Six spouses: the women that are real Henry’s misconception

Tonight, a brand new bbc drama and documentary will explore the life of Henry VIII’s spouses. They’ve been underestimated by history, claims Lucy Worsley. Could they become more crucial than Henry?

The names and fates of Henry VIII’s six spouses are drilled into Uk youngsters from an age that is early. Everyone understands the characters that are main. There was clearly Catherine of Aragon, the bitter, infertile very first wife. Ann Boleyn, the witch . Jane Seymour, their favourite. Anne of Cleves, the unsightly one. Katherine Howard, the promiscuous one. And Catherine Parr, whom nursed the fat, diseased Henry into later years.

But Six spouses, a brand new television show because of the historian Lucy Worsley, will make an effort to throw these feamales in a new light. She states they’ve been misjudged by history — in reality these people were contemporary thinkers, and fascinating individuals in unique right.

Take Catherine of Aragon. She had not been infertile and bitter at all, claims Worsley. The child of a fearsome Spanish warrior queen , she ended up being expecting six times, and she aided Henry to rule throughout their 26-year wedding, also protecting England from invading Scots while he ended up being away.

Meanwhile, Anne Boleyn was ‘an admirable, forward-thinking girl,’ with a committed streak that twenty-first century females can appreciate. Anne of Cleves, after her breakup, had been among the wealthiest ladies in England. Katherine Howard had not been a ‘harlot’ however a target of youngster punishment . Catherine Parr was the very first girl to publish under her very own name in English.

Modern audiences will recognise one thing in all of them, claims the show’s producer. ‘They had been rich, privileged young adults whom all knew one another. Court life ended up being like produced in Chelsea.’

Worsley isn’t the historian that is first consider retelling the last through feminine eyes. History has usually been more centered on the choices of effective males. But feminists when you look at the century that is 20th to rediscover the missing tales of essential ladies. This is the way we understand about individuals like Ada Lovelace , Sophia Singh , and Constance Leathart .

Could Henry’s wives be a lot more important compared to the king himself?

Needless to say perhaps perhaps not, say some. Henry had all of the power during these relationships, and undoubtedly the nation. It is really not sexist to express so — their daughters had been both powerful monarchs since well — it is only the way in which things had been. For a number of years throughout history, males had been often in control. This is certainly starting to alter, however it is silly to imagine otherwise.

Think once again, state others. Henry had the top, but their spouses influenced a number of their biggest choices. as he was at their very very very early years as master, Catherine of Aragon ended up being their closest adviser. He broke with Rome become with Anne Boleyn, a determination that changed Britain forever. Catherine Parr helped to advertise Protestantism. Females have constantly played afroromance tips roles that are important history — you merely need to look just a little much much deeper.

You Select

  1. That is your favourite of Henry’s spouses?
  2. Did these six ladies have actually a larger effect on English history than Henry himself?


  1. Retell the tale of one of Henry VIII’s spouses in a contemporary environment.
  2. Choose your favourite amount of history, and research living of a influential girl whom lived during the time. Write a biography that is short showcasing her achievements.

Some Individuals State.

“What is history? History is females following behind because of the bucket.”