WI: Henry VIII doesn't have his jousting accident

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Night Gaul, Oct 5, 2019.

  1. Night Gaul Well-Known Member

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    Jun 20, 2019
    In 1536, Henry VIII of England suffered a serious jousting accident. This caused him to suffer from serious health problems, and may have caused his mood swings.

    What if he hadn't had this fateful accident?
     
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  2. Kynan Well-Known Member

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    Oct 7, 2013
    If we assume this accident had a huge affect on his overall personality (and I am of the camp that the real shift in Henry VIII is more 1533, the loss of the Pope as a "higher figure" to him and the final step towards consistent instant gratification in his life in a way he had been working towards for years), then we possibly see Anne Boleyn remain around for at least a few more years, depending on her fertility and age (again, 1501 v. 1507). Should she not produce an heir over the next 3 years or so, I can definitely see their marriage beig annulled for the same reason he ostensibly got rid of Katherine for, but privately so that he is not embarrassed. Jane held out on him OTL based around the assumption he'd remove Anne, but should we understand his agreement with the evidence Cromwell collected was based partially on his own mental reaction to the physical pain he was in, we might assume that, even if he initially orders an investigation, Anne begging for her life may prevent that from going through. They'd weathered rough patches before, he had recently helped engineer recognition from Chaupys for her I believe, so it's entirely possible she escapes that plot unharmed. Let's say another stillborn in 1537, no pregnancies following, and an easy annulment with Anne keeping her own title as Marquis of Pembroke and Elizabeth remaining legitimate, as that's probably the one point she sticks to. Maybe that's her reward for easily stepping aside. Anne never remarries and, let's say, lives at least into her 60's.

    Now Henry has the opportunity to remarry. By 1538/1539, Jane Seymour is definitely 30 and maybe, with Anne no longer around to annoy him, Henry won't find her quiet passivity so enthralling. OTL, he definitely tired of her almost immediately, so let's say she's managed to annoy him just enough that he sends her off home. Instead, let's say he goes for a foreign match again. Maria of Portugal definitely still says no, as do most Hapsburg related candidates (even if Christina of Denmark has no reason to fear for her neck, she probably doesn't want to marry a man that much older than her if she can help it). I could see him trying for Marguerite, Princess of France, or maybe even ending up with Anne of Cleves again. Let's say Francis agrees to a match between his daughter and Henry, with Elizabeth once again being betrothed to Charles, Duke of Orleans. Marguerite shows up, they have 1-2 surviving children, and Henry gets a son.

    Now comes the interesting part. Does he die in 1547?

    On one hand, Henry VIII not having that accident prevents him from giving up on all the exercise he was doing up until that point. He probably eventually gives it up after other injuries, but slowly and more in fits as he had already been doing. Thus, we probably see his weight increase much slower, and that'll extend his life a few more years. But, even with a slower climb to obesity and no major injuries draining him of his vitality, he's still a man with an incredibly indulgent lifestyle who never really learnt to pace himself. So let's say he lives to about 1551 and dies at 60.

    His way of dealing with marriages for his children probably doesn't change. Mary is too dangerous, Elizabeth is young enough that it doesn't really matter until the end of his life, and even if she has a brief and unfruitful marriage to the Duke of Orleans (she's 12 when he dies, she probably isn't getting pregnant and hopefully doesn't even get bedded), he really doesn't have a need to marry her off. Maybe, just maybe, she's married off to a useful ally in Scotland to try and secure the marriage of Henry's ATL son to Mary, Queen of Scots. MAYBE she's even married to Marie of Guise's son in France for a second brief, probably unfruitful marriage. If Henry is smart about it, she may even be on the way to marry Philip, Prince of Asturias as his second wife around her father's death. But let's saw she's unmarried and the responsibility of her stepmother, barely a decade her senior and probably interested in finding her a French husband.

    Here's my family tree just based off these ideas:

    Henry VIII, King of England and Ireland (b.1491: d.1551) m. Catherine, Infanta of Aragon and Castile (b.1485: d.1536) (a) -annulled 1532-, Anne Boleyn, Marquis of Pembroke (b.1501/1507: d.1569) (b) -annulled 1538-, Marguerite de Valois, Princess of France (b.1523: d.1574) (c)

    1a) Stillborn Daughter (c.1510)

    2a) Henry Tudor, Prince of Wales (b.1511: d.1511)

    3a) Henry Tudor, Prince of Wales (b.1513: d.1513)

    4a) Henry Tudor, Prince of Wales (b.1515: d.1515)

    5a) Mary Tudor (b.1516: d.1558)

    6a) Stillborn Daughter (c.1518)

    7b) Elizabeth Tudor, Princess of England and Ireland (b.1533) m. Charles de Valois, Duke of Orleans (b.1524: d.1545) (a)

    8b) Stillborn Son (c.1534)

    9b) Miscarriage (c.1536)

    10b) Stillborn Son (c.1538)

    11b) Miscarriage (c.1538)

    12c) Miscarriage (c.1540)

    13c) Edward VI, King of England and Ireland (b.1541)

    14c) Margaret Tudor, Princess of England and Ireland (b.1542: d.1542)

    15c) Edmund Tudor, Duke of York (b.1544)

    16c) Stillborn Daughter (c.1546)​
     
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  3. SandroPertini98 Well-Known Member

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    Sep 8, 2018
    If I'm not in error, this incident caused Anne Boleyn to miscarriage, giving birth a dead boy. So, if Henry VIII doesn't fall probably Anne will be able to give a prince to Henry, probably called Edward. Anne will stay as Queen, rebuking moves from Chancellor Cramer to marginalize her, and pushing for a more pro-French policy. Also, without Cramer the Anglican Church will remain very similar to Catholic one, only with the King at head instead the Pope.
     
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  4. isabella Well-Known Member

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    Mar 22, 2012
    @Kynan: you do think possible who Henry’s jousting accident influenced at least in part Queen Anne’s second and last miscarriage who happened five days later? If the miscarriage was influenced by the stress of Henry’s jousting accident then Henry can have an Henry, Prince of Wales in the cradle around September 1536...
     
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  5. Kynan Well-Known Member

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    I mean, it’s possible, but it’s also equally as likely that Anne had a condition that made it all but impossible to carry a pregnancy to term after her first. But if we go forward believing that wasn’t the case, then a healthy boy born around September is possible and would have massive ramifications on England in the future.
     
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  6. Shiva Dreaming... always dreaming...

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    @Space Oddity once pointed out that Jousting is much like riding a motorcycle, you do it long enough something bad will happen. Even if Henry VIII dodges this jousting accident, doesn't mean he's off the hook, and not having an incentive to stop means he'll continue the joust and he'll have good odds of a bad accident at a later date. The details will be different and the effects on his body and brain could be a little different, or it could wind up being the same.

    The main POD here is avoiding this specific accident on this date ensures that Anne isn't under the same level of stress that most likely caused her miscarriage, and some historians seem convinced that this pregnancy would have been a boy, so having 'the male heir' would secure her place and life... Until the next pregnancy, after the level of stress her body went through I could see any further pregnancies being lethal, and there will be more because just one male heir isn't enough for either of them. Henry VIII will want a male heir, and one spare male heir as well, and Anne will want that for extra security, after all if anything happens to her son then she's right back where she started.

    So it's said she was fourth months pregnant in January 1536, so in June we can presume she'd have the baby, a Henry, Prince of Wales (the obvious choice of name). Henry VIII will be over the moon with happiness, especially if the boy is healthy. Politically this means that in the eyes of Henry's contemporaries there is even less of a chance of reconciling England with the Catholic Church.

    'Lady Mary' would only get the crown if she somehow escaped England and got foreign support for an invasion (and this is a tall order). I'm expecting her to suffer a similar fate to the Princes in the Tower within a year of Prince Henry's birth.

    However both the King and Queen would want a second son, so they'd try again as soon as possible, but as I noted the stress on Anne's body at this point would be tremendous due to the failed pregnancies' and just having HAD a child, so I'm expecting either another miscarriage, or a successful birth AND Anne's death in both instances.

    My question is... Would Henry VIII already have Jane Seymore as a mistress and possible third wife at this point, or would his favor have already passed to some other lady in his court? And if not Jane Seymore would he marry a mistress figure or be talked into trying for a marriage alliance with a Protestant European power to shore up against any possible France/Habsburg alliances against him?
     
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  7. Kynan Well-Known Member

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    Oct 7, 2013
    The thing is Henry had had several jousting accidents already, so all we would really have to do is give him one that shakes him up a little without giving him chronic pain and whatever else the 1536 one did. Maybe he just breaks a bone and decides to cut down on that specific sport. He regularly played other sports before the accident anyway, so it isn't like jousting is the only thing he did for exercise. Hell, have him do it shortly after Anne's hypothetical son is born and have him promise her not to joust anymore and suddenly we've got a King way less likely to hurt himself that badly.

    Also while they will definitely want a second son in the scenario where she has one in 1536, the idea it would be lethal is kinda over-extending what we know about her medical situation. From what we do know, the 1534 stillbirth/miscarriage was extremely hard on her, as was the 1536 miscarriage, but neither pregnancy was a struggle beforehand and she bounced back fairly well from Elizabeth. While we can't really compare her to her sister, as we don't know how many pregnancies (if any at all) she had outside of the three we have confirmed, each years apart, but her mother supposedly had at least 5 children within a year of each other, and potentially a few other non-viable pregnancies in that time period. The trouble is, the only evidence is that she looked tired and had to recover following both miscarriages. And I don't know, but that seems perfectly legitimate health wise. She had definitely recovered significantly before her execution. So maybe she'd struggle with what would have been her forth pregnancy, maybe she wouldn't. But the only fact we do know is that she'd probably have a good deal less stress due to the birth and survival of her son. If he dies that'd be a whole other question but in the wake of his good health she is going to be in a good position and may have carried more children to term.

    As for Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, I just cannot see that relationship lasting significant amounts of time with her as mistress. He did not end up enjoying her company in the wake of Anne's death. BUT, as long as Anne's being snarky and witty, she will have a certain appeal as a quiet, soothing juxtaposition. We might see her end up in a similar situation to Francois Scarron, and if Anne dies late enough (mid to late 1540's?) then he might take her as his wife after years of friendship just because he want to solidify himself as a man of god. Maybe in the wake of Charles Brandon's death followed by his wife? If not, or if Anne is dead before this (say before 1540) then he's going to try for all the people he did after Jane's death OTL, and again, I can't see a Hapsburg candidate making the cut. Maybe French, but if he's got a son already Francis isn't handing over his daughter who he wants in Spain. He might get offered Marie of Bourbon, but he won't want less than his nephew got. Honestly, we might see Anne of Cleves return in this scenario, but more likely, he ends up marrying a woman from England. Mary Howard, his son's widow, won't have him, but there'll be some Howard women available, and he was always interested in them. Hell, he might even end up with Catherine Howard in this scenario. That'd be interesting. But honestly, I don't think we can assume Anne Boleyn's early death and she's more likely to survive her subsequent pregnancies than not.
     
  8. isabella Well-Known Member

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    Mar 22, 2012
    We know almost for sure who the child who Anne miscarried at the end of January 1536 was a boy around 3 months and half as we have a contemporary font in a letter of Ambassador Chapuys to his master Emperor Charles V.

    Anne’s first miscarriage can be explained with her becoming pregnant again to quickly after Elizabeth’s birth (she conceived around November so is likely she became pregnant shortly after resuming to share Henry’s bed)
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2019
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  9. isabella Well-Known Member

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    Anne had no trouble on her own with pregnancies... A theory put the blame of his wives miscarriages in Henry’ s genes (an inheritance from Jacquetta) but can not be verified and we have another easy explanation available for Catherine’s miscarriages and stillbirths...
    Anne was not so young anymore but she had no much trouble in conceiving her first two children and her first miscarriage in 1534 can have been caused by having conceived to quickly after Elizabeth’s birth while the second can very well have been caused by stress (Henry’s jousting accident first, and then Catherine’s death who removed the greatest obstacle to replacing her in few days)
     
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  10. Endymion Byronic Hero

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    One interesting aspect of this POD is that, if Anne Boleyn carries the boy she miscarried in 1536 to term, as discussed here, he’ll be born after the death of Catherine of Aragon. This means that, unlike Elizabeth, in the eyes of Catholic Europe, he’s legitimate.
     
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  11. Tyler96 Well-Known Member

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    Would they? I thought Edward VI was considered legitimate because his parents married after Katherine’s death (and therefore the marriage wasn’t bigamous), rather than just because he was born after Katherine died.

    The fact that Katherine has died doesn’t change the fact that Henry and Anne’s marriage was bigamous (and therefore illegitimate) in the eyes of Catholics, does it?
     
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  12. FalconHonour Well-Known Member

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    Nov 16, 2018
    No, it wouldn't, but if Henry could be persuaded to renew his vows to Anne for the sake of the baby before it's born - which is unlikely, I admit - then, that's a different kettle of fish.
     
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  13. isabella Well-Known Member

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    Mar 22, 2012
    The latter is totally ASB knowing Henry.
    Plus Katherine is dead and remember who in OTL after that her beloved nephew Charles was recognizing Anne as Queen and Elizabeth as heiress presuntive (and was trying to get the latter as daughter-in-law) because he wanted/needed an alliance with England against a France.

    Henry had made his choice, with a son in the cradle is likely who the other rulers will recognize Anne as Queen and little Henry as Prince of Wales and Elizabeth as legitimate princess
     
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  14. Fabius Maximus Unus qui nobis cunctando restituit rem

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    I doubt it -- she wasn't offed after the birth of Edward VI IOTL, so why would she be treated any worse ITTL?

    Legitimacy is a red herring, IMHO. Catholic Europe was quite willing to accept Elizabeth as the rightful Queen of England until she imposed Protestantism on the country and started supporting Protestant rebels against the King of Spain. I expect that Catholic Europe's opinion of *Henry IX will depend on his religious policies, rather than whether or not his parents renewed their vows after Catherine's death.
     
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  15. isabella Well-Known Member

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    Mar 22, 2012
    Because in OTL Mary had signed the oath after Anne’s death and Jane supported her (plus both Catholics and Protestant recognized Edward as fully legitimate).
    Now is likely who Anne on her own was in no way a bad stepmother but simply unable/uninterested to stop Henry’s mistreatment of Mary but that do not change her situation (who will be much different from the OTL after Edward’s birth) at all: either Mary will sign the oath, recognize to be illegitimate and who Anne’s children are the rightful heirs of Henry VIII and renounce to her Catholicism or she will be sent in the Tower and if she is lucky permanently reside there.
     
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  16. Ogrebear Well-Known Member

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    Just to borrow @Kynan's family tree (thank you) then the list goes like this now?

    Henry VIII, King of England and Ireland (b.1491) m. Catherine, Infanta of Aragon and Castile (b.1485: d.1536) (a) -annulled 1532-, Anne Boleyn, Marquis of Pembroke (b.1501/1507) (b)

    1a) Stillborn Daughter (c.1510)

    2a) Henry Tudor, Prince of Wales (b.1511: d.1511)

    3a) Henry Tudor, Prince of Wales (b.1513: d.1513)

    4a) Henry Tudor, Prince of Wales (b.1515: d.1515)

    5a) Mary Tudor (b.1516)

    6a) Stillborn Daughter (c.1518)

    7b) Elizabeth Tudor, Princess of England and Ireland (b.1533)

    8b) Stillborn Son (c.1534)

    9b) Henry, Prince of Wales (b.1536)
     
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  17. Fabius Maximus Unus qui nobis cunctando restituit rem

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    Only if Henry wants to be widely hated. Richard III was widely reviled as a nephew-murderer and lost his throne for that reason, and Henry murdering his own daughter for refusing to accept heresy is going to come across even worse. Even just imprisoning Mary would look terrible.
     
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  18. Kynan Well-Known Member

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    Mary, in a scenario where Anne has a son, is going to be slowly but surely shunted off to the side. Her household will shrink, she'll probably remain with Anne's daughter(s) and maybe, if she's lucky, will get married off to some low ranking Boleyn supporter. I remember seeing one suggestion that she could end up as George Boleyn's second wife if Jane Parker gets gone somehow, but I doubt she'd actually be allowed to marry. By the time her father dies, she's in her 30's and will not be Queen. Henry will have had a son and heir for too long. We'll probably see her try and run away from England at some point, but fail, and end up under some form of house arrest. Nothing crazy, but she isn't going anywhere. She may end up where her mother died for extra irony.
     
  19. isabella Well-Known Member

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    Mar 22, 2012
    Not really. Unlike Richard III Henry VIII is in no way an usurper and unlike the princes of the tower Mary is without any doubt guilt of high treason if she do not sign the oath... Nobody will condemn Henry for Mary’s determination in being a martyr... And she will be tossed in the Tower and killed if Henry has a son who he see as legitimate and Mary refute your sign the oath and continue to proclaimed herself the only legitimate child of Henry and the only rightful princess of England and Wales.


    Kynan Mary at this point has no household of her own, she was still a member of Princess Elizabeth’s household instead. If Mary sign the oath after the birth of her half-brother she will have the kind of life you are saying but if she refute to sign that, well... Henry VIII will first throw her in the Tower hoping who Mary see her sense and sign or who she die of illness there but if neither happen in some time he will be forced to kill her as Mary is a too big liability for his son’s future reign... He can not let live the greatest danger to the future of his son and England.
     
  20. kasumigenx Well-Known Member

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    May 26, 2009
    That is why a surviving Jane Seymour or Catherine of Aragon dying before the divorce is better for Mary.