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Secrets of the Six Wives

Travel with historian Lucy Worsley back to the Tudor court to witness some of the most dramatic moments in the lives of Henry VIII’s six wives, each of whom found a method of exerting inf...


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Secrets of the Six Wives

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The 16th century legend of King Henry VIII is turned on its crowned head as the dramatic stories of his six tumultuous marriages are told from the wives’ perspectives in SECRETS OF THE SIX WIVES

With extraordinary attention to detail – including actual first-person accounts pulled from historical records and secrets and stories from the women who surrounded each Queen – SECRETSOF THE SIX WIVES offers an ambitious approach to the oft-told tales.

Led by UK author and historian Lucy Worsley, who moves seamlessly from the present to the past and appears throughout the series as an observer and commenter on the happenings at court, SECRETS OF THE SIX WIVES gives history a new point of view. Worsley is the Joint Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, and a face familiar to British audiences as a regular historical contributor to BBC, whose best-selling books bring new angles on centuries of British history.

The series’ three episodes follows the trajectory of a well-known British nursery rhyme used to teach children the order of the six wives, “Divorced, Beheaded, Died; Divorced, Beheaded, Survived.”  A short recap of each episode follows:

 

Episode 1: Divorced

Worsley begins the series by transporting viewers to the Tudor Court for Episode 1, where young Henry is smitten with Spanish princess Katherine of Aragon, who became his first wife, until her “inability” to deliver a suitable heir destroyed their marriage. Henry’s wandering eye leads him to Mary Boleyn then to her sister, the infamous Anne Boleyn, as he begins divorcing his first wife.

 

Episode 2: Beheaded, Died

In Episode 2, viewers learn that Anne Boleyn was not necessarily the “harlot” described by history, but instead a strong and intelligent woman.  After Anne’s famous beheading, King Henry marries his professed “true love” Jane Seymour, who bore the King’s only son but died soon after the child’s birth.

 

Episode 3: Divorced, beheaded, Survived

Episode 3 takes place in Henry’s later years and traces the failed marriages he had with Anne of Cleves, whom he divorced, but who got a very good settlement and ended up as one of the richest women in England, and Catherine Howard, a teenager who Lucy discovers was exploited by older men from a young age. She was also beheaded. Henry remained married to his sixth wife, Katherine Parr, until his death.

 

Whether as witness to, participant in, or wry commentator on the marital dramas as they unfold, Worsley shines an empathetic light on the featured women and, in doing so, delivers a new take on the legend of King Henry VIII.