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Antonia Fraser’s bestselling biography of Henry VIII’s six wives; a subject of enduring fascination.

The six wives of Henry VIII – Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anna of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Catherine Parr – have become defined in a popular sense not so much by their lives as by the way these lives ended.

But, as Antonia Fraser conclusively proves, they were rich and feisty characters. They may have been victims of Henry’s obsession with a male heir, but they were not willing victims. On the contrary, they displayed considerable strength and intelligence at a time when their sex supposedly possessed little of either.

Reviews

Fraser's book is lively, enjoyable and ... judicious
Susan Brigden, Observer
Henry VIII's matrimonial history is full of high farce, and Antonia Fraser is adept at exploiting her subject's comic possibilities. Yet for all the black humour, we are never allowed to forget that the story takes place against a backdrop of judicial murder, torture and religious persecution ... Henry's wives ... emerge from this supremely readable and ably researched biographical survey not simply as appendages to their husband, but as intriguing individuals in their own right
Anne Somerset, Literary Review
This is one of the best popular histories I have read in years, full of spice and anecdotes of the Tudor Court
Hilary Pratt, Irish Independent
Fulfils the promise of the title: it is solid biography ... Fraser must be commended for lengthy and arduous research and the production of another substantial history to please her many fans
Philippa Gregory, Sunday Times
[Fraser's] lovingly thorough approach to such rich material has resulted in a book of high drama. Six complex, vital characters step out from behind the familiar portraits with such startling, almost contemporary vividness that the Tudor court seems doubly barbaric by contrast
The Oldie
An intoxicating mixture of sex, sentiment and court intrigue
Sunday Times
Our leading historical entertainer, a writer whose command of sources, eye for detail, perception of character and shrewd judgement enable her to bring the past truthfully to life ... she lays bare the battle of the sexes among the early Tudor ruling classes in a way that has never been done before
Paul Johnson, Sunday Telegraph
Thank goodness this is not one more book about the old monster, but about the women in his life and from their point of view. It is a miracle of impartiality
A. L. Rowse, Evening Standard
Learned and serious
John Bossy, The Times