King Henry VIII not only had a reputation for having many wives, but also made historical headlines by the way he disposed of the women unable to produce what he deemed a strong heir to the throne. The King continued to blame his wives when he in fact, contributed to the miscarriages with his own medical issues. In this article, you will encounter the woman who gave birth to one of the most famous rulers of England.
Henry took Anne Boleyn as his second wife. She suffered a miscarriage at four months. Before the pair was legally married, she gave birth to an illegitimate daughter, Elizabeth, who infamously ruled England for 45 years and became one of the most respected rulers in the history of the country. Sadly, her mother Anne was ordered to die by way of beheading. Henry had fabricated charges of adultery so that he could marry Jane Seymour. Jane gave birth to a male heir named Edward, but she died nine days later. It was presumed that she lost her life of what was called childbed (or a type of fever).
Edward would go on to rule England for six years, but he was a sickly man. He suffered chronic skin inflammations and was diagnosed with a mysterious ailment that caused the tips of his fingers and toes to fall off.
It was three years before Henry took another wife. He agreed to enter a wedding that had been arranged for its political advantages. He had not even seen his new bride before they were called man and wife. He was not pleased when he finally laid eyes on the woman named Anne of Cleves. The statesman who made arrangements for this union was held responsible and Henry ordered the beheading of Thomas Cromwell as a result. The marriage was unconsummated and was quickly dissolved after a few months had passed. Anne was lucky enough to not go through the agony of miscarriages and sickly offspring as Henry’s previous wives.
Catherine Howard was described as a young and promiscuous woman, who became the fifth wife of Henry. She hadn’t been given the chance to produce any heirs because she had been beheaded for infidelity before the pair ever tried for children.
In 1543, Henry married his sixth wife, Catherine Parr. By this time, Henry was ailing and grossly obese at the age of 51. He spared Parr of having intercourse with him , a good thing for her because she would have contracted the disease that eventually took her husband’s life.
As King Henry’s health continued to deteriorate, his attempts to produce offspring also declined. Because of this, his view of the “favorite” wife shows in his last will and testament. In Part III of the article titled “Infamous Wills: King Henry VIII,” you will learn who the king felt was worthy enough to share his final resting place.