How Many Wives Did Henry VIII Have

One of the best-known facts about Henry VIII is that he had a total of six wives. The Six Wives of Henry VIII has seen history turned into a modern television drama, along with the whole history of the Tudors. None of his six marriages can be said to have had a happy ending, as two ended in divorce, two in executions, one in death and the final wife being lucky enough to outlive her husband.

Henry VIII and his wives
Henry VIII and his wives

Henry VIII and His Six Wives

Who were Henry VIII’s wives in order?

With so many marriages it can be difficult to remember in which order Henry’s queens came and went. When we put Henry VIII wives in the order we start with the first wife, who was Catherine of Aragon.

Catherine was married to the king for the longest of all of the six wives, and the one that he had the greatest difficulty in divorcing. The second wife of Henry VIII was Anne Boleyn. She was already heavily pregnant when they were married.

Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn second wife of Henry VIII

Anne was the first queen to be publicly executed after Henry had her charged with high treason. The third wife of Henry VIII was Jane Seymour. She is thought to have been his favourite out of all of the six wives. Jane is the wife that gave him the son that he most desperately wanted. Unfortunately, she died not long after the prince was born.

Henry’s fourth wife was Anne of Cleves from Flanders. She was not his choice of wife, and if he had had his way there would have been no wedding at all. They were divorced within a year. The fifth wife of Henry VIII was Catherine Howard.

She was much younger than the king and had no idea of how to behave in her new position as the wife of the king of England. Wife number five was another that was executed for treason. The sixth and last wife of Henry VIII was Catherine Parr, she was the only one to survive without harm or injury as she managed to outlive the king.

Remember Names with King Henry VIII Wives Rhyme

While it can be difficult to remember the names of the six wive of Henry VIII and the order in which they were married; it is much easier to remember what happened to them by using this short rhyme. In the order of their marriage the six wive were: “Divorced, Beheaded, Died – Divorced, Beheaded, Survived.”

How Many Wives Did Henry VIII Have

Their names are not that difficult to remember, as three of them were called Catherine, two of them Anne and one of them Jane. Henry is believed to have loved all but one of his wives, that being Anne of Cleves. The marriage to Anne was one of political interest and not of love or infatuation as his others had been.

What was the rhyme for Henry VIII’s wives?

The rhymes taught in the English schools for children to be able to remember Henry VIII’s wives in the order is:

  1. King Henry VIII

To six wives he was wedded.

One died, one survived,

Two divorces, two beheaded.


2. Boleyn and Howard lost their heads,

Anne of Cleves he would not bed,

Jane Seymour gave him a son – But died before the week was done,

Aragon, he did Divorce,

Which just left Catherine Parr of course.

A mnemonic technique to remember the names of the wives of Henry VIII is: “Arrogant Boys Seem Clever, Howard Particularly.”

Anne of Cleves
Anne of Cleves

History of Henry VIII Marriages

A royal wedding is quite an expensive thing to produce, even in Tudor times, and having to go through that six times would probably have bankrupt the king. Rather than have a grand wedding followed by a coronation of his new queen, many of the marriages of Henry VIII were quiet, almost secret ceremonies.

How Many Wives Did Henry VIII Have
History of Henry VIII Marriages

Not only did this keep the cost down, but he was also able to arrange the marriages when they suited him and not have to meet the needs and wants of the nation and his parliament.

Who was Henry VIII’s favourite wife?

Henry’s favourite wife in all probabilities was Jane Seymour, his third wife. She was the only wife who gave Henry VIII the male heir he was desperate to have. Jane Seymour, as per records, was also quiet and subservient by nature, which was in total contrast with her predecessors, especially Anne Boleyn who was famous for her temper.

Jane’s natural death also indicates that their relationship was devoid of all the drama and catastrophes that had been there in Henry’s previous marriages. Jane Seymour’s death had also greatly affected King Henry VIII who remained in mourning for a long time and waited three years before standing on the alter again.

Who gave Henry VIII a son?

Henry VIII’s third wife, Queen Jane Seymour was the only wife to give Henry a son, who named Edward VI.

More Info On- Henry VII Family Tree, Henry VIII Parents Information, Fun Facts for Kids

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