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The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Antonia…
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The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1992)

by Antonia Fraser

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
Excellent detailed account of each one of the unfortunate females the greatest predatory hedonist of his age took legally to his bed.
None of them deserved Henry as a husband although some of them thought, or were persuaded by ambitious family, at least for awhile, that they wanted to be his Queen.
The author reveals how each was a female person in their own right, capable of intrigue, entertaining & fawning on the most powerful and fear inducing man in England & Wales, however, ultimately none of them could compete with Henry's energetic, self-indulgence & his fears & beliefs for his own & the nation's destiny.
The abiding impression is that Katherine of Aragon & Henry, betrothed in their early teens, were for a time at least the only real married couple in King Henry's riotously wilful, politically corrupt, scandalously louche & lengthy reign. ( )
  tommi180744 | Aug 16, 2018 |
5485. The Wives of Henry VIII, by Antonia Fraser (read 15 Jul 2017) This is a1993 book which I read because I had read 7 books by Antonia Fraser and liked them and thought I should read this one, even though I read Alison Weir's The Six Wives of Henry VIII on 4 Aug 1994. This book by Antonia Fraser is excellently researched and maybe includes detail a bit more than needed--at least at times I found it not real interesting. But it does a very good job detailing how each wife came to marry and came to her end, two (the 2nd and the 5th) having their heads chopped off, the third dying after giving birth to Henry's son, Edward VI, the fourth, Anna of Cleves, being divorced because Henry did not think she was good-looking (all he saw of her till she was brought to England to marry him being a painting), and even the sixth was almost cast off till she sweet-talked Henry into keeping her. All in all, the book is as good an account of the tyrannical Henry's matrimonial life as I suspect one can find. ( )
  Schmerguls | Jul 15, 2017 |
Un libro excelente escrito con rigurosidad y basado en una meticulosa investigación, con datos fiables extraídos de fuentes perfectamente identificables.

Para quien gusta de una buena obra de no-ficción de corte biográfico este libro es imprescindible. ( )
  CarlosBazzano | Feb 21, 2017 |
I had actually read this before, it turned out, but didn't finish it then. It was a very readable account, centred as it should be on the six women, and not the old swine who, one way or another, victimised them all. I think it has been somewhat overtaken by recent research, and Fraser's biases did show up now and then, but it was largely fair and mainly objective.

Of them all I think I liked Anna von Kleve best - I admired Catalina de Aragón for her spirit and tenacity, and Nan Bullen was probably the most interesting as a person, but Anna is the one I'd like to be friends with.

Flibbertigibbet Katherine Howard is definitely the bottom of this league :) ( )
  sloopjonb | Dec 13, 2016 |
I am so very, very glad I re-read this book this year. Thank you to Hillary Mantel for inspiring me with her books Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies with their excellent evocations of the age and the many Thomas-es who influenced this time in English history as well. What makes this book important to me is the intent with which Ms. Fraser researched and wrote it: who were the women who married this monarch? What were their stories? She quotes the short poem, "Divorced, beheaded, died/Divorced, beheaded, survived" as her inspiration for getting behind the lives of these six women. Catherine of Aragorn was 6 years older than Henry VIII and had married his older brother before Henry ascended the throne. Fraser points out that Catherine and Henry were married 20 years. It's so often forgotten, this part of her story. Or young Katherine Howard - a beautiful, ditzy 19 year old who was effectively left to her own devices when her adultery was found out. How many of us could have argued for our lives when we were 19 and scared to death, literally? And many of the queens were educated and intellectuals, musicians, and interested in the world around them. They studied Latin, French, and Anna of Cleves was married to Henry with very little knowledge of the English language (her older brother, you see, was the educated member of her family).

As Fraser says in her epilogue:

"It is seductive to regard the six wives of Henry VIII as a series of feminine stereotypes, women as tarot cards. . . . There are elements of truth, of course, in all of these evocative descriptions, yet each one of them ignores the complexity and variety in the individual character. . . . [A] remarkably high level of strength, and also of intelligence, was displayed by them at a time when their sex traditionally possessed little of either."

Even if you are not an enthusiast of the time, or think that you know very little of the Tudor era, I still recommend this book. It is readable, Fraser does a good job of reminding readers who Norfolk is, or the relationship of the Howards or Parrs to the crown, or Cardinal John Fisher, or Cardinal Wolsey, or any of the other myriad names and courtiers who appear, rise, fall, and either rise again or disappear from the decades-long story of Henry VIII and his six wives. And she brings them to shining life in these pages.


" ( )
1 vote threadnsong | Jun 18, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Antonia Fraserprimary authorall editionscalculated
Eklöf, MargaretaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mazzarelli, PaolaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Harold with love
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'Divorced, beheaded, died ... divorced, beheaded, survived ...': you can hear this rhyme, recalling the order of Henry VIII's wives, like an endless respectful susurration on this lips of visitors to the historic places associated with them.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0394585380, Hardcover)

When we think of the wives of Henry VIII, we tend to think of women who literally lost their heads. But Antonia Fraser opens the door to the political and cultural demands that shaped the destinies of the king and his royal wives. Romance, unfortunately, rarely had anything to do with it. And if you think the modern American media is too tough on political leadership, you oughta READ about the royal court in King Henry's day! That's one family you'd never want to marry into.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:49 -0400)

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Traces the ascent and decline of each of the six wives of Henry VIII of Great Britain.

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