Bridal Prospects of the King

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Henry VIII

Other Potential Candidates for Bride of King Henry VIII
We all know of the famous Six Wives,
however, there were several other women in history
(possibly 12) that had the potential to be a bride of Henry's
who were all fortunate enough to avoid
queen consort of England.

Bridal Prospects

Eleanor of Austria
Eleanor of Austria
After the deaths of Prince Arthur and his own spouse Elizabeth of York, King Henry VII grew increasingly frustrated with the delay of dowry payments from King Ferdinand after his daughter Katherine had married Arthur. Despite having promised Katherine would marry Henry, by 1505 Henry VII was scheming a new marriage alliance for his son and the Hapsburgs.

When Prince Henry had reached the age of consent on his fourteenth birthday, King Henry pressured his son to repudiate his betrothal to Princess Katherine in order to free himself to alternative marriage negotiations. King Henry devised a triple alliance with the Hapsburg that would have Princess Mary wed the future Emperor Charles V, King Henry would marry the widowed Archduchess Margaret, and Prince Henry would marry Eleanor, the eldest daughter of Katherine's sister Queen Juana.

After Queen Juana's husband died later on, King Henry decided he should marry her despite stories of her insanity. However this arrangement with the Tudors and the Hapsburgs never happened when King Henry died in April, 1509, leaving now King Henry VIII to marry as he sought fit and he chose to honor his previous betrothal to Katherine. Eleanor later married King Manuel of Portugal and then King Francis I of France after Manuel died from plague.

Princess Renee of France
Renee of France

In April 1527 when the king informed Cardinal Thomas Wolsey that he wished his marriage with Queen Katherine of Aragon to be annulled, he gave no hint that this was to make possible a marriage with Anne Boleyn (Wolsey was not on good terms with the Boleyns). The cardinal was aware of the fact that Anne had by then become the King's favourite but took it for granted that, as in previous cases, he would eventually tire of her.

Wolsey was under the impression that the bride the king had in mind was Renee, Duchess of Chartres, the daughter of Louis XII. She eventually married Hercule d'Este, Duke of Ferrara in 1528. Wolsey was not greatly concerned whether the marriage with Katherine was valid or invalid. He knew that Henry believed with almost dogmatic certainty that what he wanted must be right simply because he wanted it, and that to oppose him or to fail to obtain what he required was a form of treason. The marriage to Renee would help to perpetuate the alliance with France, Wolsey's principal objective in the diplomatic field.

Amelia of Cleves
Amelia of Cleves
Amelia, older sister of Anna of Cleves, was sought as a wife the same time as her sister was in 1538. Hans Holbein was sent to paint the sisters and was commanded to be extremely accurate while doing so. Henry VIII was enamored by Anna's painting and Amelia's painting was lost. Not much is known about Amelia's later life.
Lady Mary Shelton by Holbein
Lady Mary Shelton - Madge Sheldon in the series (Anne Boleyn's 1st cousin) - She is often confused with her sister Margaret "Madge" Shelton, but it is now clear that it was Mary who was Henry's mistress and who was even rumoured to become his fourth wife.

Marie of Guise
Marie de Guise
Marie, eldest daughter of <a class="external" href=",_Duke_of_Guise" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="Claude, Duke of Guise">Claude, Duke of Guise</a>, was sought as a wife in 1538. Henry VIII attempted to prevent his nephew James V of Scotland, son of Margaret Tudor, from marrying Marie and creating a French-Scottish alliance by asking Marie for her hand in marriage. Marie's father was strongly against this union and Marie took her father's advice and is quoted as saying to an ambassador "Sir, I may be a large woman, please heed I have a but little neck." Marie would marry James V and would later give birth to Mary, Queen of Scots.

Christina of Denmark
Christina, a Danish princess and the daughter of <a class="external" href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="Christian II">Christian II</a>, was sought for as a possible wife in 1538. Henry VIII sent his painter Hans Holbein to paint Christina. Christian II had his daughter wear mourning clothing as to appear less attractive in the painting. Christina famously remembered for saying to the English ambassador: "If I had two heads, then one should be at the King of England's disposal." Christina would not become Henry's fourth wife. Ironically, Christina would marry Anna of Cleve's former bethrothed, Francis Duc de Bar.

Henry also considered her two sisters, Louise and Renee. Louise was rumoured to still be a virgin (a rarity in the French court) and the French Ambassador, Castillon suggested that Henry choose her in order to “shape the passage to your measure.” [used in the series]

In 1542
, the night after Katherine Howard had been condemned to death for adultery, Henry VIII held a dinner for many men and women. He was said to pay great attention to Elizabeth Brooke, Lady Wyatt (estranged wife of Sir Thomas Wyatt) and to Anne Bassett, one of Jane Seymours ladies-in-waiting. Both were thought to be possible choices for wife number 6

Catherine, daughter of <a class="external" href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="Maria de Salinas">Maria de Salinas</a> and widow of Charles Brandon, was not officially sought after as wife but rumors did abound. Catherine Parr had a frightful moment during her time as consort due to her relationship with Anne Askew, who would be executed by order of Henry VIII. It was during this time that many began to speculate that Catherine Willoughby
[called Brooke in the series] would become the next queen. However Catherine Parr was not discarded and would remain Henry's wife until his death.
Mary, Duchess of Richmond
Mary < Duchess of Richmond
Before the king's death, a plot was uncovered to replace Queen Catherine Parr with the king's daughter-in-law, Mary, Duchess of Richmond, the wife of his late illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy. Mary was the daughter of Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, a professional schemer who had advanced both Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard into the king's arms. Under interrogation, Mary Richmond implicated both her brother, Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey and father in a plot to marry her to Thomas Seymour and hence become the king's mistress, then wife. Both father and son were sent to the Tower and the son, Henry Howard was executed on charges of treason. However Thomas Howard managed to escape execution because the King died the day it was scheduled.