The Wives of Henry VIII
Each biography written by Susan Abernethy
Henry VIII, King of England, ruled his country from 1509 to 1537. His reign saw war with France, the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the break from Roman Catholicism and the establishment of the Church of England. However, Henry might be best known for his six wives. Two of these marriages ended with Henry beheading his wife, while two others were annulled. The stories of these episodes often show a Tudor court rife with intrigue.
Susan Abernethy has written a series of biographies on each of King Henry’s wives. She explains:
The story of King Henry VIII and his six wives has fascinated me since I was a teenager. Henry’s dynastic need for a son and for personal love drove him in a desperate search for the right woman creating a rich history with a panorama of interesting characters male and female. In researching these six women, I found Katherine Parr to be refined and elegant and mature enough to maneuver between the politics at court and Henry’s moods. But they are all interesting in their own way. This topic has been covered many times and in many ways. These posts give a concise description of each wife to review for those of you who know the story and pique your interest if you don’t.
The Wives of Henry VIII are:
Catherine of Aragon – married 11 June 1509 – 23 May 1533
Catherine came to England in November 1501 and met her groom for the first time. They were married 10 days later and immediately sent to live in Ludlow in Wales. In April of 1502, they both became ill, possibly of the sweating sickness. Arthur died and Catherine survived as a widow. Henry VII did not want to return Catherine’s dowry to her father so it was agreed Catherine would marry Arthur’s brother, Prince Henry when he was old enough.
Anne Boleyn – married 28 May 1533 – 19 May 1536
Anne has the distinction of being the first Queen Consort to be beheaded and because of her, the course of ecclesiastical history in England changed forever.
Jane Seymour – married 30 May 1536 – 24 October 1537
After all the storm and drama of Henry VIII’s first two marriages, his third marriage to Jane Seymour seems almost serene.
Anne of Cleves – married 6 January 1540 – 9 July 1540
Poor Anne of Cleves was sitting at the home of her brother the Duke of Cleves, minding her own business when who do you think came calling?
Catherine Howard – married 28 July 1540 – 13 February 1542
Of all of Henry VIII’s six wives, the most beautiful was probably the nubile Catherine Howard. Henry called her his ‘rose without a thorn’.
Katherine Parr – married 12 July 1543 – 28 January 1547
After the disastrous marriage to Catherine Howard, Henry probably just wanted a wife who could nurse him through his various ailments and not cause him any trouble. Henry did not actively seek a wife at this time but he was soon to find the perfect match in Katherine Parr.
Susan Abernethy is the writer of The Freelance History Writer and a contributor to Saints, Sisters, and Sluts. You can follow both sites on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/thefreelancehistorywriter) and (http://www.facebook.com/saintssistersandsluts), as well on Medieval History Lovers. You can also follow Susan on Twitter @SusanAbernethy2