Six Lives: The Stories of Henry VIII&

Six Lives: The Stories of Henry VIII's Queens

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A richly illustrated book exploring the lives and legacies of Henry VIII's Queens 

What were the real life stories and legacies of the six women who married Henry VIII? Discover these extraordinary queens through the court culture that recorded and shaped their often tempestuous lives: their letters, heraldic devices, books, love tokens and, of course, their portraits. The women who married Henry VIII have come to be encapsulated in a six-word rhyme: ‘Divorced, Beheaded, Died / Divorced, Beheaded, Survived’. But what were their real stories and legacies? Six Lives: The Stories of Henry VIII's Queens reveals the extraordinary lives, and afterlives, of Katherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Katherine Parr.

A source of fascination to historians and writers down the centuries, each of the queens, and their relationship with the king, has been the subject extensive research and a source of creative inspiration. This publication focuses on the material traces of the queens and the court culture that shaped their lives, extensively illustrated with their letters, heraldic devices, books, love tokens and, of course, their portraits. The book begins with an examination of the women as cultural phenomena, looking at the ways in which their lives have inspired storytellers, from Shakespeare’s Henry VIII to the musical Six, and the role that portraiture has played in the performance of the queens’ stories.

An overview essay examines the queens’ self-presentation through portraiture before individual chapters consider each of their relationships with the king, their social and familial networks and their patronage. Each chapter is accompanied by a thematic piece written by an expert scholar, taking a closer look at an element of court culture, ranging from music and jewellery, to court pageantry and heraldry. The publication accompanies an exhibition of the same name at the National Portrait Gallery in Summer 2024.

  • Author: Charlotte Bolland
  • Hardcover: 224 pages | 170 colour illustrations
  • Date published: June 2024
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 9781855145290
  • Product Dimensions: 29.8 x 25.3 cm

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