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Henry the Eighth and his Six Wives

Posted by Laura Brody, 12/14/00 at 11:34:33 AM.

King Henry the Eighth

King Henry the Eighth is probably the most popular of the medieval kings. There is even a children[base ']s song about him. The common misconception is that he had eight wives that he didn[base ']t care for, mistreated, and eventually killed because they couldn[base ']t produce a son. He actually had six wives and only killed two, and that was for adultery, not inability to produce a son. Of his other wives one he divorced, one died, one was annulled, and one outlived him.

Catherine of Aragon

OF all his wives Henry seems to have had the best marriage to Catherine of Aragon, his first wife. They were married for more than twenty years and seemed to be happy together. Catherine was pregnant many times but only Mary survived. Through the marriage Henry had only two affairs which made him a reasonably faithful husband. It was only after meeting Anne Boleyn that Henry began trying to end his marriage with Catherine. He said that since Catherine was a widow to Henry[base ']s brother that their marriage was not true. But church authorities refused to annul the marriage because the first one had not been consummated. Henry established his own church and divorced Catherine.

Anne Boleyn

Anne was crowned in 1533. Soon after she gave birth to Elizabeth. The years of waiting for Henry to divorce Catherine had made her moody and bitter and Henry was already falling out of love with her. One day Anne caught Henry cuddling with a maid of Honor, Jane Seymour. False charges of adultery were brought against Anne and she was beheaded on may 19, 1536.

Jane Seymour

Eleven days after Anne was killed Henry married Jane. Jane[base ']s gentleness was a great contrast to Anne[base ']s tantrums. She was very obedient to Henry. In 1537 Jane gave birth to Edward and died twelve days later.

Anne of Cleves

It was two years before Henry married his next wife. He wanted to have a political marriage this time and arranged a marriage treaty with the duke of Cleves to marry his sister, anne. Unfortunately, when anne arrived Henry didn[base ']t like her at all. He couldn[base ']t get out of his treaty and had to marry her. But when Anne realized Henry wanted to get rid of her she cooperated with an annulment. Henry gave her money and land and the two stayed on good terms.

Katherine Howard

This time Henry thought he could find a wife unspoiled and perfect by marrying her when she was 15 or 16. But Katherine Howard, a cousin of Anne Boleyn, proved not to be perfect by committing adultery with Thomas Culpepper, her music teacher. Her adultery was discovered and both Katherine and Thomas were beheaded.

Katherine Parr

Katherine Parr visited the court with her husband when Henry began to take an interest in her. After her husband died, they began courting and were married soon after. Henry was sick by this time and Katherine acted as a nurse to him. The two argued about religion at times but after Henry once ordered her arrest she stopped arguing with him. He cancelled the order. On January 28, 1547 Henry died leaving Katherine a widow and free to marry her true love, Thomas Seymour

Last update: Thursday, December 14, 2000 at 11:36:24 AM.