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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Why choose this wife?

T
here was little drama in Henry VIII's selection of Catherine Parr. The execution of Catherine Howard had sunk the king into a deep depression. (Though Spanish ambassador Eustace Chapuys quipped that Henry's "sorrow" had more to do with the fact that it was the first time he'd lost one wife without having another one in the wings.) At 52 years old, this one-time randy monarch was more in need of an affectionate companion


than a sexual playmate.

How the king hit on the idea of Catherine Parr is not known, but he had known her since she was a child. Catherine's father had been one of his early companions; her mother a lady-in-waiting to Henry's first wife, Catherine of Aragon.

As it was, there were precious few women to vie with Catherine Parr for the title of queen. After the execution of Catherine Howard, few courtiers were willing to advance their daughters for consideration. The law requiring that a woman intended as the king's bride make a clean breast of all past affairs was a perilous gamble for members of the dissolute Tudor court.

A sensible widow was just the thing. She was pious, she was dependable, she had a love of music and learning and the gouty king was tired of adventures of the heart.

The pair would be married on July 14, 1543 in the queen's chambers at Hampton Court Palace.

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