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The Wives Of King Henry Viii

1597 words - 6 pages

King Henry VII had more wives than the average man during his time period. Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Kathryn Howard, and Katherine Parr all shared a life with the king for a period of time, whether it was a few months or several years. He had a colorful divorce pattern as well, ranging from annulment to execution. Though the king blamed his wives for not giving him a son, it was actually almost entirely his fault but the women paid the price for his ignorance. His want of a male heir led him to many marriages, divorces, and affairs that are still remembered in history today.
Catherine of Aragon was born on December 16th, 1485 to Ferdinand and Isabella in Alcala de Henares, Spain, a princess who would be matched with her future husband at the age of three. This future husband was Prince Arthur, son of King Henry VII and older brother of King Henry VIII. The two were married later in their teens, but six months after the marriage, Arthur died, likely a victim of the fatal ‘sweating sickness’. Approximately four years later, she married King Henry VIII and became pregnant soon after. After several children, many of whom were stillborn or died shortly after birth, King Henry became impatient with his lack of a male heir. He requested a divorce to Catherine, but the attempt was in vain until he impregnated her mistress’s daughter, Anne Boleyn, and persuaded Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, to annul the marriage. Catherine was forced to renounce her title as Queen of England, and became known as the Princess Dowager of Wales, a title that she never accepted. She and her daughter Mary were separated, and Catherine spent the rest of her life in dank castles, never ceasing in prayer. She died on January 7, 1536 at Kimbolton Castle and was buried as Princess Dowager at Peterborough Abbey.
Born between 1500 and 1509, Anne Boleyn played a key role in the history of England despite her “moderate” appearance. She was not the typical 16th century female--she was not pale, blonde-haired, or blue-eyed, but had dark, olive-toned skin, thick dark brown hair, and dark brown eyes that were admired by many. She eventually tended to Queen Catherine; meanwhile, Henry VIII, who hated to write and few documents are left in his hand, wrote Anne seventeen love letters. At first, Anne refused King Henry any sexual favors, but she eventually gave in and became pregnant while the king was still married to Catherine. The two were secretly married shortly before the annulment of Catherine and Henry’s marriage. The people of England strongly disliked Anne for her short temper, outspoken behavior, and requests to reform the Church. Her enemies at court began plotting against her, calling for an investigation and possible charges of treason. She was ultimately beheaded, along with her brother George Boleyn or Lord Rochford and four other men, for charges of adultery, incest, and plotting to murder the king. She was also unable to...

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