The Six Wives of Henry VIII
Catherine of Aragon Anne Boleyn Jane Seymour Anne of Cleves Catherine Howard Catherine Parr
Meet the Wives Find a Wife Portrait of a King Tudor Times
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A
s queen, Catherine of Aragon's first duty was to bear children. Always alive to duty, Catherine experienced six pregnancies over nine years (1509-1518). Only two of her children were born alive, however. A male child, Henry, born in 1511, lived under two months, dying shortly after an enormous tournament held to celebrate his birth. More children - always envisioned as princes - were expected to come. But they did not.


Henry and Catherine's only surviving child was Mary, born in 1516. But female children were not considered safe bets for preserving dynasties. Henry needed a male heir - a need that spurred his efforts in to divorce the middle-aged Catherine of Aragon.

Mary I
Mary I
(1516-1558)

Her mother's fate haunted Mary throughout her life. Feted as Henry VIII's heir apparent and "greatest pearl" for the first 10 years of her life, Mary spent the time until she came to the throne in a never-ending, bitter struggle against bad health and bad treatment.

Upon her parents' divorce in 1533, Mary was declared a bastard and stripped of the title of princess. She served as lady-in-waiting to her half-sister, Elizabeth (later Elizabeth I) and, under Anne Boleyn, feared for her life.

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Above: Mary Tudor by Hans Ewouts © Kathleen Cohen

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Intro Background Why choose this wife? Role as queen King vs. queen Love Life Children Ultimate fate