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The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1991)

por Alison Weir

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3,250614,102 (4.13)103
The tempestuous, bloody, and splendid reign of Henry VIII of England (1509-1547) is one of the most fascinating in all history, not least for his marriage to six extraordinary women. In this accessible work of brilliant scholarship, Alison Weir draws on early biographies, letters, memoirs, account books, and diplomatic reports to bring these women to life. Catherine of Aragon emerges as a staunch though misguided woman of principle; Anne Boleyn, an ambitious adventuress with a penchant for vengeance; Jane Seymour, a strong-minded matriarch in the making; Anne of Cleves, a good-natured and innocent woman naively unaware of the court intrigues that determined her fate; Catherine Howard, an empty-headed wanton; and Catherine Parr, a warm-blooded bluestocking who survived King Henry to marry a fourth time.… (mais)
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My personal study of England has been a sort of patchy, interest-driven excursion; focusing mainly on the lives of well-known authors and their haunts. One era of British history I'd never read about until now is the Tudor period. I'll admit---it was mainly for fear of mixing up the various Marys, Katherines, Annes, and Henrys. It seemed an intimidating task.

When I was given a large box of Tudor reads, I decided this book was the best one to begin with and I was pleasantly surprised at how readable it is. The author makes few assumptions about her readers' prior Tudor knowledge and I came away feeling like I had a good grasp on Henry VIII's life and wives.

I started out with a very bad opinion of Henry VIII. I'd always heard he was a terrible tyrant. Reading about his early life, I began sympathizing with him as it seemed he really desired to be a good king. About the time he messed around on his first wife though, I started to dislike him and by the time Anne Boleyn came along, I seriously loathed him! So many times he was such a hypocritical and immature man.

I had varying feelings about his wives. I greatly admired Katherine of Aragon's loyalty to her husband and to her marriage vows. I did feel pity for the king concerning Katherine Howard, though he really was getting to see the other side of things for the women he'd cast off so carelessly.

By laying out the facts in an unbiased way, Weir allows the reader to form her own conclusions. With all the horrible, tyrannical things Henry VIII sanctioned, I still came away sad and sympathetic at his end. I'm glad he acknowledged Christ before he died. ( )
  classyhomemaker | Dec 11, 2023 |
Thorough depiction of each of Henry's wives, containing as much information about their lives with and without Henry as is known. ( )
  mj_papaya | Nov 21, 2023 |
What fascinating women/queens and an interesting king! ( )
  wallace2012 | Nov 4, 2023 |
Returning to this after twenty plus years, and knowing some missing stories, I can really see some of the newer research that has taken place since this was written in 1991. These women often turn into caricatures, and I got somewhat offended on their behalf at how Weir portrayed them. But I’m glad I got a general overview again as I’ll continue on with my project research and see where it leads. ( )
  spinsterrevival | Oct 11, 2022 |
The rhyme that has stuck with me since school is divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived. Which of course refers to the final outcome of each of Henry VIII wives.

This is a well reasserted book, packed full of details and anecdotes about the martial affairs of Henry VIII. Weir has gone into great depth, especially on the first two wives, Katherine of Aragon and Anne Bolyen. The book goes into detail on the character of the six ladies, and all the court intrigue and political posturing that went on during his region.

Henry was infatuated with women, and as well as marrying these ladies, also conducted numerous affairs. There was no comeback on his behaviour, even though he has his penultimate wife executed for adultery and treason. Katherine of Aragon, Jane Seymor and Katherine Parr come across as being kind and well meaning, but Anne Bolyen is shown to be scheming and manipulative, and is linked to a suspected poisoning. Anne of Cleves was a political marriage, but Cromwell who arranged it suffered a political fall when Henry decided that Anne was not the beauty that he had been led to believe that she was.

I could not believe just how decadent the time was. Weir describes the amour of clothes, jewellery and gifts that he showered on those women that took his fancy. Especially when you consider that most of his subjects were in poverty and suffered horrendously from disease. He was a huge mane, greedy too as he reached a point where his suit of armour has a waist line of 54"! He spent the fortune that he inherited from his father very quickly, and was always looking for extra sources of income.

Weir has written a comprehensive account of one of the significant monarchs of our country, and the effect that his insistence on marrying who he wanted had on the religious, social, political infrastructure of our country. Well worth a read if you enjoy history, and want to discover more of this time. ( )
  PDCRead | Apr 6, 2020 |
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Weir, Alisonautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Prebble, SimonNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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This book is dedicated to my parents, Doreen and James Cullen, my mother-in-law, Margaret Weir, and in loving memory of William Blackwood Weir
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The reign of Henry VIII is one of the most fascinating in English history.
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Henry VIII's marital affairs brought the royal marriage into public focus for the first time in our history.
Henry VIII's wives would all have learned very early in life that, as women, they had very little personal freedom.
Infidelity in a wife was not tolerated, but for queens Henry VIII made it a treasonable offence punishable by death, because it threatened the succession.
What was really required of a queen was that she produce heirs for the succession and set a high moral standard for court and kingdom by being a model of wifely dignity and virtue.
Queens walked slowly, danced slowly, and moved with regal bearing, not just because they were born to it, but because their clothes constrained them to it.
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The tempestuous, bloody, and splendid reign of Henry VIII of England (1509-1547) is one of the most fascinating in all history, not least for his marriage to six extraordinary women. In this accessible work of brilliant scholarship, Alison Weir draws on early biographies, letters, memoirs, account books, and diplomatic reports to bring these women to life. Catherine of Aragon emerges as a staunch though misguided woman of principle; Anne Boleyn, an ambitious adventuress with a penchant for vengeance; Jane Seymour, a strong-minded matriarch in the making; Anne of Cleves, a good-natured and innocent woman naively unaware of the court intrigues that determined her fate; Catherine Howard, an empty-headed wanton; and Catherine Parr, a warm-blooded bluestocking who survived King Henry to marry a fourth time.

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