Saturday, June 9, 2012

Henry VIII: The Six Wives of Henry VIII

The Queen's Vision (rehearsal - complete)

I am not the first to suggest Henry VIII had a seriously fucked-up mid-life crisis.

Henry Tudor was 41 when he decided to divorce his wife of almost 24 years, Catherine of Aragon. In order to facilitate this separation, he sought to separate his entire kingdom from the Catholic Church. His father, Henry VII brought the “War of the Roses” to a conclusion, ending a century of British civil conflict. Desiring a fresh young wife, Henry VIII made a decision which again pitted brother against brother in prolonged, violent hositilites.

His marriage to Anne Boleyn (not his divorce, which in the eyes of the Church did not actually happen) compelled Pope Clement VII to excommunicate the King. Their first child was a girl, Elizabeth. The second, a boy, was stillborn. This was not working out as Henry had planned. A few weeks prior to their third anniversary, Anne was convicted of trumped up charges including adultery, incest and treason. She was beheaded, but not before their marriage was annulled.

As Anne had been one of Katherine’s ladies-in-waiting, and Jane Seymour had been one of Anne’s.  All these pretty ladies-in-waiting in the wings. Ten days after Anne’s death, Jane and the King were married. Katherine had been a princess, Anne the daugher of a Lord. Jane was the daughter of a lowly Knight, but she did what no one else could, she gave birth to a living male child, a year after the marriage. Twelve days later, she died. As might be expected, Henry loved her most, the nly of his wives to receive a proper Queen’s burial, and when he finally died, he was buried next to her.
That’s a tip, ladies. Give the man what he wants. And then die.
Anne of Cleves was German Princess. Legend has it she was ugly, but lets be honest, every white person in the 16th Century was pretty disgusting. Whatever the case was, she came to England, and shortly thereafter was offered an annullment with generous monetary benefits she was only too willing to agree to. She was 25, he was 49. Do the math, then tell me things worked out so well for her because she was ugly. She and the King remained on very friendly terms, outliving all of his wives.
Catherine Howard. They were married a year and a half, she was accused of adultery, he had he head cut off.
When Henry VIII married Catherine Parr, he was 52 years old. She herself was in her 30s, widowed twice already, and the King had enough faith in her to bestow upon her the kind of responsibility he once gave to Catherine of Aragon, appointing her Regent when he was abroad, and making condition for her to reign as Queen in case of his death until Edward came of age.
Henry VIII died at the age of 55, horridly obese, Catherine the Last providing serves more along the lines of nurse than baby-maker. His last spoken words were, "Monks! Monks! Monks!" Hilarious! What a dick.

Double run-through rehearsal tomorrow, "Henry VIII" opens Friday.

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