He Said He'd Call
Henry VIII of England had a habit of disappearing on his wives, with nary a goodbye. He left his first wife of 22 years, Catherine of Aragon, went he went to go hunting at Woodstock. Anne Boleyn, wife number two, he parted from at an annual May Day jousting tournament, when a courier came bearing the news of her confessed infidelity through her tortured lovers.
Jane Seymour, wife number three, died shortly after childbirth (2), and since she was the wife who produced the much desired male heir (and didn't live long enough to bore him or piss him off,) she has the honor of being buried with Henry. Four? Anna of Cleves was rejected early on in the marriage. Henry thought the men responsible for promoting her were at fault. (3) Henry left Anna after May Day celebrations in 1540, much like Anne Boleyn. Something about May really triggered him.
The site of Kathryn's execution
Tower of London
Which brings us to Kathryn Howard.(4) She is usually protrayed as a careless, flighty, boy-crazy girl. She lost her head today: February 13, 1542, after being Queen for less than 18 months and was buried in the chapel near her cousin, Anne Boleyn.
I was thinking about young Kathryn today, dead before age 21. Kathryn was executed with her lady-in-waiting, Jane Viscountess Rochford. Both ladies confessed as their last words that they desired "all goodly people to take regard unto their worthy and just punishment with death." Kathryn died first, then Lady Rochford had to lie her own head on the same block as her mistress, still wet with Kathryn's blood. (5) Henry? He married again. Henry the Eighth. The Anti-Valentine.
(2) Jane died of puerperal fever (a common infection of the time) following childbirth.
(3) Thomas Cromwell lost his head over her. The misjudgment about Anna as a hottie made him politically vulnerable.
(4) Kathryn has many varied spellings in that era: Catherine, Katherine, Kathryn. I went with Kathryn because it pleaseth me.
(5) Kathryn had asked for the chopping block to be brought to her chambers so that she might practice and make an honorable death. She had a day's rehearsal before the curtain rose.
(6) I've walked across this bridge. It bears traffic, but it is also a drawbridge, and as such, it is cut in the middle so that it may raised and lowered. When you get toward the halfway point, as a pedestrian, the bridge is bouncing up and down under your feet. Standing out in the middle of the Thames, it can be totally unnerving.