The Basics of the Tudor Consorts


As promised following my post on basic facts about the Tudors monarchs, a post on the basics of the Tudor consorts, including the six wives of Henry VIII, Elizabeth of York and Phillip II of Spain. Enjoy!

18th century copy of Elizabeth of York as queen; she holds the white rose of the House of York.
18th century copy of Elizabeth of York as queen; she holds the white rose of the House of York.

Elizabeth of York

Nicknames: None
Reigned: 18 January 1486 – 11 February 1503
Coronation: 25 November 1487
Born: 11 February 1466
Died: 11 February 1503
Parents: Edward IV of England d. 1483 & Elizabeth Woodville d. 1492
Married: Henry VII of England d. 1509
Children: Arthur d. 1502, Henry VIII of England d. 1547, Mary d. 1533 & Margaret
Importance of Marriage: Her marriage to Henry VII united the houses of York and Lancaster and ended the Wars of the Roses
Key Events: Marriage of Prince Arthur to Katherine of Aragon, defeat of pretenders like Perkin Warbeck and Lambert Simnel & the end of the Wars of the Roses

Katherine of Aragon by Lucas Hornebolte
Katherine of Aragon by Lucas Hornebolte

Katherine of Aragon

Nicknames: None
Reigned: 11 June 1509 – 23 May 1533
Coronation: 24 June 1509
Born: 16 December 1485
Died: 7 January 1536
Parents: Ferdinand II of Aragon d. 1516 & Isabella I of Castile d. 1504
Married: Arthur of England d. 1502 & Henry VIII of England d. 1547
Children: Mary I of England d. 1558
Importance of Marriage: Her first marriage to Prince Arthur was intended to be an alliance to cement the rule of Henry VII. Her second marriage to Henry VIII was essentially a whim on the part of Henry VIII
Key Events: Henry VIII’s great matter, break with Rome, Battle of the Spurs, Battle of Flodden Field &the birth of the future Mary I

Anne Boleyn Hever Castle Portrait
Anne Boleyn Hever Castle Portrait

Anne Boleyn

Nicknames: the Conbubine, the ‘goggle-eyed whore’, Nan & the Great Whore
Reigned: 28 May 1533 – 17 May 1536
Coronation: 1 June 1533
Born: c. 1501
Died: 19 May 1536
Parents: Thomas Boleyn d. 1539 & Elizabeth Howard d. 1538
Married: Henry VIII of England d. 1547
Children: Elizabeth I of England d. 1603
Importance of Marriage: Anne’s marriage to Henry VIII was the result of the king’s great matter and the break with Rome, and it was very unpopular. It ended in the very first execution of a queen of England
Key Events: the king’s great matter, the break with Rome, the Act of Supremacy, the birth of future Elizabeth I & the executions of Cardinal Fisher and Thomas More

Jane Seymour by Hans Holbein c.1536.
Jane Seymour by Hans Holbein c.1536.

Jane Seymour

Nicknames: None
Reigned: 30 May 1536 – 24 October 1537
Coronation: None
Born: c. 1508
Died: 24 October 1537
Parents: John Seymour d. 1536 & Margery Wentworth d. 1550
Married: Henry VIII of England d. 1547
Children: Edward VI of England d. 1553
Importance of Marriage: Jane replaced Anne Boleyn, and was the opposite of her in every way. She was legally Henry VIII’s first wife
Key Events: Pilgrimage of Grace, birth of future Edward VI & the future Mary I accepted back at court in her father’s good graces

Anne of Cleves by Hans Holbein 1539
Anne of Cleves by Hans Holbein 1539

Anne of Cleves

Nicknames: the Flander’s Mare, King’s beloved sister
Reigned: 6 January 1540 – 9 July 1540
Coronation: None
Born: 22 September 1515
Died: 16 July 1557
Parents: John III of Cleves d. 1538 & Maria of Julich-Berg d. 1543
Married: Henry VIII of England d. 1547
Children: None
Importance of Marriage: The marriage was intended to nullify the threat to England from France and the Empire by making an alliance with the Protestant League
Key Events: Fall and execution of Thomas Cromwell, Henry’s wooing of Katherine Howard & the falling apart of the alliance between France and the Empire

Katherine Howard miniature by Hans Holbein.
Katherine Howard miniature by Hans Holbein.

Katherine Howard

Nicknames: Rose without a Thorn
Reigned: 28 July 1540 – 23 November 1541
Coronation: None
Born: c. 1523
Died: 13 February 1542
Parents: Edmund Howard d. 1539 & Joyce Culpeper d. 1531
Married: Henry VIII of England d. 1547
Children: None
Importance of Marriage: This marriage was unimportant in the grand scheme of things. Henry merely lusted after Katherine and chose to replace Anne with her
Key Events: The execution of Thomas Cromwell, her affair with Thomas Culpeper & the great progress to the North

Katherine Parr at the National Portrait Gallery.
Katherine Parr at the National Portrait Gallery.

Katherine Parr

Nicknames: None
Reigned: 12 July 1543 – 28 January 1547
Coronation: None
Born: c. 1512
Died: 5 September 1548
Parents: Thomas Parr d. 1517 & Maud Green d. 1531
Married: Edward Burgh d. unknown, John Neville d. 1543, Henry VIII of England d. 1547 & Thomas Seymour d. 1549
Children: Mary Seymour d. unknown
Importance of Marriage: Her marriage to Henry VIII was largely contracted so that Katherine could support Henry as he got older. Her marriage to Thomas Seymour had been a long time coming, since before she married Henry VIII
Key Events: The reinstatement of Mary and Elizabeth in the succession, the execution of the Earl of Surrey & war with France

Philip II of Spain in the prime of his life, by Giacomo Antonio Moro.
Philip II of Spain in the prime of his life, by Giacomo Antonio Moro.

Phillip II of Spain

Nicknames: the Prudent, the Sap & the Silent
Reigned: Spain 16 January 1556 – 13 September 1598, England 25 July 1554 – 17 November 1558
Coronation: None
Born: 21 May 1527
Died: 13 September 1598
Parents: Charles V Holy Roman Emperor d. 1558 & Isabella of Portugal d. 1539
Married: Maria of Portugal d. 1545, Mary I of England d. 1558, Elisabeth of Valois d. 1568 & Anna of Austria d. 1580
Children: By Maria: Carlos d. 1568, by Elisabeth: Isabella d. 1633, Catherine d. 1597 & by Anna: Ferdinand d. 1578, Charles d. 1575, Diego d. 1582, Phillip III of Spain d. 1621 & Maria d. 1583
Importance of Marriage: For Mary I, marriage to Phillip II of Spain was a love affair, but not for Phillip. He barely spent any time in England and engaged in wars which led to the loss of Calais
Key Events: Loss of Calais for England, independence for the Netherlands & England again comes under Papal authority

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