The Six Wives of Henry VIII
Catherine of Aragon Anne Boleyn Jane Seymour Anne of Cleves Catherine Howard Catherine Parr
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Why choose this wife?
Henry and Catherine

B
oth romance and realpolitik played roles in Henry VIII's decision to proceed with his engagement to Catherine, Dowager Princess of Wales.

King Henry himself said that he had married Catherine because it had been his father's dying wish. Their marriage postponed by disputes over Catherine's dowry and the consideration of other brides, the pair


had been engaged six years before they wed in 1509.

Most historians agree that Henry decided to hold true to his engagement to Catherine for the simple reason of familiarity. Henry was 10 years old when Catherine first arrived in England to marry his older brother and had always had her before him as an example of a young, desirable bride.

But though there may have been initial love, Henry also chose Catherine for hard-nosed reasons. One was the need to solidify the Tudor dynasty with an heir. Catherine, at 23, was of prime childbearing age. Also, Catherine's family would give Henry important strategic ties that could be exploited in a military alliance against long-time enemy France. Not far beyond Henry's geopolitical ambitions was securing Catherine's dowry. Only half of the total allotted sum for Catherine's marriage to Prince Arthur had been presented. Now, Henry stood to gain some 100,000 crowns in cash, plate and jewels.

Who could Henry VIII also have married? Find out
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Intro Background Why choose this wife? Role as queen King vs. queen Love Life Children Ultimate fate