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Henry VIII
Henry VIII
Henry VIII Coat

Coat of Arms

All About Henry
The Tudor Family
Born 28 June,1491, Greenwich Palace, London
Died 28 January, 1547, Palace of Whitehall
His Wives
Catherine of Aragon Anne Boleyn Jane Seymour Anne of Cleves Catherine Howard Catherine Parr


How he became King How Henry Became King
Children Mary I

Edward VI Elizabeth I Edward VI





Why did Henry have so many wives? The usual answer was that he wanted a son to be his heir. But actually he had plenty of sons, sadly most of them died but one survived, born to his third wife so why did he have another three wives after that?

The wives of Henry VIII were the six queens consort wedded to Henry VIII of England between 1509 and 1547.

The six women to hold the title "queen consort" of King Henry VIII were, in chronological order:

  1. Catherine of Aragon (divorced, died while detained under guard at Kimbolton Castle, mother of Mary I)
  2. Anne Boleyn (divorced and later executed, mother of Elizabeth I)
  3. Jane Seymour (died days after giving birth to Edward VI, believed to be caused by birth complications)
  4. Anne of Cleves (divorced, outlived the rest of the wives)
  5. Catherine Howard (divorced and later executed)
  6. Catherine Parr (widowed)

Henry's first marriage lasted nearly 24 years, while the remaining five totaled less than 10 years combined.

A common mnemonic device to remember the fates of Henry's consorts is “divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived”. There is also a rhyme:

King Henry VIII,
to six wives he was wedded.
One died, one survived,
two divorced, two beheaded.

However, Henry did not "divorce" two wives, but rather had the marriages annulled. At the time, the laws relating to marriage were under the jurisdiction of canon law, and there was no divorce under canon law.

It is often noted that Catherine Parr "survived him". In fact, Anne of Cleves also survived the king, and was the last of his queens to die. Of the six queens, Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, and Jane Seymour each gave Henry one child who survived infancy: two daughters and one son. All three of these children would eventually ascend to the throne: Queen Mary I, Queen Elizabeth I, and King Edward VI, respectively.

Catherine Howard and Anne Boleyn, the two of Henry's queens who were beheaded, were first cousins. Several of Henry's wives worked in at least one of his other wives' service, typically as ladies-in-waiting: Anne Boleyn worked in Catherine of Aragon's service, Jane Seymour worked in Catherine of Aragon's and Anne Boleyn's, and Catherine Howard worked in Anne of Cleves's.

Henry was distantly related to all six of his wives through their common ancestor, King Edward I of England.[1]

Henry and at least four of his wives (Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, and Catherine Parr) were portrayed in opera.

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