In the line of successors in 16th century England

If you are of the opinion that history is full of boring dates and of what happened before you were even born and hated the history exams you had to take during school then here’s something that’ll lighten up your mood. I’m going to take you back to 16th century England where there was ‘Much ado about nothing’.

This was the time of King Henry VIII. One thing that you may know about him is that he had he’d married six times. His first wife was Catherine of Aragon. She was first married to King Henry’s brother Arthur, but was widowed a few months later. She then married King Henry and became the Queen of England. She became pregnant six times altogether but she either gave birth to stillborn children or her new born died soon after birth. Her only child to survive was a girl, Mary. This greatly unsettled the King who wanted a male heir to his throne and began to believe that his marriage to the Queen was cursed. He began pursuing Anne Boleyn who was a maid of honour at the Queen’s court. The King’s courtship with Anne resulted in him divorcing Catherine and marrying Anne. Anne was pregnant at least three times with King Henry’s children but the only surviving child was a girl, Elizabeth. In 1536, Anne Boleyn was charged with witchcraft, treason and incest and was executed. The day after, the King was betrothed to Jane Seymour. She became the third Queen of England and gave birth to a male heir, Edward. Soon after giving birth to her son, Jane died of complications. King Henry’s fourth wife was Anne of Cleves whom he married in 1540. However, six months later their marriage was annulled. A few weeks later the King married Catherine of Howard who became the fifth Queen. However in the two years of her marriage she did not give birth to any children and was charged with treason and adultery. Like her cousin Anne Boleyn, she was beheaded and buried in an unmarked grave. The King’s last wife was Catherine Parr whom he married in 1543. She however did not conceive any child from the King, who later died in 1547.

Besides his six wives, King Henry had also kept two mistresses in his life, Bessie Blount, who gave birth to a son, Henry Fitzroy and Mary Boleyn, Anne Boleyn’s sister who two children, Catherine and Henry, had believed to be fathered by King Henry. However the King did not acknowledge the two children as is own as he did Henry Fitzroy.

After his death, King Henry VIII was left with four children; Mary, Henry, Elizabeth and Edward. Edward, who was the King’s only legitimate male heir to the throne, succeeded him. But Henry was only nine at the time and died at the age of 15. After his death, the next to the throne was Mary, who became the Queen and ruled for five years until her death. Elizabeth became the next Queen of England and ruled the kingdom for the next 44 years of her life. Today we know her as the Queen Elizabeth I of England. She was the only child of King Henry’s to have ruled for such along time, she was a woman and the daughter of Anne Boleyn who had been executed by The King.

While the King kept craving for a male heir, and remarrying one woman after another, his second child from his second wife became the legacy we now remember so well.

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