The Six Letters of King Henry VIII

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Six letters from Henry VIII to a dating agency - by R J Dent.

Submitted: April 10, 2016

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Submitted: April 10, 2016



The Six Letters of King Henry VIII

by R J Dent



Dear Find-A-Wife Dating Agency


It is with the utmost regret that I write to inform you that Catherine (that horribly rude, obnoxious and arrogant woman you fixed me up with) was not my type at all. Consequently, I have now divorced her on the grounds that she was unable to give me the son and heir I so desperately need – especially if my Royal line is to continue.

Incidentally, I think that if you take a very close look at your records, you'll probably find that Catherine was once married to my now dead elder brother. She did actually infer as much with her constant references to 'King Dick' as she so quaintly called him, even though he never was a King and his name was Arthur, not Richard. Such though, are the eternally mysterious ways of women. What strange creatures they are.

For some reason, the Catholics didn't take too kindly to the divorce and, as a result, I'm now getting a bit of stick from the Vatican, which is a bit of a cheek really, because the head honcho there (Julius II) isn't exactly whiter than white – there are one or two skeletons in his papal closet, I can tell you. I can't go into too much detail, but if I just restrict myself to saying that the skeletons are all male and they don't want to come out of the closet, I think you'll know exactly what I'm talking about, won't you?

Anyway, as far as my marriage to Catherine was concerned, it just wasn't a satisfactory arrangement for someone of my immense social standing. As a result, I am forced to request your confidential services once again. If you could go through your files and try to find someone suitable for me, I would be eternally grateful.

Your King



P.S. A non-Catholic brunette, 38-24-36, possessing a very outgoing personality and with interests in music and leatherwear would be most acceptable.



Dear Find-A-Wife Dating Agency


Once again I am writing to tell you that (sadly) things have not worked out between myself and the very outgoing bride you recommended.

Anne was fine initially, but her constant dalliances with my servants, my Generals and (more ominously) my Treasurer, left me with no alternative but to put an end to it all.

I suppose things all came to a bit of a head when I (the caring husband that I am) decided to amble in to her chambers and present her with a posy, only to find her dancing in nothing but a leather (catgut is apparently out this season) thong, whilst being accompanied on the lute by my court composer, Elvis Greensleeves (a name to watch out for in the future). Naturally, I was a little taken aback by this behaviour and asked her what she was doing. She informed me that she was modelling for the underwear section of a mail-order catalogue. I later found out that some anonymous and unscrupulous swine had sent the resulting pictures to a popular soft-porn periodical, where they were subsequently published in the Reader's Wives section.

Fortunately, I have a friend who subscribes to said periodical and I was able to have a good look at the pictures and (although I'm naturally biased) I'd be the first to admit that Anne came out rather well in them. I would even go so far as to say that (had I not chosen her to be my Queen) she could have had a very successful career as a model.

Apparently (and I have this on good authority) the sender of the pictures was given fifty sovereigns upon publication and complimented on having such a beautiful wife. Mind you, compliments and money aren't everything, are they?

Of course, Anne's behaviour was (I think you'll agree) very unQueenly and I had no choice but to send her to the tower and have her beheaded. I'm sure you'll understand when I say it was not done in a malicious way. It's just that there's only so much a King can take.

Please could you send me another woman, this time one who's fertile, but not quite so out-going as Anne used to be?


Your King



P.S. I'm prepared to try a blonde non-Catholic this time. If her interests and measurements are the same as Anne's, I won't mind at all.



Dear Find-A-Wife Dating Agency


Many thanks for trying so hard. Jane (may she rest in peace) was wonderful. The woman was a real tonic and the most inventive, imaginative and energetic young creature I've ever had the pleasure of marrying. In fact, once I'd got out of her curious habit of asking me for money whenever we were in bed, we got along quite famously.

I think she was a little too imaginative and energetic for her own good. After all, it was her insistence on perfecting position number eighty-three that finally did her in.

You may be familiar with said position. It's the one in which one partner hangs from the candelabra and the other one swings upside-down from the bed canopy, chanting: "Is this a dagger I see before me, the handle towards my hand?" I think that if the smutty bits were toned down and a bit of action and drama added, it'd probably make a pretty good play.

According to D. (the court doctor), position number eighty-three (in small doses) is very good for the spine, but do it too often and (as my dear Jane found out) something has to give. They just don't make candelabras or bed canopies like they used to, do they?

It's put me right off Tudor furniture, I can tell you. I simply refuse to buy the stuff now, family business or not. Anyway, all that black wood gets a chap down after a while. Not at all like stripped pine. Okay, it's for peasants (rustic, they call it), but at least you don't get woodworm – they won't go near the stuff.

On a more positive note, Jane did manage to bear me the son and heir that I so desperately wanted and, although she has now shuffled off this mortal coil, little Eddy, I hear, is doing just fine.

I say 'hear' because although he's over a year old, I haven't actually seen him yet. This is mainly due to the fact that I've been kept very busy supervising the female workers who are doing the extensive repair work on the candelabra and bed canopy. However, I do intend to try and see more of him in the near future.

Anyway, if you should happen to come across another one like Jane, please have her scrubbed and sent up to the house. You know the address.


Your King



P.S. Regardless of what you might have heard me say publicly, I don't actually have anything against big-breasted King-worshipping nymphomaniacs, as long as they are, of course, the faithful type.



Dear Find-A-Wife Dating Agency


You sneaky buggers! Anne looked great in that grossly-exaggerated and, may I say (of course I may – I am King, after all) highly deceptive portrait you sent me a few months ago. However, in the flesh (and unfortunately I do mean that literally) it (and I mean that literally too) was an entirely different story. If I say that Anne would have given the back end of my Royal carriage a run for its money, perhaps you'll begin to have some idea of what I had to reluctantly wake up to every morning.

And as for that talent-free idiot Holbien! Well, I'm almost stuck for words. At present, he's swanning around the place telling everyone who'll listen that he's the official court artist. After taking a look at his portrait of Anne, I'm beginning to think that there's something wrong with his eyes. It could be that he's shortsighted – which would perhaps explain why he keeps nicking my monogrammed towels from the bathroom. All I can say on the matter is if Anne's portrait is an example of his best work, then he ought to sod off back to Germany and stay there.

Also, whilst I'm not one to criticize your fine service, I do think you were scraping the bottom of the barrel a bit with Anne, don't you?

I mean, I'm sure that with a lot of patient tutoring, she could have become a very nice person, perhaps even warm, but I just didn't have the time or the inclination to teach her. After spending nine and a half weeks with her, I found that she wasn't the type of woman I wanted to cleave to for the rest of my natural life.

Talk about the face that sunk a thousand ships! No wonder my Naval fleet wouldn't set sail for the Netherlands on time. And while we're on the subject of the Netherlands, let me tell you (in the strictest confidence) that when it came to bedchamber time, I had a bit of trouble raising the old main mast myself, if you catch my drift. Mind you, after a few gins she didn't seem so bad, and after I'd quaffed a few myself, she looked almost passable in a dimly lit room. Still, that's another story entirely and thankfully one that's safely ensconced in the past now.

So, if you could spare the time to go through your files yet again, in order to find someone else for me, I'd be very grateful.


Your King



P.S. Ideally I'd like an eager young virgin who's waited all of her life for a handsome King to wave his magic wand at her, as they say in all the fairy stories. See what you can do, eh.



Dear Find-A-Wife Dating Agency


I write to inform you that (once again) your work has come to nothing and that it's a very bad end to a very enjoyable, energetic wand-waving start.

Catherine was absolutely gorgeous, but I did actually think she'd realize that there was a bit more to being a Queen than just swanning about looking beautiful. It would have helped if she'd had a little experience of life in general. When I requested a virgin, I didn't think you'd take me literally. I'm also a little curious as to how you knew she was one. And where you found her. And if there are any more of them. Not that it really mattered at the time, for despite this very short-lived handicap of hers, she turned out to be an extremely quick learner and this Tudor rose frequently.

For a while, anyway.

I suppose I should have known something was wrong when she kept going into the stables, only to reappear a few hours later, covered from head to toe in straw. I honestly had no idea what she was up to. I thought she was doing a course on equestrian vetinary techniques or something. How foolish I was to trust her.

Go ahead and think me naive if you wish, but how was I to know that her insistence that all stable boys be well-endowed men of Jamaican extraction actually masked an ulterior motive?

Some, I know, would have questioned her request for stable-wear to be nothing more than a flimsy piece of gauze, but she cunningly allayed my suspicions by toying with my vanity and then asking for said gauze to be dyed in the Royal colours.

Anyway, during a random stable inspection one afternoon, I found her indulging in some very un-queen-like activities and I immediately sent her to the tower. Up she went and that was that – Howard's end, as someone or other will no doubt say in the future.

So, if you could find me someone who is a cross between my beloved Jane and this most recent Catherine, then I'll be forever in your debt. I think I should point out here and now that it's no bad thing to have the supreme ruler of the nation owing you a favour. Who knows, if you play your cards right, there might even be a Royal appointment in it for you.


Your King



P.S. Please find enclosed some written details about four recently unemployed Jamaican stable boys. You might care to add their details to your files, just in case they should happen to measure up to any of your client's requirements.



Dear Find-A-Wife Dating Agency


Oh no! Not another bloody Catherine!

If history has taught you anything, then I'd have thought that my experiences with the other two would have given you some indication that I am not particularly well suited to women who bear that name.

However, not being a superstitious man, I'm quite prepared to overlook this one small detail and give her a chance. After all, as they say, what's in a name?

Quite a lot, I'd say. She's a bit of a dragon, always moaning about the odd drop of gin I quaff and she shows no interest in either leatherwear or my collection of classic nude statues and portraits (all of which I have arranged around my bed – purely for aesthetic and academic reasons, of course). I am, after all, a patron of the arts and, as you may have heard, I do take all of my positions very seriously.

Mind you, to be perfectly fair, this latest Catherine does turn a blind eye when I occasionally chase (in all innocence) my naked serving girls from one chamber to another, so I suppose she's not all bad. Not on a par with my dear ex-wife Jane, but good enough in her own way.

The real bane of my life isn't Catherine at all. It's D., my doctor. He keeps going on about how too much excitement is bad for my heart – especially now that I'm in 'the autumn of my life', as he so quaintly puts it.

Mind you, I soon put the cheeky little bastard straight. I told him that if I was going to go, then I was going to go in style. I also told him that if he kept going on at me, I'd take him to the tower and show him my own patented cure for a headache. That shut him up.

As far as Catherine's concerned, it does look as though I have at last found my true soul mate, even though (for some reason I can't quite fathom) her bedchamber is in the east wing and mine is in the west.


Your King



P.S. Please don't call off your search for my ideal woman just yet. After all, no one can really be sure what's going to happen in the future, can they?





The Six Letters of King Henry VIII

Copyright © R J Dent (2016)



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