King John’s First Marriage

King John of England (From the Historia Anglorum, Chronica majora). Artist: Paris, Matthew (c. 1200-1259)

Fun fact: Henry VIII was not the first English monarch to divorce his wife. That dubious honor goes to King John of Magna Carta fame, though it should be noted that the “divorce” was in fact an annulment and, as I’ve noted before, it was a bit of a reverse-Katherine of Aragon situation. In John’s case, he left his English wife for a brilliant foreign match and not the other way around. His motivation for doing this was, however, a situation Henry would have found familiar – he was a younger son not originally intended for the throne.

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