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Posts Tagged ‘Tudor History

Daily Smart Fact #3: Only 2 of King Henry’s 6 Wives were Executed

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Key Takeaway: King Henry the VIII had 6 wives and he only executed 2 of them (Anne Boleyn & Kathryn Howard).  3 of them were named Katherine (with different spellings) and 2 of them were named Anne.

I was very close to becoming a history major in college because I enjoy all types of history – ancient Greek history, Tudor history, early American history.  I’ve continued my interest with my current read of Alison Weir’s book “The Six Wives of Henry VIII.”  Its common knowledge that Henry the VIII had 6 wives and that he founded the Church of England just so he could divorce his first wife, Catherine of Aragon.  But did you know that he only had TWO of his 6 wives executed?  Maybe its just me, but I had always thought he had like 4 or 5 of his wives beheaded, not only 2.  Here’s the rundown:

  1. Catherine of Aragon – Divorced/Annulled; she lived to the ripe old age of 51 (for more of her life history, I highly recommend reading Alison Weirs’ book – her life story is quite sad).  Originally betrothed and married to Henry’s older brother, she became Henry’s wife after his brother died.
  2. Anne Boleyn – Beheaded and famously played by the Black Swan herself, Natalie Portman in “The Other Boleyn Girl.”  Anne was married to Henry for about 3.5 years before her execution in 1536.
  3. Jane Seymour – “Natural Death” (she shortly died after giving birth to Henry’s heir – Edward).  Considered by Henry as his first “true wife”, Jane Seymour died 2 weeks after giving birth and having been married for a little over a year.
  4. Anne of Cleves – Divorced after 7 months of marriage (man, that Henry was fickle)
  5. Kathryn Howard – Executed for her accused adultery (she was only 21) and Anne Boleyn’s cousin.  She was 19 when she married Henry, who was a fat 49 year old at this point.
  6. Katherine Parr – Widowed; secretly married Thomas Seymour only months after Henry’s death. Take that, you womanizing fat king!
To learn more, visit tudorhistory.org.

Written by Bea

May 15, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Posted in History

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