Thursday, April 3, 2014

Henry VIII's Seven Wives

Could the Sensational Sextet really be a septet? An anonymous historian published an article in the journal Tudor Matrimonial Studies claiming King Henry VIII, famous for his six wives, really had seven. The historian believes Henry married Anne Mourgan in 1538, after his third marriage to Jane Seymour. Fearful of public opinion, the two wed in secret. Henry had been married three times already. What's one more? And if embarrassed by a fourth wife, why go on to marry 1, 2, 3 more?

Image source: From Old Books and Clker

Allegedly, the marriage fell apart and Anne emigrated to the Low Countries, without a formal dissolution of the marriage. The historian claims that the discovery of this seventh wife was first reported in the 1930s but was never released so as to not ruin this popular rhyme:

King Henry the Eighth,
to six wives he was wedded.
One died, one survived,
two divorced, two beheaded.

I mean, it's not like it still wouldn't rhyme...The "well-known historian" and author of the article told History Extra, "An inner circle of historians has known about the marriage of Henry VIII to Anne Mourgan for some 80 years, but believed it would interfere with the famous verse. 'One died, one, survived, two divorced, one emigrated and two beheaded' doesn't exactly flow well, does it? Many felt that making Tudor history any more complex would be disastrous for the popularity of this era and hamper attempts to broaden historical understanding. But I believe the time has come to reveal the truth about Henry's 'third Anne'. The marriage took place at a crucial time: as the king was grieving the loss of Jane Seymour, and before his disastrous marriage to Anne of Cleves in 1540. It's time to put on record that Henry had not four, but five failed marriages, and that he eased the pain of losing the only woman to provide him with a son and male heir by hastily wedding another."

The published article includes a letter that was allegedly written by Henry to Anne at the time of their marriage, in which he describes her as "my sweete flowere." Non-anonymous historians have known about this rumor, but with a lack of further evidence, do not care.

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