Henry VIII is one of England’s most famous monarchs, known for his six marriages and the dramatic events that surrounded them.
In this post, we’ll take a look at Henry VIII’s wives in order and how they died.
Catherine of Aragon – First Wife
Catherine of Aragon was Henry VIII’s first wife. They were married for 24 years, from 1509 to 1533. Catherine was the widow of Henry’s older brother, Arthur, and she had been married to Henry to secure a political alliance between England and Spain. However, when Catherine failed to produce a male heir, Henry sought an annulment from the Pope, which led to the English Reformation. Catherine refused to accept the annulment and was banished from court. She died in 1536 at the age of 50.
Anne Boleyn – Second Wife
Anne Boleyn was Henry VIII’s second wife. They were married from 1533 to 1536. Anne was a lady-in-waiting to Catherine of Aragon when Henry first became interested in her. She was clever and ambitious, and she encouraged Henry’s desire to break away from the Catholic Church. However, when she also failed to produce a male heir, Henry became disillusioned with her and accused her of adultery, incest, and treason. She was beheaded in 1536.
Jane Seymour – Third Wife
Jane Seymour was Henry VIII’s third wife. They were married from 1536 to 1537. Jane was a maid-of-honour to both Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn. She was quiet and unassuming, and she was the first of Henry’s wives to give birth to a male heir, Edward VI. However, Jane died of complications following childbirth, and Henry was said to be devastated by her death.
Anne of Cleves – Fourth Wife
Anne of Cleves was Henry VIII’s fourth wife. They were married for just six months in 1540. Anne was a German princess, and Henry agreed to marry her on the basis of a portrait he had seen. However, when he met her in person, he found her unattractive and could not consummate the marriage. He quickly sought an annulment, and Anne agreed to the divorce, receiving a generous settlement and the title of “the King’s sister”. She lived in England for the rest of her life, outliving Henry by ten years.
Catherine Howard – Fifth Wife
Catherine Howard was Henry VIII’s fifth wife. They were married from 1540 to 1542. Catherine was a cousin of Anne Boleyn, and she was just 19 years old when she married Henry. However, she was said to be frivolous and unfaithful, and she was accused of having affairs with several men. Henry had her arrested and executed for treason in 1542.
Catherine Parr – Sixth Wife
Catherine Parr was Henry VIII’s sixth and final wife. They were married from 1543 to 1547. Catherine was a widow twice over when she married Henry, and she was known for her intelligence and piety. She acted as a stepmother to Henry’s three children, and she helped to reconcile Henry with his daughters Mary and Elizabeth. Catherine outlived Henry and went on to marry again, but she died in childbirth in 1548.
All of Henry VIII’s six marriages were marked by drama, intrigue, and tragedy.
From Catherine of Aragon, his first wife, to Catherine Parr, his last, each woman had a unique story and fate. The death of Jane Seymour gave Henry his long-awaited male heir, but the other five marriages ultimately ended in divorce, annulment, or execution.
The legacy of Henry VIII’s marriages and his role in the English Reformation is still felt today, and his six wives remain some of the most well-known figures in English history.
It’s worth noting that the details of Henry VIII’s relationships with his wives are often the subject of historical debate, and some of the information presented here may be contested by historians.
However, the stories of Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard, and Catherine Parr continue to captivate people around the world, making them some of the most enduring figures in English history.
Henry VIII’s wives in order and how they died are as follows:
- Catherine of Aragon – died in 1536 at the age of 50
- Anne Boleyn – beheaded in 1536
- Jane Seymour – died of complications following childbirth in 1537
- Anne of Cleves – agreed to a divorce and outlived Henry by ten years
- Catherine Howard – executed for treason in 1542
- Catherine Parr – outlived Henry and died in childbirth in 1548.
Their stories continue to fascinate people today and offer a glimpse into the political, religious, and cultural changes of the Tudor era.
Feature image “Six Wives of Henry VIII, Postcard, Hever Castle, Kent, England” by lisby1 is marked with Public Domain Mark 1.0.