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A Little Bit of Her-story

AUG 19, 2019

Catherine of Aragon

Catherine of Aragon portrait
Adrianna Hicks plays Catherine of Aragon

Birth and death 15 December 1485 – 7 January 1536
Marriage One: to Arthur (Henry’s older brother), 14 November 1501 (aged 15); Two: to Henry, 11 June 1509 (aged 23)
Children Mary, born 18 February 1516 (later Queen Mary I); Catherine also had two other children who died as infants, three stillborn children, and several miscarriages
Interests Religion, sewing, dancing, a bit more religion
Cause of death Probably a type of cancer
Remembered for Her refusal to accept that her marriage was invalid; her faith; her dramatic speech to Henry when he had her brought to court seeking the annulment of their marriage
Did you know? Catherine was Regent (whilst Henry fought in France in 1513) during the Battle of Flodden; when James IV of Scotland was killed in the battle, she wanted to send his body to Henry as a present.
Queenspiration Beyoncé and Shakira

Anne Boleyn

Anne Boleyn portrait
Andrea Macasaet plays Anne Boleyn

Birth and death Probably 1501 – 19 May 1536
Marriage 25 January 1533 (aged 31)
Children Elizabeth, born 7 September 1533 (later Queen Elizabeth I); at least two miscarriages
Interests Fashion, dancing, flirtation, collecting evangelical works
Queen links Lady-in-waiting to Catherine of Aragon
Cause of death Executed on Tower Green, London
Remembered for Headlessness, bringing about the break with the Pope, having a sixth fingernail
Did you know? Because she was fluent in French, Anne would have acted as a translator during the visit of Emperor Charles V to court in 1522.
Queenspiration Lily Allen and Avril Lavigne

 

Jane Seymour

Jane Seymour portait
Abby Mueller plays Jane Seymour

Birth and death 1507 or 1508 – 24 October 1537
Marriage 30 May 1536 (aged 28 or 29)
Children Edward, born 12 October 1537 (later King Edward VI)
Interests Religious faith, being obedient.
Queen links Lady-in-waiting to Anne Boleyn
Cause of death Haemorrhage after the birth of Prince Edward, her child with Henry
Remembered for Being the “only one he truly loved”; having two troublesome brothers who fought over the regency of the young Prince after King Henry’s death
Did you know? Whilst Anne was still alive, Henry sent Jane a gift of money, which she refused, apparently saying there “was no treasure in this world that she valued so much as her honour.”
Queenspiration Adele and Sia

 

Anna of Cleves

Anna of Cleves portrait
Brittney Mack plays Anna of Cleves

Birth and death 1515 – 16 July 1557
Marriage 6 January 1540 (aged 24)
Children None
Queen links Anne visited Catherine Howard once Catherine became queen and bowed down to her
Cause of death Probably cancer
Interests Staying alive
Remembered for Staying alive
Did you know? When Henry first met Anna of Cleves, he disguised himself, possibly imagining some sort of romantic reaction. According to a witness, when Henry kissed Anne, she is said to have turned away coldly from this hideous stranger molesting her. The witness, Lord Russell, observed that he “never saw His Highness so marvellously astonished.”
Queenspiration Nicki Minaj and Rihanna

 

Katherine Howard

Katherine Howard portrait
Courtney Mack plays Katherine Howard

Birth and death Probably 1523 – 13 February 1542
Marriage 28 July 1540 (aged 17)
Children None
Interests Religious faith, being obedient
Queen links Lady-in-waiting to Anna of Cleves, cousin to Anne Boleyn
Cause of death Executed on Tower Green, London
Remembered for Being completely used (and abused) by those with more power
Did you know? From her arrest on 8 November 1541 to her execution three months later, Katherine stayed under house arrest at Syon House; in late January 1542, an act was passed in Parliament that made it treason for a woman to become the king’s wife without “plain declaration before of her unchaste life,” meaning Henry could have her killed.
Queenspiration Ariana Grande and Britney Spears

 

Catherine Parr

Catherine Parr portrait
Anna Uzele plays Catherine Parr

Birth and death Probably 1512 – 5 September 1548
Marriage One: to Sir Edward Burgh, a courtier 1529 – 1533; Two: to John Neville, Lord Latimer 1534 – 1543; Three: to Henry 12 July 1543; Four: to Thomas Seymour May 1547 in secret
Children A daughter (to Thomas Seymour) who died as a baby
Queen links Her mother was lady-in-waiting to Catherine of Aragon; Catherine Parr was friendly with Catherine of Aragon’s daughter, Princess Mary
Cause of death Childbirth
Interests Writing books, encouraging education, Reformation
Remembered for Surviving
Did you know? Catherine was the first woman in England to publish books under her own name and in English.
Queenspiration Alicia Keys and Emeli Sandé

Image Credits
Adrianna Hicks, Andrea Macasaet, Abby Mueller, Brittney Mack, Anna Uzele: Jeff Sciortino

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