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After a long Civil War, called the War of the Roses, Henry Tudor was crowned as King Henry VII. This marked the beginning of the 118 year reign of the Tudor dynasty in England.
Henry VIII, Henry VII's son, was a very good athlete also a keen patron of the arts. As such he was a perfect example of the Renaissance man, but he is mainly remembered because of his quarrel with the Roman Catholic Church. He married six times: his second wife was Anne Boleyn, the mother of the future queen Elizabeth I; only the third wife Jane Seymour bore him the son he wanted. His quarrel with the Roman Catholic Church was linked to his marriages: in fact, it was the consequence of the Pope's refusal to grant him a divorce from his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. After he decided to break with Rome and to abolish the authority of the Pope, he established the Church of England in 1534 with the Act of Supremacy and declared himself head of it. Since then, all British monarchs have been heads of the Church of England, the Anglican Church.
The daughter of Henry VIII and his second wife Anne Boleyn was Queen Elizabeth I, sometimes called “The Virgin Queen” and “Gloriana”. Elizabeth was one of the most famous monarchs in English history, Her 45-year reign is generally called the “Golden Age of Britain”: she gave stability to the country, restored the country's sense of pride and at the same time she put her reign on the road to becoming a true economic and political world power. She encouraged geographical exploration, rivaling Spain also in religious matter. She fought and won against the Spanish fleet, the “Invincible Armada”, sent to conquer Britain and restore Catholicism. During Elizabeth's reign the arts flourished, particularly theatre through William Shakespeare.
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