One of the most famous kings in history is Henry VIII of England. Having ruled for 36 years, he’s done quite a lot during his reign. Most notably, he started the Protestant Reformation in England wherein he broke away from the Catholic Church.
But while that’s the case, that’s no why he’s considered one of the most famous kings. His reputation can be attributed to him having six wives. With two of those wives ending up on the chopping block.
Six wives is plenty, but that doesn’t even include Henry’s many mistresses. But let’s stop talking about Henry VIII. Let’s get to know all six of his wives.
Catherine of Aragon
Catherine of Aragon was first married to Henry’s older brother, Arthur. But not long after Catherine and Arthur married, Arthur died – leaving Catherine a widow at the young age of 16. She was soon betrothed to Henry, who was five years younger than her.
Henry and Catherine got married a few years after they were engaged. While Henry could’ve chosen to marry someone else, he grew quite fond of Catherine. The marriage, however, ended in a separation because Henry blamed Catherine for not giving him an heir.
Anne Boleyn is probably the most famous of all of Henry’s wives. Unlike Anne’s sister (who was also Henry’s mistress), Anne wanted to be queen. It was just her luck that Henry was passionately in love with her – resulting in England separating from the Catholic Church just so the two could get married.
However, the two’s marriage was short-lived. What Henry liked in Anne as a mistress he did not like in her as his wife. She also failed to give him an heir. Charges were piled against her for adultery and even incest. The jury found her guilty and Anne was sentenced to death.
Henry’s third wife was one of Anne Boleyn’s ladies in waiting. Being a devout Catholic, she was first vocal about her wishes to have monasteries reinstated in England again. However, Henry expected his wife to be compliant and then warned her of what happened to Anne.
But out of Henry’s six wives, Jane Seymour was the only one who received a queen’s funeral. She was also the one who finally gave Henry an heir. However, the marriage was short-lived because Jane died after giving birth to her son, Edward VI.
Anne of Cleves
Henry’s marriage to Anne of Cleves was his shortest. Only after six months, the two were annulled. This is because Henry wasn’t attracted to Anne, and witnesses even say that the king was disappointed at her appearance. Since the marriage was unconsummated, she wasn’t crowned queen consort.
Much younger than the king, Catherine Howard was only a teenager when she was married to 49 year old Henry. She wasn’t entirely satisfied with her marriage, and was allegedly involved with her cousin – who also happens to be Henry’s favorite male courtier.
Catherine was eventually tried for treason and then found guilty. She met a fate similar to Anne Boleyn.
Henry’s sixth and final marriage was with Catherine Parr. She was a daughter of a royal official, and was said to have been a good companion to Henry in his last years. But it wasn’t all smooth sailing because the king almost had her arrested for arguing with him about religion.
It’s a good thing then that Catherine Parr saw the arrest warrant beforehand. She reconciled with the king and she was given a hefty allowance to support herself after his death.