Henry VIII of England was desperate for an heir.
His first wife Catherine of Aragon gave him a daughter, but no son, so he seized on the technicality that she had once been engaged to his brother to divorce her.
His second wife Anne Boleyn also gave him a daughter, but Henry was tired of waiting for a son and already had a new wife lined up, so he accused her of adultery and had her executed.
His third wife Jane Seymour did give him a son. She died in childbirth, and the rumor that Henry begged the doctors to preserve Jane’s life if they had to choose between her and the boy seems a bit far fetched when you remember that he’d already tossed two other women aside on account of the young prince.
His fourth “wife” Anne of Cleves wasn’t as hot as her painting had advertised, so he had their marriage annulled and she lived out the rest of her life in England as Henry’s “beloved sister.”
His fifth wife Catherine Howard was guilty where Anne Boleyn had been innocent. Catherine was young, pretty, and indiscreet, and maybe thought that because the king already had a son, she’d be safe from any wrath. Unfortunately, when her transgressions came to light, there was no way that the king was going to be lenient.
On this day in history, Catherine Howard was executed for adultery, a punishment which she admitted in a speech preceding her death was “worthy and just.”