What happened to Anne Boleyn? What is the rhyme of Henry VIII’s wives?

Henry VIII is famous in history for having multiple wives – we all know this rhyme – and forever changing the course of British history.

The Tudor King broke away from the Catholic Church, which led to the Reformation and the Church of England.

And all because he wanted to divorce his first wife – Katharina von Aragon – in order to marry Anne Boleyn.

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But as any history buff will know, he was not happy with Anne and had several additional wives.

His tumultuous relationship with Anne Boleyn is now the subject of a three-part drama series on Channel 5.

As we prepare for this highly anticipated series, let’s take a look at the wives of Henry VIII and their fate …

* Attention action spoilers ahead!


Anne Boleyn plays Jodie Turner-Smith and Mark Stanley (Image: Channel 5)

How many wives did Henry VIII have?

Henry VIII had six wives.

He married his first wife in 1509 and his last wife in 1543.

Only three of his royal heirs survived childhood.

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They would rule as Edward VI, Mary I, and Queen Elizabeth I in turn.

However, he had several surviving illegitimate children.

What is the famous rhyme of Henry VIII’s wives?

The famous rhyme about the six wives of Henry VIII goes as follows:

“Divorced, beheaded, died: divorced, beheaded, survived.”

The rhyme reveals the fate of each of his spouses.

Anne Boleyn on Channel 5
Anne Boleyn was the second wife of Henry VIII (Credit: Channel 5)

What happened to Henry VIII’s first wife?

Catherine of Aragon was originally married to Heinrich’s brother Prince Arthur in 1501.

Nevertheless, he died a year later of a “sweat sickness”.

Catherine claimed the marriage was never consummated, and Henry married her in 1509.

They are said to have been very happy together at first.

But after failing to produce a healthy male heir in years, Henry became frustrated.

He had several lovers during their marriage, but it was Anne Boleyn who eventually persuaded him to divorce Catherine.

Henry divorced her in 1533 and she was sent to various castles where she spent her days in solitary confinement for her servants.

Henry and Catherine had only one surviving child, daughter Mary I.

Anne Boleyn beheaded
Anne Boleyn was beheaded (Credit: Channel 5)

What happened to Anne Boleyn?

Anne Boleyn was beheaded on May 19, 1536 in the Tower of London.

She is said to have been in her early 30s at the time of her execution.

She was the second wife of Henry VIII.

He changed the laws and broke away from the Catholic Church in order to marry her and divorce his first wife Catherine of Aragon.

After failing to produce a male heir, Henry Anne grew weary and accused her of adultery.

She was charged with committing adultery with five other men – including her own brother George.

What about the others?

By the time Anne was on trial for adultery, Henry was already targeting a new woman – Jane Seymour.

They married just over a week after Anne’s execution.

The following year she gave birth to their son Edward VI.

Jodie Turner-Smith
Jodie becomes the first black woman to play Anne Boleyn on screen (Image: SplashNews)

However, she died shortly afterwards of childbirth complications.

In 1540 Heinrich married Anne von Kleve, but their marriage was annulled only a few months later.

Popular belief has it that Henry found Anne too ugly and overweight, even though he was obese himself.

Contemporary historians believe Anne was just as disgusted with the appearance of Henry.

But Anne received a lavish lifestyle after her cancellation. She received several estates, including Hever Castle, which once belonged to the Boleyn family.

And perhaps more ironically, she later became one of Henry’s closest confidants and a close friend of his children.

She died of likely cancer shortly before her 42nd birthday.

Next came Katherine Howard, Anne Boleyn’s cousin and still a teenager, when Henry noticed her.

Her family had fallen out of favor and had financial difficulties.

They encouraged her to be in a relationship with Henry despite an age difference of about 30 years.

They married in 1540, but suspicions quickly grew that they were having affairs.

In 1542 she was executed in the Tower of London for adultery – the same fate as her cousin Anne.

What happened to Henry VIII’s last wife?

His last wife was Catherine Parr, she had previously been married and widowed several times.

She was about 30 when she married Henry and they are believed to have got on well as companions.

She is said to have served as a nurse for the king, who was not only obese but also had a severe leg wound.

However, some of Henry’s aides tried to incite him against her in 1546 by claiming that she had committed religious heresy.

Although he initially considered her arrest, he finally decided against it and eventually died the following year.

Unfortunately, while Catherine is often credited with “surviving” the wrath of Henry VIII, she sadly died a little over a year later after his death.

She had married Thomas Seymour for the fourth time and then died in childbed.

When is Anne Boleyn on channel 5?

Anne Boleyn starts on Tuesday May I at 9 p.m. on channel 5.

Episode 2 airs on Wednesday at the same time and episode 3 on Thursday at the same time.

Once all episodes have aired, they can be streamed in the All5 app.

So what do you think Let us know on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix.

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