Katherine of Aragon
The first of Henry VIII's six wives, Katherine of Aragon
(1485-1536) was a Spanish princess who was married to Henry for 18 years before he began divorce proceedings in his desperation to re-marry and produce a male heir. Katherine had been pregnant six times but only one daughter, Princess Mary, later Mary I
, had survived.
Dying in 1536, Katherine wrote to Henry: 'Lastly, I make this vow, that mine eyes desire you above all things. Farewell.'
The second of Henry VIII's six wives, Anne Boleyn (c1501-1536) was married to the King for only three years from 1533-1536. Instead of the sought after male heir, Anne was pregnant with another princess, Elizabeth (later Elizabeth I).
Anne was supported by religious reformers but was also hated by many at court. After a miscarriage, her fate was sealed and she was arrested (and later executed at the Tower of London) for adultery and incest.
Jane Seymour (c1509-1537) was the third of Henry VIII's six wives and the only wife to provide the King with the much longed for son and male heir. Having married Henry in May 1536, she gave birth to Prince Edward (later Edward VI) at Hampton Court Palace in 1537 but died soon afterwards.
Henry had his son but grieved: 'Providence has mingled my joy with the bitterness of the death of her who brought me this happiness.'