One of the many historic modifications of the TV series, The Tudors is that Henry VIII is shown as a comparatively young man when divorcing Catherine of Aragon, when in fact he was in his forties.

Likewise, it was not that uncommon for older monarchs to be married off to quite young women if needing a replacement queen after the previous model had been inconvenient enough to drop dead.

Here is a list of Monarchs, and their comparative ages when getting married.

 

King Consort Year of marriage Age diff.
Name Age when wed Name Age when wed

Æthelwulf ? Osburh ? 851(?) ?
50(?) Judith of Flanders 12 856 38
Æthelbald 24 Judith of Flanders 14 858 10
Æthelberht - - - - -
Æthelred ? Wulfthryth? ? ? ?
Alfred the Great 19 Ealhswith 16 868 3
Edward the Elder 19 Ecgwynn ? 893 ?
28 Aelffaed ? 902 ?
31 Eadgifu of Kent ? 905 ?
Æthelstan - - - - -
Edmund
the Magnificent
Ælfgifu of Shaftesbury - - -
22 Æthelflæd of Damerham ? 944 ?
Eadred - - - - -
Eadwig Ælfgifu ? 955(?) ?
Edgar the Peaceful 17 Æthelflæd ? 960 ?
21 Ælfthryth 19 964 2
Edward the Martyr - - - - -
Æthelred the Unready 23 Ælfgifu of York 21 991 2
34 Emma of Normandy 17 1002 17
Sweyn
Forkbeard
Gunhild of Wenden ? 990 ?
Sigrid the Haughty ? 1000 ?
Edmund
Ironside
Edith of East Anglia ? ? ?
Cnut 18 Aelfgifu of Northampton ? 1013(?) ?
22 Emma of Normandy ? 1017 ?
Harold
Harefoot
Ælfgifu ? ? ?
Harthacnut - - - - -
Edward the Confessor 42 Edith of Wessex 20 1045 22
Harold Godwinson 24 Edith Swannesha 19 1044(?) 5
42 Ealdgyth ? 1064 ?
William I 25 Matilda of Flanders 22 1053 3
William II - - - - -
Henry I 32 Matilda of Scotland 20 1100 12
53 Adeliza of Louvain 18 1121 35
Stephen 29 Matilda of Boulogne 20 1125 9
Henry II 19 Eleanor of Aquitaine 30 1152 -11
Henry the Young King 5 Margaret of France 3 1160 2
Richard I 34 Berengaria of Navarre 26 1191 8
John 23 Isabel of Gloucester 16 1189 7
34 Isabella of Angoulême 12 1200 22
Henry III 29 Eleanor of Provence 13 1236 16
Edward I 15 Eleanor of Castile 13 1254 2
60 Margaret of France 20 1299 40
Edward II 24 Isabella of France 13 1308 11
Edward III 16 Philippa of Hainault 14 1328 2
Richard II 15 Anne of Bohemia 16 1382 -1
29 Isabella of Valois 7 1396 22
Henry IV 14 Mary de Bohun 12 1380 2
37 Joanna of Navarre 33 1403 4
Henry V 34 Catherine of Valois 19 1420 15
Henry VI 24 Margaret of Anjou 15 1445 9
Edward IV 22 Elizabeth Woodville 27 1464 -5
Edward V - - - - -
Richard III 20 Anne Neville 16 1472 4
Henry VII 29 Elizabeth of York 20 1486 9
Henry VIII 18 Catherine of Aragon 24 1509 -6
42 Anne Boleyn 32 1533 10
45 Jane Seymour 28 1536 17
49 Anne of Cleves 25 1540 24
49 Catherine Howard 19 1540 30
52 Catherine Parr 31 1543 21
Edward VI - - - - -
Mary I 38 Philip II of Spain 27 1554 11
Elizabeth I - - - - -
James I 23 Anne of Denmark 15 1589 8
Charles I 25 Henrietta Maria of France 16 1625 9
Charles II 32 Catherine of Braganza 24 1662 8
James II 27 Anne Hyde 22 1660 5
40 Mary of Modena 15 1673 25
Mary II 15 William III 27 1677 -12
William III 27 Mary II 15 1677 12
Anne 18 George of Denmark 30 1683 -12
George I 22 Sophia Dorothea of Brunswick-Lueneburg-Celle 16 1682 6
George II 22 Caroline of Ansbach 22 1705 0
George III 23 Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz 17 1761 6
George IV 23 Maria Anne Fitzherbert 29 1785 -6
33 Caroline of Brunswick 27 1795 6
William IV 53 Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen 26 1818 27
Victoria 21 Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha 21 1840 0
Edward VII 22 Alexandra of Denmark 19 1863 3
George V 28 Mary of Teck 26 1893 2
Edward VIII 43 Wallis Warfield Simpson 41 1937 2
George VI 28 Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon 23 1923 5
Elizabeth II 21 Philip of Greece and Denmark 26 1947 -5

 
Date date largely via Wikipedia

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5 Comments

  1. Mark

    So, Edward I wears the crown for biggest age gap, just beating out Aethelwulf (who?!). Certainly a fact worth slipping in, say, to the half-time conversation during tomorrow’s England-Italy match!

  2. Sean Darrow

    Gee – half the Monarchs of England/Britain are paedophiles! Ironic to have child abuse as today’s worst crime, and yet we happily erect statues to child abusers.

    • IanVisits

      The majority of people in medieval Europe were paedophiles by our modern standards – to be unmarried at 16 was unusual.

  3. Sarah

    I think the one that made me raise my eyebrows was the marriage between Henry the Young King and Margaret of France, aged 5 and 3 respectively.

  4. Julian Tysoe

    Well, Henry the Young King and Margaret of France were only betrothed at that age, they didn’t actually marry until he was 17 and she was 14.

    I think Henry the Young King deserves an article of his own.

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