Facts about King Henry VIII and his Six Wives

King Henry VIII of England was King from 1509 until his death and was the second Tudor monarch, succeeding his father, Henry VII.

He is best known for having six wives, in particular his first marriage to Catherine of Aragon and his efforts to have the marriage annulled.

In 1509, Henry VIII became King after his older brother Arthur died.  He married Arthur’s widow, Catherine of Aragon.  She suffered many miscarriages and two sons only lived for a short period of days after their birth.  However, Catherine did have a baby daughter, named Mary born in February 1516.

However in 1536, King Henry VIII wanted to divorce Catherine and so he changed the rules of the catholic church and granted himself a divorce.

King Henry’s 2nd wife was Anne Boleyn and they married on 25th January 1533.  She was already pregnant when they married and on the 26th August 1533 their daughter Princess Elizabeth.  Unfortunately, Anne also suffered a few miscarriages and a son who only lived for a few days after his birth.

It was important that King Henry VIII receive a male heir to the throne, but Anne was unable to give him one.  Many of the Queen’s enemies at the court plotted against her, accusing her of adultery, incest and treason to plot to kill the king.  Although all the charges were false, Anne was found guilty and on 19th May 1536 was beheaded at the Tower of London.

Henry VIII married his new love Jane Seymour on 30th May 1536. On 15th October 1537, Jane gave birth to a baby son, and they named him Edward.  After Edward’s christening, Jane became very ill and died on the 24th October, just two weeks after giving birth.

King Henry had already prepared his own tomb at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle and this is where Jane Seymour was buried – she is the only wife of Henry’s six wives to be buried with him.

He married his 4th wife, Anne of Cleves on 6th January 1540 and this was a marriage of alliance between France and England.  But this marriage was quickly dissolved and incurred no argument from Anne of Cleves.

King Henry VIII 5th wife was Kathryn Howard, and they were married on 28th July 1540.  He was 49 yrs old to her 19 years.  Within a year of their wedding, rumours started about Kathryn Howard’s infidelity, she even employed one as her personal secretary.

In November 1541, Archbishop Cranmer informed the King of Kathryn’s behaviour and with plenty of evidence to prove that she had indeed been promiscuous before and after her marriage to the King, he had Kathryn Howard executed at the Tower of London on the 13th February 1542.

Kathryn Howard is buried near to her cousin Anne Boleyn in the chapel of St Peter ad Vincula.

King Henry’s 6th wife was Katherine Parr, and they married on the 12th July 1543.

She was the daughter of Sir Thomas Parr and Maud Green, both of whom worked at the Kings court during his ear reign.

Katherine Parr was married to Edward Borough in 1529 before he died in 1533. Then she went on to marry John Neville in 1534.  He died in March 1543, leaving Katherine a widow once more.

Around this time Thomas Seymour (Jane Seymour’s brother) had expressed a desire to marry Katherine, but the King’s proposal also came at this time, and Katherine felt it was her duty to accept.

Henry VIII died in January 1547 having played an important part in English history, so why not learn more about King Henry VIII’s six wives and how they died.

Katherine was not involved in any role in the upbringing of the new King, Edward VI (her stepson) and moved to Sudeley Castle.  She secretly married Thomas Seymour.

Katherine gave birth to a daughter, whom she named Mary, on 30th August 1548 (her first child).  She became ill after giving birth and died from a puerperal fever on 5th September. She is buried in the chapel at Sudeley Castle in the Cotswolds.