Henry VIII and his Six Wives
Posted on 13th February 2023
Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived. The lives of King Henry VIII's wives.
King Henry VIII Reign: 1509 - 1547
28 June 1491: Born in Palace of Placentia, Greenwich, London, England.
21 April 1509: Ascended the English throne, aged 17.
Catherine of Aragon Reign: 1509 - 1533
16 December 1485: Born at the Archbishop’s Palace, Alcala de Henares, Castile to parents King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile.
14 November 1501: Married to Arthur, Prince of Wales (Henry VIII's elder brother) at Old St Paul’s Cathedral.
2 April 1502: Arthur died, leaving the sixteen year-old Catherine a widow.
Following the death of Arthur, it was decided to marry Catherine to the younger brother Henry, however this required special permission from the Pope as it was forbidden in canon law for a men to marry his brother’s widow.
11 June 1509: Married Henry VIII at Greenwich Palace, London.
24 June 1509: Coronation at Westminster Abbey.
Catherine bore 6 children, but only one survived into adulthood, a daughter Mary, the future Queen Mary 1 of England.
January 1510: Unnamed Daughter (Stillborn)
January 1511: Henry, Duke of Cornwall, died 22 February 1511
September 1513: Unnamed Son (Stillborn)
December 1514: Unnamed Son (Stillborn)
February 1516: Mary (Future Queen Mary 1)
November 1518: Unnamed Daughter (Lived for a few hours)
1533: Marriage declared invalid by Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury.
23 May 1533: Marriage annulled by Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, following a special court judgement held at Dunstable Priory.
Catherine was moved to various locations following the annulment of her marriage, finally moving to Kimbolton Castle in May 1534.
7 January 1536: Catherine of Aragon died at Kimbolton Castle in Cambridgeshire.
29 January 1536: Buried at Peterborough Cathedral. Henry did not attend her funeral, and he refused permission for their daughter Mary to attend.
Anne Boleyn Reign: 1533 - 1536
Around 1501: Born at Blickling, Norfolk to parents Thomas Boleyn and Lady Elizabeth Howard.
After spending much of her youth in France, Anne returned to England in 1522 and soon entered the court of Henry VIII as lady-in-waiting to Queen Catherine. In 1526 Henry became besotted with Anne and began his pursuit of her.
25 January 1533: Married Henry in secret as she was already pregnant. At this time Henry was still married to Catherine.
28 May 1533: Anne’s marriage to Henry was declared valid by Thomas Cranmer five days after Henry and Catherine of Aragon’s annulment.
1 June 1533: Anne crowned Queen Consort at Westminster Abbey.
September 1533: Elizabeth (Future Queen Elizabeth 1)
1535: Unnamed Son (Miscarried)
January 1536: Unnamed Son (Stillborn)
2 May 1536: Accused of adultery and high treason, arrested and taken to the Tower of London.
14 May 1536: Anne and Henry’s marriage declared null and void by Thomas Cranmer.
19 May 1536: Executed (beheaded) within the Tower of London grounds.
1536: Buried in the Church of St Peter ad Vincula, Tower of London.
Jane Seymour Reign: 1536 - 1537
Around 1508: Born to parents Sir John Seymour and Margery Wentworth.
1532: Became maid-of-honour to Queen Catherine and later to Queen Anne.
20 May 1536: Betrothed to Henry after he became interested in her shortly before Queen Anne’s execution.
30 May 1536: Married at Palace of Whitehall, London.
4 June 1536: Proclaimed Queen.
12 October 1537: Edward (later King Edward VI)
24 October 1537: Died from complications following Edward’s birth at Hampton Court Palace, Richmond-upon-Thames.
12 November 1537: Buried at St Georges Chapel, Windsor Castle.
Jane had given birth to Henry’s greatest wish, a son, later to become Edward VI. She had also managed to reconcile Henry with his daughter Mary, from his marriage to Catherine of Aragon.
Anne of Cleves Reign: January 1540 - July 1540
September 1515: Born in Dusseldorf, Germany to parents John III, Duke of Cleves and Maria, Duchess of Julich-Berg.
Thomas Cromwell decided that it would be a good English alliance if Henry married a daughter of Cleves, so the artist Hans Holbein the Younger was sent abroad to paint portraits of Cleves’ daughters for Henry to choose.
4 October 1539: After seeing the portraits a marriage treaty was signed.
When he met Anne, Henry was disappointed by her appearance and wished to find legal means to avoid the marriage, however this would have affected an alliance with Germany which was much needed at the time.
6 January 1540: Married at Palace of Placentia, Greenwich, London.
Henry made no attempt to consummate his marriage, instead wishing to terminate it.
6 July 1540: Anne was informed of Henry’s decision to reconsider their marriage, and she was asked to consent to an annulment, which she agreed to.
9 July 1540: Marriage annulled.
As Anne had not opposed the annulment, she was given a generous settlement by Henry and stayed in the king’s favour, returning to court on many occasions.
Her last appearance at court seems to be around 1554. After this she lived quietly and when her health started to fail, she moved to Chelsea Old Manor, London.
16 July 1557: Died at Chelsea Old Manor.
3 August 1557: Buried in Westminster Abbey. The only wife of Henry VIII to be buried in the abbey.
Catherine Howard Reign: 1540 - 1541
Around 1523: Born in Lambeth, London to parents Lord Edmund Howard and Joyce Culpeper.
Catherine became a lady-in-waiting in the court of Anne of Cleves where Henry first noticed her.
28 July 1540: Married at Oatlands Palace, London, within weeks of Henry’s annulment from Anne of Cleves.
8 August 1540: Marriage made public.
Many rumours existed of a relationship between Catherine and Thomas Culpeper, and also of a previous betrothal agreement between Catherine and Francis Dereham. A love letter in Catherine’s handwriting written to Thomas Culpeper was found and this culminated in her downfall.
2 November 1541: Thomas Cranmer handed Henry a letter stating the charges against Catherine.
12 November 1541: Catherine was arrested, locked in her rooms and later imprisoned at Syon Abbey, Middlesex.
23 November 1541: Stripped of her title of Queen, Catherine would not see Henry again.
13 February 1542: Beheaded in the Tower of London and later buried in the Church of St Peter ad Vincula.
Catherine Howard was around 17- years- old when she married the 49-year-old king. An immature young woman who did not realise the consequences of her actions, and she paid the ultimate price for these indiscretions, her life.
Katherine Parr Reign: 1543 - 1547
1512: Born in Blackfriars, London to parents Sir Thomas Parr and Maud Green.
1529: Married at age 17 to Sir Edward Burgh.
1534: Married for a second time to John Neville, 3rd Baron Latimer.
1543: Widowed for a second time.
Katherine now renewed her friendship with Henry VIII’s daughter Mary, moving herself into Mary’s household. At this time, she started a romantic relationship with Thomas Seymour, brother of Henry’s third wife Jane Seymour, however the king noticed her and she felt obliged to accept his proposal of marriage.
12 July 1543: Katherine and Henry were married at Hampton Court Palace.
Henry’s health was deteriorating; however, he enjoyed the company of Katherine who was more of a friend than a wife. Katherine was instrumental in Henry reconciling with his daughters Mary and Elizabeth, placing both of them back in the line of succession.
28 January 1547: Henry VIII died at the Palace of Whitehall and Katherine retired to the Old Manor in Chelsea.
Thomas Seymour now renewed his advances to Katherine.
May 1574: Katherine and Seymour married in secret as it was less than six months since Henry’s death.
30 August 1548: Mary Seymour.
8 September 1548: Died at Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire from an infection following childbirth. She is buried in St Mary’s Chapel, Sudeley Castle.
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