Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Divorced, Beheaded, Died; Divorced, Beheaded, Survived


You have probably been told the story of King Henry VIII a hundred times and also know how he got rid of five of his six wives. There is a popular saying stating “divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived” which describes the fate each of them suffered.

We would like to revive the luck this women run by making a brief comment on them and posting six short clips from the show “The Tudors”, illustrating their final moments.

As it is said in each chapter on the show, aired from 2007 to 2010, “you think you know a story, but you only know how it ends. To get to the heart of the story, you have to go back to the beginning…”

1st. DIVORCED: Catherine of Aragon (16 December 1485 – 7 January 1536)

Henry was infatuated with his mistress Anne Boleyn and dissatisfied that his marriage to Catherine had produced no surviving sons. He sought to have their marriage annulled, setting in motion a chain of events that led to England's break with the Roman Catholic Church. When Pope Clement VII refused to annul the marriage, Henry defied him by assuming supremacy over religious matters. In 1533 their marriage was declared invalid and Henry married Anne on the judgment of clergy in England, without reference to the Pope. Catherine refused to accept Henry as Supreme Head of the Church of England and considered herself the King's rightful wife and queen.

(Catherine's and Henry's divorce court)

2nd. BEHEADED: Anne Boleyn (c. 1501 – 19 May 1536)

Anne gave birth to the future Elizabeth I of England, whose gender disappointed Henry. Three miscarriages followed, and by March 1536, Henry was courting Jane Seymour. Henry had Anne investigated for high treason in April 1536. On 2 May she was arrested and sent to the Tower of London, where she was tried before a jury of peers and found guilty of adultery, incest and witchcraft on 15 May. She was beheaded four days later.

(Anne Boleyn's final walk and execution)

3rd. DIED: Jane Seymour (c. 1508 – 24 October 1537)

 She died of postnatal complications less than two weeks after the birth of her only child, a son who reigned as Edward VI. She was the only one of Henry's wives to receive a queen's funeral, and his only consort to be buried beside him in St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, as she was the only consort to have a male heir to survive infancy.

(Jane Seymour's death)

4th. DIVORCED: Anne of Cleves (September 1515 – 16 July 1557)

The marriage between Henry and Anne was never consummated, and she was not crowned queen consort. Following the annulment of their marriage, Anne was given a generous settlement by the King, and thereafter referred to as the King's Beloved Sister. She lived to see the coronation of Mary I of England, outliving the rest of Henry's wives.

(Anne of Cleves' farewell)

5th. BEHEADED: Catherine Howard (c.1523 – 13 February 1542)

Catherine married almost immediately after the annulment of his marriage to Anne of Cleves was arranged. However, Catherine Howard was beheaded after less than two years of marriage to Henry on the grounds of treason for committing adultery while married to the King.

(Lady Rochford's and Catherine Howard's execution)

SURVIVED: Catherine Parr (1512 – 5 September 1548)

Catherine enjoyed a close relationship with Henry's three children and was personally involved in the education of Elizabeth and Edward, both of whom became English monarchs. She was influential in Henry's passing of the Third Succession Act in 1543 that restored both his bastardised daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, to the line of succession to the throne.
On account of Catherine's Protestant sympathies, she provoked the enmity of powerful Catholic officials who sought to turn the King against her—a warrant for her arrest was drawn up in 1546. However, she and the King soon reconciled.
She was also the most-married English queen, having had four husbands. Six months after Henry's death, she married her fourth and final husband
(King's farewell to Catherine Parr)

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  1. Fantastic, interesting post, Raquel. One can see you enjoyed watching The Tudors ;)

  2. I really did, it has been one of my favourite shows in English!I was in Wales during the first season and sometimes, when I finished an episode, I couldn’t help talking to people in the poshest British English you can imagine :D:D

  3. Raquel and Álvaro, I think you know I am a big fan of your blog:


    Best wishes,


    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Thanks a lot , Rosa. We love your blog, too... in fact we do have to strive against the temptation to copy many of your very interesting posts!!

      All the best :)


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