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Henry VIII's Six Wives

Henry VIII wanted to make sure that the Tudors would keep on ruling England after he died. Henry believed that only a boy could inherit his kingdom as England had never had a queen before.

He married six times:
  • His first wife was a Spanish princess called Catherine of Aragon who he married in 1509 because his father had got them engaged to avoid having to pay back the money she had brought to the family after her first husband (Henry VIII's brother) died. She had six children, but only a daughter named Mary survived infancy. After 24 years of marriage, Henry VIII divorced Catherine in 1533 because she had failed to produce a male heir to the throne.
Catherine of Aragon
  • His second wife was the young and beautiful Anne Boleyn (lady-in-waiting to the former queen) who he fell in love and married in 1533. She gave birth to the future Queen Elizabeth. When Anne miscarried a second child, he had her beheaded at the Tower of London in 1536, accusing her of witchcraft and adultery.
Anne Boleyn
  • His third wife was Jane Seymour who married in 1536 because he still needed a male heir. They married just eleven days after the execution of Anne. Jane gave birth to a baby boy on 12th October 1537 (later to become King Edward VI), but sadly died 12 days later of blood poisoning. She was buried at Windsor Castle, later to be joined by Henry VIII.
Jane Seymour. Workshop of Hans Holbein the Younger
  • His fourth wife was a German lady called Anne of Cleves who he married in January 1540 for diplomatic reasons. After only six months Henry found the political alliance no longer to be to his advantage and so divorced her the same year. She died in 1557.
  • His fifth wife was Catherine Howard, who he married in 1540 because he fell in love again. In 1542, he once again accused his wife of adultery and her beheaded in the Tower of London.
Unknown woman, formerly known as Catherine Howard by Hans Holbein the Younger
  • His sixth wife was Catherine Parr who married in 1543 because he was was old and sick and wanted a companion and nurse who wouldn't give him too much trouble. She outlived Henry so she is said to have survived.
Catherine Parr from NPG