- Catherine of Aragon (divorced, died while detained under guard at Kimbolton Castle, mother of Mary I)
- Anne Boleyn (divorced and later executed, mother of Elizabeth I)
- Jane Seymour (died days after giving birth to Edward VI, believed to be caused by birth complications)
- Anne of Cleves (divorced, outlived the rest of the wives)
- Catherine Howard (divorced and later executed)
- Catherine Parr (widowed)
On November 14, 1501, Catherine was married to Arthur, Price of Wales. Her marriage gave the Tudors (a dynasty begun under Henry VII) a greater appearance of legitimacy.
Prince Arthur died on April 2, 1502. Following his death, Catherine lived in England as the Dowager Princess of Wales. Her father, King Ferdinand, made her the Spanish ambassador for a period in 1507. Catherine of Aragon became the first female foreign ambassador in European history.
Arthur's younger brother, Henry, succeeded to the English throne as Henry VIII in 1509. The Tudors were unwilling to give up the opportunity to marry into the Trastamaras (the Spanish throne), and so shortly after he was crowned, Henry VIII married his brother's widow (June 11, 1509). At the time of their marriage, Catherine was 23 years old and Henry was soon to turn 18 years old.
Although Catherine of Aragon became pregnant at least six times during her marriage to Henry VIII, only one of the couple's children survived (the future Mary I). Henry feared that the Tudors would not survive without a male heir. This fear, along with Henry's budding relationship with Anne Boleyn, caused Henry to seek an annulment from his wife, Catherine. Henry claimed that his marriage to Catherine was invalid on grounds of incest (since she presumably had sexual relations with Henry's late brother).
The pope sided with Catherine. Henry's only recourse was to split with the Catholic Church, thereby bringing the Protestant Reformation to England. In 1533, the Church of England granted Henry's petition for an annulment. Catherine was reduced to her former status as Dowager Princess of Wales.
Catherine died at Kimbolton Castle on January 7, 1536. On the day of Catherine's funeral, Anne Boleyn miscarried a son.
King Henry VIII was betrothed to Jane on 20 May 1536, just one day after Anne Boleyn's execution and married, at the Palace of Whitehall, on 30 May 1536. She was publicly proclaimed as queen consort on 4 June.
Jane’s well-publicized sympathy for the late Queen Catherine and the Lady Mary showed her to be compassionate and made her a popular figure with the common people and most of the courtiers. Jane would form a very close relationship with Mary Tudor.
The lavish entertainments, gaiety, and extravagance of the Queen's household, which had reached its peak during the time of Anne Boleyn, was replaced by a strict enforcement of decorum. For example, she banned the French fashions that Anne Boleyn had introduced. Politically, Seymour appears to have been conservative.
Jane put forth much effort to restore Henry's first child, Princess Mary, to court and to the royal succession, behind any children that Jane might have with Henry. Jane brought up the issue of Mary's restoration both before and after she became Queen. While Jane was unable to restore Mary to the line of succession, she was able to reconcile her with Henry.
In early 1537, Jane became pregnant. In September 1537 and gave birth to the coveted male heir, the future King Edward VI. Edward was christened on 15 October 1537, without his mother in attendance, as was the custom. Both of the King's daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, were present and carried the infant's train during the ceremony.
Jane Seymour's labour had been difficult, lasting two nights and three days. After the christening, it became clear that she was seriously ill. She died on 24 October 1537. Jane Seymour was buried on 12 November 1537 in St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle after the funeral in which her stepdaughter, Mary, acted as chief mourner. A procession of 29 mourners followed Lady Mary, one for every year of Queen Jane’s life. Jane was the only one of Henry's wives to receive a queen's funeral. More