How many Queens did Henry VIII have?
6 in total!
Why did he have so many?
The main reason for a lot of it is that he wanted a male heir to the throne and his wives simply were not giving birth to one, so he got a new queen instead.
Who were his queens?
Katharine of Aragon – 1485-1536
This was Henry’s first wife.
Katherine was sent to England by her parents, Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile, to marry the heir to the English throne, Prince Arthur. Accounts of the little fifteen-year-old princess describe her as ‘faircoloured’ with a neat, regular oval face, and thick reddish-gold hair.
When Prince Arthur died a few months after their marriage, she remained in England, committed to her English destiny, and eventually married Arthur’s younger brother, Henry, when she was 23.
Katherine and Henry VIII remained married for 24 years. She had a daughter, Princess Mary, later Mary I. But because she was unable to give Henry a male heir, he got a divorce and married again. Katherine, separated from her daughter and exiled from court, died aged 49.
Anne Boleyn – 1501-1536
Henry’s second wife was Anne Boleyn. She was married to the King for only three years from 1533-1536.
Instead of the sought after male heir, Anne gave birth to another princess, Elizabeth (later Elizabeth I).
She was also unable to give him a male heir and he eventually had her beheaded at the Tower of
London after annulling their marriage!
Jane Seymour – c1509-1537
Jane was Henry’s third wife and he married her just days after Anne’s excecution!
Jane had actually been a lady-in-waiting for both of Henry’s previous wives.
She did give Henry a much longed for son and male heir, although she died not long after giving birth.
Anne of Cleves – 1515-1557
Henry was sent lots of women’s portraits so that he could choose one as a wife.
He was choosing a wife from overseas so that England could form an alliance with another European country which is why he could not meet them first.
He chose Anne but when she arrived he said she looked nothing like the painting and no longer wanted to marry her.
They did get married as all the arrangements were in place but they were divorced 6 months later. She remained in England and on good terms with Henry VIII. He commanded that she be treated as ‘the king’s sister’
Catherine Howard – c1522-1542
Henry’s fifth wife. They married only three weeks after his second divorce.
He actually liked this one, but there were rumours that she had not been faithful. She was arrested at Hampton Court Palace and later taken to the Tower of London where she was beheaded in February 1542, aged 21.
Catherine Parr – 1512-1548
Henry’s sixth and final wife.
He died while still married to her.