Friday, January 21, 2011

Catherine, Anne, Jane, Anne, Kathryn, that couple.

Every age lays claim to its own beautiful women.

For example, our beauties might include Catherine Zeta Jones, Megan Fox, Jennifer Anniston...

The 16th Century was no different. Take a look at these beauties:

I know! I don't see it, either!

Take Anne Boleyn. She was said to be a very "handsome" woman, even with her extra sixth-finger. She's the reason Henry divorced Catherine of Aragon and caused all the ensuing religious strife...some sources claim her to having "bewitched" the King. She eventually lost her head over all this scandal. Literally.

After the death of Henry's 3rd wife, Jane Seymour, he married Anne of Cleves. The old dude agreed to this political marriage, sight-unseen, to practical Anne. Now I think she looks rather lovely, but Henry claimed her to be a "Flanders Mare." I think he just liked the loose and fast women of his court...typical! He decided that she wasn't "pretty enough" and divorced her, making her his "sister." I'll bet she breathed a big sigh of relief when that was all over. I hear she got the second wife's castle in the settlement...hey, you can't look a gift-horse in the mouth. Oh, sorry about that, Anne!

Then there was poor Katheryn Howard, Henry's 5th wife and cousin of Anne Boleyn. Henry was 49 and she was only 19 when they married...some things just never change! He had an ulcerated leg and was getting cranky, but apparently doted on his young wife. She, however, was to have been so pretty and perky that the young studs hanging out at the castle became smitten with her and she just couldn't resist them. The old man found out and severed her head...really, what did he expect when he married her? Old men can be such fools! Oh, and by the way...if she was as pretty as they say, her official portrait sure isn't a reflection of her beauty!

Now Katherine Parr, Henry's sixth and last wife, she looks pretty. Pretty relieved! She survived the old lout, but narrowly. An arrest warrant had been issued, but Katherine kept her head by bamboozling the old varmint, whereupon he eventually died and she eventually got her life back.

You just might be wondering what led me to evaluate the Six Wives...I don't know. It's always kind of bugged me about how beautiful these women were purported to be and then looking at their portraits, I just don't see it. I've been musing over this for years...I'm a history buff and I read a lot about the Tudors. I'm currently reading a book about Hank, Harry, Henry...very dry reading, but interesting. No hanky-spanky in the text, as of yet...that Henry was quite the dog. I think this is a historical read, so it'll be boring throughout. Darn.

Then there's Queen Elizabeth, Henry's daughter. Brilliant! And yet, a shrew. Fascinating. But I'm not going to bore you with the details.

You've had enough boring for today.


Thomas Fleming said...

Great post, Patti! I wish I had time to post more history stuff--or any stuff, for that matter. I've always had an interest in Hal and His Gals, but never had the time to read a book on them. I must though; what's the title of the one you're reading? I have some friends who are Olde England buffs; maybe they can suggest a better book. With his paranoia, penchant for executing people, and ruthless campaign against the Church, I've always thought Henry was the 16th century equivalent of Stalin. Better to marry a commoner!

Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

Gift horse in the mouth ~snorts~

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