Six quick facts about Henry VIII’s six wives


Catherine of Aragon

Catherine was originally married to Arthur Tudor – Henry’s older brother who soon died. Henry would later use this in defense of the annulment of the marriage, claiming it defied the biblical teaching that a man should not marry his brother’s widow and thus the marriage was cursed.

Anne Boleyn

Catherine’s lady in waiting, Henry’s love letters to Anne are one of very few documents written in his hand as the king detested writing letters. But Anne would not bend to his lust and become his mistress, as her sister Mary did previously, and demanded to be queen or nothing.

Jane Seymour

Lady in waiting to both Catherine and Anne, Jane was close friends with Henry’s daughter, Mary Tudor and helped restore the relationship between Mary and her father. Jane never underwent a coronation, unlike her predecessors, so was never officially queen.

Anne of Cleves

A painting was commissioned of Anne so Henry could judge her beauty before agreeing to marriage, but the painting may have been inaccurate as upon meeting her he was disappointed and is said to have called her the ‘Mare of Flanders.’

Catherine Howard

Carrying on the tradition, Catherine served as lady in waiting to Anne of Cleves. Although Henry VIII was near 30 years older than Anne, he married her sixteen days after the annulment of his previous marriage.

Catherine Parr

The daughter of a lady in waiting of Catherine of Aragon, it is likely that Catherine was named after Henry’s first wife. Catherine herself was married four times – twice before Henry and once after.