend!
  5. In the 1953 movie Young Bess, Charles Laughton played the monarch once again
  6. In 2003 In the film Henry VIII Ray Winstone played opposite the stunning Helena Bonham Carter who portrayed Anne Boleyn
  7. Irish actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers was  nominated for a Golden Globe and won an Emmy for his Henry in great TV mini series The Tudors, which also starred Henry Cavell which ran for four seasons until 2010.
  8. Eric Banna donned the outfit in the film The Other Boleyn Girl alongside Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson
  9. Damian Lewis in the brilliance TV series Wolf Hall based on Hillary mantel’s equally brilliant novel
  10. Another actor to star as henry on TV is Rowan Atkinson who played the part for the children’s Horrible Histories

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