Top 12 proofs that Henry VIII was a toxic man, a heartbreaker in the…

Toxic guys, believe me, I know a lot of them! But people like good old Henry VIII, King of England from 1509 to 1547, I have (thank God) never seen! Ah bah, at the ball of the old fools, this one, I can assure you that he is a conductor. Really. The proof just below.

1. He married six different women…

In order: Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jeanne Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard and Catherine Parr. Yes, as you can see, he seemed to be having a little fix on the names “Anne” and “Catherine”. The least we can say is that these ladies never had a super happy ending. It’s not easy to be Queen of England, when it’s alongside such a character…

2. …and performed two

Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard literally lost their minds. Decapitated by order of the king himself. An atmosphere… According to historians, Anne Boleyn having “failed” to give the king a son, he had her tried for adultery and treason and put her to death in 1536. Less than 24 hours later, the king was already married to another : Jane Seymour. For her part, Catherine Howard was sentenced for an extra-marital relationship with a man from the court.

Today, to retain the story in music, British school children learn the nursery rhyme “The Six Wives of Henry VIII”, where the rhymes are “Divorced, decapitated, dead” and “Divorced, decapitated, survivor”. Happiness.

3. He married his late brother’s wife

In 1502, Arthur, Henry VIII’s eldest brother, died of sweating sickness, an epidemic disease causing haemorrhagic fevers. At that time he was married to Catherine of Aragon. While the young woman is just a widow, she sees herself married again… To the brother of her late husband: Henry VIII. The reasons were above all strategic: to marry Catherine of Aragon was to unite with Spain and take the French adversary in a pincer movement. The Church prohibiting the union of a brother-in-law and a sister-in-law, the king circumvented the rule by affirming that the marriage had never been consummated, and was therefore “void”.

4. Then he filed for divorce because his wife couldn’t have a boy

As the previous point suggests: this marriage was not really a marriage of love. Just a union with multiple stakes. Besides establishing a close connection with Spain, the throne of England also and above all wanted to obtain a legitimate heir. The queen will have seven pregnancies, but no heir: 2 boys who die shortly after birth, another stillborn boy, two miscarriages, and Mary Tudor, the only child to survive. When the queen celebrates her 40th birthday, the king begins to think that his union with his sister-in-law is cursed, and that he will never have a son. He therefore wishes to divorce, in order to be able to marry his new crush: Anne Boleyn.

5. Besides, he invented a religion to be able to divorce

Big problem: the Catholic Church does not allow divorce. In 1527, the king took up his pen and wrote to Pope Clement VII. He argues that the absence of a male heir is a punishment from God, for having married his brother’s wife. He points the finger at the Church of Rome, arguing that this union should never have been authorized, and therefore… It must be annulled. The pope refuses. It’s a bit complex, but Catherine was also the niece of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, in other words, the most powerful ruler in Europe. The Pope would rather alienate the King of England than Charles V. In short. He refuses. Never mind: Henry VIII separates the Church of England from that of Rome, creates his own religion (Anglicanism) and places himself at the head of this new Church. As a religious leader, he himself approves his own divorce. And There you go. That’s it. Smart. Slightly selfish to impose a change of religion on an entire population for his own pleasure, but clever.

6. He didn’t respect his ex-wife very much.

Besides altering the whole life of a country just so he could get rid of their relationship, the king also took care to declare their only daughter (Mary Tudor) illegitimate, then stripped Catherine of her title as Queen of England. From now on, she was “Princess Dowager”. She was separated from her daughter, confined to the residence of Buckden and then Kimbolton. Devastated by hunger and cancer, she died there in 1536. A respect, really.

7. He divorced his fourth wife because he didn’t think she was beautiful enough.

Once this lock was lifted, the king took full advantage of it! His luckiest wives (those who did not find death in a few months), were being dumped like dirt. The king’s third wife, Anne of Cleves, was chosen by the king and his prime minister, Thomas Cromwel, from a portrait painted by the German Hans Holbein the Younger. A kind of Tinder from ancient times. Like today, images are sometimes misleading… When he meets Anne of Cleves for real, Henry VIII is slightly disappointed. After calling her a “big Flemish mare”, he asked for a divorce after six months of marriage. Two weeks later, he is married to another woman: Catherine Howard, whom he will finally decide to have beheaded two years later.

8. Basically, he killed everyone, in fact

Starting with poor Cromwell. Since he had participated in choosing Anne of Cleves as the new wife of Henry VIII, the king made him bear the responsibility for this “casting error”. Always fair and never too extreme, he had his old friend arrested, charged with heresy and treason, then executed without trial on July 28, 1540. No room for error, therefore.

Basically, he killed everyone who could upset him, in fact. It is not known how many people he put to death himself, but historians estimate that 72,000 executions took place during his reign. It’s nothing.

This ease in collecting women and condemning them to death gave rise to a well-known legend: the legend of Bluebeard.

9. But he was innovative in his way of killing!

We’ll say that he had enough to train, huh… Among his most trashy methods: the pressure method. Crush the death row inmate with a large plank, loaded with weight, until he can’t breathe. To ensure maximum suffering, the weights were added gently, for a slow and painful death.

There is also a torture device, the “daughter of the scavenger”. It is an iron splint in the shape of an A. The victim settles in it, squatting, the head almost on the knees, and the wrists/ankles/neck chained. An iron bar is passed through the frame, and tightens, until it crushes the victim.

Last example: one day, the cook of the Bishop of Rochester tried to poison his master. To punish him, Henry VIII therefore ordered that he be boiled alive in his own pot. Finding the idea cool, he decided that it would become a standard punishment for poisoners, for 5 years.

10. He had mistresses in spades

Six women is not bad enough. But the guy was never satisfied. To this number of wives is added a good ten mistresses. If at the time, the extra-marital activity of a king is not original, rare are those who kept the same rhythm of fornication, with as many different people, as this old filth.

11. He initiated the country’s first homophobic legislation

In 1533, in England judging homosexuality as criminal and immoral, the king adopted the “Buggery Act”. This legislation makes relationships between men an offense punishable by… Yes, the death penalty, for a change. It is the first legislation against homosexuals in the country, and one of the first laws also repressing sodomy.

12. He was addicted to games

Well yeah, next to everything we just read, it’s not a crazy thing. But hey… He loved games so much (at which he was particularly bad), that the archives show that he would have played up to a million pounds (converted into current currency), between 1529 and 1532. That’s a good little sum .

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