Six spouses: the genuine ladies behind Henry’s misconception

Tonight, a brand new bbc drama and documentary will explore the everyday lives of Henry VIII’s spouses. They are underestimated by history, states Lucy Worsley. Could they become more essential than Henry?

The names and fates of Henry VIII’s six spouses are drilled into Uk youngsters from a very early age. Everybody knows the characters that are main. There is Catherine of Aragon, the bitter, infertile very first spouse. 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 senior years.

But Six spouses, a brand new television show because of the historian Lucy Worsley, will try to throw these feamales in a brand new light. She claims they are misjudged by history — in reality these people were thinkers that are modern and fascinating individuals in their right.

Simply Take Catherine of Aragon. She wasn’t bitter and infertile 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 as he had been away.

Meanwhile, Anne Boleyn was ‘an admirable, forward-thinking girl,’ with an committed streak that twenty-first century females can appreciate. Anne of Cleves, after her divorce or separation, had been one of many wealthiest feamales in England. Katherine Howard wasn’t a ‘harlot’ however a target of son or daughter punishment . Catherine Parr ended up being the woman that is first publish under her very own title in English.

Contemporary audiences will recognise one thing in every one of them, claims the show’s producer. ‘They had been wealthy, privileged people that are young all knew one another. Court life ended up being like produced in Chelsea.’

Worsley isn’t the historian that is first concentrate on retelling the last through feminine eyes. History has usually been more centered on the choices of effective males. But feminists within the twentieth century started to rediscover the missing tales of essential ladies. This is the way we all know about individuals like Ada Lovelace , Sophia Singh , and Constance Leathart .

Could Henry’s wives be a lot more crucial compared to the master himself?

Needless to say perhaps not, say some. Henry had all of the power in these relationships, not forgetting the nation. It isn’t sexist to state therefore — his malaysiancupid daughters were both effective monarchs because well — it really is simply the way in which things had been. For the very long time throughout history, guys had been frequently in control. This is certainly just starting to alter, however it is silly to imagine otherwise.

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

You Choose

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


  1. Retell the storyline of just one of Henry VIII’s spouses in a contemporary environment.
  2. Select your favourite amount of history, and research the life span of a woman that is influential lived during the time. Write a biography that is short showcasing her achievements.

Many People State.

“What is history? History is females following behind with all the bucket.”

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