Jangles with Lady Jane
As you all know, Henry VIII was a lech, a libertine, and the worst example of what a king should be. We know this because of his past relationships. Henry divorced his wife, Catherine of Aragon, after 23 years of marriage. His reasoning? She could not deliver him a son. Their only living child was the future Mary I. A girl, which was unacceptable to him. Catherine of Aragon died alone and destitute. This treatment of her mother warped Mary’s young mind. Yet, a story for another Jangles.
His second wife, Anne Boleyn, is the sister of the disgraced Mary Boleyn, one of Henry’s mistresses. The poor girl is referred to as the “Great Whore” by her fellow courtiers. Unlike her sister, Anne refused to be the king’s mistress. I mean, can you blame her? To marry Anne, Henry VIII broke with the Vatican and created the Church of England. Not only did he upend the country’s religious beliefs, but he also beheaded half of his friends. All because he believed Anne would give him the son he wanted.
Anne gave him a healthy baby girl, whom she named Elizabeth. The child that would grow up to be one of England’s greatest queens was a disappointment to Henry.
After Elizabeth was born, Henry and Anne tried for sons. Anne miscarried a boy and Henry VIII convinced himself that Anne was the problem. So he took matters into his own hands and had her arrested for adultery. Anne, her brother George, and four other men were found guilty of treason and executed.
Yet less than a day later, Henry VIII announces his betrothal to Jane Seymour. A simple woman from a family with a high fertility rate was exactly what Henry wanted. Sure enough, Jane gave him the long-awaited son but died within a week of his birth from childbed sickness.
For the first time in Henry’s life, it devastated him. And became angry when his courtiers were nagging at him to marry again. After all, the king needed an heir and a spare. Mary and Elizabeth were both declared illegitimate and could not sit on the throne.
This left Henry looking for his fourth wife. He sent his ministers and painters to various royal houses looking for a new queen. Unfortunately for him, his reputation preceded him. Potential brides turned him down left and right. Can you blame them?
One of the most famous refusals came from the 16-year-old Christina of Denmark. Before we can talk about her humorous reply to the king’s proposal, we need to talk about her.
Christina of Denmark’s father was having trouble holding onto his kingdoms. Soon he lost Denmark, Sweden, and Norway and before Christina was two, he had lost his throne. By the time she was 4 years old, Christina would lose her 24-year-old mother. As a result, her brother, sister, and herself were sent to live in the court of Mary of Hungary, their aunt.
Christina grew up in courts where women ruled.
Under the guidance of her aunt, Christina learned to rule and make important decisions. Her devout Catholicism was a matter of pride and family loyalty. Henry’s Church of England was not a good fit.
She already had many reasons to tell Henry to bugger off.
What she said when presented with the proposal will go down in history as one of the best retorts to come out of the Tudor Era.
Christina spoke these words to the King’s emissaries.
“If I had two heads, one should be at the King of England’s disposal!”
Unlike the women of England, Christina of Denmark was in charge of her own destiny.
Just more Jangles from the Court of Henry VIII
Jane Boleyn The Lady Rochford.