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My lovely niece, Mackenzie has never asked me for a thing.  But her comment on yesterday’s post got me to thinking.

So, Mac, here goes.

First of all, Henry VII looked about as much like Eric Bana as I do.

Henry VIII was never meant to be king.  He was the second son, and his older brother Arthur was supposed to inherit the throne from their evil father, Henry VII.  

Henry VIII at 18

Arthur was married to Catherine of Aragon, the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella the Catholic, King and Queen of Spain.  Not willing to let Catherine’s dowry and the political ties and protection that came with a royal union between the two nations slip away, Henry VII conned the Pope into saying the marriage was never consummated, and that it wouldn’t be incest if Henry VIII and Catherine were married. 

More than likey, the marriage was never consummated.  Arthur was 15 years old when they married, and died a mere 20 weeks into the union.

So, Henry VIII had a bride.  The first of many.  Catherine of Aragon as a young widow.

I doubt seriously that Henry VIII knew what love was.  He married six times, hell bent on a male heir.

After 20 years of marriage to Catherine and several affairs, he was smitten, some say bewitched by Anne Boleyn.  He’d already fathered a bastardhad a relationship with Anne’s sister Mary.  Once she became preggers, he cast her off, and Anne and Mary’s social climbing ambitious parents pushed Anne into the arena of Henry’s affections.   Anne Boleyn

Anne was no fool.  She knew that if Henry got ‘what he wanted’, she’d be done for.  So, she set her cap on being Queen.  Catherine would have to go. 

Her plan was for Henry to divorce Catherine.  An idea way ahead of its time, there was seemingly no way out of the marriage.

But Henry, once the “Defender of the Faith” against Martin Luther, cast Catherine aside, broke with the Pope, and married an already knocked UP pregnant Anne.

It didn’t go well.  Her first child wasn’t the longed for male, it was Elizabeth.  I’m sure had Henry known what a great Queen she would make, things would have gone better for Anne.  But his pleasure turned to displeasure with the stillborn and miscarried males in her womb. 

Anne had to go.  Charges were trumped UP, Anne was branded an adulteress, which was treason…really, we can have no bastards on the throne…and she, her brother and a few other men met a gruesome death on the chopping block.

Henry had already fallen for Jane Seymour, the sister of another social climbing ambitious aristocratic family.  Some say Henry may have loved Jane, but again, I find it unlikely that he had a clue as to what love really was. 

Henry was riding with Jane when the French swordsman took Anne’s head off in the tower courtyard.

She too was pregnant.  Henry’s swimmers were quite healthy, dispite the syphillis coursing through his body. 

Not willing to be alone, and with only one sickly male heir, Henry cast his net for another bride. 

He decided to go Royal again.

Enter Anne of Cleves.   Anne of ClevesThere is no accurate likeness of Anne of Cleves.  She was butt ugly, and Henry, UPon seeing her, said, “…she pleases me not…”  but the marriage took place anyway.  After the wedding night, Henry told Thomas Cramner, the Archbishop of London, “I liked her before not well, but now I like her much worse”.   Henry wanted to have the man who found her and pushed her UPon him executed, but no one could find an English law prohibiting “hook-UPs with ugly chicks”.  Other charges were found, and Cromwell, Henry’s friend and advisor for years, met his death at the chopping block.   Anne of Cleves, being nobody’s fool, agreed to an chesney/zelwegger annulment, high-tailed it to the country estate Henry generously gave her and nodded and smiled when she was referred to as “the royal sister”. 

I sUPpose that country life is better than no life at all.

Of course, Henry wanting not to be alone, again started looking. 

  Catherin Howard  

Enter Catherine Howard, the cousin of Anne Boleyn, and the daughter of yet another social climbing ambitious family…er practically the same family as the Boleyns, she was Elizabeth Howard’s niece, Elizabeth was Anne Boleyn’s mother.  

She married Henry a quick three weeks after his annulment to Anne of Cleves was final.  Rumor had it she was knocked UP bearing a royal heir, and all the court was a twitter with the news.  Catherine was 16, Henry was almost 50, and sported a 52 inch waist.

The once handsome king was now a complete troll.

Ok. this one really was a slut.  She had her first sexual relationship in 1536, at the age of TWELVE!  He was her music teacher, and when she became Queen, he came with her as a musician in her household.  

She also made the beast with two backs with Frances Dereham, a secretary in the employ of her step-grandmother, the Duchess of Norfolk.   It is most probable that she had romantic liasons while Queen, which would be treason.  She never admitted to adultery, but did admit that her “behavior as a young girl was unbecoming her rank, and unbecoming to a Queen of England.”

Ya think?

Francis I of France, who kept not one, but TWO mistresses, wrote UPon hearing of her death, in a letter to Henry that he regretted “the lewd and naughty behaviour of the Queen”.  He went on to add the advice that “The lightness of women cannot bend the honour of men”.

When Sir William Paget told Francis of Catherine’s misconduct, he exclaimed “She hath done wondrous naughty!”

Well, I sUPpose.

Catherine was found guilty of adultery and treason – big surprise – and executed with one single stroke of the axe.  She’s burried near Anne Boleyn. 

And then there’s the lucky one, Catherine Parr. 

She outlived Henry.  Catherine ParrShe was Henry’s sixth wife, the fourth commoner to be married to him, and she was married before.   Twice!   And after Henry, she married again.    But, she almost didn’t make it through to widowhood.  England remained decidedly Catholic even after the break with Rome;  it’s just there was no Pope, only Henry, the head of the church, the spiritual-syphilitic scion of the synod.  Catherine’s ardent Protestantism was anathema to many.  Charges were trumped against her, but she and Henry worked everything out, and the warrant for her arrest was never signed.  She was also the most political savvy of Henry’s wives.  

She married her old love, Thomas Seymour, brother-in-law of Henry, brother of his 3rd wife Jane, and BTW, uncle to the new King, Edward VI.  The step-son/nephew/King had to give his permission for the marriage.  He did, and when the news broke, it was no small scandal.  Henry had been dead for six months.  Well, people didn’t live all that long back then, and no one wanted to waste anytime. 

 Seymour was an old boyfriend of Queen Catherine’s, they got married, she got pregnant for the first time at 35, and died a few days after giving birth to her daughter, Mary, named for her step-daughter, Mary Tudor, Henry’s first child.

Henry had at least four other children, all bastards, 2 boys, 2 girls. 

Oddly enough, via legitimate relationships, Henry and all six of his wives were descendants of the same man, King Edward I, a.k.a Edward Longshanks, King of England. 

Not much of a love story…but one heck of a story at any rate.

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