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"As it is, a single son will not be enough, for children's lives are never completely certain. It is God's will whether they go on living or not. So I suppose the search for a wife will have to start all over again."
Beatrice Townhill[2]

Henry VIII's Wives is a historical fiction book written by Alison Prince. The book is a sequel to Prince's My Tudor Queen and Anne Boleyn and Me. It is the last book in the My Royal Story series and the only book in the series that was not a reprint of a previously published book. Henry VIII's Wives was published on March 7, 2011 by Scholastic UK.

Beatrice Townhill learns about King Henry VIII's first two wives from Eva De Puebla and Elinor Valjean, before going on to meet his other four wives over a twelve year period.

Book description[]

"On her 10th birthday in 1536 Beatrice meets the King and his new queen, Jane Seymour, at Greenwich Palace. That same day, her friends Eva and Elinor entrust her with their old diaries. Reading these, she comes to understand the lives of two earlier queens, Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn, as she enters the service of not just one of Henry's queens, but three."

Plot[]

On her tenth birthday in 1536, Beatrice Townhill receives a diary from her best friend Catherine "Kitty" Carey, whom lives at court. Beatrice lives with her parents in Greenwich. Her father is a royal huntsman to King Henry VIII, while she rarely sees her ill mother. Her father takes her to meet the King and his third wife, Jane Seymour, for her birthday. Afterwards, Beatrice later visits her new friends, Elinor Valjean and her mother Eva De Puebla, whom are renting a cottage nearby with their family. Elinor and Eva were previously ladies-in-waiting to Henry's first two wives, Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn. They lend their own diaries to Beatrice, whom learns all about court life from the books.

The following year, the Queen gives birth to a son Edward and dies a few days later of childbed fever. Henry begins searching for yet another wife, but with little success. In early 1539, Beatrice and her parents all catch smallpox. Beatrice survives, but becomes self-conscious of the scars. She lives with Eva and Elinor, before landing a job in the court's kitchens with Eva's son Will. Henry's advisor Thomas Cromwell convinces Henry to marry Anne of Cleves, a duke's daughter. Anne travels from Germany to marry Henry, who instantly finds her "repulsive." After marrying in early 1540, he immediately begins plotting on how to divorce her. Kitty, meanwhile, gets Beatrice a job as Anne's lady-in-waiting.

Henry becomes interested in Katherine Howard, a niece of the Duke of Norfolk. Anne consents to an annulment from her marriage to Henry, which becomes official in mid-1540. Happy about her easy concession, Henry grants her several privileges. He marries the young Katherine a few weeks later. Beatrice stays on as Katherine's lady-in-waiting. Henry is overjoyed with his new bride for several months, but lapses into his depressive moods during the winter. Unfortunately, Katherine's past love affairs come to Archbishop Cranmer's attention. Katherine was immediately locked up with one of her ladies-in-waiting. Her fate is sealed by a letter from her alluding to an affair with Thomas Culpeper.

After Katherine's execution, Beatrice marries Will. She stays with Elinor and Eva after her aunt and uncle offer her tenancy. Beatrice joins court again when Henry marries Katherine Parr. The following year, Beatrice gives birth to her first child, Joanna. Henry and Katherine's marriage remains peaceful, though her passion for religion nearly gets her in trouble. In 1547, Henry passes away at fifty-five. Katherine soon marries Thomas Seymour. Beatrice comes to work for her after giving birth to her son Rodrigo. Thomas begins acting inappropriately towards Katherine's stepdaughter, Elizabeth, causing a scandal. Elizbeth is then sent away. Katherine later dies after childbirth, which deeply saddens Beatrice.

Afterwards[]

On 20 March 1549, Beatrice returns to her diary after having left behind the court and its intrigues. She writes that Thomas Seymour was executed for high treason for attempting to gain control of the throne. Katherine's baby, Mary, is now left a destitute orphan. Beatrice and Will would gladly adopt her but they "do no count" due to their social status. She ends her diary saying "There is nothing we can do but watch the powerful at play and cry. Or laugh."

Historical Note[]

Henry VIII was famously married six times. His marriage to Catherine of Aragon lasted the longest, starting from his crowning as King in 1509. By 1527, Henry sought a divorce in order for him to marry Anne Boleyn, whom he hoped would give him a son. Archbishop Cranmer helped Henry establish a separate church from Rome, leading to Cranmer annulling Henry's marriage to Catherine. In 1533, he married Anne but their marriage lasted only three years, before she was executed for alleged adultery. Henry then wed Jane Seymour, whom died in 1537 after giving birth to Edward VI. His next marriage to Anne of Cleves resulted in an uncontested divorce in 1540.

After Anne of Cleaves, Henry married the sixteen-year-old Katherine Howard. When rumors of her past came to light, she was executed like her cousin Anne Boleyn. Henry's last wife was Katherine Parr, whom he stayed with until his death in 1547. She outlived him by a little over a year. Henry was succeeded by Edward, whose short reign was followed by his sister Mary until her death in 1558. Henry and Anne's daughter Elizabeth I went on to rule for forty-five years, ending the Tudor dynasty with her death. The section includes a timeline on events related to Henry, his wives, and children.

Characters[]

Main article: List of Henry VIII's Wives characters

Author[]

Main article: Alison Prince

Alison Prince was a British children's author whom wrote over fifty books. She was best known for writing the children's television series, Trumpton in 1967. Henry VIII's Wives is her third and final book for the My Story series. Her previous books, My Tudor Queen and Anne Boleyn and Me, serve as prequels to Henry VIII's Wives, which was written at the request of young fans.[3]

Shared continuity[]

Henry VIII's Wives was preceded by My Tudor Queen in 2001 and Anne Boleyn and Me in 2004. The two books follow Eva De Puebla and Elinor Valjean, whom Beatrice meets in Henry VIII's Wives. Excerpts from the previous books are included in the third book for context.

Notes[]

  • The cover of the book was illustrated by Richard Jones, whom was also the illustrator on all of the books for the first relaunch of My Story.

References[]

See also[]


My Story
Original

The Hunger | Voyage on the Great Titanic | The Crystal Palace | Blitz | My Tudor Queen | Twentieth-Century Girl
The Great Plague | The '45 Rising | Civil War | Trafalgar | The Trenches | Battle of Britain | Mill Girl | Transported
Armada | Crimea | Bloody Tower | Indian Mutiny | Zulu War | Mayflower | Agincourt | Suffragette | Waterloo | Slave Girl
Flying Ace | Anne Boleyn and Me | D-Day | Victorian Workhouse | Spy Smuggler | Desert Danger | War Nurse
U-Boat Hunter | The Queen's Spies

1st relaunch

Princess of Egypt | Pompeii | Road to War | Roman Invasion | Viking Blood | Highway Girl | Sophie's Secret War
The Storm to Come | The Sweep's Boy | The Fall of the Blade | Pyramid of Secrets | Factory Girl | Dodger!
No Way Back | Wartime Princess | London Stories | Berlin Olympics | Lady Jane Grey | Nowhere to Run

2nd relaunch

Codename Céline

3rd relaunch

Noor-un-Nissa Inayat Khan | Ignatius Sancho | Princess Sophia Duleep Singh | Mary Prince

My Royal Story

Victoria | Anastasia | Cleopatra | Marie Antoinette | Elizabeth | Mary, Queen of Scots | Henry VIII's Wives

My True Story

What If They Find Us? | Hero at Dunkirk | Standing Alone | Give Us the Vote!


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