Overly Enthusiastic History Lesson: The Wives of Henry VIII, Part One

ALL RIGHT Y’ALL, IT’S THE TIME AGAIN.  GONNA DROP SOME HISTORICAL KNOWLEDGE SO BUST OUT THOSE NOTEBOOKS OR KINDLES OR iPOOPS OR WHATEVER YOU DAMN KIDS ARE USING THIS WEEK BECAUSE IT’S TIME TO LEARN ABOUT THE SHITTY HUSBANDS TO END ALL SHITTY HUSBANDS.

See that stately looking gentleman with the unhealthy BMI?  That’s Henry Tudor, more well known as Henry VIII, King of England.  Henry was a huge figure in many radical changes to renaissance England, including the break between England and the Roman Catholic Church.

But what is he remembered for?

Wife collecting.

Expensive hobby, but hey, what’s a royal treasury for if not for frivolous shopping?

WIFE NUMBER ONE.

 

Katherine of Aragon.  Patron saint of women who put up with way too much bullshit from their asshole husbands.

Katherine was actually the wife of Henry’s older brother Arthur, who died at age fifteen.  For whatever reason, the marriage was not consummated…which is odd, considering the fact that many fifteen-year-old boys will hump damn near anything and Katherine was known to be quite pretty by contemporaries…ANYWHO, since they didn’t bump royal uglies, the marriage was considered null and void.

So, naturally, the right thing to do is marry off this sixteen-year-old, traumatized widow to her dead husband’s little brother.

Royalty, man.

Granted, she wasn’t married until she was 24, and Henry 18, because apparently his bro’s wife wasn’t good enough for him until his dad kicked it and Henry became king, then he shacked up with his sister-in-law and put a ring (and crown) on it.

For all intents and purposes, Henry and Katherine seemed pretty damned happy for many years.  He, of course, had his mistresses (it was all the rage for men to be unfaithful shits on the side), but there wasn’t much drama until it became clear that Katherine’s prime baby-making days were over and the only kid that survived infancy was Mary I (a girl, UGH).  Henry, being the typical misogynist of his time, put all of his eggs in the Y-chromosome basket, and decided that his devoted wife, beloved by his people and known for being a great and gracious queen, was now useless because he didn’t have a basic grasp of basic biology (spoiler: a baby’s sex is determined by the father’s genes, not the mother’s).

This all conveniently happened around the time a certain brunette showed up in court.

WIFE NUMBER TWO.

 

Anne Boleyn came from a long line of nobles trying to dig their claws into the English throne.  As a matter of fact, her older sister, Mary, had already banged the king and many believe her two eldest children were his bastards, though he never recognized them because who has the time, AMIRITE?

By all accounts, Henry wanted to get into Anne’s skirts pretty much as soon as he saw them.  Now, this aspect is pretty telling of what he found attractive, because contemporaries describe Anne as pretty plain physically, with the exception of her dark, lovely eyes.  Apparently, it was Anne’s intelligence and wit that caught Henry’s attention, so there you have it.  Henry’s one redeeming quality was liking a smart chick.

The only problem?  Anne wouldn’t put out like all of his obedient mistresses.  Nope, being a side bitch was NOT GOOD ENOUGH for Anne Boleyn.

IF YOU LIKE IT THEN YOU BETTER PUT A RING ON IT, TUDOR.

The only problem there, of course, is that Henry was still very much married to Katherine.  So he wrote to the pope in Rome to ask for a divorce, citing something about a Biblical line forbidding the marrying of a brother’s widow (WHICH HE CONVENIENTLY HAD FORGOTTEN UNTIL NOW, ABOUT 16 YEARS AFTER THEY GOT MARRIED).  Naturally, the Pope Clement VII called bullshit on Henry’s nonsense and said “NOPE, YOU BROKE IT YOU BOUGHT IT,” which brought about the greatest royal hissy fit of all time.

And what was this hissy fit?  THE DIVISION OF ENGLAND AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.

That’s right.  Henry gave Rome the big “FU” and said “I DON’T NEED YOU PERMISSION, YOU’RE NOT MY REAL MOM” AND CREATED A BRAND NEW CHURCH OF ENGLAND.

So, new church equals new bride, and Henry shipped Katherine off, refusing to let her see or write to their daughter, Mary, and married Anne Boleyn.  Katherine, to her dying day, refused to view Anne as Henry’s wife or her queen, and her daughter Mary did the same.

Anne, meanwhile, was loving life and was already knocked up with Tudorspawn.  She gave birth to a girl, whom she named Elizabeth.  Yes, that Elizabeth, one of the most badass monarchs in English history.  And, of course, Henry was disappointed, since a woman was a shitty ruler (oh, IRONY), and this led, once again, to a downhill spiral for our happy fucking couple.  A few miscarriages later, and Henry’s eyes had begun to wander again…

TUNE IN NEXT WEEK FOR ROUND TWO OF HENRY VIII IS A CAD, STARRING JANE SEYMOUR AND ANNE OF CLEVES!