Secrets of the Six Wives - Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard, and Catherine Parr - Divorced, Beheaded, Survived
Good morning, today we are concluding the Secrets of the Six Wives series. In the previous episode, Henry VIII had executed one wife and buried the third wife. Today, we are going to finish up the series with the final three wives: Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard, and Catherine Parr. Catherine of Aragon failed to give him a son and he deserted her after twenty-four years of marriage to Anne Boleyn. Anne failed to adjust to life as Henry VIII’s wife and so was dispatched. Jane Seymour succeeded where Catherine and Anne failed by giving Henry VIII a son but she died twelve days later. Henry VIII is in mourning after the death of Jane Seymour. Jane Seymour was the perfect wife because she gave him a son. The run time for this documentary is 55:29.
This concluding episode starts with Henry VIII playing one of his tricks. Only this time the king is forty-eight years old and the trick he is playing on is a woman he has never met. This woman would be destined to be his fourth queen: Anne of Cleves. What would happen as a result of this trick would force Anne of Cleves to go down in history as Henry VIII’s ugly wife. So why was Henry pushed into this marriage?
Henry VIII was pushed into marriage this time around. His advisors wanted to have more allies around England. So, they went far and wide for a suitable marriage candidate. However, Henry’s reputation on the continent was not that good and potential brides turned him down. One candidate said that “if she had two heads, she would be happy to marry Henry.” It took two years for Henry to find wife number four. A noblewoman named Anne of Cleves would be settled on and although English history would remember her as Henry’s ugly wife, Anne was a clever woman who survived Henry VIII.
As Anne made her way to England, she took the time to learn about Henry. She wanted to get up to speed with court etiquette. However, the courtiers failed to teach her about Henry’s tricks. So when he burst in on her dressed as a knave, she reacted very badly. This turned Henry off from marrying her, however as excuses not to marry vanished, he had to surrender to the yoke of marriage. He would call her ugly, despite what contemporaries had to say of Anne.
This would be one of the shortest of Henry’s marriages as he turned his wandering eye to a young noblewoman named Catherine Howard. Catherine was a new arrival at court and the King was smitten with her. Just six months after she arrived, Anne was sent to live at Richmond Palace. Anne of Cleves held out for a settlement when the marriage ended: she would be known as the King’s Sister and was given two palaces and an entourage of servants. Anne would become one of the richest women in England and would outlive Henry VIII and his other wives. She was a canny woman, who was a survivor.
However, Henry’s fifth queen was not all as she seemed. She was a young woman with a past. Henry was unaware of the past and believed her to be the perfect queen. She had a secret lover while married to the King. So why did she continue with the affair? Was she a willing participant or was she a victim? When she met her lover one week, the court noticed and gossip started swirling. A letter was left for the King to find in the Royal Chapel. This letter highlighted some scandalous details about Catherine’s past. What would Henry do about this letter? What about Catherine Parr? How would she survive King Henry VIII? Tune into the rest of this episode to find out more.
After finishing this series would this be a docudrama I would in the classroom? Yes, it would be something I would show in the classroom. The reenactments are excellent and Lucy provides excellent narration both in modern and period clothing. The period clothing is excellently done as well. If you do not have time to show this in the classroom setting, then you can mine the series, especially the reenactments for clips to show as part of a lecture.
The downside of Lucy’s series is that it does not go to four episodes as David Starkey’s did. He covered Catherine of Aragon in the first episode, Anne Boleyn in the second episode, Jane Seymour and Anne of Cleves in the third episode, and concluded with Catherine Howard and Catherine Parr. It would have been nice to see the last four wives split up in this way.
Good morning, we are continuing with our exploration of the Secrets of the Six Wives with episode two and wife number two and wife number three: Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour. In the previous episode about Catherine of Aragon, we learn about Anne, her childhood, her sister Mary, and her time in the court of Queen Claude of France. Lucy discussed the letters Henry VIII wrote to Anne and how they ended up in the Vatican Archive. This Queen was highly intelligent and driven. In the end, she badly miscalculates her hand. The run time for this episode is 57:35 on the DVD version of this series.
It is 1530 and England has two Queens. It is one of the strangest times in England. Anne has moved into Greenwich Palace and is living side by side with Catherine of Aragon. Henry VIII is increasingly impatient with the divorce proceedings. Catherine and Henry were heard arguing over the divorce. Catherine refused to accept the divorce and demotion. Henry meets up with Anne after he meets with Catherine.
Mythologies surround Anne Boleyn. She was a homewrecker. She was a goggled-eyed whore. She was an adulteress. She was the pretty young thing who stole a woman’s husband. Anne has had a hard time with historians. She was clever and ambitious; however, she was a woman who had little choice. This was one thing that Claire Ridgeway explored in her blog about Anne Boleyn. There was one blog post that explored the possibility that she demanded to be Queen because it was the one thing that Henry could not give her. Anne hoped that by demanding to be Queen, Henry would be put off the scent so to speak, and leave her alone. Henry on the other hand saw her demand as a challenge and continued to pursue her. The theory is an interesting one to put on the table.
Now that that sidebar has been addressed, let us get back to the saga of Anne and Catherine. Henry believed that Anne could give him the son that he so desperately craved. Catherine could not do that and was becoming increasingly bitter. After this argument, Henry sent Catherine away to Windsor Castle. Henry and Anne traveled to England, acting like a married couple. Henry’s subjects hated Anne and preferred Catherine. Catherine was popular with the people and after she was sent to Windsor, Henry ordered her moved to the Monastery of St. Albans. She would be separated from her daughter Mary and she would never see Mary again.
With Catherine out of the way, Anne finally agreed to consummate their relationship. Soon after Anne discovered that she was pregnant. Events moved swiftly; Henry decided to declare his divorce after the Pope refused. When Henry declared that he was divorced from Catherine, he could marry Anne. By cutting out the Pope, Henry opened the door for people themselves to decide how to approach God. Henry married Anne in secret and then four months later, Anne was crowned Queen in public. By crowning her in public, Henry was declaring that Anne was his wife and that she was Queen.
However, the happiness was not to last. The power Anne had over Henry was starting to slip away. Before Anne went into confinement, she expressed the wish for Henry to remain faithful to her. A king had his needs and Anne could not meet them while they were pregnant. Henry told Anne that he would continue to seek the other company of women and told Anne to look the other way. Anne did not want to tolerate Henry’s affairs as Catherine did.
Anne gave birth to a baby and this would prove a disappointment to Henry. She gave birth to Princess Elizabeth, and her parents would not know that she would be England’s Greatest Queen. Princess Elizabeth’s birth did not solve the King’s problem: he needed a male heir. The pressure was on Anne. Would Anne crack under the pressure? Would Henry continue his affairs? Would Henry ever get his male heir? Tune into the rest of this episode to find out.
This would be an excellent episode to show in the classroom, this particular episode is better than David Starkey’s episode on Anne Boleyn.
David Starkey, if I recall, did not mention the episode where Anne mentioned to a courtier that he would love to marry her. The TV Series Wolf Hall was the first time I heard of that episode and then Lucy mentioned it too. Even period dramas do not mention this, at least until Wolf Hall.
Good morning, I am going to do Lucy Worsley’s Secrets of the Six Wives. This series is available on Amazon Prime and it was shown on PBS. You can also purchase the DVD of this series. Lucy Worsley explores the story of the six wives behind the scenes. She turns to the historical record about these wives. This series has the feeling of a docudrama and Lucy dresses up as a Tudor Servant as she explores the lives of the women. The first episode covers Catherine of Aragon, King Henry VIII’s first wife. The run time for this episode is 57:35, this time is listed on the DVD of the series.
Catherine of Aragon’s story begins at court and she is being attended by her ladies. She plays cards with her Lady-in-Waiting Maria. There is a group of men making their way to her apartments. Catherine hears something outside the door so one of her ladies checks. She opens the door. There is nobody, but then they are suddenly greeted with the shouts of men. It is a young Henry VIII scaring his wife. Catherine does not appreciate the joke but then all is well. The Kings spend the night with the queen. This young Henry is faithful to his Spanish Queen. It was said that if he had to do it all over, he would still choose to marry her.
Henry has been King of England for nine months and Queen Catherine is pregnant. They were a love match. Lucy is exploring the life of Catherine of Aragon. Catherine of Aragon grew up in Spain and ambition was instilled in her by her mother Queen Isabella of Castile and King Ferdinand of Aragon. She grew up at the Alhambra Palace. The Alhambra was a great favorite of Catherine’s and was the site of battles. Queen Isabella was known as the Warrior Queen. At the age of three, Catherine was betrothed to Prince Arthur of England. Her destiny would be to leave Spain and become Queen of England. Lucy explores Catherine’s marriage to Prince Arthur and her eventual marriage to King Henry. She then transitions to Queen Catherine’s confinement for Catherine’s first pregnancy. This pregnancy would end in disaster for the Queen.
Catherine would soon fall pregnant again and this time she would carry the baby to term. This time she would give birth to a son. There were grand celebrations after the birth of the son. Unfortunately, the celebrations were short-lived, the baby prince would die after seven weeks. This devastated the royal couple.
In the meantime, Henry was planning to go to war with France. When he left the English shores, he left Catherine in charge. With Henry gone, the King of Scotland invaded England. Catherine rallied the English forces to defeat the Scots. The Scotts were routed at the Battle of the Flodden Field. The English Generals brought her the coat of the Scottish King, however, she wanted to see the body to prove that he was dead. She sent the Scottish King’s coat onto Henry in France. She also sent the news that she was pregnant again. Would this baby survive? Or would Catherine have a third failed pregnancy?
What does Lucy discover about Catherine’s marriage to Henry? Would Catherine carry a surviving son? What would be the price of Catherine’s failure? Who were the Bolyens? Tune into the rest of this episode to find out!
Would I show this series on Henry VIII’s Six Wives in the classroom? Yes I would, this would be my second choice. Lucy does a fantastic job of going behind the scenes in Henry VIII’s court and looks at the story of the wives.
If I find an easily accessible copy of David Starkey’s Six Wives of Henry VIII series, I will do a review on that series as well because I want to compare and contrast these documentaries with each other. It would be very tempting to find an easily accessible copy of Susannah Lipscomb’s and Dan Jones’ series on the Six Wives as well. If I recall correctly, David Starkey addressed the Battle of the Flodden Field and that Catherine wanted to send Henry the King of Scotland’s body. Starkey also addressed how Catherine’s appearance changed after pregnancy after pregnancy, which would have altered Catherine’s appearance. As far as the Great Matter is concerned, Lucy did not mention that a forbidden book found its way into Henry’s possession which would have inspired Henry to take the divorce proceedings out of England. Again, that last section is from memory and it has been years since I watched David Starkey’s presentation.
Good morning, we are working on our explorations of Women in history by looking at the relationship between two sisters Anne and Mary Boleyn. Anne Boleyn is often vilified as the other woman. Mary is known as a fool and a whore. Anne is remembered in history and Mary is a fleeting thought. What does this say about their relationship? The run time for this documentary is 43:12.
The pair is notorious. Little is known about their lives. Even their portraits are disputed. It is not even certain when they were born. The Boleyns were important, but they were still a modest family. Mary is often assumed to be the oldest and even evidence is that is not clear. Much of their childhood was spent in Kent and Hever Castle. Thomas Boleyn, their father was a rising star at court. He insisted on education for his daughters.
Anne was smarter and more forward. She was sent to Europe and she was sent to the Court of the Archduchess Margaret of Austria. This court was considered a finishing school for kids. Margaret of Austria’s court was known as flamboyant and the archduchess was a kind woman. Margaret grew fond of the young Anne. Unfortunately, Mary was left behind. However, her turn was to come. When Henry VIII’s sister married the French King, Mary Boleyn went to France. Unfortunately, the French king died and was replaced by Francis. Anne would eventually join up with Mary in the French court. The French Queen Claude kept Anne on. Queen Claude was an educated woman. Anne would remain in France for seven years. Mary soon caught the attention of the French King.
Eventually, Mary was sent back to England. She was to get married and Henry VIII attended the wedding. They soon began an affair after the marriage. Eventually, Anne was sent back to England because tensions between France and England were rising. Anne would join Mary at court. Mary was Henry VIII’s mistress and Anne was in the background. Eventually, Anne caught Henry VIII’s attention. He becomes obsessed with Anne. Anne refused to become Henry VIII’s mistress and retreated to Hever Castle for two years. Was this an attempt to make Henry VIII back off?
However, Henry would not be refused and he made it clear that he wanted to marry Anne. He was going to divorce his wife Catherine and was going to marry Anne. Anne had the choice to become a nun or marry Henry. Henry’s plans were nearly derailed when Anne became sick with the sweating sickness. Anne survived, but Mary’s husband died leaving Mary a widow to care for two small children. Anne intervened to make sure Mary got help and a pension. Anne would take Mary’s son on as a ward. Mary would eventually get away from court. The Boleyn family had other concerns: the divorce proceedings were going slow.
Henry was furious that he was not given a divorce and blamed Worsley for his failure in securing the annulment. Worsley also was spreading rumors that Henry would cast Anne aside to help secure the divorce. Anne was furious and Worsley left London. He would die before he faced charges of treason. Anne found a new ally in Thomas Cromwell and he had ideas as to how to secure the divorce. Catherine was sent away from court and Henry married Anne in secret. Anne was already pregnant. The Boleyns were now the most prominent family in England. Would this supremacy last?
Anne was crowned Queen. Henry VIII arranged days of celebrations for the coronation. She was a woman who had grabbed the king. He was genuinely in love with her. However, the public hated Anne. When Mary returned to court, she bore the brunt of public hatred. Her second time at court was an unhappy one. However, everything was for naught when Anne gave him a daughter. Fissures started to appear in the marriage: Anne could not adjust to life as a queen. She and Henry quarreled frequently. To learn more about Anne, Mary, and Henry VIII continue to watch the rest of this episode.
I was not going to do this documentary because I was worried about being Tudor-heavy in this blog. However, since it does fit in with Women’s history month I thought I would take the chance and do it. This would be more appropriate for research purposes.
Good morning, we are continuing our dive into women in history. This time I am going to look into a woman who ended the Wars of the Roses: Margaret Beaufort. Historian Dan Jones is finally giving this woman her due. The run time for this documentary is 45:07.
Over 600 Years ago, England was torn apart by bloody battles in the struggle for the throne. The crown changed hands seven times. It all came to an end at Bosworth Field. Henry Tudor, a minor noble, beat Richard III and became the first Tudor King. How does this nobody become king? Who orchestrated his rise to the throne? It all came down to a woman. A woman who plotted and schemed behind the scenes to protect her only son. It is a woman who ends the Wars of the Roses. She is the one who put her son Henry Tudor on England’s throne.
Margaret Beaufort was her name and her story begins in a Welsh Castle. She is thirteen years old and is giving birth to her son. Even by the standards of the day, she is young to be pregnant and the birth is traumatic for Margaret. She will never have another child. Margaret gives birth to a son and names him Henry. This pair will change the history of England. From the start, they are in a struggle for survival. Her husband had died, leaving her a widow, and would be considered helpless. Her only protector is her husband brother’s, Jasper Tudor. Jasper’s power to protect her is limited. Jasper was the half-brother of the King. So as long as the King is on the throne, they are safe. However, the king is useless. The throne is under attack, threatening everything Margaret loves, especially her son the infant Henry.
Margaret has to gather her thoughts. She knows what she must do: she must find a new husband. This means she would leave her son behind in the care of her brother-in-law. She cannot take Henry with her. Despite the pain, Margaret is a ruthless pragmatist and knows baby Henry will be cared for. Margaret is taking her fate into her own hands when she searches for her new husband. She wants control over her own destiny: she wants the power to protect herself and her son.
Henry Stafford becomes her second husband. He comes from an important noble family. As a second son, Margaret brings him wealth. Together, they have the ingredients to prosper in the Medieval World. This is a marriage of mutual respect and affection. However, things turned upside down for Margaret when King Henry VI’s army is annihilated and Edward IV becomes king. The Beaufort Family is on the losing side of the battle. Henry Stafford is taken prisoner and her son is seized by Edward IV’s men. The infant has grown into a five-year-old child.
Henry is brought up as a prisoner in the countryside. He would have been afforded the status of becoming his nobility. He is safe from harm for now. However, little Henry is stripped of all his lands. During this time land equals power and security. Without his lands, little Henry’s position is shaky. So, Margaret works to try to get her son’s lands restored to him. She ingratiates herself with the new King. She turns her enemies into friends. Henry Stafford swears loyalty to the new king and gains a pardon. Eventually, an estate is restored to Margaret.
Unfortunately, things change again and the newly crowned King is forced to run for his life. Henry VI is released from the tower and is back on the throne. Margaret seizes the opportunity to get her son’s lands back. It is a risky trip to London because she had cozied up to Edward IV. However, Margaret presents her fourteen-year-old son Henry to the newly restored King. King Henry VI told his nephew and namesake that one day he would sit on the throne of England. However, Margaret’s world gets turned upside down again. How would Margaret cope with the changes again? How could this one woman maneuver her son to the throne? Tune into the rest of this episode to find out!
This documentary was a fascinating look at Margaret Beaufort and is persuasive to the fact that it was a woman working behind the scenes to end the War of the Roses. It seems that in history classes her story gets lost in all the battles of the Wars of the Roses. I would show this documentary to a history class because not only it tells Margaret’s story, it is a good summary of the Wars of the Roses.
Good morning, we are continuing with our exploration into women’s history for March by taking look at the story of Queen Boudicca. She leads a revolt against Rome. The run time for this documentary is 1:06:01.
Queen Boudicca was the queen of King Prasutagus. Together they were the leaders of the Iceni Tribe. When the Romans invaded Britain, King Prasutagus negotiated peace with Rome and became an ally of the Romans. It was after the King died, that trouble began. The Romans humiliated her, so Boudicca and the Iceni rose against them. She was the one woman who humiliated the Romans. So who was the historical Boudicca?
Boudicca was little known in history until a poem was published about her. Thomas Cowper, was the poet who memorialized her and the poem seized the public imagination. She became a hero to the British. Scholars debated the origins of her name until Boudicca was set. How could this tribal leader become such an important figure in British history?
Britain was at the edge of the known empire. Their isolation helped them develop their culture, their own character, and their language. However, newcomers would come across the sea. They would establish a ruling warrior class. The people in Britain developed their cultures by adopting new ideas. Even with the English Channel dividing Britain from the Continent new ideas could find their way into Britain. Each tribe in England developed differently over the years. Some were farmers, others were warriors who raided to survive. Each region had a different style of housing as well.
However, there was another group set on invasion: the Romans. They would launch their invasion during the winter and they would be led by Julius Caesar. The soldiers would not have been thrilled with a winter. It would take one hundred years for the Romans to fully take over Britain. It would take Emperor Claudius to finish what Caesar had started. Rome would for the British tribes to change.
The first tribal group to ally with Rome was the Iceni. The Iceni king was known as a friend to Rome and was a client kingdom. The story of the Roman conquest of Britain continued as Romans built settlements and conquered the people. Nero would eventually become Emperor and the Iceni would face new challenges. The King of the Iceni died suddenly, leaving his wife and children behind. It was his death that would change everything for Boudicca. The King would divide his property between his daughters and the emperor.
However, the Romans demanded a full inventory of the King’s estate. Queen Boudicca was whipped and her daughters were raped. This would be the catalyst to help trigger the Iceni uprising. Additionally, the Romans demanded higher and higher tributes and stole people to make them slaves. Queen Boudicca had enough and would gather the Iceni together to rebel against Rome. How would this one woman be the one to humiliate the Romans? Tune into the rest of this documentary to find out.
There is something old-school about this documentary, I cannot put my finger on why I get the old-school vibe. The first part of the documentary was a summary of the world Boudicca was part of. It went way too long. It took about 20:00 before the narrator finally addressed the Iceni. The writers could have cut down on the setup by about ten minutes, therefore getting into Boudicca’s story quicker. Another thing that I found annoying was that there was another ten-minute discussion on the continued Roman invasion of Britain after a quick mention of the Iceni. Then the Iceni would get mentioned again, then there was the mentioning of the Druids’ Final Last Stand in Anglesey. Although nice because I remember Time Team doing a dig on that site, it was something that I was not looking for in a documentary on Boudicca. The title for this documentary is deceptive. There were times when I felt that this documentary was not about Boudicca but rather the Roman Invasion of Britain.
This documentary was definitely a rambling piece of work. If you wanted to learn more about Queen Boudicca and the Iceni and the rebellion against skip this documentary. If you want to learn more about the invasion of Britain then you can show this documentary in a classroom.
Sophie Scholl was a woman who fought back against the Nazis during World War II. Her childhood was ordinary. She had two brothers and two sisters. Her father was the mayor of a small town. Eventually, the family moved and the family had only each other to rely on. As a child, she joined the Hitler Youth but would eventually she would turn against Hitler. What were the events that turned her against Hitler? Why did she turn against Hitler? The run time for this documentary is 51:09.
Sophie’s story starts with a trip to the stationer’s shop with a friend. She is looking to purchase paper. She requests one thousand sheets of paper. Her friend is shocked by the request. The shopkeeper assumes that she is purchasing the paper to write her love. He does not have one thousand sheets but brings Sophie one hundred sheets due to rationing. Sophie purchases the paper and shoves them in her bag. Her friend is immediately suspicious about the purchase. Sophie challenges her friend by stating that if the men will not rise up against Hitler, then the woman would.
Then Sophie’s story flashes back to her childhood. She talks about her father the mayor and how they moved. Hitler came into power and Sophie and her siblings were thrilled with Hitler. Their parents were nervous about Hitler. Sophie’s father was a pacificist and her mother was a devoted woman. One by one Sophie’s siblings joined the Hitler Youth. Eventually, Sophie joined the Hitler Youth. Her father was unhappy with his children joining the Hitler Youth. Sophie’s siblings argue with her father over why the Hitler Youth was a good thing. Her father is skeptical.
Sophie moved up the ranks in the Hitler Youth. However, she still loved music, dancing, and boys. She and the young people would meet up at a friend’s house to listen to music and dance. It was here she would meet a new boy. Things changed when the family received a visit from the Gestapo. The Scholl family house was searched and Sophie and three of her siblings were arrested. They were accused of being part of illegal youth organizations. They were kept in a local jail for questioning. Her brother was in jail for weeks for reading illegal books and listening to illegal music. Sophie was shocked that a government would arrest and imprison children.
Then the war started, and Sophie’s father was right about war coming. Sophie kept up a correspondence with her soldier friend. When he had military leave they would get away. They would go and pass for a married couple. Sophie was recruited to another organization where she and the young woman would be taught the correct way to work. It was terrible and Sophie was forced to work in the agricultural sector.
Eventually, Sophie moved to Munich for university, and a new world was opened to her. Then Hitler invaded Russia and there were failures on the front. Then someone handed her a pamphlet from the organization of the White Rose. She read it and started questioning everything. Soon she discovered that her brother Hans was part of the organization. She wanted to join up with the organization but Hans did not want her to. She eventually did join up with the organization and took part in distributing leaflets.
She distributed leaflets throughout major German cities and even went to Austria. It was risky. They tricked the Gestapo into believing that the network was far and wide. However, the organization had only a handful of students. The Gestapo was determined to find out who was behind the White Rose. The White Rose took on more risks and worked to distribute more leaflets. They had a copy machine and worked to write slogans on buildings. The war continued to go badly for Germany and the losses kept mounting on the Eastern Front. What would happen to Sophie and the White Rose organization? Continue to watch this episode to find out more.
This would be an excellent documentary to share during the World War II section in history. If you have a student doing a biography on Sophie Scholl then I would recommend this documentary.
Good morning, we are continuing with our Women Who Made History Series. These stories have been interesting to watch and I hope that there can be more episodes in the future of Women Who Made History. This time we are going to explore the life of Catherine the Great: The run time for this episode is 48:32.
Catherine was born Princess Sophie Auguste Friederike von Anhalt-Zerbst. She was chosen to become the bride of the next heir to the Russian Throne: Peter. It was a journey of several months thousands of miles. It was the chance of a lifetime for Sophie and her family. She had to prove herself worthy to be Peter’s bride. When she arrived in Russia, she made a clean break from her past and became fully Russian. How would Catherine adjust to life in Russia?
This story starts off with the arrival of Catherine and her mother at a tavern. There they encounter a riotous crowd. Catherine’s mother hates the crowd while Catherine revels in the atmosphere. Her birth was a disappointment to her mother because she was neither a boy nor a pretty baby. However, things changed for Sophie when she was chosen to be the bride of Grand Duke Peter. The journey to Russia was a challenge, made even more challenging for Sophie because of the cutting her mother made her.
They arrived in Moscow where they could meet with Empress Elizabeth. It is here that Sophie meets up with her lady in waiting. It was here Sophie would learn her first lessons in the court of Empress Elizabeth. There was no privacy in the palace, even the walls had ears. Upon arrival in Moscow, Sophie meets Empress Elizabeth and her future husband.
Sophie would then convert to Orthodoxy and become Catherine. After this conversion, she married Peter. Catherine’s mother soon left the court and she would be left alone with her husband. Catherine would leave the past behind her and become immersed in Russian culture. She started learning Russian. While Catherine immersed herself in Russian culture and the Russian language, her husband Peter refused to adapt to his new country. He loved everything Prussian and felt like becoming the next Emperor was a punishment. He was also more interested in playing with toy soldiers than Catherine.
The pressure was on for the pair of them to have children. After eight years of marriage, there still was not a child. Catherine was failing in her holy duty of motherhood. The days stretched and Catherine grew bored with her life. She started reading, first novels and then history books. Books gave her something to think about other than court gossip and clothing. Empress Elizabeth stepped in. Catherine would meet someone who would break this cycle of boredom.
Catherine met Sergei Saltkow when the young court was at a hunting party. They became lovers and Catherine was soon pregnant. The news delighted Empress Elizabeth, she was relieved when Catherine told her the news. Sergei was sent away from court with the news. She would give birth to a baby boy. Empress Elizabeth took the baby away. Others would determine Paul’s fate. Catherine on the other hand was determined to make her own way in court. Catherine found her own amusements in court and eventually she took another lover: Gregory Orlov. Then there were others.
After eighteen years in the Russian Court, Empress Elizabeth fell ill. Events started swirling around and everyone jockeyed for position in the new government. Peter kept up to date on Elizabeth’s condition as well as the condition of the young Ivan. Ivan was a prisoner of Elizabeth and a contender for the Russian throne. Eventually, Empress Elizabeth died and Grand Duke Peter would become Emperor. Would Catherine rule by his side? How would Peter handle ruling the largest kingdom in Europe? How would Catherine navigate these troubled waters? Tune into the rest of this episode to find out more about Catherine.
This documentary has some mature content so this documentary should be for older students and students who can handle the content. So I would show this to a college history class. It would recommend this for college independent study students as well.
Good morning, we are continuing our way through the Women who Made History series with a look at Queen Elizabeth I. it will be interesting to see how the Germans interpret England’s Greatest Queen. The run time is 48:34, a little shorter than the other Women Who Made History documentaries.
She was a woman who fought since she was born. Men, queens, and half of Europe fought her. Queen Elizabeth I was the Queen of England and the head of the church. She had faced many storms along the way. Two queens wanted her dead. Men wanted to marry her to have the throne. The Spanish declared the war on her. The Pope wanted her dead as well. How could this lone woman navigate such stormy waters?
The episode kicks off with the Spanish Armada and the attempted invasion of England. The Spanish Armada consisted of one hundred and thirty ships and these ships had thirty thousand soldiers on them. Elizabeth is afraid that England is lost. However, she prepares her speech to give to the troops. She talks about how she dislikes war and how it is a waste of money.
Elizabeth’s story flashes back to her father’s rule: King Henry VIII. Her birth was a disappointment to him as she could not rule. Towards the end of his life, Henry had three children. This section explores how she grew up in the country. She learned everything that a royal princess needed to learn. However, she was a child thirsty for knowledge and got the best teachers. She was an extraordinary child who had a sharp mind. She had the best education and was better educated at fifteen than most men. She was prepared to fight for England’s crown.
Things started to change when Mary I became queen. Mary went after the heretics hard and wanted hundreds burned. She was determined to purge the land of Protestants. The church discouraged her from doing the killing and wanted to persuade the people to return to the Catholic faith. Elizabeth was eventually locked in the Tower. Eventually, Elizabeth got an audience with Mary and plead her case. I found this portrayal of Mary Tudor a bit simplistic and rather harsh. There was not any nuance to the story of Mary and Elizabeth.
After Elizabeth was freed, she moved to the country and it was in the county she learned that she was Queen of England. Now she faced new challenges. Elizabeth inherited a county that had no money that was divided by their faith. Elizabeth immediately put an end to the heretic trials and freed the prisoners. She wanted to go on a tour of England, she wanted the people to see her and to see her people. However, there would be threats against her life by the Catholics. She planned a tour of England.
There was a little sticking to her reign: marriage. King Philip proposed marriage to Elizabeth, however, she wanted to remain single. That brought up questions of who would inherit England when she died. Those inheritance thoughts angered Elizabeth. Even talks about marriage angered Elizabeth. She did not want public debates on the heir to the throne. She refused to marry King Philip.
During this time, Francis Drake searched the world and attacked Spanish ships. It was an open secret that Elizabeth profited from piracy. Francis Drake brought her treasures. There was a cute little discussion on Elizabeth’s suitors including Ivan the Terrible, King Philip, Prince Francis, and King Erik of Sweden. It even explored a little bit of her relationship with Robert Dudley. Her relationship with Robert Dudley fueled rumors all over Europe.
Then Elizabeth received news that Mary Queen of Scots had a son. This next section focuses on Mary, Queen of the Scots. How would Elizabeth react to this news of Mary’s son? What would Elizabeth do when Mary asked Elizabeth for help? Continue to watch this episode to find out.
This was a different documentary exploring Tudor England. It approached Elizabeth as a woman who wanted what was best for England. It also showed her fiery temper which was well documented in history. If you want a different interpretation of Elizabeth I’s reign then show this documentary to a history classroom.
Good morning, we are continuing with our Women Who Made History Series with the story of Joan of Arc. This documentary is also a look at Medieval History. I wish I could do Helen Castor’s excellent documentary on Joan of Arc, but this one will make up for that documentary. I hope that Helen’s documentary on Joan of Arc will show up on YouTube one day. The run time for this documentary is 50:27.
Joan of Arc liberated France. She challenged soldiers, generals, and the church. It was May of 1429 and Joan was leading her soldiers against the English holding a fortress. If the French took control of the fort, the Orleans would be free. The English had been on French soil for decades and now the French were rising against them to take control of France again. Joan of Arc was leading those French soldiers to victory.
This episode kicks off with a battle for control of the fort. Joan gets shot in the shoulder during this battle. Then Joan’s story flashes back to her life in her village in Lorraine. Her father was the head of the village and looked after everyone in the village. Joan growing up felt like she did not belong. She often went to the forest alone or a small church. She immersed herself in the world of the Saints. She felt safe when she talked with them. She heard their voices, primarily she heard the voice of Saint Margaret.
Her father found raising Joan challenging and wanted to marry her off as soon as possible. Joan was the center of gossip in the village. Joan was a young girl devoted to God and the Saints. Joan’s mother was more sympathetic to her daughter and told her stories of Saint Margaret. Joan was impacted by the story of Saint Margaret and she felt close to this saint.
France had been at war for one hundred years, facing attacks from both the English and the Burgundians. There were more and more raids in Joan’s village. There were many refugees who passed through Joan’s village. Joan would hear stories about what happened to these refugees. The King was in hiding and did not want to fight.
Saint Margaret came to Joan in the forest and told Joan that she would lead France to victory against the English. Joan was terrified at what her father would say when she made the announcement. She had to contemplate that fact for a long time and then she went on a journey. She turned to Baudicourt, who was a leader in the French army. She needed his help to get to the King and she wanted his help to fight against the English. She was mocked for her visions. However, she continued to proclaim her visions and she shouted that she would fight for a free France.
Two men took her seriously and started training her. Often times she felt discouraged while she was in training. Finally, she demanded men’s clothing. The men were shocked and told her she would be burned at the stake as a witch. She got her men’s clothes and she continued to train to fight. Eventually, she cut her hair short. The people slowly grew silent and then they were amazed at Joan’s fighting skills. Captain Baudicourt will still not lead her to the King. As people continued to be drawn to her and were inspired to rise up against the English.
Eventually, Captain Baudicourt relented and took her to the King. However, the French king had not been officially crowned because of the war. Joan met with the King and told him that he was going to be crowned and that she would lead France to victory. What would the King say when he met Joan? Would Joan be able to lead the troops against the English? After meeting the king, what questions would Joan be subjected to? Tune into the rest of this documentary to find out more.
This was a great overview of the life of Joan of Arc. It highlights her beginnings in her village and the moves to how she managed to get an audience with the king and eventually led her soldiers to victory over the English. This would be a good documentary to show in a history class.
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