Do not Lose Your Head: Meet the Six Wives of Henry VIII
Each of the wives has her own story to tell and will explain time with Henry but first she will relate how they met, her past, and how each one became part of his monarchy, queen other positions, past husbands and conquests and why his monarch was filled with chaos, love lives that led him to an unstable way of governing, succession and foreign policy changes and breaking with Rome. When you finish reading about King Henry VIII you might think before agreeing to a marriage that is arranged, one of nobility or being anything but number one. Remember each of his wives for the most part had their fates sealed even before the ink might be dry on whatever they had to sign in order marry him. He ruled England for 36 years and her presiding over the start of both the Protestant Reformation and the English Renaissance. But his life and his reign were not boring and tons of romance, cheating on his wives, politics and more. Henry was not the nicest person as you will learn when you meet all six of his wives and his mistresses on the side. What man back then did not need some extra reassurance that he was hot and wanted? His monarch was plagued with many political problems and before we introduce you to each one of his marriages understand that two were annulled and two of his wives well just make sure you keep your head away from him you never know when you might lose it. His love life caused him an unstable succession and his foreign policies and what they implicated created a break with Rome.
Each of his wives will speak to readers and present you with their fates, their lives and how they were chosen or forced to marry him. Catherine of Aragon (1485-1536) well not having a son was just one of the things that brought her down. If she could speak she would tell you that she met him when he took the throne at 17. He married her six weeks later and unbelievably she explains her parents were King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain and the widow of his older brother, Arthur. Henry was compulsive and he lost the respect of the court and trust of his people because he liked to fool around too much. She tells is like it was and everyone one remembers when the wife was that turned heads before losing hers. She changed history and forever remember Catherine as she is describing Anne Boleyn. “ My name is Catherine of Aragon the most relevant Catherine in the story.” She was the beloved youngest child to a powerhouse mother who already provide the all-important heir, her brother. She continues to talk more about her parents, her education and then her courtship letters dictated under duress by our tutors and parents and her first marriage. There is much more to her story and what she has to say but the most hampering part is the fact that she could not have children and that made life difficult for her. Multiple pregnancies and several births some did not survive the only one was Henry and Catherine’s daughter Mary. She will tell you she was married for 23 years and was naïve to think she was the only woman the king really loved. She was a model wife she thought to him and her failure to give him a son was her downfall. Things went downhill and Elizabeth Blount came into his sight and she was taken to the Essex countryside where she gave birth to Henry’s only illegitimate child, but it was book. But why stop here he then noticed Anne Boleyn, a lady in waiting to the queen and you guessed it wife number two. He decided that wife one had to go and asked the Pope for an annulment and that his marriage to Catherine be declared invalid. Read what she writes and says to learn why. But, the Pope said no and divorced her anyway and her fate find out when you read what she says.
Wife two : Anne Boleyn: c. 1501-1536) this marriage started the reign of beheadings!
Anne will tell you that she was beautiful but not remembered as the most attractive woman in history. He life was not an easy one and her first love Henry Percy was married to someone else who he did not even like. Why Henry? She and her sister lived during their early years in the France court. Her sister Mary went back to England and had a short affair with Henry and then he decided he liked Anne. But, thinking she was handling this right, she refused the king’s advances and did not want to be his next conquest or mistress. When he went after and annulment from wife one, Rome refused and at that point he formed the Church of England and married Anne in 1533 and she gave him his first child, Elizabeth. Anne was hidden from sight she will tell you at first and then he took a mistress and there is nothing worse than a wife’s scorn. She wanted to give him a son, but she had many stillborn births and Henry she will tell you being Henry lost interest in her and she was fuming. Even her sister-in-law would not allow her in court when she and Anne had formed an alliance to rid the mistress from court. Wanting to end the relationship truth of not truth he accused her of adultery and treason and had their marriage annulled. Poor Anne she lost her head and was accused of many crimes but when you read when she tells you and imparts you decide if she was guilty or not. She is so interesting and sad that she was executed and much of life is still unknown. Next meet wife 3 Jane Seymour (1508-1537),\.
So much for mourning the death of wife two, Henry decided not to wait and the day after her death he married Jane. She was a lady in waiting to both of his first two wives. Anne was irate about his interest in Jane and at times they came to blows at court. Jane will tell you that Anne blamed her miscarriage on her and my flirtation with the kind and may God have mercy on her for that. The truth is that after Anne had her miscarriage, dear Henry wanted to be rid of her. So much for loyalty and sympathy.
He even made sure his bedroom was closer to Jane’s. There is much more to her story, but her life ended when she gave birth to Edward VI and passed away several weeks later. Jane was not beheaded she was buried in St. George’s Chapel alongside him.
Meet wife four: Anne of Cleves: (1515-1557).
Anne will tell you she was never divorced either so how is it that Catherine Parr is they say survived. She now has no man to tell her what to do or tie her down. And I outlived them all. Her marriage was declared unconsummated and after her wedding night Henry told his friends that he did not think she was a virgin. Not a nice and respected way to start a marriage. Even worse her brother did not send the documents need to prove that her marriage was revoked. She will even tell you that her last appearance as his wife was at the May Day celebration like Anne’s. Not only that she can boast that she outlived them other wives and Catherine Parr by nine years and lived to see his daughter Mary crowned Queen Mary. She played a huge part in the coronation. However, being deemed the ugly wife and accepting a divorce and money for her troubles being married to him.
Next wife Five: Catherine Howard: 1523-1542. Everyone has heard about the first Catherine, then Anne, Jane and Anna who hall and families, friends, education and power. Clever adult women all of them and even Jane too. But Katherine was a child when most powerful men in the country put me in the king’s bed and when he turned against her, there was nowhere to go. She will tell you that she was queen far longer than Anna and Jane but it too him only days to be rid of her. She tells of her past, her childhood and the Dowager Duchess that was strict and almost never there. She had romances of her own and some led to disastrous results for the men. She was 19 and a one of Anne of Cleves ladies in waiting. Henry currently was no stud but overweight, not particularly good looking and unable to walk because of a bad leg. He was thrilled to have her as his wife and the gifts were pouring on in all directions. But of course, Henry being Henry thought she was cheating on him. She loved being queen and at least everyone said I should love being it and she was rich and free and happy and the clothes and jewels amazing. Along came her downfall: Tom Culpeper and the fun was over and the re4st you must read for yourself. She will explain: One day they came for me, I was so paralyzed with fear that I could hardly speak. I did not strike to my death like my brave cousin Anne. Find out the rest when you read her story and hear her words after being executed less than one year into their marriage and he found out she was cheating. Her death and treason at the Tower Green on February 13, 1542. Next and finally wife 6: Catherine Parr. She has the distinction of outliving Henry. She was educated, full of life and showed a great interest in Protestantism and Henry had her arrested. She does talk about his past wives, their relationships and explains in her own words why being wife six was strange. She inherited from wives one -five, clothes, their heels, hoods, jewels and their perfumes. She even inherited their children and asked for someone to help her become more educated and learn Italian and tried to write. Mary was highly educated and helped her, and she liked to think in those hours they spent some of her mother’s influence rubbed off on her. She has great relationships with her stepchildren and when he died, she would not agree to marry again so fast. Her fate you must read for herself, but she did manage to bring stability and peace to the court. She influences court culture, religion and the role of women and made sure his children were educated. She died in 1548 and outlived him.
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