Find out more about the lives (and deaths) of Henry VIII’s six wives
Katherine of Aragon (1485-1536)
- Katherine was a Spanish princess and the youngest daughter of King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castille.
- Katherine was married to Henry’s brother, Arthur, before she married Henry. However, Arthur caught a nasty disease and died soon after they were married.
- She was the first of Henry’s six wives and they were married for 24 years.
- Katherine had been pregnant six times but only one child survived. That child would grow up to be Queen Mary I.
- Henry wanted to divorce Katherine because he was desperate for a male heir to inherit the throne and he thought Anne Boleyn could provide him with one.
Anne Boleyn (1501-1536)
- Anne was Henry’s second wife and she was married to the King for only three years from 1533 -1536.
- Henry had married Anne in the belief that she would give birth to a son but she fell pregnant with another princess, Elizabeth I.
- Anne was liked by some people in the King’s court but hated by many others. After it was clear that she wasn’t going to produce a male heir, her fate was sealed and she was arrested.
- She was executed in 1536 for adultery and incest
Jane Seymour (1509 – 1537)
- Jane was Henry’s third wife
- She was the only one of his six wives to have a son who would later become King Edward VI
- She died very soon after giving birth to Prince Edward
- She is the only one of Henry VIII’s queens to be buried with him at St George’s Chapel in Windsor
Anne of Cleves (1515-1557)
- Anne was Henry’s fourth wife and she was only queen for a few months during the year of 1540.
- At 24, she was half Henry’s age when they got married.
- Henry first saw Anne in a painting by Hans Holbein but in the flesh he found her unattractive and began pursuing one of her maids of honour, Catherine Howard.
- Although the marriage only lasted for 6 months, Henry and Anne remained friends and he commanded that she be treated like ‘the king’s sister’
Catherine Howard (1522-1542)
- Catherine was Henry’s fifth wife and she was in her teens when she married him.
- Henry and Catherine were married three weeks after his second divorce but rumours of her past and present love affairs soon reached the furious king.
- She was arrested at Hampton Court Palace and later taken to the Tower of London where she was beheaded, aged about 21.
Kateryn Parr (1512-1548)
- Kateryn was the last of Henry’s six wives.
- Kateryn loved another man, Thomas Seymour, but knew that a proposal from the king could not be refused.
- She and Henry married at Hampton Court Palace in in 1543. She was 31 and he was 52.
- After Henry died in 1547 she was free to marry Thomas Seymour but she died 15 months later, aged 36, having given birth to their daughter.