Henry VII was the first Tudor king. During his reign England saw a period of financial and governmental stability. He also created a mercantile fleet to promote trade and he laid the foundation of English Humanism. When Henry VII died, his son Henry VIII came to the throne. He was a soldier, a keen sportsman, a poet and a musician. Henry VIII strongly defended the Catholics against Martin Luther and the Protestants and for this reason He was proclaimed "Defender of the Faith" by the Pope. But things changed when the Pope opposed his wish to dissolve his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, who had not given him a male hair, in order to marry Anne Boleyn. So the king passed the Act of Supremacy and declared himself Head of the Church of England. This Reformation favored the Protestantism as Henry closed the monasteries and confiscated their lands.
Moreover He set England against the great Catholic powers of Europe: France and Spain.

His policy met the opposition of the great writer Thomas More who refused to recognize the Act of Supremacy. For this reason More was accused of treason and was beheaded. The same happened to two of his six wives, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, accused of being unfaithful.

Henry VIII was succeeded by his son Edward VI and under his reign persecutions of Roman Catholics continued. Edward was succeeded by his sister Mary I, the daughter of Catherine of Aragon and the wife of king Philip of Spain. She was known as "Bloody Mary" because of her persecution of Protestants as she tried to restore the Catholic religion.

When Mary died her sister Elizabeth came to the throne. She restored a moderate and more tolerant form of Protestantism so the queen gave the country a considerable sense of stability and unity.

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