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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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2,117356,634 (4.01)64
The six wives of Henry VIII - Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anna of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Catherine Parr - have become defined in a popular sense not so much by their lives as by the way these lives ended. But, as Antonia Fraser conclusively proves, they were rich and feisty characters. They may have been victims of Henry's obsession with a male heir, but they were not willing victims. On the contrary, they displayed considerable strength and intelligence at a time when their sex supposedly possessed little of either.… (more)
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English (30)  Italian (2)  Dutch (1)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (35)
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
I think Fraser treats these women much better than Weir did, and I’m kind of fascinated that the two books were only published a year apart (this one second); I feel as though a book could be written about the race between Weir and Fraser writing about the six wives at the end of the 1980s (they had to have been crossing paths throughout their research).

Anyway I love having this one too for my reference as Fraser doesn’t gloss over the politics but also doesn’t drag the reader down by all of it either. The epilogue was amazing and really did a good job of wrapping up all the “what might have beens”; now I kind of do want to pilgrimage to all the different resting places. ( )
  spinsterrevival | Oct 31, 2022 |
Excellent book on the wives of Henry VIII - it took me over a year to read as it is what I call "hard reading". What I mean by that is that it alot of it is written in the old English so I had to keep going to the reference to understand. Pictures are lovely and I will cherish this book always. ( )
  ChrisCaz | Feb 23, 2021 |
Many superb illustrations!
  KayCliff | Oct 16, 2018 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
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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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The six wives of Henry VIII - Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anna of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Catherine Parr - have become defined in a popular sense not so much by their lives as by the way these lives ended. But, as Antonia Fraser conclusively proves, they were rich and feisty characters. They may have been victims of Henry's obsession with a male heir, but they were not willing victims. On the contrary, they displayed considerable strength and intelligence at a time when their sex supposedly possessed little of either.

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