We ‘eard there was some traitorous lot looking for something to do this May Half Term. Bored adolescents keen for some CHILLING amusement, perhaps? You’ll get that and more at the London Dungeon and it ain’t just because of the draughts. Hawhaw. Maybe you’ll find out that Henry the VIII sentenced 72,000 subjects to their deaths at the gallows. He probably was not all that great to hang out with.
Speaking of hangings, can you lot tell me anything about Henry’s wives? We like to remember a laavely rhyme and it goes a little like this.
Divorced, Beheaded, DIED. Divorced, beheaded, SURVIVED.
Catherine of Aragon
Catherine was a Spaniard married to Henry from 1509 until 1533 and they had 6 children. What an ’andful! So ‘ow did it all go south? All died except the youngest, Mary. Without a male heir, Henry divorced the poor girl and turned to her lady-in-waiting, Anne Boleyn.
These two were married 1533-1536. Similarly to Catherine, Anne was unable to produce a male heir and was beheaded for this – ain’t that a punishment! Whom do you think Henry turned to after Anne’s death? You guessed it, Anne’s lady-in-waiting, Jane Seymour.
The most beloved of the lot. Can you guess why? It’s two words, traitors. They start with an M and H. MALE HEIR. Jane bore Edward later King Edward VI. But tragically, she died of childbirth complications. Henry and Jane were only married from 1536-1537. So who was next to keep old Henry’s bed warm? No you wrong ‘uns it wasn’t Jane Seymour’s lady-in-waiting, but a woman pursued for a strategic alliance, Anne of Cleves.
Anne of Cleves
It was said that Anne of Cleves was the *AHEM* least attractive of the wife gang and was often compared to a horse. Those in the know told tales of Henry’s desperation to avoid the marriage. The pair were married for 6 months before Henry put pressure on his subjects to help divorce his wife so that he could marry her (no surprise here) lady-in-waiting, Kathryn Howard.
Married for a mere two years between 1540 and 1542, Kathryn Howard was one of the biggest traitors to exist. Flirty and young, Kathryn was caught committing adultery with Thomas Culpeper. Chopped at the nape, Kathryn and Henry were no more. Next, Henry turned to another Katherine.
Married for the last years of Henry’s life from 1543-1547, Katherine was one of Henry’s most beloved wives. She outlived poor Henry who croaked at 56 years old due to a number of factors including obesity and an ulcerated leg. YUCK - truly ‘orrible stuff!
So now you lot know more about Henry’s wives, you can meet the big man ‘imself during our Tyrant Boat ride, as you sail down the River Thames to certain DEATH at Traitors Gate. You’ll either lose ya head – or get wet! What are you waiting for? Get to the London Dungeon. Chop chop!
The Dungeon Keeper