Tower of London Photo
An English royal house, originating in Wales; descending through the male line from the Tudors of Penmynydd. The House Tudor. Five monarchs from this line ruled the Kingdom of England, Wales, it’s ancestral home, Ireland, and the other reals from 1485 to 1603. After the Wars of the Roses left the House Lancaster, with whom the Tudors were aligned, extinct, ¬†Henry VII established himself as the head of the house. Perhaps the most famous and well-known Tudor monarch is King Henry VIII.

When we think of Henry VIII some of us might think of the Herman Hermits song, but most of us think…Anne Boleyn. While those are notable references to King Henry VIII, there is so much more to the “Father of the Royal Navy.”

Henry VIII, of the House Tudor was King of England from 1509-1547, and was proceeded to the throne by his father, King Henry VII and he was the second Tudor monarch. Henry VIII was married six times, which was unheard of for that time, with his most notable spouses being Catherine of Aragon, who was actually married to Henry’s older brother Arthur in 1501; who died five months after their marriage.

In 1509, Catherine married the newly ascended King Henry VIII, and they had two children; Henry, who died 52 days after he was born, and Mary. Due to the fact that Catherine did not give the King any surviving sons; and the fact that he had become obsessed with Anne Boleyn, Catherine’s maid of honor, he sought to have their marriage annulled. When the Pope refused to dissolve the marriage, Henry appointed himself as head of the church, separating the English Church from Rome, bringing in the Church of England; this now allowed him to annul his marriage to Catherine.

Thomas Cranmer, the newly appointed Archbishop of Canterbury, declared Henry and Catherine’s marriage null and void, and that his marriage to Anne Boleyn was valid and true. This cost both Cranmer and Henry VIII to be excommunicated from the Church of Rome.

Henry VIII is married to Anne Boleyn and she soon gave birth to…A daughter, Elizabeth. While Henry hoped a son would follow, Anne had three miscarriages, but by that time, Henry had moved on to Jane Seymour, whom he wanted to marry; but in order for that to happen, he had to find a way to end his marriage to Anne. Which he did. In April of 1536, Anne Boleyn was investigated for high treason and on May 2, 1536, she was arrested and sent to the Tower of London. There she was tried by a jury of her peers, which included her former betrothed Henry Percy, and her own uncle, Thomas Howard. On May 15, 1536, Anne Boleyn was found guilty and sentenced to be beheaded four days later.

Anne’s daughter would later become Elizabeth 1 of England, Queen of England and Ireland from November 1558 to her death in March of 1603. Her reign became known as the Elizabethan era; bring about the flourishing of English Drama at the hands of William Shakespeare. Elizabeth; having no heirs, was the last monarch of the House of Tudor.

It is said that Anne Boleyn’s ghost haunts the Tower where she was imprisoned and then beheaded. Supposedly, she haunts the Church of St. Peter ad Vincula, which is the location of where she is buried. Some have said that she can be seen walking around the White Tower carrying her head under her arm.

The Tower of London, or as it is officially known, Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London plays a very large role in English history. It is located on the north bank of the River Thames in London and is separated from the city by the infamous Tower Hill.

The Tower became an important part of controlling the country during times of war and unrest. It served as an armory, a treasury, a menagerie, housed the Royal Mind, and the home of the Crown Jewels of England.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, the tower was used as a prison for individuals who had fallen into disgrace. While it has been branded with a reputation as being a place where prisoners were tortured, and later died, only seven people (One being the Queen herself, Anne Boleyn_ were actually executed in the Tower prior to the World Wars in the 20th Century. However, Tower Hill on the other hand, was the sight of some 112 executions over roughly a 400-year period. During the First and Second World Wars, the Tower was again put into use as a prison, and 112 men were executed for espionage.

Today, the Tower of London, with all of its history, is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations.