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.
The immediate form of the House of Tudor family tree, starting
with Edmund Tudor, grandfather of Henry VIII