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Four Valentines From Henry VIII

February 14, 2018

Valentine’s Day is upon us once more, so I took the liberty of writing a few personal ads on behalf of that perennial eligible bachelor, Henry VIII — each ad, of course, suited to the style of the publication he was submitting it to. Let us pause for a moment of silence in memory of the unfortunate women he actually had the chance to meet.

And now …

The New York Review Of Books

RECENT WIDOWER living in desirable London location, 46, with three beautiful children (one lovely, accomplished adult daughter and two little ones). It’s been years since I’ve been single, so I’m not sure how these things are done now, but I’ll give it my best shot. I work in a pretty intense industry and recently got a big promotion, and as they like to say, “Work hard, play hard.” I like nothing better than a few rounds of tennis followed by relaxing with a lute or spinet, and some in-depth discussion of the latest books. My interests are pretty wide-ranging — theology, musicology, and political science take first place (I even published a theological treatise some years back, and I understand if you haven’t read it). I’m not the type of man to turn up his nose at a good romantic tale and I enjoy dancing and boating. I place a high value on forthrightness and honesty. I’m imagining a fearless woman who loves music, dancing, reading, debating about the nature of the universe, the occasional glass of hippocras, and children — I’m open to the possibility of more. Let’s sail the sea of life together., NYR Box 61491

The London Review Of Books

“HE LACKS BOTH STRENGTH AND STAYING POWER” — that’s what my ex-wife said in court, but fortunately that problem disappeared when she did. Pudgy male, 46, saddled with stroppy teenage daughter, obnoxiously precocious preschooler, and howling infant, seeks any woman who will have him aged 18-40. Come for the whinging about old sports injuries and constant ranting about the Pope, stay for the desperately needed income from the property my old man left me, a nagging feeling of guilt about what it would do to the kids if you left, and possibly even a poorly-timed birth control failure. Constant compromise and eventual disappointment await you at box 11547.

Any Independent Paper, c. 1970 – 2000

SUCCESSFUL, TALL, REDHEADED WWM, 40s, enjoys art, music, books, politics, playing tennis and lute, sailing boats, road trips and the occasional journey abroad. Seeks lasting relationship and possibly children with woman who shares interests. KINDLY SEND PHOTO. Code: 1536


WANTED: Somebody to have a living son with me. This is not a joke. Box 1511, Placentia Palace. You’ll get crowned after he’s born. Must bring own maids of honor. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before.

From → Miscellaneous

  1. True gems! The “London Review of Books” variation left me in stitches, especially Henry’s description of his kids and “whinging about old sports injuries”. Though “KINDLY SEND PHOTO” for independent publications also was priceless. Maybe add a “don’t use foreign photographer”?

    I do wonder how Charles Brandon would phrase his ads. Given he got married nearly as often as his buddy Henry did. Of course, his financial situation altered considerably between marriages. Oh, and Henry VII briefly re-entered the marriage seeking club after Elizabeth of York’s death as well, but would be too cheap to place a lengthy add, so, maybe:

    “Frugal widower w teenage son seeks wealthy heiress (widows with proven fertility welcome!)”

    • sonetka permalink

      “I don’t want your airbrushed graduation photo” perhaps? 🙂 Henry VII’s ad would be a model of grim economy. “WMW seeks marriage and children with SF 16-30. Must be financially sound. Children no obstacle. Box 1485.” And Charles Brandon was born to be featured in the LRB personals; he’d have to dedicate two paragraphs alone to explaining his annulment situation :).

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