• Wives of Henry VIII

    Wives of Henry VIII

    • The wives of Henry VIII were the six queens consort wedded to Henry VIII, King of England between 1509 and 1547.

      The six women who were married to King Henry VIII were, in chronological order:

      Henry's first marriage lasted nearly 24 years, while the remaining five totaled less than 10 years combined.

      A common mnemonic device to remember the fates of Henry's consorts is "Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived". There is also a rhyme:

      King Henry VIII,
      to six wives he was wedded.
      one died, one survived,
      two divorced, two beheaded.

      However, Henry did not "divorce" two wives, but rather had the marriages annulled. At the time, the laws relating to marriage were under the jurisdiction of canon law, and there was no divorce under canon law. Henry's marriage to Anne Boleyn was also annulled before her death. So if one accepts the courts' finding that the annulled marriages had never existed, Henry only had three wives—Seymour, Howard and Parr.

      It is often noted that Catherine Parr "survived him." In fact, Anne of Cleves also survived the king, and was the last of his queens to die. Of the six queens, Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, and Jane Seymour each gave Henry one child who survived infancy: two daughters and one son. All three of these children would eventually ascend to the throne: King Edward VI, Queen Mary I, and Queen Elizabeth I, respectively.

      Catherine Howard and Anne Boleyn, the two of Henry's queens who were beheaded, were first cousins. Several of Henry's wives worked in at least one of his other wives' service, typically as ladies-in-waiting: Anne Boleyn worked in Catherine of Aragon's service, Jane Seymour worked in Catherine of Aragon's and Anne Boleyn's, and Catherine Howard worked in Anne of Cleves's.

      Henry was distantly related to all six of his wives through their common ancestor, King Edward I of England.

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    • Wives of Henry VIII