Mistresses of Henry VIII

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Mistresses of Henry VIII allegedly included many notable women between 1509 and 1536. They have been the subject of biographies, novels and films.

Research[edit]

The first book published on this topic was Kelly Hart's The Mistresses of Henry VIII in 2009. After this and the publicity surrounding The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory and the films based on the novel, there were several books published on the topic. The Other Boleyn Girl was a fictionalised account of Henry VIII's relationship with Mary Boleyn. In 2010, Mary Boleyn: The True Story of Henry VIII's Favourite Mistress by Josephine Wilkinson was published, and in 2012, Alison Weir published Mary Boleyn: 'The Great and Infamous Whore. In 2013, this was followed by Bessie Blount: Mistress to Henry VIII by Elizabeth Norton.

Confirmed mistresses of Henry VIII[edit]

In addition, Henry VIII was involved in a romantic relationship with three of his future wives before he married them. It is unclear if these relationships became sexual before marriage. He was involved with his second wife, Anne Boleyn, from around 1526, around the time he ended his relationship with her sister, Mary; Anne was also, at the time, maid-of-honour to his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. Anne was referred to by some as "the king's whore" or a "naughty paike [prostitute]".[4] Henry and Anne's daughter, Elizabeth I, was born (7 September 1533) almost eight months on from their marriage (25 January 1533).

From the beginning of 1536, while still married to Anne Boleyn, he was openly courting his wife's second cousin and maid-of-honour, Jane Seymour. In 1540, he began courting Catherine Howard, the maid-of-honour of his fourth spouse, Anne of Cleves. Catherine was a first cousin of Anne and Mary Boleyn.[5] It appears that his lust for mistresses did not abate as he reached middle age. During his marriage to Catherine Parr, his sixth wife, it was speculated that he would divorce her and look for a seventh wife.

Alleged mistresses[edit]

Other women he was linked to include:

  • Katherine Willoughby, the closest friend of his sixth wife and the widow of his brother-in-law and close friend Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk. While Henry was said to have been interested in Katherine Willoughby, it was only after Suffolk's death, and there is no indication they ever spent any time together. Willoughby was considered suitable as wife number seven, though none of this was ever put directly to her.
  • Mary Fitzroy, Henry VIII's daughter-in-law, first cousin of Anne Boleyn[9] . This rumour was sparked when Lady Mary's father, the 3rd Duke of Norfolk, suggested his daughter as a wife to Henry in early 1538. Lady Mary's marriage to Henry Fitzroy was never consummated, making marriage possible. Lady Mary stubbornly never married anyone at the English court.
  • Margaret Skipworth was rumoured to have had a brief affair with King Henry in 1538 before Henry quickly moved on to Lady Anne Bassett. Lady Margaret received a fine marriage and her husband was gifted money and a title by the king.
  • Jane Mewtas (nee Ashley or Astley), who housed Lady Anne Bassett in 1538 and 1539, is said to have had a fling affair with Henry, and likewise received payment and well wishes when the affair finished.
  • Elizabeth Amadas, a 'witch and prophetess', arrested for criticising Anne Boleyn's relationship with the King[10][11]

Those rumoured to have had his children:

  • Jane Pollard
  • Agnes Edwardes
  • Joan Dingley
  • Mary Berkeley

While there are rumours these common-born women had Henry's children, there is no proof they had any dealings with the King. But they were either gifted money, or left money in Henry's will, sparking rumours.

Fictional portrayals[edit]

On Mary Boleyn
  • The Other Boleyn Girl, book by Philippa Gregory, and film based on the book
  • The Last Boleyn, novel by Karen Harper (2006)
  • Mistress Boleyn - a Novel about Mary Boleyn by Charlotte St. George (2012)
On Jane Popincourt
  • The Pleasure Palace (Secrets of the Tudor Court) by Kate Emerson
On Mary Shelton
  • Major character in The Lady in the Tower by Jean Plaidy (2003)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Beverley Murphy, 2004, The bastard prince: Henry VIII’s lost son, 172–174
  2. ^ Hart, Kelly (June 1, 2009). The Mistresses of Henry VIII (First ed.). The History Press. ISBN 0752448358.
  3. ^ Calendar of State Papers, Spanish, V, pt.2, p.126
  4. ^ Farquhar, Michael (2001). A Treasure of Royal Scandals, p.67. Penguin Books, New York. ISBN 0-7394-2025-9.
  5. ^ Hart, Kelly (June 1, 2009). The Mistresses of Henry VIII (First ed.). The History Press. ISBN 0752448358.
  6. ^ Young Henry: The Rise of Henry VIII Robert Hutchinson
  7. ^ Hart, Kelly (June 1, 2009). The Mistresses of Henry VIII (First ed.). The History Press. ISBN 0752448358.
  8. ^ Royal Marriage Secrets: Consorts & Concubines, Bigamists & Bastards, John Ashdown-Hill
  9. ^ Hart, Kelly (June 1, 2009). The Mistresses of Henry VIII (First ed.). The History Press. ISBN 0752448358.
  10. ^ Hart, Kelly (June 1, 2009). The Mistresses of Henry VIII (First ed.). The History Press. ISBN 0752448358.
  11. ^ Royal Marriage Secrets: Consorts & Concubines, Bigamists & Bastards, John Ashdown-Hill