With a POD in 1536, give Henry VIII 8 wives! Henry VIII will die in 1547, as per OTL. Bonus points if you can include some of his prospective wives from OTL and get Henry VIII to have more children than IOTL!
 
With a POD in 1536, give Henry VIII 8 wives! Henry VIII will die in 1547, as per OTL. Bonus points if you can include some of his prospective wives from OTL and get Henry VIII to have more children than IOTL!
Well, if he's married to Catherine of Aragon before his father dies they might be able to have a couple kids and then she could die in childbirth (considering how much she fasted, it's totally possible) paving the way for wives 2-8.
 
Well, if he's married to Catherine of Aragon before his father dies they might be able to have a couple kids and then she could die in childbirth (considering how much she fasted, it's totally possible) paving the way for wives 2-8.
That could work, though if there are enough sons (about 3) Henry may choose to not remarry.
 
That could work, though if there are enough sons (about 3) Henry may choose to not remarry.
Eh, I can't see Henry staying permanently single. Like maybe he'd swear off it for a couple years (especially if the previous wife's death hit him hard) but in the end he'd find some new girl to chase.
 
Eh, I can't see Henry staying permanently single. Like maybe he'd swear off it for a couple years (especially if the previous wife's death hit him hard) but in the end he'd find some new girl to chase.
True, actually. Knowing him he’ll probably take a few mistresses in the off years.
 
Do you think Henry will develop some kind of Bluebeard like reputation? With all the wives dying.
That's a good point! If he offs the two like he did with Anne and Catherine he could easily get that type of reputation, especially since Jane and Catherine also died. That could make getting the eight wife tricky.
 
Well, if he's married to Catherine of Aragon before his father dies they might be able to have a couple kids and then she could die in childbirth (considering how much she fasted, it's totally possible) paving the way for wives 2-8.
If you're taking 1536 as POD you can't change either Katherines or Annes fates since thats the year Anne was executed if I remember correctly.
If you're setting it a few years earlier she can die of the sweat, anne and henry can marry earlier, anne is under less stress and thus unliklier to miscarry since no one is saying she isn't the queen and might have more children than just elizabeth. She could always die in the miscarriage that came from seeing jane with henry, thus removing her from the picture
 
This requires only minor changes to make happen. In order of likelihood (and also reverse chronological order):
  1. Catherine Parr avoided arrest and execution by a single day. Simply have her miss the papers that tipped her off. She is arrested, executed, and Henry weds Catherine Willoughby, as she was expected to be his choice for a seventh wife in OTL anyway. That gets you seven with a very near-miss event from the real world.

  2. The 27-month gap between Jane Seymour's death and the marriage to Anne of Cleves is the longest he went without a wife. Have him wed one of Jane's household soon after her death, but before the Cleves negotiations, and have her die for some reason.

That could work, though if there are enough sons (about 3) Henry may choose to not remarry.
It is recorded that Henry complained about the lack of women at court before wedding Anne of Cleves and Catherine Parr. He is not a king who would choose to remain single.
 
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This requires on very minor changes to make happen. In order of likelihood (and also reverse chronological order):
  1. Catherine Parr avoided arrest and execution by a single day. Simply have her miss the papers that tipped her off. She is arrested, executed, and Henry weds Catherine Willoughby, as she was expected to be his choice for a seventh wife in OTL anyway. That gets you seven.

  2. The 27-month gap between Jane Seymour's death and the marriage to Anne of Cleves is the longest he went without a wife. Have him wed one of Jane's household soon after her death, but before the Cleves negotiations, and have her die for some reason.
That actually works pretty well! If Henry doesn't wait to remarry that can easily get us to Wife number 8.
It is recorded that Henry complained about the lack of women at court before wedding Anne of Cleves and Catherine Parr. He is not a king who would choose to remain single.
Hmm I suppose.
 
Oh, I have something fairly bleak.
(Point of Departure- Anne Boleyn does not miscarry.)
June 24 1536- Anne Boleyn gives birth to a boy, named Jasper. (Henry was an idea, but the death of Henry Fitzroy was too close to broach it.) Named the Midsummer Prince, no one is truly brave enough to mention the New Year's Prince. After all, it has been 25 years to the day since his coronation. And Catherine of Aragon's, but she is dead and only her daughter will mention that, in the privacy of her own head.
July 2nd 1536- Anne dies of what is probably childbed fever, though rumors persist about the Seymours.
July 31st- Henry marries Jane Seymour. If this is seen as indecently hasty, no one in England is going to mention it.
October 1536- Jane is queen, and the king's living children are all at Hatfield. Jane's seen as sweet enough to talk to, if not as well educated, though tensions flair early in the marriage when the Pilgrimage of Grace roars in with the north wind, and Henry reminds her sharply that while she is queen, he is her lord and master. One record records that Henry was... less than discreet when dressing down Jane about her lack of pregnancy, in a way that leads Chapuys to suspect that Henry and Jane anticipated their vows. (No letters survive to prove this, and Jane is a terribly proper woman. Though that might be also be a reflection of the rumors about her older brother and his first wife...)
October 1537- Jane gives birth to a healthy baby boy, called Edward. However, she sickens and dies of childbed fever. Henry, in a rage, fires the medical attendants.
December 1537- Henry marries Anne Basset- history isn't entirely sure why. The unkind suggest it was because she was there- her mother dragged her feet about moving Anne after Queen Jane's death. Though, some suggest, that Anne, who was sworn in as lady in waiting just as Queen Jane started her lying in, might have helped serve as ambassador of sorts between the pregnant queen and the fractious king, perhaps even starting a flirtation.
November 1538- Anne Basset gives birth to a daughter, named Honor after the infant's grandmother, and passes away in early December of childbed fever. Cromwell quietly starts the hunt for a wife who would bring an actual alliance, this time.
This is where it starts seeming all a bit... well, Henry's ego is not flattering. Marie of Guise, Queen of Scotland, had been offered marriage to Henry after Jane Seymour's death, and been loath to take him up on his... no doubt flattering offer. Now? Christina of Denmark said that she'd prefer widowhood over certain death. Henry made offers for two highly eligible princess- but alas. Francis claimed that Margaret, his youngest daughter, was engaged to Phillip of Spain, son of the Holy Roman Emperor. And as for Maria of Portugal... Henry would be mercenary enough to marry one of the richest princesses in Europe, even if she was mad as her grandmother Juana. She was scandalized by his religion, by the tragically short lives of his wives, possibly by the fact that any of her children would be, at best, third in line for the throne. Eleanor of Austria, her mother, had suggested that perhaps Henry had been so desperate for sons he'd given his wives to the Devil.
It's possible that a wise man would have looked at his children and been content, at least for a year or two. Jasper, Prince of Wales, was not even three, but seemed to be healthy and happy, and Edward Duke of York has safely passed his first birthday. (There is also Elizabeth, clever and canny already, and Mary waiting in the shadows for her life to resume, but that isn't relevant to Henry, not really.) But Henry remembers his dead children, and his sisters and brothers who were never able to reach adulthood, and demands a wife.
In comes Amalia of Cleves who provides links to German states who are less than warm to the Pope. Henry had originally been leaning towards marrying her elder sister Anne, but someone offhandledly mentions that the younger sister is the wittier, with a love of music. So in late 1539, Amalia is met by a delegation to bring her to England. Coming along from the English side is one of the many Howard girls who seem to have begun to crawl from the woodwork- Katherine Howard, who is very young, very flighty, and instinctively kind unless crossed. She is to be one of the new queen's ladies in waiting, and the Howards are taught to be good courtiers from birth, or at the very least entertaining ones. While Amalie and Katherine don't know the other's language, they get by in halting sentences and gestures. Katherine also loudly points out that perhaps Amalie should have more English clothes, to better appeal to the king? (Well, she doesn't say *that*, quite, instead mentioning that it is better for more English entertainments.) While in Calais, they are greeted by the Lisles, mother and stepfather of the latest of the late queens. Lady Lisle in her letters does not seem to bear a grudge, possibly because Amalie is sure to include questions about Lady Lisle's granddaughter.)
Amalia is slightly wrongfooted by the king playacting to be a peasant, but Lady Katherine tried her best to warn her about the disguisings that happened in court. She doesn't disgrace herself, but Henry is perhaps more tepid with her than he should. Or perhaps that is his eyes landing on the young lady always at Queen Amalia's elbow, steering her through the new court with enthusiasm and verve, reminding him of a slightly less... tempestuous Anne Boleyn.
Amalia is horrified, though, a few weeks into their careful circling, when she realizes that Henry wishes to make Lady Katherine his mistress. Katherine laughs, unfortunately- she is always prone to laughter, and if she was openly a mistress to Henry she would be far less of a threat to Amalia- and the deeply sheltered Amalia furiously asks her brother "what sort of Gamorrah have you sent me to?"
Henry's pride is hurt, and he lashes out, furiously asking if she'd like the marriage annulled- he's overheard telling one of his ministers that she is so terribly cold that he could not consummate the marriage.
Amalie, proud and furious that her husband of less than two months has neither taken her to bed nor at least pretended fidelity, says that might be for the best.
Later historians might suggest that Katherine was meant to sabotage the marriage, as her family was conservative and Catholic, but Katherine Howard almost certainly did not know this. A more coordinated plan would have had Katherine as the sixth queen, instead of a royal mistress. Amalie was not to return to Cleves, though she most likely wanted to- she was given visitation to her former stepchildren, a collection of manors, and a generous income, but some suspected she was a prisoner, in case her brother took offence. A marriage was arranged as a compromise, between Amalia's cousin, Duke Phillip of Bavaria, and Mary I.
Mary had been leery of marriage to a Lutheran, and Henry had been a bit skeptical, but it unruffled the feathers he needed unruffled, Mary warmed to the man quickly, and Phillip would hardly be able to launch a rebellion against Henry's sons. They married in June of 1540.
Henry, somehow, managed to convince the Duke of Guise to marry his second daughter, Louise, to Henry instead of Charles II of Croy, signing the contract in September of 1540. An ultimately harmless summer cold by Prince Edward might have been the push to get him to make the match- or perhaps it was the knowledge that James V and Marie of Guise had born a healthy son in May.
Louise seemed to be of bad health, and the air was perhaps understandably funeral as she arrived, marrying him in May of 1541. Given his usual personality, it can't be entirely said that he made common cause with France because of Louise, but it is entirely possible that her presence helped ease tensions with the Kings of France and Spain. (Henry had been heard pointedly saying the imprisoning two royal princes in such harsh circumstances was a cruelty.)
She did not survive her first pregnancy- Cecily, after Henry's aunt, born in 1542, despite Henry's anxiety and will.
Surely, the courts of Europe gossiped, he would not marry again. No one was even certain if the king would sire another child. He was, after all, in his fifties, and years of hard living had taken a toll on his form. He wasn't his grandfather Edward, but he had stopped many of his rides and hunts as old injuries haunted him, and had put on a good amount of weight with the lack of exercise. He was also thinking a bit of his mortality, as Mary had given him his first grandson in 1543. He started to arrange matches for his other children. Princess Mary of Scotland, youngest of James V's three children, was suggested for Prince Henry- reports came back that she seemed likely to inherit her mother's height. (Possibly in reference to Henry's previous search for a 'big wife' after Anne Basset's death- Prince Henry, who was seven, seemed like he might be as tall as his father.)
Elizabeth was engaged in a surprise twist to the heir of Portugal. Henry had also granted her her mother Anne Boleyn's old title, Marquess of Pembroke, in a fit of nostalgia, or perhaps to fund and ease the dowry.
And in 1543, he married Catherine Parr, a twice widowed lady who was placed in charge of the education of Princess Elizabeth. Records found later that Catherine wanted nothing to do with Henry, and was indeed in a flirtation with Thomas Seymour, brother of Jane Seymour and uncle of the Duke of York. (Perhaps that marriage not coming off was for the best, given all of Thomas' later schemes.)
Then, in 1546, Queen Catherine was pregnant, to the shock of all. Henry, after all, was her third husband. Lady Katherine Howard, still the king's mistress, was sincere in her prayers for the Queen's health. (A malicious rumor suggested that Amalia of Cleves repented of her hasty decision to get an annulment, and hoped for the Queen's death to remarry the king, but no direct evidence survives of this.)
But in December of 1546, the seventh queen bled out while birthing Prince Edmund, Duke of Richmond. He would follow in his mother's footsteps and be regarded as a great Protestant scholar.
And the king was dying- not that no one would speak of it, in fear of one overmighty blow from the dying man.
However, to the shock of all, in early January of 1547, Henry managed to convince a priest to his rooms. He was tormented by his sins and regrets, some suggested, and he had one thing he could fix. So the king married his twenty-something mistress, dying a few scant weeks later.

Wives
1.) Katherine of Aragon
a.) Mary Tudor
2.) Anne Boleyn
b.) Elizabeth Tudor
c.) Jasper, Prince of Wales
3.) Jane Seymour
d.) Edward, Duke of York
4.) Anne Basset
e.) Honor Tudor
5.) Amalia of Cleves
6.) Louise of Guise
f.) Cecily Tudor
7.) Catherine Parr
g.) Edmund
7.) Katherine Howard
 
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