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The Hutchinson Players

Key Players


Wives of Henry VIII


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Tudor Monarchs

Born in 1491, exactly one hundred years before Anne Hutchinson, Henry was second in line to the throne. His father, King Henry VII focused Henry's education on theological studies intending him to become the highest clergyman in England. First in line was his brother, Arthur, whose marriage to the daughter of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, Catherine of Aragon, had been arranged as a means of sealing an alliance between the house of Tudor and the ruling dynasty of Spain. But Arthur died several months after his wedding leaving Henry as heir to the British throne.

Eager not to lose the alliance with England, the Spanish and English monarchs began the process for Catherine to marry Prince Henry. An agreement was negotiated and Henry and Catherine were formally betrothed, but a ruling in Leviticus forbade the marriage of a man to his bother's wife and a papal dispensation was necessary before they could marry. The appeal was made and a dispensation was granted by Pope Alexander VI. But not before Henry's father began to doubt the wisdom of the union. King Henry VII began to stall the marriage until either he had found a better political match for his son, or the remainder of Catherine's dowry was paid. He stopped Catherine's allowance and declared that Henry was underage at the time of the betrothal and therefore it was invalid. However, Prince Henry and Catherine were getting to know and like each other. King Henry VII died in April 1509 and the new King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon were secretly married in June of the same year a few days before the royal coronation.

Henry was a devout Catholic when he became King of England in April 1509 and he and Catherine were married for 20 years. But as Catherine suffered many miscarriages and stillbirths bearing only one child, later to become Mary I, he became disillusioned with the marriage. He feared that his failure to have a male heir was punishment from God for marrying his brother's wife. It was written in the Bible, regardless of the Pope's dispensation. And one wonders, had Catherine of Aragon produced a male heir, how history might have been altered.

Henry's doubt about the legitamacy of his marriage coincided with a growing passion for one of the ladies in waiting, Anne Boleyn. His intent was to have his marriage with Catherine of Aragon annulled and wed Anne Boleyn, thus making possible a male heir to the Tudor throne. If the Pope had given the original dispensation, the Pope then could also annul the marriage. But Catherine was vehemently opposed to the annullment, not only because she truly loved Henry, but because she feared that their daughter Mary would be illegitimized, bastardized, by his charge of incest. The original dispensation was granted on the belief that the marriage between Catherine of Aragon and Henry's brother Arthur was never consummated. By annulling the marriage on grounds of incest, Henry would also be announcing something that he knew to be untrue.

Catherine of Aragon Catherine of Aragon

Anne BoleynAnne Boleyn

Bloody MaryQueen Mary I

Queen Elizabeth IQueen Elizabeth I

Stuart Monarchs

King James I of EnglandKing James I of England

King Charles I of EnglandKing Charles I of England

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