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.
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