Part 1: Marriage Lines
Queen, lover, mother, outcast, victim and survivor – this is how
controversial historian Dr David Starkey assigns the roles of the
six wives of Britain's most famous monarch, Henry VIII, in the
sexual intrigue and cut-throat power politics of his long reign from
1509 to 1547.
From the time that Catherine of Aragon, a Spanish princess and
widow of his deceased brother, refused Henry's demand for divorce,
leading to a break with the papal authority of Rome, the battle for
religious control and the king's heart raged.
The women in Henry's life were players, not just pawns, in the
game. Their decisions were as influential in changing the course of
English history as the king's, but the stakes were high. Not all
were able to dodge the executioner's axe.
Anne Boleyn, who actively encouraged the king's break with Rome
with her keenness for the new Bible, was beheaded, as was Catherine
Howard. Jane Seymour died after giving birth to the son Henry
craved. Yet all left their mark.
Follow the key events and players in the life of each of the six
wives of Henry VIII.