The Six Wives Club of Henry VIII
by Amorette Palesano

         Henry VIII was born on June 28, 1491.  He was the second son of King Henry VII of England.  He became heir to the English throne at the young age of ten, after his elder brother, Arthur unexpectedly died.

Catherine of Aragon

        When Catherine of Aragon was only three years old, it was arranged by her parents, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, for her to marry Prince Arthur of England.  Just before her sixteenth birthday she was married to Arthur, but that same year Arthur died. King Henry VII wanted to keep the dowry of Catherine, so she was betrothed to marry Arthur's younger brother Prince Henry. When Henry was almost eighteen, and Catherine was twenty-three, they got married.  When Henry VII died, Prince Henry became King, and she was crowned Queen of England on June 24, 1509.
        Not soon after their marriage, Catherine was pregnant and gave birth to a stillborn daughter. After that followed more pregnancies, but only one child named Mary survived.  She later became Queen Mary of England, known as Bloody Mary.

Anne Boleyn

        At this time Henry had two known mistresses, and was drifting apart from Catherine. What he wanted was an heir to the throne, a son, which Catherine couldn't provide. For six years he tried to get an annulment. It was granted in 1532, and Catherine was forced to leave, and later died at the Kimbolton Castle on January 7, 1536.
        Then it was Anne Boleyn that the king sought after. Anne became pregnant so in 1532, they secretly married, and Anne became Queen. Henry believed the child would be a son, but instead on September 7, 1533, a daughter named Elizabeth was born. Anne had other pregnancies, but they were either stillborn or miscarried. By now Henry had started noticing and liking Jane Seymour, one of Anne's ladies-in waiting. The king now wanted out of this marriage to Anne, and to start over. When she didn't agree to step aside, Henry charged her with adultery, incest, and treason. On May 19, 1536, she was executed.

Jane Seymour

        Within 24-hours of the time Anne was executed, King Henry became betrothed to Jane Seymour. Eleven days later, they married. In Hampton Court, in October of 1537, Jane gave birth to Edward, a son. On October 24, just two weeks after her son was born, Jane died. Henry did not marry for two years after her death. Later on, Jane Seymour was the only one of his wives to be buried next to him.

Anne of Cleaves

        Then Henry was asked by his supporters to remarry, he started looking for a new bride. At that time England wanted alliances with other countries, and there were these two sisters of the Dukes of Cleaves. Henry sent a painter to paint a portrait of them. When he saw their picture, he decided to marry one of them, Anne. When she came, she didn't look as he had expected her to look from her picture. They got married on January 6, 1540, but Henry already wanted out of the marriage. It lasted six months, and then they both agreed to a annulment. She returned home and later died in 1557.

Catherine Howard

        Catherine Howard was Henry's fifth wife, and a cousin of Anne Boleyn. She was a lady-in-waiting for Anne of Cleaves, and six days after their annulment, she married Henry in 1540. Catherine was only nineteen, and Henry was around forty. She seemed to "refresh" the life in him. However, just months into the marriage, she was caught in an affair, accused of disloyalty, and "promiscuousness before marriage" and was executed on February 13, 1542. She was buried by her cousin, Anne Boleyn.

Katherine Parr

        Eighteen months after Catherine's execution, Henry married Katherine Parr on July 12, 1543. She looked after him and his children, and acted as his nurse on account of his health wasn't that good. Henry died on January 28, 1547, and Katherine was the only one of Henry's wives to outlive him. She later married Jane Seymour's brother. She died in 1548.


"King Henry the VIII" @

"Tudor History" @

"The Six Wives of Henry VIII" @

Picture Credits:

Picture #1 - "Catherine of Argon" from:

Picture #2 - "Anne Boleyn" from:

Picture #3 - "Jane Seymour" from:

Picture #4 - "Anne of Cleves" from:

Picture #5 - "Kathryn Howard" from:

Picture #6 - "Katherine Parr" from: