King Henry VIII of England had six wives. How many were named Catherine?
And the answer: three.
In his quest to have a son, Henry VIII had a chaotic love life. His six wives, in order of marriage, were Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard, and Catherine Parr, who outlived the king.
In his 36-year reign over England, Henry VIII's fame comes not from his military achievements or his leadership skills, but rather from his many escapades in love. While he sought a male heir to the throne, Henry VIII married six women and kept even more lovers– a highly scandalous endeavor for the 1500s. Ironically, this king sought political unity so fervently that he, instead, created a significant rift: Henry VIII's divorce spawned the start of the Reformation and created the Church of England.
The first of Henry VIII's wives was Catherine of Aragon, today considered to be perhaps the king's "only true love." As queen, she remained by Henry VIII's side for 23 years, however, only ever bearing him a single daughter. Seeking a son, the king attempted to annul the marriage. While Catherine contested the charge for annulment, and the Pope refused, Henry VIII responded by starting his own church, the Church of England.
Accusations of adultery, complications with pregnancy, and even claims of "catfishing" (Henry was outraged that Ann of Cleves looked nothing like her painting, and attempted to halt the wedding) are just a few more of the many problems Henry VIII brought against his wives. Read more about each wife here.
Having trouble remembering which wife was which? Try this rhyme:
Boleyn and Howard lost their heads,
Anne of Cleves he would not bed,
Jane Seymour gave him a son – but died before the week was done,
Aragon he did Divorce,
Which just left Catherine Parr, of course!