After waiting over a year for season III and IV of The Tudors (please assume that is written with a staunch British accent) to be available through streaming on Netflix, I am proud to say that I have tore through the latter part of good ole’ H to the power of VIII’s life in no time. And by that I mean 5 days, potentially less. I found Showtime’s presentation of the King’s sordid affairs a bit anachronous, but that may be cause I skipped over most of the political, war torn country, establishing a new denomination, blah blah blah parts and went straight to the good stuff. I’m sure I missed some significant stuff that would explain why we burned through three wives in the series’ last instillation, but whateves, there’s always Wikipedia to fill in the gaps.
We, Americans that is, remember King Henry VIII not for being responsible for establishing the Church of England, which in turn almost caused several wars, both civil and international, years of feuding, bloodshed and ultimately the overall decline of religion in the UK, and his fathering of Queen Elizabeth is merely a footnote in most of the Tudor’s family lore. Oh, and Bloody Mary is in there somewhere. Speaking of, I could go for one right about now. And I digress.
Henry’s the British version of Elizabeth Taylor, that is with more velour track suits and less eyeliner. Now I’m not knocking on Henry or his ability to be a good king; but I think Henry should have sought out professional help was for his taste in women. Henry, homeslice, have you seen those portraits? None of them are lookers. Did you just line up all the single Annes and Catherines and cast lots? And for that matter, why buy the cow if you’re getting the milk for free. . . and if you’re getting the milk that easily, someone probably else is getting some samplings too. I mean, some women may find 300+ lbs and malodorous abscesses sexy, but I’m guessing they are few and far between.
So, poor Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England for nearly 20 years was divorced so that her hubby could openly hook-up with Anne Boleyn and her sister from time to time. Gross, wait I mean, it was a Great Matter. Anne got the axe, literally, for adultery and witchcraft-apparently she weighed more than a duck. Next up was Jane Seymour who was quickly wedded, bedded and knocked-up before Anne’s body was laid to rest in an unmarked grave. Janie gave birth to Henri’s only legit male heir and then soon after gave up the ghost. Back on the Anne bandwagon, Henry el Ocho sends out for his protestant mail-order bride. He instantly declares his distaste with her and annuls the marriage. Over several games of poker and mulled wine later they become friends, probably with benefits. He then chamber’s-up with Catherine Howard, a cousin of wifey number two and a lady in waiting of Cleaves. She gets cut off, along with her two young male suitors (who also get a variety of things cut off) less than two years into their marriage.
Despite all his efforts, Hank's still just a dirty old man without an heir. Henry dies with Catherine Parr by his side.
Well kids, what is the moral of the story of Hal, Catherine, Anne, Jane, Anne, Catherine and Catherine? Keep it in your pants. It always ends poorly.