The Wives of King Henry VIII

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King Henry VII had more wives than the average man during his time period. Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Kathryn Howard, and Katherine Parr all shared a life with the king for a period of time, whether it was a few months or several years. He had a colorful divorce pattern as well, ranging from annulment to execution. Though the king blamed his wives for not giving him a son, it was actually almost entirely his fault but the women paid the price for his ignorance. His want of a male heir led him to many marriages, divorces, and affairs that are still remembered in history today.
Catherine of Aragon was born on December 16th, 1485 to Ferdinand and Isabella in Alcala de Henares, Spain, a princess who would be matched with her future husband at the age of three. This future husband was Prince Arthur, son of King Henry VII and older brother of King Henry VIII. The two were married later in their teens, but six months after the marriage, Arthur died, likely a victim of the fatal ‘sweating sickness’. Approximately four years later, she married King Henry VIII and became pregnant soon after. After several children, many of whom were stillborn or died shortly after birth, King Henry became impatient with his lack of a male heir. He requested a divorce to Catherine, but the attempt was in vain until he impregnated her mistress’s daughter, Anne Boleyn, and persuaded Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, to annul the marriage. Catherine was forced to renounce her title as Queen of England, and became known as the Princess Dowager of Wales, a title that she never accepted. She and her daughter Mary were separated, and Catherine spent the rest of her life in dank castles, never ceasing in prayer. She d...

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...istory of England, no matter how short the marriage. Though his six wives had no control over the gender of their children, or Henry’s constantly shifting emotions, they still paid the price, some with their own lives. The courts of King Henry were also a dangerous place for the Queens, and malicious political rivals had to be dealt with along with the stress of producing a male heir for their king. The six Queens of King Henry VIII, with their wide array of different personalities, all made an impact on history, whether through their life experiences, their published works, or their outspoken behaviors.

Works Cited

Eakins, Lara. "Six Wives of Henry VIII." Tudor History. N.p.. Web. 6 Apr 2014. .
"The Six Wives of Henry VIII." PBS. Educational Broadcasting Organization, n.d. Web. 7 Apr 2014. .
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