Friday, February 1, 2008

Henry VIII : The Newlywed Game

Writer's Note: This is the third part in a four part series. Go to the previous posts if you would like to know what the hell is going on here. And yes this appears to be about history and you may think you are going to be bored to death, but trust me - if you want to read a cool story, please perservere.

When we last left you, Henry VIII had divorced Catherine of Aragon and created the Anglican Church, severing the power of Rome in England. Thomas Cranmer was made Archbishop of Canterbury and wrote the Common Book of Prayer, which was used as the liturgy (fancy term for the words you mouth while you are in church feeling guilty about checking out the organist). He also composed a lesser known work, Canterbury Tails, dealing with his youthful escapades as a gigolo in Sussex.
Henry would now marry a local hooker named Anne Boleyn (she wasn't really a prostitute, but it makes this into sort of a "Pretty Woman" sort of story - maybe we can get that Julia Roberts chick for the film version now). Historians have been unable to determine the actual year of Anne's birth, so we will say that she was between the ages of 4 and 923 when she married the king on a cold January day in the year of our lord 1533. The newly wedded couple was hopelessly in love, so much so that Henry granted Anne's request that he exile Cardinal Wolsey, her archenemy. Luckily for Wolsey, Anne did not request a wedding cake made out of the Cardinal's organs and a special viscera flavored icing. Yummy, viscera! The end of Wolsey's influence meant the rise to power of Anne's good buddy Thomas Cromwell. If you thought Wolsey was untrustworthy, man wait to see what this douche does!
Her main goal, like the previous queen's (I love a story that involves multiple queens), was to pop out a male child for the good of the realm. Like her predecessor, Anne too was unable to produce anything but a useless vagina, this one going by the name Elizabeth (no way this useless babe would ever make anything of herself).
*Author's Note: Remember I am not the evil misogynistic bastard that created this story, I am just retelling it in a more interesting fashion.
Back to our tale of madness and woe! Henry soon tired of Anne's failures to birth an heir and her desperate attempts to paste a dildo onto her second child did not fool anyone. Mr. VIII had no further use for Boleyn and had her charged with incest, treason, witchcraft, and raping small animals (okay I made one of those up). The double-crossing Cromwell (I told you not to trust him, but did you listen to me???!!) assisted the king, managing through delicate methods (chopping off fingers,toes,etc. - trust me in the 16th century that was playing nice) to convince members of the king's court to admit that they had slept with Anne. Boleyn, whose head was soon to be rolling, was also accused of sleeping with her brother, George, a relationship recounted in "Taboo 4: Family Matters." As a result, King Henry had Anne and George executed. Time for wife #3. Should we even bother giving them names at this point?
The next in line was, Jane Seymour, the most beloved of Henry's wives and also the star of "Live and Let Die" and "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman." She had caught the Round Mound of Rebound's eye as a lady-in-waiting for Anne and after the previous queen lost track of her the part of her body above the shoulders, there was an opening for Jane to fill. She became queen in 1535. Seymour was loved so much by Henry for the simple fact that she was the first of his queens to succeed in the task of delivering him a male heir, Edward. The birth of his first son brought joy to Henry, but unfortunately brought very little to Jane. In fact, she died during the process. Kind of a bummer for her. Things didn't work out so well with Edward either, but that is a story for another time and being that Henry is depressed enough, we may want to save that bad news for later. It was 1537 and the lord of all of England was once again in the market for a new queen.
King Hank was somewhat depressed and stayed single for three years. In 1540, though, his advisor, the wicked and desperately depraved Cromwell decided that had to change. He knew that Edward was a weakly boy and that they needed some insurance on the heir front. Therefore, Cromwell arranged for the king to be married once more. Knowing how well the first marriage to a foreigner had worked out, the councillor pursued a betrothal to a German woman who went by the name of Anne of Cleavage or something like that. Henry was shown a painting of her by the great artist Hans Holbein (see picture up top) and the monarch acquiesced to the arrangement. Sadly, the woman in the picture did not resemble the awful hag that showed up at the English court (keep in mind if you made an aristocrat look ugly in a painting, they might in turn make you dead). In addition, Anne was scared of sex. Henry, in turn, was scared of having coitus with this revolting specimen of womanhood that had shown up in his bedroom. His penis was said to run away and hide whenever it caught sight of her. The marriage did not even last through the end of 1540. Henry the pope granted Henry the king (busy guy, huh?) an annulment on the basis that the marriage had never been consumated. The monarch was also furious with Cromwell with setting him up the marriage in the first place. He had his lead advisor executed and intentionally chose an inexperienced headsman who took three chops to finally sever the neck (if Henry was really such a bastard he would have had the guy use a dull butter knife).
So we have four wives down and two to go. Only two of them even had to die. So Henry wasn't such a bad guy, was he? I will leave it to you decide as we move to the exciting conclusion of our story. See you then kids!

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