Henry IV
Henry IV
King of Anglia
Reign 18th February, 1540 - 3rd December, 1563
Predecessor William III
Successor John III
Born 6th October, 1525
Ely, Anglia
Died 3rd December, 1563
Norwich, Anglia
Spouse Susanna of Moravia

Elizabeth Cecil

Issue Katherine


House Norfolk
Father William III
Mother Elizabeth of Luxembourg

Henry IV ruled Anglia in the mid-16th century. He is generally held to be a uninspiring and unimaginative figure, delegating the levers of government to his chancellors and profligate with the kingdom's finances.

Fifteen at the point of his succession, Henry spent the first year of his reign under a regency of his mother, Elizabeth of Luxembourg and his father's trusted right-hand man, Magnus, Earl of Lindsay. Despite the best efforts of his tutors Henry appeared to be a slightly dull pupil and the period of regency seems to have been instructive in allowing him to delegate all decisions to those around him throughout his reign.

William III had been a champion for the Catholic church but made little headway in rooting out or reconverting Anglia's growing Lutheran population. Henry meanwhile was curiously uninterested in the whole religious realm. He remained a catholic but gave no great heed to the slowly advancing Lutherans. Fryslân had indeed become wholly Lutheran by the end of his reign, and was even turning to slightly more heretical thought, and in Anglia itself perhaps a third of the population cleaved to the new Protestant faith (a similar figure is assumed for Wessex in this period too). Some historians have tried to show this apparent disinterest as actually being a shrewd policy of accommodation. If it was, then Henry was possibly guided by his longest lasting Chancellor, Barnaby Parr, a Lutheran apologist who spent much of his tenure in heated communication with European scholars attempting to find some middle ground on which the faiths could be reconciled.

Henry had little interest in the workings of government, other than extracting funds out of it and successive chancellors worked piecemeal to create lasting organs of state which could operate outside of the direct scrutiny of the monarch. This satisfied Henry as he neither had the work ethic of his father or grandfather and showed little inclination (despite his mother's initial pushing) get to grips with matters of law or finance. Instead he used the state as a What he received he spent, lavishly, both on himself in the form of palaces or on his dream of an all-conquering army. What this army would actually be used for was never really clear. The obvious candidate was the War of Neapolitan Succession which had drawn in most of Southern Europe, but almost uniquely he had no real stake in the result and had publicly said he 'cared not who won the blasted war'. Still, he considered an Italian venture; a grand expedition to protect the papacy, however his privy council pleaded with him not to waste 'vast sums for no reward'. Equally a 'crusade' against the Caliphate was too high-minded and unfocused for the nobles to contemplate. Instead military spending was channelled towards fortifications which proliferated around Anglia's, and Fryslân's, land borders as well at important points on the coast. He would also sponsor the massive expansion of the navy investing in cannon to destroy opposing ships rather than relying on old boarding techniques.

While it left Anglia with a formidable force the cost of improving the army and navy was vast and kept Anglia permanently teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. The population rose twice in general revolt, partially a result of high taxes on famine years but also a byproduct of enclosure which reduced wheat production and the numbers of beggars in the market towns. It was of great relief to those watching the treasury that Henry withdrew Anglia from the Kalmar Union in 1558 thereby excusing it from any strenuous military action in Germany on behalf of the Schmalkaldic League/Empire. Whilst this may have certainly have been grounded in religious realities the connection Anglia felt to Denmark had been on the wane for many years anyway. Henry certainly felt closer to Luxembourg than Scandinavia, after all he was Queen Joanna's cousin and was married to another, slightly more distant Luxembourg cousin, Zuzana (Susanna) of Moravia. He pledged his personal commitment to upholding Joanna's position, not that it was ever properly threatened, but the promise showed his commitment to maintain the close connection which had held since the War of Anglian Succession.

Henry would die in 1563 having ruled for just under 23 years. He would outlive all of his own children and in his final months would lament that 'God would not have taken them all if I had been more strict on the Protestants'. The crown passed to his brother John.


Henry married Zuzana of Moravia in December 1544. The marriage had been arranged by his mother Elizabeth of Luxembourg and the couple would have two children:

  • Katherine (1543-1558)
  • Mary (1545)

Zuzana died in 1545 after complications relating to Mary's birth. Henry would subsequently marry Elizabeth Cecil in 1549. They had one child:

  • Henry (1550-1561)
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