The King and His Many Wives The Tudor era is perhaps the most familiar age in British history and its heritage lives on in the guise of books and historical papers to read and works of art, monuments and buildings that we may still see and enjoy to this day. Though not the only Tudor ruler, what appears now is a potted history of the eighth Henry and his queens. Henry was a clever and energetic person who could speak Latin and French confidently. He also performed and composed music. He was good at sports and even got enormous satisfaction from hunting and jousting. Henry was the 2nd son and consequently wasn’t expected to be king of England. Destiny deemed it differently as due to the death of Arthur, his brother, he was to become successor to his crown and husband to his widow, Catherine of Aragon. They wed in 1509 after getting a special dispensation from the Pope. Henry and Catherine's only surviving child was Mary I, who was a staunch catholic and though she was sovereign for a brief while she was able to establish her own unique status in history. In her efforts to return Britain to the catholic faith she put to death many protestants which did nothing to support her in this pursuit, apart from to earn her the nickname of ‘Bloody Mary’ that is! Religion was an important part in Tudor history, particularly for Henry. Catherine had failed to produce a living male heir and Henry assumed that God was punishing him for getting married to his brother’s wife. Henry believed that their relationship wasn’t valid and should therefore be null and void. The Pope was never to have the same opinion. The main reason for the Church of England’s break with the roman catholic church was Henry VIII's desire to divorce Catherine and wed Anne Boleyn, who was then expecting Henry's child. Without the blessing of the Pope Henry ordered the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, to proclaim his marriage to Catherine was illegal as she was his brother’s widow. In a secret ceremony Henry married Anne Boleyn soon following this. He soon tired of her too as she was also unable to bear him a male heir. Unbeknown to him at this time, their only surviving child, a daughter, would become just as skilled a ruler as any male sovereign might have been, most may say better - Elizabeth I. In an effort to get rid of Anne he had her arrested on somewhat doubtful charges of betrayal, treason and incest. She was found to be guilty and executed in the Tower of London. Not long following the execution Henry the eighth wed Jane Seymour. She bore his only legit son to survive childhood and settled the crisis surrounding the successor to the throne. Henry VIII was devastated by Jane's death shortly following Edward's birth. In his last will and testament he directed that on his death he was buried with her at Windsor. Not forgetting his other 3 wives: Anne of Cleves was next whom he divorced, Katherine Howard was executed for adultery and his 6th wife, Katherine Parr, survived him. Whether Henry actually loved any of these women is not that well known or written about in books on history, while it's alluded to that Jane Seymour was the only one he cared for - however since she was the only woman to bear him a living male heir that question still remains a mystery! The Tudors are the most immediately recognisable of England’s kings and queens, particularly Henry VIII as there is no mistaking him in the great Holbein portrait. However, despite Henry’s many different accomplishments throughout his reign he will until the end of time be remembered as the ruler and his many wives. The Tudor time, as described in various history books to read, introduces you to the thriving monarchs which ruled during this era.