The story of Henry VIII and his six wives is an amazing personal story, but it contained the whole history of the reign and the varying fortunes of the several religious factions vying for his support.
His first wife, Catherine of Aragon, was Spanish and a loyal member of the international Roman Catholic Church. Anne was close to the Protestants and that closeness may have doomed her. Jane Seymore was careful and then she was gone so quickly. Catherine Howard was a dangerous, adulterous child and got herself executed for treason (All of this was against Henry's wishes. He really loved his child bride.) And finally, Catherine Parr, who was the most intelligent of all the wives, and also the most consciously Protestant. She came very near to being executed as Henry swerved to the Catholic conservatives in his last months. But was saved by the intrigues of other Protestants in the court.
The second of the six women who married Henry VIII was the brilliant Anne Boleyn. Her hold over the king was absolute up until the day she gave in to him and slept with him and produced a daughter. At that moment her hold began to wane, and her days were numbered. She survived only three years as Queen of England and her story is one of the most exciting and dangerous stories of all royal marriages. She risked everything for herself and her family and lost everything. But she did one great thing: she gave birth to the greatest English monarch of all time: Elizabeth I.
SEE BELOW THE LINK TO A PDF COPY OF LECTURE WEEK 13
The Six Wives of Henry VIII ,
Grove Press, 1992,
Henry VIII: The King and His Court,
Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (October 29, 2002),