The Wives of Henry VIII

Ready for a trip back in time? Here at National Geographic KiDS, we're traveling back to Tudor England to meet the six wives of King Henry VIII. Hold onto your hats - and your heads...!


Catherine of Aragon


Catherine of Aragon

Henry VIII's first wife was Catherine of Aragon, daughter of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabela of Spain. Eight years before her marriage to Henry in 1509, Catherine was in fact married to Henry’s older brother, Arthur, who died of sickness at just 15 years old. Together, Henry and Catherine had a daughter, Mary - but it was a son that Henry wanted. Frustrated that Catherine seemed unable to produce a male heir to the throne, Henry had their marriage annulled (cancelled) in 1533. But there’s more to the story, gang - towards the end of their marriage, Henry fell in love with one of Catherine’s ladies-in-waiting (woman who assisted the queen) - Anne Boleyn...


Anne Boleyn


Anne Boleyn

Anne Boleyn became Henry's second wife after the pair married secretly in January 1533. By this time, Anne was pregnant with her first child to Henry, and by June 1533 she was crowned Queen of England. Together they had a daughter, Elizabeth - the future Queen Elizabeth I. But, still, it was a son - and future king of England - that Henry wanted. Frustrated, he believed his marriage was cursed and that Anne was to blame. And so, he turned his affections to one of Anne’s ladies-in-waiting, Jane Seymour. And Anne’s fate? Following accusations of numerous crimes, including witchcraft and treason (plotting to kill the king), she was arrested and beheaded. Eek!


Jane Seymour


Jane Seymour

On 30 May 1535, King Henry married Jane Seymour. Unlike his previous wives, however, Jane never had a coronation and so was never crowned Queen of England. Some people believe this was because Henry wanted her to provide an heir to the throne first. And in October 1537, the time had finally come - Henry became the proud father of Prince Edward. But the prince came at a price - Jane took ill and died just two weeks after the birth. She was buried in a tomb at Windsor Castle, and would later become the only one of Henry's six wives to be buried with him.


Anne of Cleves


Anne of Cleves

Henry was single for two years after Jane Seymour's death. But as time passed, the King and his ministers felt that England needed a foreign ally - and so the hunt for a new bride began! Henry sent a talented painter called Hans Holbein to Germany to paint portraits of the Duke of Cleves' daughters, Anne and Amelia. Anne's portrait pleased him, and arrangements were made for the pair to wed. But Anne's arrival in England proved to be a bit of a disaster to say the least. Seeing her in person, Henry took an instant dislike to Anne and, finding her ugly, referred to her as "The Mare of Flanders'. Poor Anne! Too late to cancel, their wedding took place 6 January 1540, only for the marriage to be annulled a few weeks later.


Catherine Howard


Catherine Howard

Next in line to marry King Henry VIII was young Catherine Howard - lady-in-waiting to Anne of Cleves and first cousin to Henry's second wife, Anne Boleyn. By the time they married in July 1540, Henry was 49 years old, overweight and unable to walk, and Kathryn a lively teenager. Delighted with his new wife, Henry is said to have spoilt Catherine with gifts and called her his 'rose without a thorn'. But trouble lay ahead for Katherine - two years into their marriage, she was accused of being unfaithful to the king. Her fate..? Beheaded!


Catherine Parr


Katherine Parr

King Henry VIII's sixth and final wife was Catherine Parr. An educated woman who loved to learn new things, Catherine married Henry on 12 July 1543. She proved to be a kind wife who looked after Henry in his sickness, and a good stepmother to the king's three children, Mary, Elizabeth and Edward. But yes - you guessed it - she didn't have it easy with Henry! Her interest in Protestantism (a new religious faith) made her enemies in court - enemies who tried to turn the king against her and have her arrested. Luckily for Catherine, she managed to convince Henry that she was loyal to him and his religion, and was spared execution. Phew! Henry died in 1547, leaving Catherine widowed and free to marry her former love, Thomas Seymour.

Love reading about the Tudors? Then be sure to check out our other fab features...





Portraits: Getty Images UK

Your Comments

tstrange
Wow very interesting I done my topic about it is awsome
PopularMMOs
Thinking about the wing tomorrow's video about Henry's wives maybe for epic proportions!!!
Ellie007
Thank you so much!! This helped me revise for my history exam this afternoon! Nervous!
LIONSAREBAE
Nice facts! My sis loved them!
hfhgh
lol
shadow
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ch3b
There's a rhyme - divorced ,beheaded,died, divorced ,beheaded,survived!
ted
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ted
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Toby
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bob88888
cool
Dolphin1
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Jasmine4786
I can not believe henry had so many wives!
DSH
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Hannahlew
this really helped! thanks :)
madison4569871230
awesome
jeffjones123
not true at all henry had 9 wifes
susan boyle
lif is life is life
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kitty12
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sunhigymnastics555
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Kara cooper
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fib
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Tudors1
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QTpie
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QTpie
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QTpie
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QTpie
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LiZzY20
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Elephants_are_cool
Thank you so much for this !such a big help!
Jallen2810
great!!!!
Jallen2810
were
123789
WOW LOL and again WOW
MOOOOOO
divorced beheaded died divorced beheaded survived
zollow
very good! we r doing tudors 2!
badwolf
awesome#lol
badwolf
#lol
sahithi
nice
Lucinda
Soooo coool!
CoolMonkey6
Great facts. Thanks a lot
girafylla
wow awesome
Freddie_Rackstraw6
AWESOME!
Achan
AMAZING
wierdmonkey
cool
wierdmonkey
we are doing the tudors and this will REALLY help me THANKS!!!!!!
akalabobo
awesome!
Dude elephant
This website is amazing
Composer
I love tudors awesome website
Bop
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Rainbow Tiger24
I love the tudors
Marina19942003
Awsome... it's full of information i didn't know about Henry the 8th.
ashton0911
we are doing tudors at school and this has helped me get in front of the class
Cherrybakewell
Thank you soooooo much! I now love history!!! You made history class a breeze! You deserve a big THANK YOU!!!!!
Aishah
That helped me a lot I was so bad at History but now I am so good at it my brothers and sisters are so interested in it and love it when I read it to them they beg my to tell them thank you so much
Blueda
Why do he need to marry again when he already have a son
Anne_Boleyn_Fan
Amaze! Love it!!!!!
kiwi
Henry didn't have six wives , apparently three of his weddings were declared nul and droid
Factastic
Amaze . THese facts are hilarious fun and interesting. I love the tudors and I think Anne Boelyn and Anne of Cleeves are pretty in their paintings
anonymouss
poor wives
giraffegir
why did King Henry have to marry so many women
seasand
Wow he had loads of wives!!!
Safiyah
These 10 facts about King Henry Vlll are really good they helped me allot.I would recommend them! King Henry Vlll wives. :)
sinali
thank you
Ariana-Grande
I've just got to say a massive THANK YOU! You helped me with all my work and last year I used to be rubbish at History and now I'm really good at it! lol x
MrDolphinDucks
good facts
Animal_awesome101
Loved learning about this! An easy way to remember the wives is All Boys Should Come Home Please. It has the first letter of their last names
Epicbackflip
That is my very favourate part of history! Anne Boleyn was very beautiful!
james
looked like anne and catherine were popular names
hemlock17
Looks like at that time Catherine was a very common name
keelin
He has a lot of wives!!!! 6 of them!!!!!
marie
add more facts
dude
cool dude
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