Monday, October 20, 2008

Question from Marie - Which wife did Henry like best

Hey, I was wondering which wife did Henry VIII like the most?


Related thread here:


Elizabeth M. said...

Well, in my opinion, I would put it this way:
Henry loved Catherine of Aragon with the type of love displayed by a young man for an older woman--he respected her, and maybe was in awe of her as the daughter of one of the most powerful monarchs in Europe. He loved her like a sister, as she had been, by being married to his brother. Eventually, this transformed into love of a kind in the first flush of the enthusiasm of marriage. He was young and inexperienced (relatively so).
Anne Boleyn he was madly, passionately in love with. She has been described as the love of his life, which eventually turned into a deadly relationship--allegorically speaking for him when his love for her eventually died, and quite literally for her.
Jane Seymour, he was intrigued with and grew to love as what he believed to be a stabilizing influence on his life and court.
Anne of Cleves he was physically repelled by but probably secretly admiring of her shrewd intelligence--she kept her literally and figuratively in a situation that could have been frought with danger for her.
Catherine Howard he had a silly schoolboy crush on, even though he was old enough to be her father.
Catherine Parr he deeply respected for her supreme intelligence and gentle nature, and it was probably this, more than love of the woman herself, which he came to love in his declining years.
In short--
Catherine of Aragon--a young man falling for an older woman, a relationship whose roots sprang from respect for her for who she was and the inexperience of a young man wishing to assert himself.
Anne Boleyn--passion
jane Seymour--the woman who not only in his opinion gave him calm and contentment, and not only stabilized his court with that attribute, but stabilized the nation by providing an heir.
Anne of Cleves--physical loathing but secret admiration.
Catherine Howard--besotted like a silly boy
Catherine Parr--mutual respect and admiration.
I would say of all them, it was jane Seymour--she gave him love, unquestioned loyalty--and an heir.he had her likeness depicted in family murals long after her death, symbolizing how he felt about her role in his family. And he chose to be buried with her.

Anonymous said...

If you go strictly by which wife Henry 'liked' the best, I'd have to say Jane Seymour.

In a nutshell...she gave Henry his son.

Like the way you explained Henry's relationships with his wives, Elizabeth M. Nice job :)

Anonymous said...

I would have to agree with the others and say in his mind, Henry held Jane above his other wives, as demonstrated by the Whitehall Mural and The Dynasty paintings and the fact that he was buried with her. Plus the fact that she gave him his longed-for son didn't hurt.

But, I also agree with Elizabeth that Anne Boleyn was probably the love of his life. The only time he ever had a tenth of that passion again was with Catherine Howard, coincidentally, her cousin. And I think it's telling that he removed all traces of Anne Boleyn's presence and forbade people to speak of her. He moved Heaven and earth for Anne and waited for her for seven years - not even Jane Seymour could compare with that.

Anonymous said...

Henry tried to remove all traces of his greatest passion...but he neglected to check the choir screen at Kings College Chapel. There you can see, in an upper left corner, Anne and Henry's initials still entwined.

Also interesting as far as Catherine Howard is concerned, in the same chapel is a stained glass window which some folks think represents Solomon and Sheba...with Henry as Solomon and Catherine as Sheba.

Are there still memories of Catherine of Aragon around? Carvings and such which Henry had made for her?

Bearded Lady said...

I just listened to The Monarch on iTunes U and someone asked David Starkey a similar question. His response was that Jane was the perfect wife because she had the good sense to die after her duty was done.

Anonymous said...

The only specific example I could find of Catherine of Aragon's pomegranate badge still in existence is the door of Lechlade-On-Thames's parish church. I'm sure there are others, hidden in various palaces, but Henry's masons did a fairly good job of removing them when Anne came into play. I'm sure they also converted most of the love knots with 'H' and 'K' to 'H' and 'A'.

Unknown said...

i read that he loved Jane Seymour best.

Anonymous said...

Katherine’s pomegranate badge can be seen in numerous places. Even at Windsor Castle:
(to the left of the Tudor rose is her badge)
(not a great picture, I know, but there are pomegranates depicted on the beautiful wooden oriel window built for Katherine in St George’s Chapel).

There is also a beautiful altar cloth in St Mary’s Church, Winchcombe, Gloucestershire, which is traditionally is said to have been made by Katherine. It contains her pomegranate badge:

So not all of her badges were destroyed. It was hard to accomplish this owing to the fact that she had been queen for a significant period of time, ensuring that her emblem was depicted in many places and on many items. I imagine that it would have also been extremely expensive to remove all the badges.

Anonymous said...

In a nutshell i would have to say Jane Seymour because she gave him the son he was desperate for. She was buried in the vault where Henry is also buried. I think he liked all his wives for different reasons.

Anonymous said...

Jane Seymour most say it is because she gave him a son. I think it was not only that, but went he went through with Anne & Catherine. Which I mean the non-aggreement with England about the divorce with Catherine. Then the controversy with Anne all-together the meeting, the becoming queen, and her downfall. Jane was someone who had not questioned him in the ways Anne or even Catherine had. Jane was also the only one of his queens to receive the queens funeral. He did not marry again for three years after her death instead he mourned Jane; when he died he had asked to be buried next to her. In which he still rest in peace next to queen Jane is St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.

epiphany said...

Henry didn't have a "favorite wife" - he spent his adult life looking for his soulmate, and probably thought he had found her in Anne Boleyn, but the way that situation turned out, she obviously wasn't his soulmate. Henry was an incurable romantic, and believed until his dying that he would find his true love. No, Jane Seymour was not it; of course he publicly honored her more than his other wives, her son was heir to the throne; where else would Henry be buried, but next to his son's mother? What other wife would he have included in a family mural? He had no real, profound pasion for her. She was a quiet nonentity with a uterus,, which was exactly what he wanted after KoA and Anne. I believe the search for his Other Half, coupled with his obsession with a male heir, were the driving forces of his life.

Unknown said...

I think he loved Jane Seymore most. But he loved also Katherine alot. I am sad about Anne. Because what happened to her was not fair. All of bastard Cromwell's fault. Yet again, i think Anne is third favorite wife of his. About the others i don't know :)

Bibiana said...

I honestly do not think Henry really knew the meaning of love. He was always spoiled and indulged, and he expected perfection and adoration. However, I feel he came the closest to real love with Catherine of Aragon. He lived amicably with her for eighteen years, and he deeply admired and respected her. I believe he would not have divorced her if she had given him a son.

Jasmine Lee said...

Henry's 6 wives
1) Catherine of Aragon
2) Anne Boleyn
3) Jane Seymour
4) Anne of Cleves
5) Catherine Howard
6) Catherine Parr

I think that he felt for Catherine was a deep respect for her being calm, loyal and intelligent.

He was madly in love with Anne Boleyn. He turned the tables for her, waited 7 years and even changed his religion so Anne could be with him. Now that's what I call steadfastness.

I think he only loved Jane Seymour because Jane gave him a son and reminded him slightly of Catherine for being calm and intelligent.

He didn't really love Anne of Cleves because of her German ways but he respected and adored her for being so intelligent and not panicking and causing chaos.

He only loved Catherine Howard because of her strong appeal but obviously only for that.

He loved Catherine Parr most likely because he saw something in her that reminded him of Jane Seymour.

So I would personally pick Anne Boleyn.

Anonymous said...

I think he loved Jane Seymour the most. He mourned her death the most. I believe he mourned her for the rest of his days. While he did love Katherine and he did mourn her death I still believe he loved Jane the most. He was obsessed the Anne Bolynn. She was a mystery and that intrigued him. She played hard to get. Which from what I know makes it more intriguing.