“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.