I love how I feel like I’m done with these versus posts until I think of another batch of people to compare their stories to a newer audience. This is one of two others I want to write sometime before the end of the year. And after this post, we actually work our way out of talking about the Tudors! So if you’re annoyed over the fact that’s been my topic of choice, hopefully you’ll like those! Until then, we are going to discuss about Katherine of Aragon and Jane Seymour, King Henry VIII’s first and third wives and queens of England respectively.
I know a lot of people are freaking out that I put “Catherine” in the banner, but yet I’m still spelling it with a “K” in this post. Since Henry married three women with the same name, some people recognize her name with a “C” but since I was introduced to her as “Katherine” it’s just what I go for first, so there’s your answer to the mystery. I’m sorry if all I’ve done is confused you.
There’s a lot of speculation whether or not you can fall in love with your arranged spouse. You can find it throughout history of children being married off for different reasons, one being money. If you came from a wealthy family, there were times that the fathers or in some cases mothers would arrange a marriage with one of their daughters to be married off into another family, because they needed the dowry. This goes with Katherine of Aragon, as she was a Spanish princess, she was given to Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales. They married but instead of her returning back to Spain when he died, she stayed because Henry VII needed her dowry, so after the death of the king, she married Henry, who was now the next in line to the throne.
We’ve heard stories of Henry’s hatred for Katherine once he fell in love with Anne, but I think they actually loved each other. I mean, he would have had to love her to make her regent when he went to France in 1512 to fight in the war. A year after they had married, the wedded bliss would start to fade as they lost their first child – a daughter in 1509. Soon afterwards she became pregnant again, this time giving birth to a baby boy that they named Henry, Duke of Cornwall, but unfortunately, the little prince would die just fifty two days after his birth. I can’t imagine losing a child, especially if one was a needed heir for the Tudor dynasty and help to save the marriage to these two people.
Let’s fast forward to when Henry married Jane Seymour.
After the the marriage and beheading to Anne Boleyn was done, Henry quickly married Jane. She was a maid of honour for both Katherine and Anne. Jane’s father was Sir John Seymour and he was a courtier to Henry VIII and majority of his children also became courtiers besides Jane. One of the differences between Henry’s previous wives, was the fact that she wasn’t as educated as they were, but she was good at needlework and keeping a household, which at the time was more of a custom to women.
The other thing that made her different from both Katherine and Anne was her promise to Henry, she actually gave him a son. Their only child together would be Edward VI. After he was born, she was really sick with some type of infection and after reading about how people took care of themselves back then, I’m surprised this didn’t happen more often! After her son’s christening, she died and left Henry a broken man despite she did what nobody else could have give him.
Henry is buried next to Jane at Westminster Abbey. I do think that before his death, she was his only love despite being married to five other women and slept around with some of the ladies in waiting that probably took care of Jane as she was labor with their child and watched her die. Whether it was only because she was the one to give him a son or the fact that he truly loved her, we’ll never know but I find this decision very interesting. I think once Jane died, I think he was fine without marrying anyone again as there is a pretty big gap between Jane and Anne of Cleves, there’s five years in between these two women. If he wasn’t so paranoid about having a spare like he was after the death of his older brother Prince Arthur, then I think he would never had continued to search for a new wife.
I think every woman that Henry came into contact with, while or after he was married, wanted to please him. Honestly, if you’re in a room with a very high up person like an official or royal, you’ll try your best not to step on their toes. I think all of his wives wanted to be there for him in some way. However, I often wonder, like probably everybody that is obsessed with this time period, is if Jane had lived would Henry still have the same feelings for her as he did after she gave birth to Edward?
Do you believe that King Henry VIII ever loved any of his wives?
If Henry, Duke of Cornwall or any of their other male children had lived, do you think Henry would have asked for a divorce from Katherine? And if Jane had lived, do you think Henry would have loved her just as much?