Henry VIII is famous throughout history for having multiple wives – we all know this rhyme – and forever changing the course of British history.
King Tudor broke away from the Catholic Church, which led to the Reformation and the Church of England.
And all because he wanted to divorce his first wife – Catherine of Aragon – so that he could marry Anne Boleyn.
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But as any history buff knows, he was not satisfied with Anne and had several more wives.
His tumultuous relationship with Anne Boleyn is now the subject of a three-part drama series on Channel 5.
As we prepare for this highly anticipated series, we take a look at the women of Henry VIII and their fate …
* Attention spoilers ahead!
Anne Boleyn stars Jodie Turner-Smith and Mark Stanley (Credit: Channel 5)
How many wives did Henry VIII have?
Henry VIII had six wives.
He married his first wife in 1509 and his last wife in 1543.
Only three of his royal heirs survived childhood.
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They would go on to reign as Edward VI, Mary I and Queen Elizabeth I consecutively.
However, he had several surviving illegitimate children.
What is the famous rhyme of the wives of Henry VIII?
The famous rhyme about the six wives of Henry VIII is as follows:
“Divorced, beheaded, dead: divorced, beheaded, survivor. “
The rhyme reveals the fate of each of its spouses.
Anne Boleyn was Henry VIII’s second wife (Credit: Channel 5)
What happened to Henry VIII’s first wife?
Catherine of Aragon was originally married to Henry’s brother, Prince Arthur in 1501.
However, he died a year later from a “sweat disease”.
Catherine claimed that the marriage was never consummated and Henry married her in 1509.
We thought they had been very happy together at first.
But after years of failing to produce a healthy male heir, Henry became frustrated.
During their marriage, he had several mistresses, but it was Anne Boleyn who finally persuaded him to divorce Catherine.
Henri divorced her in 1533 and she was sent to various castles where she spent her days in an isolation bar for her servants.
Henry and Catherine had only one surviving child, their daughter Mary I.
Anne Boleyn was beheaded (Channel 5)
What happened to Anne Boleyn?
Anne Boleyn was beheaded in the Tower of London on May 19, 1536.
She would have been in her thirties at the time of her execution.
She was the second wife of Henry VIII.
He changed the laws and separated from the Catholic Church so that he could marry him and divorce his first wife, Catherine of Aragon.
After failing to produce a male heir, Henry grew tired of Anne and accused her of adultery.
She was charged with committing adultery with five other men, including her own brother George.
And the others ?
While Anne was on trial for adultery, Henry already had a new wife in sight – Jane Seymour.
They tied the knot a little over a week after Anne’s execution.
She gave birth to their son, Edward VI, the following year.
Jodie is the first black woman to play Anne Boleyn onscreen (Credit: SplashNews)
However, she died of complications in childbirth soon after.
In 1540, Henri married Anne de Clèves, but their marriage was annulled a few months later.
The popular belief is that Henry found Anne to be too ugly and overweight, despite being obese himself.
Contemporary historians believe that Anne was equally disgusted by Henry’s appearance.
Still, Anne received a lavish lifestyle when they were canceled. She received several estates, including Hever Castle, which once belonged to the Boleyn family.
And perhaps rather ironically, she later became one of Henry’s closest confidants and a close friend of his children.
She died just before her 42nd birthday from what was likely cancer.
Then Katherine Howard, she was a cousin of Anne Boleyn, and just a teenager when she caught Henry’s attention.
Her family had fallen from grace and faced financial hardship.
They encouraged her to continue a relationship with Henry, despite being around 30 years old.
They married in 1540, but suspicion quickly grew that she was having affairs.
In 1542 she was executed in the Tower of London for adultery – the same fate as her cousin Anne.
What happened to Henry VIII’s last wife?
His last wife was Catherine Parr, she had been married and widowed several times before.
She was around 30 when she married Henry, and they are believed to have gotten along well as mates.
She is believed to have acted as a nurse for the King, who was not only obese but had a serious leg injury.
However, some of Henry’s assistants attempted to turn him against her in 1546 by claiming that she had committed religious heresy.
Although he initially considered his arrest, he ultimately decided against it and eventually passed away the following year.
While Catherine is often considered to have “survived” the wrath of Henry VIII, she sadly passed away a little over a year later after his death.
She was married for the fourth time to Thomas Seymour, only to die in childbirth.
When is Anne Boleyn on Channel 5?
Anne Boleyn starts Tuesday May 1 at 9 p.m. on Channel 5.
Episode 2 will air at the same time on Wednesday and Episode 3 at the same time on Thursday.
Once all the episodes are broadcast, they will be available for streaming on the All5 application.
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