Why did King Henry VIII have so many wives?

He did not shy away from women. In fact, he was a typical womanizer. Henry VIII had six wives and countless mistresses. In Britain, his wives are still referred to today as: “divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived…” And he was only looking for the one who would satisfy his lust for a male offspring. 

The need for a male heir

While not well-favored, he was considered an icon of a real and good looking man. His status and power certainly added to his charm. This meant women hovered around King Henry VIII. He did not mind, though, because not only did he particularly appreciate women’s allure, but he also had high hopes for a male descendant and heir to the throne. Interestingly, none of the subsequent wives and queens of England found happiness by his side. There was a prosaic reason behind this — none could give him the happiness that a son could. An account of the journey each of the queens had to make is a ready documentary about the royal family.

Sixth time lucky 

Henry VIII’s first wife was Catherine of Aragon… who was his sister-in-law. Since Canon law forbade a relationship with a close former spouse, King Henry VIII sought help from the Pope. Once the latter refused, the king broke with Rome and declared himself head of the Church of England. Henry and Catherine’s marriage lasted for 24 years. The queen only managed to carry one of her six pregnancies. Yet a daughter was born. Once the king came to the conclusion that Catherine was unable to fulfil his dream, he had to make room at his side. After the queen was expelled from the court, Henry VIII became involved with Anne Boleyn. When she unfortunately had another stillborn birth, he sought a way to get rid of the queen from the court. So he orchestrated a plot to prove that his wife had committed adultery and incest. As evidence of Henry’s love for his condemned wife, she was beheaded with a sword specially imported from France. 

Check Royal family documentary and find out more!

Longed-for offspring and queen’s death 

A mere few days after Anne’s execution, King Henry VIII tied the knot once again, this time marrying Jane Seymour, who finally gave the king the son he desired. Unfortunately, due to complications, the queen died shortly after giving birth. The documentary about the royal family reveals that Jane Seymour was Henry’s only wife to be buried as a queen.

Having satisfied his desire for a son, the king lost interest in another marriage for several years. It was only after persistent persuasion of the court that he was tempted to marry… the woman from the portrait. It soon became clear that the picture in no way reflected the appearance of the chosen one, who: “had nothing beautiful about her and spread bad scents front and back.” 

Three heirs 

His fifth wife was the beautiful Catherine Howard. Though the young woman was to the king’s liking, he was no longer able to satisfy her needs. Catherine soon found fulfilment in the arms of a handsome nobleman, and she was executed for this affair. The betrayed king then established laws to protect him from taking the wrong woman. A widow seemed the perfect match at the time. Henry developed an interest in Catherine Parr. After a peaceful few years, dark clouds began to gather over the royal court since the king did not like his wife’s religious views. Although she miraculously avoided being beheaded, she continued to take care of him until the last days of his life. Henry VIII died acknowledging his three children as his heirs.

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