When Henry VIII acceded to the throne of England in 1509, he embodied the fond hopes of his people. He sought to distinguish himself as a monarch in a European theater that was still very medieval in its forms and characters. When Henry died in 1547, he left to his son, the boy-king Edward VI, a bitter, bloodstained realm increasingly torn by religious strife. By that time, England was gaining new prominence as a constitutional monarchy in an altered European theater freshly divided by the Protestant Reformation and by the wars between France and the Holy Roman Empire of Charles V–a Europe which was in the first throes of its political and cultural modernity. Henry VIII's reign, in some respects, marks England's transition from a medieval to a modern nation. This is particularly evident in the political changes resulting from Henry's policies during and after his break with the Roman Catholic Church. This break
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Henry, supreme head, Transubstantiation. Henry, political reality. Henry