Henry VII and his six wives

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HE NRY VIII A ND HI S SIX WIVESKing Henry the Eighth of England was famous for many things, but he was also famous becausehe had six wives. He was not a kind husband. People say rhar when he was looking for a new wife, careful fathers took their daughters away from the palace. They did not want the King to choose their daughter to be the next Queen, becausesome of his Queens had very short and unhappy lives. nhy did King Henry divorce two wives, and kill two others? \lhat were his queens really like? Catherine Parr, the sixth wife, lived on after the King's death. One day she goes back to the palace of \hitehall and finds a box of old letters written to the King - one from each of the first five wives. She sits down to read them to her young maid, Margaret. The first letter is from the daughter of the King of Spain, Katherine of Aragon, who was Henry's wife for twenty-four years. She died alone and sad and friendless , . .


Great Cluendon Street, Oxford ox2 6Dp Oxford University Press is a department ofthe University ofoxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in reseach, scholarshiD, md education by pubshing worldwide in Oxford Newyork Auckland CapeToM DilesSalaam HongKong Kachi Kualalumpur Madrid Melbome Mexicocity Nairobi NewDelhi Shmghai Taipei Toronto With offices in Argentha Austria Brazil Chile CzechRepublic France Geece cutemala Hugary Italy Japm polmd potugal Singapore SouthKorea Switzerland Thailand Turkey Ulcaine Vietnam oxFoRD md oxFoRn tncrrsa are registeredtrade milks of Oxford University Pressin the IJK ud in certain other countries This edition @Oxford University press zooS The moral rights ofthe author have been asserted Database right Oxford University press (maker) First published in Oxford Bookwoms 1996 2468709753 No umuthorized photoopying All rights reseNed. No part ofthis publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or trmsmitted, in any fom or by my means, without the prior pemission in mitiag of Odord University press, or as expressly pemitted by law, or mder tems agreed with the apprcpriate reprographics rights organization. Enquiries conceming reproduction outside the scope ofthe above should be sent to the ELT Rights Department, Oxford Univesity press, at the address above You must not cirolate this book in any other binding or cover md you must impose this same condition on any acquirer Any websites refened to in this publication are in the pubc domin and their addressesae provided by Ortrord University press for hfomation only. Otrord Univesity Press disclaims any responsibility for the content rsBN 978 o 19 4790628 A complete recoding of this Bookwoms edition of HenryWII and lw SixWivsis available on audio CD rs r gZI o a9 4789857 Printed in Hong Kong ACKNOW LEDGEM ENTS Origid illwtratim W: Richard Allen TheWblishtrs wwldlikz to tlunk thefollwingfor thw pemissim to reproducelh6tratiore: The BridgemmArt Libraryp 19, 24; His crace theArchbishop ofcanterburyp 36i The Hulton Deutsch Collection Limited p 34; Natioml pofirait Gallery p 3, 7, 12; The Royal Collection @Her Majesty eueen Elizabeth II p 29


L King Henry is dead 2 Katherine of Aragon .) Anne Boleyn 4 Jane Seymour 5 Anne of Cleves 6 Katherine Howard 7 CatherineParrGLOSSARY ACTIVITIES: Before Reading ACTIVITIES: \flhile Reading ACTIVITIES: After Reading ABOUT THE AUTHOR LIBRARY ABOUT THE BOOKWORMS

1. 6 1t 18 23 28JJ

41. 44 46 49 52 53

Word comt (main text): 6310 words For more ifomation on the Oxford Bookwoms Library, visit w.oup.com bookwoms

1 King Henry is deady name is Catherine Parr. A month ago I was the Queen of England, the wife of King Henry the liihth. Henry died and we buried him last week in St ( icorge's Church, \7indsor. Two days ago, on 16th f iclrrtrary 1547, I went back to the palace of Vhitehall, wlrich was once my home. I wanted to take my lettersand Itoolcs and bring them back to my house. Margaret, my new maid, came to the palace with me. Shc'svery young and doesn't know a lot about the world. Shc has only just come up to London from her home in PerhapsI was like her when I was twelve. I, too, 5rntcrset.

I'tt,rdays ago I uent bach to the paLace of


Henry Vlll and his Six Wiues

King Henry is dead

was always asking questions and wanting answers immediately. '$fhen we arrived at the palace, it was cold and dark. \7e walked into Henry's room. I sat down in one of Henry's large chairs in front of his wooden writing desk and looked at the pictures around the room. Next to me there was a big picture of Henry, when he was young. He was very handsome then, not like the fat old man he was later. I thought his blue eyes were watching me. I turned to Margarct and said: 'You seethat picture of the King? That's what he was like when he was young - tall and strong and handsome. Peoplesay that he never got tired. He could go our riding all day, changinghis horsesnine or ten times, and then he could dance all night. He was clever,too; he could speak five languages. \7ill peoplerememberhim like that, or will they only rememberhim because had six wives?' he 'Did he really have so many wives?'said Margaret. 'Yes, of course.I thought that everyoneknew that.' Margaret looked away and said, '\7e didn't get much news from London at home, and my family's house is a long way from the nearestvillage.' 'It doesn't matter,' I said, smiling. 'One day, I'll tell you the story of my husband Henry's life.' On the desk in front of me there was a wooden box with a large gold H on the top. I openedit slowly and took out some old letters. Each letter was in different writins j I Bllrl sonreof them were old and yellow. One letter had a pietrrrcof a large bird on it. It was from Flenry's second .' Wtlr',ArrneBoleyn. 'Mirrglrret!'I said.'I've found someleftersfrom Henry's Ffher wives. There's also a beautiful gold necklaceand a of rnrall rrccc hair.' I looked at another letter. 'Here's one "l'hat'swhat theKing uas Lik-e whenhe wasyoung - tall and strongand handsome.'


I L*

Henry VIll and his Six'Wiues

King Henry is dead

old letter from his first wife, Katherineof Aragon. Shewas married to him for a very long time.' 'Sheonly had one child, didn't she?'said Margaret. 'Yes, only PrincessMary is still alive. There were five other children, but they were all born too early and died.' Again I looked at the letter with the picture of the bird on it. 'Have you heard of Anne Boleyn, Margaret?' 'Yes, my mother talked about her. She said she was a very bad woman.' '\7ell, that's what somepeople say.Anne was the mother of Henry's seconddaughter, PrincessElizabeth. Look,' I said. 'This one is from Katherine Howard, Henry's fifth wife. Both Anne and Katherine were beheaded in that terrible prison, the Tower of London.' '\7hy did the I(ing send them to their deaths?'asked Margaret. Shelooked afraid. 'They had many enemies,who told the I(ing that they had lovers. Perhapsthe stories were true, I don't know. But the King believedthem.' I looked at another letter. 'This one is from Jane Seymour.Shewas the third wife and the mother of Henry's only living son. He is now our I(ing, Edward the Sixth.' too?' askedMargaret. '\las Jane Seymour beheaded 'No, poor Queen Jane died soon after Edward was born.' I looked at the last, short letter. 'Look, a letter from Anne of Cleves,Henry's fourth wife.'

'l)id shehave any children?'asked Margaret. 'N{r,' I laughed.'Henry thought that Anne was very ugly ,rrrtlhc didn't want her to be the mother of his children.' Mrrrgaretwas silent.Then shesaid,'l(ing Henry sounds lrlit'l terriblehusband.' 'l lc wasn't all bad, Margaret.There were good times, tuo. l-lc was clever at so many things - horse-riding and writing and playing music.He wrofe many beautiful Ir,!rnis, i(lnlls, and he had a wonderful singingvoice. But it's true rlr;llhe wasn't very kind to his wives.' Mrrrgaretlooked at the box.'So why did he keep these L'ttcrsfrom them?'sheasked. '()h, you ask so many questions,Margaret! I don't eachletter sayssomethingimportant.' krrow. Perhaps I looked up and saw that it was nearlydark. It was time to go home to ChelseaManor. I put the letters back inside the box. 'Come, Margaret, we must go now.' 'But can't we read the letters?'sheasked. '\7e'll take themI'lt't't, tuere some letters front I It'ttry's wiues in the box.

read them with us ar-rd tomorrow.'

Katherine of Aragon

2Katherine of AragonW/. W got up early the next morning and went to my fnuo.,rite room. It has a wonderful view of the large

gardensand the River Thames at the bottom. 'Did you sleepwell, Margaret?' I asked. 'No. I dreamedthat King Henry came back to life and sent me to the Tower of London.' 'Why did he do that?' 'Because my dream I read the lettersand he was angry in with me. Perhapsit will be bad luck if we read them,' said Margaret, worried. 'Don't worr/,'I said.'It was only a dream.He can't do anything now. He's dead.' I went over to the wooden box and opened it. 'r/e'll read the letter from Katherine of Aragon first,' I said. 'She was Spanish,wasn't she?'said Margaret. 'Yes, she first came over to England to marry Henry's brother Arthur, but he died. Shethen married Henry and was his wife and queenfor twenty-four years.' 'What a long time! What happenedto her? Did she go to the Tower of London too?' 'No, Henry divorcedKatherinebecause wanted a son, he and she only gave him a daughter, Princess Mary. Years before,Katherinedidhave a son- Henry, Princeof \7ales, lrtrl hc cliedwhen he was only sevenweeks old. The King l{lntt'tlr son very much. He was in love with Anne Boleyn, Itttt lrc rrlsowanted a new wife - a younger woman to give hinl srrrs.' 'ltoor Katherine!Divorced after twenty-four yearsfor a 'Katherine AragonwasHenry'stuifeand queen of y for twenty-fowr ears.'


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