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Old 17-02-15, 15:21   #1
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Arrow Right PhOtOs-Henry VIII's Nearly Had SEVENTH Wife

The Woman Who Nearly became Henry VIII's SEVENTH Wife: King Almost Married Again - But Decided Bride-to-Be was Too Feisty, New Book Claims

  • Katherine Willoughby could have been Henry's last wife but king resisted
  • Henry had considered making her his seventh wife but she was too fiery
  • New biography says the pair became close, gave gifts and flirted
  • But Tudor royal was 'jaded' by six wives and stayed with Catherine Parr
Daily Mail UK, 17 Feb 2015

Henry VIII almost took a seventh wife but gave up on his final Tudor love because she was too feisty, outspoken and had a habit of nagging him, it emerged today.

The monarch considered divorcing his sixth bride Catherine Parr to walk down the aisle with Duchess Katherine Willoughby, a new book claims.
She had already given birth to two sons and Henry was so obsessed with producing male heirs that he believed she could help continue the Tudor dynasty.
The pair met in the 1530s and flirted at court, danced together and even exchanged gifts around Christmas.

But Henry was 'jaded' after six failed marriages, two of which he ended with executions, and finally put off another divorce because she was too domineering, according to her biographer.

Would it have been seventh time lucky? Henry VIII considered marrying Katherine Willoughby, Duchess of Suffolk, but decided to stick with Catherine Parr because she was too feisty

Katherine was known to enjoy offending other aristocrats and dressed her dog as a priest and named him after Catholic bishop Stephen Gardiner because she hated him.
She was also known to lecture people on Christianity, including the king, who made himself the head of the church after breaking from Rome in 1534.

Author of Henry VIII's Last Love, David Baldwin, claims despite Henry's love of strong women he had learned his lesson and finally decided to stick with the wife he had.
He said:

'It was apparent that Henry was very fond of Katherine.
'Henry was obviously keen on her, and what Henry wanted, he usually got. He liked her feistiness as one of his subjects, but as a wife - that might have been a different matter.
'She could've become his seventh wife but he may have just been getting a bit tired of the whole business. It wouldn't be surprising if he was jaded by the experience of his six wives.'

He says Katherine, Duchess of Suffolk, first caught the King's eye when she was married to the Duke of Suffolk.

The monarch went on to marry Anne of Cleeves, Kathryn Howard and then the devout Protestant Catherine Parr in rapid succession between 1540 to 1543.
Katherine waited on both Anne of Cleeves and Catherine Howard before joining Catherine Parr's household - and was regularly at court. At one point they exchanged New Year gifts.
Lady Willoughby also sought to gain favour with Thomas Cromwell - the king's chief schemer and main character in Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall - but the marriage never happened.

'Jaded': Henry, played by Damian Lewis in Wolf Hall, had been worn down by a series of disastrous marriages, including to Anne Boleyn, played by Claire Foy, who he eventually had executed

Queenmaker: Lady Willoughby sought to gain favour with Henry's closest aide Thomas Cromwell, played by Mark Rylance, and wrote to him regularly but the marriage to the king never happened

Expert: Author David Baldwin says the king 'liked her feistiness' but 'as a wife - that might have been a different matter'

Mr Baldwin said:

'Rumours are sometimes without foundation, but there are strong indications that King Henry found Katherine attractive.
'They had been exchanging New Year gifts since 1534, and he had been "masking and visiting" with her in March 1538, only months after Jane Seymour's death.
'It is possible he saw this younger, perhaps more attractive, woman who was now a widow and the mother of two healthy boys as the solution to his problem.
'He would not have been the first man to think that a new, more exciting, relationship would somehow restore his lost youth.'

Katherine was known for being outspoken - and liked offending people in front of other members of aristocratic society.
She once dressed her dog in a white religious vestments and named it after a Conservative bishop, Stephen Gardiner, whom she particularly disliked.
Mr Baldwin said she was known as a 'virago' - a domineering woman - and her 'feistiness' and 'sharp tongue' made Henry fearful of another disastrous marriage.

Divorced and beheaded: Henry married Catherine of Aragon but split up with her because she failed to produce a son. The king then married Anne Boleyn but had her beheaded on grounds of adultery, incest, and witchcraft

Died and divorced: Jane Seymour, top, died two weeks after giving birth to Edward VI, and Henry then married Anne of Cleves but divorced her after six months and sent her back to Europe with a huge payoff

Beheaded: Catherine Howard was executed after two years of marriage for cheating on the king and then married Catherine Parr, his final wife until he died in 1547

In his book, David adds:

'The feistiness he admired in her as a subject could have made her less appealing as a wife.
'The reality is that he would have found Katherine's forceful Protestantism as disconcerting as Queen Catherine's if he had allowed her to take Catherine's position, and it made no sense to exchange one virago for another.
'He didn't like being lectured by his wife on matters of religion as if she knew more than he did.
'Catherine Parr and Katherine Willoughby were both equally staunch Protestants and equally feisty ladies.
'If he wasn't getting much joy from Catherine Parr, he probably wouldn't have been any better off with the other.'

Their marriage was not to be and Katherine later fled England in exile when Catholic Queen Mary came to the throne.
'Henry VIII's Last Love' will be published on March 28 and is available for pre-order on Amazon.


Born at Greenwich Palace in 1491, Henry VIII was the third child and second son of Henry VII and his wife.

Only three of his six siblings survived infancy - and he succeeded his father as king following his death on 22 April, 1509.
Under Henry VIII's reign, England turned in favour of Protestantism and split from Rome, the Royal Navy built up a fleet of about 50 ships and the country invaded France.

Henry VIII was well known for his six marriages, all of which ended in some sort of tragedy - divorce or death - but the Tudor king was also known for other, stranger things.
He was known to self-medicate, even going as far as making his own medicines.
A record on a prescription for ulcer treatment in the British Museum reads: 'An Oyntment devised by the kinges Majesty made at Westminster, and devised at Grenwich to take away inflammations and to cease payne and heale ulcers called gray plaster.'

He was also a musician and composer, owning 78 flutes, 78 recorders, five bagpipes, and has since had his songs covered by Jethro Tull.
Many are unaware that he died while heavily in debt, after having such a lavish lifestyle and spending far, far more than taxes would earn him.
He also possessed the largest tapestry collection ever documented, and 6,500 pistols.
While most portraits show him as a slight man, he was actually very large, with one observer calling him 'an absolute monster'.
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