The following is a list of Queen Consorts who were queens during King Henry's reign of England. There were six consorts, but Henry argueably loved his third consort Jane Seymour the best.
The position of Queen Consort should not be confused with the position of Queen Regent or Queen Regnant. The Queen Consort of England certainly has a position of great wealth and authority, but her role is largely ceremonial and nearly all her power is subservient to her husband the King unless he grants power to her; her main purpose is generally to provide heirs and sometimes (through her marriage) seal alliances.
Queen Regnants, on the other hand, are deemed the heirs to the throne they ascend to and wield the power of a ruling monarch. Still, due to prejudice against women rulers, this power was just slightly restricted and the Queen Regnant is encouraged to marry and delegate her power to the Prince Consort (her husband). The first crowned Queen Regnant of England was Henry's eldest daughter, Mary Tudor, nearly seven years after his death, though this is disputed as her rival Lady Jane Grey (the 'Nine-Days Queen') was recognized by the Privy Council and Parliament as the Regnant before she was deposed by Mary.
However, a Queen Consort may be appointed Regent (acting monarch) if the King is clearly unable to rule, or the King himself may make her Regent when he is at war or otherwise absent. This is usually only done if the Queen herself has sufficient education, nerve and political experience, however. During the war with France in Season Four, Henry appointed his sixth wife, Catherine Parr, as regent until he returned from the battlefield, a role she performed quite well in. His first wife, Catherine of Aragon, also served as regent early in his reign during a prior war with France and Scotland. Henry's second wife Anne Boleyn also had the brains and potential to play the role of Regent and in fact considered such a position, though she was never appointed.
List of Henry's Queen ConsortsEdit
Catherine of Aragon - She was Henry's first wife and the first Queen Consort of England during his reign, a daughter of Spanish royalty whom he was encouraged to marry after her first husband (his older brother) died after a very short time. She reigned longer than all the other queens combined and was very popular with the people for her kindness and Catholic piety; the King initially loved her dearly, but her greater age lead to menopause when the king was still seeking a male heir, and she fell out of favor despite continuing to maintain loyalty and love for Henry. Catherine tolerated Henry's various mistresses, but flatly refused to accept Henry's attempts to annull their marriage during Season One, which destroyed what was left of their relationship; she died in exile at the Castle More, having been stripped of her title as Queen early in Season Two. Despite her fall from grace, she remained very popular. She was succeeded by Anne Boleyn. Children: Mary I Tudor, Queen of England, several stillborn/miscarried children. Marriage: June 1509-May 1533 (annulled, though still viewed as Queen by Spain and the Pope until her death) 24 years.Anne Boleyn- The second wife and second Queen Consort of England during Henry's reign; Anne was the daughter of the ambitious, ruthless Lord Thomas Boleyn, and a well-educated, opinionated supporter of religious Reformation. Henry becomes attracted to her early in the series while still married to Catherine, intrigued by her resistance to having sex with him unless he makes her his queen; she is Henry's love interest for most of Season One and becomes Queen early in Season Two after Henry impregnates her. Anne was Henry's most important, exotic and powerful Queen Consort, as she influenced him to embark on the Reformation; however, she was also the least popular of any of his wives, and her outspoken personality eventually began to clash with his. Many enemies attacked her when she fell from Henry's favor for failing to produce a son just as Catherine had, leading to her execution on false charges of adultery; Anne denied the charges to the end, maintaining her devotion to Henry. She was succeeded by Jane Seymour, Henry's favourite consort. Children: Elizabeth I Tudor, Queen of England, two stillborn/miscarried children. Marriage: May 1533-May 1536 (annulled before her beheading) 3 years.
Jane Seymour- Henry's third wife and third Queen Consort of England during his reign, the daughter of a minor nobleman, Sir John Seymour. Henry began courting her formally when his marriage to Anne was on the rocks, pleased with her modest nature. Jane was used by her family to usurp Anne much as Anne was used to usurp Catherine, although Jane herself apparently lacked such ambition. Henry married Jane at the start of Season 3 after Anne was deposed and executed. She was definitely his most beloved consort, as she was the only consort to give him a male heir and had a very gentle and generous disposition, never truly challenging Henry on anything but nonethless winning the favor of the people with her traditional good character. Jane was wary of her husband due to the fate of her two predecessors, but she nonetheless loved him genuinely; she also played a vital role in reconciling Henry with his daughters. However, she died soon after giving birth, plunging the king into grief. Henry did not marry again for at least three years after her death. Children: Edward VI Tudor, King of England. Marriage: May 1536-October 1537 (her death) 1 year, 5 months.
Anne of Cleves- Fourth wife and Queen Consort, a Duchess from the minor German state of Cleves, but most likely Henry's least favourite wife; the marriage was suggested and arranged by Thomas Cromwell, largely for political reasons that he favored more than the King did. She was supposedly as ugly as a Flanders mare despite her pleasant personality, and they were sexually incompatible, but after their agreeable annullment (less than a year after the wedding, near the end of Season 3) Anne and Henry became good friends, and she also befriended his children, particularly Elizabeth. Anne lived out her days in England in (relative) obscurity, but she was provided for generously and referred to as "the King's beloved Sister". Marriage: January 1540-July 1540 (annulled) 6 months.
Katherine Howard- The fifth wife and Queen Consort. Henry initially acquires Katherine as a mistress near the end of Season Three, but already unsatisfied with his new bride Anne of Cleves he soon annulls the marriage and weds Katherine instead. Henry obviously cared for her but her young age and immaturity caused her own downfall, and she was never very popular; Henry's love for her was also seems somewhat superficial since her youth and sexual appetite made him feel young again. When Henry's old leg wounds meant he could no longer satisfy her sex drive, Katherine turned to adultery (partly influenced by members of her household) which lead to her beheading. Marriage: July 1540-November 1541 (annulled, later beheaded for further charges) 1 year, 4 months.
Catherine Parr- The sixth and last Queen Consort of England during Henry's reign. Henry was clearly attracted to her but she was not in love with the King, only having eyes for the dashing Thomas Seymour. Catherine knew Henry by reputation and continued to fear him when they were married (halfway through Season Four), but she hid it perfectly and carried herself with great dignity, though the court's attitude towards her was mixed due to her rumored Lutheran background. She acted as a kindly stepmother to Mary, Elizabeth and Edward and took care of the King tirelessly in his old age. After his death, she remarried to Thomas Seymour, but died after giving birth to their only child. Marriage: July 1543-January 1547 (widowed by Henry's death) 3 years 6 1/2 months.
Of the six consorts, only the first three truly returned the King's affections, and only they provided him with children. Henry, in return, genuinely loved all his consorts (to varying degrees) except Anne of Cleves, who later became a close friend.
Favourite consort Edit
Henry had six consorts, but he definitely loved Jane Seymour the best. She gave him a male heir, and although Edward died young, Henry had no knowledge of this. He adored Jane Seymour, in both reality and the series, and was buried beside her, his request when he was alive. In the series, Henry spends an entire episode isolating himself in his chambers after Jane Seymour's death.
Henry also had a great deal of love for Anne Boleyn, although it was at first highly sexual; he also became entranced by her intelligence and boldness which initially made him see her as an equal- until she failed to provide him a son, just as Catherine had. Henry's love for Anne was very genuine and intense, but like that for Catherine it gradually soured. Also, it was later blighted by his denounciation of her -long after her death- on the false charges of adultery that were raised against her.
His original love for Catherine was also legendary (and was echoed by the Engish people to the day she died) but their age difference limited their ability to conceive, as Catherine was six years older than Henry. Henry was also given to adultery, which infuriated Catherine, a devout Catholic and firm believer of the Ten Commandments, and the flings caused rifts in their marriage. Although Henry attacked Catherine for not bearing him a son, in actuality she had given birth to multiple boys prior to the show's timeline. High rates of infant mortality in those days meant Henry's sons were either stillborn or dead within a month of birth, which was later seen as disfavor from Heaven.
The Final DreamEdit
Not long before Henry's death but after the death of his best friend Charles Brandon, he had a series of dreams/hallucinations showing him his children and his three most beloved Queens, all of whom were long dead. Each of these visions gave him a hint of what would happen to each of his children.
First came Catherine of Aragon, with her daughter Mary; this occurred when Henry was posing for his famous portrait by Hans Holbein. Henry showed clear remorse for his constant abuse of his marriage to her in this scene. Catherine rebuked Henry for having never gotten around to betrothing their beloved daughter when the timing was right, and his neglect of her as well; she mentioned how Mary should have been married and had children by now, and that she was proud of her. Henry feebly told Catherine to leave, but Catherine simply replied that Henry had sent her away before. Catherine's final words were "I was still your wife in God's eyes- and still am." Although Mary married King Philip of Spain, this was only after she took the throne for five short years- a reign she was unsuited for, and which produced no children, like her siblings.
Second came Anne Boleyn, with her daughter Elizabeth, while Henry was alone in his study one night, drinking infusions for the pain in his ulcered leg. Henry was initially hostile towards this vision until Anne stated she had come to see their daughter, whom she described as being as clever and shrewd as she had been, but not so intemperent. She expressed fierce pride in Elizabeth and regret that she'd had so little time with her- having neglected raising her herself in favor of trying to give Henry a son. Henry stated that he noticed her intelligence and was also proud of her, and that he wished he could love her more, but he avoided her sometimes because she reminded him of Anne and what she had 'done to him'. Anne angrily replied that she was innocent of her accusations and had done nothing to him; she pitied the deceased Katherine Howard, who like her was a 'moth drawn to the flame, and burned' due to the unfortunate circumstance she was put into when she was the wife of the King. As Anne departed with Elizabeth, Henry called despairingly for her to come back. Their mutual pride in Elizabeth would be well-founded, as she became the longest-reigning and most effective monarch in the Tudor dynasty.
Thirdly and finally came Jane Seymour, with her son Edward. Again, this illusion came at night, when Henry was pacing in his empty throne room. After greeting her as his truly beloved, Henry assured her that he had done everything to keep Edward safe and that he was the most beloved of Henry's children, but she clearly did not acknowledge any of this. When rebuking him, she does not address him by name, unlike Catherine and Anne. Although she died two weeks after Edward was born, Jane described him as her 'poor boy, her poor child' and angrily rebuked Henry for forcing too much onto him before he was ready, saying he would die young as a result of Henry's foolishness. Henry desperately tried to deny it as his most prized wife and child disappeared, to his grief. Edward, who came to the throne at an extremely young age, did indeed die before he was eighteen years old and left no issue.