Attractive, wealthy and influential, and a favourite of King Henry VIII, Katherine Willoughby knew all his six wives, his daughters Mary and Elizabeth, and his son Edward, so how did this daughter of a proud Catholic become a champion of religious reform and risk her life for the Protestant cause when Queen Mary Tudor came to the throne?
Catherine Parr, the sixth and last wife of Henry VIII, is popularly known as the wife who 'survived', but why did Henry choose her, and how did she feel about becoming his queen?
Although her story lacks the tragic romance of Anne Boleyn, the scandal of Catherine Howard, or the politics surrounding the life of Anne of Cleves, I hope to show that Catherine Parr was the cleverest of Henry VIII's six wives.
Historian Elizabeth Norton, in her book on Catherine Parr says, ‘the woman who would become the sixth and last queen of Henry VIII was born into a prominent, but not royal family, and during her childhood, Catherine can never have dreamt of the future that lay in store for her.’
Katherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII, reigned as queen from the 28th of July 1540 to the 22nd of November 1541, and is often described as naive at best, at worst wanton and reckless. As always, the truth is more complex, and in this podcast we’ll explore the known facts.
In this podcast I’ll be looking at the life of the fourth wife of Henry VIII, Anna of Cleves. I had to research her story for my new book, Katherine Tudor Duchess, about Katherine Willoughby, who was the senior lady sent by King Henry, with her husband Charles Brandon, to welcome Anna when she first arrived in England. The shortest reigning of all Henry’s queens, Anna of Cleves outlived them all.
Jane Seymour, the third wife of King Henry VIII, is often portrayed as being shy and even boring and described as the opposite of Anne Boleyn, passive and introvert, but of course the truth is far more complex.
Her short reign was during the often chaotic events of the reformation, and she must have struggled with her conscience as a devout Catholic when the Church of England was established.
One chronicler of the time said Jane Seymour was the most beautiful of all Henry’s wives, noting that when she donned her queenly regalia no woman was more beautiful - while others described her as pale and unattractive. Which is likely to be true?
We think we know a lot about Anne Boleyn, but even the familiar portrait of her has been challenged as a good likeness – and it’s not certain what year she was born in. Her enemies delighted in stories about her being a witch who’d used unfair means to entrance poor King Henry VIII. To the supporters of Henry’s first wife, Catherine of Aragon, she bewitched Henry VIII away from his true wife and the true religion of Catholicism. To her supporters, she was an intelligent, cultured and graceful lady with great drive and ambition.
When Henry VIII married Catherine, she was an auburn-haired beauty in her twenties with a passion she had inherited from her parents, Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon, the joint-rulers of Spain.
This daughter of conquistadors showed the same steel and King Henry was to learn, to his cost, that he had not met a tougher opponent on or off the battlefield when he tried to divorce her.
Handsome, charismatic and a champion jouster, Sir Charles Brandon is the epitome of a Tudor Knight. A favourite of King Henry VIII, Brandon has a secret. He has fallen in love with Henry’s sister, Mary Tudor, the beautiful widowed Queen of France, and risks everything to marry her without the King’s consent.
Brandon becomes Duke of Suffolk, but his loyalty is tested fighting Henry’s wars in France. Mary’s public support for Queen Catherine of Aragon brings Brandon into dangerous conflict with the ambitious Boleyn family and the king’s new right-hand man, Thomas Cromwell.
Torn between duty to his family and loyalty to the king, Brandon faces an impossible decision: can he accept Anne Boleyn as his new queen?
Links to all my books can be found at https://www.tonyriches.com/
Prince Arthur was heir to the throne of England and the embodiment of the union between Lancaster and York. His wedding to the young and beautiful Catherine of Aragon was one of the first great events of Henry's reign. Then, at the age of fifteen, Arthur's sudden death changed history.
What changed Henry VIII from a renaissance prince into the 'tyrant' we know in his later rule? In this podcast I take a look at the theories and evidence for the possible causes, as well as talk about some of the less well know facts about King Henry.