The Six Wives of Henry VIII

Antonia Fraser

Introduced by the author

The Six Wives of Henry VIII is Antonia Fraser’s groundbreaking historical biography of England’s most famous royal consorts – a critically acclaimed international bestseller presented in a lavishly illustrated Folio edition.

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Divorced, beheaded, died; divorced, beheaded, survived.

In popular memory, the wives of Henry VIII are defined by their fate. But in Antonia Fraser’s pioneering study, the six queens emerge as rich and fascinating characters in their own right, not just the helpless victims of Henry’s obsession with a male heir. The story she tells us is by turns romantic and cruel, funny and sad, dramatic and enthralling. An international bestseller from the doyenne of historical biography, The Six Wives of Henry VIII is enriched with 32 pages of colour illustrations. There are the famous portraits by Hans Holbein, miniatures by Lucas Horenbout and views by Anton van den Wyngaerde, as well as letters, prayer books and palace scenes – many from the Royal Collection, the National Portrait Gallery and the British Library. In a new introduction, Fraser revisits her classic work to discuss the challenges of bringing to life people who were ‘just like us – and in another sense, completely different.’

Bound in cloth blocked with a design by Jessica Hische and Cat Caudillo

Set in Vendetta

632 pages

Frontispiece plus 32 pages of colour illustrations, including a fold-out, decorated part-titles and chapter headings

2 family trees

Ribbon marker

Blocked slipcase

10˝ x 6¾˝

‘One of the best popular histories I have read in years, full of spice and anecdotes of the Tudor Court.’
  1. Irish Independent

The Six Wives of Henry VIII looks beyond stereotypes of ‘betrayed wife’, ‘temptress’ and ‘ugly sister’ to capture a richer and more fascinating portrait of each royal consort. Catherine of Aragon, queen for twice the time of all the others combined, stands out for her love of learning. Antonia Fraser absolves Anne Boleyn of everything but a sharp tongue – a warning that the shrewd and silent Jane Seymour took to heart. Anna of Cleves, little-regarded in many previous histories, emerges as a dignified and sympathetic figure. Fraser writes captivatingly on the tragedy of Katherine Howard, an ingenue far out of her depth in the Tudor court. And the book reveals how Catherine Parr’s zeal for religious reform could have condemned her to the same grisly fate as her predecessor, if not for her willingness to humble herself before the King. Bound in beautiful cloth gold-blocked with the emblems of all six queens, presented in a slipcase bearing their names – the work of lettering artists Jessica Hische and Cat Caudillo – this is a both a pioneering reappraisal of the lives of the six queens, and a supremely entertaining read.

About Antonia Fraser 

Antonia Fraser is a biographer and novelist, whose highly regarded series of historical biographies began with Mary Queen of Scots in 1969 and Cromwell, Our Chief of Men in 1973. Most recently she is the author of Lady Caroline Lamb. Her other books include a biography of Marie Antoinette and Must You Go?, a memoir of her life with the playwright Harold Pinter. As a novelist she is best known for the Jemima Shore series of detective stories. Fraser was awarded a DBE in 2011 for services to literature and is a Member of the Order of Companions of Honour. Her many awards include a Gold Dagger from the Crime Writers’ Association, the Historical Association's Medlicott Medal and the Wolfson History Prize for The Weaker Vessel, a social history of women’s lives in early modern England. 


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