Synopses & Reviews
No one in history had a more eventful career in matrimony than Henry VIII. His marriages were daring and tumultuous, and made instant legends of six very different women. In this remarkable study, David Starkey argues that the king was not a depraved philanderer but someone seeking happiness and a son. Knowingly or not, he elevated a group of women to extraordinary heights and changed the way a nation was governed.
Six Wives is a masterful work of history that intimately examines the rituals of diplomacy, marriage, pregnancy, and religion that were part of daily life for women at the Tudor Court. Weaving new facts and fresh interpretations into a spellbinding account of the emotional drama surrounding Henry's six marriages, David Starkey reveals the central role that the queens played in determining policy. With an equally keen eye for romantic and political intrigue, he brilliantly recaptures the story of Henry's wives and the England they ruled.
"Truly, this is history made as fluent and compelling as excellent fiction."
Booklist (Starred Review)
"A rich account....[E]minently interesting if sometimes overly detailed....A boon to fans of English royal history, full of murder and mayhem, but also of solid analysis of a maddeningly complicated era." Kirkus Reviews
"Caught between scholarly work and storytelling, the book gives us high drama at a languid pace, with overwhelming detail often slowing the narrative....[A] strong, entertaining and occasionally audacious interpretation." Publishers Weekly
"Solidly researched and delightfully told, this is highly recommended." Library Journal
"Exciting....Very acute....It is so gripping that one finishes it wishing it were even longer." Mail on Sunday (U.K.)
"Extraordinary....With each queen, Starkey offers a vivid character study."
Sunday Times (London)
"Acute and imaginative....[Starkey's] communication of subtle points in simple and vivid language is masterly." Sunday Telegraph (London)
"Brilliant....Six Wives provides an intriguing new perspective on this key period in English history." Daily Telegraph (London)
Few people in history have had as eventful a matrimonial career as England's King Henry VIII. To pursue his romantic ambitions, he broke with Catholicism, created the Church of England, and was not above beheading those wives who fell from favor. Henry dreamed of a son who would succeed him as king, but in the end it was Elizabeth, daughter of the disgraced Anne Boleyn, who inherited the throne and became one of England's greatest monarchs.
In Six Wives, award-winning historian David Starkey draws on newly discovered facts to create a fresh new interpretation of the emotional drama and political intrigue surrounding Henry's six marriages. Starkey expertly recreates the Tudor era -- and the wives of Henry VIII -- in this captivating tale.
David Starkey is the Bye Fellow of Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, and the author of Elizabeth: The Struggle for the Throne. A winner of the W.H. Smith Prize and the Norton Medlicott Medal for Services to History, he lives in London.
"... Starkey's is the best study of Henry's wives ever published." -- Evening Standard
--Mail on Sunday
"Extraordinary. . . . It is a tribute to Starkey's narrative drive, his puckish wit, and sharp discrimination that it doesn't seem a page too long. . . . With each queen, Starkey offers a vivid character study but also has fresh discoveries that subtly alter the picture he started out with." -- Sunday Times (London)
The dramatic, legendary story of Henry VIII, his six wives, and the England they ruled--told by one of the world's preeminent historians of the Tudor era.
Perhaps no one in history had a more eventful career in matrimony than Henry VIII. His marriages were tumultuous and complicated, and made instant legends of six very different women. Henry took his first bride, Catherine of Aragon, when he was 17. Their 24-year marriage was a relatively stable prelude to what followed. Anne Boleyn, a pretty, French-educated Protestant who was the mother of Elizabeth I, was eventually beheaded. Jane Seymour served as a demure contrast to the vampish Boleyn, and gave birth to Henry's longed-for son (Edward VI). After a brief marriage to the plain Anne of Cleves, Henry married a flirtatious teenager, Catherine Howard, who would be the second of his brides to lose her head along with the king's favor. Finally, there was Catherine Parr, a shrewd Protestant bluestocking.
In this brilliant new work, one of the world's most respected historians weaves startling new facts and fresh interpretations into a spellbinding account of the emotional drama and political intrigue that attended Henry's six marriages. With a keen eye for both the personal and the global stage, David Starkey masterfully recaptures the Tudor era--and the wives of Henry VIII--as only he can.
New facts and fresh interpretations are blended into a spellbinding account of the emotional drama and political intrigue that attended Henry's marriages.
About the Author
David Starkey is the Bye Fellow of Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, and the author of Elizabeth: The Struggle for the Throne. A winner of the W. H. Smith Prize and the Norton Medlicott Medal for Services to History presented by Britain's Historical Association, Mr. Starkey lives in London.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Henry's Weddings 1
Pt. 1 Queen Catherine of Aragon 11
Pt. 2 Rival Queens 197
Divorcing Catherine 197
Anne Boleyn 257
Jane Seymour 584
Pt. 3 The Later Queens 611
Anne of Cleves 617
Catherine Howard 644
Catherine Parr 690