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Did Henry VIII Marry Just For Fun?

Postiwyd gan sean123 o Caerdydd - Cyhoeddwyd ar 12/05/2015 am 17:52
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  • Henry VIII
  • Henry VIII

This is an essay I had to do for my History class and I though it would be nice to share it with you.

Henry VIII was a man with a roving eye, and during his life until he died in 1547, he married six times but the main question is, did he marry "just for fun"?

There were many reasons why he married so many times which include religious, economical and social ones.

Catherine of Aragon

Henry's first wife was Catherine of Aragon. She was a Spanish princess who used to be married to Henry's older brother but when he died, Henry wanted to keep the bond between the two countries so he married her. Catherine was very popular with the people of England and she was also well educated. Henry was married to her for 24 years, which was by far the longest marriage he had held in his life.

Catherine gave birth to one daughter called Mary who was the only child to survive, as all of her male babies died at birth. Henry really wanted a male heir who could take over the crown when he died but as Catherine grew older, Henry started to look elsewhere as she had failed to provide him with a son during 24 years of marriage.

This marriage ended in divorce. Henry married Catherine because he wanted to keep the bond between Spain and England so this was for political reasons. I definitely do not think this marriage was "just for fun" as this was his longest marriage, which suggests he really loved her.

Anne Boleyn

Henry's second wife was Anne Boleyn. She was young and extremely fashionable and Henry really liked her when he saw her. Henry was excommunicated from the Catholic Church for divorcing Catherine and Anne was supporting a new religion called Protestantism. When Henry was thinking about divorce, he was advised by Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Wessex to leave the Catholic Church and create his own church with his own rules based on the new religion called Protestantism, so Anne was the perfect wife for him.

Also, at the time he was thinking about how he could sell all the land that the Catholic Churches owned because he was short of money from wars he had with France and Scotland. Based on these reasons, I can come to the conclusion that Henry married Anne for economical and religious reasons. Anne gave birth to a daughter called Elizabeth but in 1536 she miscarried a baby boy, which Henry was not happy about. Henry accused her of having sex with four other men and her brother despite no proof. Anne was tried in court, found guilty and was beheaded in 1536. This marriage was not for fun, as Henry really liked Anne when he met her. Also she supported the religion that he was about to develop.

Jane Seymour  

Henry's third wife was Jane Seymour. She was a calm, gentle and caring woman who Henry really liked. Henry actually asked to be buried next to her when he died. Jane gave birth to a son called Edward which Henry was delighted with but unfortunately, Jane died of an infection a few days after the birth. Henry married her as he really loved her but he did also want a son, which is the same as Anne Boleyn's marriage so this was for social and political reasons. This means that this marriage was definitely not "just for fun".

Anne of Cleves  

Henry's fourth wife was Anne of Cleves. She was a very serious and extremely unfashionable woman. This marriage only lasted six months because before Henry had properly met her, he had seen a picture of her but when he saw her for real, he thought she was ugly and described her as a "fat horse". Henry married Anne because he saw her in the picture but also because it brought friendship between Europe, Wales and England. Cleves was an area of land, which is now what we know as Germany. Based on the fact that one of the reasons Henry married Anne was because he saw a picture of her, I can come to the conclusion that this marriage was "just for fun".  

Catherine Howard

Henry's fifth wife was Catherine Howard. She was quite young, lively and very attractive. This marriage lasted for two years until Henry found out that she flirted with other men and she had several serious boyfriends before she met the king. Catherine was beheaded. This marriage was definitely not "just for fun" because if he went so far as to execute Catherine, then he must have been serious about the marriage.

Catherine Parr

Henry's sixth and last wife was Catherine Parr. The length of this marriage was only four years and during this time, Henry and Catherine did not have any children. Catherine's enemies tried to turn the king against her but before they could Henry died, so Catherine was free to get married to the man she had loved before Henry snapped her up. As this marriage was for four years I can conclude that this marriage definitely was not "just for fun".

There are many reasons why Henry VIII married six times, which ranged from political alliances, and social to religious reasons. What is definitely clear though, is that Henry VIII did not marry six times "just for fun".

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Images: Hans Holbein the Younger [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons and Joos van Cleve (circa 1485 ? 1540/1541) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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