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Catherine of Aragon

(Born Dec. 16, 1485, Alcal de Henares, Spaindied Jan. 7, 1536, Kimbolton, Huntingdon, Eng.) first wife of King Henry VIII of England (reigned 150947). The refusal of Pope Clement VII to annul Henry's marriage to Catherine triggered the break between Henry and Rome and led to the English Reformation. Catherine was the youngest daughter of the Spanish rulers Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile. In 1501 she married Prince Arthur, eldest son of King Henry VII of England. Arthur died the following year, and shortly afterward she was betrothed to Prince Henry, the second son of Henry VII. But subsequent rivalry between England and Spain and Ferdinand's refusal to pay the full dowry prevented the marriage from taking place until her fianc assumed the throne as Henry VIII in 1509. For some years the couple lived happily. Catherine matched the breadth of her husband's intellectual interests, and she was a competent regent while he was campaigning against the French (151214). Between 1510 and 1518 Catherine gave birth to six children, including two sons, but all except Mary (later queen of England, 155358) either were stillborn or died in early infancy. Henry's desire for a legitimate male heir prompted him in 1527 to appeal to Rome for an annulment on the grounds that the marriage had violated the biblical prohibition against a union between a man and his brother's widow. Catherine appealed to Pope Clement VII, contending that her marriage to Henry was valid because the previous marriage to Arthur had never been consummated. For seven years the Pope avoided issuing the annulment because he could not alienate Catherine's nephew, the Holy Roman emperor Charles V. Finally Henry separated from Catherine in July 1531. On May 23, 1533five months after he married Anne Boleynhe had his own archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, annul the marriage to Catherine. Parliament passed the Act of Supremacy repudiating all papal jurisdiction in England and making the king head of the English church. Although Catherine had always been loved by the English people, Henry forced her to spend her last years isolated from all public life.

Anne Boleyn
(born 1507?died May 19, 1536, London, Eng.) second wife of King Henry VIII of England and mother of Queen Elizabeth I. The events surrounding the annulment of Henry's marriage to his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, and his marriage to Anne led him to break with the Roman Catholic church and brought about the English Reformation. Anne's father was Sir Thomas Boleyn, later Earl of Wiltshire and Ormonde. After spending part of her childhood in France, she returned to England in 1522 and lived at Henry's court and drew many admirers. A desired marriage with Lord Henry Percy was prevented on Henry's order by Cardinal Wolsey, and at some undetermined point the king himself fell in love with her. In 1527 Henry initiated secret proceedings to obtain an annulment from his wife, the aging Catherine of Aragon; his ultimate aim was to father a legitimate male heir to the throne. For six years Pope Clement VII, under pressure from Henry's rival Charles V, refused to grant the annulment, but all the while Henry's passion for Anne was strengthening his determination to rid himself of his queen. About Jan. 25, 1533, Henry and Anne were secretly married. The union was made public on Easter of that year, and on May 23 Henry had the archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, pronounce the marriage to Catherine null and void. In September Anne gave birth to a daughter, the future queen Elizabeth I. Anne's arrogant behaviour soon made her unpopular at court. Although Henry lost interest in her and began liaisons with other women, the birth of a son might have saved the marriage. Anne had a miscarriage in 1534, and in January 1536 she gave birth to a stillborn male child. On May 2, 1536, Henry had her committed to the Tower of London on a charge of adultery with various men and even incest with her own brother. She was tried by a court of peers, unanimously convicted, and beheaded on May 19. On May 30 Henry married Jane Seymour. That Anne was guilty as charged is unlikely; she was the apparent victim of a temporary court faction supported by Thomas Cromwell.

Mary Tudor
(Born March 1495/96died June 24, 1533, Westhorpe, Suffolk, Eng.) English princess, the third wife of King Louis XII of France; she was the sister of England's King Henry VIII (ruled 150947) and the grandmother of Lady Jane Grey, who was titular queen of England for nine days in 1553. Mary's father, King Henry VII (ruled 14851509) betrothed her to Archduke Charles (later the Holy Roman emperor Charles V) in 1507. In 1514, however, political considerations caused King Henry VIII to renounce this engagement and arrange a match between his beautiful, charming sister, Mary, and Louis XII, a broken man of 52. Since Mary was already in love with Charles Brandon, 1st duke of Suffolk, she made Henry promise that after Louis died she would be allowed to wed the man of her choice. The marriage with Louis took place on Oct. 9, 1514, and Mary treated her husband with affection until he died on January 1 of the following year. Before Henry or Louis's successor, King Francis I, could involve her in another political marriage, Mary secretly wed Suffolk in Paris, probably in late February. Henry was infuriated at the news, but Suffolk regained the king's favour by paying him a large sum of money and perhaps by the intercession of Cardinal Wolsey. One of Mary's daughters by Suffolk became the mother of Lady Jane Grey.

Jane Seymour
Jane Seymour (c.1508 24 October 1537) was Queen of England as the third wife of King Henry VIII. She succeeded Anne Boleyn as queen consort following the latter's execution for charges of high treason, witchcraft, incest and adultery in May 1536. 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 woman that Henry loved the most and the only consort to have a male heir.

Early life
Jane Seymour was born at Wulfhall, Savernake Forest, Wiltshire, the daughter of Sir John Seymour and Margery Wentworth. Through her maternal grandfather, she was a descendant of King Edward III of England and the Percy family.[citation needed] Because of this, she and King Henry VIII were fifth cousins three times removed. She was a half second cousin to her predecessor Anne Boleyn, sharing a great-grandmother, Elizabeth Cheney.[1] Her date of birth is a matter of debate. It is usually given as 1509 or even 1510, but it has been noted that at her funeral, 29 women walked in succession.[2] Since it was customary for the attendant company to mark every year of the deceased's life in numbers, this implies she was born in 1508, or 1507 and she had not yet celebrated her 30th birthday. She was not educated as highly as King Henry's previous wives, Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn. She could read and write a little, but was much better at needlework and household management, which were considered much more necessary for women.[citation needed] Jane's needlework was reported to be beautiful and elaborate; some of her work survived up to 1652, when it is recorded to have been given to the Seymour family. After her death, it was noted that Henry was an "enthusiastic embroiderer".[3] She became a maid-of-honour in 1532 to Queen Catherine, but Jane may have served Catherine as early as 1527, and went on to serve Queen Anne Boleyn. The first report of Henry VIII's interest in Jane Seymour was in September 1535, after Anne Boleyn's birth of a stillborn baby boy.[citation needed] Jane was noted to have a child-like face, as well as a modest personality.[4] According to the Imperial Ambassador Eustace Chapuys, Jane was of middling stature and very pale; he also commented that she was not of much beauty. However, John Russell stated that Jane was "the fairest of all the King's wives."[5] Polydore Vergil commented that she was "a woman of the utmost charm in both character and appearance."[6]

King Henry VIII was married to Jane at the Palace of Whitehall, Whitehall, London, on 30 May 1536, just eleven days after Anne Boleyn's execution. She was publicly proclaimed as queen consort on 4 June. She was never crowned, due to a plague in London where the coronation was to take place. Henry may have been reluctant to crown Jane before she had fulfilled her duty as a queen consort by bearing him a son and a male heir.[citation needed]

As queen, Seymour was said to be strict and formal.[citation needed] She was close to her female relations, Anne Stanhope (her brother's wife) and her sister, Elizabeth. Jane was also close to the Lady Lisle along with her sister-in-law the Lady Beauchamp. Jane considered Lisle's daughters as ladies-in-waiting and she left many of her possessions to Beauchamp. Jane would form a very close relationship with Mary Tudor. The lavish entertainments, gaiety, and extravagance of the Queen's household, which had reached its peak during the time of Anne Boleyn, was replaced by a strict enforcement of decorum. For example, instead of the fashionable French hoods which Anne Boleyn had introduced, Jane preferred her ladies to wear the gabled English hoods that Catherine of Aragon had worn. Politically, Seymour appears to have been conservative. Her only reported involvement in national affairs, in 1536, was when she asked for pardons for participants in the Pilgrimage of Grace. Henry is said to have rejected this, reminding her of the fate her predecessor met with when she "meddled in his affairs".[8] Jane was of the Roman Catholic faith, not an Anglican.[citation needed] It is believed, because of this and her loyalty to her former mistress, Catherine of Aragon, Jane put forth much effort to restore Henry's first child, Princess Mary, to court and heir to the throne behind any children that Jane would have with Henry. Jane brought up the issue of Mary's restoration both before and after she became Queen. While Jane was unable to restore Mary to the line of succession, Jane was able to reconcile her with Henry. Eustace Chapuys wrote to Charles V of Jane's compassion and efforts on behalf of Mary's return to favour. A letter from Mary to Jane shows that Mary was grateful to Jane. While it was Jane who first pushed for the restoration, Mary and Elizabeth were not reinstated in the succession until Henry's sixth wife, Queen Catherine Parr, convinced him to do so.[9] In early 1537, Jane became pregnant. During her pregnancy, she developed a craving for quail, which Henry ordered for her from Calais and Flanders. She went into confinement in September 1537 and gave birth to the coveted male heir, the future King Edward VI on 12 October 1537 at Hampton Court Palace.

Custom dictated that the Queen did not participate in her children's christening. Consequently, Edward was christened without his mother in attendance on 15 October 1537. Both of the King's daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, were present and carried the infant's train during the ceremony.[10] After the christening, it became clear that Jane Seymour was seriously ill.[citation needed] Jane Seymour's labor had been difficult, lasting two days and three nights, probably because the baby was not well positioned.[11] According to King Edward's biographer, Jennifer Loach, Jane Seymour's death may have been due to an infection from a retained placenta. According to Alison Weir, death could have also been caused by puerperal fever due to a bacterial infection contracted during the birth or a tear in her perineum which became infected. Jane Seymour died on 24 October 1537 at Hampton Court Palace at Kingston upon Thames.

Jane Seymour was buried on 12 November 1537 in St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle after a funeral in which her stepdaughter, Mary, acted as chief mourner. Jane Seymour was the only one of Henry's wives to receive a Queen's funeral. The following inscription was above her grave for a time:
Here lieth a Phoenix, by whose death Another Phoenix life gave breath: It is to be lamented much The world at once ne'er knew two such.

After her death, Henry wore black for the next three months and did not remarry for three years, although marriage negotiations were tentatively begun soon after her death. She was Henry's favourite wife because, historians have speculated, she gave birth to a male heir. When he died in 1547, Henry was buried beside her in the grave he had made for her, on his request.

Two of Jane's brothers, Thomas and Edward, used her memory to improve their own fortunes.[citation needed] Thomas was rumoured to have been pursuing Princess Elizabeth, but married Queen Catherine Parr instead after the King's death. In the reign of the young King Edward VI, Edward Seymour set himself up as Lord Protector and de facto ruler of the kingdom. Both brothers eventually fell from power, and were executed.

Anne of Cleves

nne of Cleves (German: Anna von Jlich-Kleve-Berg Dutch: Anna van Kleef) (22 September 1515[1] 16 July 1557) was a German noblewoman and the fourth wife of Henry VIII of England and as such she was Queen of England from 6 January 1540 to 9 July 1540. The marriage 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, outlasting the rest of Henry's wives. Anne was the subject of two portraits by Hans Holbein who painted her in 1539.

Early life
Anne was born in 1515 in Dsseldorf,[2] the second daughter of John III of the House of La Marck, Duke of Jlich jure uxoris, Cleves, Berg jure uxoris, Count of Mark and Ravensberg jure uxoris (often referred to as Duke of Cleves) who died in 1538, and his wife Maria, Duchess of Julich-Berg (14911543). She grew up living in Schloss Burg on the edge of Solingen. Anne's father was influenced by Erasmus and followed a moderate path within the Reformation. He sided with the Schmalkaldic League and opposed Emperor Charles V. After John's death, Anne's brother William became Duke of Jlich-Cleves-Berg, bearing the promising epithet "The Rich." In 1526, her elder sister Sybille was married to John Frederick, Elector of Saxony, head of the Protestant Confederation of Germany and considered the "Champion of the Reformation." At the age of 12 (1527), Anne was betrothed to Francis, son and heir of the Duke of Lorraine while he was only 10. Thus the betrothal was considered 'unofficial' and was cancelled in 1535. Her brother William was a Lutheran but the family was unaligned religiously, with her mother, the Duchess Maria described as a "strict Catholic."[3] The Duke's ongoing dispute over Gelderland with Emperor Charles V made them suitable allies for England's King Henry VIII in the wake of the Truce of Nice. The match with Anne was urged on the King by his chancellor, Thomas Cromwell.
[edit] Wedding preparations

The artist Hans Holbein the Younger was dispatched to paint portraits of Anne and her younger sister, Amalia, both of whom Henry was considering as his fourth wife. Henry required the artist to be as accurate as possible, not to flatter the sisters. The two versions of Holbein's portrait are in the Louvre in Paris and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Negotiations with Cleves were in full swing by March of 1539. Cromwell oversaw the talks, and a marriage treaty was signed on 4 October of that year. Henry valued education and cultural sophistication in women, but Anne lacked these: she had received no formal education but was skilled in needlework and liked playing card games. She could read and write, but only in German. Nevertheless, Anne was considered gentle, virtuous, and docile, qualities that made her a suitable candidate for Henry.

Anne was described by the French ambassador, Charles de Marillac, as tall and slim, "of middling beauty, and of very assured and resolute countenance".[4] She was dark haired, with a rather swarthy complexion, appeared solemn by English standards, and looked old for her age. Holbein painted her with high forehead, heavy-lidded eyes and a pointed chin.[5] Anne first travelled to Calais where a large number of English noblemen and women had been ordered to attend her in a magnificent pageant. Henry planned to meet her at Greenwich Palace,[6] However, the King was impatient to see his future bride and went to meet her at Rochester on her journey from Dover. According to the sworn testimony of his companions, he was promptly disappointed with her appearance, although there are many documents from the time which describe how Henry and some of his courtiers sneaked into the room where Anne was watching bull-fighting, wearing masks and cloaks, when Henry boldly kissed her. Henry, being of tall stature and well-built in his youth, had been instantly recognised by his past wives when acting out this courtly-love tradition, although Anne had never met her husband-to-be before, and pushed him away startled, cursing in German. Henry did then reveal his true identity to Anne, although he is said to have been put-off the marriage from then on. Most historians believe that he later used her 'bad' appearance and uncapability in bed as excuses, saying how he felt he had been misled, for everyone had praised Anne's attractions: "She is nothing so fair as she hath been reported," he complained.[7] Henry urged Cromwell to find a legal way to avoid the marriage but, by this point, doing so was impossible without endangering the vital alliance with the Germans.
[edit] A doomed marriage

Despite Henry's very vocal misgivings, the two were married on 6 January 1540 at the royal Palace of Placentia in Greenwich, London by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. The phrase "God send me well to keep" was engraved around Annes wedding ring. Immediately after arriving in England, Anne conformed to the Anglican form of worship, which Henry expected.[8] The couple's first night as husband and wife was not a happy one. Henry confided to Cromwell that he had not consummated the marriage, saying, "I liked her before not well, but now I like her much worse".[9] Anne was commanded to leave the Court on 24 June, and on 6 July she was informed of her husband's decision to reconsider the marriage. Witness statements were taken from a number of courtiers and two physicians which register the king's disappointment at her appearance. Henry had also commented to Thomas Heneage and Anthony Denny that he could not believe she was a virgin.[10] Shortly afterwards, Anne was asked for her consent to an annulment, to which she agreed. The marriage was annulled on 9 July 1540, on the grounds of non-consummation and her pre-contract to Francis of Lorraine.

[edit] After the annulment

The former queen received a generous settlement, including Richmond Palace, and Hever Castle, home of Henry's former in-laws, the Boleyns. Anne of Cleves House, in Lewes, Sussex, is just one of many properties she owned; she never lived there. Henry and Anne became good friendsshe was an honorary member of the King's family and was referred to as "the King's Beloved Sister". She was invited to court often and, out of

gratitude for her not contesting the annulment, Henry decreed that she would be given precedence over all women in England save his own wife and daughters.[8] After Catherine Howard was beheaded, Anne and her brother, the Duke of Cleves, pressed the king to remarry her. Henry quickly refused to do so.[12] In March 1547, Edward VI's Privy Council asked her to move out of Bletchingley Palace, her usual residence, to Penshurst Place to make way for Thomas Cawarden, Master of Revels. They pointed out that Penshurst was nearer to Hever and the move had been Henry VIII's will.[13] In 1553, when Henry's daughters Mary and Elizabeth rode into London with Mary as the new monarch, Anne was there to greet them.[8] She was also present at Mary I's coronation at Westminster.[8] That was her last public appearance. As the new Queen was a strict Catholic, Anne yet again converted her religion, now becoming a Roman Catholic. A few months later, Anne wrote to Mary I to congratulate her on her marriage to Philip of Spain.[8] Nevertheless, Anne rarely visited the Court during Mary's reign and enjoyed managing her own estates.[8] Since her arrival as the King's bride, Anne had never left England: both of her parents had died by the time her marriage was annulled and her brother, a strict Lutheran, did not approve of her adherence to Anglicanism.[8]

[edit] Death
When Anne's health began to fail, Mary I allowed her to live at Chelsea Old Manor, where Henry's last wife, Catherine Parr, had lived after her remarriage. Here, in the middle of July 1557, Anne dictated her last will. In it, she mentions her brother, sister and sister-in-law, as well as the future Queen Elizabeth, the Duchess of Norfolk and the Countess of Arundel.[8] She left some money to her servants and asked Mary and Elizabeth to employ them in their households.[8] Anne died at Chelsea Old Manor on 16 July 1557, a few weeks before her forty-second birthday. The cause of her death was most likely to have been cancer.[14] She was buried in Westminster Abbey, on 3 August, in what has been described as a "somewhat hard to find tomb" - on the opposite side of Edward the Confessor's shrine and slightly above eye level for a person of average height. She is the only wife of Henry VIII to be buried in the Abbey. She also has the distinction of being the last of Henry VIII's wives to die (she outlived Henry's last wife, Catherine Parr, by 9 years). She was not the longest-lived, however, since Catherine of Aragon was 50 at the time of her death and Anne was only 41. It is widely believed that Henry VIII often spoke to Anne as a friend, and that she advised him on many matters during their friendship and his reign, especially where matters of trust were raised amongst his council. This coincides with the extensive wealth Anne was given upon the ending of their short lived marriage and her title as beloved sister, someone he loved but not for a wife.

[edit] Non-fiction and fiction

Anne is the subject of two biographies: Elizabeth Norton's Anne of Cleves: Henry VIII's Discarded Bride and Mary Saaler's Anne of Cleves. Retha Warnicke has written a study on Anne's marriage called The Marrying of Anne of Cleves. Anne of Cleves appears as a character in many historical novels about Henry's reign. For example, about a third of The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory is recounted from Anne's point of view, covering the period of Henry VIII's marriages to her and to her successor Catherine Howard. The book concludes with Anne living away from Court, and avoiding the execution ceremonies of Howard and of Jane Boleyn, sister-inlaw to one of Henry's queens and lady-in-waiting to all the others, including Anne. Gregory includes Anne in a non-fictional review of the period at the end of the book.

[edit] In popular media

The role of Anne of Cleves was played by actress and singer Joss Stone in the Showtime cable television series The Tudors. In The Simpsons episode "Father Knows Worst", when Homer falls asleep while building a balsa wood model of Westminster Abbey, he has a vision of the ghost of Anne of Cleves.

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