Six Wives with Lucy Worsley
Documentary series featuring dramatic reconstruction in which Lucy Worsley revisits key events in the lives of Henry VIII’s six wives, revealing how each attempted to exert influence on the king and the Tudor court. Lucy delves into records of private moments and personal feelings in the women’s lives that ended up shaping the course of history.
This episode follows the emotional and physical struggles of Katherine of Aragon as she strove to give Henry the male heir he so desired. As Henry’s eye wandered over the women at court, Anne Boleyn, not wishing to be cast aside as her sister Mary had been, repeatedly rejected the king’s advances and insisted on marriage.
Henry set about trying to arrange an annulment, but Katherine was defiant and passionately defended her position.
This episode follows the end of Henry’s marriage to Katherine of Aragon, made possible by Henry’s rejection of Catholicism and the pope, with him setting himself up as head of the Church of England. He marries his second wife, Anne Boleyn, and she gives birth to a baby girl, Elizabeth. After rumours spread that Anne has been unfaithful to the king, she is arrested and executed, leaving Henry free to marry Jane Seymour. Jane gives birth to a son, Edward, but Henry’s joy is overshadowed by grief as Jane dies 12 days later.
This episode follows Henry’s marriage annulment to Anne of Cleves due to non-consummation. Middle-aged Henry then marries teenager Catherine Howard two weeks later, only for her to be convicted of treason and beheaded. Henry’s last wife, Katherine Parr, was a good stepmother to his children, but her religious views differed greatly from the king’s. Her book, Prayers or Meditations, was the first book to be written in English by a woman, but its popularity threatened Henry’s advisors. Lucy observes as Katherine narrowly escapes being arrested for treason.
Henry dies and his son Edward VI takes the throne. Katherine remarries and gets pregnant, but tragically dies a week after the baby is born.