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:


Blogger 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.

October 20, 2008 11:17 AM  
Anonymous Tracey 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 :)

October 20, 2008 11:43 AM  
Anonymous Ashley 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.

October 20, 2008 10:26 PM  
Anonymous Tracey 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?

October 21, 2008 5:45 AM  
Blogger 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.

October 21, 2008 1:29 PM  
Anonymous Ashley 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'.

October 21, 2008 2:10 PM  
Blogger avatarthelastairbender293 said...

i read that he loved Jane Seymour best.

October 21, 2008 4:16 PM  
Anonymous Nasim 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.

October 23, 2008 5:18 AM  
Anonymous Sarah 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.

November 24, 2008 12:35 PM  

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