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Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII (original 2003; edition 2004)
Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060005505, Paperback)
No one in history had a more eventful career in matrimony than Henry VIII. His marriages were daring and tumultuous, and made instant legends of six very different women. In this remarkable study, David Starkey argues that the king was not a depraved philanderer but someone seeking happiness -- and a son. Knowingly or not, he elevateda group of women to extraordinary heights and changed the way a nation was governed.
Six Wives is a masterful work of history that intimately examines the rituals of diplomacy, marriage, pregnancy, and religion that were part of daily life for women at the Tudor Court. Weaving new facts and fresh interpretations into a spellbinding account of the emotional drama surrounding Henry's six marriages, David Starkey reveals the central role that the queens played in determining policy. With an equally keen eye for romantic and political intrigue, he brilliantly recaptures the story of Henry's wives and the England they ruled.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 14 Apr 2011 08:03:45 -0400)
What makes a man marry six times? Was Henry VIII a voracious philanderer? On the contrary, says David Starkey, the King was seeking happiness - as well as hoping for a son." "The first of his wives was Catherine of Aragon, the pious Spanish Catholic who suffered years of miscarriages and failed to produce a male heir. The only one of his wives to be royal by birth, she was married to him the longest. As Catherine's looks faded, Henry fell passionately in love with the pretty, French-educated 'Protestant', Anne Boleyn. Their six-year courtship and three-year marriage transformed England for ever. Jane Seymour's Catholic orthodoxy and demure submissiveness were in deliberate contrast to Anne's radical and vampish style - and Henry married her on the day of Anne's execution. Jane died soon after giving birth to the longed-for son. There followed a farcical 'beauty contest' which ended in the short marriage of the now grossly over-weight Henry to the 'mare of Flanders, ' Ann of Cleves. The final part of Six Wives contrasts the two Catherines - Catherine Howard, the flirtatious teenager whose adulteries made a fool of the ageing King, and Catherine Parr, the shrewd, religiously radical bluestocking who outlived him." "In this study, David Starkey draws on the letters, artefacts and documents of the period, together with the rituals of diplomacy, marriage, pregnancy and private religion, to give a richly textured picture of daily life at the Tudor Court from the woman's point of view. Above all, he establishes the interaction of the private and the public, and demonstrates how the Queens of Henry VIII were central in determining political policy."--BOOK JACKET.
(summary from another edition)
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