Tower of London (1988)
Great Britain

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The massive White Tower, typical of Norman military architecture whose influence was felt throughout the Kingdom, was built by William the Conqueror along the Thames to protect London and to assert his power there. 
  • Great Britain 1978.  Tower of London. 
  • Great Britain 2002. Tower Bridge, a sight known to practically every one, whether they have visited London or not. The stamp is part of a set of four "Bridges of London". 

The Tower of London, an imposing fortress rich with history that has become one of the symbols of royalty, was built around the White Tower (on the stamp shown immediately left of the British flag, Union Jack. 

Henry VIII (1491-1547), also known as the Tudor king of England (1509-1547), was the founder of the Church of England. Henry was born in London on June 28, 1491, and on the death of his father in 1509, succeeded to the throne (his elder brother Arthur having died in 1502). He married his brother’s widow, Catherine of Aragón, having been betrothed to her through a papal dispensation secured in 1503. 

This was the first of Henry’s six marriages, all of which were affected by the political and religious conditions of the time and by his increasingly despotic behaviour.  

Great Britain 1978.  Tower of London. 

Great Britain 2002. Tower Bridge.

His daughter by Catherine of Aragon, Mary, (known as Mary Tudor), would later become Queen of England as Mary I. 

At the beginning of his reign, Henry’s good looks and hearty personality, his fondness for sport and the hunt, and his military prowess endeared him to his subjects. A monarch of the Renaissance, he entertained numerous scholars and artists, including the German painter Hans Holbein the Younger, who painted several portraits of the king and members of his court. 

In 1527 Henry announced his desire to divorce his wife, on the grounds that the papal dispensation making the marriage possible was invalid. The chief reason for the divorce was that Catherine had failed to produce a male heir. Her only surviving child was Mary, later Mary I of England. In addition, Henry was in love with Anne Boleyn, a young and beautiful lady-in-waiting of the queen, by whom he had a daughter, the later Queen Elizabeth I. 

  • Henry VIII painted by Hans Holbein the Younger five years before Henry's death. The painting belongs to Castle Howard Collection. 

Great Britain 1997. King Henry VIII. Great Britain 1997. Se-tenant set of King Henry VIII's six wives.

Henry soon tired of Anne Boleyn, and in 1536, after charging her with incest and adultery, he had her beheaded in Tower of London. A few days after Anne’s death, he married Jane Seymour, Thomas Howard’s niece, who died in 1537 after bearing Henry’s only legitimate son, Edward, later Edward VI. 

A marriage was arranged in 1540 with Anne of Cleves in order to form a tie between England and the Protestant princes of Germany.  Because he thought Anne unattractive and because Henry found the political alliance no longer to his advantage, he divorced her after several months and married Catherine Howard, another niece of Thomas Howard, in the same year. Cromwell, who had arranged the marriage with Anne, fell from favour and was beheaded in 1540. Catherine was beheaded summarily in 1542 for having been unchaste prior to marriage and having committed adultery. Both were executed in the Tower of London. In the following year Henry married his sixth (and last) wife, Catherine Parr, who survived him. 

Below are shown (right to left) photos of King Henry VIII's three children, Edward, Mary and Elizabeth, who all came to reign over England, and a stamp from Barbuda, showing Lady Jane Grey, who was reigning Queen of England for nine days after the death of Edward VI. She was removed by Mary I, the eldest daughter of Henry VIII.  

Elizabeth I, 1533-1603
daughter of Henry VIII
by Anne Boleyn.
Queen of England 
and Ireland 1558-1603
(unknown artist)
issued 1968
Mary I (Mary Tudor), 
1516-1558

daughter of Henry VIII 
by Catherine of Aragón.
Queen of England 1553-1558
Lady Jane Grey
("The Nine Day Queen")
after the death of 
Edward VI in 1553
Click on the image to see entire card
Edward VI, 1537-1553
son of Henry VIII 
by Jane Seymour.
King of England 1547-1553

Text and photographs of Edward VI and Mary I after Microsoft Encarta 1999. 

Other World Heritage Sites in Great Britain (on this site). Inactive links are not described on postage stamps. Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, United Kingdom Section, for further information about the individual properties. 

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Revised 19 jul 2006  
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