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The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1991)

by Alison Weir

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,723573,661 (4.14)98
Well-documented portraits of each of King Henry the VIII's 6 wives. The lives and fates of King Henry VIII's legendary six wives are laid bare in a vivid, in-depth account that is set against the colorful, tempestuous background of the Tudor era.
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Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
The rhyme that has stuck with me since school is divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived. Which of course refers to the final outcome of each of Henry VIII wives.

This is a well reasserted book, packed full of details and anecdotes about the martial affairs of Henry VIII. Weir has gone into great depth, especially on the first two wives, Katherine of Aragon and Anne Bolyen. The book goes into detail on the character of the six ladies, and all the court intrigue and political posturing that went on during his region.

Henry was infatuated with women, and as well as marrying these ladies, also conducted numerous affairs. There was no comeback on his behaviour, even though he has his penultimate wife executed for adultery and treason. Katherine of Aragon, Jane Seymor and Katherine Parr come across as being kind and well meaning, but Anne Bolyen is shown to be scheming and manipulative, and is linked to a suspected poisoning. Anne of Cleves was a political marriage, but Cromwell who arranged it suffered a political fall when Henry decided that Anne was not the beauty that he had been led to believe that she was.

I could not believe just how decadent the time was. Weir describes the amour of clothes, jewellery and gifts that he showered on those women that took his fancy. Especially when you consider that most of his subjects were in poverty and suffered horrendously from disease. He was a huge mane, greedy too as he reached a point where his suit of armour has a waist line of 54"! He spent the fortune that he inherited from his father very quickly, and was always looking for extra sources of income.

Weir has written a comprehensive account of one of the significant monarchs of our country, and the effect that his insistence on marrying who he wanted had on the religious, social, political infrastructure of our country. Well worth a read if you enjoy history, and want to discover more of this time. ( )
  PDCRead | Apr 6, 2020 |
I really enjoyed this book, actually I have really enjoyed every book by Weir that I have read for the same reason. I love History, particularly European History and the fact that the way that she writes it feels more like a novel. History can be dry in it's presentation, but in this book the historical figures "come to life" for me. I fear that she may take a bit of "literary license" in some of the details and conversations, but I don't think she strays far from the logical assumption in any case. ( )
  Amelia1989 | Jun 10, 2019 |
I read the Kindle version. I think the paper version would be better, because you'd be able to flip backwards and forwards to the timelines and family trees.

I was a bit confused by the pictures at the end. The names were spelt differently from the way they were spelt in the rest of the book, and some of the information contained there contradicted the rest of the book. ( )
  KWharton | Nov 29, 2018 |
Whelp, where even to begin?! This book is an absolute masterpiece and a joy to read. I need some time to digest before I can review ( )
  bookishblond | Oct 24, 2018 |
I was inspired to read Weir's book after completing the Great Courses lecture series "The Age of Henry VIII," which whetted my appetite to better familiarize myself with this fascinating and not infrequently horrifying era in English history. Although I struggled with the slow pacing at times, I've come away feeling now quite knowledgeable about the time, events and people surrounding this 16th-century king. ( )
  ryner | Jul 29, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Weir, Alisonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Prebble, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The reign of Henry VIII is one of the most fascinating in English history.
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Henry VIII's marital affairs brought the royal marriage into public focus for the first time in our history.
Henry VIII's wives would all have learned very early in life that, as women, they had very little personal freedom.
Infidelity in a wife was not tolerated, but for queens Henry VIII made it a treasonable offence punishable by death, because it threatened the succession.
What was really required of a queen was that she produce heirs for the succession and set a high moral standard for court and kingdom by being a model of wifely dignity and virtue.
Queens walked slowly, danced slowly, and moved with regal bearing, not just because they were born to it, but because their clothes constrained them to it.
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Well-documented portraits of each of King Henry the VIII's 6 wives. The lives and fates of King Henry VIII's legendary six wives are laid bare in a vivid, in-depth account that is set against the colorful, tempestuous background of the Tudor era.

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blurb: Henry VIII is perhaps England’s most infamous monarch, especially when it comes to matters of the heart. He was married to six distinctly different women, and in this richly detailed and meticulously researched history, these remarkable, often misunderstood queens come to life once again: Katherine of Aragon, stubborn and devoutly Catholic; Anne Boleyn, proud and fiercely ambitious; Jane Seymour, deceptively strong willed; Anne of Cleves, unappealing and uncomplaining; Katherine Howard, young and foolish; and finally, Katherine Parr, brave, practical, and intelligent. Their full histories and personalities, emerge at last, giving voices to the six extraordinary women who left their distinctive marks on the English throne and thereby changed the course of British history.
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