Thursday 13: Tudor England Edition

June 3, 2010

Thirteen Interesting Factoids About My Favorite Dysfunctional Family, The Tudors:

  1. Henry VIII had six wives, but they share three names.  There was one Jane, two Annes and three Catherines.
  2. Henry VIII was the second born son of Henry VII.  He was supposed to go into the clergy.  It wasn’t until his older brother Arthur died that he became destined for a life as England’s monarch.
  3. Not only did Henry VIII get the throne when Arthur died, he also got Arthur’s wife (Catherine of Aragon).  Later, he used Catherine’s prior relationship with his brother as a reason to divorce her (based upon the Scripture Leviticus 20:21).
  4. The Tudor family is of Welsh origin and was known for their characteristic orange-red hair.
  5. A common rhyme to help remember the fate of Henry VIII’s wives goes like this:  “Divorced, beheaded, died… Divorced, beheaded, survived.”
  6. Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second wife and mother of Queen Elizabeth I, was rumored to have six fingers on one of her hands.  Many thought it was a sign that she was a witch.
  7. Bloody Mary is not Mary Queen of Scots, but rather Mary Tudor, the eldest child of Henry VIII and the only child of Catherine of Aragon.
  8. During most of Queen Mary Tudor’s reign, Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth I) was held prisoner in the Tower of London.
  9. Queen Elizabeth I never married, thus earning the nickname, “The Virgin Queen.”  The US state of Virginia is named after her.
  10. Henry VIII divorced his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, because he found her unbearably unattractive.  Thankfully for her, he enjoyed her company enough to keep her on at court as his “sister.”
  11. Jane Seymour, Henry VIII’s third wife, was the only one who gave him a son.  Unfortunately, she died less than two weeks following the baby’s birth, probably due to infection.
  12. Edward VI (Henry VIII’s only legitimate son), came to the throne at age nine.  He died six years later, at age 15.
  13. Elizabeth I lived to be nearly 70 years old… quite extraordinary for that time period!

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