Henry was never intended for the throne of England. However, the death of his older brother Arthur at the age of 15 and his taking of his dead brother's bride, propelled the young prince into the limelight and laid the foundations for one of the most spectacular reigns in English history. The young Henry VIII was an artist, musician, theologian and sportsman -- the perfect Renaissance prince -- but the failure of his first wife Katherine of Aragon to produce a male heir brought out his darker side.
Henry could be cruel and capricious, using arbitrary execution as an instrument of Royal policy. In his bid to produce an heir, he would dismantle the established church in England, loot its posessions, and set himself up as an absolute monarch. By the time of his death, his desire to maintain his own magnificent dynasty had seen him marry six times, deplete the nation's coffers, and cut a swath through the English nobility. Yet a new age had been born in the fires of change and through the years had transformed a Renaissance prince into a sickly, overweight tyrant, his rule marked a sea-change in the fortunes of England.
Jonathan Rhys Meyers first gained international attention for his starring role opposite Ewan McGregor, Christian Bale and Toni Collette in Todd Haynes' Velvet Goldmine (1998). Rhys Meyers' daring performance as ex-glam rocker 'Brian Slade' garnered him a London Film Critics Circle Award nomination. Since then, Rhys Meyers has landed leading roles opposite today's hottest film actors and directors, and has emerged as one of Hollywood's most sought-after leading men.
Recent film credits include Shelter (2010), The Children of Huang Shi (2008) and Mission: Impossible III (2006).
In 2006, Rhys Meyers received a Golden Globe® Award for 'Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie' for his portrayal of the young Elvis Presley in the CBS television miniseries Elvis. In addition to this honor, he received an Emmy® nomination. The flawless portrayal of "The King" by a young Irish actor floored critics and audiences alike.
In 2006, Rhys Meyers also earned critical acclaim for his role in the Woody Allen film Match Point, which was nominated for three Golden Globes®, including 'Best Picture'. Match Point, which co-starred Scarlett Johansson, debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in 2005, with Rhys Meyers winning the festival's Chopard Trophy for 'Male Revelation.'
Rhys Meyers is also recognized for his role as the girls' soccer coach in the award-winning sleeper hit Bend It Like Beckham (2002). Rhys Meyers' other film credits include starring roles in Oliver Stone's epic Alexander (2004) and Mira Nair's Vanity Fair (2004).
On the small screen, Rhys Meyers has starred in a wide range of long-form projects, both in the U.S. and U.K. Among his television credits are the SHOWTIME presentation of The Lion In Winter (2003), with Glenn Close and Patrick Stewart; Alfonso Arau's The Magnificant Ambersons (2002); and Gormenghast (2000).
Born in Dublin, Ireland, Rhys Meyers made his film debut in A Man of No Importance (1994), and then played the young assassin in Neil Jordan's biopic Michael Collins (1996). His subsequent film credits include Ride With The Devil (1999); Titus (1999); Prozac Nation (2001); I'll Sleep When I'm Dead (2003); The Emperor's Wife (2003) and From Paris With Love (2010).