Today I would like to do a countdown of my opinions on the wives of Henry VIII. While all the Queens here had their merits, and their flaws, I have a definitive opinion on who I like best (and worst).
Number 6: Jane Seymour
~It is unsurprising to anyone who has read this blog for a while to learn that my least favorite of Henry’s Queens is Jane. While an intelligent and capable woman, she was frankly boring, and an overcorrection after Anne. Henry may be remembered as favoring her (he is even buried next to her), but I believe this is because she died before he could tire of her!
Number 5: Katheryn Parr
~Katheryn Parr was an absolutely brilliant woman, who even translated works from Latin, and wrote in favor of the Reformation. She was the ideal step-mother, who even took in Elizabeth after the death of her father!
Number 4: Anne of Cleves
~The one wife who got off well, is the one Henry deemed too ugly to bed. She was quite pretty based on the paintings we have of her, yet Henry found her unattractive. Their language barrier did not help her standing, and eventually his choice to dissolve the marriage. But she got Hever Castle (Anne Boleyn’s childhood home) in the divorce. She ended up outliving all the women on this list, and being welcome at court as honored guest until her death!
Number 3: Katharine Howard
~The youngest of Henry’s brides was really nothing more than a reckless teenager when she caught the monarch’s attention. She had a famous affair that would lead to her execution for treason. Personally, I find her to be someone who rebelled against the strict confines of her circumstance, and was too young to take into account the consequences. It really is a tragic story, and I truly feel for her plight!
Number 2: Katherine of Aragon
~The first wife of Henry VIII was, in fact, his former sister-in-law, having been widowed at the death of Prince Arthur. She went on to be a beloved Queen who failed to bare a son to Henry VIII, but did give him a daughter. She was always pious and fervently Catholic, but she grew even more so in her older years. However during the “King’s Great Matter” she refused to retire to a nunnery. I admire her for her strength, and her warrior Queen nature (though one would expect nothing less from the daughter of Isabella of Castile).
Number 1: Anne Boleyn
~The fact that my absolute favorite of Henry’s wives (and my favorite historical Queen of all time) is Anne Boleyn, is no secret! I admire her spirit, her style, her intelligence, and her Frenchness! She leveraged her position in court to her advantage, but also truly tried to be the best Queen she could be. She was the mother of the most famous, and the greatest, Queen that England ever had, Elizabeth I! This is a Queen who is often unfairly maligned, but who actually helped to change the course of the history of her country more than any other. Without Anne Boleyn England would never have formed it’s own church (as Henry chose to do this in order to divorce Katherine and marry Anne)! For these reasons, and more, I favor her above any of the other wives!
~I hope you have enjoyed this countdown. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Note on Image: The image at the top of the post is the most famous portrait of Anne Boleyn. I found the image on wikipedia.org.
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