8.21.2004

'lastly, I make this vow, that mine eyes desire thee above all things. farewell'

I have taken an obsessive fascination to Henry VIII, his wives, his reign and all that that implies. It is, of course, with thanks to the book I told you about previously...The Other Boleyn Girl. It's funny, because I had always heard and thought of Henry VIII as this evil King who killed all his wives. But, it is much more complicated than that. Henry, like any king, longed for a legitimate son to take over his kingdom and a happy marraige. The problem was, he wanted them both. His first wife, Catherine (Catarina as some say) of Aragon, the Spanish Princess, was married to him for nearly twenty years and was with child six times. Unfortunately, only two of the children lived to be born, and only one lived past infancy. The prince borne to Henry and Catherine died when he was 53 days old. Princess Mary was their only child to live into adulthood. After years of no sons, Henry was anxious for an heir. He became infatuated with the Boleyns, first Mary who was his mistress and bore him two children (a son and a daughter) and then with her older sister, Anne, who he married after getting his marraige to Catherine anulled. He threw Catherine out of his life, banishing her to the coldest palaces in the country and separating her from her daughter. As a barren woman who had already reached menopause, Catherine was no good to him anymore. He took Anne as his wife, and three years later had her beheaded for adultery with her brother, among other men of his court. Anne Boleyn gave the King one daughter, Elizabeth, she gave birth to a still born son and miscarried two other children. Just as he did with Catherine, he threw Anne out of his life, only much quicker this time and with assurance that she was gone for good. He took Jane Seymour as his next wife, who brought him a son. However, she did not recover from childbirth and died several days after the birth of the Prince Edward. She is said to be the only wife who Henry truly loved, and probably greatly due to her gift of a healthy, living son. The next three wives he took were divorced (Anne of Cleves), beheaded (Kathryn Howard) and then he died shortly after his marraige to his third wife, Katharine Parr. After Edward, the King had no more children. He was fairly content after having a son, but he still longed for the perfect Queen. He died knowing that it was impossible.

I said all that to point out that King Henry VIII was not an evil man. He was merely a king with an empty soul, longing for a son to fill it and a loving wife. Who he really needed was the Lord, but I don't think anyone in that time period really understood that.

Due to my fascination with Henry, I found one of those stupid quizzes to find out which of Henry's wives I was most like...

Congratulations! You are Catarina of Aragon.
I am Catarina of Aragon. Loyal, loving and incurably romantic. I press flowers in romance novels and love unconditionally.
Catarina was Henry's first wife and was probably the only one of his six wives to truly love him. He tired of her, and she spent the last decade of her life in lonely exile. Yet when she was dying, alone and unloved, she wrote: "Lastly, I make this vow, that mine eyes desire thee above all things. Farewell."

I believe that Catherine truly loved the King, and if he had stayed married to her, he would have found the happiness he longed for. Even after he had casted her out of his life and country, she still proclaimed her love for him and found the strength to forgive him. She was a strong woman, and the Queen with the single most character of them all. King Henry did long for a son and a loving wife, and he was a fool to let the latter go.

I have learned a lesson from the story of Catherine of Aragon. When everything went bad for her, after she had given birth to dead children and sometimes not given birth at all, she persevered and tried again until her body wouldn't allow it anymore. She watched her husband flirt and bed the ladies of her court and still she did not waver. She continued to greet him with a smile on her face and be the loving wife that she was. She did not correct him; he was king, he could do as he pleased. For Catherine to ask him to stop his sinful ways would be to ask the king to lower himself to her position, and that could not happen. The point I'm trying to make is that although Catherine had a very unhappy life, she was never bitter and she never wearied. She died alone in a cold, small palace, banished from her home and ripped of her title as Queen. Yet, she was still the Queen in every sense of the word. She may have died with no one at her side, but she had happiness, joy and peace waiting for her in heaven. No other Queen was a queen like Catherine. She had no hidden agenda (i.e. Anne Boleyn). She loved and simply longed to be loved back.

The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love, and be loved in return. It's a shame she never learned this lesson...

God bless,
lv

3 comments:

Tim said...

Smile for the Camera... :-|

Anonymous said...

Oh and, you rock! :-)

I cant beat your infinity X's so,

Much love
-Anonymously yours Tim,

(Crap I gave it away.)

Leslie Virginia said...

What on earth are you talking about? Smile for what camera? :rolleyes:

By the way...how did those pics turn out from the beach? The ones of Emily and me? I have to run...I'll see you tomorrow. :)

^_^