Henry the Eighth came to the throne on 22 April 1509 aged 18, and was crowned in Westminster Abbey on 24 June the same year. He became Henry Eighth due to his dad being Henry Seventh. His first thought was, “I’d better get a wife, so that I will have a son and heir to follow in my footsteps.”
So in 1509 he married Catherine of Aragon, (he didn’t believe in wasting time!)she was the widow of his older brother Arthur. (Who conveniently had died)
She poor woman, gave birth eight times, but only one baby survived, Mary, later to be known as “Bloody Mary.” Not a very nice girl.
This did not please Henry at all, he wanted a son and heir. So in 1533 he had the marriage annulled. Catherine was fortunate, being the first wife, she had a head start. And got away with hers.
Henry meantime had fallen for Anne Boleyn. He had not only fallen for her. She was pregnant with his child when he married her in1533. That baby was later to become
Queen Elizabeth the First. Although Henry didn’t know this at the time.
When Anne had two still births and a miscarriage, Henry lost interest in her. He had got his eye on Jane Seymour now, who was one of Anne’s ladies in waiting, but she wouldn’t say yes while Anne Boleyn was still alive. So in May 1536 Henry trumped up charges of treason against Anne, and she was the first to lose her head.
It didn’t do much for her hairdo either.
Jane Seymour produced a son. Edward, later Edward the Fifth, who came to the throne aged nine, in 1547, but he was a poorly child, and just six years later, in 1553 died of T.E. More a royal shower, than a reign. His mother, Jane Seymour died soon after in childbirth. Henry was devastated when Jane died ,as he really loved her. But he still needed a male heir,
Time did not stand still, and neither did Henry. So he arranged a marriage with Anne of Cleaves, in January 1540. A German princess, whom Henry thought “very dull and ugly.” She could speak: no English, and Henry called her “The Mare of Flanders,” which was not very kind, she couldn’t help her looks, and he would have nothing to do with her. So the marriage was annulled in the following July. I wonder if she realised how lucky she was.
Nothing doing there, so Henry set his cap at Catherine Howard, whom he rather fancied, They were married on 28 July 1540.but Catherine played the field with many, younger, lovers and when Henry discovered this, he was a bit put out, and had her executed for high treason, or highjinks, in February 1542.
He soon recovered from Catherine’s betrayal, and in 1543 saw twice widowed Catherine Parr, as an ideal stepmother to his three children, Mary, Elizabeth, and Edward, and someone to look after him in his old age. He wasn’t daft.
It was more a marriage of convenience, because Henry was in pretty poor health, with badly ulcerated legs, and had given up the idea of having an heir. And for four years Catherine was more a nurse, than a wife.
He died in 1547, aged 55,and within months of his death, Catherine married Thomas Seymour, who was uncle to the new King Edward the Fifth, but it was not to be a happy ending, as she died in childbirth the following year So in 38 years Henry had six wives and three children. Not a very good track record.